Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fraser: Egypt, France and Mission Accomplished!

After a long semi-unplanned break over the summer, I decided to pick this back up with the Frasers again instead of going back to the Medina-Britt household. The reason for this is primarily that I'm anxious to be "finished" with World Adventures so I can install Ambitions and keep things moving along. I'm eager to try out stuff from the later expansions, but determined to stick to my plan of only installing the next one after I've had time to experience a fair bit of what the latest one added has to offer. I expect that I'll be over the 50% mark for WA content once Anya finishes her LTW, but I'm going to be calling it completed enough once she does regardless. Now that I've got all of the intro stuff out of the way, however, let's see what she and Maximus are up to.

Anya had just returned from France when we saw her last and was over halfway done with her LTW. It just so happened that Maximus had that night off, so they spent the evening together working on getting the first child that they both wanted. The next morning, after getting up early to tend the garden, Anya decided to work on her snake charming skill.

She also put her new Little Leon Magic Gnome that she'd acquired on her last trip out in the yard with the Master Manchu Magic Gnome that she'd had for awhile now.

She later got 2 more Little Leon gnomes that are still in her inventory.
She tired quickly of the snake charming, and then spent the rest of the day sorting through the gems, metals and rocks she'd collected, selling some outright and sending others off to be cut or smelted. She also planted some of the grapes she'd picked up in France and then spent time studying some of the recipes she'd purchased abroad while Maximus worked out on the weight machine.

She also reconstructed a sarcophagus from some fragments she'd collected. It looked like she'd be able to sleep (and do other things!) in it, and it took up less room than her tent did, but she couldn't figure out how she'd lug the thing around so decided it would just have to stay here as a curiosity.

The next morning Maximus went over to visit his parents to spend a few hours with them before he had to go to practice. He was later glad he had done so, for Ginny, his mother, passed away that evening while he was at practice.

While Maximus was at work, Anya took a trip down to the Stones Throw Greenhouse where she was able to collect and identify several special seeds. Unfortunately none of them were money tree seeds and the others were for plants they already had in their garden.

Later that night, a burglar tried to break into their home, but thankfully they had an alarm that alerted them to the break-in. Anya ran out to the living room, intending to pound the thief into the ground with her martial arts skills, but the police arrived before she had the chance and the officer subdued the intruder and arrested him.

Maximus went back to bed, but Anya stayed up and fixed herself some breakfast, then tended the garden. Later that afternoon, after tending to various other tasks, she booked a flight to Egypt so she could work on her tomb raiding some more. When she'd last been to Egypt, she'd picked up a mission to explore an ancient library, then entrance of which was inside someone's home. Even though she had befriended the homeowner, she was never able to find him at home and thus hadn't been able to gain access to the house and the tomb entrance. This time, however, she was in luck, for she found him at home shortly after arriving in Egypt.

The library proved fairly easy to explore, with no traps and only a few simple things to do to unlock doors. Anya collected the book she was after along with a bit of treasure, then headed back upstairs to the house, the whole thing only taking her a few hours to complete. She spoke with her friend briefly, then headed off to turn in her mission. After finding the old woman she needed to talk to out in the hills, she was sent to speak with a merchant in town to obtain another relic that was in his possession. He agreed to give it to her, but only if she brought him 5 pieces of copper as payment. Hungry and tired, she decided that hunting copper would have to wait till the next day, though she did get a sudden urge to buy a camera. She treated herself to the best one that was available since their finances were doing better these days.

The next morning she tried out her new camera by taking pictures of a few people around the camp. After having some breakfast, she headed out to find some copper. That didn't take her very long, and soon she was heading back to the market to speak with the merchant once more.

After speaking with the merchant, she went back to the old woman, who sent her to find some mummitomium with which to bribe some guards. She'd noticed that the relic vendor had some in stock that day, so she decided to save herself the trouble of trying to hunt down the rare metal and just went and bought some. After taking it back to the old woman, she found out she'd need to infiltrate the MorcuCorp headquarters and deposit the bribe in a chest there. She did this, disarming the traps she found as she went, and once she'd completed the task, she got a call from the woman telling her to hack into the commander's computer.

Good thing she's not a technophobe
After sending the information the woman needed, she was instructed to go to the Tomb of the Desert Ocean to find an important relic. She went back to camp first and got some sleep, then the the next morning headed up to the tomb. It was far more complicated than any of the others she'd dealt with on this trip so far, but didn't give her too much trouble.

