First order of business this week was to figure out how to get Mootilda’s Hood Replace to work so I can have and keep an up-to-date build version of Ayre as I go along. Bethsmail2007 encouraged me to use it and after finally getting it to work, it is, as she said, like a miracle! Hours of terrain work, copied instantly, is worth the troubleshooting it took. It was a simple fix in the end, but I had tried to unset read-only on the neighborhood folder, manually, several times before finding the fix that allowed it to “take,” or not revert to read only.
Here’s what it took in my set up, to get HoodReplace to work in Windows 10:
- Edit my permissions under security in properties, see this step-by-step
- Restart computer
- Run HoodReplace again, as administrator
I stood up and cheered when it finally worked, then promptly backed up my game, again.
Now, with an identical No Sims version of Ayre to use to build and upload lots, I’m ready to create Ayre’s first sim, who will serve as Tester and Steward. It seems with all the modifications in a medieval game, it will be better to test as I go than to wait until I’ve built all four peasant hovels, two yeoman lots, and the squire’s mansion, to find out something is not working.
Default Replacement Skin
Whysims — decided against this one
Pooklet My Poor Lover – This is my favorite for all but S1, and S1 looks amazing indoors. For a northern climate medieval game I think I’ll use this lighter default set with some well-made individual darker tones as geneticized custom skins to fill in. That way I can find particularly nice darker skins on an individual basis.
Alfred Askew’s Reconstruction – Lovely details and realism. I don’t like the hues quite as much as My Poor Lover.
SmartSpell’s of Pooklet’s Rehash, here – decided against this one although S2 is gorgeous
RedSimmie’s version of Anva Eyes, v2, here
Creating My Steward / Tester Sim
So now to the fun of creating my steward! I anticipate I will also be sidetracked to create at least one religion, since I have Almighty Hat’s Religion mod and expansions. (see you later!)
Ok, I’m back! Here’s Alban Stirwuard and his daughter, Eithne. He is the king’s steward, and will collect the taxes. They will also serve as much needed testers as I build. I am quickly finding out that I am a beginner when it comes to building in a medieval setting.
Yet Another Downloading Spree
Upon opening the game to make my tester sim, and starting to build, I realized all my downloading to this point is merely a drop in an ocean of items needed. I downloaded a lot of clothing from Plumbob Keep, moved on to the whole medieval tag at MTS, and then scoured the Medieval Smithy. Downloaded some awesome hair from Almighty Hat and some buy mode necessities from Plumbob Keep. I also downloaded a fantastic mod by Sun and Moon’s Factory at the Keep for my pets to hunt rather than be fed by sims from a bowl.
Thank you to VeetieSims2 for the link to an invisible residential mailbox, and Kayleigh83, for the link to Bonsai Tree Stump Mailbox Replacement by Affinity Sims. I like the look of the Bonsai tree but for now decided to take the same route as Veetie and use the invisible option.
Headcanon & Limitations
I am trying to determine the style and balance I want for any storytelling that goes along with this challenge; the medieval period presents a lot of challenges. Some of the challenges to managing that balance are the fact that although I’ve read about various times and places in the medieval era over the last twenty years, I am still quite ignorant of what reality was in those times and places. I am not only ignorant, but vastly misinformed, loaded with my own prejudices and perspective, and have a strong desire to romanticize everything. And, even if I was a medieval expert, I would have a difficult time making that translate into the Sims 2 game, despite the amazing mods made by many skilled and knowledgeable simmers.
So my goals are:
- Do not use the storytelling I end up doing through this challenge to promote oppression, to the best of my ability
- Enjoy the game, including the charms and challenges of playing Sims 2 in reference to a historical period.
Setting of Ayre
I originally wanted to make Ayre to be like Scotland in the early Dark Ages. I have a traceable lineage to Scotland, among my many lineages, and that glacially carved bleak landscape appeals to me. In my reading, earlier historical periods have just been more interesting to me, because they are a mystery.
However, I am quickly finding out that I am extremely limited in my knowledge (and time I’m willing to spend to learn), as well as period specific custom content to bring it to life in the game accurately. (The former is a greater limitation than the latter.) So Ayre is a completely fictional time and place, sort of like Skyrim. It is not modeled on one place, or one period.
What I do imagine about Ayre, is that it is a medieval community in an ancient time period, which has recently been devastated by war and plague, somewhat like the period following the Black Plague in 1348. When I rolled for my starting families, I rolled a minuscule percentage of adult males, and a relatively small number of adults. Ayre is just beginning to recover from the devastation, which included the loss of all the community buildings, including the church, well, and town green.
