The Greatness of players
I’m no D&D expert. In fact, I pretty much wing it most of the time. I tried reading the Dungeons Masters Guide and Players Handbook from cover to cover… It didn’t work out. For crying out loud, it reads like a textbook. Which means most of it went through one ear and out the other.
The cool thing about having a good group to run a game for, is that you can delegate. I have a couple players who know the 5th edition books WAY better than I do, so I can defer to their knowledge when I come up against something I don’t know (my group chose me to run the game because they like my storytelling. The rest… I’m still working on. But they’re there to help me).
You don’t have to know everything to be a good DM
We got a new player in our group recently who’s never played D&D before. I helped him roll up his character get armor, weapons and a backstory. Then was able to hand him off to one of my more experienced players to help him with game mechanics.
Your Players are your Greatest Assets
I think DM’s get hung up on the whole “God Role” sometimes and forget that their greatest assets are the players. Personally, I’d rather admit that I don’t know something and ask my players as experts, than to try and act like I know everything and end up looking like an idiot in front of people I respect. If you look around your gaming table, there is such a wealth of knowledge there, so the DM doesn’t have to stop story or battle to get info on how grapple works or what different spells saving throws are. I can be running the encounter for one person and ask another to look up the mechanics. It keeps the players involved when it isn’t their turn and they have more fun when they’re working together.
I’ve played in games before where the DM was Mr. Know-it-all and would get mad at players who opposed his knowledge. Even if we had the book open and pointed at the rule, he would then make it a “house rule” so it still went his way. Afterwards, you would have to be extra careful because he’d be out to kill your character for opposing him. Let me tell you, IT’S NOT FUN to play in a game where the DM retaliates against the players for trying to add their own knowledge.
Let your Players Shine
My players are there to have fun. As a DM, I’m there to facilitate that fun. The game doesn’t revolve around me. It’s all about them. When my players are having fun, so am I, and that’s what’s important. In my opinion, the DM isn’t there to be the center of attention, he/she’s there to help the players shine. Players should be excited to come to game. They should spend the week talking about what happened last week with smiles and laughter. If that’s not happening for you, perhaps it’s time to rethink your strategy.