Foreword to the 3rd Edition of the Manifesto of the Turku School (1/19/2003)

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana, "Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense"

The Turku Manifesto was first published in Solmukohta, roughly three years from now. It was published online a year later. This 3rd Edition (published in the book As Larp Grows Up. --ed.) is pretty much the same as that second, online one, but to be clear and pretentious, we call it third.

The Turku School made its first appearance in late 20th century on the mailing list of Finnish Live-Action Role Players' Association where the school emphasized the meaning of eläytyminen and simulation over dramatism and gamism.

In Chapter VI (shamelessly plagiarized from the Communist Manifesto, by the way) we call out for a Turkuist revolution: "Turku School supports any and all revolutionary role-players' movement directed against the current gamist and dramatist circumstances." A fancy way to say we want you to focus on character eläytyminen and society simulation. Since its first appearance in the Finnish scene some five years ago, the Turku School has achieved pretty much all it set out to achieve. This does not mean all role players consider themselves Turkuists, but that the ideas are pretty much accepted, or at least considered before discarding. Role-playing is seen as art, the importance of eläytyminen is understood. Sure, there's work to be done, but the Revolution is on its way. And not all the thanks go to the Turku School, but for all the role-playing manifestoes and dogmas out there.

We haven't been alone in our struggles. There have been those that stood behind us or our ideals from the very start, and those that joined us after heated discussions. (Just those heated discussions that the provocative style is there to create.) And yet again there are those who've managed to combine our ideas with gamism and dramatism.

The truth is, with all this going on, the original four-way divide is fast losing significance, at least among the avant garde of role-playing. The most interesting dramatist concepts have evolved just as much as those of the eläytyjists and simulationists. So much so that they're all transcending into something much bigger.

What the next step is, it's hard to say yet. Perhaps we'll focus on making the role-playing media popular again, now that we can roughly agree on what that media is. And that it is a media. Or perhaps role-playing will continue evolving for a long time.

Clouded is the future. Still, it seems clear the "Age of Manifestoes" (1999-2002) helped make it happen. Here's one of the makers of that era, perhaps for the last time in print: The Turku Manifesto.

Mike Pohjola
1/19/2003, Turku

The Manifesto
The Turku School