Religion is another of my personal interests, from the perspective of cultural anthropology, and I am excited about adding Almighty Hat’s Religion mod to my medieval game, as long as I can keep it lighthearted, but not disrespectful to anyone. In the case of religion, imagining achieving that goal is a little more daunting because so much harm has been done through religion. I’ve spent some time this week thinking about how to have religion in the game in a way that sort of fits with the existence of sims as sims, how detailed or generalized to make it, and what the scope of religion in Ayre needs to be. After reading all the comments in both religion mod posts at Hat’s dreamwidth, this is what I’ve come up with, mostly directly taken from other simmers.
Ayre is a region which has been, within living memory, taken over by new overlords with a new religion which is integrated into the power structure. The formal religion centers around the worship of the Allfather, who stands for order and control, which is necessary to protect the kingdom from forces of chaos, which includes external threats as well as sim’s own perceived evil nature. Clear ownership of property is an important part of this religious system, and women, children, and peasants are treated, in some ways by many people, like property.
Followers of the Allfather are banned from wrath, theft, and indiscretion. Violence and disrespect are banned for women, children, and peasants (which is not possible with the mod, so this is just head canon). The holy sites are churches, cathedrals, and sometimes memorials or shrines at the location of holy artifacts. Sexuality is seen as a potentially undermining force that must be controlled, mainly through the church, marriage, and property law. Only marriages made in the church are sanctioned. Divorce is not allowed, since any divorce would undermine marriage as a whole. Children born outside church marriage are not recognized for the sake of inheritance.
Followers of the Allfather see themselves as responsible to provide charity for those who do not have property, especially orphans, and their monasteries are the institutions which preserve knowledge. They even seek new knowledge, sometimes learning from the local ways and faiths of others. Responsibility, provision, and hard work are all valued by the church of the Allfather.
To modern ears, the church of the Allfather sounds horrifically oppressive, and I feel that way myself. However, life in the medieval period appears to have been very harsh, and there were plenty of reasons for people to emphasize the evil in the human heart. There are good and bad people in this system, and people who have faith, and plenty of people who use religion for their own means. In day to day life, not everyone lives completely in accordance with their religion. And following the Allfather seems to me to capture some of the power structure that was embedded in the medieval Catholic church.
On the other hand, the local people of Ayre worshiped a pantheon of beings, headed by the Mother Goddess, in fact, they were known as the people of the Mother Goddess. Since the new overlords subdued the people, followers of the Goddess are usually from groups that are now oppressed, such as peasants, women, and foreigners. As such, they recognize that anger and dissent can be caused by legitimate denial of human dignity, and they do not ban wrath or disrespect, however, decency and respect are encouraged. The Mother Goddess herself is known to be fiercely angry at times, gentle at others. The Mother Goddess bans theft and violence within everyday life.
Sexuality is seen as an integral part of each person as well as the cycle of life, and beyond the complete control of people. Marriages are sometimes held in churches of the Allfather when followers are trying to maintain their claim of property in the eyes of the steward, but followers of the Mother Goddess sanction any union between two people who commit to each other with a witness from their community. Faithfulness and forbearance are encouraged and the well-being and longevity of the union is seen as the responsibility of the extended family. Women are respected partners in the family who provide leadership along with men. Women and men can choose to divorce, although it is not encouraged. Ancient tradition maintains that women who have not yet had children have no condemnation at all on divorcing a man who is impotent or just lacking in sexual skill.
The old wisdom includes knowledge of how to nurture, sustain, and heal life. The holy sites are glades where natural resources abound, especially springs or wells, streams, and lakes. There is often a small shrine to the Mother Goddess, sometimes in the form of a simple rock which is known to the local followers, sometimes in the form of ancient henges. Followers of the Mother Goddess venerate midwives, witches, healers, and people who honor their ancient heritage and dependence on nature.
Other supernatural beings known by the followers of the Mother Goddess include Fairies, who sometimes abduct women who then have changeling children (using Almighty Hat’s PT mod). Their folklore also includes Dryads (plant sims), who are especially skilled at planting, and Water Spirits, who both help and hurt people (there are no Maxis supernaturals to depict Water Spirits). Wulvers are like werewolves and have been known to leave food for people in need.
There are also a small number of secret followers of the Cult of the Reaper. (This is completely the idea of someone else and I can’t find the comment again to give credit, but I thought it was great). Wrath, indiscretion, and disrespect are banned; theft and violence are allowed. Some local cults idolize theft and violence, while some merely allow it. Secret followers of the Reaper allow theft and violence in emulation of the Reaper, who takes life. Those who follow the cult of the Reaper believe life and death are the only eternal truths and that one should seek to make their family and descendants as viable as possible, and accept death, once imminent. Those who do not accept death are forced to live in the in-between states of ghost, vampire or zombies. The cult of the Reaper has a largely hedonistic approach to sexuality, realizing that excess leads to a lack of full life in most cases. Therefore, most followers don’t widely stray from society’s norms. There is a cult, the Spectre, which seeks complete physical union with the Reaper himself, or failing that, with an undead.