Friday, November 22, 2013

Baker - Lose One, Gain Three

Welcome back to the Baker house in Sunset Valley. Last time we met the family and Svetlana and Heathcliff made a valiant effort to complete their LTWs as Elders. Heathcliff defied the odds and managed to complete his Perfect Private Aquarium, but Svetlana wasn't as fortunate and she died before she had made the 20 friends she wanted. Becky made good progress in the Music career and on her LTW to max Charisma and Guitar, while Topher went from being a child to a teen and is now only a couple days away from being an adult. Heathcliff is still with us, but at 100 days old he is likely to go at any time. As we start off here, Heathcliff is at home relaxing, Topher is at work at his part-time spa job, and Becky is out front of the theatre playing for tips. She was performing in a concert, but it popped her out of that action for some reason and wouldn't let me send her back in to do that.

As predicted, Heathcliff did not last long once I started playing. That same evening after dinner, while he was playing some games on the computer, Grim came for him. Topher was there to witness his passing, but Becky was at work and missed it. Heathcliff contributed 3 points to the challenge.

The family is still fairly poor, so there wasn't enough money to do much in the way of setting up a nicer burial plot area on the lot, but I did get a few flowers a least and  arranged them with Svetlana and Heathcliff's tombstones. It's just too bad it didn't give them the same type of stone so they'd match.

With Heathcliff gone, the next day I had Topher scoop the fish out and send them off to be mounted. I'll preserve Heathcliff's achievement, but I really don't want to have to keep feeding the fish all the time and at least if they're mounted I know we can keep them permanently and they won't die and be lost. Yes, it was a bit expensive, but selling the bowls and endtables helped recoup some of the cost, and I'd also been able to sell one of the beds they no longer needed. Becky got a promotion and a bonus when she finished work the night before as well, so they had enough to cover it.

Monday was Topher's birthday and he decided at the last minute to throw a party. Once he got home from work, he called up several of his friends and acquaintances and invited them over. Becky finished up her performance about the same time, so she was able to make it home for the party as well. Once everyone was there and had mostly been greeted, Topher blew out his candles and aged up to Young Adult. He gained the Unflirty trait, and chose Descendant of da Vinci as his LTW, which means he'll have to master Sculpting, Painting, and Inventing.

On Wednesday Becky did a performance at the theater as usual, then played for tips outside afterward. In the course of playing she mastered her guitar skill and so had completed half of her LTW. She also finished the Master Guitarist skill challenge when she got to level 10.

That same evening, Topher went and registered as a self-employed Sculptor even though he had just gotten a promotion at the spa. He also worked in the garden that Heathcliff had started, though it remains to be seen just how long we'll continue it here. No one really needs to be doing gardening right now, so I really should let them spend their time on other things, though I probably will try to get some money trees going at least.

Topher had shown an attraction to Carly Landgraab at his birthday party, so he started chatting with her on the phone to build up a friendship. I was having issues getting her to come over again so they could talk face to face (she would glitch and be invisible, or she'd say she'd come over then almost immediately I'd get a message that something came up and she couldn't make it) so I had him go over to her place one evening. He discovered that she was single, and even though he's not big on flirting I had him do so and she proved to be both single and quite receptive to his advances. Before long I had them going steady.

Bebe, Carly's stepmother, was asleep in the bed right beside them the whole time they were doing their whirlwind courtship
Carly lives in the Landgraab mansion of course, and though I'm not crazy about that house, it would be a good move up for Becky and Topher so I'm thinking I'll get him and Carly married and have them move in with her - and then move out Malcolm (her brother) and Bebe so I don't have to deal with them. I can always either bulldoze the lot and build them something better on it or just build something on the empty lot next door and move them there later on if I find the Landgraab house too annoying. So, to that end I got Topher to pop the question.

