Dungeons & Dragons Online

Need advice on whether I’m being a bad DM or if I need to just take a break

Hi everyone,

Just want to preface that I'm quite new to dnd, and DMing in general. Been at it about 6 months, and my current campaign is a home brew with 5 PC's. (I know homebrew can be a big undertaking, but it's been fun, and I make sure to ask where the party is heading next so I may plan better.)

I was the first DM for all these people also.

I have 5 players and I'll run through what are either potential problems, or my own short comings. I truly dont know which it is, but it's making me feel like I want to stop being DM for a while as I feel burnt out.

  1. Paladin with huge AC. This is their characters strength and I barely if ever hit them. This doesnt worry me at all, I just worry that it makes combat boring for the other guys if it feels like not a whole lot of threat. I occasionally throw in some spells with saving throws etc, but I want to keep balance between them showing their strength, and also feeling at least a little threatened. Again, this is purely for their own enjoyment, this doesnt bother me on the slightest. (Genuinely just want everyone to have fun).

  2. Barbarian. So damn tanky, however they seem to enjoy this so that's perfect. However, occasionally get comments, such as in last session the fighter attacked in a surprise round before initiative (I know surprise rounds arent really a thing but he jumped from the ceiling, so have to reward that creativity) and he has 3 attacks so he made all 3 with advantage. However I questioned this, as once you make one attack you are no long hidden, so the next 2 should not really be advantage. So they're both saying 'you really fucked him on that' as I retroactively took a crit away. But realistically the rolls were 'illegal' right? I think it's more so the adversarial attitude that bugs me, especially when they're both DMs themselves in other campaigns we have started. Also the fighter used action surge here, which I protested, however the Bard said 'it's a free action, he can do it' so that's another 3 free attacks before initiative.

  3. Druid. Very fresh, first campaign, I feel like they prefer puzzles and that type of thing to combat, but having a hard time coming up with some good mind excercise in the world. This player never complains at all, but I just want to make sure they're having fun too.

  4. Fighter. I made the mistake of giving flanking as a rule in combat early on, and now Every. Single. Combat. 'Hes facing the paladin so I'll flank him.' It just feels super boring and repetitive, and I'm starting to despise this rule. To counter this I tried having some ranged attackers shoot him with advantage (his back is turned to them, makes sense?) And the bard states 'No, only melee is at advantage' and it tried to argue that his back is turned but hes quoting the flanking rules. The OPTIONAL flanking rules. This guy is also a DM so I dont know why he would argue against another DM when he knows how annoying it could be.

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I'll point out I am a player in the Bard and Barbarians campaign, and aside from jokingly 'how the fuck doesn't a 3 athletics check climb the wall? That's bullshit' type of jokes, I dont argue rules or anything like that. Always asking if things can be done etc. Again this is from one side, maybe I have done it and not noticed, i cant say for sure, but definitely never try to.

  1. Bard. A bit of a rules lawyer, I had a homebrew boss monster that for legendary actions summoned 1d6 small enemies, or 1d4 bigger enemies, on separate actions. and he said 'He cant summon big ones, because he already did 2 legendary actions summoning small ones. How can they call cost the same amount of legendary actions, it should cost 2 for the bigger ones' even after explaining that the dice used is smaller and they only summon big ones on one legendary action per turn. To stop this conversation again I just changed the boss to attack on his legendary actions which just killed the idea of getting swarmed with smaller monsters.

Also there are times when he uses persuasion or Suggestion to get things, such as a deck of balance, where he suggested the shopkeeper tell him exactly what all the options are. Again, this is great use of his talent and character, but this completely takes away from the fun and surprise of the Deck of Balance from the table and would ruin the immersion. He wanted an idea of how it worked so I told him one good and one bad but 'No they have to tell me everyone' Again I can see how this is what his character was built for, but what happens if he suggests or tries to persuade that the BBEG become their friend? Like how do I deal with this in game?

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I do have ideas like immune to charm, but surely there are better options. I just want everyone to have fun but it is hard to balance this so that EVERYONE has fun without feeling so burnt out

There is definitely no bad blood or ill intentions at all from anyone I dont think, but it just makes me feel burnt out and I dont feel like I can continue to plan the campaign for a while. I'm thinking of maybe just fast tracking the ending in a couple sessions and then letting someone else DM, as I don't wish to let anyone down etc.

Anyway rant over, hopefully you guys can give me some advice to make sure everyone keeps having fun!

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