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

ROLL INITIATIVE!

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.

GAIN EXPERIENCE.

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

TAKE A LONG REST.

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.


CANCELLATION POLICY

  • 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

TRANSPORTATION, DRAFT SCHEDULE, and ACCOMMODATIONS

Advertisements

The 4 Marks of an Epic Life

One of the things I love about D&D is that it gives players an opportunity to be epic. Sometimes life can be mundane and meaningless, but epic life… that’s a horse of a different color. What’s different about life when it’s lived epically, you ask? Here are my 4 marks of an epic life:

1. Epic living has lasting direction. There is movement and progression. An epic life doesn’t stand still. I mean, imagine playing a role playing game where you just sat there. It’s not much fun is it? Furthermore, this direction is one that lasts. It’s possible to live a frantic life pulled in many directions, different every day, but that’s hardly epic. It’s more just plain exhausting.

2. Epic living has higher purpose. An epic life participates in something greater than itself. In Dungeons & Dragons player characters are often caught up quests and circumstances that go beyond themselves: slaying a nasty marauding dragon to save the town, restoring the worship of a lost God, fighting in a massive war to protect the homeland from an invading army.

3. Epic living has real risks. An epic life forgoes safety and comfort for the sake of direction and purpose. In D&D your character Gina the Fighter is much more likely to survive to a ripe old age if she doesn’t venture into the lair of the big nasty giant. The game isn’t very fun for the players or the DM if the characters just bulldoze their way through every monster. Their decisions should have consequences. If they make bad decisions, the risk that their character would die has to be real.

4. Epic living has unexpected rewards.  An epic life is rewarded in unforeseen ways. A life’s purpose might include the seeking of a certain reward: say Gina the Fighter has the purpose of acquiring wealth, which leads her to take the risk of entering the giant’s lair in search of his hoard of gold. But having striven for that purpose, Gina also wins an unexpected reward: she returns to the village where she’s surprised by the villagers who now praise her as GINA THE GIANT SLAYER and elect her mayor of the village. She might also find that through this experience she has new unexpected courage to face even larger foes.

Direction, Purpose, Risk, Reward. These four marks help to identify an epic life.

Now there are many different ways that an epic life might be pursued. The direction, purpose, risk, and reward for one person is likely going to look very different from that of another. But there are equally many ways to retreat from epic living. In my experience, comfort and safety often seem to trump any sense of a higher purpose. We live in predictable patterns taking predictable risks for predictable rewards. Maybe that sort of life works for some people, but for me that sounds like the downright doldrums.

D&D is being used today to teach people all sorts of things. Some teachers incorporate it into their classroom to help kids learn math. Some psychologists use it to help teach social skills and empathy to autistic children. Others have found that playing D&D helps people to unlock their creativity and improvisational skills. I think this game can be used to teach us to recognize and to live a more epic life.

There are a lot of people out there who talk about using a role playing game in this sort of a way. One of the best for me was Dan Harmon when he was interviewed on the Dungeons & Dragons podcast.

This is a game where we can really wrestle with the tension between who we are and who we want to be.