Notes: Starts as a story, turns into notes and captions.
Buck Grunt was sentenced to life in the "Zig," Zigursky Prison, the maximum-security penitentiary in the Brickstown part of Paragon City. Supervillains of all types inhabit the Zig, alongside more "normal" prisoners like murderers, rapists, drug dealers and so on.
Prisoner Grunt ends up in Cell Block 1533. It's a large area for only eight prisoners. Of course, some areas are sealed off.
Buck immediately fails to make friends. Everyone is in prison orange, unless they're in their skivvies (or using the communal shower). Nothing's pretty in this place.
But Buck isn't worried about making friends. He's much more concerned - like just about everyone else here - with getting out as fast as he can. Maybe he can get paroled, or released for good behavior, or even get lucky and slip out when Lord Recluse's Arachnos troops break in to "acquire" some new recruits.
Still, he tries to stay on good, if aloof, terms with everyone. He's heard the stories about prison life.
For a brief, lucky time, Cell Block 1533 has more amenities than its occupants are allotted. They make the most of their time. Dethany and Buck grab the easels while others use the weight machines or monopolize the TV.
Violet Endd and "Big Verde" stick to chess. She's from the Rogue Isles, where she commanded plants to do her bidding. Here, 1533 is empty of plantlife for just that reason... unless you count the mold on the walls. Big Verde is a Troll from Skyway, newly released from detox.
There's Bronze Leopard, a Tsoo assassin...
...Heavy D, a member of the Hellions, busted for arson...
"It wasn't me, man. Judge got it in for me."
...an older woman they just call "Eidoloni," or Loni, convicted for intent to purchase harvested body organs in the process of becoming an eidolon for Dr. Vahzilok...
...and Kiki, who doesn't appear all that criminal. Which of course means she could possibly be the most dangerous of all. Or that she was sentenced by a hardliner with a point to prove, and she's wholly out of her depth in this place.
For the most part, the inmates serve their time, not concerning themselves with the future. They've got the three hots and a cot, a couple hours of TV each day, and occasional outdoors time... what more do they need?
Buck just tries to keep out of everyone's way. Sometimes it's challenging, because only one toilet works, and only one shower, and there don't seem to be enough beds.
But the fire in the block kitchen threatens Buck and the others, so he handles the ancient fire extinguisher to put it out.
It's disconcerting to notice the fire alarm is disconnected, the wires corroded; especially since nobody comes to check out the smell of smoke, or the yelling. Heavy D proclaims his innocence of it the whole time. "Dude, that's profiling, sayin' I did it!"
Because of the fire, some of their stuff is destroyed, like the extra chairs and one of the tables, and some of their recreational equipment is taken away as punishment for carelessness. But they get to keep the TV.
The days go by, then the weeks, then the months. Buck chafes under prison life, as he's the only one who seems to give a damn about the future, like getting out of here. He's got a job in the medical wing - not his preferred choice - but since he knows something about toxins and drugs and weird science, he's used to help make sure inmates don't OD or poison themselves or each other on whatever goop they cook up.
On the other hand, at least there's food - boring, but nobody goes hungry - and a few of them can actually cook for themselves.
Still, Buck wonders if the rest of his fellow prisoners are plotting something, when he's sleeping.
~ ~ ~
Aaaaand that ends the "story" part of this challenge. The rest is in commentary and captions.
The big problem with this challenge, for me, is that it's boring. You can only control one sim, so when they're at work/sleeping, there's nothing to do. Okay, we all complain about sims not being able to feed themselves or do basic tasks, but you know what? That would be really boring. The game is all about controlling your little virtual dolls, not watching them go about their lives without your interference.
I spent a lot of this challenge on fast forward. Alternately, Buck would go to work, and I'd make something to eat, hit the bathroom, read a magazine, assemble legos with my kids, whatever... because if the other prisoners managed to kill themselves while Buck's not there, it's not like I can do doodly-squat about it. There's no fire alarm, after all.
Okay, there were some mildly amusing moments, like this one here. ("OMGDiary!! He just walked in wearing nothing but the snow-white prison briefs!")
