Awaken. Survive. Reclaim.

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    Awaken. Survive. Reclaim.



    What would the world look like if civilization fell? That was the initial question that became the seed for Age of Pandora. In the DAREBEE team we love manga, science fiction and post-apocalyptic movies. The idea of creating a narrative where the hero tasked with saving the world could also be a villain appealed to us. The Age of Pandora is a post-apocalyptic quest with twists at every turn. In it, the true danger is unspecified, the enemy unknown and each choice and every action come with consequences. We reasoned that it was going to be a really difficult task for one person to single-handedly save the world, especially when the plan to save the world had already failed and things had gone completely awry.

    So, that was the beginning of Pandora. To make it immersive we made it online with browser-based cookies that track progress, choices and options. Where you get to in Pandora depends on what you do, who you talk to and what choices you make. Like most morality tales this one is ambiguous. Actions that appear wrong at first can prove out to be right and vice versa. Nothing is ever lost in there. What you do. What choices you make, will affect the outcome you get. Just like life, we made Pandora a place where getting anything done requires a lot of hard work. Just surviving is difficult and, again just like life, immersive enough to absorb you and pull you away from the main task at hand.

    Pandora took the longest of all our programs to work out. We needed a timeline and a plot that could fork at almost every choice and each of those choices needed to make sense. We spend almost 18 months developing it with the programming being done as the storyline, exercises and internal logic was being finalized. We postponed the initial launch date twice and when we did launch we had the first half with the second half to come. The four weeks between these two halves were the hardest and most difficult we'd ever experienced.

    We almost hated Pandora for the pressure it created and the tension that came in the team from long hours of work and programming and not enough sleep. But in the end we fell in love it. We ended up creating a fully realized world with rules and a culture. Characters, religion and a logic that works for it. Countless times, as we worked on it we asked: why would someone do this? Why would they do that? We were looking to understand human motivation in a very specific environment. Because Pandora is a grim world the storyline made gritty sense.

    The technical execution was just as challenging. For a while we had a profile-based option that enabled you to create a profile and port your progress across devices. it created a massive headache around device updates and security issues so, in the end, we axed it and stayed only with the web-based option. It ties you down to a single device but it is a lot safer which makes the trade-off worth it.

    What we found most surprising in creating the program was that the exercises for it were the easiest part to work out. Pandora is a world where technology has failed. Everything is driven by human muscle, human will and human needs. As a result being physical in Pandora is the easiest thing in the world. We even joked you could spend a few months there just exploring the world and you'd end up coming out ripped by the end of it, especially if you spend any time at all in the fighting pits.

    As we worked with it we noticed other surprises: no one is completely bad or completely good for instance. Pandora is a brutal world that sucks the clarity of right and wrong out of you. As a result every choice you make is going to be hard and there is no guarantee of success at the end of it. That was the hardest part we had to deal with. Having all spent so long working on Pandora (many emails went unanswered during that time as we concentrated on it) we wanted the experience to be a positive one. We worked hard to find ways to redeem even the most difficult of characters.

    This also makes Age of Pandora an RPG Fitness program that helps you change inside and out.

    When we'd finished we had many questions of our own. Would a post-apocalyptic world be capable of being saved even? What would it take to turn around peoples whose entire culture has been one of brutality? Age of Pandora is 60 days long in total (30 days in each part). While within DAREBEE we all remember only too well the difficulty it gave us we are also aware that it made us realize just how immersive RPG fitness can be. Of all the RPG programs we have created this one receives the most fan email with Carbon and Dust a close second.

    For a while it spawned a number of threads that Bees illustrated with work of their own that was incredible in quality, variety and depth of feeling. It was truly touching to see Age of Pandora affect so many, so deeply. It also had a deep effect upon us, as a team.

    Have you done it? What were your thoughts and impressions? Would you do it again and make different choices? What did you like most/least about it? I am really eager to find out.

    #2
    I have not actually tried AoP, but it is the one that most interests me of all the RPG fitness programs available. The post-apocalyptic setting was always a big attraction for me, because I love media based on that setting. And I had poked around the program's website(?) and I thought the whole map thing was super cool ​​​​​​

    When I was a kid I used to roleplay a lot on my own, and since I didn't really have a whole lot of games back then, it was always based around game things I've seen (I would have way too many stats, worlds, characters, etc). And the only way I had established I could like actually do the things in the "game world" was through physical exercises. So in truth I was doing rpg fitness way before I knew it was a thing, and this program always seemed a callback to that.

    Yet I never actually started it. However, after reading this post I feel very motivated to just give it a shot. I want to see the actual story and lore you've all come up with and it would be a shame to let it go to waste!

