A race across a continent is difficult enough, some would say. Language barriers, weird road signs, different traffic laws, legally crossing borders, foreign food that you’ve never heard about, and trying to find lodging in a nation that, half the time, barely understands your native language.
Doing that same race across a continent in a proper shitbox takes things up a notch. Not just do you have all the aforementioned problems from the land you’re going through, but now you have unreliable engines, rust-holes the size of small planets, crunchy gearboxes, seats that needed to be replaced 50,000 miles and four owners ago, and a myriad of issues yet to show their ugly heads.
But, this is no mere ordinary shitbox race across a continent. Prepare yourselves for poor fuel, terrible roads, camping in the woods, driving several thousand miles on rough dirt roads and over cobblestone streets. This is the 2022 Shitbox Rally: Nevada to Crugandr and Back!
Game Engine: 4.27 (Open Alpha/Beta)
Model/Trim year: 1970 to 2009 (These are, after all, shitboxes.)
Maximum Cost: 30,000 AMU (Covers all the bases. Is it an old classic that’s rusted to shit, or newfangled techno-trash with computers about to go nuts?)
Reliability: Must NOT be 0.
Offroad: At least 20.
Drivability: At least 10.
Comfort: Must NOT be 0.
Seating: Enough for each member of your team!
Tires: No Chunky Offroad, No Semi-Slicks
Drive Type: Any.
Engine Position: Front or Rear.
Variant year: 1970 to 2009, does not have to match the car. (Example: a 1972 car with a 1994 engine would be allowed.)
Fuel: Low Quality Unleaded. (I’m simulating running on Kerosene, or equivalent low-octane fuel.)
Catalytic converter required on all engines made after 1973.
No Turbochargers. (I know, turbos are all the rage and a lot of fun right now, but I’ve seen a few challenges get delayed by turbo updates. Plus, do you really want to turbocharge something running on Low Quality gas?)
No Race Parts. (Remember, the roads will be mostly dirt and gravel, and repairs will be, shall we say, a bit primitive.)
You will, obviously, need a team name.
Number of Characters: A minimum of 2, a maximum of
Characters may share/overlap roles, but you need, as a minimum, a Driver and a Navigator.
This is a Stage Rally, so we’ll be making camp between runs. However, a stage will be anywhere from a little under 2 hours and 30 minutes to potentially more than 12 hours, depending on your cars and the winds of fate.
Role-playing is highly encouraged. While it won’t affect your stats, I’m more likely to mention your vehicle if you’re participating in the story and not just watching numbers.
Here’s the thing: I don’t have some secret formula to turn your cars into shitboxes. I’ve given you a good price point to work within, a decent spread of years to build in, even some basic rules and suggestions to get you closer to your goal. How do you make your car shit? With story. Maybe that 2009 sedan is an ex-taxi and is nearly up to 500,000 miles, and the back-seat smells like a crime scene. Maybe the 1970 coupe your team found is something literally dragged out of the weeds, wrenched on for a few days by some buddies with the promise of beers and an adventure if they helped out. Maybe that 1990 station wagon is just an unpopular trim that no one wanted, so your team got it stupid cheap because it has the three speed slushbox and an interior that smells like an old gym sock.
What I do have is a phone full of writing notes for the fictional world you’ll be driving through. I also have a very, very basic spreadsheet and will be using a random number generator to add a little randomness to the numbers. Don’t worry, while you could be slowed down, you could also be given a significant speed boost. I’ll be rolling for random numbers between 7 and 13, and they’ll decide your speed.
Ah, that’s the fun part. If your random number roll comes up as 7, 8, or 9, you’ve had a failure. I’ll roll a random number (1, 2, 3, or 4) and let you know that something broke. Your team is always able to fix their car, so you’ll never be out completely, but it cost your team a little time making a roadside repair, or back-tracking because your navigator said “left” when they meant “right,” or got stuck in a ditch and had to get out of it. It’s merely an explanation for the lost time below a “perfect” stage for your car.
An example of the process:
I roll to see how fast you’re going to go, and you end up below 10, so you’re slowed down from a perfect stage. I roll an additional random number, and the number lets me give you some flavor text to work with. 1 will always be a Powertrain failure. 2 will always be a Chassis failure. 3 will always involve your tires. 4 is a General failure.