But overall, I couldn't even make a story out of this, which was a bit disappointing. On the plus side, this challenge is a quick one compared to any given legacy, since you just have to achieve lifetime want on the single playable. If you get a knowledge sim like Buck, it's really easy, since he loves skilling and doesn't care if he makes friends.
This was kind of accidental - Dethany is "hanging out" with someone we can't see - but I like the placement.
Buck got a new want I hadn't seen yet, either.
I had zero breakdowns in this challenge (and nobody passed out, either). The closest one was Heavy D, who would do the "I gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!" wave, then go to bed, then get up and complain, then go to bed, then get up and complain... he tried 4 different beds that way.
Then he FINALLY went to the bathroom, went inside, sat down, got up, exited, and peed himself. I'm not sure why he got up.
What's this? It's some garbage left outside and snowed on. But the stink comes through the snow. Intense.
Buck was in prison for a year and a half of sim time, or 6 full seasons. He had bad luck on chance cards; one dropped some points and another completely lost him his job. It took 2-3 days for him to get his job back (his LTW was mad scientist). In the meantime, the Magnificent Seven there ate like it was their last meal, every time. Granted, they got pretty good at cooking, but I think it was honestly once every 28 sim-hours that Buck had to order groceries. One day was very close - none of the Seven would take leftovers from the fridge, so they were crying from hunger, doing the "feed me!" routine, and Buck was at work. As soon as he got home he pulled a plate of leftovers for them and ordered some food, but I was worried I'd lose one or two before that happened.
Needless to say, that period when Buck lost his job and couldn't find it in the newspaper again? (heh) I'd decided on that last day that if he couldn't find the Science career, he'd better take something because the Seven were eating up everything in the place, forcing Buck to spend all his hard-earned
Oh, and the extra easels and stuff? Well, a prison wouldn't (probably) limit eight people to one toilet, for instance. Every cell should have its own! But if I made it an authentic prison, they'd be locked up most of the time and Buck wouldn't be able to go get a job. So after a sim-day of trying to keep them from monopolizing the extra stuff (showers, easels, etc.) without influencing or playing those sims, I just got rid of all the extras.
There were several fires, but every one of them happened while Buck was home. After the first one, which he took an aspiration hit for, Buck called the fire department and went about his business. More interesting to me, one of the Seven usually got an extinguisher and tried to put out the fire themselves.
(I know there's a lot of Heavy D underwear shots. He's an exhibitionist, I guess. He preferred underwear to prison orange most of the challenge.)
Now, this one? After another visit from the fire dept., the fireman says "Okay, all taken care of, be more careful next time!" as he waves goodbye. But the stove is still on fire. Actually, the animation/sound wouldn't stop. They could still cook on the stove (and set fire to it again). Passersby outside, though, knew the fire was there (it's on an outside wall) and reacted accordingly. I decided Cell Block 1533 has a powerful pilot light on that stove.
Oh, check this out. Okay, Buck's a Knowledge sim, got it. In CoH Sims Season One, he stalked Tori (Serling) Nova, repeatedly, watching her in the bathroom, that kind of stuff. So here we see that publicly, he has the usual Knowledge wants... but his fears all revolve around those filthy carnal desires. The man's a born stalker, and I don't mean in the CoV sense.
(The odd want in that panel is "stay home from work")
Back to the action. Heavy D finally reveals what his aspiration is - Money - because I didn't write anything down at all when I created the Seven, and didn't bother remembering. I figured I'd find out soon enough. (Actually, Kiki was easy to tag as Popularity, because she got aspiration boosts from making best friends with others of the cell block.) Heavy D had the hardest time of the lot of them, possibly because of the fires, but Money sims don't fare well in challenges where they can't make money.
Um... this is just kind of creepy looking. Eidoloni is supposed to be a partial eidolon, which in City of Heroes/City of Villains is an advanced minion of Dr. Vahzilok - they are, in essence, people who have paid dearly to get themselves fixed up by using body parts from kidnapped and butchered people. Yeah, real nice. Well, Eidoloni got caught before the job was done, so she's in need of Botox and a facelift (courtesy of full face makeup), but she's actually the same age as everyone else in this building. Remember this pic when we reveal the aspirations at the end!