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      #3
      AoP is what I'm looking forward to do next. Ever since I entered the Programs section, this one was the one that caught my attention the most. Every time I browsed the section, I always stopped when I saw AoP's cover and said to myself "One day, perhaps... Not today, but one day..."

      My plans, originally, were to be free of responsabilities during those two months, and immerse myself completely into it. I didn't want to do a program, I wanted to live, breathe, eat and sleep in the world of Pandora. I don't know why, it just seems the right thing to do. I always thought AoP was special, and now I know why. With what's been going on in the world right now, I guess now it's just as good as time as any to do it that way.

      If writing a book is difficult, imagine a "choose your own adventure" type with lots of worldbuilding. Those questions that you had at the end are all the basis of every post-apocalyptic fiction, and everyone has their own take on it. I wanna see yours. After all, this is probably going to be the most rewarding just because it's Roleplay and Fitness in one package.

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        #4
        I plan to do Age of Pandor as soon as I finish the Heros Journey... The progression and different options and quests I think really put you in the world. You wanna make the right choice for your survival, not just a workout.

        I dont however look forward to printing and sleeving that many pages I like having the physical books though.

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          #5
          I remember Age Of Pandora had a very profound effect on me.
          Apart for the physical change it brought about( I think I cracked 20 pull-ups, during that time and lost a few extra kilos),
          being immersed in that world, also inspired me creatively, so much so, that I only felt it would be fitting that I create something of a tribute(here)
          to the world of Pandora and as a thank you to the awesome DAREBEE team, for creating probably one of the best fitness RPG programs to date.

          its been 2 years since then, but it still sticks with me, to this day

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            #6
            Beat_Samurai that's music that should definitely accompany everyone who journeys through the dangerous, brutal lands of Pandora.

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              #7
              I took the lockdown opportunity and did the Age of Pandora program with the clear and firm intention of doing something good in a difficult time.
              Whenever I was faced with a challenge or a choice, I wondered who I wanted to be and become and how this would transform my world.
              Age of Pandora helped me to use the difficulties I was experiencing to clarify what was really necessary and important and to find a way, even outside the box, to live well and thrive in an unusual environment and I succeeded
              Thanks

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                #8
                Fremen that's amazing! Bravo!

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                  #9
                  It's a great piece, Beat_Samurai!

                  I also have very, very fond memories of Pandora, for various reasons. Like other bees, it stimulated my creativity. Several of us did it at the same time and shared a thread to motivate one another. We wrote fiction inspired by it, shared artwork, all while working out on a consistent basis.

                  When I finally reached the end of the program, I couldn't exactly pinpoint what its main physical benefits were as far as I was concerned. Did I feel stronger? More durable? Better with fighting moves? A little bit of all that. I felt more resilient, physically and mentally. As I put it back then... I think Pandora made me harder to kill. Pretty fitting for a gamified post-apocalyptical fitness program, I guess.

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                    #10
                    I must admit that I've done AoP twice... because I really had to know how it would end if I made different choices! The first time around I mostly did the bare minimum to get through the 60 days and didn't do a whole lot of exploring. It was tough for me back then, but I loved the story and how immersive it was. It also helped me lose three pounds ahead of my wedding.

                    The second time I did it was almost a year and a half later, and I did a lot of exploring and nearly every extra exercise available. That was life changing. I batched fights or jobs into groups to form "workouts" for the day, and I would make myself go back to the Agora at the end of it to "get new jobs." Doing it that way stretched out AoP for me to about three months (there were breaks of a day or two at a time along the way for various reasons), and it greatly increased my endurance. I felt physically so much stronger and more capable at the end of the program than when I started it. It also left me feeling confident enough to eventually move on to Carbon and Dust (which is my favorite).

                    I know I'll probably go back to AoP again some day because there's always a new way to do it to make it more challenging, and there are so many different choices and paths that you can take. I can absolutely believe it took 18 months to put together, and it shows in how detailed everything is. It's completely awesome, and I don't know if I would be nearly as in shape as I am right now if it weren't for AoP.

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                      #11
                      I agree with Redline about this:
                      I felt more resilient, physically and mentally
                      I think it happened first while doing Pandora that I did high intensity exercise continuously for more than two hours intentionally and by myself, i. e. without the pressure of a trainer supervising me. The possibility of immersion was a great motivation throughout.

                      There's still so much Darebee content that I have yet to try, but it would be great to re-do this program in the future. Both because I want to see more storylines and because while I can't say I was slacking on the first run, I could still get more out of it physically.

                      Every minute of work the team put into AoP is greatly appreciated!

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