Meanwhile, Becky managed to get a promotion that night which put her at the top of the Rock branch of the Music career. She hasn't quite achieved her LTW yet, but she's quite close. She's also getting close to becoming an Elder, which I'm not very happy about since I don't feel like I've had much time with her really. Poor thing, I've been working her to death her whole life making money for the family and I've never let her do much of anything else. I'm contemplating what I can do to roll her age back some to maybe start having a bit of fun with her, at least for a little while. Until then, she's at a bit of a loose end since she no longer has any set work hours, she simply needs to go perform concerts from time to time. I let her start exercising a bit to satisfy her Athletic trait.

Anyway, Topher came home after proposing to Carly so he could get some sleep. I was tempted to have him just do a quickie wedding with her so they could go ahead and move into the bigger house, but Topher has a sculpture in progress that prevented me from packing up his sculpting bench. Finishing that became his priority when he got up again the next morning.

Once he'd finished his sculpture I was able to pack it and the bench into the family inventory and send him down to the Consignment Store to put the sculptures he'd made so far up for sale. Once that was taken care of, I had him call Carly up for a date. She met him at Central Park and after a bit of preliminary hugging and kissing, they exchanged rings and became husband and wife. I'd had Becky come down to watch, but she decided to wander off and do something else.

Topher and Becky moved in with Carly, Malcolm and Bebe. Unfortunately I messed up when I did the move and I lost all of Heathcliff's fish that I'd stored in the family inventory as well as his and Svetlana's tombstones. Because of this I ended up having to go back to a previous save and re-play from the morning following Topher's engagement. It wasn't a lot, but did mean having to re-do all the changes I'd made at the Landgraab mansion to accomodate everyone. I mainly did this to save the tombstones - I would have been bummed about losing the fish, but wouldn't have bothered rolling back just to save them.

I had intended to have Malcolm and Bebe move out right away, but after looking at their traits and LTWs, I saw that they could get me further ahead sooner, so I decided to let them stay. For now at least. Bebe was apparently Bebe Hart, daughter of Gus and Dorie Hart. It seems she married Malcolm and Carly's father Geoffrey after Nancy died. I'll have to figure out a way to make a lot of money fairly quickly to finish her LTW (the Landgraabs didn't come with very much cash despite the fancy house), but it should be do-able. I added the sauna into the house, so I can keep knocking a day at a time off her age like I've been doing with Adrianna Britt to keep her alive until the LTW is done. I'll use it to keep Becky young for awhile longer too.

Here's a look at the new household members post-makeover:

Carly (Landgraab) Baker
Age: Young Adult
Traits: Absent-minded, Excitable, Loser, Handy, Vehicle Enthusiast
Favorites: Pop music, Autumn Salad, Green
LTW: Become a Creature-Robot Cross Breeder

Malcolm Landgraab
Age: Adult
Traits: Bookworm, Good, Eco-Friendly, Ambitious, Friendly
Favorites: Classical music, Cobbler, Yellow
LTW: Fashion Phenomenon (reach level 10 of Stylist profession)

Bebe Landgraab
Age: Elder
Traits: Technophobe, Family-Oriented, Bookworm, Good, Frugal
Favorites: Indie music, Autumn Salad, Green
LTW: Swimming in Cash (have §50,000 in household funds)

Malcolm is engaged to Madison VanWatson and has a son named Bobby VanWatson with her. I don't intend to purse that relationship at least until Malcolm finishes his LTW since I don't want even more unplanned additions to this family.

I got Malcolm started with the Stylist career the following day. He wasn't actually scheduled to work for a few days yet, but I took him to the salon and had him offer people makeovers to practice a bit and start building his job performance. His first subject was Kaylynn Bunch, and his second was Arlo Bunch.

After doing those, I turned my attention to Becky for a bit and had her go down to the theater to hold an autograph session before doing a performance there. She did quite well and managed to earn §4,400 from it (§1,400 for 14 autographs signed and §3,000 for 10 people that entered the theater because of her event).

