Archive for November, 2009

aka National Larp organisation SuoLi is planning their funeral
(translated from what I wrote on Ropecon blog)

Autumn is the season when all good things come to end. Good or not, soon after the death of Roolipelaaja-magazine, it seems that SuoLi is going same way as well. After years knocking on the heavens door, abolition of association was included on the official notice of this years’ general meeting. Walking through the heavens door ain’t of course sure yet, but it’s one step closer than ever before. And I don’t see it as a bad thing.

SuoLi was founded 1994 to meet the needs of the larpers that day. Their rules say that:

Association is meant to promote larping and formation of consistent principles in Finland. To do that, SuoLi arranges larps, festivals, conventions in the field and aids people organising larps by providing advice and practical help. Furthermore, the Association informs of events and developments in the field by information networks, magazines and other information channels, and sought to form a variety of workshops and by maintaining informal contacts to promote the hobby. The association may own the business need for the movable and immovable property and its activities in support of a position on membership and subscription fees from its members and receive donations…

From year 0, priority one has been informing and briefing about hobby. Of course how and what has changed during the years. Larppaaja (Larper)-magazine that had Larp-calendar and Larpergrouplist was a necessity before time of the internet and information to the media as interested coming up larpers was done carefully for years. It died in the beginning of the 21st century. As the death of Roolipelaaja proved, there’s not really a place for a printed magazine. All essential information and idea-exchanging is going on internet for free.

Besides, the whole larpfield has always been argumentative and incoherent, as the error-laughing is so much easier than self-making. At this millenium, SuoLi became faceless organization, it was easy to point out and demand what it should do so, it would offer something to its every member. Games, conferences, publications, financial support. It is easy to demand a lot from a membership feefree association, especially when one wasn’t prepared to do anything by oneself.

And the doing hasn’t been always easy, human resources were limited, and anonymous feedback started to bother in the long run. After more than five years of voluntary work, I can say that when we managed to do something, like the rescue bags and the feedback from some of the associations was “Of course we take one but rather we’d have taken cash”, or the embezzlement-thing we had, that gave people right to anonymously blame everyone who’d done anything for the organisation, enthusiasm to do anything for association was often not very high. Specially when some of actives got tired before they had completed their task and their almost finished product (were ready-to-be-printed-book or those rescue bags I really learned to hate) was dropped to the few who still try to keep SuoLi alive. It is no secret that the books would certainly have sold better through the years, if someone who would have time to send them, but when there not any interested people to do it, there’s just no chance to do it.

Anyway, SuoLi has done a lot good that should not be forgotten, in 15 years, we have basic principles how finnish larping works. We have Larp-calendar, instruction on how to make a safe boffer weapon, well-established understating on what’s a larp, what are game masters’ duties and what players’, positive image and although it’s believed that number of larpers has decreased recent years, hobby is still generally well-known.

The fact that two of the long time actives of association, Esko “ELF” Vesala ja Kalle “Killeri” Kivimaa have been rewarded by Golden Dragon, the annual Ropecon award isn’t coincidence. in 1990:s, SuoLi has had most of the active members, who have made the hobby to be what it is these days in Finland. And that’s something most of the larpers should be thankful. Even inside their heads, as it’s easier to blame SuoLi for that there’s no Harry Potter -larpsaga in Kälviä.

And Killeri and EFF aren’t the only ones, who have done a lot to SuoLi. Larp-calendar made by Ilkka Puusaari and administrated by Irrette Melakoski, Hannu Pajunen and Yours Truly, Larppaajan Käsikirja (Larper handbook) edited by Niklas Vainio, co-operation Kristiina Prauda made with our National TV-channel in Siiamin Tytöt (Daughters of Siam, tv-drama about larpers and larping), Larppaaja-magazine with all its editors-in-chief during the years, at least including Mike Pohjola, Laura Kalli, Puusaari, Vainio, Melakoski and Vesala, Helsinki area larp prop supplies by Prauda, big larp prop storage by Anni Kauko and Siri Kotajärvi, Larpwright handbook edited by Teemu Rantanen, Rescue bags organized by Juha Reivo and many other projects done in SuoLi that have been making the finnish larping the way it is. So it hasn’t been all worth nothing this SuoLi.

It’s now seen that umbrella/roof organisation like SuoLi didn’t work out. One can always ponder, what kind of would. I know very soon after the information about possible abolition, you can read from internet how some Anonymous larpers know how it should have been done and how it should be done better.

Association for just larp associations is something people come up every now and then, but as long as even the number of local associations is slightly decreasing, it must be obvious that even it would not represent all the larpers.

What would be vice then? I’d vote to abolish SuoLi with as less cockiness and omniscience as possible and think about a new larping roof-organisation if/when there would really be need for such. All the essential functions that there are left from SuoLi like Larp-calender and some info from Larp.fi could be provided by a project by Ropecon association. Already deceased “roleplaying roof organisation” Roolipelikilta already demonstrated that you can’t found a umbrella organisation without real need for such. And at least now there’s no need. Or actives. Let’s all keep our hobby standing by doing our things.


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