Narrative & Level Design
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Faction

The Magnificans

NOTE: It was important that the Magnificans scan as a functioning society and not simply as savages. For the player to care about their fate, they would have to like them and find them interesting. I developed a simple, but consistent culture for them. From that culture, the choices and personality of the faction could be derived.

Background

The tribal settlement of Magnifico lies within the ruins of the incorporated town of the same name that was once owned by the agricultural giant of the same name.

Branding endures.

Seeking shelter as many did after the Great War, the Magnificans were once a desperate and fractured remnant of the old world. That unfortunate breed that loses all connection to the ideas of civilization, falling back to man's savage grip on survival. Civilization, however, did not abandon the Magnificans. Inside the sealed laboratories of Magnifico Agricola, the tribals would find salvation. Seeds once destined for the Garden of Eden Creation Kit (GECK) were developed here, and the hardiest crop of all was corn.

  Magnifico Agricola Corporate Logo , Christopher Means

Magnifico Agricola Corporate Logo, Christopher Means

In the desolate waste of the Pass, the Magnificans grew corn in quantities that sustain them to this day. What was once agricultural science is now a mystic art. All of it shrouded in tribal lands where wastelanders dare not tread.

For now.

Religion

Magnificans are intensely spiritual. Like many religions, there were gods who created mankind and their surrounding environment during a particular creation period at the beginning of time. However, time, as they see it, began at the end of the Great War. The gods, or ancestor spirits, are those people who lived before it. Though their word for "ancestor spirit" more accurately translates as "stupid grandparent".

The Magnificans, unlike so many cultures, see their ancestors as powerful, ancient, but worthy of ridicule. They have interpreted billboards and advertisements as accurate depictions of the ancestors. Morons who never stopped smiling, whose children appeared weak and fat, and who were obsessed with exploding metal land boats. In fact, the tale of the ancestor's destruction is told as a comedy. 

Creation Myth

"Before time began, the world was a very foolish place. Ever-smiling gods created without need. They built cities in the sand where there was no water. They grew food that they cooked into worse food or food that was not food. They regarded men only as warriors and women only as mothers.
 
Oh, how terrible they were at everything!
 
They saw the sun and wished to pluck it form the sky. But they couldn't, so they built a new sun. They made it poorly. Their sun did not help things grow. Their sun poisoned everything. The ancestors became ill, unhappy, angry. Each wanted the terrible new sun for themselves. They were clumsy gods. They tripped and dropped their new sun. It broke.
 
For their foolishness, everything the ancestors had was stolen, and that is good. Those who do not show respect should be the object of theft."

Rather than praying to a single god, each group generally believes in a number of different deities, generally by preference, whose images are often depicted in some tangible, recognizable form originating from the Old World. This form may be that of a particular feature of the landscape, a plant or animal, but is more often iconic to the Old World, such as billboard imagery, corporate logos, or other common Old World subjects. For instance, the Vault Boy has been interpreted as a trickster god, one who leads the unwise to their doom.

However, Magnifican people do not believe in animism, that all natural objects possess a soul. They believe that the many animals and plants of the wasteland are interchangeable with human life through reincarnation and that this dates back to the creation period when these animals and plants were once their ancestors, who are now being punished.

Society

A moiety system divides all the members of the tribe into two groups, based on their contribution to the tribe. A person is born into one or other group and this does not change throughout their life. On one side are the farmers who also serve as religious figures. On the other side are the hunters, who also serve as warriors and scouts.

FAMILY

Magnificans have a complex kinship system where everyone is seen as related to everyone else. This kinship system allows each person in the society to be named in relation to one another. This is most obvious when a foreigner lives in the community, they often find it odd to be called "mother/father", "daughter/son" or "brother/sister" as age might dictate. When Magnficans accept an outsider into their group, they have to name that person in relation to themselves to allow that person to fit into their society. This system is not exactly analogous to traditional mores. A brothers of one's father is also called "father", and cousins may be called "brother" or "sister". Of course, they know who their birth parents are, but it's rarely important. Under kinship laws, they may have similar family obligations to their aunts and uncles, the same as they would to their mother and father, and this is reciprocated.

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Magnifican eyes glow with bioluminescence. This has helped keep wastelanders off their land as it reinforces the idea that the area is haunted.

Marriage

The only known exception to this rule is marriage. Husbands and wives are constant for as long as both parties desire it. Marriages can last days or years, but separation is not seen as taboo. Marriage is also exogamous. A tribal belonging to one side has to marry a person of the opposite.

MOTHER-IN-LAW BAN

There is a ban on speaking to one's mother in law. Magnificans ban a person from talking directly to their mother in law. This rule applies to both men and women. To allow this rule to work, communication takes place via a third party. The origins of this custom are unknown, even to the Magnificans themselves.

Hierarchy

Among the common tribals, seniority comes with age or skill. Disputes over leadership are normally solved by listing one's merits and accomplishments. Above the common tribals are members of the religious side of the tribe, known as the Chosen. The Chosen are elite clerics, selected when they are very young by an unseen force known as The Great Mother. These children are then brought into the Magnifico laboratory now called the Great Temple. On rare occasions, these priests and priestesses will emerge to instruct the farmers on new rites or to deliver The Great Mother's will on specific subjects. They then return to the Great Temple without a word.