<![CDATA[Dragon Ministries - From The Dungeon (Blog)]]>Sat, 26 Oct 2019 06:17:33 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Dragon Ministries and Freddie Kluth, featured in Dragon+ Magazine]]>Thu, 14 Mar 2019 18:57:38 GMThttp://dragonministries.com/from-the-dungeon-blog/features-in-dragon-magazinePicture








The Work I have been doing with Dungeons and Dragons and the Dragon Ministry was written about in Dragon+ magazine.  This is so exciting for me and it is an honor to be in a featured.  Read about my background, my work with my daughter and the Unschooling community and the healing magic that can happen through community and D&D.

If you are looking at Dragon+ through your mobile device, it will ask you to download the app.  If you are looking at it through the desktop, you can directly link it it, though I have found it to be a little slow at times.  I have provided a PDF of the page below.
 
Link to Dragon+ Posting:

https://goo.gl/G7Nn7n

Link to PDF of article
https://www.dropbox.com/s/l9yogam4njca9v3/Dragon%20%2B_Full%20width.pdf?dl=0


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<![CDATA[Riding a Unicorn into new awareness - Pastors & Dragons]]>Thu, 06 Sep 2018 17:21:56 GMThttp://dragonministries.com/from-the-dungeon-blog/unicornsPicture
It was June when I saw the post on the Facebook 5e forum that there was going to be a retreat looking at spirit and D&D.  It was called Pastors and Dragon and it was happening in August of this year.

It was right after I started to really tune into this idea that there was more going on in D&D than what we were seeing.  That perhaps there was a way to work with Spirit while we played D&D and then this Retreat manifested. I discussed it with my wife and she said, of course you have to go!  Another big YES!

I was a little nervous, as often I get before I do a retreat.  I was going halfway across the country to play D&D with Christian Pastors.  A few decades before 2018, D&D was being demonized by Pastors and it was now being embraced and explored.  Plus, although I am a Reverend, I'm not a Christian and would they be accepting of me? I did not want to be a firebrand, I wanted to relax and learn from everyone and have fun playing D&D for a week.

I didn’t want to agitate the group or cause unrest.  I wanted to learn about how D&D might connect to Spirit and be with other people who think about religion and community as much as I do. 


The conference was well run by the DM Pastor Rory and everyone was great. It challenged a lot of my preconceptions of Christian Pastors.  The final ride back to the airport culminated with listening to Iron Maiden in a pastor's car, heading back to the airport in Saint Paul on the last day.

The conference was great and being an introspective person, I did some deep thinking about bullying and the game.  During the first session, my dragonborn volcano worshiping paladin strong-armed a traitorous acolyte and I realized during the game that this was really the group’s first impression of me.  When the Dungeon Master (Rory) said to me that the NPC (Non-player-character) didn't like me. A NPC is a character run by the Dungeon Master (“DM”). I wondered, did the group not like me? Someone asked me during game play ,what alignment I was playing, and another mentioned later he thought I was a Barbarian.  Alignment is whether your character is good or evil. If they adhere to a system of laws or were they in things for themselves (chaotic)

This experience gave me pause.  Was I playing too much the fighter part of the Paladin and not enough of the healer?  It led me later to reflect where in my life I was a bully. My mind started reflect back through experiences of my childhood and how I discipline my children.
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In the Tier 2 game, my character, Peryl was level 7.  My attempts to persuade a group of women to allow us onto a ship peacefully was helped with a Perfume of Bewitching.  This perfume gave my character advantage on Persuasion checks for 1 hour. One of the women started to give me extra attention and a fellow character made an aside that I shouldn't be "rapey".  I was aghast by this comment and again had to pause. This was a group of pastors I was with and wasn't sure how comfortable they were with with any sexuality in the game. I also paused just to reconsider my actions and how the Perfume of Persuasion might affect the NPCs.  I backed off this path in the game as I personally wholeheartedly wouldn't go down this path.

Later, when we reached the drunken and depressed Captain of the ship and Father of woman who allowed us on, I was able to cast Lesser Restoration on him and cure him of his alcoholism.  It is a disease.. I tended to him, brought him on deck and cared for him. He started to come to his senses. We realized soon that this was Noah's arc.

