Yesterday, our group was fighting a boss, and I had successfully thrown a net to restrain him (a condition which he could end by either using an Action to make a DC 10 Strength check, or by doing 5 slashing damage to the net by attacking it at disadvantage).

On a subsequent turn, as the boss was still netted, I decided to throw another net (which hit him too), with the objective to force him to use two Actions (or two successful attacks) to free itself.

The DM accepted the "stacking nets" effect, but I'm wondering if it was legitimate, considering that same-name game effects cannot stack at the same place and time, or something like that.

My question is : can you apply multiple net effects to a single target, thus forcing it to spend multiple actions (or attacks) to free itself from the restrained condition ?

An argument in favor of a "yes" would be to say that the different nets cover different parts of the target's body. An argument for a "no" would be to say that a net, by default, covers the entire body, and therefore, the anti-same-name-effect-stacking rule would apply there.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What is the source of "same-name game effects cannot stack"? It might be the part about spell effects. A net is not a spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 15:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ ...I was so misled by the title. I wanted to reply that net effects cannot stack, but gross effects can. \$\endgroup\$
    – eimyr
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor "Game Effects", not specifically spell effects, as described in the _Dungeon Master's Guide errata. "Different game features can affect a target at the same time. But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them—the most potent one—apply while the durations of the effects overlap." Nothing in there that says the effects have to be spells. Multiple instances of prone, for example, don't stack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


It was legal, since there was no effect stacking

The Restrained description says:

A restrained creature’s speed becomes 0, and it can’t benefit from any bonus to its speed.
Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature’s attack rolls have disadvantage.
The creature has disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws.

None of these effects stack (I mean disadvantage and zero speed), but you didn't want to stack them. You didn't want to restrain the target more. You said you used another net to make the target waste two actions:

I decided to throw another net (which hit him too), with the objective to force him to use two Actions (or two successful attacks) to free itself.

A creature can attack the net, or win the STR contest to set itself free. But is not an effect, it is a possibility to get rid of the net. If you want to cut two different nets, you have to attack at least two times, the same with the STR contest. In this sense, multiple nets can "stack" indeed.

The DM might say otherwise

Results of the STR contest depends on the DM ruling though. He/she might say a creature can break itself free with a single burst (with a higher DC for the STR check, maybe). The details is up to the DM.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the last paragraph is what makes this answer accurate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 15:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ But of course, the last paragraph is completely irrelevant to the OP and redundant in any post on this board. \$\endgroup\$
    – doomtwig
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 16:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doomtwig there are "your DM was wrong" answers though \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 16:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor I should have added an "@Ifusao" to my comment. I was trying to highlight my own disagreement with that "the answer is up to the DM" was the part that made this answer correct. That is always true (after a fashion), and applies to any rules question for which the premise is "How should this have been ruled?" (i.e., "However the DM ruled it."). "But of course, ..." as the OP specifically asked and as most questions here implicate: "Setting aside how the DM did rule, how do the RAW answer <the question>?" With an answer, one can compare it to the DM's ruling however one wishes. \$\endgroup\$
    – doomtwig
    Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 7:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I concur with @doomtwig, that there is no point in stating "but the DM can change things". The DM can always change things, even (or perhaps especially) in games that say the DM can't. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 21:48

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