The rules on deflecting are as follows for 3rd level Monks (PHB, p. 78, bold added):

You can use your reaction to deflect or catch the missile when you are hit by a ranged weapon attack. When you do so, the damage you take from the attack is reduced by 1d10 + your Dexterity modifier + your monk level.

If you reduce the damage to 0, you can catch the missile if it is small enough for you to hold in one hand and you have at least one hand free. If you catch a missile in this way, you can spend 1 ki point to make a ranged attack with the weapon or piece of ammunition you just caught, as part of the same reaction.

A net counts as a ranged weapon, and requires an attack roll to hit (so far so good), but it's unclear to me whether or not it counts as a "missile" since it isn't thrown with the intent of transferring kinetic energy to a target. Similarly, I considered it less than obvious whether you could be said to "reduce the damage to 0" when the net's initial attack never did any damage in the first place.

So I'm throwing this question to the stack. Is an attack with a net an attack which a monk could "deflect", in the sense of catching it and throwing it back at an enemy (with a reaction and a ki point)?


3 Answers 3



  • Usually a net that can restrain you is not small enough to hold in one hand. It might be able to be held in one hand, but not when it is thrown against you. This requires a DM ruling that makes sense, though.

  • You do not reduce the damage to 0, because there is no damage to reduce*. You don't roll any damage for net. This is different with a dart thrown by someone with -1 dexterity modifier and with damage roll of 1. The damage is 0, but there is damage to reduce, so you can still catch it.

Net attack on a Hunter’s Mark target with the sharpshooter feat could deal 1d6+10 dmg? Sage Advice

The intent is that a net doesn't deal extra damage because it's not dealing damage in the first place. Crawford tweet

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Note nets are one handed weapons by the rules, so you can hold it in one hand. this even makes sense in the real world where nets were traditionally used with another weapon in the other hand. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Apr 29, 2019 at 1:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Point #1 makes sense, but doesn't actually reference any rules. Point #2 is your interpretation of the rules unless you want to link it to an actual source. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 4, 2020 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BobTheAverage twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/586414191495393282 is enough? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vylix
    Jul 4, 2020 at 16:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Vylix That is related, but you are still applying your interpretation of the rules. That tweet is about a different situation. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 4, 2020 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please note that despite that website's name, it is not Sage Advice, merely a collection of devolper tweets (and nothing more). Actual Sage Advice is published on WotC's website. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Jul 4, 2020 at 19:19

The rules are unclear, so the GM needs to make a ruling.

The first trigger is "when you are hit by a ranged weapon attack." This clearly applies because a net is a ranged weapon. The second trigger is "reduce the damage to 0," but there is no damage. The writers of the rules did not seem to consider how this ability interacts with attacks that do not deal damage. Therefore we fall back on one of the central guiding principals the designers made when designing 5e, Rulings over rules.

The DM is key. Many unexpected things can happen in a D&D campaign, and no set of rules could reasonably account for every contingency. If the rules tried to do so, the game would become unplayable. ... In a typical D&D session, a DM makes numerous rules decisions—some barely noticeable and others quite obvious. Players also interpret the rules, and the whole group keeps the game running. There are times, though, when the design intent of a rule isn’t clear or when one rule seems to contradict another.

I searched sage advice for guidance, but did not find anything addressing this specifically. I tweeted at Jeremy Crawford a minute ago. We will see if he responds.


No (at least unless you have a Huge monk)

Regardless of a net classifying as a missile or whether 0 can be reduced to 0, the monk is enveloped in the net:

A Large or smaller creature hit by a net is restrained until it is freed. A net has no effect on creatures that are formless, or creatures that are Huge or larger. A creature can use its action to make a DC 10 Strength check, freeing itself or another creature within its reach on a success. Dealing 5 slashing damage to the net (AC 10) also frees the creature without harming it, ending the effect and destroying the net.

Thus the monk that is still hit by the net, and so is captured by it until it is freed (the conditions to do so being unattainable as part of a reaction). If the monk in question is Huge though (and the assailant in question hoped the net would work) it might be free to catch it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A creature hit by the net is restrained. The restrained condition does not prevent the affected character from making attacks. I think your argument is very reasonable in a "spirit of the rule" way but it seems to me that a reasonable argument could also be made that a restrained monk is not legally prevented from making a reaction attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Apr 12, 2019 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rykara: They're not prevented from making any other attack; they just can't throw the net back because they are stuck in it. They'd have to spend a turn getting untangled from it first. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Apr 12, 2019 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looking to the action economy makes sense, but I'm not sure I see how the monk's ability doesn't provide a specific exception to how you escape a net. After all, throwing a weapon usually also requires you to use an Action (specifically, the Attack Action, and often your free "interact with an object" as well, if you didn't start the turn holding it). I suppose a very strict RAW reading could be that a monk could throw the net back at the attacker, but the monk still remains restrained by it until they either take an action or cut it? But I doubt that's the argument you're making. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 13, 2022 at 15:48

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