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When a character uses the Attack action to throw a net, he can only make one attack, regardless of the number of attacks he normally has (ex: 2 from the Level 5 Fighter's Extra Attack).

A Battle Master fighter's Commander's Strike maneuver (PHB, p. 74) enables a character to give up a bonus action and one of his attacks, when he makes the Attack action, to let an ally attack with their reaction.

Can a Battle Master with Extra Attack use the Commander's Strike maneuver after he throws a net (in order to let an ally benefit from the extra attack he cannot use by himself)?

From what I'm seeing, the Fighter character is not making more than one attack, so he's respecting the net rule, but at the same time, he does have an extra attack, which he is giving to an ally with a Commander's Strike. It all seems to work out (just like if the maneuver was tailored for net throwing!), unless I'm missing something here.

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No. You cannot forgo attacks you can't take

You can take only 1 attack

Say your character can normally make 2 attacks by using the extra attack feature:

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

The net's description says:

When you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to attack with a net, you can make only one attack regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.

When you attack with a net you now can take only one attack regardless of your extra attack feature.

Thus you "have" only one attack now. It is worth noting that "number of attacks you have" is not something the game ever says. The only thing that is defined is the number of attacks you can take. And that number is now 1.

You are willingly foregoing those extra attacks as a cost of using the net.

You cannot forgo attacks you can't take

When you take the Attack action on your turn, you can forgo one of your attacks and use a bonus action to direct one of your companions to strike. 

Notice the word "forgo" which means "omit or decline to take". You cannot "decline to take" something that you could not have taken anyways. Like you cannot decline an invitation that was not given to you in the first place.

Since you've already used the net, you have no available attacks left to you. Thus, you have no attacks you can forgo.

Seeing as the Commander's Strike feature needs you to give up an attack and you have no more attacks to give up after using the net, then you cannot use commander's strike after using a net.


A heavy crossbow would work

Let me try to make this a bit clearer or more convincing using an example that does work.

Heavy crossbows have the loading property which says:

Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only one piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.

This is very similar to the wording of nets with the major difference being that the loading property says "you can fire only one piece of ammunition". This means that you could easily drop the weapon and continue attacking with another one given the appropriate number of additional attacks. And thus one could also use commander's strike because you still have not spent those potential attacks.

But a net will not

However, the net does not make this statement instead just saying "you can make only one Attack". The easiest way to read this in light of the above is that the net takes so long and is so unwieldy to use that you have to use your entire attack action to wield it.

tl;dr

By using a net you are spending any additional attacks you have to attack with a net. You've essentially spent them and you cannot spend then again. The idea of Commander's Strike is that is that you give extra attacks that you could have made to someone else. But in this case you could not even make those attacks and thus do not have those attacks to give.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I see it differently : you still HAVE the extra attacks, but you can only MAKE one because of the net. It's like having some of your money in placements. You still have it but you can't use it (but the people you placed moneey on can still use it). \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Dec 17 '17 at 19:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem with that train of logic is that actions are an economy. By using a net you are spending any additional attacks you have to attack with a net. You've essentially spent them and you cannot spend then again. The idea here is that is that you give extra attacks that you could have made to someone else. But in this case you could not even make those attacks and thus do not have those attacks to give. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Dec 17 '17 at 19:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm really not sure if you lose them, or your personal access to them. I understand your logical thinking, but it's a confusing road. RAW can be understood both ways. Should this require a tweet to a wizards dev ? \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Dec 17 '17 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, it depends. Let's say you have too much food on your plate. You can't eat it all because you'll eventually be fed up, but you can forgo some of it and give it to your hungry friend. It's... a confusing road. Let's continue in chat, good sir/madam. \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Dec 17 '17 at 19:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ This begs the question: can you forego an attack to use Commander's Strike before throwing a net? \$\endgroup\$ – starchild Dec 19 '17 at 20:11
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There's a compelling case for allowing it

A Fighter has an Extra attack from level 5 onwards, PHB page 72:

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

The rules on Commander's Strike, as you pointed out, allows trading one of these attacks to activate the ability for a bonus action. PHB page 74:

Commander's Strike. When you take the Attack action on your turn, you can forgo one of your attacks and use a bonus action to direct one of your companions to strike.

