D&D 5E How to make an optimized and powerful net user

faria

First Post
At first glance, nets are crap. 5ft range + Thrown = 100% disadvantage when using them. Making enemies lose their action to free themselves is a really strong mechanic though... So I thought about it and it struck me: what if I use a Net Launcher instead of just throwing them?

Then I thought, "Who can craft a Net Launcher?". The answer is Rock Gnome, because of their Tinker ability. Turning a crossbow into a Net Launcher is perfectly reasonable and believable for a Tinkering gnome.

The Crossbow Expert feat would be great too. 2 Net Launchers with free reloads and no disadvantage in melee range? Sign me up.

So what's the best class for this? My first thought was Ranger because they get access to Swift Quiver and can pick the Archery school. But then I realized that Bard can also steal this spell...7 levels earlier... And guess what else Lore Bards get: Cutting Words. Cutting Words can be used to make an enemy fail their STR check when trying to free themselves. Dude.

The only downside so far is that you only get 1 bonus action per turn, so you have to choose between Swift Quiver's 2 free attacks or Crossbow Expert's 1 free attack. Sounds obvious, but keep in mind Swift Quiver is a spell and requires a high level slot, while Crossbow Expert just kicks in for free. So is there another spell that grants an extra net attack (pun intended)? Yep! Hello, Haste. Haste is only a level 3 spell too, instead of Swift Quiver's level 5 slot. Casting Haste also grants other rewards, like higher speed and AC.

As a side note, you can get away with 1 Net Launcher instead of 2. Crawford confirms this: http://www.sageadvice.eu/2015/01/12/crossbow-expert-bonus-action/ So you can wear a shield in your offhand for more AC, or maybe a light melee weapon?

So what do you guys think of this? A Rock Gnome Lore Bard with a Net Launcher gets:

Level 3: d6 Cutting Words reactions to lower enemy STR checks when breaking free
Level 4: Crossbow Expert feat
Level 5: d8 Cutting Words, plus Font of Inspiration to regain the dice after every short rest
Level 6: Additional Magical Secrets for the Haste spell

By level 6 you get 3 net attacks per turn, and a virtually unlimited number of Cutting Words to force fails from breaking free. You can take 2 levels of Fighter for Action Surge, giving 4 net attacks per round by level 8 and the Archery fighting school bonus. I'm sure there are nice multiclass combinations beyond that as well, but most campaigns don't go too high. For a standard low-mid level campaign, this build seems fantastic! If you can convince your DM to give you a Net Launcher without going Rock Gnome, even better. Take variant human and get Crossbow Expert right at level 1, plus better stats!

Thoughts?
 

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MYV

First Post
from the PHB pg 148
"When you use an action, bonus action, or reaction
to atlack with a net, you can make only one attack
regardless of the number of attacks you can
normally make."
 


faria

First Post
from the PHB pg 148
"When you use an action, bonus action, or reaction
to attack with a net, you can make only one attack
regardless of the number of attacks you can
normally make."

"to attack with a net,"

You're not attacking with a net though. You're attacking with a modified crossbow, so this is legal. =]
 

from the PHB pg 148
"When you use an action, bonus action, or reaction
to atlack with a net, you can make only one attack
regardless of the number of attacks you can
normally make."

By RAW, that doesn't seem to restrict the Ranger's Volley at all, because that is "a ranged attack against any number of creatures within 10 feet of a point you can see within your weapon's range. You must have ammunition for each target, as normal, and you make a separate attack roll for each target." Note that it is a single attack that affects multiple creatures instead of multiple attacks.

So by strict RAW, it appears that a Sharpshooter Ranger is the most-optimized Net user, since he can attack targets as far as 25' away (15' range + 10' from Volley) with his net, and can hit as many creatures as he has ammunition for. (Nets and other thrown weapons don't take ammunition, so...? ask your DM how many that can be. At least two creatures is certainly reasonable, possibly three if he uses his object interaction.) And because he is a Sharpshooter he does not take range disadvantage.
 

gyor

Legend
If your really want to lock an enemy down throw a net and cast ensnaring strike when it hits.

The only class that really benifits from using a net imo is the beast master ranger. He throws his net and gives his other attack to his pet so its not an issue with using other attacks.

Use a Giant Crab as a companion and your target has to get free of the net, your crab grappling him, and at times an ensnaring strike.
 

Rhogar_Rarr

First Post
If you get a rogue with proficiency in nets they should be able to sneak attack with nets, and the one attack thing isn't a problem. Make sure to pick up Sharpshooter for no disadvantage at long range and -5 hit +10 damage. You'll be killing things with a net in no time. If they survive, they are restrained.

I suggest picking up a level of Fighter for archery style and net proficiency. Plus, second wind and extra hit points aren't too shabby either. Action surge at level 2 for double net toss.

I do like some of the other combos people have listed.

Edit: Forgot to mention that you can pick up battle master at fighter 3 and have net maneuvers as well.
 
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May have mentioned this elsewhere, but a shadow monk makes a good net user. You have high Dex already, and Darkness cancels the disadvantage from nets, and then you withdraw a few paces so your buddies can kill the now-restrained target with advantage. (Darkness also prevents the opportunity attacks you might otherwise take.)
 

Rhogar_Rarr

First Post
What are some good net maneuvers that a Battlemaster gets at level 3?

Good Maneuvers:
Precision Attack or Feinting Attack can help make sure you hit. And you want to make sure you hit with your net.
Parry is never a bad thing to have. It can help you stay standing and that's always useful.

Pick them if you want them:
Rally and Commander's Strike are available if you want a more tactical vibe.
Pushing Attack and Maneuvering Attack can help your party's positioning as well and get them out of the danger zone.
Disarming Attack and Evasive Footwork are good for a dueling sort of vibe. Not super useful in my books, but could be a lot of fun. Disarm and restrain your foe with a net, then kick their weapon away.
Trip Attack, Goading Attack, Menacing Attack, or Distracting Strike are kinda redundant with the restrained condition, but they could be useful if you think your enemy will break free and their turn comes before your allies.

Finally, Lunging Attack, Riposte, and Sweeping Attack will not work with a net at all. They require a melee weapon, but if you have secondary weapons they could work. But seriously, why would your net master use anything other than a net?
 

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