Is the net a broken weapon?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


So I GM a campaign and I have a bard in the party who is always using a net. He isn't proficient with it, but he still only needs to hit the touch AC of his enemies, so it's pretty effective.

My grief with this, though, is that I think it's getting TOO effective. Every single encounter I set up, he's entangling enemies left and right and they have to spend a full round getting rid of the nets. And yes, he has SEVERAL nets since I don't feel comfortable restricting the number of nets he can buy (the campaign is set in a huge trade city).

Am I being too paranoid, or is this a flaw in the rules?


Well, your NPCs can attack it, deal 5 points of damage, destroy the net, and no longer be entangled. Then they move next to the bard, who is 10 feet away, since that's the hard limit for nets. Plus they weigh 6 lbs each, and it's going to require a move action to draw one (unless as part of a move, I suppose).

How many nets does he have? Are you tracking encumbrance? 24 pounds just for 4 nets is quite a lot.

Dark Archive

Nah, net is the most underrated debuff in the game. That's my Summoner's "when bored" thing to do as well :).

At once you get -2 to hit, AC, and they can't 5-foot step, much less run away. And vs Finessee creatures it's -4.

Like I said, very underrated Pathfinder tactic; especially now that there is a net feat-line.


I'd say that they are not broken.

For reference:

Net:
A net is used to entangle enemies. When you throw a net, you make a ranged touch attack against your target. A net's maximum range is 10 feet. If you hit, the target is entangled. An entangled creature takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls and a –4 penalty on Dexterity, can move at only half speed, and cannot charge or run. If you control the trailing rope by succeeding on an opposed Strength check while holding it, the entangled creature can move only within the limits that the rope allows. If the entangled creature attempts to cast a spell, it must make a concentration check with a DC of 15 + the spell's level or be unable to cast the spell.

An entangled creature can escape with a DC 20 Escape Artist check (a full-round action). The net has 5 hit points and can be burst with a DC 25 Strength check (also a full-round action). A net is useful only against creatures within one size category of you.

1. Each net weighs 6lbs this can add up quickly if you enforce the encumbrance rules.

2. Enemies do not have to spend a full round removing nets. The penalty is relatively minor, and their best option might be to lay into the bard or his friends rather than try to escape the net.

3. Ranged attacks provoke AoOs.

4. Nets have a 10' range. Enemies with reach will force the range penalty or AoO.


The bard actually has a STR score of 16, so he can carry quite a lot. But tracking encumbrance might be an idea.

BUT: Can you attack the net as a standard action? I thought you needed a full-round action for that? (Either a STR check to break it or Escape Artist to untangle.) Just hitting the net isn't described in the entry for it.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Just be glad he's a bard with nets and not a gunslinger with lassos.


Also, if he's throwing the net at an enemy in combat that's a -4 to hit and if there is anything in the way granting soft cover (ie an ally) then the enemy gets an additional +4 to AC. So that's an effective 14 AC base touch for the enemy (with no dex modifiers or deflection) with a -8 to hit for the bard. A level 5 bard with decent dex (16 and inspire courage) would have a +3 to hit touch ac, -1 to hit if the enemy is in combat and the enemy has a 14AC base touch if there is any soft cover. That's a roll of 15 or higher to entangle, yeah i'd be comfortable with that.

Like Cheapy said, the net only has 5 hit points and if any enemies are adjacent to the bard when he throws the net, they get an attack of opportunity.


Attacking the net would be like attacking any other thing. You just attack it. So yes, standard. From my understanding, you could make the escape artist check (full-round), the strength check (full-round), or just whack it, like you can any other object. It will have an AC of about...4 at most. If it's a medium object (I honestly don't remember if it's that or Small), it'll be 3.


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You have 2 full-round options (the DC 20 escape artist check or the DC 25 str check) -- but you can also just shred the net's 5 hp and 0 hardness. (After all, a sunder action is just an attack -- and that's against an item that's being moved/wielded). So if you net the greatsword guy who's got a BAB of +7, he'll chop his way free with the +7 attack and then 5' step and hit you with the +2 attack (since you had to be within 10' to throw the net). [Str 14 will guarantee it, since min damage is 2d6+3]

Dark Archive

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I still think people are underestimating the net; heck I have one (7 Str), and when I throw it they hurt. Often opponents do shred it (yay mend), but regularly they are severly debuffed (the movement penalties hurt as much or more as the -2).

You can't attack-move-attack.

They are a great weapon; it's not that they are broken per se, but they are an easy go-to for people who don't want to invest resources / stats for real combat options. I love them for bards / summoners for this reason; and half-elves and humans can get it at no huge cost.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Thalin wrote:
You can't attack-move-attack.

If you're referring to what was suggested in the post above yours, you can take a 5ft step in between attacks in a full-attack.

Dark Archive

There is a player in my area that does something similar. He's a good cleric that uses the feat that makes Summon spells into standard actions. He often uses Summon Minor Monsters, calls the ferret/weasel, and if they hit, they auto-grapple.

