7
\$\begingroup\$

My players found themselves in a situation where they were mostly webbed by giant spiders. One person was free and asked to cut out one of the restrained players.

Looking up the rules, I don't see anything about freeing restrained party members. When they went to free their comrade, they asked if they should roll for it. I said no. They were cutting out their party member which expended their action versus using an ability. I thought the action expenditure was enough.

We went with it during the session, but after the fact, I can't find any rules for freeing trapped party members. Does anyone have clarification on this?

\$\endgroup\$
8
\$\begingroup\$

The rules describe two ways of freeing an ally

Assuming it was a giant spider's "Web" ability, its description says:

As an action, the restrained target can make a DC 12 Strength check, bursting the webbing on a success. The webbing can also be attacked and destroyed (AC 10; hp 5; vulnerability to fire damage; immunity to bludgeoning, poison, and psychic damage).

Only the restrained creature can make the Strength check to escape, but an ally can attack the web and destroy it; the attacker needs hit against AC 10 and deal at least 5 points of damage, freeing the restrained creature in the process. I think it is the closest RAW resolution to the "I want to free my comrade from this web by force" action, since the web presumably is destroyed in the process.

Another way is to help an ally with their Strength check. You take the Help action in this case, giving your ally advantage on the check. Unfortunately, this still requires an ally to spend their action on their turn.

A DM is free to invent a third one

As a DM you don't have to follow written rules as strict as possible. 5e is more like a toolbox you use, than a rigid set of rules you have to obey, so it does not describe every possible action and resolution. Instead, the PHB assumes the DM will choose an appropriate mechanics, see the "Improvising an Action" sidebar (PHB, page 193):

When you describe an action not detailed elsewhere in the rules, the DM tells you whether that action is possible and what kind of roll you need to make, if any, to determine success or failure.

That was exactly what you did! Your ruling was good enough — it sets a cost and gives an expected result. It is perfectly normal not to look up for a specific rule every time and came with an ad-hoc ruling, speeding up the game process.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You should probably quote the bit that makes it so only the restrained creature can make the Strength check to escape \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 May 23 at 15:49
3
\$\begingroup\$

The Monster Manual/Basic Rules entry for Giant Spiders provides an answer as part of the creature’s Web action:

Web (Recharge 5–6). Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 30/60 ft., one creature. Hit: The target is restrained by webbing. As an action, the restrained target can make a DC 12 Strength check, bursting the webbing on a success. The webbing can also be attacked and destroyed (AC 10; hp 5; vulnerability to fire damage; immunity to bludgeoning, poison, and psychic damage).

So a character wishing to free a friend can attack and destroy the web holding them. They could also use the Help action to give them advantage on the Strength check, if they don’t have a very good attack (or the wrong kind of weapon).

If the spiders didn’t use this ability specifically - if the players blundered into webs spun some time ago by the spiders, for example - they might well be easier to break, so the automatic action seems like a good ruling.

One thing to note from the above is that the webs are harder to break out of on your own than if someone else breaks them for you. (A DC 12 Strength check will in general be more difficult than hitting a target with AC 10 and dealing 5 hp worth of damage, assuming you have a weapon that does slashing or piercing damage.)

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.