Funcom announced their secret societies for The Secret World not too long ago, but who are these societies? Throughout history scholars and conspiracy theorists have followed and researched secret societies as a way to warn people or pass along learned information. The three societies of The Secret World may not all be real, but there are certain actual secret societies that they could have drawn influence from.


"Sex, Drugs & Rockefeller"

Notorious bad boys and girls of the secret world, the Illuminati are also the most ambitious, cut-throat and furtive of the secret societies.

From the gilded halls of the ancient pharaohs to the private clubs and the decadent parties of the famously rich and egocentrically famous, from leaders of industry and Hollywood agents to presidents and popes, the Illuminati have weaved their intricate web with ruthless cunning and acute skill.

They rule their corporate pyramid with cold opportunism, and only the strongest members survive. Their secrets can make you rich and powerful beyond compare - or they may destroy your soul and sanity with it

The Illuminati seek to plunder heaven and hell by any means necessary, and god help those who stand in their way.

As a member of the Illuminati, you don't play by anybody's rules. There are no rules. There is no honour.

There is only victory.

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style="font-style: italic;">The Illuminati is one of the more recognized secret societies from pop culture and real-world history.

The Illuminati (Latin for enlightened) may be the most recognized name around when it comes to secret societies. Hailed by many conspiracy theorists as the New World Order, the Illuminati have roots dating back as far as the 1700s. The Illuminati are often referenced as an evil secret society in many movies and books. Often viewed as the real rulers of the world, this group is believed by many people to have infiltrated every aspect of every government around the world in order to bring about a one-world government to prepare the earth for the coming of the Antichrist.

The actual story of the Illuminati stems from a Bavarian secret society called Order of the Illuminati formed in 1776. This group wanted to encourage rebellion against established monarchies. The Illuminati has ties to another secret society known as the Freemasons. Some believe that the Illuminati still operates as a secret society today, influencing world events and working towards their own agenda.

In The Secret World, the Illuminati are the arch enemies of the Templars. The Illuminati were driven out of Europe by the Templars and reorganized in the new world of America. They are very secretive and run their society like a corporation. Choosing the Illuminati as your faction will send you to their starting area in New York City, USA.

A few things about the Illuminati include…

  • Ruthlessly ambitious corporate puppet masters
  • The most secretive of secret societies
  • The bad boys and girls of the occult world – party hard, work harder
  • “Do or get one” – survival of the fittest

The Dragon

"The Art of Chaos"

Manipulators and conspirators, the Dragon have survived for millennia by playing their enemies against each other. Since before the first empire, through the aggression of the Mongol Khans and the ebb and tide of the political change, a whisper in the right ear, a strategic assassination, alliance carefully crafted and broken - and the world eventually bends to the patient will of the immortal Dragon.

With a spiritual and philosophical approach to the secret crafts, as an acolyte of the Dragon you are taught to listen, shown how to teach others, and expected to respect the balance of the universe and to be humble in the face of fate. Yours is not the path of force, though force is often needed to clear the path.

Few know of the Dragon and their long history, and that is how the Dragon want it. You are invisible but pervasive, silent but all-knowing, and when the other secret societies have decimated each other, you will rebuild the world from the ruins of their arrogance.

The Dragon is too easily underestimated, but those who do so live to regret it - or die before they get the chance.

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style="font-style: italic;">The Dragon is a secret society that uses deception and chaos to turn their enemies on each other.

The Dragon Society uses manipulation and cunning skill to turn their enemies against each other. From the destruction that ensues, The Dragon can move in and assert their influence without ever getting close to battle or gaining too much attention and that’s how they like it.

While the Dragon appears to be a fictional entity created by Funcom, they can be compared to a secret society known as the Black Dragon Society founded in 1901. The Black Dragon Society used subterfuge and misinformation to wage psychological warfare against Russia. Using stealth and espionage, this society embodies some of the characteristics of The Dragon.

The Dragon has a deeply spiritual and philosophical belief in their approach to secret crafts. They are as secret as they come and like the fact that few know their long history. They are the whispers behind the throne and the ones listening from the shadows. As a member of The Dragon you will begin your service in Seoul, South Korea.

Some things to know about The Dragon include…

  • The Art of War is Chaos and Deception – “the true Sun Tzu”
  • Unknowable, chaotic and anarchic: a puzzle-box
  • Manipulators and agitators in the factional war
  • Harmony is achieved through creating chaos
  • Balance isn’t stillness – it’s constant motion – and only the Dragon understands this
  • The Dragon’s actions make sense only to the Dragon


"Deliverance From Evil"

Crusaders. Judges. The Holy Terror. The Templars are the world's least secretive secret society. Their military-ideological machine has operated in plain sight since Babylon - a matter of pride, or moral superiority.

Conspiracy theorists, obsessed with the minor 'Knights Templar' offshoot, underestimate the Templars' true European empire. Private armies. Members of parliaments. Royal families.

The Templars believe they will deliver the world from evil by force, and even their opponents - who call them zealots and warmongers - cannot deny that force. As an agent of the Templars you are not just fighting the war on darkness, you "are" the war on darkness. Suave and sophisticated, but brutal and uncompromising, you use history as a weapon to shape the future.

Few will stand in the way of the Templars' banner. Do you have the will to stand behind it?

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style="font-style: italic;">The Templars consider themselves the war on darkness and they intend to win that war by any means.

In The Secret World, the Templars are a group that defines themselves as the war on evil. The lore behind this society makes it the one that the Knights Templar was an offshoot of. Their goal is to take the war to evil and win it by any means necessary.

To understand the Templars a bit more, we look at their lore declared offshoot, the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar (or Order of the Temple) were a western military Christian group and officially endorsed by the Catholic Church around the year 1129 AD. The group was founded to protect Christian pilgrims that were being slaughtered on their way to Jerusalem.

As the order grew, so then did their role. They soon gained favor in the Catholic Church as is evident by their official endorsement in 1129 AD. As the Templars grew in favor, they were eventually granted exemption from local laws by Pope Innocent II, allowing them to pass freely through all borders without having to pay taxes and making them exempt from all authority. The Templars answered to the Pope and the Pope alone.

With increasing resources, the order began to grow rapidly and they eventually became the advanced force in many key battles of the Crusades. One of their most popular battles is the Battle of Montgisard, where a small force of 376 Knights, 80 Templars, and several thousand infantry defeated the much larger army of over 27,000 soldiers led by Saladin.

The order was dissolved amidst trumped charges of heresy around 1314 AD and many Templars were burned at the stake as heretics. Confessions were obtained by torture and even though it was decided that the Templars were not heretics and had been the victim of false charges by King Philip IV of France, Pope Clement V still decided to dissolve the order.

In The Secret World, the Templars are the least secretive of the secret societies. They don’t hide the fact that they exist or that they have some power, and they have no problem doing what it takes to get the job done. Those who choose to serve the Templars will begin their adventure in London, United Kingdom.

Some things to know about the Templars.

  • Old blood, new veins
  • Tradition and honour above all.
  • Righteous and holy crusaders.
  • They don’t participate in the war on evil. They are the war on evil.

Secret Societies are rooted deeply in world history and Funcom has decided to take advantage of this information for The Secret World. Much to the chagrin of conspiracy theorists everywhere. In the world of secret societies there are no good guys, there are only your rivals. Who will you choose to serve? Take the test and find out where you fit in.

Research Sources:

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our The Secret World Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Stacy "Martuk" Jones was a long-time news editor and community manager for many of our previous game sites, such as Age of Conan. Stacy has since moved on to become a masked super hero, battling demons in another dimension.