Moving around the North Pole at KringleCon led to many interesting discoveries! While many did not have a place in the general solution for the challenges presented, they are interesting, and are worth documenting here.

## Shenanigans

The game goes out of it’s way to remind players not to lose their wallet key:

This is true in the real world as well. If you lost the key to your wallet, most likely you’ve lost access to that wallet, and whatever is associated with it.

### Castle Backdoor

There are many ways to identify the hidden backdoor to the castle. I’ll show a few.

#### Visual

Walking around the North Pole, there’s a little space between the left side of the castle and the NetWars snowmound:

#### Entrances

The websocket packet that sets up the North Pole (see Appendix B: Hacking KringleCon) also shows entrances (and exits):

[
{
"id": "shenanigansapproach",
"x": -3,
"y": -13
},
{
"id": "netwarsapproach",
"x": -11,
"y": -2
},
{
"id": "entryapproach",
"x": 7,
"y": -2
},
{
"id": "underground1approach",
"x": 16,
"y": 4
},
{
"id": "reset",
"x": 7,
"y": 18
},
{
"id": "stagingapproach",
"x": 7,
"y": 20
}
]


Putting these on the map with the names from that data looks like:

Underground1, NetWars, and Staging are obvious. I suspect Reset is where you start on a new login or refresh. “Entry” will be used once the challenge is completed and the entrance to the castle opens up. Shenanigans is interesting!

#### Walkable Spaces

Another bit of data that can be pulled from the websocket (see Appendix B: Hacking KringleCon) is the ASCII representation of walkable spaces, the grid variable. For the north pole, this looks like:

111111111 11111                     111111111111
111111111 11                        111111111111
111111111 11                        111111111111
111111111 11                        111111111111
111111111 11                        111111111111
111111111 11                        111111111111
111111111 11                        111111111111
111111111 11                        111111111111
111     1 11                        111111111111
11        11                        111111111111
1    1 11111           1            111111111111
11111111         11111                111111
111111111111         11111          111111    11
111111111111        1111111         1111111111
11111111111111111111111111111      11111111111
11111111111111111111111111111      1111111111111
11111111111111111111 11111 1    1   111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
1111     1111111  111111111111111111111111111111
11  111   11111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
11111111111111111111 11 111111111111111111 11111
11111111111111111111 11 111111111 1111111   1111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
11111111 111111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
111111111111111111111  1  1111111111111111111111


There’s two sections that can’t be reached, at the top left and top right. With some image editing, I can make that into a mask and play with the perspective until it mostly lines up over the North Pole map:

I’ve colors the top left and top right seconds red, as they can’t be walked directly to. The path up the left side of the castle is clear!

### Key Recovery

#### Room

Entering the castle backdoor puts me in some bizarro version of Santa’s castle entry:

This room was present in 2021, through now it has a terminal in it.

The background image is a pretty awesome rendition of the World Turtle:

#### Santa Magic

The single item in this room is a terminal called Santa Magic. It opens a window with Santa, who speaks very slowly. Each speech bubble lingers for a few seconds, before disappearing, waiting for me to click to get the next. This is clearly mean to be a painful process, but it does allow players to recover their wallet keys.

So, I’ve heard a rumor that you lost the Private Key to your KringleCoin wallet.

I must admit, I’m more than a little disappointed in you.

I’m sure that you were told that if you lose your Private Key, it CAN’T be recovered…

Well, I suppose that isn’t entirely true…

Christmas Magic can do even those things that are, otherwise, impossible.

But you’ve been naughty, and before I’ll use Christmas Magic to recover your key, you need to prove yourself!

I’m going to need you to go on a quest…

First, you’ll need to find Yukon Cornelius, and help him track down what he calls a Bumble.

Take a tooth from the Bumble and carry it deep into the Misty Mountains, and trade it with Gwairhair, Windlord of the Great Eagles, for one of his feathers.

If Gwairhair is reluctant to trade, tell him that I have sent you.

With that feather, you must scale the walls of Sombertown, and find the home of Burgermeister Meisterburger.

Take the feather, and tickle Burgermeister Meisterburger, so that he may laugh and feel joy!

Once he feels joy, he’ll happily give you safe passage to the Isle of Misfit Toys…

There, you must find Dolly, and tell her that a horrible mistake has been made and she’s perfectly fine…

Not a misfit at all…

Thus, having set right one of the greatest wrongs of the Christmas season, you will have proved yourself worthy!

Then, if you come back here, I will tell you…

Write it down, NOW, mmmmmkay?

## Easter Eggs

There are some fun items to pick out around the world in 2022.

### Canaries

There are four canaries in bird cages at different levels in the tunnels. Historically, Canaries were used as sentinel species, as they were sensitive to carbon monoxide, and would get sick and die before humans would.

The four canaries are on the Tolkien Ring level, between the Elfen and Web Ring levels, on the Cloud Ring level, and at the entrance to the Burning Ring of Fire, circled in yellow here:

The first canary makes a Tweety Bird reference:

chirp

I tot I taw a Grinchum…

I did, I did!

chirp chirp

The second gives the history of canaries:

chirp

Did you know us canaries have a very storied history?

We were once considered fashionable, and only owned by royalty who cherished us for our beautiful songs.

Oh, and have you ever heard the saying “Canary in a coal mine”?

chirp chirp

The third greets me with a meme:

cough

ello poppet!

cough cough

The last one appears dead, but it’s just Jason making his annual appearance:

Hey! It’s me, Jason!

I’m not dead. I’m merely resting.

Look at my beautiful yellow plumage!

Looking at the websocket (see Appendix B: Hacking KringleCon)), it is a interesting that the npc values in the underground only show three canaries:

Jason is actually labeled as “handle”, showing some effort to obfuscate this from snooping eyes like mine.

### Art

Some of the artwork from previous years in the castle is still up! I’ll find them hanging in Talks track 1 (f6) and track 3 (f4), and four more in the finale (f19, f28, f37, and f39). For example, Talks track 1:

for i in $(seq 1 39); do wget https://2022.kringlecon.com/images/art/f${i}.png; done