Pastors & Dragons: A D&D Retreat


Pastors & Dragons

This August, join the Dungeon Master Pastor, Rev. Rory Philstrom, and other clergy and people of faith for a first-of-its-kind, 4-day, 3-night Dungeons & Dragons retreat. With a mixture of gaming, learning, and Sabbath rest, this retreat will allow you to explore the connections between life, ministry, and the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Pastors & Dragons: A D&D Retreat
Shire in the Woods, McGrath, Minnesota

The Retreat is Full!

Please fill out the information below if you would like to be added to the waitlist.

Pastors & Dragons


Each day will afford hours of Dungeons & Dragons play, with daily game sessions run by Rory, the Dungeon Master Pastor.

We’ll engage in a variety of play styles and explore all four tiers of play. If you have a beloved PC, you can bring it to the game. In addition, we’ll be exploring the character creation process as modes of self-reflection and storytelling.

Whether you have played Dungeons & Dragons before or are interested but brand new to the game, you will be able to fully engage in every aspect of the retreat.

In addition, there will be an opportunity for you to try your hand at the DM seat as we mine the art of Dungeon Mastering for lessons in how to lead a community, engage others, and foster a high invitation/high challenge environment.


Each day will also feature time for plumbing the depths of the tabletop roleplaying genre for lessons in life, faith, and ministry.

Engagement topics will include:

  • Creating Complex Imaginations and the Art of Empathetic Practice
  • Facing Personal Fears on the Fantasy Tabletop
  • Self-Reflection through the Player Character
  • The Purpose and Use of Apocalypse
  • Storytelling
  • Managing Group Dynamics
  • Fostering Collaborative Improvisation and Collective Exploration


At Shire in the Woods, the natural surroundings will provide a rejuvenating backdrop to finally get the rest that is so hard to find in our day-to-day lives. Located 18 miles east of northern Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota, the retreat center is tucked away at the heart of the Solana State Forest and has the Soo Line South Trail running right alongside it.

Relax with a good book indoors or take a stroll in the surrounding woods. In addition to the wonderful cabin spaces for lodging, 5 miles of groomed trails, access to the Soo Line Trail, many miles of trails in the Solana State Forest, a nearby swimming hole, a rose garden, a labyrinth, a beaver pond, a frog and turtle pond, tree swings and hammock, outdoor fire pits, and indoor fireplaces.

There are many amazing options for some real life exploration and rest, and enough time in the schedule to take full advantage of it all.

Join Rev. Rory Philstrom (Dungeon Master Pastor) for a retreat unlike any other.

The Retreat is Full!

Please fill out the information below if you would like to be added to the waitlist.


  • Deposit of $150 is due upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable. 
  • The remaining balance is due in full by August 1, 2018. Flexible payment plans are available. Once your deposit is paid, we’ll contact you to arrange payments.
  • Through August 1, 2018, if you must cancel, we will refund any amount paid minus your $150 non-refundable deposit.
  • After August 1, 2018, there are no refunds, but you may transfer your paid spot to another person.

Rory Philstrom (aka TheDMPastor) is the Lead Pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church, an ELCA Congregation in Bloomington, MN. While at CTK he has worked with the congregation to revivify adult and youth education, innovate new structures for ministry, and engage the neighborhood around pressing issues such as affordable housing and anti-racism. He previously served with his wife as Co-Pastor of Prairie Lutheran Parish, four congregations in and around the small town of Stanley in northwestern North Dakota.

In addition to his work as a pastor, Rory has been the consistent Dungeon Master for two regular bi-weekly games online and in person for the last 3 years.  Players in Rory’s games have included over a dozen pastors, in addition to congregational and Bible camp staff, and spouses. He also ran an 8 session campaign for his confirmation class, using the genre of Dungeons & Dragons as a tool for participatory education.

Rory grew up in Omaha, NE where he learned the values of hard work, fast friendship, a lived faith, and adventure. From there he moved on to Fort Worth, TX where he studied Religion and Spanish at Texas Christian University. While at TCU he got bit by the international travel bug and made his way to China, Tibet, New Zealand, Australia, Tonga, and Nicaragua. After college he spent a year in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, working as a Youth Ministry Coordinator at a congregation in urban Chicago. During that year he intentionally lived below the poverty line with a community of folks doing the same. From there he enrolled at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where his studies focused on interfaith relations. While at LSTC he met his lovely wife Carolyn. He loves new adventures of all kinds, whether they be backpacking & camping outdoors, exploring a new part of town, or laying in his hammock reading an epic fantasy novel. He is passionate about the work that God is doing in our world today and is constantly thinking about how we might become better disciples.

Pastors & Dragons