These things are weak, but the point is they give the targeted creature the grappled condition. That creature has to waste an action basically to remove the weasel, and that's hoping he was only grappled once.

My point is, with the net, it's the same issue. Not that it's broken, but it's incredibly effective with little counters to it, and little reason NOT to use it. It's a solid debuff that the creature has to spend an action to remove. It's very similar to Dirty Trick, where they must spend actions to remove the condition or keep suffering from it.

Once again, action economy wins.


Whenever I've seen a net used, the target either (a) just ignored the net and sucked up the -2 entangle penalty or (b) destroyed the net with one attack.

I'll stick with tanglefoot bags, thanks.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Fun story:

Spoiler:
I ran a PFS session with my family, including my never-gamed-before mother who was using the pregenerated fighter (1st level).

They're fighting an imp, who is currently invisible. My mom sees that her character has rope, so she spends a couple of rounds making her own lasso. She then readies an action to lasso the imp if he appears.

The imp appears as he charges my brother, passing right by my mom. She rolls her attack (with nonproficiency) and gets a natural 20.

Oh look, a lasso'd creature can't charge. So he tumbles to a halt in front of the silver-dagger-wielding ninja.

The fight was over shortly thereafter.


Slightly relevant:

Spoiler:
In one campaign I GM'd, I was looking over the gear in the book and realized that the net could be potentially quite useful. So the party eventually came across a gnome who had developed a net gun - two handed ranged weapon that increased the range to 15 ft., with magazines that carry one net each. They got a "practice" session in which they had to capture these small critters to be used for other things, so they all got a free gun.

Sadly, they all pretty much tossed them once they finished the mini quest.

I don't think it's broken, but I think it is an item that can have its shining moments.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Nets are awesome...especially for NPCs.

Trick out some low-level warriors with nets and alchemical attacks and have them use decent teamwork tactics and they can take a PC of higher level. It can be vary humbling for PCs be defeated by intelligent, cooperative lower level NPC class pukes. Especially if they were contemptuous of the "Mayor's worthless Guards" before.

In general, non-magical cheap attacks are great for leveling the playing field for low level characters. A 1st level warrior with a Dex of 12 (not anything beyond the pale) can have an attack bonus of +2 with these things...not anything especially impressive. A 5th level Fighter with a Dex of 16, Full Plate +1, and a Ring of Protection +1 will have an AC of 24, 27 with a +1 Heavy Shield. Touch AC...14. That means that our 1st level warrior has a 45% of hitting the fighter with a net...or any other ranged touch attack, like Liquid Ice, which has the added benefit of not damaging the nets. Once the fighter is entangled, it's a better than 50% chance to hit.

That's when the guards break out the Tanglefoot bags, and start practicing their archery and bombing. After sticking the fighter to the floor, hopefully while still netted, they then begin lobbing the alchemist's fire, arrows, and insults.

I love nets.


Oh, don't misunderstand -- I didn't mean to imply nets weren't useful in my statement -- in my example, you're sucked away the Greatsword-weilder's biggest attack. Just saying that they're not broken, and that they become far less useful against powerful foes who only need to give up a single attack to get out, or not even that in the case of, say, a fire-breathing mage.


BYC wrote:
It's very similar to Dirty Trick, where they must spend actions to remove the condition or keep suffering from it.

This is exactly my point: if Dirty Trick needs a feat to be effective and net does this nearly for free, how come EVERYONE isn't dropping Improved anything to just chuck nets around? I think that if a cheap non-magical item can be likened to a feat, then the feat isn't really good enough or the item is too good.


Orcadorsala wrote:
BYC wrote:
It's very similar to Dirty Trick, where they must spend actions to remove the condition or keep suffering from it.
This is exactly my point: if Dirty Trick needs a feat to be effective and net does this nearly for free, how come EVERYONE isn't dropping Improved anything to just chuck nets around? I think that if a cheap non-magical item can be likened to a feat, then the feat isn't really good enough or the item is too good.

In brief:

  • Using the Dirty Trick maneuver is almost always a waste of an action.
  • There's almost nothing that a net can do that a tanglefoot bag can't do better.
  • Tanglefoot bags don't need a feat to use properly, nor do they require folding.
  • If anything is too good, it's the tanglefoot bag. (I think they're fine, though.)


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    Tanglefoot bags aren't reusable.

    Until you get Greater Dirty Trick, that CM kinda sucks.


    Cheapy wrote:
    Tanglefoot bags aren't reusable.

    That's correct. They're merely as cheap as dirt (after level 1, anyways).

    Dark Archive

    Cheapy wrote:

    Tanglefoot bags aren't reusable.

    Until you get Greater Dirty Trick, that CM kinda sucks.

    Totally disagree. Limiting your opponents to only standard actions is incredibly powerful. It's brutal against bosses, and bosses are usually the only times when parties are in a life-threatening situation. I always pick the blinded option. For spell casters, I pick deafened sometimes. I'll pick sickened or shaken if my party can stack the other penalty.

