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Nothin' But Net

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I’m thinking about the use of nets in heroic fantasy combat, a not-uncommon trope in the genre. (Hello gladiator movies!)

 

Aside from superhero gadgets, the only published write-up of a net weapon I can find is the Japanese Toami in HMA and EG.

 

Toami, Normal: Entangle 4d6, 4 PD/4 ED, Entangle And Character Both Take Damage (+1/4), Area Of Effect (2m Radius; +1/4); 1 Recoverable Charge (-1 1/4), OAF (-1), Range Based On Strength (-1/4), STR Minimum (-1/4), Real Weapon (-1/4) [60 AP, 15 RP]

 

OK, let’s go with that. Tough enough that even a strong guy (18-20 STR) will have a hard time tearing through it bare-handed, but relatively easy to cut through with a sword or dagger. [There’s also a smaller size with no Area Effect, and a larger one with a 4m Radius.]

 

But there are a couple ways where the standard Entangle rules don’t quite fit. I’m fine with handwaving things, but I’m trying to think up some guidelines I can use to make it challenging yet fair, and I’m curious how others handle it. Note this is Equipment for a Heroic game, not something anyone will be paying points for; so I’m not too worried about the exact build or cost – I’m just thinking of how to handle it in play. (My initial thoughts are in parenthesis below.)

 

Cutting your way out: Accessible Foci normally cannot be used to break free from an Entangle unless sfx & circumstances indicate otherwise – which seems appropriate here. So if a character has a sword or dagger in hand when caught in a net, would you let them use it? Would you require them to make an Attack Roll to hit the net? Or would a DEX Roll be more appropriate? Do they get to do full damage? Or just base weapon damage, since they can’t use their full STR? Do you treat the net’s PD & ED as Resistant or not? Or partially Resistant?

(I’m thinking a DEX Roll; base weapon damage without STR bonus; and treat the Defense as Resistant but let them do at least 1 BODY each time they make their roll.)

 

What if the character has a sheathed dagger but it’s not in his hand?

(I’m thinking a DEX Roll to draw the dagger as a Full Phase action.)

 

Cutting someone else out: As written, all attempts to cut another character free (ie to damage the Entangle from the outside) also damage the character. That certainly makes sense if someone’s just swinging away, but presumably it’s possible to carefully cut someone loose even in combat time. What attack rolls and damage penalties would you require, and how much damage? Presumably the net is at 0 DCV so hitting it isn’t a challenge.

(I’m thinking DEX Roll to cut the net and miss the character; full weapon damage with STR Bonus; character doing the cutting is ½ DCV.)

 

Pulling the net off: Aside from cutting or tearing their way out of a net, would you give trapped characters a chance to pull the net off? How would you handle this? DEX-based, or STR-based?

(I’m thinking maybe a DEX Roll to gain 1 “point” of freedom, and you’re out once you’ve done 4 points? Maybe 2 points for a small net and 6 for a larger net?)

 

Dragging the netted character: Typically Entangled characters are stuck in one spot. But if a the netter wanted to drag the nettee around by the net, or even pick them up and carry them, it seems like that should be possible.

(I’m thinking just treat it like a Grab, but the nettee only gets their casual STR to resist?

 

Thanks for the feedback.

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Last time I used a net was a fantasy game. I know that I reduced to 3D6 entanhle and I believe that I used GM license and allowed a DEX roll to allow the use of an axe to cut the rope. (Hey it was a dwarf). In fifth ed I believe entangles can have a susceptibilty limitation - so maybe either susc vs contortionist and raw dex takes a penalty or susc vs dex and contort is a complimentry roll.

 

As for the outside, even an oif can be focused for damage at -2 so outside help can do the same. -2 to cut rope only. Maybe even concentrate avoids the -2 and or -1 DC both to represent that the outside help is being cautious of the victims within.

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I’m thinking about the use of nets in heroic fantasy combat, a not-uncommon trope in the genre. (Hello gladiator movies!)

 

Aside from superhero gadgets, the only published write-up of a net weapon I can find is the Japanese Toami in HMA and EG.