Meanwhile our 'not a rogue' Chef, a dagger-weilding cook, made a meal for everyone on the ship.  This really helped morale. The ship was not only filled with 2 of each animal but some sort of demonic force on the lower level and hundreds of demonic stridges on the lowest level with the animals.  We decided to try to deal with the stridges first and then the demon.

Noah, feeling much better now, decided to come with us to battle these creatures.  During the battle, I came across 2 sickly unicorns. I laid hands on them and was then able to mount them!  

I quickly asked the DM, "Can Noah ride a Unicorn as well?"

The stridges escaped to the deck and reformed into demons.

It was an amazing moment to be riding into battle with Noah, mounted on Unicorns! My volcano worshiping dragon-born paladin then asked the Unicorn for more help and a rainbow shield covered us!

We were swept into battle and smiting the demons.  Unfortunately, I was unable to help other party members as Chef was killed by an angry Treant he summoned from a Magic Bean and my comrade, a pike-wielding bugbear, was murdered by.a Tiamat workshop mer-creature.  Balancing the combat effectiveness of a paladin and call to heal was a challenge. Plus I was swept up with riding a unicorn.

After two of the players suffered character deaths, I again had to reconsider how I was playing my character.  I tried to rescue the Chef from the Angry Treant but I myself was knocked down before he was killed. Also two other players had healing potions.  Did I do the right thing? Was that the most effective strategy? I had feelings of remorse and guilt. I also felt exhilarated and excited about the Unicorns and riding into Battle with Noah!

I named the Unicorn, 'Pelé'.

We played another session and Peryl was 14th level.  We were battling a beholder and Samson was there. The pastors said Samson was the worst.  I am not as familiar with the story of Samson so I didn't understand why. This time we battled a Beholder.  I was very ineffective against the creature as he was 20' above us and I had no effective ranged attacks. I then found myself in more of a support position and healed Samson.

During our final session,  Peryl was 20th level now and our party found ourselves in battle against Tiamat.  Another Paladin in the party rushed into combat against her and was almost killed in own round.  I held back again. We were trying to protect her Mother who was giving birth to a baby. Tiamat was planning on trying to destroy the baby as soon as it was born.

My unicorn and I were pushed out of this celestial fortress and into free-fall.  I used the unicorn's teleportation to bring us to the newborn and I cast Death Ward on the child.  Another player teleported the child away. When asked if I would come with the child, I decided that the unicorn should go.  I really bonded with this Pelé and knew it would not survive another round with Tiamat. With the child gone, Tiamat was turned temporarily lawfully good with a Wish Spell and we were able to flee.

Over the last few days, I have spent time contemplating how Peryl changed over the sessions.  At first he was a bruiser, a young Paladin trying to prove his strength and then he found purpose on the Arc.  He bonded with Pele the Unicorn and soon was more strategic and more reticent to rush into battle against overwhelming odds.

There is a life lesson here and one that I am still unpacking.  These are the scenarios we get to play with, not only in this game but also how they bring up things in real life.  We can reflect on and bring mindfulness to these events. If these same feelings come up for us in real life maybe we can make different choices and bring more peace and love into our lives.

Maybe we can change from being a bully to being a glorious rainbow-shielded unicorn-riding hero.

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<![CDATA[The Calling - The Dragon Ministries]]>Sat, 01 Sep 2018 18:11:19 GMThttp://dragonministries.com/from-the-dungeon-blog/thecallingPicture
I really owe the creation of Dragon Ministries to my wife and partner, Dhyana Kluth.  She has been the guiding force behind this passion project.  She was the first to point out to me that everything being created around D&D was a form of my ministry.  She helped me see the magic that was being created and the friendships and community that were growing from this game. 
 
With every step of the Dragon Ministry came to life, Dhyana has been there.  She has given me the nudge (and sometimes a big push) to make this all come to life.  She has shown me the big YES that has been this experience for me. 
 