The rule on nets goes as follows, PHB page 148:

When you use an action, bonus action or reaction to attack with a net, you can make only one attack regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.

The defining part, as far as this question is concerned, is "you can make only one attack" - it doesn't restrict attacks made by others. The attack given by Commander's Strike is not made by the Fighter, but one of their companions. Therefore, it passes the restriction of the net.

However, my final verdict is no

I base this decision on the wording on the above rules.

Let's look at the wording on Commander's Strike again:

When you take the Attack action on your turn, you can forgo one of your attacks and use a bonus action to direct one of your companions to strike.

The choice of word, "forgo" implies deliberately abandoning an attack one would've been eligible to make otherwise.

For a more RAW analysis, let's look at the rules of Extra attack and net in juxtaposition:

You can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

When you use an action, bonus action or reaction to attack with a net, you can make only one attack regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.

Notice how there's no special term for "the amount of attacks one can make" - we have to conclude this number is exactly what it says on the tin. "Having attacks" is just a convenient abstraction players use, but overall it's not a statistic independent of the actual number of times you can attack per Attack action. When the Battlemaster uses a net to attack, they can use only one attack and thus this number is one - specific rule beating a general rule. Therefore, there is no "unused attack" to use for the Commander's Strike.

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By default, no.

The act of using a net forgoes any and all other attacks you would be entitled to. Commander's Strike is a component of the attack action, and requires expending an attack you would be entitled to as part of the attack. Per Mr. Crawford, the net precludes additional attacks in the action used to cast the net.

However!

As a fighter, you can use action surge to perform another action, which could be used to attack again, and forfeit one of THOSE attacks, as well as the bonus action that still (presumably) has not been used to perform the Commander's Strike.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Would action surge to attack work in this case? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Dec 19 '17 at 16:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Action Surge allows another action to be performed. The net only precludes additional attacks on the action used to throw the net. \$\endgroup\$ – Bagahnoodles Dec 19 '17 at 17:02
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Yes

The wording on the net:

When you use an action, bonus action or reaction to attack with a net, you can make only one attack regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.

Emphasis is mine. It does not say 'when you make your first attack (as an action, bonus action or reaction)', it doesn't even mention rounds or turns. So I read this as being able to use the net during any of your attacks, and you lose access to any attacks you would have after throwing the net.

There is also no restriction on having to be able to make multiple attacks to use a net, so forfeiting an attack is not a pre-requisite.

So if you have 2 attacks you can:

  1. Take the attack action without using the net and give this up using Commander Strike (Effectively this is shouting "Attack when I throw the net!")
  2. Throw the net, forfeiting the possibility of a third attack if you had one

If you are not specific enough and throw the net as your first attack action then you do lose the next attack, and so would not be able to use Commander Strike.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As much as I would like to agree with you, I can't : nets take a long time to use (open & throw), hence their single-attack action time. \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Dec 20 '17 at 15:09
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Yes. I think you are seeing it right.

I would likewise let a ranger with an extra attack throw a net, and still use his Extra Attack he can't make personally to direct his Companion to attack.

Likewise, the Loading property of crossbows means you can only shoot a crossbow once, even if you have extra attacks, but I would say you could still use the extra attacks you don't get to swing or shoot with to do other things, like a Companion attack, Commanders Strike maneuver, etc.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please try to improve your answer with rule quotes if possible. \$\endgroup\$ – Gael L Dec 17 '17 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Loading says "Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only one piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, Bonus Action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make." So one shot from crossbow, but it doesn't limit any other weapon attacks like the net does. So I feel that is probably not the best example to say what you were trying to. (Since it is obvious it would work with commander's strike RAW). \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Dec 18 '17 at 2:35

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