    But yeah, tanglefoot bags are amazing until until probably level 7 or so, and then the penalty isn't as huge anymore.


    You're trading your Standard action for their Move action up until greater dirty trick. That's...not so great.

    Sczarni

    The biggest advantage nets have over tanglefoot bags are that you can use a net for other things. For example, a hammock. Or an extra rucksack, depending on how big your GM thinks the holes in the net are.

    Then there's the old standby of casting invisibility on the net, hanging it in a doorway, then chasing enemies into it (or firing arrows through it and waiting for enemies to run at you).


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    Cheapy wrote:
    You're trading your Standard action for their Move action up until greater dirty trick. That's...not so great.

    I've never even used Dirty Trick, but this doesn't sound that bad, really, when it is just the party versus one boss.

    4 PCs = 4 Standards, 4 Moves, 4 Swifts.
    1 Baddie = 1 Standard, 1 Move, 1 Swift.

    That becomes..

    4 PCs = 3 Standards, 4 Moves, 4 Swifts.
    1 Baddie = 1 Standard, 1 Swift.

    Seems pretty legit to me.

    But like I said, no experience with it. This is just mindless commentary.


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    Doesn't that one feat make a net a 1 handed reach weapon?

    Oh and don't tell your bard about the two handed thrower feat, then he'd get 1 1/2 str to the damage. The feat says nothing about it being a ranged or melee weapon, haha. And with quick draw, he can toss many nets.

    To bad grippli's are small,then you could be a fun barb alchemist raging hurler, with nets haha.


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    Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    Nets are generally attended weapons. As such, you can't attack and destroy one UNLESS you beat the wielder's CMD with a sunder attempt.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Cheapy wrote:
    You're trading your Standard action for their Move action up until greater dirty trick. That's...not so great.

    Maneuver Master FTW. ;)


    Thanks for the clarification Ravingdork. I've recently been playing a net figher in PFS (just hit level 2) and the question has come up. The DMs keep just wanting to shred the net. Which, while maybe logical seems counter to the game mechanics. I've just upgraded to a masterwork net and the idea that any random NPC could just pull out a pocket knife and destroy my investment has been a little disturbing.

    The other piece that has come up is the idea of the net taking damage as you attack a creature entangled in it.... My guy generally follows up a net entangle with a gladius attack. Again, logically you would expect my slashing weapon to damage the net, but I don't think that is true to the mechanics of the game.


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    I've got some NPC city guards who use nets as part of their standard equipment, but they fight in concert with Buckler Duelists who attack first attempt to trap the PCs weapons, once the weapons are taken the net throwers finish the encounter. The net throwers wait until their targets are without weapons before they try to snare PCs for capture - so less chance of getting nets destroyed in combat.


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    Interesting things about Nets (as compared to Tanglefoot bags):

    Hardness and Hit Points: Each +1 of a magic weapon’s enhancement bonus adds +2 to its hardness and +10 to its hit points.

    Impervious Enchantment - Break DC goes up by twice the enchancement bonus.

    Anchoring Enchantment - DC 30 to move, even if the target does not try to break/escape the Net.

    Ghost Touch Enchantment - Already mentioned in Treantmonk's Bard guide I believe.

    Designating Enchantment - Debuff the target AND buff any ally attacks on that target, who needs Bardic Performance rounds? The ally buff is granted for 1 round regardless of whether the Net is broken/escaped. (NOTE, does not stack with bardic performance obviously)

    If your (the OP's) problems so far are just with normal Nets, your problems have only just begun in my opinion.

    Also, while not RAW, the following would make sense based on the rope variations:

    Silk Net: 10 hp, DC 26 break, weight 3 lbs, cost 200gp
    Spider Silk Net: 15 hp, DC 27 break, weight 2.5 lbs, cost 2,000gp (expensive, but a good base for some of the above enchantments)


    You can always through some babau demons at them. Any weapon touching their skin which is covered in acidic slime takes 1d8 points of acid damage per round. It won't take long for those nets to melt into nothing. 8^)


    Holy necro, Batman!


    maigc nets are nice too, a ghost touch plus x with the impervious enhancement is more significant... but also more expensive.


    Gerrinson wrote:
    You can always through some babau demons at them. Any weapon touching their skin which is covered in acidic slime takes 1d8 points of acid damage per round. It won't take long for those nets to melt into nothing. 8^)

    Not quite.

    Babu wrote:
    A creature that strikes a babau with a melee weapon must make a DC 18 Reflex save or the weapon takes 1d8 points of acid damage

    A net isn't a melee weapon, and even if you houserule that away the damage doesn't ignore the usual "halve then deduct hardness" rule. Rope has a hardness of 0, but a magical net's hardness is raised per +1, so it'd only take a +2 net to be immune to that.

    And DC 18 isn't difficult for, say, a level 6 bard. Base of +5, high Dex is probable, cloak of resistance, etc.

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