"You know, if there's another kitchen fire, I just might go completely nutzoid."
"Ooh, you've got a purple mole here that really needs looking at. Oh, and a huge blackhead, you want me to squeeze that?"
Eidoloni watched Heavy D a lot. It was just a wee bit creepy. I probably could've used some influence to make things happen, but I didn't.
Buck made the bare minimum number of friends required for his LTW (eight) outside the building. Three of them were service sims - newspaper, delivery person, and firefighter. The rest were stray grabs off the street. Buck would say hello, then wander off and call them later. I just realized, I haven't talked about the construction of this lot, have I?
The lot was way bigger than it needed to be - I ended up sealing off several rooms, and the exercise machine never saw any use at all. Originally, as noted in some of the pix, I had more showers and toilets and chairs and stuff, but cleared those out since I remembered "Oh yeah, not supposed to have all those" so they got a free day of goodies. The door, on the other hand, was locked to allow only Buck to get in or out. This is prison, after all. In theory, it's one cell block of a ginormous prison that covers several square city blocks and rises high in the air, so they should never see the outside (note there's no windows anywhere) and even if they went "outside" it would just be to the rest of the prison. Also, nobody else should get inside, either. So Buck was the only one who could, say, take out the trash, or get groceries. Also, the cell block covers every available square of space on the lot; there is no yard.
At any rate, this woman: Buck did his usual "Hi, nice to meet you, gotta get back inside" and she sprayed the roaches outside the building. How nice!
Buck managed to keep the place pretty clean (high neat score) up until the final days, when I couldn't be bothered and Buck was busy anyway. They got a lot of roaches and consequently a lot of flu. On the other hand, as isolated as they were, they all got better, too.
I might note that apart from the trash, Buck had very little to do to maintain the place. A few of the sims were real neatniks, and everyone ended up washing dishes and scrubbing counters. I guess they were bored out of their virtual minds. There was a bookcase, and a TV, but they just loved the chess table, and cleaned like crazy. Sometimes they'd make the beds. (We don't see the beds, for the most part, because they aren't prison bunkbeds. Prison bunkbeds are custom objects and the ones I had were too high in comfort/energy to meet the rules of the challenge.)
Oh yeah - I placed the prison in Riverblossom Hills, since I didn't want to create a new 'hood or have the prison muck up one of my existing 'hoods.
So, after 6 full seasons, Buck had all his LTW skills and just needed two more friends. He got those, but it was the long weekend typical of just-below-top-of-career stages, so he, and the whole cell block, transitioned to elder before Buck got his LTW. If he hadn't picked the wrong answer on that chance card...
Oops, we're out of prison orange! Well, it's almost over, I'm not going to adjust everyone's outfit now. (The prison jumpsuits were set for every category except outerwear and underwear. Hey, they were lucky they got to keep their hairstyles!)
Right after Buck is Bronze Leopard (you can see him in the background of the above shot). Now he looks like someone's slightly dotty uncle.
I'm very used to my sims transitioning in platinum; it's incredibly rare that they don't. So I don't normally see messages like the top one here.
Okay! So let's see how our elderly prisoners look!
Big Verde transitions into quite the nice outfit, and hey! Check out those Ishkabibble-worthy jowls!
Eidoloni doesn't actually look much different, but she cried a lot over her transition. Yes, she had tattoos. Behind her is a cranky Heavy D, who actually had a bad transition (but still didn't break down).
Why, Dethany! You now look like a sweet gramma who had a wild tattooed youth!
Kiki got the chef outfit, I think, but most of these sims autonomously went to bed in their underwear. Here's Violet Endd, whose mohawk looks pretty darn good in Elder Gray.
Whoops, another fire. Buck's running to the phone (a complete accident - he's normally too lazy to be bothered to run - yes, I copied off his Maxis personality spread) and Violet is another "I really have to go but I won't use the toilet even if it's not occupied!" type sim, and Eidoloni has the shapeless sleeveless black sack dress.
And at last...
So, let's look at the final personal tally for each sim.
