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A Home on Wheels - Traveling Wagon Caravan - NO CC

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Uploaded: 26th Jan 2021 at 10:04 PM
Updated: 27th Jan 2021 at 4:33 AM
(Long story, skip to the bottom section if all you're looking for is the technical details)

Looking up towards the mountains, Roderick narrowed his eyes and I could see a weary disappointment settle over his face. "Looks like the passes have already seen a good bit of snow this season- we're not getting the wagons over them this year. Stormwall will just have to wait until spring." There were a few sarcastic boos from the group, but no one was really surprised after the surprise snowstorm that kept us stuck in the Crossroads Hills for a week the past month, and a few of the others had already started to unpack their wagons in preparation for setting up our winter camp. Hollis slung his hunting bow across his back and headed out into the trees in search of some meat now that we weren't going to be moving on before he had time to clean a kill, Tarquin had already pulled out his fiddle and struck up a bawdy song that several other folk joined in on, and I smelled smoke from Missus Ayleth starting up her cooking fires.

The forests down lower on the mountains had been turning gold for a few weeks already, and when the leaves along our road started to change color too, I had started to hear Missus Indre talking with her son about the fact that there was no way Roderick would risk the wagons on the high passes to Stormwall until after the snowmelt. It really didn't matter much to me, since I'd been travelling with the caravan long enough now that wherever we stopped for the night felt like home as soon as Tarquin had unpacked his fiddle and started playing, but I knew Siari would be heartbroken. We'd found her in the woods on the outskirts of Westfall, doing her best to hide from the town guard and trying to find anyone who would take her north again. Siari still didn't talk much about how she'd wound up so far from Stormwall (she didn't talk much at all, really), but as best we could gather, she'd been taken by some brigands who had hoped to ransom her to someone down south before she'd escaped in Westfall. Missus Ayleth always had a soft spot for children, and she'd offered Siari space in her wagon for as long as it took to get back to Stormwall, and had even started teaching her how to help out in the chuck wagon over the past few weeks.

Roderick laid a weathered hand on my shoulder and pointed me towards the traces at the front of the caravan's biggest wagon. "Go start unhitching the beasts and see if you can get them heading in different directions- the Gods know there's not enough forage around here to keep 6 aurochs fed all winter if they stay together, let alone all the smaller stock once the rest of the teams are unhitched." Nodding, I walked up to the huge animals and started murmuring to them in a calm voice as I undid the traces holding them to the wagon. Roderick was definitely right about the forage, but we had to rely on animals this big to pull the two-level wagon and its trailer- what he called his "palace on wheels" when he was in a good mood, and... well, he probably wouldn't like me to say what he called it when he wasn't so happy! Thankfully most of our draft animals had been raised from birth in the caravan, so we didn't really have to worry about them wandering off too far and getting lost- and stealing an aurochs was just ridiculous to contemplate around here... no one would believe it wasn't stolen.

As I unhitched the next to last aurochs from the wagon, I noticed Siari shyly watching from behind the chuck wagon, clearly trying not to be seen by any of the others working on getting the bath tents set up along the creek. I waved to her and asked if she wanted to come see the last one before I chased it off into the woods for the winter, but she almost immediately ran and hid behind Missus Ayleth's wagon. I wasn't really surprised to be honest- she had been shy the entire time she'd been with us, and frankly she had plenty of reason to be. I'd grown up in the caravan and couldn't imagine what I would have done if I'd found myself ripped away from it and alone in some unfamiliar city. I gave the great beast a slap on the haunches and it lumbered off into the trees, lowing happily as it quickly found green branches that were evidently to its taste.

I helped Roderick and Missus Ayleth tying down the last few lines on the huge green pavilion that would be used for bathing, and carried a few of the old rolls of carpeting that kept the tent looking a little nicer than the surrounding area. Tarquin had finished unfolding the screens between it and the camp (we might be close as kin, but still, some people preferred some privacy while bathing!), so that area looked pretty well finished. Missus Ayleth waved me over and set me to work unpacking some of the crates and cabinets in the chuck wagon, since she was going to need to start with the evening's supper soon, and I was always happy for the opportunity to sneak a few bits of dried fruit out of the stores! I'd looked around the clearing we were camped in and saw a few apple trees still bearing the last of the season's fruit, and I was quick to point them out when Missus Ayleth scolded me for snitching a bite here and there. She smiled, and told me if I was so hungry, I could do some good by gathering up that fruit for her.

I laughed, but knew that the sooner the fruit was harvested, the more likely it was that we'd be able to save it. It looked like a lot of the season's crop had already fallen to the ground and started to rot, but the few apples still clinging to the branches looked ripe and healthy for the most part. I grabbed a big basket off the back of one of the trailing wagons, and headed into the trees behind Roderick's palace on wheels to start collecting. I'd only gone a few hundred feet before I heard quiet footsteps following me though, and when I turned around I saw Siari doing an absolutely terrible job hiding behind a birch sapling. I laughed and told her she didn't need to hide from me, she could come with me and help if she wanted to.

I'd meant for her to just be another pair of hands picking some of the low-hanging apples along the forest path, but Siari clearly had other ideas. She didn't answer me directly, but ran over to a nearby apple tree and climbed up into the branches faster than I would have believed possible for someone as skinny as her. Her face peeked out from between the leaves, and she pointed at the basket. "You want me to hold this up?" I asked, and she nodded, then started tossing apples into the basket. I had a hard time keeping track of her in the tree, to be perfectly honest, but she clearly wasn't having the same problem- almost every apple she tossed managed to land perfectly in the basket, and she obviously had an easier time finding them while she was up in the branches, since the basket was already almost full. I called up "Siari, I'm gonna take these back to Missus Ayleth and then I'll be right back, OK?" and when she stopped tossing apples, I headed back to the caravan.

