Saturday, August 15, 2009

Week Seven - Harriet Homewrecker?

With this entry into Harriet’s saga, I depart from the official rules and scoring of Veil’s GAC Challenge (the draft #6 rules that are the most current as of the time of this post) and begin to test out ideas for how the challenge could be played as a multi-generational one. I will still be following Veil’s rules with perhaps only a few exceptions, and my tentative scoring is still largely in keeping with her scoring with only a couple additions. I’ll explain my thoughts on scoring in more detail at the end of this post – for now, on with Week Seven of Harriet’s story.


Sunday went by fairly quietly for Harriet and she spent her time pursuing her normal activities of tending her garden, and also getting some much needed rest. She thought a lot about her age while weeding and harvesting the plants, and her desire to have a child to leave her farm to so that all her work wouldn’t be lost when she died. By late afternoon, she’d made a decision that she knew would be fairly momentous: She decided to finally prepare a dish that she’d had a wish to prepare for quite some time now.


It took about an hour to prepare, but finally it was ready and she sat down at her table outside, looked at it on the plate for a few minutes, and then took a bite.


It was delicious. Far more so than she’d expected, and she eagerly finished eating it down to the last crumbs. Once she’d finished, she felt rather strange – almost like she had on her last birthday, but this was different somehow. More like…a reverse birthday if that made any sense. By the time the feeling had passed, she could tell that she’d now have the entire span of her adult life to live again.


She was on top of the world, almost happier than she’d ever been, save perhaps when she’d completed her lifetime wish. She’d expected to feel more youthful after eating the Ambrosia, but she hadn’t expected that it would boost her mood as much as it had.


Now she would have plenty of time to pursue her new goals in life and to find someone to have a child with. She knew she’d have to put in as much work on finding a mate as she would her other goals since to date she hadn’t bothered to become acquainted with anyone in town.


The first thing she did, however, was to consider how she might best spend the many lifetime happiness points she had accrued. She decided that first off, she would go for Opportunistic in hopes that the various opportunities she accepted around town from time to time would earn her more money or other benefits.


She thought about going out to see if she could meet anyone right away, but it was pretty late by then and she knew there wouldn’t be very many people out and about in town in the middle of the night. So, she decided instead to spend the night the way she often did – fishing by herself on the riverbank. She figured she might as well get started on catching all of the fish she would need to be able to stock her pond with every type that was available as she’d decided to try to do.


She spent the rest of the night fishing, coming home in the early morning hours when she’d finally become too exhausted to continue. She slept most of the day, then in the early evening she got up and prepared herself some Macaroni and Cheese. As another challenge to herself - one that she didn’t really think she’d be able to accomplish, but which sounded like it should be fun to try anyway – she’d decided to keep preparing meals until her journal showed that she’d prepare it perfectly by default most every time. For starters though, she’d settle for preparing as many different meals perfectly at least once as she was able to. Her attempt at preparing Macaroni and Cheese that night turned out good, but it was a few grades short of being perfect still.


She still had a lot of lifetime happiness points to spend, so she decided to get the Observant reward, hoping that it would help her determine whether or not the men she met would be good father material faster so she wouldn’t have to spend as much time talking with them or hanging around in crowded areas than was necessary.


After she’d finished tending the garden, she went over to her pond to stock it with some of the fish she’d caught the night before and that she’d been saving up from earlier fishing expeditions. As she’d been warned, adding the new fish somehow drove off all of the other fish she’d had in the pond, but she didn’t let it bother her too much since she hoped to soon have it stocked with many other kinds.


The next morning she made pancakes again, and was quite pleased at how they turned out. She knew it was because of the perfect quality ingredients she was using though, because her journal still thought she could only make them Nice.


She spent the day much as she did every day, and that evening she tried again with making Macaroni and Cheese. Her results still weren’t any better than before, however, so she knew she’d still have to practice it a lot.


After dinner, she gathered up her courage and headed out to meet people. She started at a small park near her home. There were several people there, and the Loner in her wanted desperately to flee back to the solitude of her home lot or the more open areas of town around the river, but she sucked it up and went over to strike up a conversation with a man she saw standing around, ignoring the children nearby that were most likely his. She quickly ascertained three of his traits, and he seemed like a promising prospect.


Despite the promising traits, however, they just couldn’t hit it off. She talked with him for a little while, and then gave up on pursuing him any further.


Deciding that a children’s park probably wasn’t the best place to meet eligible men anyway, she headed over to the gym, where she figured there should be more adults around.


She didn’t see anyone right away, but she decided to hang around for a bit. The swimming pool looked inviting, and it was currently empty, so she changed into her bathing suit and got in. She swam for awhile before climbing out and going upstairs to see if anyone else had come in. She noticed a large man using one of the weight machines and decided to go over an introduce herself.


They started talking, and she quickly learned three of his traits thanks to the Observant reward she’d purchased. So far, he seemed like a promising prospect.