She has always supported me with this endeavor, she has been the leader in homeschooling our children, she has found the Unschool conference and she introduced me to most of the families in my current on-going campaign.  She has helped me find so much joy and happiness in my life and helped me bring life to this ministry.


Let me introduce to you how Dragon Ministries started.  My family attends an unschooling conference each May in Sandusky, Ohio.  This year, my daughter and I presented about the learning benefits of Dungeons and Dragons.   Vivian and I had a great amount of fun doing the presentation and preparing for it. Vivian did a great job balancing preparing for the talk while rehearsing for her role as the evil stepmother in a local production of Cinderella.


We were honored with support from Wizards of the Coast, who sent 100 starter kits to give away after the talk.  That alone was an amazing YES from the Universe. I am always learning to listen to the big YESSES I receive.

For the conference, I was organizing D&D game play and all the spots filled up quickly.  When our talk was over a father came to me and said that his son wasn't able to get into any of the games and it was really the only thing he was interested in doing this week.  Could I help get him the opportunity to play?

I told him just to show up at the game time.  I wasn’t going to be there at the time but the other DM would make sure he could play.  I just trusted this. I had conversations with the co-facilitator before and I knew he was going to be flexible with sign up and also sometimes these kids don't always show up.  I just felt it was going to be okay.

I was able to connect with the father a few times during the conference and I saw his son playing every night.

This father came to me the final day of the conference and thanked me for helping his son get to play.  He said his son played every night and even set his alarm to play on the last day. He said where they live his son doesn't have any friends and spends all his time playing video games so this was a really big milestone for him.  He was in a group of kids, he was engaged and he was independently working to make sure he wasn't going to miss the game of the conference. This session was the culmination of three groups coming together to battle a dark dragon lich.  It promised to be epic!

This opened my eyes and made me marvel at the power of this game. The Father was so happy to see his son so engaged  It made me think that there was something more going on here. That the imagination was lighting these kids up, that the role playing was engaging these kids, they were making friends and Spirit was here.

One of my favorite things about this game is literally anything can happen and often it does.  People are creating connections through these games and it’s wonderful. It’s lighting them up and it's amazing to be part of this medicine.

This was where the seeds of this ministry started to form.  I run campaign with a few of my friends. One day the wife of one of my adventurers came to me and said that I was doing the work.  I asked her what she meant and she said that when her husband comes home from playing with us, he is happy and light. She said again,”You are doing the work.”

I let this sink in a bit and I started to think about how can we make this work, deeper.  How can we use D&D for more of a tool for gaining a better sense of self? It was obvious the game was working on multiple levels and there are more and more people using D&D and roleplaying in therapy, more and more professionals in the film industry are coming out and talking about how Dungeons and Dragons was instrumental in helping form their storytelling abilities.  In our world where we are consumed by worries about screen time, people are discovering new ways to come together over a new version of a 40 year old game. 

As a healer and Reverend, I have been exploring dozens of different healing modalities over the years and reflecting with what I have learned, it feels like a natural next step for me.  Combining my incredible love for Dungeons and Dragons and my abilities to facilitate groups, create sacred space and deepen experiences, that allow healing and connections to grow between people and communities, I am exciting to be bringing the Dragon Ministry into the world.

I am constantly reflecting on my life with the question of how I can be of service.  I look at the talents I have been given and developed over my life and I ask myself how I can give back.  Creating a place where people can temporarily connect to a place of imagination, develop connections with the people they campaign with, laugh, become frightened for the fate of the characters, and through this develop a better sense of their role in the world and the beautiful life force they can give back to it, really excites me.

This is an  experiment. I will be using my skills as a Dungeon Master with my abilities as a Reverend.  I am going to be multiclassing! Offering journeys, deepening experiences, my ability to hold space, with my Dungeon Mastering skills.  My intention is to help people re-weave the stories they tell themselves about and see if we can see ourselves in a more heroic epic way.  What happens when we balance this absolutely crazy fun game where anything can happen with more intention and introspection. Can we purposely provide space for learning and reflection about ourselves and how we work in the world?  Can we consciously infuse more of ourselves into our characters and see if it can provide a greater opportunity to love ourselves.
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