At about this point I took a bit of a break from actually playing them to build them a new house because yeah, the Landgraab mansion sucks and it was quickly driving me nuts. I started one house next door at 15 Summer Hill Court, the empty 60x60 lot there (same lot the Medinas are on now in their version of Sunset Valley), but then decided to go a bit smaller and cheaper for them to start with. Eventually I'll move them to a house on the Summer Hill lot, but they're really going to need more money before they can afford it. So I started over on building another house on Redwood Pkwy. along the coast. Smaller, cheaper lot, and I was still able to build them a really nice, large house without breaking the bank too badly. They made quite a profit in terms of ready cash when they moved - which was part of the point, since I'd also decided that moving to a cheaper house would be a quick and easy way to complete Bebe's LTW so it would be done, and I'll get credit for her unique things, and I won't have to keep her around too long. The strategy worked beautifully and so now I'll be able to count her few points regardless of what happens to her. Maybe I'll start trying to attract a meteor with her... Once the house was ready, I had Topher make the call to move, then they all piled into Becky's pink limo that she gets for work to drive across town.

For those who are interested, here are some shots of the new house. These were taken immediately after they moved and after I'd put out the things I had them bring with them, like Topher's sculpting and inventing benches and Malcolm's drafting table.

Front view
Rear view
First floor
Second floor
I had a bit of a scare when trying to put Heathcliff and Svetlana's graves out because they disappeared as soon as I placed them. I was able to retrieve them to the family inventory via Master Controller and when I put them out in a different location on the lot they worked fine. I'll just have to remember to be careful what I try to place around the garage because things are a bit wonky there from fitting the flat garage to the house on a foundation. Heathcliff came out to visit that night, and I caught an amusing moment when he was haunting the computer that Bebe was writing a novel on. She just kept typing away as though nothing was happening while the keyboard and monitor were bobbing around in the air.

Malcolm had his first real day of work at the Salon the next day, and he went despite not having gotten much sleep because of the ghosts (Svetlana came out to play too). He managed to catch a catnap on one of the benches in the afternoon, and while he was doing that I took Becky down to the salon to get another tatoo like she was wanting. While she was there, Xander Clavell died. I don't think she knew him (though I'm not really sure if she did or not...she knows a lot of people), but she was affected by his death nonetheless. I almost missed it because I was checking on the people back at the house, but saw the notification about it and managed to get back over to her while Xander was shaking hands with Grim.

That evening I sent Topher down to the Stones Throw Greenhouse to collect seeds for Carly. There's not much room for a garden on their new lot, but she needs gardening for her job, so she's starting a small one at the side of the house. Mostly I was looking for money tree seeds and other special seeds so perhaps someone can make some ambrosia for Becky. While he was there, Lisa Bunch went into labor in the bathroom. She just stood there for a long time, doing her moaning and holding her belly instead of leaving to go have her baby elsewhere like I'd have expected. She did eventually leave before she delivered.

Apparently someone started a fire in the kitchen at home with the deep fryer while I was with Topher. Not sure who it was since it didn't drag me back there and I missed seeing it when it was happening. I did go back there to catch the aftermath though. The firefighter got stuck and just stood there instead of getting back in the truck and leaving. Not sure if I'll replace the deep fryer for them or not. The sims are waaaay too attracted to that fryer and the ice cream maker and it drives me nuts (I ended up caving in and replacing it).

The next day went by normally with Malcolm going to work again, Carly going back to work for the first time after the wedding, and the others being left to their own devices for the most part. Since I've ended up keeping Malcolm and Bebe along with Carly, I decided I should focus first on Malcolm since I completed Bebe's LTW with the move. Malcolm has locked in wishes to get married, and to get married to Madison, his fiancee and the mother of his son, in particular. She's already an Elder, so the clock is ticking on being able to let him do that before she dies. I want to finish his LTW so I can count his points, but after that I'd be just fine with letting him marry Madison and move out. I'd let him go ahead and get married before then, but I really don't want to add any more sims to this household, especially not ones that would just be developing a cadet line of the family. I did decide to let Topher and Carly go ahead and try for a baby though, which took way longer than it should have between interactions on the sauna not cooperating at first, Bebe barging in on them a couple times, and then later on Svetlana came out to haunt and interrupted them a few times.

