Talismans - Background Lore

In the Secret World there are a variety of different Talismans with specific names and functions, some which relate loosely to an area or entity from which they were acquired.

This thread is for players to research, explore, and share their speculations regarding the nature of these extraordinary talismans.

Occult Talisman - Razor Fossil

This damage buff item appears to be linked to the Hell Dimensions. It was previously known to drop from the Engine Tyrants of the Egypt portal and a reference is made by the succubus Saccharissa at the end of the Hell Raised dungeon.

“You, me… on a beach of razor fossils. The vultures of Leng plucking your nerve endings like a fabulous instrument.”

Evocative for a wasteland of perilous and exquisite skeletal remains, it suggests a desolation where once life was abundant. This correlates with what we know of the Second Age. That Hell was once a paradise, a great and palpitating civilization now but an aborted experiment, abandoned to die. A tortuous relic place.

“Once all was perfect. Like you. But it was left to rot in the vile glasshouse of its planters. So cruel!”

The Hell Dimension is also described as a place where the wind blows ‘blinding razor-grain sand’. It is of salt and sulphur dunes with wrong-angled cliffs and the dessicated corpses of a hundred thousand demons.

The mentioned vultures of Leng is most likely a reference to the Cthulhu Mythos and the Plateau of Leng.
A cold desert place known to the “Mad Arab” Abdul Alhazred of the Necronomicon (Kitab al-Azif), and also inhabitated by man-eating spiders and the satyr-like “Men of Leng”.
Although its location varies from each telling, in the Dreamland dimension, Leng is located to the north.


Fun fact: Leng has Penguins. Big, blind albino Penguins.

Sorry. I always found that a fun fact.


There is the case of the New York Raid head talismans.

The Ashes of Elder Things is in the shape of Lovecraft’s Elder Sign

While Elder Things are creatures from space that lived on Earth millions of years ago and created shoggoths and eventually were destroyed by shoggoths.

The Mark of the Starspawn is August Derleth’s Elder Sign:

Star-spawn are much smaller Cthulhu-like creatures that warred against the Elder Things.

The Elder Sign was used in R’lyeh on doors as a ward against Outer Gods. Presumably that is also why Secret Worlders draw it on their foreheads. We’ve got a rather large Unutterable Lurker to keep out of our heads, and in particular the Mark of the Starspawn is useful for this, since it provides healing when one is hit and the Lurker hits fast and often, soothing a mind battered by the Lurker’s gaze.

The Blood of The Old Ones also references Elder Things, as that was another name for them, Old Ones.


Yeah, those Whispers of Darkness get louder and louder until simply impossible to ignore.
in ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ the Elder sign also provides protection against the Deep Ones, servants and worshippers to ‘certain cosmic forces, certain dreaming entities’ including ancient and overgrown Deep Ones and Cthulhu. Certainly worth testing against the ‘Tide Lurker’.

The symbol on the ‘Blood of The Old Ones’ appears to represent several writhing tentacles, imagery unique to FC’s Secret World.

Interestingly here is a bestiary depicting the symbols for Lovecraftian races such as the Elder Things, Starspawn and Deep Ones, as well as singular iconography for Outer Gods / The Old Ones, Great Old Ones, and a geographic timeline representing their principal areas of occurence on earth.

Indeed Antarctica is one of the proposed locations of the Plateau of Leng, as hypothesised by one of the Miskatonic University Expedition explorers during ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ in which an ancient Elder Thing city is discovered atop a plateau. There is much to indicate that Antarctica is a location of significance in the Secret World and there is no reason not to suspect these birds to be scavengers and the ‘vultures’ mentioned.

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Finger Talisman - Band of the Bacab

This talisman’s function provides benefit to cleansing by restoring health on cleanse attempts. The lore behind this item is related to the Darkness War dungeon and more specifically to the Mayan invaders.

The Bacabs are four Yucatec Maya deities, who were placed at the four cardinal points (north, south, east, west) by the creator god Itzamna at the formation of the world, in order to prevent the heavens from falling.
Between them grew a huge ceiba tree, the cosmic tree, with roots deep in the underworld and its branches reaching towards the heavens to support it.

They are associated with the interior of the earth, the health of bees/honey production, curing rituals, water and are symbolically in opposition to the nocturnal sun.
Appropriate given the effect of the talisman on the bee-swallowers from Hollow Earth.

The names of the Bacab are Hobnil, Cantzicnal, Saccimi, and Hosanek.

Their mythology is also associated with cosmological upheaval and end times, with their escape and the destruction of the world by a great deluge (K’atun 11 Ahau). As such they have also been described as Atlantean gods.

“ …in one great sudden rush of water… Great Serpent (Canhel) was ravished from the Heavens… the sky fell down and the dry land sank, when the four gods (the four Bacabs) arose, who had brought about the annihilation of the world." - Mayan Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel.

According to some sources they have wrinkled faces with ears ornamented with circlets. Could these be the band talismans worn on the finger?

Additionally, a manuscript written in the Yucatec Maya language named ‘Ritual of the Bacabs’ contains forty-two main shamanistic incantations and supplementary fragments, some of which have never been translated.


I’ve been trying to work out the origin of the Iron-Sulfur bracelet, because it sounds simple enough.

After trawling through the Iron-Sulfur page on Wikipedia, I found Iron Sulfides are things, one of which is Pyrites (FeS2). Iron Pyrite, aka Fool’s Gold, has been used to make marcasite jewellery since the time of the ancient Greeks. It was also apparently used by Victorian nobles when Prince Albert died and Victoria didn’t want people being all bright and extravagant while she was mourning. As an added bonus, it’s a semiconductor that may be usable to make cheap photovoltaic cells.

Pyrites means “of/in fire” because it makes a spark when struck against steel. It’s alleged to be protective, heal auras, and manifests energy for use.


This was a fun bit of armchair research, but I’ve almost certainly taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.


Gold symbolism, even in the Secret World, is not always positive.
So, it is interesting that Gaia’s imbued should benefit from a talisman made from ‘Fools Gold’.

That the mineral already has a history of metaphysical properties and has been used in the creation of magical jewellery is good research.

Generally it appears to be defensive against negative energies and physical harm, despite the bracelet’s effect of damaging those already suffering from detrimental effects.
There are also accounts of supernatural properties, in which polished pyrite was used for divination purposes.

The name ‘Iron-Sulfur’ brings to mind the Hell Dimension, of abandoned machines and brimstone. However the iron–sulfur world hypothesis suggests that life that pre-dates genetics originated in deep-sea vents, which may indicate a connection to the Draug species.