[RPG] Are attacks with nets always made with disadvantage


In the weapons table the net has a listed range of 5/15. This means that any attack made against a target more than 5 feet away has disadvantage. But the net is also a ranged weapon so any attack made within 5 feet of an enemy has disadvantage. There is an entry for the net under special weapons but it only describes how the net restrains its targets and how a creature can escape it.

It seems to me that the only way to make an attack with a net without disadvantage is to somehow gain advantage through hiding, a class feature, etc. to cancel the disadvantage. Am I missing something or do attacks with nets always have disadvantage?

Best Answer

Net attacks RAW are made perpetually with disadvantage.

They act as a normal ranged attack, so you are either always throwing them at long range (10-15 feet) and incurring disadvantage, or you are throwing them at short range and as a result are in close combat and throwing them at disadvantage. The description of the net in the PHB gives it no special rules for avoiding either of these two general rules.

Mike Mearls confirms this in a tweet:

Do nets (thrown) use STR or DEX for attack rolls? Are they exempt from close combat disadvantage, as normal range is only 5feet? Dex, since you can't make melee attacks with it. still take disad in close combat despite range. -M

My only thought is the designers worried that nets might be overpowered and that a net attack should always be made at a disadvantage unless the PC is receiving advantage from somewhere. Nets actually seem really underpowered even without the disadvantage problem. Burn an action to restrain a creature who can escape it easily (DC10 or 5 slashing damage), but maybe they worried about the potential for a net dog pile where one player nets an enemy and then everyone makes their attacks against a netted enemy before that enemy gets a chance to escape. In that light it could be broken against single, powerful enemies.