I did remember to have Becky do a performance one day, but mostly she was left on her own for the next few days. Thankfully she's naturally fairly social, and she managed to get the last bit of skill she needed in Charisma to master it while talking with Bebe one afternoon. This completed her LTW of Golden Tongue, Golden Fingers and secures her place as a contributing member of the challenge. I'm still deciding if I want to try to do more with her or not, and until then I've been having her do mud baths to keep her at the Adult stage.

Unfortunately things seem to be a tad buggy on this lot for some reason. Or maybe it's just Bebe. She seems to have an affinity for typing in weird positions.

It took a few nights of trying, but eventually their efforts paid off and Becky realized she'd gotten pregnant. I wasn't sure it had worked, because for some reason I don't seem to be getting the chimes lately. Most likely a setting on one of the mods that I need to change. In any event, the next generation is officially on the way.

Standing inside the table must have hurt...
I think I'll wrap up this entry here. I'll probably stay with the Bakers for a bit since I've decided to use them, and Topher in particular, as my litmus test for when to install Late Night. I figure that once I've completed his LTW I'll have experienced enough of the Ambitions content to move on, and I'm getting anxious to get to some of the later EPs. So, in closing, here's a look at how my score stands at present with Becky and Bebe having completed thier LTWs this session:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fraser - Finishing China and Getting an Heir

We're back with the Fraser family in Riverview again. Last time Anya finally finished her LTW and was hoping to start a family soon. Her husband Maximus still has a bit to go to finish his, but it'll come with time. I was planning to have Anya get pregnant and have her first child before she resumed her travels to finish up the remaining adventures she has left, but after looking them over I noticed that Maximus has a job opportunity that wants him to go to China to learn the Martial Arts skill. He's already learned it at home from Anya's equipment, but the opportunity requires him to travel to China anyway. So, since they can't both travel with a baby (or I wouldn't want them to anyway - I think you can get a babysitter if needed), I'm thinking the baby is going to be postponed a bit longer until after they take a trip to China together. She still has the travel moodlet from her last trip to France, so I have to wait a Sim day or so before I can send them. While waiting, I have Anya work on the block breaker so she can build up to doing space rocks easily as well as work on the skill challenge to break 150 Oak or better boards.

Besides working on the block breaker, I had Anya go down to the new Consignment store and put a bunch of stuff from her inventory on consignment, including all the gems and metals she'd been stockpiling (I have a mod that lets you sell them through the regular consignment store). She also went by the Science center and donated all the insects in her inventory except for the ones she needed to take to Egypt. Maximus was left to his own devices for the most part while I was busy with her, and I later found him dancing with the sunflowers I'd put out to give them some good fertilizer. I gave the Medinas a bunch of these as well, but never saw anyone do this interaction with them.

Later that evening Anya's travel moodlet cleared and I sent them both to China for an 18 day trip. I wasn't really crazy about taking Maximus along for such a long trip since it's kind of a pain keeping track of him as well, but I figure I'll just keep him busy skilling when I can and leave him to his own devices the rest of the time. Anya needs the time for her tomb exploring and I'm hoping she'll be able to finish up and I won't need to make another trip back with her.

They both headed to the Martial Arts academy shortly after arriving. Maximus started working on one of the block breakers to increase his skill. Anya first went to talk to Bao Louie regarding the opportunity she'd been working on for him, and he told her to practice breaking a space rock so thats what she went to do.

Anya had to perform a few more tasks for Bao Louie, but eventually he deemed her prepared enough to head into the Dragon's Maw once more to confront Dong Huo.

