"As such, the Talisman magic will be drawn to Noble Animals, those most worthy of their regal ancestors. Twelve living creatures; each about to receive an extraordinary gift."
In ancient China, there are twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac that possessed unique powers. It is unknown how they acquired their powers, but it was likely they were bestowed by the Jade Emperor as rewards after they all successfully completed the swimming race. When Shendu knew this, he drained their powers into himself and conquered China with his newfound powers combined with his inherent demonic magic. Lo Pei then turned him into his statue form, and the powers were separated from him in the form of the twelve talismans and were scattered throughout the world. This explains why each of the talismans have the outline of the twelve animals.
Dai Gui once angrily referred to the talismans as "accursed".
Each animal required a specific locator spell to find them that involved enchanting an object related to the animal (such as a carrot for the rabbit or a cat's whisker for the rat because cats hunt rats). This object would glow and be drawn to the location of the animal.
When the Chans located any of the animals, they transported them to Section 13 to be kept under magical and technological protection. The search for the animals was hampered by the appearances of Daolon Wong, who would simply absorb the powers out from the animals and into himself, and by the fact that the animals tended to activate their own abilities when frightened or angered. For some of the hunts, Uncle used enchanted cages that would prevent the animal within from activating its magic.)
Over the course of the journey, Wong managed to acquire a total of two Talisman powers (Rooster and Pig) whilst the Chans rescued a total of 9 Noble Animals. They attempted to transfer and store the powers into a new set of talismans, but the original spell was long gone. Jade befriended each animal and (using their powers) once snuck them out of Section 13 to show them off at her school's fair. The animals were startled by a falling puck from a strength game which caused them to scatter in fear and use their powers on the way. Even though the Chans prevented the Dark Chi Warriors from capturing any of the animals, they only managed to find the rat, rabbit, tiger and sheep. The yak, horse, snake and monkey were herded to Section 13 by the dog.
The final remaining power, the Dragon power of Combustion, was the only one without a host as there were no dragons currently existing in this realm. Daolon Wong resolved to make a deal with Shendu, a dragon who resided in the netherworld. Shendu agreed to let Wong have the Combustion power in return for resurrecting him in a new body on Earth, but ended up betraying him when he took the power for himself as well as stealing the Rooster and Pig powers from Wong.
This was because despite Shendu technically being a Noble Animal, he was still a demon sorcerer and was only worthy of the power by default. Shendu then hunted down the other nine animals and stole all the remaining powers. With the help of Daolon Wong, Uncle cast the original spell used centuries ago by Lo Pei to transform Shendu into a statue and recreated the Twelve Talismans. The Noble Animals were then returned to their original homes, except for Scruffy who remained in Section 13 with Jade.
|Tiger||Spiritual Balance||Sock||Las Vagas, Nevada|
|Pig||Thermal Vision||Unknown||Arline, Kansas|
|Snake||Invisibility||Rattle with Mongoose Teeth||Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India|
|Horse||Healing and Regeneration||Horseshoe||London|
|Dragon||Combustion||Dragon Statue||Netherworld (as a spirit; resurrected somewhere in/near San Francisco)|
- When most of the Noble Animals would use their powers, the camera would often zoom in on the animal's eyes where an image of their respective Talisman would shine for dramatic effect. This was also shown when Uncle transferred the power of the Ox Talisman into himself and used the power when it was in his body.
- In the case of when Daolon Wong used the powers of levitation/telekinesis (the Rooster Talisman) and heat vision (the Pig Talisman), and also when Shendu obtained the power of combustion (the Dragon Talisman) after Wong resurrected him to access the power of that Talisman, only the picture of the animal that appears on the front of the respective talisman is shown in their eyes, rather than images of the talismans themselves.
- When Mordecai and Eggbert first appear on-screen in "When Pigs Fly", the talismans are shown in their eyes even though they weren't using their respective powers at the time. This was likely done to signify that they were the Noble Animals, as no locator had been shown being used on-screen to find them.