This Sims 2 blog follows the lives of the Nuidya tribespeople of the northern mountains, as they try to survive, thrive and figure out what exactly it means to be a lizardsim. Along the way, there'll be drama, romance, utter silliness and lots of cats. Just watch out for those storm demons - they're sneaky. :)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Traits and Elements v2 (and VT is clueless)

It was my birthday last week, and you know what that means - special post time! I'm still in the process of rebuilding Kulo Seeri, but my Traits & Elements system attracted a lot of interest on a thread about arranged marriages on Plumb Bob Keep recently, and I promised a post around my updated system... so here it is.

Read on for a lot of rambling about elemental balance, an example from my game, and one embarrassing anecdote about some seriously unbalanced Freshwater...
My revised trait system gives all Sims in my game five traits, regardless of age. They gain two traits from the combined list of their parents' traits, as well as two from their birth element. (I'll get to birth elements in a minute.) The fifth is chosen at random from the full list, which is actually eight lists of twenty traits. Duplicate traits also mean I'll use the full list to replace one of the duplicates. I will post the full revised trait list in another post, since I think I'll be rambling enough in this one.

So. Birth elements. Traits (and zodiac signs) are now also influenced by the moon in which a Sim was born. Since there are twelve zodiac signs and only eight moons, I assigned one sign to each of the festival rotations (solstices and equinoxes - first day of each 9-day season) as well as one to each moon. Which sign a Sim gets now has nothing to do with their personality points - especially since I randomise those now - and everything to do with when they were born. As before, each element is also linked to a direction.

Here's the breakdown:
Aries - New Year's Day
Taurus - Freshwater Moon (south)
Gemini - Earth Moon (southwest)
Cancer - Midsummer's Day
Leo - Wood Moon (west)
Virgo - Saltwater Moon (northwest)
Libra - Ancestors' Day
Scorpio - Metal Moon (north)
Sagittarius - Air Moon (northeast)
Capricorn - Winter Flames Festival
Aquarius - Fire Moon (east)
Pisces - Stone Moon (southeast)

What does this have to do with the arranged marriage thread? As I probably mentioned somewhere before, the central concepts of Nuidya philosophy are nature, balance and respect. That second one is the main influence on how marriages are arranged in Kulo Seeri - the goal of all matchmaking is to have elementally-balanced couples who, hopefully, will then have balanced children. (Carefully timing "try for baby" interactions so the birth is in the desired moon is a thing as well.)

I'll use Renee zan-Harash as an example of how it works here. She is the first (and only) lizardsim born in Kulo Seeri in over seventy-five moons, which makes her probably the best catch in the tribe. Since the custom is for betrothals to last two moons or more before the wedding takes place, she's not going to be settling down until she's at least seventeen moons old, but she and her elders are already considering which of her admirers' proposals she should accept.
Renee's traits are: Loves Cats (Stone), Inquisitive (Freshwater), Genius (Air), Calm (Stone), Loves Outdoors (Earth). Her traits are mostly clustered round the southern end of the compass, with a slight skew towards Stone. She's a Knowledge/Popularity Sim, and also an Aries with the personality 0/3/3/9/10.

The men in question are:
Ganyalis Rakal, who for some unknown reason is still in the running despite being declared sort-of-untouchable for becoming pregnant;
Hanis zan-Ave, Ganyalis' younger brother and Renee's best friend and childhood sweetheart, cute and charming but not the sharpest spear in the hunting party;
Markal zan-Taris, chief lorekeeper, probably cursed, widowed once and divorced twice, but with the kindest heart in KS;
Melchol zan-Ku, recent widower, father of six and council member in charge of food and resource supplies;
and Pollux zan-Ku, Melchol's older brother, who hasn't mentioned why he's interested in Renee, but seems to be big on sibling rivalry.

So, Renee will (with the aid of Grandmother Serendipity and Aunt Arafa) be considering these things:

Ganyalis' traits are Slow Learner (Fire), Unforgiving (Saltwater), Loves Family (Earth), Ambitious (Saltwater), Serial Romantic (Fire). His aspirations are Pleasure/Knowledge, and he's a Virgo with the personality 9/2/3/3/7.
He's somewhat elementally balanced, but perhaps not the best match trait-wise for Renee, although he at least wouldn't mind picking up her messes with his 9 Neat points to her 0.

Hanis' traits are Charismatic (Fire), Supernatural Fan (Air), Inquisitive (Freshwater), Slob (Fire), Night Owl (Metal). He's a Knowledge/Romance Sim and, like Renee, is an Aries, whose personality is 5/10/6/2/10.
Elementally, he's a good balance for Renee, sharing one trait with her and having most traits around the northeastern area of the compass. However, with his Slob trait and Renee's 0 Neat points, I would not like to even consider the state of their tents if they did marry.

Markal's traits are Optimistic (Freshwater), Virtuoso (Air), Unlucky (Metal), Hopeless Romantic (Earth), Soft-Hearted (Earth). He's a Family/Pleasure Sim, and a Leo whose personality is 4/8/2/8/9.
Markal's traits mostly balance themselves out, and are actually quite a good counterpoint to Renee's. However, his most recent failed relationship was with her aunt Arafa, so whether that will get him anywhere is unclear.

Melchol actually has quite similar traits: Fun-Loving (Freshwater), Virtuoso (Air), Loves Home (Stone), Quiet (Stone) and Optimistic (Freshwater). A Popularity/Family Sim and another Aries, his personality is 9/8/5/3/3.
Like Renee, Melchol has a set of traits that are largely clustered around the southern point of the compass. Their personality points balance each other out, though, and their aspiration combos also sort of complement each other's. Really though, they would have to try for children in the summer months to prevent further elemental skewing.

Finally, Pollux has the traits Competitive (Wood), Flirty (Fire), Music Lover (Freshwater), Inappropriate (Air) and Stubborn (Wood). He's a Popularity/Fortune Sim, and a fourth Aries whose personality is 6/7/6/3/3.
His traits are sort of balanced, and their elements would be a decent counterpoint for Renee's, although they do reveal that he's used to getting his own way, and also probably hasn't bothered to grab whatever the Nuidya equivalent of a dictionary is and look up "matriarchy".

I can't make a decision here and now - it's best to leave some of it up to gameplay! - but to me it's looking like Melchol is in the lead in terms of personality points, aspirations and not being a jerk or a jinx, whereas the elemental balance thing favours Markal or Hanis - probably Hanis slightly more so. It's still a developing system, so I'll leave it there...

"But wait," I hear you say, "this post hasn't mentioned unbalanced Freshwater at all! What's that all about?"

Well. Like I said, it was my birthday last week. And I decided I'd like one of my presents to be a few fish for me to look after. So, my mum and I bought a tank for them, and we were setting it up on the cabinet next to my computer desk and filling it with water... and it was taking ages with the small jug, because my dad broke the big one the previous weekend, so we decided to use the tank water draining set to reverse-syphon the water into the tank from a huge big bowl. And the bowl needed to be higher up than the tank, so my mum lifted it up. And it slipped. And the water went over the side of the bowl and splished the wall, and my keyboard, and my external hard drive where all my CC lives.

"What did you get for your birthday this year, VT?" "Scared out of my skin, that's what!"

Fortunately, no actual damage was done to anything but our pride. We've been wondering for the past week how we could have been so clueless. Oh well, live and learn... and get a waterproof sheet to cover your computer when you're changing the water. :)

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