Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Animal Companion Competition: Stealth Challenge

 ACC Challenge A - Stealth (Sneak, Sneak, Sneak)

The first challenge tasked to our contestants was...

Stealth Challenge: You are passing through a village when a shepherd approaches you and your person looking for help! Their child has been captured by monsters and being held in a nearby camp between a mountain, a river, and a sprawling forest. Your person wants more information to avoid being spotted by the enemy. How do you sneak into the enemy camp, find out how many enemies there are along with their locations, locate where the captive child is being held, and return to your person with the info undetected? 

We had a lot of great responses! First up...

From Cleopatra:

“Oh noes! Not a kidnapped child! I’m not used to sneaksing around, but I think I can make this work. See, I’m super small, and children think I’m a toy (I’m looking at yooooou, Lordling Aeryck and Ladyling Aliese!) so maybe I can use that to my advantage. I think I’ll get to the camp by running and hiding behind trees, and when I get to camp, I’ll freeze and play dead whenever I hear someone nearby. If the monsters see me, they’ll think I’m the child’s toy that got dropped. Maybe I’ll cover myself in dirt and mud to really sell the illusion. I’ll escape the same way I entered - hiding in small places and pretending to be a toy. Nobody would suspect a toy, right?” 

She also provided a recording of practice sneaking:


(Special thanks to Carms for being such a good sport in the attached "practice sneak" video)

Cressida: What was that huge tiger thing that Cleopatra snuck onto?! I hope Cleopatra had an exit plan too!

Cimone: It didn’t seem to be buying she was just a lost child’s toy anyways.  I could certainly imagine it working while she was playing dead though, good thought there.

Our next entry is from DaniDanger and HelperPink!

My pet floats down the river until they see how many people are in the camp. They use their cameoflauge to blend in like river plants. They then find the kidnapped person and come back. Finally my pet draws me a picture to show me. That is how my Helper Pet helps me.

Cressida: HelperPink is a mud artist! Also good thing they have so many tentacles to count monsters with.

Cimone: Wait, Helper Pink can change colors?  Or are they just covering themselves in mud and socks?  Either way, pretending to be water weeds does a good job of playing into their natural shape in a sneaky way. 

And now we’ll hear from Aara!

"I know that my armor, while protective, is quite conspicuous, so I need to take advantage of my soft fuzzy feet to move softly between hiding places to stay hidden. Fortunately I'm small and that means I have access to a lot of different hiding spots: 

Under furniture, 

wrapped in bedding, 

behind foliage, 

among clothing, 

and even using the natural environment to conceal myself. 

I hope the smell of wet dog doesn't give me away when the snow starts to melt."

Cimone: Knowing when armor is more of a hindrance than a help can certainly help out, as it seems it might here.  I certainly had to pay attention to spot some of her hiding places.

Cressida: Snow pupper! So cute and sneaky! Cactus Pupper! Danger Zone!

We got this video entry from Malcom Mallard...


Cressida: I love Bread too! I miss feast bread right now… Oh wait, not about the Bread Cressida. Focus. Malcom’s ability to quack is less sneaky and more distracting, but I think if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is clearly just a duck.

Cimone: *cough*DoYouWantToBuyADuck?*cough* Hiding in plain sight, always a classic.  I’m glad he had a fly away plan for if he got into trouble or I’d be worried what would happen if someone in the camp decided that perfectly normal duck would be a great addition to their stew or similar.  

Here we have this recitation with photos from Kedol Maas

“Kedol Maas is a good boy, and will help Janus.  First, need to find spot.  Mountain was easy.  Then it was about finding forest and river. 

Lots of places to pee!  Janus taught me that’s a forest!

Oh!  Looks like place where lots of people peed!  That’s the river!

I smelled around and found their trail (the kid had messy hands and the monsters stink!)

Now it’s time for me to sneak!  I am good at that!  I’m light and leave no tracks, and match pee places, and rocks and things!  A monster was coming by, so I hid well under pee place!

It gone!  Time to keep following trail.  Wait...what was that?  Time to spy!

Was nothing.  Just a fetch stick falling off a pee place.  I found many other places to hide on my trip when monsters are near by!

Oh...I smell something.  Time to get look from on top of pee place.

Found child!  Must report back!  Hurry, hurry, hurry!  Oh no, monster, but no hiding place nearby!  How can I hide?  Oh, I hide good!  Time to dig!

That was close.  Time to find Janus!  I saw seven and smelled two others.  “Nine!  Follow!”  Janus pets me because I’m best boy!”

Cimone: Seems like some solid tracking and hiding skills there from Kedol Maas.  I see he and Arra had some similar ideas for hiding places.  Wise wolves think alike?

Cressida: Snow Pupper! Wait, Deja Vu… Also please don’t pee in the river!

Our last entry is from Jharru…

"Stealth? Exciting! I'm small (maybe the size of a house cat) because I'm still a baby (smarter than your average baby though) so that will help. Unfortunately, I'm a bit... shiny. And purple. Not really good for blending in. (Still the best color anyway.) So the first thing I would do would be to go roll in some mud at the river bank. Get myself nice and dirty. (Aranel says I'm NOT allowed to go practice right now for the sake of a portrait because then she'd have to wash me. Booo.) Maybe with enough mud and my wings pressed down I'll look like a stray dog or a cat? I'd sneak into town that way, staying low and trying to stay out of sight as much as possible. If I needed to I can try to fly up on rooftops as well to get a good look around. Or maybe climb. I'm only a baby, I'm not a great flyer yet. Anyway that's my best bet for moving around undetected. I'd peek around that way, and then report back to Aranel with any info I could gather."

Cressida: Jharru really is purple and shiny, but he does a great job disguising himself! Super impressed by the lengths he would go to to save that child!

Cimone: Possibly avoid hanging out next to any dogs or cats while actively sneaking though, unless you find one more willing to share its extra fur.  

Overall a stealthy field of competitors all with clever ways to save the day.  You’ve heard our thoughts on everyones showing this round, now we’d love to hear yours over in the facebook comments! Who do you think was the sneakiest companion? Any comments on what they did well? What surprised you or made you laugh? Let us know!

Tune in next week for the Strength Challenge!