Some examples for those who may need some inspiration:
Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, Differential, Half-shafts (if applicable), Transfer Case (if applicable).
Chassis: Electrical system, Suspension, Brakes, Fuel Tank, Fuel Pump, Lights, Interior, Cargo Ejection.
Tires: Burst tire, Slow leak, Bent rim, Loose lug nuts, Ejected spare, Mud caked in rim.
General: Followed the wrong road, Drove into a ditch, Just driving slowly, Sank the car in mud, Many bathroom stops, Map upside down, Fell asleep, Gathering supplies.
Why? Because I like the idea that all you can lose here is time if you have a failure. Also, by leaving it open as to what failed, you get to write the problem. Maybe, if the Powertrain failed, it was that damn clutch slipping again. Or, the engine has a rod knock and you’re doing a field repair and hoping for the best. Or maybe the differential popped, so you’re welding it back together and hoping it holds up.
Plus, you’re in a world where magic does exist. Sure, you might have to tear the engine down to the bare block and a pile of parts, but someone can just wave a wand and the crankshaft and bad rod bearings will be as good as new again. Or, at least new enough to maybe keep running.
As I want to encourage role-play more than watching numbers get bigger, the pace at which cars travel is not exactly fast. The stages are configured to be a little time consuming and some are quite difficult, numerically speaking, to get through. Expect that your car will finish each stage, but your team will spend many, many hours driving. The way this will be determined is, again, by random number generation. Most stages are a touch over 350 miles, and I’ll mention your average speed (in Miles Per Hour) in each update. There are a few short stages (roughly half the distance of the standard stage) that should go relatively quickly, at least by comparison. Some may recognize this format as being similar to VicVictory’s Roulette Runner. Honestly, I chose the stage rally format because it’s easier to do the math for, at least for me.
I will post an entire stage at once. Then, after the numbers are up, I will encourage open role-play during the campsite time. Feel free to post both your “During the Stage” segments and your “At the Camp” segments, I’ll enjoy reading both.
Well, it’s a stage rally. Each stage ends with a campsite near one of the many towns in Crugandr. Chances are, the other teams will help you out.
Well, technically, by the rules, any failure is fixable, so you can decide how you got those parts. Did you just so happen to have an extra transmission in your spares? Maybe you traded something from our world to get some help? Perhaps you threw a coin down an old wishing well and got hit in the head by the spare part you just so happened to need? Perhaps your engine exploded, but the local tinker whipped up a perfectly serviceable engine from the remaining good parts and some junk he had laying around?
Really, I’m not, it’s just for flavor text. But, if you want the long winded version:
Each car is given a fuel tank size based on wheelbase. Refueling takes no additional time out of your stage time and really is just for flavor text. I know, I could easily add a time penalty, but at the length of the stages already, is an extra 5 minutes to refill your tank going to make a big difference? (The answer: Not enough to matter. Seriously, my test vehicles all end up well in the many-hours-of-driving range.)
How will I give a fair fuel capacity for each car? A simple chart.
0.1 to 2.19m – 8 Gallon – sub-compacts aren’t known for huge gas tanks
2.2m to 2.49m – 13 Gallon – Your average compact car
2.5m to 2.79m – 15 Gallon – A general midsize, small SUVs.
2.8m to 2.99m – 20 Gallon – Large midsize, small fullsize car, most SUVs, most crossovers
3.0m to 3.29m – 25 Gallon – A big fullsize car or SUV
3.3m and Up – 30 Gallon – Trucks, vans, large SUVs
So, about the world you’ll be driving through.
Crugandr is one of the four major Island Nations in the world of Aetherii. The other three are Vipara, Altherys, and Valraad. Of the four, Crugandr is the largest. It’s a warm climate bordering on hot during the summer, and mild during the winter. We’ll be going through there during the summer, so expect temperatures between 80 degrees Fahrenheit at night and up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit by day. (For those of you who use the Metric system, that’s roughly 26.7 degrees Celsius at night and up to 40.5 degrees Celsius in the day.) Wind is typically mild, thanks to magic users keeping the weather from being too nasty. Rain is common, and will make dirt roads (which a lot of Crugandr is using at this time) into mud, slowing everyone’s progress.
Aetheriian time, however, is a little odd. While an Aetheriian second and an Earth second are both equal, an Aetheriian minute is 80 seconds. An Aetheriian hour is 80 minutes. An Aetheriian day/night cycle is 20 hours, split between 10 hours of day and 10 hours of night. This is known locally as Sun and Moon time (Five-Sun being Noon, and Five-Moon being Midnight, by our terms). This means that an Aetheriian day is 35.56 Earth Hours long, or 1.48 Earth Days. Expect to feel jet lagged early on.
The people of Crugandr are typically human (hence why we’re going through Crugandr and not Valraad, because it’ll be difficult enough for everyone else to deal with my team of misfits, let alone an entire country full of them, and I have Crugandr’s major cities and minor towns at least written out), though a large amount of them have some limited skill in magic. While they can’t repair complex items (such as engines or gearboxes), they might be able to repair the individual parts, provided you can get them back together again afterward. However, the whole world of Aetherii, at this point in time, is stuck somewhere in the Age of Steam. Expect to see steam locomotives (Think smaller British locomotives, not large American ones), the occasional airship, and people riding giant iguanas from place to place. (Yes, that’s right, they don’t have horses, but they do have giant lizards.) Occasionally, there may be a wagon pulled by lizards on the road. You won’t earn yourself any favors if you run into it, so please don’t.
There are 8 major kingdoms in Crugandr. Jaduvira, Samiraie, Aiyeri, Trugarde, Miravall, Andavala, Tapari, and Avenara. Of these 8 major cities, Aiyeri and Andavala will not be visited, as one is only accessible by a sea port (Aiyeri) and the other is up a one lane road at the summit of a small mountain (Andavala).
Our route will be from the portal at the docks in Jaduvira, through Samiraie and Trugarde, and ending in Tapari, where we’ll drive, once more, through another portal to return home.
Sadly, this means we won’t be able to go to Avenara or Miravall in this run, they’re both off the path.
For the mile-counters, this challenge will cover 5683.2 miles, on roads mostly made of cobblestone, gravel, and dirt.
Obviously, as this is a stage rally, after every few hundred miles, we’ll be stopping.
(Don’t worry too much on the time thing, I’ll be running this challenge with normal Earth time. Mostly because I haven’t figured out how to bend OpenOffice into letting me make a custom time format.)
For starters, here’s an example stage (covering my team’s arrival at the Desert from their warehouse.
Current Weather at Stage Start: 87F (30.5C), Wind 1-5 MPH from the North, Dry
Expected Weather by Stage End: 94F (34.4C), Wind 5-8 MPH from the West, Dry
6:00 AM Local Time
For miles, all you can see is sand, sand, and more sand, occasionally broken up by a cactus here or there. If you listen long enough, the sound of the gently blowing sand scraping past everything in its path sounds eerily like slithering snakes. Or, maybe, those are actually snakes you’re hearing. Other than the highway you arrived on, there’s not much else to see. The sky is clear, not a cloud in sight, with the sun unmercifully beating down on you.
@Madrias: Team Shift Happens
Distance Traveled: 177.6 Miles
Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds): 3:36:48
Average MPH: 49.2
Refueled: 1 time.
Breakdown: 2 (Chassis)
The drive to the desert is mostly peaceful, although a brief flicker of the lights could be a sign of things to come.
Fairly simple. A location name, a weather report, the current time using the local time unit, a description of the area (potentially more detailed than this one, as the Mojave Desert is, well, quite empty), and then your team-relevant information. This will have your username (to get your attention), your Team Name, the distance traveled in this stage (this was an example of a short stage), your time to finish that stage, the average speed in MPH, how many times you refueled while on the road, and whether or not you had a breakdown.
Then there’s some flavor text, in this case letting me know that a chassis failure happened, causing the lights to flicker for a moment. This could easily have been a weird rattle from the car, a hiccup in the engine, or a slight unexpected wobble in the steering wheel. It’s just flavor text, though, and what actually failed is 100% up to you.
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