 

Toami, Normal: Entangle 4d6, 4 PD/4 ED, Entangle And Character Both Take Damage (+1/4), Area Of Effect (2m Radius; +1/4); 1 Recoverable Charge (-1 1/4), OAF (-1), Range Based On Strength (-1/4), STR Minimum (-1/4), Real Weapon (-1/4) [60 AP, 15 RP]

 

OK, let’s go with that. Tough enough that even a strong guy (18-20 STR) will have a hard time tearing through it bare-handed, but relatively easy to cut through with a sword or dagger. [There’s also a smaller size with no Area Effect, and a larger one with a 4m Radius.]

 

But there are a couple ways where the standard Entangle rules don’t quite fit. I’m fine with handwaving things, but I’m trying to think up some guidelines I can use to make it challenging yet fair, and I’m curious how others handle it. Note this is Equipment for a Heroic game, not something anyone will be paying points for; so I’m not too worried about the exact build or cost – I’m just thinking of how to handle it in play. (My initial thoughts are in parenthesis below.)

 

Cutting your way out: Accessible Foci normally cannot be used to break free from an Entangle unless sfx & circumstances indicate otherwise – which seems appropriate here. So if a character has a sword or dagger in hand when caught in a net, would you let them use it? Would you require them to make an Attack Roll to hit the net? Or would a DEX Roll be more appropriate? Do they get to do full damage? Or just base weapon damage, since they can’t use their full STR? Do you treat the net’s PD & ED as Resistant or not? Or partially Resistant?

(I’m thinking a DEX Roll; base weapon damage without STR bonus; and treat the Defense as Resistant but let them do at least 1 BODY each time they make their roll.)

I'd go with Resistant, Dex roll at -1 or -2, base weapon damage.

 

What if the character has a sheathed dagger but it’s not in his hand?

(I’m thinking a DEX Roll to draw the dagger as a Full Phase action.)

Yep, or half with Fast Draw perhaps.

 

Cutting someone else out: As written, all attempts to cut another character free (ie to damage the Entangle from the outside) also damage the character. That certainly makes sense if someone’s just swinging away, but presumably it’s possible to carefully cut someone loose even in combat time. What attack rolls and damage penalties would you require, and how much damage? Presumably the net is at 0 DCV so hitting it isn’t a challenge.

(I’m thinking DEX Roll to cut the net and miss the character; full weapon damage with STR Bonus; character doing the cutting is ½ DCV.)

I'd not go with full STR unless they take a minus, it's not like chopping wood or swinging freely. Maybe half STR bonus or -2 for full STR bonus? And if they fail with the -2, netee takes damage as well.

 

Pulling the net off: Aside from cutting or tearing their way out of a net, would you give trapped characters a chance to pull the net off? How would you handle this? DEX-based, or STR-based?

(I’m thinking maybe a DEX Roll to gain 1 “point” of freedom, and you’re out once you’ve done 4 points? Maybe 2 points for a small net and 6 for a larger net?)

I like that. Maybe a point if you make the roll and then one additional point for making the roll by 4 or more? I'd probably let them use STR or DEX as they choose.

 

Dragging the netted character: Typically Entangled characters are stuck in one spot. But if a the netter wanted to drag the nettee around by the net, or even pick them up and carry them, it seems like that should be possible.

(I’m thinking just treat it like a Grab, but the nettee only gets their casual STR to resist?

Grab works, since the captured character is 0 DCV?

 

Thanks for the feedback.

Comments bolded.

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Can you haymaker your STR while netted?  If so, then even a mimpy 10 STR peasant can break out pretty quickly.

Hmm. Fair question. I think I'd probably rule no: 6e2 p68 sez "For a Haymaker to be valid, performing it has to subject a character to the potential drawbacks of having a reduced OCV and taking extra time." I'm not sure that's the case here. I think Pushing fits better here IMO.