While exploring, she found some canopic jars, one of which had an inscription indicating that if she used 5 of them in a sarcophagus, then an ancient being might join her household. She filed that information away for future reference. She continued on, and in the course of looting the various chests she found, she realized that she'd collected enough relics to qualify as a Historical Hoarder.

Eventually she made her way to the end and found the relic she was after. She collected it, along with other loot in the area, then headed back to turn it in.

Her next task was to talk to another merchant in the marketplace, and this time the asking price for what she needed from her was a plate of Shawarma. Exhausted, but wanting to make as much progress as possible, Anya tried to buy some from the food merchant, but he didn't have any in stock. Frustrated, she went back to camp to get some sleep. She awoke very early and since she couldn't do much about getting some Shawarma until it was a decent enough hour to visit one of her friends in town, she decided to cook herself some breakfast over the camfire.

Once the sun was fully up, she went over to her good friend Fahad Madbouli's house to see if she could use his kitchen to make some Shawarma. He didn't mind her using his kitchen, but told her she'd have to wait until later in the day to make it. (After looking up how to get the Shawarma I found a forum post somewhere that indicated that if your sim has the Inappropriate but in a Good Way perk then you can use friends' kitchens without them getting mad about it. I tried this out, and it seems to work, but Shawarma wasn't an option on the refrigerator at breakfast. She was able to make it later, but then I wasn't able to pick up the plate from the counter to put it in her inventory.) While she was waiting, she reviewed her adventure journal and realized that she had completed 6 tombs in Egypt now, and only had to do 4 more in France to achieve her lifelong dream.

By this time, she was on her last day in Egypt, so she decided to just spend her remaining time visiting with friends she'd made here. She made a note to prepare some Shwarma to bring with her next time she came. She hadn't quite made it to Visa 3 for Egypt yet, but wasn't too concerned about it. Upon returning home, she discovered that she'd acquired another gnome to add to her collection though she couldn't remember when she might have gotten him.

Story break: After Anya got back from Egypt, I decided to renovate their house and give them some more room since they had money now. I added in a 2nd floor and relocated the master bedroom there along with setting up one room as a fitness room and another that will eventually be a bedroom when needed probably. The first floor was expanded to enlarge the kitchen and add in a dining area along with a long, narrow general use space. The smaller downstairs bedroom that had held the weight machine got redone as a nursery, and the former master bedroom is left empty for now. I also added in a large basement for all the odds and ends she gets travelling that don't fit anywhere else, but the only way I could provide access to it was via outdoor stairs behind the house. I put a roof over the stairs at least for now, perhaps eventually it'll be fully enclosed. The basement is largely unfinished aside from floor and wall coverings and a few wall lights in the small area that's being used currently.

Exterior view
Ground floor
2nd story

Returning to the story... The day after Anya returned from Egypt was Maximus' birthday. While they hadn't initially planned to do anything, she decided at the last minute to throw him a birthday party. So she called up their friends and some of his coworkers to invite them over, then had some party furniture delivered. Soon the guests started arriving, and as luck would have it, the party started off with one of the elders (who was a party crasher I think) deciding to die just then.

Once Grim had come to collect her, everyone seemed to just shrug it off and go back to the merriment they'd come for. Maximus headed out back to blow out his candles to get the party officially going. He aged up to Adult.

Anya decided that she'd celebrate Maximus' birthday by eating the Ambrosia that she'd been saving, even though she was already full from the cake and other food at the party. Once she'd eaten it, she knew that now they would be the same age, and she'd have plenty of time to finish her LTW and have the child they both wanted.

The next day Anya headed to France, hopefully to complete her LTW so she could relax about her travels and turn her attention to starting a family. Her first order of business, after taking care of some personal needs at the base camp, was to head to the nectary to work on making a few bottles for an assignment she'd picked up last time she was there. Apparently they wanted to be able to supervise her while she made them, because it specifically required that she make the bottles there and not just bring some she'd made at home.

As luck would have it, the nectar making machine broke on her as soon as she got it started and she had to stop to repair it.

She finished that assignment, and then got a few more assignments for different sorts of nectar, and better quality nectars. After working at the nectary for a few days, she finally completed them all, then went back to the board to look for something else. She found something, and the next day she was able to get back to her real passion of exploring tombs when the man she went to talk to asked her to investigate his basement for him.

That investigation proved to be fairly simple, and didn't take her all that long. The best part of it was that besides able to mark off another tomb explored in France, she also got enough visa points to get to level 3. She spent the night in her tent there then went to get another assignment. This time she was being asked to provide help at the museum.

