Obredor sighed- parlay wasn’t an option, now. The bugbear-pirate Vergl Drex had ordered his crew to make for Obredor’s vessel at full sail, and the volley of Eldritch Blasts delivered from the would-be victims did little to abate the goblin bloodlust of their pirate enemies. “Shame,” Obredor thought. The bugbear was a steadfast comrade years ago, but had long since gone his own way and formed his own crew. Now, Obredor’s vessel was the pirate’s latest prey. This beast had saved Obredor’s life before, and Obredor had saved his. There was no debt there… But a kinship? Perhaps.

The vessels were near alongside one another when grapples and hooks went flying from both decks, battle cries rising above the roar of the wind on the sea as several found a hold. The crews began pulling the ships together, and marines on both sides readied to board. Obredor shifted the cutlass in his hand, the familiar blade’s weight was certainly not the ideal weapon for what he intended, but it was the one most familiar to him. He locked eyes with Vergl… and flung his blade.

The saber turned end over end as it sailed through the air towards its target… Blade, then pommel, then blade again glinted in the sun. It closed the distance- and then clattered against the enemy vessel’s railing and splashed into the sea below. Several of the enemy sailors (and some of Obredor’s own fellows) roared with laughter. 

He was unphased as he began to mutter the incantation taught him by a long-dead magus. The guttural arcane language of the hobgoblins shaped the energies around him, and the sword reformed in his hand. He threw it again. This time, it found purchase.

Vergl’s eyes had caught the sword in the air too late to dodge it. His expression turned from one of glee to confusion as he peered quizzically at the blade protruding from his chest as blood began to pool on the deck beneath him. A moment later he was on his knees. The next, he was sprawled on the deck, cold and still.

Obredor hadn’t intended to miss with his first throw, but he was glad he did. It was good to be able to make his old comrade laugh one last time before his life was snuffed out. Most do not have to consider such things, Obredor thought to himself, but such is a pirate’s life.

I don’t often get to play, but when I do, I like to make it worthwhile. I like to do cool stuff- sometimes stuff my character isn’t necessarily good at- and I like to make the sessions memorable (for myself as well as others). This makes for some pretty stupid gimmicks and some great stories for later. Based on the rules, my character probably shouldn’t have been able to throw the sword as far as he did. He likely should’ve had disadvantage or some other penalties to the attack, and he probably shouldn’t have been able to do as much damage as he did- but it was fun. And hilarious. I’m grateful for a DM that saw an opportunity to “say yes” and took it for the sake of a good time, rather than flipping through a rulebook to find out what the all-powerful WOTC had decided on the matter.

One of the most important lessons for a Dungeon Master to learn is this: Nobody wins an arms race with the DM. That’s not to encourage a DM to act as a tyrant- quite the opposite. A DM’s power is infinite, and how they wield that power has a disproportionate effect on the amount of fun to be had at a table- so why not wield that power benevolently? If you cheer for the PCs, celebrate their victories, mourn their defeats, and challenge them to succeed, then your whole group has fun. If you’re only out to kill the characters… well, you might as well be burning ants with a magnifying glass. You may get some kicks out of it, but really, it’s just pointless cruelty- and the ants won’t appreciate it.

I spent far too long as an adversarial GM. I’m glad to say that I shrugged off that mantel a few years ago and fell in love with the cooperative storytelling nature of tabletop RPGs in a way that allowed me to challenge players while still cheering on their narratives and goals. It’s too easy to get bogged down in rules and rulings when trying to simply have a good time- and it’s so more rewarding to simply find a way to “say yes.”