our story

I started playing D&D in the early 1980’s as a young teenager.  Throughout high school and into college the game became a great social bonding experience for me, and led to development of some of my closest friendships which I have maintained throughout my life.  After a break from D&D, I started playing again when my two boys wanted to play the game.  Not knowing anyone else who had experience with the game, I started Dungeon Mastering for my boys and their friends.

What I soon discovered as a parent was how much more significant the game was as a teaching tool then I was ever aware of before.  Watching my own kids play, I saw first hand how this game helped build their critical thinking, social confidence and imagination.

I earned a PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan in 2002 and was a professor at George Washington University before leaving academics to pursue work in community organizations. My experiences both as an educator and as a father have helped me understand the challenges youth face in our world now so dominated by technology.

I have come to appreciate how D&D helps kids develop a hobby unrelated to the internet and computers. Kids’ extracurricular lives are so different now than they used to be. In the past, kids had to rely on their own creativity to come up with activities for play with other kids in the neighborhood.  They had to interact with each other and “figure things out.”  Now, with kids retreating to their rooms to play hours of video games with predetermined story lines, children do not get adequate opportunities for real-world interactions with peers where they can engage their imaginations. As kids communicate through phones and social media so much human interaction is lost. It was with all of these things in mind that I decided to start “Fantastical Adventures.” 

But my experience with my own kids also showed that jumping into role-playing games is not always easy for middle-school aged children. The main obstacles to playing games like D&D are learning how to play the game, finding other kids to play with and having someone experienced enough to run the game as a Dungeon Master.  Fantastical Adventures overcomes all of these obstacles. Our camps bring together similar aged, like-minded peers living within relatively close geographic proximity in order to encourage ongoing play beyond the camp. We provide trained counselors to act as Dungeon Masters to teach the kids the fundamentals of the game and take them through the adventure. 

 As Fantastical Adventures grows, so too will the programs offered including advanced D&D play, Introduction to DM’ing and even a creative writing class. 

We hope your kids will join us this summer for an exciting adventure that may lead to a lifetime of fun.

-Rob Penney, Owner/Director

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