This eventually led to her exploring the catacombs below the museum and discovering the remains of the former curator. He had become trapped in a room behind a hidden door and couldn't get out and perished there. He had left a note on the wall asking whoever found him to take his remains to the cemetery so he could be with his wife, so that is what she did.

She spent the next day doing some more tasks for the owner of the Nectary. After that, she was asked to go back to the secret garden she'd found earlier in her stay and try to talk to the spirit there. Turned out he wanted someone to plant pomegranates in the garden there, so she gave some to the lady that lived there to plant.

She had some trouble finding an assignment involving tomb raiding, but she kept looking, did a few small tasks for people, and eventually was given a task that sounded like it could develop into something like what she was looking for. She set off to interview her first contact.

This eventually took her back to Chateau Landgraab, which wasn't anymore welcoming to visitors than it had been on her previous visit.

With only a few minor difficulties, Anya was able to get into the library and get the papers she'd been sent to find. When she had delivered them and completed another small task for the same person, she went back to the board and found another assignment involving the Landgraab estate. After finally getting to the part where she was asked to explore deeper into the Chateau, she headed out there, then set up her nicest tent to catch some sleep before starting to work on the puzzles there.

She unraveled the remaining mysteries in the Chateau and found what she'd been sent to retrieve, but unfortunately it didn't count as a completed tomb, and so she was still one away from fulfilling her LTW. She delivered the papers she'd been sent for and then headed out to a tomb she remembered finding the entrance to before but hadn't explored.

She was on her last day in France at this point, and wasn't sure if she'd be able to finish it in time since she was exhausted and had to get some sleep first, but she was going to try. She gave it a good shot, but it proved to be a large and confusing place and though she made good progress though it, she didn't make it all the way through and had to leave for home still one short of her goal.

Break: After Anya returned home, I had a bit of a scare. I'd paused, saved and closed the game after it had dropped her on her doorstep since it was late, and when I opened it the next night, after tweaking a few things on the lot, I'd started it running. Maximus was at work, but got off shortly thereafter and when his carpool arrived at the house, first I saw graphics that looked like it had run up the front walk onto the porch to crash against the front door. It vanished a moment later -- but so did Maximus. Completely. His icon wasn't on the sidebar anymore. I quickly closed the game without saving, restarted it, redid the tweaks I'd done (annoying having to redo them) and saved.  Then, just to be extra safe, as soon as Maximus got off work and had the icon that he was in the carpool, I cancelled it out and made the poor guy run home instead. He arrived home without incident that time, so now I'm just hoping it was a fluke thing with the carpool.

It was nighttime here, but apparently all the darker night shots got auto-lightened somehow when I uploaded them. Good for visibility, confusing for knowing what time of day it was.

Anya was working on making the new sprinkler they'd gotten auto-watering like the other one because she wanted to raise her Handiness skill. Once she'd finished that, she started romancing Maximus culminating in asking him to have some risky woohoo (I've been having them do risky woohoo most every night when she's home to give a baby a chance to start - once she's finished her LTW I'll probably have them actually Try For Baby to get one. I'm still debating whether or not to give her the fertility reward first.) Instead of heading upstairs for the bed though, they decided they wanted to do the deed in the fancy new sarcophagus that Anya had assembled in the basement (they chose the location, not me).

The following day, the carpool didn't come for Maximus when it was supposed to and he ended up being late for work (possibly I missed it somehow). He still managed to get a promotion that night though, and there were no issues with the carpool when he returned home. Since I'd forgotten to have Anya get the mail earlier in the day, I had him check the mailbox. In it were various stones and metals Anya'd had cut and smelted, but they also received a Mysterious Mr. Gnome with them as well. He joined the other gnomes in the garden.

Another night time shot that got lightened
The next day it was time to send Anya back to France to finish up her LTW. (For those that don't know, when a sim returns from a trip abroad they get a 2 day moodlet called Visited <insert destination>. While this is active, they are unable to travel anywhere, so I had to let her spend a couple days at home. While I normally do, I'd hoped to be able to send her right back to finish up, but it wasn't to be.) Instead of just heading back to the tomb she'd been working on though, she decided to see if she could find any other opportunities since she had 15 whole days now. She had trouble finding something though, for most of the assignments she was offered were related to her photography. She did eventually find something though, another follow up from the same guy she'd helped a few times already regarding the walled garden on his property.

She continued to have trouble with only being offered assignments to use her skills and not for adventuring, but she took a few of them that sounded easy in hopes that something else would come up if she did a few others. She had heard rumors of extensive catacombs under the nectary, but she had yet to get an opportunity to see if they were true. One of the small jobs she took was to catch some frogs for one of the locals.