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Here's what I came up with:

 

Net:  Entangle 4d6, 4 PD/4 ED, Area Of Effect (2m Radius; +1/4), Entangle And Character Both Take Damage (+1/4) (60 Active Points); 1 Recoverable Charge (-1 1/4), OAF (-1), STR Minimum 10 (STR Min. Cannot Add Damage; -1), Character can use Accessible Foci with a DEX Roll (-1 per Weapon Reach) (-1/2), Character May Use STR or DEX to escape (-1/2), Vulnerable (Blades; -1/2), Range Based On Strength (-1/4), Real Weapon (-1/4) [7 RP]

 

Net, Small: Entangle 3d6, no Area Of Effect, STR Minimum 8 [10 RP]

 

Net, Large:  Entangle 5d6, Area Of Effect (4m Radius), STR Minimum 13 [11 RP]

 

Escaping from a net:

  • The Character may use STR to attempt to break free from the Entangle normally.
  • The Character may attempt to use their DEX to pull the Net off rather than ripping it apart; a successful DEX Roll does the equivalent of 1 BODY towards removing the Entangle, +1 additional BODY for every 2 over the required DEX Roll.
  • If a Character has an Accessible Focus already in hand, they may attempt to use it with a DEX Roll (-1 for every 1m of weapon Reach). If successful, the weapon does its base damage to the Entangle, ie – no additional damage from Strength or Maneuvers.
  • If a character has a sheathed dagger or similar short edged weapon, they may attempt to draw it with a DEX Roll at -1 per BODY of the Entangle. Drawing a weapon in this manner is typically a Full Phase Action.
  • Another character can attempt to cut the entangled character free of the net without injuring them if they spend a Full Phase at 0 DCV and make a DEX Roll (-1 per 1m of weapon Reach). A failed DEX Roll means they do damage to both the net and the Entangled Character. 
  • Note that rope nets are Vulnerable to edged weapons. Remove this limitation for wire/cable nets.

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Let's check this against "reality", that is: movie scenes.

Here is the famous trident-and-net-fight from Spartacus (1960):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCLyLBrugD0

The retiarius is using a rather standard net: 2m Radius (although it does not cover more than the opponents upper half); medium thickness strings (no fine fishnets, no heavy ropes).
 

First observation: The retiarius is throwing he ENTANGLE three times against Spartacus, almost every second phase he has. The net obviously has no charges and can be reused.

Spartacus every time is able to use his full STR and his full DEX. Only when he is netted the first time, he seems to have a OCV malus, but that obviously comes from the fact he gets attacked at the same time; after blocking he just throws the net off (casual DEX?).

After the foot netting he is able to slash the full net with one attack; and while he is swinging widely, that still is no haymaker. Just using his whole STR.

My conclusion: All your addenda and special rules seem accurate. But the original idea of charges on a net suprisingly does not hold.

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By comparison: Another of the most famous net scenes: Conan the Destroyer (1984), Intro scene. "How not to recruit a barbarian"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3If0rjk76I
 

We have half a dozen attackers with 4m and 8m ENTANGLES.
Probably 5d6 or even 6d6, because you could not cut those with a simple dagger (without STR).
Those are 1 charge, recov.
Only can used from horse (or by giants).
We get a comparison when the thief is netted: not much chance to use all your STR and DEX below that monster, isn't it?
Conan still is able to slash one with one attack (Broadsword with ful STR, probably haymakered, because he has time while it is coming). But even he could not use the atlantean blade if that Entangle would have hit him.
And: Conan uses a OAF disadvantage we did not mention up to now: can be grabbed so attacker falls.


 

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And one very different example: the net trap. In my opinion the main reason why people can have so radically different conceptions what a net does.

Here is the most famous scene that came to my mind: One of the first scenes of Lost (2004): Jake and Kate walk in the first trap.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGA6J3JM6J8
Longer version how they got in there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYntwsl_qg4

We got another 2m radius Area of Effect. But as the net does not have to be thrown (it is layed out to be walked in) it is very strong. Not much chance to cut it even with the Ranged Killing Attack they have with them. (How do you build that? 7d6 ENTANGLE defends against most average gun damage throws?)
AND: Because they are hanging, the net gets uncomfortably, even dangerously close. No using STR. Almost no using DEX. Not even thinking of haymakering anything.

This is the textbook example of "What does Accessible Focus mean?"
Jake can't access his own Focus. Kate can, though with a big DEX malus.
Kate even discusses that Jake has an additional negative modifier for using it (his angle).

But the net has one Vulnerability ...

