While Iain is correct about optimizing to fit your party there is a certain terrible joy in not sucking.
The net is a:
Superior one-handed melee weapon, offhand, heavy thrown, flail.
The Net Training feat:
Prerequisite: Str 13
Benefit: You gain proficiency with the net. When you hit a target with your net, the target is slowed until the end of your next turn
And to complete the cycle, the best one handed spear (and thematically appropriate beyond belief) is the trident.
Now, the question is: "how do we build an effective character with this combination?"
Functionally, this means looking for three things:
- the ability to dual-wield a off-hand and normal weapon. (this changes the two-handed landscape, as different classes make different exceptions).
- some kind of interesting feats involving flails and spears
- something interesting dealing with the slowed-on-hit condition of net training
For dual-wielders, we have the usual list:
- twin strike ranger
- whirling slayer barbarian
- tempest technique fighter
For interesting feats, we have:
- Binding Style which offers an interesting immobilize from the net on fighter and a slide 1 from twin strike if both attacks hit. (Which makes it quite fair, as the attacks are sacrificing a fair bit of damage for control.
- The ironstar feat tree offers some interesting choices for flails
- mountain thuner is also another fascinating feat series. One component to be mindful of is to, instead of double attacking all the time, have the flexibility of tactics that a spear and flail gives you. Optimally, the style would fit the historical roots of the tradition: throw the net at someone and poke them while they're immobilized.
A critical feat chain is starting to shape up.
We have Net Training which creates slowed, EoNT for all attacks. We then have world serpent's grasp, which allows the character to knock a slowed or immobilized target prone. Master at arms gives us +1 on all weapon attacks. Now, the ranger can twin-strike and on her turn thereby slow then prone a target. The problem is: this level of control doesn't fit the ranger well, who mostly should be interested in just wailing on the target.
The most fascinating consequence of this feat chain is the ability to grant an unprecedented level of stickiness to a class that would otherwise not have it.
Fighters, therefore, being hugely sticky, are right out. The net, slow, and battlemind have some extremely promising combinations, giving the battlemind the stickness he desperately needs. By having the primary weapon be the net, the focus is in tying up on the first round (or scattering them with a push 1+ (based on extra items) from bulls strength, and slowing them.)
This model, upon further reflection, can fit any class that wants to be sticky. While it's most effective in paragon, it still should be interesting from mid-paragon.
The best class for this build is the Monk, as it doesn't require going to half-elf and getting twin-strike. The Iron Soul monk has, as part of its flurry of blows power, a restriction on shifting. By slowing and knocking prone, we enhance that aspect of the class, while insuring we aren't too distracted.
Monk is optimal for three reasons:
1. It has at-will powers that are close burst "implement" powers, which allow you to use your weapon as an implement. Therefore, the monk can close-burst slow at-will.
2. The flurry of blows class feature has a spear based feat "triggered by an attack you make with the spear." This captures the versatility of the Retiarius just beautifully. Slow down, or flurry with reach.
3. World Serpent's Grasp:
Benefit: Whenever you hit a slowed or immobilized target with an attack, you can knock it prone.
is automatically triggered with no attack roll from the flurry of blows follow-up power.
Thus, you have net and trident, only required stat investment is a 13 strength, and the entire force of slow, trip prone, happening to either one target (Iron soul) who then is prone, slowed, and can't shift. or prone, slowed, slid.
While the wepliments question deserves another full question, there isn't anything about this build that should be incompatible with monk.
Half-elf (or revenant half-elf)
- (Ask your GM if possible, but sorcerer via "sorcerous blade channeling" could be an awful lot of fun to play)
- Brutal Scoundrel Rogue
- Baladin (Balanced paladin, tricky, but with twin-strike, it could be quite effective.)
- Runepriest (It ... could work, actually)
- Essentials Scout
- Rogue with a focus on the minor action encounters
- thrown weapon seeker