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I was reading over some of the weapons in the rules today when I came across 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.

Now this could be interpreted in one of two ways.

  1. When you attack with a net that's the only attack you can make.
  2. You can only attack once with a net but can take your other attacks as normal.

If I'm basing my choice off of the Rules As Intended, I think what was meant matches up with option #2, but I might be wrong. Which interpretation is correct?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Would be so much simpler if a net was just a piece of equipment, not a weapon. \$\endgroup\$ – Pink Sweetener Jul 27 '18 at 20:48
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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.

This is referring to the action which you use to attack with the net. For example, if you are a lvl 5 Fighter with the Extra Attack feature, when you attack with a net, you do not get to use your Extra Attack. (This is what I assume you are referring to by 'your other attacks'.)

However, if you had a way to attack with a separate action you could still make that attack using that action. For example, if you were holding a net and a hand crossbow, you could attack with the net, then use the bonus action granted by Crossbow Expert to attack with the hand crossbow.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Net + Crossbow is a fantastic combination with Crossbow Expert, as it removes the disadvantage to using a net in melee range. \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Jun 5 at 17:29
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Option 1 is correct. Attacking with a net consumes the whole action, you cannot make additional attacks when you have attacked with a net.

This is a different wording than the loading property, which still seems to allow extra attacks on your turn. Let's compare the two:

Loading. Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can only fire 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 normally make (PHB 147)

vs 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. (PHB 148)

The difference here is that the Net doesn't qualify that it's only one attack with the net, it's just one attack, you can't then go on and make your additional attacks. In contrast, if you, say, have two loaded hand crossbows in your hands, you could attack with one, and then use extra attack to attack with the other. Not so with the Net.

So a L5 fighter cannot go on to use extra attack, they can use additional attacks such as the attack from Crossbow Expert or similar.

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Some characters have a class feature allowing making 2 or more attacks when using the attack action.

The weapon-specific rule overrides the more commonly used additional attacks option.

So, taking the historically standard combo: Net and Trident.

Gaius Retarius, fighter level 5, has 2 attacks per attack action. When he attacks with the trident, he gets to make 2 attacks. When he attacks with the net, he gets one. When he uses his action surge, he gets an additional action, so he can take two attack actions. This means he could attack twice with the net, once with the net and twice with the trident, or 4 times with the trident.

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This just means that you can only make 1 attack with the net. It is to stop people from thinking that they can throw the net, then get it back and throw it again in the same action.

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