[RPG] How to a new DM deal with having given out overpowered weapons at a low level


I am in a few campaigns, one of them has a DM who's never been a Dungeon Master before. Their grasp of the rules and how the game is played is sound but they are a bit of a pushover when it comes to letting players get what they want.

A large majority of the players have asked for special weapons that they thought were cool such as:

  • A barbarian with a Flametongue and a Sword of Frost

  • A bard with a bagpipe that, when it hits a target, deals 3d6 damage

  • A fighter with a Bogsword (homebrew item) with 2d8 damage, and 1d6 acid damage to the target for three rounds; the damage adds up if multiple attacks hit

  • A cleric with a staff of Bonking (also homebrew) that deals 2d6 bludgeoning damage and 1d8 radiant damage

  • A warforged artificer that has a 'fantasy rocket launcher' that deals 4d8 damage in a 120-ft. radius, with a DC 14 Dex save for half damage.

All of these weapons are great and all but we are at sixth level.

The DM has noticed that any monster they try to throw at the party gets killed in less than one round and wants to change this. The players have had these weapons for quite a while, and the DM thinks it would be unfair to just get rid of their weapons with the sole reasoning behind it being "because I said so".

They're thinking about replacing their weapons with ones that are suited for their level, but the issue is this: They're all pretty attached to their weapons.

How can the DM fix this OP weapon problem, and how can they best do so without making all of the players mad?

Best Answer

By discussing it with their players

"Hey guys, I messed up. I gave you all weapons that are more suited for level 15+ characters, and as a result, you're oneshotting every level appropriate encounter I can throw at you. If we want to keep playing the game as it's intended to, I'm going to have to remove the overpowered weapons I gave you when I didn't know any better and replace them with items that make more sense for your power level, else I can't guarantee a good gaming experience."

If the players refuse because they want to keep their overpowered weapons, tell them you're not enjoying the game and tell them to find somebody else to DM for them and simply start a new game with all the experience you've learned from your previous campaign.

Nobody's first time DMing is the best time ever, but don't feel trapped in a campaign because a bunch of spoiled players refuse to give up their toys.

New DMs most likely don't have the knowledge to make balanced homebrew weapons

Several of these homebrew items are absurd at all levels. Take, for instance, the Bogsword. An extra 2d8 damage is already insane, but it has a component that stacks with itself for insane amounts of damage per turn.

A level 5 fighter with this weapon can attack twice, then action surge to do it again and, depending on what kind of weapon it is, might be able to attack an additional time with a bonus action. Even if we assume they don't get a bonus action, this means that the first round, they've stacked 4d6 acid damage on the enemy.

The next round, they attack twice. The creature has taken 4d6 acid damage already, and now they've been stacked up to 6d6 acid damage. I don't even know how you're ruling the duration in terms of stacking, but at the very least they can take 8d6 acid damage in a round before their duration runs out. This is insane for a bonus effect ontop of an item that already does more damage than what can reasonably be expected from a Very Rare of even Legendary item, because nothing is going to resist that 2d8 magical slashing damage either.

Balance within the party is messed up

I see quite a few suggestions that suggest simply increasing the HP of the enemies the DM is throwing at the players. That works to fix the problem of enemies dying before they even get a single round, but that'll only make the fact that these items are not evenly balanced all the more obvious.

The Barbarian is rocking reasonably balanced items, albeit balanced for a higher level than he currently is. Contrast this with the Bogsword and the Rocket Launcher and simply raising the HP of all the enemies will make it so the Barbarian can't contribute nearly as well as the Fighter or the Artificer.

My suggestion

These players are level 6. Do away with the all the homebrew items and let all the players pick a single Rare quality magic weapon. This is already a lot stronger than what you can usually expect to be wielding at level 6 in most campaigns, having a +2 weapon for example at this level is absurdly powerful, but at least it won't completely break the game like these homebrew items. Realistically, they'd be rocking a +1 weapon at this point, if they're lucky.