With the resource points I’d earned on the last quest, I added a tavern to the kingdom and created a bard to live there. I named him Calyn and gave him the drunkard fatal flaw. He rolled excitable and solidarity, which are maybe not the best for his profession, but I wasn’t too worried.
I took my new bard on a couple of quests. They were fairly straightforward ones involving a cursed artifact and a missing child – not really worth summarizing in detail – but the former did require him to spend a bit of time in the stocks!
It was fun to get to know the bard profession while I was working on the quests. Because of his traits, Calyn’s favourite thing to do is write plays and poems alone in his room, although he can also put on performances of the plays he’s written, recite his poetry, and play the lute.
Regardless of their genre or themes, the plays all seem to have the same animation sequence, but three different costumes are available: commoner, knight, and noble. Here’s Calyn and an actress he hired performing in the commoner outfits.
I noticed a couple of kids fighting with wooden swords.
The plays and lute recitals are quite lucrative, and I was soon able to give Calyn’s bedchamber a makeover. This game is full of so many beautiful objects and textures; and, although there is no build mode as such, buy mode (which includes a full Create-a-Style with really gorgeous patterns) is actually quite satisfying.
I really don’t mind not being able to build my own structures from scratch: I have The Sims 3 if I want to do that. But I do find it extremely frustrating that, apart from the banqueting hall for the castle, I can’t unlock further extensions for the shells, or even expand out into the empty areas they already contain. There is a kind of loft space right next to Calyn’s chamber I would love to use, but it seems just to be there for show.
After my time with Calyn, my kingdom security was looking pretty low again. To balance things out, I took Kienna on a quest that required her to hunt a wild boar and claim the bounty for it. She went to the throne room to discuss the reward with Halfred. It’s always nice when the thought bubbles actually reflect whatever quest plot point is under discussion.
While I was waiting for her performance meter to rise a bit, Kienna practiced battle strategy with the royal adviser then danced to Calyn’s lute.
Out on a hunt in the forest not related to the main quest, she captured a ‘dire chinchilla’ with scary glowing eyes. She can’t interact with it, so I’ve just put it on display in her chambers.
Kienna defeated the boar and claimed the bounty. There’s not much to show because the hunt happened off-screen.
Next I made a merchant, Susannah, with the eloquent and good traits and compulsive gambler fatal flaw. ‘Haggler’ is a useful one for sims in this profession, but that’s not what she rolled. I chose the gambling flaw because it’s fairly easy to deal with for sims who socialize a lot and have the money to spare, and because from a role-playing perspective I felt it would fit in with the financial risks she’ll have to take in her line of work.
I really love her outfit.
I teamed Susannah up with Halfred for a quest that saw a new school and school teacher set up. There was no actual school building, and I never saw the teacher performing any special interactions with children after the quest had finished, but she did stick around in town, which was nice.
The merchant is one of my favourite professions to play. You get a stall to fill with goods that you have bought from the village shop or obtained through trading with foreign territories. You can then smooth talk customers into buying some of your wares by performing a chain of successful sales interactions. As you level up, your base chance of success increases, but in the early stages you really have to make sure you keep your focus high in order to have a decent shot.
Some of the merchant’s daily tasks – like complimenting a customer’s taste or buying certain ‘hot’ items from the shops – are very quick to accomplish, but others require a sea voyage to one of the territories. I’ll explore overseas trading in more depth later on, during the ‘imperial domination’ ambition.
Over at the castle, I had been watching Halfred’s servant Dorothy and noticing how hard she works. She seems to be the only member of his personal staff, so I gave her a fancier outfit to reflect her importance to the household.
I created a couple more hero sims – a wizard, Ilathon, who is scholarly, unkempt, and puny, and a physician, Leowyn, who is a natural cook, a haggler, and cowardly.
I found a quest for Ilathon to undertake, with the help of my bard Calyn. It called for them to put on a series of entertainments in the village square, which actually functioned as a helpful walk through and reintroduction to the profession. It’s probably the profession I enjoy the least, I think because it doesn’t necessitate much extended interaction with other sims, and it compares unfavorably to The Sims 3 Supernatural’s alchemy system, but there is still plenty to try out. Ilathon can collect plants and mine for metals to use at his crafting station. Often creating something there is one of his daily responsibilities.
He also has a book from which he memorize different spells. I found the range of spells and the mechanism for preparing them (by combining different components, such as ‘force’, ‘light’, and ‘air’) pretty underwhelming, but I imagine they will become more powerful as he levels up.
At any rate, the animations are very cool.
The magic show quest culminated in a staging of one of Calyn’s plays, performed in the ‘noble’ costumes. I spotted Halfred and Dorothy in the audience together.
My next team of heroes was composed of my merchant Susannah and new physician Leowyn, investigating a mysterious epidemic that was spreading through the kingdom.
I find the physician profession very enjoyable, and it was exciting to be able to play two of my favourites together. That said, balancing the responsibilities of two very interactive professions like these can be a real challenge! To make things a bit easier on myself, I had Leowyn cook for them both each morning, storing the leftovers in the larder for their evening meal.
Like the wizard, the physician can gather plants required to make craftable items – in her case, healing potions and salves.
But she can also diagnose and medicate other sims, and – the best part! – treat them on her operating table.
Her patients always look terrified when she starts applying leaches to their skin.
The idea is to get the blood meter into the central yellow section by using the correct amount of leeches, before operating on injured sims or feeding potions to sickly ones.
Because of her cowardly fatal flaw, Leowyn really doesn’t like it when I send her out to collect leeches in the dark.
As much as I enjoy the physician profession, Leowyn’s house is a bit of a pain to play because of the game’s insane camera, which kept bouncing up to the roof every time I tried to go into buy mode to move some furniture around.
Leowyn and Susannah were able to complete the quest by burning the infected grain that had caused the epidemic in a big fire (which of course happens off-screen).
I now had enough resource points to finish placing the thirteen buildings required to complete the new beginnings ambition at the platinum level and unlock some new outfits and statues. (There are actually fourteen buildings available, but I left out the Peteran cathedral, because I think it’s quite fun to play with just one denomination before another one comes along to challenge it. )
I had plenty of quest points left to use and heroes left to make, but I chose to end this ambition here so as not to burn through any more of the quests; I really don’t like having to repeat the same ones.