Just like last year, I meet Jingle Ringford standing outside the closed gates and next to an empty table with a large bubble floating over his head that says “Click the elf to talk!”. This year there’s also a “KTM” machine nearby. On clicking, he speaks:
Welcome to the North Pole, KringleCon, and the 2022 SANS Holiday Hack Challenge! I’m Jingle Ringford, one of Santa’s elves.
Santa asked me to come here and give you a short orientation to this festive event.
Before you move forward through the gate, I’ll ask you to accomplish a few simple tasks.
First things first, here’s your badge! It’s the five golden rings in the middle of your avatar.
Great - now you’re official!
Click on the badge on your avatar. That’s where you will see your Objectives, Hints, and gathered Items for the Holiday Hack Challenge.
We’ve also got handy links to the KringleCon talks and more there for you!
Clicking on the badge opens it up. It contains the various things Jingle mentioned, including some tasks I’ve already completed:
Next, click on that machine to the left and create a crypto wallet for yourself. Don’t lose that key!
The KTM gets a bubble:
On clicking it, the account creation process loads:
Clicking gives me a wallet, with address and key:
I’ve obfuscated the key for this account. I’ll add these to my notes (though there is a way to recover them later if desperate).
OK, one last thing. Click on the Cranberry Pi Terminal and follow the on-screen instructions.
A terminal appears on the table:
Anyone who has attended previous KingleCons will recognize the Cranberry Pi terminal.
Clicking on it open the first terminal challenge:
On typing “answer” into the top terminal, it closes, the the gates open, and orientation is complete.
Great! Your orientation is now complete! You can enter through the gate now. Have FUN!!!
Talk to Santa
On walking through the gate, a new task shows up under the KringleCon Orientation objective, “Talk to Santa”:
Santa is just ahead, next to another KTM:
Welcome to the North Pole, intrepid traveler!
Wow, we had quite a storm last night!
My castle door is sealed shut behind a giant snowbank.
The Elves have decided to burrow under the snow to get everything ready for our holiday deliveries.
But there’s another wrinkle: my Five Golden Rings have gone missing.
Without the magic of the Rings, we simply can’t launch the holiday season.
My reindeer won’t fly; I won’t be able to zip up and down chimneys.
What’s worse, without the magic Rings, I can’t fit the millions of cookies in my belly!
I challenge you to go on a quest to find and retrieve each of the five Rings.
I’ll put some initial goals in your badge for you.
The holidays, and the whole world, are counting on you.
The orientation task is now complete, and five new objectives, each to recover a ring, appear in my badge:
Each has a single task in it to start, but more will come as I solve.
The current story is at 23%:
Five Rings for the Christmas king immersed in cold
Each Ring now missing from its zone
Exploring the North Pole
I’ll do a more detailed walkthrough of explorations in Appendix AL: Exploring KringleCon. But for now, a quick overview of what’s at the North Pole.
As Santa mentioned, the North Pole is snowed over. The castle entrance from previous years is blocked. Out on the grounds, I’ll find the sponsors:
There’s also a snow mound with NetWars inside:
Inside Garland Candlesticks talks about NetWars:
Hi, I’m Garland Candlesticks. Welcome to the Netwars room!
The same whimsical minds behind this event also build other games.
I mean ranges. They’re cyber ranges.
And they’re for training - not fun. Not even a little. 😄
Chimney Scissorsticks is at the top right side of the North Pole, and reminds me of where Frost Tower flew off to last year:
You may be wondering where Frost Tower from last year went.
Well, it turns out the entire tower was a giant rocketship!
After the Frostians returned last year and brought Jack Frost to justice…
The entire building launched into space, returning Jack and the Trolls to their home planet.
So that concluded last year’s caper! But I hear that something is amiss this year too!
Some of my fellow elves have burrowed under the snow, and even deeper.
They’ve uncovered some strange stuff down there!
You should definitely check it out!
He also suggests going into the tunnels!
KringleCon is going underground, with the entrance looking very Hobbitesque in a snow mound: