So I am running a 9th-level 3.5e campaign for a mix of new and old players. Since not everyone has a handbook, I've been keeping generally to the SRD rule base, since all my players can look them up. I have one exception; I've included legacy weapons in my campaign, since several of my heavier-RP players love the idea.
I have a new player who joined on as a lizardfolk fighter. This character is one of the champion fighters of the lizardfolk tribes in my setting, and is heavily based on a gladiator style of fighter. This lizardfolk has high strength and dexterity, and wields javelins, a trident, and a net, throwing in natural attacks when he feels particularly feral. As a lizardfolk, his feats, saves, and skills are kinda sucky, compared to the other 9th level player characters. The only things he really excels at are swimming and hitting things (duh, it comes with the scales). My player was set on running with the net-and-trident theme, so to keep things from bogging down every time he would have to get new nets when the trolls and ogres and whatnot break his nets, I gave him a magic, self-repairing net (part of a legacy pair, along with the trident). It turns out he's far more attached to this net than to his javelins, which is fair. I've given him plenty of leeway, since 3.5 nets are pretty abysmal.
Anyway in an earlier campaign, the group picked a fight with a couple of trolls in a deep-water swamp (think bayou). This lizardfolk won initiative. He was a little ways ahead of the party, nearby one of the trolls. In a fit of creativity, the player asked to do a Shot On The Run. His reasoning was that since a net throw is a ranged attack, and a creature entangled in a net can only move within the range of the rope, as long as he beats a strength check, he would net the troll, and drag the troll back to the party. I thought it was pretty clever, so I allowed it. He managed to overpower the troll and drag it back to the party. This turned an ambush into a troll-stomping party, and let his character have a pretty nice spotlight.
Now I thought this was a neat, clever little thing, until he used the tactic again with devastating efficacy against a big NPC bossman. This time, he dragged the guy through the party, provoking attacks of opportunity from everyone (one or two of whom have Combat Reflexes), and triggered about 70–80 points of damage. Then the rest of the party took their action, surrounded the guy, and kicked his face in. Needless to say, the encounter ended very quickly.
This was a nifty in-character way of tackling some big enemies, and I rewarded it as such, but I can see some horribly exploitative interactions with this on the horizon. For instance, I noticed most of my players are suddenly considering taking up Combat Reflexes... so, I'm revisiting the idea.
Does anyone think this is an inappropriate interaction between Shot On The Run and nets? Is there any precedent for this? Did my player just make a new meta? Do I need to break out the banhammer? Am I missing something completely? I mean, this character is by no means overpowered; his skills, saves, BAB, and ranged options are pretty trashy, his strength is by no means unmatchable, and this tactic only works on one single, corporeal enemy of large to small size every few rounds.
For clarity on my previous stance, I ruled that this character can drag an enemy with a net (including during Shot On The Run), so long as the enemy does not surpass the character's drag limit (which is high, considering his strength is great and he gets buffed regularly), and he beats the strength check of the target.
[Edit:] The lizardfolk's self-repairing net does indeed re-arm itself as well. The net's other ability is to rearm itself on command as a move action, allowing him to re-net every turn, unless the net breaks (it takes one full round to repair). My complete ruling on the bag-and-tag mechanic, as it stands, is:
After successfully entangling an opponent with a net attack, if the wielder of the net decides to move away from the netted target, the two make opposed strength checks. If the netted target succeeds or ties the check, the wielder of the net fails to drag the target, but may continue to hold on to the net. The wielder may continue to move, but remain within 10ft of the netted target if they wish to continue holding on to the net. If the wielder of the net wins the opposed roll, the defending target falls prone, and may be dragged by the wielder. Forced movement from dragging triggers attacks of opportunity as if the target moved through the offending squares. Here, dragging encumbrance rules apply, so the speed the wielder of the net may move depends on the surface the target is being dragged over. Additionally, The net wielder can only drag a weight within their pushing/dragging limit
(in the case of the troll swamp ambush, it was a lot of difficult terrain, so he didn't go too far).
[Edit 2:] This is a 9th level, low-magic, low(ish)-power campaign (mostly tier 4s and 5s) off of a 30-point buy. Originally, this setting was for a group of martial-only characters (namely monk, paladins, and rogue), so I crafted a low-magic setting where these classes could shine. Some of the players really hit it off there, so we've been continuing the setting. Magic (both from players and NPCs) tends to be rare, and the availability of magic items is kinda scarce. The best magic weapon the party has at the moment is a +2 ghost touch short sword, and the best armor set is a +1 slick plate mail. Potions are a fair bit more common, so the party tends to stock up on their bull's strengths and their cure seriouses. I've taken a number of steps to reign in the power of casters compared to martials within my setting, and the strongest caster this party has ever had was a level 6 sorcerer (sadly, he left for personal reasons). Perhaps the single strongest spell-caster this team has fought was, in fact, an adept 10 (although he did moonlight as an ogre). This squad has always been very RP-heavy, which is why legacy weapons showed up. Even though they're not very powerful, this party has definitely enjoyed unlocking the hidden strengths and histories of discovered items, but I've never been satisfied with the stat penalties associated with legacy progression. (I've even considered removing the stat penalties altogether--I mean, aren't they already paying enough?) The current teamcomp is this:
- Human monk 9 (old player)
- Half-orc paladin 9 (old player)
- Lizardfolk fighter 7 (new player) (I let him wave the level adjustment)
- Human ranger 9 (new player)
- Human cleric 9 (returning player, first try at cleric)
The cleric is a pretty worrisome disturbance to the party balance, but it looks like the player tends to only pack status-purging spells and healing, something this party has been suffering without. Up to this point, it's mostly been potions, lay on hands, and lucky saves.
[Update:] As it turns out, I was missing something completely. The way we have been playing so far, I've been ruling that moving through multiple threatened squares provokes multiple attacks of opportunity for a character with combat reflexes, but I can see now that that ruling is... misguided (Thank you, Dan B and KRyan!). Moving forward, I'm going to reverse that ruling and fix the Combat Refxploitation. I think that, and adding size modifiers (bull rush style) to the opposed strength checks takes care of balance.