By the time Anya headed into the Dragon Maw tomb I had them on somewhat opposite sleep schedules. This gave me the chance to work with Maximus a bit while Anya was sleeping in her tent, and besides having him work with the board breaker I also had him do some ranked sparring matches at the Academy.

After threading her way through the various tricks and traps of the tomb, Anya came to the final room where Dong Huo was was buried. Only he and a couple of his buddies weren't entirely dead. She managed to lure one of the mummies into a fire trap, fought and defeated another, then finally took on Dong Huo himself.

2nd mummy. Didn't catch it's name.
Defeating Dong Huo Scourge of the Three Kingdoms
Amusingly, at some point after Dong Huo came out of his sarcophagus, Anya got the wish to do a Friendly introduction with him. I didn't notice it until after she's already defeated him but it wouldn't have been possible to do anyway since you can't interact with the mummies other than to fight with them when they notice you and attack.

The exit room of this tomb has a pretty cool floor mural. Perhaps one day I'll have the patience to try to do something like this with flooring in a house that I build. Probably not though.

As an aside here, the hill that the Dragon's Maw cave is on has a great view of the Forbidden City and surrounding countryside.

After collecting her reward from finishing the Dragon's Maw, Anya got another mission from the board at the base camp. This one sent her down into the caverns under the marketplace once more, though she took a break to get a good night's rest in her bed at the house before really getting started on them. She first had to go through the cavern she'd explored before to obtain the keystone for Dong Huo's treasure stash, but after dealing with that she found the stairway that led down into the other caverns and set to it.

One of the odd and slightly annoying things about these tombs is that once you've opened the stairs down into them random sims will come down and hang out in the tomb as well. How far in they'll come depends on what traps there are and whether or not you've cleared them. This can be inconvenient at times if a sim you need, like one of the merchants, has wandered down below. I ended up having to do a resetsim on these two because they just stood like that for at least a sim day, if not longer.

Anya finished the tomb, but was so tired she had to sleep for a bit in one of the beds in the tomb before she could finish collecting all of the loot there. Meanwhile, Maximus managed to start a fire in the kitchen while trying to fix himself some breakfast. As usual, the firefighter didn't show up until he'd already gotten the fire put out himself.

Besides working on his Martial Arts and setting fires, Maximus also got a few opportunities to catch and deliver fish. I had him complete these for something else to do when he was too fatigued to work on the block breaker as they helped him get some visa points for himself. After doing a couple of them he was able to get his level 1 visa for China. He never had any luck getting a Dragon Fish, but he caught all of the other special fish in China while he was there.

All of the work on the block breaker earned Maximus the title of Timber Terminator. Even though he was only at level 8 of Martial Arts still, and Anya had long since mastered it, he still managed to finish this skill challenge before her. Unfortunately he didn't have much luck with space rock blocks yet even though he could break 5 thin stone blocks easily.

While Maximus was busy with his pursuits, Anya kept exploring, going back into a few tombs she'd done in the past to check for things she'd missed, and running a few errands for someone as part of another mission she'd picked up. Soon she was headed into what she hoped would be the last tomb she needed to explore in China, the Tomb of the First Emperor, the entrance of which was down a hill from the famous Terracotta Army.

While Anya was doing a few last errands to obtain the final keystone she'd need to be able to fully explore the Emperor's tomb, a burglar broke into their vacation home while Maximus was asleep. As it happened, Anya was on her way home at the time to rest up and attend to her other needs to be fully refreshed before tackling the tomb, but she didn't make it home in time to stop him. He was able to steal their shower, but her arrival possibly prevented him from taking more. Time to get a burglar alarm for the place I guess.