His name was Albert Romo, and her conversation with him went much better than the one with the man in the park had. It wasn’t long before she learned another one of his traits.


They continued talking until finally Albert excused himself to head for the men’s room. They parted on a good note, and Harriet decided to keep an eye out for him in the future.


By this time it was getting late, and the gym was emptying out, so she got changed back into her street clothes and headed out to do some more fishing. When she got home the next morning she had a pleasant surprise. One of her money trees had dropped a seed overnight, which meant she’d be able to add to her orchard without having to go hunting more seeds.


She got some sleep, and tended her garden, then after dinner that evening she went over to the community pool to see if she could meet anyone else. She ran into Albert again there, and struck up a conversation. They talked about art, and fishing, and got to know one another even better.


She learned even more about him, including the fact that he was already married to someone named Robin. This gave her a bit of a pause, but she decided that fact wasn’t really relevant so far, so she continued on with getting to know him better.


It wasn’t long before they had become friends.


At that point, she decided to be bold and tried to give him an amorous hug. He rejected her advances, though was happy enough to accept a friendly hug a few minutes later.


They were getting along so well at this point that she decided to keep testing to see if he would be at all interested in being more than just friends. She told him that he was becoming quite fond of him, and he seemed pleased with the information. Encouraged, she leaned forward and told him in what she hoped was a sexy voice about how she could make Perfect Pancakes, something she felt a man of his girth would appreciate.


The pancake talk must have really turned him on, because quickly became much more receptive to her advances and it wasn’t long before he was putty in her hands and was giving her her first kiss.


Inexperienced as she was, Harriet could tell that she had really aroused Albert’s interest. As she reached forward to stroke his cheek, she invited him to come over to her place to sample her perfect pancakes.


He readily agreed, and once they got to her place, she headed for the kitchen to make him some pancakes as promised. Albert meanwhile went over to try to play in her sprinklers. The first batch of pancakes didn’t turn out right, so she quickly whipped up another batch, which turned out perfect. She called Albert over and they sat down together at her table for an early breakfast together.


The pancake breakfast went over well with Albert, and it wasn’t long before Harriet had him cuddling on the bed she’d rented just for the occasion.


One thing led to another, and before long they were doing more than just cuddling.



She’d heard that the first time was often not the greatest, but Albert must have been a very talented lover, because Harriet could have sworn she heard chimes as they were finishing. They slept together on the bed for a little while after, and then Harriet bid him a friendly farewell, sending him back home to his wife. Despite the wonderful evening and morning she’d had with him, she didn’t think she’d be seeing Albert again, except perhaps as just a friend. She wasn’t really looking to break up someone’s happy home after all, she just wanted a baby. Later that evening, she started to suspect that she’d probably gotten what she wanted from Albert, for she began to feel quite ill, and she knew she hadn’t eaten any spoiled food.


Still not feeling well, she headed down to the river in the early morning hours to work on catching some Alley Catfish for her pond.


Shortly after dawn, she was getting hungry, but instead of heading home to fix herself something, she just pulled one of the baby watermelons out of her inventory and ate it.


A few hours later, her suspicions were confirmed when she felt her belly begin to expand and she suddenly found herself dressed in different clothing.


Finally heading home a little after 2 in the afternoon, she ate another watermelon to appease the growing hunger. She didn’t notice it at the time, but her money trees had dropped another seed that morning. When she planted it later that day, she hoped they’d keep putting out seeds so that soon she could have a whole orchard full of them, assuring that her family would always have plenty of money.


After finishing her watermelon snack, she took the Alley Catfish over to her pond and tossed them in.


She then called some contractors to come and build on a small addition to her house for the baby. She knew that although she was quite happy living in the open structure, her child might not feel the same way, and would probably need more shelter at least at first, so she had them wall in the opening on the back of the building and build a completely enclosed room. She also had them go ahead and take down the fencing and put up proper walls to enclose the bathroom so that both she and her child would be able to have complete privacy in there, and to put down cobblestone flooring in both of the enclosed rooms. When it was done, she ordered a crib and a potty chair and had them set up in the new room.


With her house now prepared for the baby, she went back to her normal routines, not letting her expanding belly stop her from doing the things she loved to do.


She managed to catch quite a few minnows on Saturday, and by early Sunday morning she was able to add them to her pond.


She took some time after tossing them in to fish from the pond a little bit to which of the types that were in there she’d get.


As 8AM and the end of the week approached, Harriet finally gave in to her low hygiene level and went to draw a bath in her newly renovated bathroom. Her back was really aching from all of the fishing and gardening she’d been doing while heavily pregnant, so she decided to treat herself to a bubble bath this time, and to stay in the tub until she had become completely tranquil. She just hoped she wouldn’t be interrupted by the phone like she had the last time she’d tried to treat herself to a bubble bath.


