D&D 5e Lasso Rules, suggestions and constructive critiques wanted

So I’m thinking a Lasso would basically be a Dexterity check using Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand or maybe a specific Lasso Tool.
I’ll really appreciate feedback on this part.

Which Dex skill should be used?
  • Acrobatics
  • Sleight of Hand
  • A new Lasso Tool
  • Something else, I’ll post what I think …

0 voters

Grapple Rule summary:
Using at least one free hand, you try to seize the target by making a grapple check, a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use). You succeed automatically if the target is incapacitated. If you succeed, you subject the target to the grappled condition.

I think using a lasso should be a full action, but honestly haven’t watched many rodeos so I might be off on the time required.

But as it is Dex based and a tool, the rolls to Escape a grapple would be the targets Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check contested by your Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics).

Rope, whether made of hemp or silk, has 2 hit points and can be burst with a DC 17 Strength check.

How hard should it be to cut the rope?

Hard to say without knowing how big a role you want lassos to have and how “realistic” you want the use to be.

My gut instinct is that it should be a skill of it’s own, a special tool. But after voting I think I’d make it a weapon. There’s already rules for using a net in the PHB, but I think lasso should require proficiency in lasso (or, like net, ranged martial weapons) to use.

I also think it should be fairly easy to cut, but I’d give it an AC that makes it a real possibility for a low level character to fail when using an attack action to do so during combat.

This is basically for a single NPC so far. A Rohirric cowboy if you will. I usually like to try for realism, but also need the game mechanics to be fairly easy and fluid.

I didn’t know there was rules for net already.

So a Net has a range of 5’/15’. You just make a roll to hit, so armor class comes into play. Simple, but I don’t love it. But where I was going is a lot more complicated.

Following that a Lasso would be a Martial Ranged Weapon I guess.
Range probably 10’/30’.
On a hit Restrained rather than Grappled.

There are rules for nets, but they suck. For instance, it’s almost impossible to make an attack with a net without disadvantage: You’re either adjacent to someone while making a ranged attack, or you’re attacking at long range.

For a lasso, I would just make it a weapon proficiency.

For an NPC, you make it a standard attack with a rider. There are plenty of examples in the monster manual. It generally says something like:


Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 11).

For a lasso, you use the same mechanic but with range and no damage. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

It’s always best to use existing mechanics rather than invent new ones, just for the sake of ease.

Agreed it should just be a ranged weapon attack. I’d give it the same stats as a whip, except a successful hit restrains rather than doing the d4 slash of the whip.

Ranged weapon attack sounds good to me. It really isn’t slight of hand, and i don’t love creating a new category.

I would also make it a weapon proficiency. It’d do zero damage and could be used to grapple creatures at a short distance. Ten squares maybe?

“Ten Squares”?

I don’t follow.

I think a range of 10’ and 30’ max makes sense.

Treating it as a weapon attack keeps it simple. I’ll go with that.

I use miniatures and a map when I play D&D. With each square being 5x5, 10 squares would be 50 feet.

That seems like far too far a range. I wasn’t even sure about the 30’ range (6 squares) But I figured anything past 10’ is Disadvantage at least so maybe reasonable and the base range x3 is pretty common.

I found a site recommending 6-8 feet as a good starting distance for beginners. I’d probably up the short range to 15, just to create slightly better tactical options for the user. On a grid of 5x5 squares, ten feet is quite close.

I don’t want to give more than 30’. That feels extreme, but I can live with 15’ as the base range. I think for game play that does make more sense.

Especially as you would have to pick up the Weapon Proficiency in game or as a background or maybe a Feat.

BTW: Thanks everyone for helping with this.

Big nerd stuff incoming:

So I mentioned that it’s very easy to design this for an NPC because you don’t have to worry about balancing against class features. It’s a bit trickier for a PC depending on your philosophy about class/subclass roles.

The battlemaster subclass is already built around tricky maneuvers like this, and they have to expend resources to do so. The closest battlemaster maneuver is grappling strike:

Grappling Strike. Immediately after you hit a creature with a melee attack on your turn, you can expend one superiority die and then try to grapple the target as a bonus action (see the Player’s Handbook for rules on grappling). Add the superiority die to your Strength (Athletics) check.

Your lasso maneuver is strictly better in the following ways: it can presumably be used for free, it does not require a second grapple roll, and it imposes restrained rather than grappled, which is a much more debilitating condition.

So for a PC, I would recommend requiring them to take the martial adept feat with the following changes:

  • Instead of two maneuvers, they only receive one. It is identical to ‘grappling strike,’ except it can be used with a melee attack or a lasso with the 15/30 range and zero damage.
  • The feat grants proficiency in the lasso.

I don’t know anything about lassos so I won’t balk at range 6. I was thinking 10 might be long range so rolls would be at disadvantage.

Another way to do this would be a mastercrafted or magical item that grants access to the feat, perhaps only while attuned. This gives a new ability without needing to expend a feat - which is a really big ask. Tying it to an attunement also lets you ignore class balance issues in favor of cool effects. So you could go with restrained instead of grappled, allow it to be used more than once a day, etc.

For what it’s worth, according to Wikipedia, real-world lassos can be about 30 feet, or up to 75 or even 100 feet, depending on the style. I’m not sure which would be most comparable to a D&D weapon, or if they can all be used in the same way. It’s also possible, I suppose, that the longer ones are still only thrown a short distance, with the extra length being to give the captured animal a longer leash once ensnared.