One of my players is a 5th level minotaur barbarian in our 5e game, and has decided to mount a bear trap at the end of a 10 foot pole. He has also bent a few of the teeth backwards, so the foes can't pull out of it as easily.

Yes. You heard that right.

He has it mounted flush against the side of the pole, and is planning on swinging it like a baseball bat with the trap forward, on an enemy that cannot see him, and has the bright idea of dragging the monster around by the head if he manages to catch them.

What rolls would be necessary for him to hit the unsuspecting opponent with the business end of the "monster catcher", as he calls it, and what would the damage be?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Mar 3 '18 at 6:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's things like this that make me keeping playing DnD. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Jul 31 '18 at 13:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Glad to be of service!! \$\endgroup\$ – Thatguy Aug 4 '18 at 3:58

Things like this is always up to a GM and clearly in homebrew territory, but this could be the very definition of "Improvised Weapon".

Sometimes characters don’t have their weapons and have to Attack with whatever is at hand. An improvised weapon includes any object you can wield in one or two hands, such as broken glass, a table leg, a frying pan, a wagon wheel, or a dead Goblin.

Often, an improvised weapon is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. At the GM’s option, a character proficient with a weapon can use a similar object as if it were that weapon and use his or her proficiency bonus.

An object that bears no resemblance to a weapon deals 1d4 damage (the GM assigns a damage type appropriate to the object). If a character uses a ranged weapon to make a melee Attack, or throws a melee weapon that does not have the thrown property, it also deals 1d4 damage. An improvised thrown weapon has a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet.

Important questions: Does this count as a polearm weapon, a basic improvised weapon (d4 damage) or something else, like an actual bear trap?

A normal bear trap also causes 1d4 damage so it seems that dice fits the standard improvised weapon characteristic. In this case however there needs to be some ruling on how a victim of it could still break free of the player's hold without removing the trap. Just because he actually hits something with it and the trap snaps the victim could still avoid being dragged around, and instead disarm the character (Something like how a fish can move off with an angler's fishing rod)

I personally would require: 1. an attack roll as using an improvised weapon (is the character proficient?) 2. If the attack hits see with DC 13 Dexterity save for creature if it actually gets stuck into it (or just hit for simple damage with the pole), then 3. allow the victim to use its action to make a DC 13 Strength check on its turn to see if it can in a way break free (Each failed check deals 1 piercing damage to the trapped creature). At last 4. an additional Strength check should by the player be required to see if it can hold on to the pole and compare that to the first Strength check of the victim when it rolls the check on its turn. If the creature rolls low enough to remain trapped but higher than the Strength roll of the player's character then the victim creature would still be trapped in the actual trap on the pole but disarm the player's character, with the pole dangling in the air. If the creture remains a victim of the trap and firmly held it would be considered grappled.

As GM you could rule that he can use stronger, specially made traps as he improves upon this weapon/trap idea, maybe by using different materials (adamantine?) which increases saving roll DCs and initial trap (but not pole) damage. Consider handing the pole damage (not the trap) as 1d6 (between club and quarterstaff dice).

  • \$\begingroup\$ @DerekStucki Is it illegal to link there? Sorry in that case will remove the link I am still quite new to this site. It's an OGL 5e System Reference Document as far I understand and as such it shouldn't make a difference where the citation comes from. \$\endgroup\$ – Drake Mar 3 '18 at 14:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not illegal, but please see this question. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Mar 3 '18 at 14:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Roll20 compendium and dndbeyond.com are my preferred online references, if you care to know. They're both official partners of WotC. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Mar 3 '18 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DerekStucki Well, I don't see the issue, maybe I am just too new to all this English online thing or 5e, but I replaced the link for that of roll20, I hope that site is an accepted citation source. EDIT: I see you replied meanwhile, so yes, I leave it at roll20 link then. \$\endgroup\$ – Drake Mar 3 '18 at 14:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I probably make too big of a deal of it, but I don't like linking there for SRD content because someone unfamiliar with how the site works can easily follow that link and then stray into horribly balanced homebrew without knowing, think it's all official content because their entry point was, and then disrupt their game to the point of ruining experiences. I believe that this does in fact happen based on questions that pop up here with some regularity. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Mar 3 '18 at 14:49

You have some very creative players!

I asked my DM how he'd approach it. He gave me a little example for base functionality.

Damage: You can base it off something like the Giant Toad's melee attack (1d10+2), and a grapple check with an escape DC 13.

Function: It will only be able to grapple one target. The player must release the target before it is usable again.

If the target breaks the grapple, roll a DC 1 to see if the monster breaks/destroys the assembly to free itself. This DC increases for each time a grapple is broken (or used -- up to you).

Reset: Have the player spend an action to clear it.

Repair: The player must spend time to repair/maintain the item. This will reset the breaking DC to 1. Cost: 1 silver per DC.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd add disadvantage on attack, like the net has. A bear trap mounted on a pole cannot be as convenient as regular weapon. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Mar 3 '18 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor If you read the original question before the edits you see it has a mention of being an "unsuspecting" attack, which I consider as typical ambush/hide situation which would grant an advantage on first attack. If a weapon is convenient or not is handled by the rules of improved weaponry +proficiency. \$\endgroup\$ – Drake Mar 3 '18 at 14:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor ...otherwise a lot of actual weapons like sling (in reality not at all a simple weapon) or whip would also have disadvantage. Net doesn't have an innate disadvantage on attacks (you don't get the disadvantage because it's a net), although it is likely to be that case because the short range of throwing it, but can be avoided if the character has an ability/feat that deals with that, like Crossbow Expert - "Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn't impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls" \$\endgroup\$ – Drake Mar 3 '18 at 14:58

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