And so the week drew to a close, with Harriet blissfully soaking away her aches and looking forward to the birth of her child. She hoped it would be a girl. Here is a look at how things stood for Harriet at the end of the week:

Click images to view larger

Homebody-8-52.jpg Homebody-8-51.jpg
Homebody-8-53.jpg Homebody-8-55.jpg

Join us again next time when we’ll get to meet Harriet’s child and see how well she can manage to continue pursuing her goals while taking care of an infant.


Author Notes:
While Harriet didn’t accomplish as much on some things as I’d hoped this week, she still managed to accomplish quite a bit. I was happy when she was able to find a guy with good traits after only a little bit of looking. It’s kind of too bad that he’s already married, but I figured Harriet would probably be pretty mercenary about things. It’s not that she’s really lacking in morals so much as she wasn’t really looking for a husband anyway. She just wanted a baby. So I probably won’t have her pursue any further relationship with Albert, other than to perhaps invite him over a few times so that her kid will know its father. I really am hoping it will be a girl, and I made her eat watermelon as much as possible during her pregnancy to try to influence it that way, though I know that the watermelon doesn’t make it a sure thing that she’ll have a girl. We’ll just have to wait and see how it works out I suppose.

As far as the new challenges I’ve set for Harriet, namely stocking the pond with every type of fish, and striving to fix all of the recipes perfectly, and to have the journal reflect that, I mostly just needed to have some kind of goals for her to be working toward to give her some direction and to keep from getting bored with her. Stocking the pond won’t likely serve much practical purpose since fishing from a home lot pond is so much slower, but it should be possible, and hopefully will be fun trying to complete it. It will also help her finish the Commercial Fisherman skill challenge while she works on it. I don’t expect to really be able to get even half of the recipes in her journal to where it says she’ll tend to prepare them perfectly, but I’ll have her try. If she can work at least 4 or 5 recipes up to that point I’ll be happy. I’ll also be working on having her complete more of the in-game skill challenges if possible.

Now, about the scoring system I’ve had in mind as I transition this into a multi-generation GAC challenge, first of all my intention has been to stay as close to Veil’s rules as possible with everything I’m doing. After calculating Harriet’s official GAC score on a spreadsheet for week six, I started playing around with it a bit and realized that the existing scoring could be adapted to a system that calculated a score on a family basis without really changing anything all that much. I moved things around on the spreadsheet to separate out the skill-based items that were individual in nature since each sim would have to accomplish those goals for him or herself. I put these in a section at the top for calculating an individual score for each sim by adding columns as new sims are added to the family/challenge. I then grouped the money-based items at the bottom, deciding that these would have to be scored purely on a family/lot basis since there wouldn’t be any practical way to determine how much of the household funds were attributable to each sim’s activities. The points awarded from partnerships were put into a section of their own since they will be easiest to tally on an individual basis, but aren’t quite part of the individual score items since they won’t necessarily have earned all the money used to buy the partnership on their own. So, in summary, by my ideas, you would first keep track of each sim’s individual achievements and calculate an individual score for them. You’d then add up all of the individual scores to add to the family score. Partnerships would likewise be calculated individually, with the sum of the individual totals being added to the family score. The family score then ultimately consists of: 1) the sum of the individual scores, 2) the sum of the partnership scores, 3) the other monetary items from Veil’s scoring such as furnished lot value, household funds available, and the amount of household funds you’d deleted at the beginning when you created the first sim. To illustrate this, I figured up what Harriet’s score at the end of week seven would be based on this system. Note that since she is still the only one on the lot, the scoring doesn’t really differ significantly from Veil’s scoring at this point except for one point:

Week 7 score.jpg

The penalty for eating ambrosia is my own addition. I decided that since Veil’s rules allow for the use of life fruit, with a penalty, ambrosia could likewise be allowed so long as a comparable penalty for its use was taken. After thinking about it a bit, I decided that to be in keeping with Veil’s scoring system, ambrosia should probably carry a penalty equal to that of life fruit: -1000 for each day your sim got back after eating it. Harriet was 1 day away from becoming an elder when she ate the ambrosia, and afterwards was 26 days away, for a gain of 25 days, thus a -25,000 penalty for eating it. Yes, it’s a very steep penalty, but ambrosia gives such a huge advantage in terms of time the sim has available to accrue other points from achievements that I figured it probably should carry a pretty hefty penalty. I suppose if you had a sim stop trying at all to increase their individual score once they’d finished the main GAC challenge, then you could skip taking the penalty, but I’m not entirely sure how well it would work to keep them complete out of the challenge while they still lived on the lot, since they’d most likely still be contributing to the household funds in some fashion, and thus would still be contributing to the family score. For now at least, I’m taking the penalty for myself and keeping Harriet’s status as being fully part of the challenge and allowing her to keep adding to her individual score. I know my system likely isn’t perfect, but I think it should work, and hopefully doesn’t infringe too much on what Veil has created. I welcome any and all comments and thoughts on what I’ve set up here.