It took another day or so of doing smaller tasks for people, but eventually she got the opportunity she'd been waiting for and headed to the Nectary. After speaking with the owner, she headed down to the cellar where she fairly easily found a hidden door that got her started.

This proved to be a relatively easy dungeon to solve, and before she knew it she was walking into the final room and had realized her goal of exploring 6 tombs in each of the travel destinations. She could now call herself a Great Explorer. (And in challenge terms, it means all of her points will count now, yay!)

Finishing that quest led to another one, and this one ended up asking her to travel to Egypt after she'd collected some local bugs for a collector there. She went back to the base camp to get some sleep, then spent the next day collecting bugs. Once she'd found 5 of the ones that were desired, she took a break and practiced her snake charming for awhile (I actually let her sit and do it for awhile and didn't cancel it out). She managed to improve a bit, but still had a ways to go.

Another night shot
The next morning she decided to go back to the tomb she'd started on the last time she was in France and see if she could complete it. It was a tricky one but eventually she made it down to a dive pool that had a tunnel over to a small island. (For those interested, this is the Tuatha's Garden tomb, and pathing is kinda buggy here post-Generations patch. The easiest workaround I found was to use the teleport cheat with testingcheatsenabled turned on, though it's supposed to be possible to get around the narrow, impassable passages if you've meditated enough to have the Master of Meditation perk that lets you zeneport into tighter spots.)

First level you go into

2nd level - the floor switch in the bottom right corner is one of the places that required the teleport cheat to get in there

3rd level - final one on mainland

Underground cavern on island
After she'd finished this tomb, she headed back to the base camp to refresh and decide what to do next. She spent a day excavating various sites and found some more ordinary relics and gems, but nothing of any great note. She still had 5 days left in France, she decided to revisit some of the places she'd been before (primarily because I discovered I'd completely missed two adjacent tombs at the first tomb she did and she needs the signets from them to complete the collection).

She spent a few days exploring the two tombs she'd missed before and found two of the signets she was missing, along with assorted other relics, gems and coins. Once she had finished, she headed back to base camp and got some sleep and a good meal. The next day she went to the market to see what was available and got to chatting with the relics merchant whom she apparently hadn't really introduced herself to before. Almost immediately she started wanting to give him a friendly hug, become good friends with him, and then suddenly she got the desire to kiss him! This really surprised me, because up until now she's seemed pretty devoted to Maximus and not shown any interest in anyone else. I went with it though.

Ultimately it was nothing more than a brief mini-fling that never went further than the one kiss and some flirting. She left the market after awhile and spent the remainder of her time in France collecting insects and fishing. She was hoping to get the achievements for collecting 10 different butterflies and beetles, but she ended up one short on each. She did manage to catch all of the special fish in France, however. Once she returned home, I played her just long enough to do a bit of transfiguration to consolidate some of the gems and metals she had in her bag, and to get the soulpeace gem, supernovium metal, and skull cut gem. I decided to wait on the compendium until she has more lower value metals to play with for it. She had several different cuts of diamonds available, so I used those predominately and got a large skull cut diamond in return.

It's kind of hard to see the detail since it's a diamond, but it is a skull

This entry has run fairly long, but I wanted to get in the rest of Anya's LTW so I could update my score and install Ambitions. It's worth noting probably that even though she's finished her LTW, she hasn't really finished any of the destinations, so future updates on this family will likely show her traveling more to finish up the tombs and such that she's not yet completed.

After checking my totals once she'd finished, I was a bit astonished to find my completion percentage for WA was so low since I felt like Anya has accomplished quite a bit so far (her current point total is at 16 which makes her 2nd only to Byron Medina for points, and she may well surpass him before she dies).

 I looked over what remains to decide whether I would go ahead with installing the next EP, and decided that I will. Generally speaking I want to finish at least half of an EP's content before moving on, but in this case I don't really see the benefit in doing so, and it will actually be more efficient to have Ambitions installed so I can be working on some of the self-employment careers at the same time as I complete WA skill challenges. I foresee completing the skill challenges for Photography in particular will be enough of a pain that I don't want to have to do them all with a sim now, and then have to repeat them later when doing the career. So I'll be moving forward with the EPs, it just might take longer before I've done enough to install Late Night (and I'm not really as anxious for that one right now). So, see you next time, most likely with the Medina-Britt household, and with a new EP added to the mix!