Buck, as we already know, was Knowledge with a LTW of Mad Scientist, which he achieved. He had eight friends outside the cell block. Everyone else's friends panel looked like this, since they couldn't get out and no one else could get in. They all ended up best friends as a result of having no one else to talk to.
With a little cut'n'paste to get it all in one pic:
Big Verde is... a Family sim? Wow. I don't remember random-rolling that at all, but hey. His memories mostly revolve around the many fires that cropped up toward the end. He also, like just about everyone else, got a ton of Logic and Cooking points. It's unfair that sims can learn how to cook whole turkeys and lobster Thermidor just from making cereal day after day.
Also, note Big Verde's high Creativity. I suspect writing in the diary does this, because after Day 1, Buck monopolized the easel, and there was no other "creative" skillbuilding item on the lot. On the other hand, Verde and a couple other prisoners really got into journaling. Maybe that explains the creativity?
Bronze Leopard: Money sim, with the horrible "5 businesses" want. Wouldn't have happened anyway.
I'd figured Dethany for Popularity, but I was wrong. She too is Money, with the same LTW. Looks like she had a little accident toward the end, when I wasn't watching.
Eidoloni was a Romance sim (!!! - remember her interactions with Heavy D?) who... always wanted to be a teacher? Okay, that's kind of creepy. No, that's very creepy.
Speaking of poor Heavy D, he too was Money (good grief, three Money sims) with a fulfillable want as long as you spend lots of time on it. Interesting how out of the Money sims, Heavy D had the only "bad" transition. I figure it was the fires - he got at least one aspiration hit off them, maybe two.
Kiki was Popularity, as I guessed, with the "20 best friends" want. Heck, being cooped up with 7 other people guaranteed her 7 best friends over the course of time without hardly working for it.
And Violet was a Pleasure sim who wanted to be... Captain Hero? Did she have a change of heart from villainy? Or was it all just some weird misguided thing? If I'd known about this I could've maybe done something for a storyline. Or maybe not. (Given her wants/fears panel, I'd say a Captain Hero groupie was more in line with her personality, but...)
For fun, here's Buck's skills. He could've maybe gotten more, but I had to start him from scratch; in CoH Sims, he actually had plenty of skills to start with, but I figured that would be unfair in this challenge. He never got fat or had to exercise, either, probably because I kept him hopping and he never got one chance to overeat - not with the Magnificent Seven chowing down on everything they could lay their grubby little hands on.
- I didn't pay any attention to their personalities. The zodiac signs are kinda meaningless to me by themselves, since I never remember what stats Maxis assigned to each sign, except that Cancer is middle of the road on everything. With the exception of Buck, they got whatever personalities CAS saddled 'em with. Buck has his actual Strangetown stats.
- Used 5 single beds; one 3-seat couch (this way one could read while one napped); and 3 chairs (two for the chess table).
- Shower, toilet and sink were all in different rooms to avoid pileups. One snag: the sink was used to wash dishes, but a few sims were sponge-bathers (especially after cooking-fires) and they'd chase all the hungry sims out of the kitchen so they could spend three hours scrubbing themselves.
- The rules say nothing about microwaves, but that a stove is required. I had the stove and two microwaves, but when I cleaned out the extra showers & etc., I got rid of the microwaves as well, just to be on the safe side. A lot of sims made salad for themselves, which meant there really wasn't much pileup on the stove.
- Obviously, the "you cannot use unlockable or claimable doors" rule wasn't strictly adhered to; but I only used it to keep the inmates in and the public out. Other than that, no doors were locked.
Start with 100
+20 for never using influence
+8 for household friends
+140 for the Magnificent Seven's skill point accumulation
(I didn't look at aspiration points, but it hardly matters)
-29 for taking all his adult life plus one elder day to achieve LTW
239 points total. It'd be nice if there was some kind of rating to judge by, but, oh well - I'm guessing it's impressive? I totaled it mostly for completeness, since I don't pointcount on my Legacies.
So, that's it! It's done! It's over and I'm glad! At least I can say I finished one challenge, even if my Legacies are all only halfway through. ;) And you know what this installment boils down to? "Buck Grunt spent his entire life in the Zig without parole."