The next morning Anya headed off to the Emperor's tomb and started working on it. She found she had to tread carefully and pay close attention to her surroundings, for there were traps everywhere. She encountered a mummy in one room full of sarcophagi, but she defeated it easily. When she finally had to take a break, she pitched her tent and went to sleep. This gave me a chance to pay attention to Maximus for awhile, and I had him try doing space rock blocks again. Now that he had finished the block breaking challenge he found it much easier, and he began to get gemstones with most of the boards he broke.

When Anya awoke and started exploring again, she found that she'd been very close to finishing the tomb when exhaustion had made her stop earlier in the day. She finished up, and as she collected her final tomb relic she realized that she had now explored every tomb in China. She still had some relic collections to finish, but she felt quite pleased with herself and determined to just enjoy the rest of the vacation as much as possible.

The rest of their trip was spent working on their Martial Arts skills, with both of them participating in ranked sparring matches when they could. Anya also spent some time excavating around the area hoping to find the last few relics she needed.

Maximus eventually mastered Martial Arts and got to level 2 of the Tournament. After that I eased off the sparring for him and had him break space rocks when he could and meditate once he was too fatigued to do that anymore. Anya also achieved the Timber Terminator skill challenge so hopefully she'll be as good with getting gems from the space rocks as Maximus is now. There wasn't much else of note in their last several days in China, other than the fact that their mailman there was a creepster that liked to look in through their windows whenever he had mail to deliver to them.

Every single time he delivered mail he'd go over and peek in one of the windows for a few moments before running off
Anya stayed with the Tournament, primarily because she rolled up the wish to win it (worth 10,000 points). It took a few days of calling partners over one after the other, but eventually she reached level 5 and was officially a Grand Master.

The vacation finally ended and they headed home to Riverview. Once there, their top priority became starting a family finally since they'd both been wanting a baby for so long. It didn't take very long before Anya realized their attempts to get pregnant had been successful.

A few days later as she was relaxing with a book out back while Maximus was playing in a game at the stadium, she went into labor. She opted to stay and have the baby at home instead of going to the hospital.

Maximus made it home before she gave birth and was there to help her out. Or to just freak out about it as the case may be. She gave birth to a (apple influenced) baby boy she named Beli. He got the traits Loves the Outdoors and Disciplined, his favorites are Kids music, Falafel, and Orange.

The next few days passed fairly normally, and before they knew it Beli's birthday had rolled around. He aged up well to Toddler with a small party with his parents in the kitchen. Shortly thereafter they started on the toddler training, with potty training being first on the agenda, followed by teaching him to walk.

The next day Anya took Beli down to the library to read all of the toddler books she'd bought with him. The reading bonus from the library meant they were able to zoom through them in no time.

Later that day Maximus got a promotion at work that put him at level 9 of the Sports career and completed his LTW to Become a Superstar Athlete. He hasn't really earned that many points for the challenge so far, but I can now count the points he has gained. I may well move him into a different career once he finishes sports.

Here's where I'm going to leave the Frasers for now. I could have sent Anya on to Egypt after Beli was born, and originally had kind of planned to do so, but then decided that I wanted to work on getting Maximus's LTW finished before I went back to continuing to finish stuff in the various countries with her. Now that that's accomplished I'll get back to adventuring, but I also think they'll probably be moving to a new house next time. They have a lot of money now from all the gems they get from breaking space rocks in addition to all the gems and stuff she finds in the tombs, so they can well afford a nice place that has more room now. Also, I've never really been happy with the house since I renovated it. I'm also thinking I should maybe pop them out and put them into a fresh version of Riverview since I've been seeing more little glitches lately here, but I'm not entirely sure on that yet. We'll see what I've decided when I get back here next. Until then, here's a look at how my score stands currently:

Next up will probably be the Bakers unless I decide to start with an idea I've had for another family instead. Until then, I'll leave you with some outtake type pictures of the gnomes since they were kind of interesting to watch but don't really figure into the main narrative here much.

Lil' Leon presides over a meeting while Mr. Gnome makes his opinion of it known
Lil' Leon later makes his displeasure known
The winner and still Champion...