Missus Ayleth was delighted with how many apples we'd been finding, and started talking about a big pie to go with the night's supper. I smiled, knowing that one of the few things we'd been able to learn about Siari was that she had quite a sweet tooth, and headed back towards the trees. When I got to where I'd left her, she was nowhere to be seen though, and even looking up into the branches as best I could, I didn't see any sign of her. "Siari?" I called out, "I'm back... where are you?" I heard a rustling in the branches behind me, and before I could turn around, a soft apple hit me square in the back of the head. I spun on my heel and saw Siari hanging upside down from a nearby branch, her face split in a ridiculous grin. Half-laughing and half-yelling, I charged towards her, but once again she somehow managed to swing her way high up into the tree and out of my reach before I got to her, and hit me with another soft apple. "OK, if that's the way you're gonna be, I guess you don't want any of the pie Missus Ayleth said she might make with the apples we're finding," I called out... Dead silence met my ears for a few moments, and then a huge ripe apple dropped straight into the basket I was still holding. I smiled, and we kept gathering apples until the few barrels Missus Ayleth had set aside for fruits to dry over the next week were overflowing.

True to her word, Missus Ayleth made a huge apple pie as part of that night's supper, along with a massive roast haunch from a hart that Hollis had shot last week, and heaping piles of roasted potatoes and onions that we'd picked up at an inn a few days back. Roderick tapped one of the barrels of ale that we were transporting to Stormwall, tipping us all an enormous wink, saying "We'll call it a transit fee!" I laughed along with everyone else and raised a mug in cheers to that. Looking up the table I saw Missus Ayleth and Roderick continuing their boisterous debate over the best way to preserve our stock of apples from earlier in the week (Missus Ayleth preferred to dry them, but of course Roderick wanted to ferment them into cider while we were stopped), and as usual Tarquin had wolfed his food down faster than anyone else and had taken up his fiddle again, so the meal was now interspersed with snatches of song whenever he played a particular favorite. Even Siari laughed and clapped along when he played "Mountain Truffles and Tea," and I have a feeling that song was one he'd learned especially for her, since he didn't have that many Stormwall songs in his repertoire before we picked up Siari.

I looked up towards the northern mountain passes in the last light of the day and saw them disappearing behind a fast-moving snow squall, and when I looked back I saw that Siari had seen it too, since the joy on her face from Tarquin's song had all but vanished, and I could tell she was back thinking about the long road still ahead of us before she'd see the snowy forests of Stormwall again. I nudged her. "Don't worry, we'll still get you there. Stormwall's not going anywhere," and got a smile out of her again as I passed her another slice of Missus Ayleth's apple pie.

This is a lot that I've wanted to try some version of for quite some time, but after my first few attempts were thoroughly unsatisfying, I kind of gave up on the idea for quite a while, until I saw Joandsarah77's wagon lot a few months ago. Seeing some of the tricks she'd used made me want to try again, though I took my own efforts in more of a storybook high-fantasy direction than Jo did! This is definitely an unusual lot configuration, since there's very few rooms that can really be defined in the way we're accustomed to with 'normal' buildings, and a lot of the space for Sims to interact with one another is actually located outside. Just to give a quick overview of how the needs usually met by different rooms are met here:
  • Living spaces are kind of scattered about, with only the largest wagon and its trailer really having dedicated spaces that feel like "living rooms" to me. Most actual interaction aside from just sitting at a table and talking is meant to take place outside in the common areas.
  • Bedrooms are instead just single beds tucked into alcoves at the back or sides of each trailer, as well as two hammocks on the lot that can serve as additional bed spaces (or a location for WooHooing, since there's not the usual double beds here)
  • Kitchens can be found in the largest and second largest wagons, as well as a dedicated "chuck wagon" near the large outdoor dining table. Dining spaces are located near each "kitchen" as well.
  • The only wagon to have an enclosed bathroom is the largest one (tucked into a closet just behind the right frontside wheels)- all other bathroom space is provided near the creek, with two small lean-tos holding toilets, and a large tent providing room for bathing (the tent is defined by floor edging, so you won't have to worry about Sims trying to shoo people away)

Because I meant for this lot to be a very communal environment, it's zoned as a normal residential lot, however since each wagon only has one door to enter, it'd be relatively straightforward to replace them with apartment or hotel doors if you want to go a different direction with your use of this space (just be forewarned, I didn't playtest any other configurations).

I extensively playtested a clone of this lot, since I made heavy use of placement cheats that often cause routing issues. While there are some objects that are just placed as decoration and are unreachable, most things that it seems like your Sims should be able to interact with will actually work just as it seems they should (which was no small feat for the two playable diagonal wagons, let me tell you!) Aside from visual clipping issues like Sims walking through the wheels or the animal traces at the front of each wagon, the one outstanding routing issue is, unsurprisingly, that the interiors of the wagons are pretty cramped, so if you have too many Sims trying to head in the same direction, they'll create a traffic jam with all the foot-stomping that entails.

While it's not as expensive as some of my uploads, this lot is still not cheap, with the total lot value coming out at $349,012, spread out over two playable levels (or three, if you count the ground as distinct from the 1st foundation level)

As uploaded, this lot has never been occupied, all the screenshots that include Sims were taken on a clone for storytelling purposes.

As with everything I upload, no CC is included or required for you to use this lot in your game, so as long as you have all the expansion and stuff packs, you should run into no trouble placing and playing this lot (and because it's not quite as massive as some of my other lots, I'd hazard a guess that it'll actually run faster than some of my other projects too!)

Enjoy, and may you ever fare well in your travels!

Lot Size: 4x5
Lot Price (furnished): $349,012