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The Flame Still Flickers In The Fen

There you have seen the true dark enemies of England. Sick father and mother who would have us children forever. Stephen, our land must live. This land we love must live. Her deep, dark flame must never die. Night is falling. Your land and mine goes down into a darkness now, and I, and all the other guardians of her flame are driven from our home up out into the wolf’s jaw. But the flame still flickers in the fen. You are marked down to cherish that. Cherish the flame till we can safely wake again. The flame is in your hands, we trusted you, our sacred demon of ungovernableness. Cherish the flame. We shall rest easy.
- King Penda in Penda's Fen (written by David Rudkin)

A year ago I watched the BBC Teleplay Penda's Fen for the first time, on recommendation from my minister.  It's from 1974 and is about a gay teen in rural Worcestshire whose conservative and christian biases are challenged by visions given to him by the Fen he inhabits.

To say it affected me is an understatement.

The Flame Still Flickers In The Fen is an attempt to capture and modernise the feelings it gave me.  You play teenagers, who are genderqueer, but they don't know it yet.  You live in the kinds of places me and my friends grew up in, towns on the rural-urban fringe, where twenty minutes on one bus takes you into a major city and twenty minutes on another strands you in the middle of nowhere.  There's something liminal about these places, and the natural environments that grow within them, where you can hide yourself among the trees and foliage and pretend you've escaped the motorways and farmland and shops less than a mile away.   Where the divine seeps in and becomes inescapable.

This game invites you to allow yourself to become distorted and twisted by those places and the things you find inside them.  It asks you to consider the politics of the outer world, and how they affect you, even when you run away from them.  It demands of you to fight against them.

It's important to me, and I hope you like it.

It also has some excellent art, done by some excellent artists, and they deserve your awe and support so much, so please go and look at their other works and support them if you can.


Credits:

Writing and layout: Alexis/Lichen Arrowsmith

Art for Acts 1 & 2: Sonja Klisch (Instagram: @bluuk.y)
Art for Act 3: Molly Griffiths (DeviantArt: bluesapphiredragon)
Art for The Ancient Whispers: Folgers B. Kelley (Twitter: @bestpartofwaki1, Tumblr: thebestpartofwakingup)
Art for The Hands of Light: Theresa Dettloff (Instagram/Twitter: @tdrawingdump)

Editing: Ethan Treaster

Playtesting: Tomas Guilfoyle, Tom Hale, Sophie Hayman, Paige Harvey, Ethan Treaster, Patrick Philbin

Very Helpful Advice: John Battle, Gordie Murphy

Patrons: Ceaserboo, Ethan Treaster, MxMossy, Rynoclank, Danny Britzman, Paige Harvey

Inspired by Penda’s Fen (1974), Sleepaway by Jay Dragon, Ribbon Drive by Avery Alder and years spent exploring Royden Park and Thurstaston Common.

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The Flame Still Flickers In The Fen.pdf 9 MB

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If you're a marginalised person and can't afford the game, please take a copy for free.  If you're unsure as to whether you fall into "marginalised" or "can't afford the game", then as creator of the game I rule that you do and say that you're allowed to take one.  I hope you enjoy it.

Comments

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Adore this game.

ALL the community/nature/gender-fucked feels. I love this.