Still, even back on the floor, they clearly are out of combat and will need non-combat time to cut themselves out.

 

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Here's what I came up with:

 

Net:  Entangle 4d6, 4 PD/4 ED, Area Of Effect (2m Radius; +1/4), Entangle And Character Both Take Damage (+1/4) (60 Active Points); 1 Recoverable Charge (-1 1/4), OAF (-1), STR Minimum 10 (STR Min. Cannot Add Damage; -1), Character can use Accessible Foci with a DEX Roll (-1 per Weapon Reach) (-1/2), Character May Use STR or DEX to escape (-1/2), Vulnerable (Blades; -1/2), Range Based On Strength (-1/4), Real Weapon (-1/4) [7 RP]

 

Net, Small: Entangle 3d6, no Area Of Effect, STR Minimum 8 [10 RP]

 

Net, Large:  Entangle 5d6, Area Of Effect (4m Radius), STR Minimum 13 [11 RP]

 

Escaping from a net:

  • The Character may use STR to attempt to break free from the Entangle normally.
  • The Character may attempt to use their DEX to pull the Net off rather than ripping it apart; a successful DEX Roll does the equivalent of 1 BODY towards removing the Entangle, +1 additional BODY for every 2 over the required DEX Roll.
  • If a Character has an Accessible Focus already in hand, they may attempt to use it with a DEX Roll (-1 for every 1m of weapon Reach). If successful, the weapon does its base damage to the Entangle, ie – no additional damage from Strength or Maneuvers.
  • If a character has a sheathed dagger or similar short edged weapon, they may attempt to draw it with a DEX Roll at -1 per BODY of the Entangle. Drawing a weapon in this manner is typically a Full Phase Action.
  • Another character can attempt to cut the entangled character free of the net without injuring them if they spend a Full Phase at 0 DCV and make a DEX Roll (-1 per 1m of weapon Reach). A failed DEX Roll means they do damage to both the net and the Entangled Character. 
  • Note that rope nets are Vulnerable to edged weapons. Remove this limitation for wire/cable nets.

Mind if I borrow this net?

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says we're not planning to do anything fishy with it

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And sorry, it looks like I never responded to these, HvW...

 

Let's check this against "reality", that is: movie scenes.

Here is the famous trident-and-net-fight from Spartacus (1960):

...

First observation: The retiarius is throwing he ENTANGLE three times against Spartacus, almost every second phase he has. The net obviously has no charges and can be reused.

Great point. I had always thought of nets as something you throw, rather than something you hold and swing. The latter seems less effective, because the net isn't widely spread out, but eliminates Charges. For simplicity, I might just treat this as a Grab that allows the Grabber to keep one hand free for a weapon? You could even roll Hit Locations just to make it more interesting, like they did here.

 

By comparison: Another of the most famous net scenes: Conan the Destroyer (1984), Intro scene. "How not to recruit a barbarian"
...
Probably 5d6 or even 6d6, because you could not cut those with a simple dagger (without STR).
Those are 1 charge, recov.
Only can used from horse (or by giants).

Yeah, I'd give those nets a higher STR Min, but again they weren't throwing them.

 

Add Limitation: Ain't worth shit against a Cimmerian. But then, that's true of most weapons.

 

And one very different example: the net trap. In my opinion the main reason why people can have so radically different conceptions what a net does.

Here is the most famous scene that came to my mind: One of the first scenes of Lost (2004): Jake and Kate walk in the first trap.

...

We got another 2m radius Area of Effect. But as the net does not have to be thrown (it is layed out to be walked in) it is very strong. Not much chance to cut it even with the Ranged Killing Attack they have with them. (How do you build that? 7d6 ENTANGLE defends against most average gun damage throws?)

Hmm...seems like there the problem wasn't the net's high DEF as much as the DCV of shooting the rope, which normally isn't an issue for Entangles. So in that situation probably just assign a DCV for shooting the rope, I'm thinking DCV 8? It's a pretty small target. Plus probably 1/2 OCV penalty for the firer due to being Entangled? (Of course if they'd thought to shoot the rope right above them, they could've reduced the RMod, but it wouldn't have looked as cool.)

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