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Man Catcher

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 7:04 pm
by Havard
Anyone ever use this weapon in your games? I have never seen any PC use this one.

-Havard

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 7:19 pm
by night_druid
I don't think they're really meant for PCs. Those are "weapons" used to capture people to sell into slavery, or perhaps guards looking to move a prisoner. Not sure a PC would really use one, unless said PC were some sort of bounty-hunter/law-enforcement officer.

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 7:36 pm
by willpell
It's not on the main weapons table in 3rd and 5th editions, so it's hard to remember that it exists. But if the Kuo-Toa can have them, then there's no reason PCs shouldn't have the option. It's a great way of capturing humanoid enemies (bandits and cultists and such) for interrogation, or for paladins and other goody-types to take down crooks and troublemakers without shedding blood. Definitely something worth paying attention to.

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 10:22 pm
by Havard
night_druid wrote:I don't think they're really meant for PCs. Those are "weapons" used to capture people to sell into slavery, or perhaps guards looking to move a prisoner. Not sure a PC would really use one, unless said PC were some sort of bounty-hunter/law-enforcement officer.
It seems hard to justify spending a weapon proficiency on this weapon, but good point about a bounty hunter type campaign.

-Havard

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 10:55 pm
by night_druid
Havard wrote:It seems hard to justify spending a weapon proficiency on this weapon, but good point about a bounty hunter type campaign.
Chalk it up to the 2e PHB having one of the greatest equipment lists ever. :)

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 5:45 am
by Krimson
As I recall the Harmonium in Sigil used them. They use it for policing action, so you might have two or three or more hardheads arresting some sod, with one using the mancatcher to pin him to a wall or the ground, while the others apply shackles and/or police brutality. Two or three Harmonium using mancatchers could spell a really bad day for someone.

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 12:19 pm
by Big Mac
Havard wrote:
night_druid wrote:I don't think they're really meant for PCs. Those are "weapons" used to capture people to sell into slavery, or perhaps guards looking to move a prisoner. Not sure a PC would really use one, unless said PC were some sort of bounty-hunter/law-enforcement officer.
It seems hard to justify spending a weapon proficiency on this weapon, but good point about a bounty hunter type campaign.
It wouldn't surprise me if there wasn't an dueling society in Ravella that specialised in the use of the man catcher. :)

Can you not beat people to death with one of these, as well as catch them with it?

I wonder if the 3e rules for this equate to "grapple at 10 foot". :shock:

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 1:19 pm
by shesheyan
I've used it against PCs a long time ago. IIRC I had decided a guard force in a large town used them to restrain agressive citizens. Lets just say they players didn't appreciate being arrested in such a way. After the first mancatcher gets you its much easier for a second and third one to grab you!

I've never seen a player use one since 1981.

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 5:15 pm
by Havard
night_druid wrote:
Havard wrote:It seems hard to justify spending a weapon proficiency on this weapon, but good point about a bounty hunter type campaign.
Chalk it up to the 2e PHB having one of the greatest equipment lists ever. :)
I really like the 2e PHB equipment list. One of the reasons why I started this topic is that we talked for great lengths of time about so many of the weapons and other items on those pages of the book. With the Man Catcher, the typical discussion was always "who would ever choose this as their weapon".

But in addition to the bounty hunter type campaigns, I also think your point about some of the weapons mainly being intended for NPCs is an interesting perspective.

-Havard

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 5:29 pm
by willpell
shesheyan wrote:I've never seen a player use one since 1981.
This is what happens when the players have no incentive to take prisoners. In a highly civilized setting, where even cultists and orc raiders are expected to stand trial before being possibly executed, using a nonlethal weapon such as the mancatcher might be the only thing that keeps the players themselves from being jailed for using excessive force. Even if they're not Good enough to care whether they accidentally kill their foes, a Lawful society around them should. Most D&D campaigns take place in a wild and wooly frontier area where "frontier justice" is the norm, but if your game is set somewhere like Sharn or Evermeet, this sort of "eviscerate first, ask questions later" attitude might rightly be viewed as sociopathic, marking the players as no better or more desirable than the things they kill.

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 5:37 pm
by night_druid
Havard wrote:I really like the 2e PHB equipment list. One of the reasons why I started this topic is that we talked for great lengths of time about so many of the weapons and other items on those pages of the book. With the Man Catcher, the typical discussion was always "who would ever choose this as their weapon".

But in addition to the bounty hunter type campaigns, I also think your point about some of the weapons mainly being intended for NPCs is an interesting perspective.
The 2e PHB equipment list has to be one of the broadest list I've ever seen. Most such lists only focus on one particular timeframe and campaign style. The 2e one allows damned near anything from the Paleolithic Era all the way up to the Renaissance. You can do ancient Egypt. Or musketeers. Or Robin Hood. Or the Crusades. Just take the list, make a sublist to suit the campaign, and its all good.

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 7:52 pm
by shesheyan
willpell wrote:
shesheyan wrote:I've never seen a player use one since 1981.
This is what happens when the players have no incentive to take prisoners. In a highly civilized setting, where even cultists and orc raiders are expected to stand trial before being possibly executed, using a nonlethal weapon such as the mancatcher might be the only thing that keeps the players themselves from being jailed for using excessive force. Even if they're not Good enough to care whether they accidentally kill their foes, a Lawful society around them should. Most D&D campaigns take place in a wild and wooly frontier area where "frontier justice" is the norm, but if your game is set somewhere like Sharn or Evermeet, this sort of "eviscerate first, ask questions later" attitude might rightly be viewed as sociopathic, marking the players as no better or more desirable than the things they kill.
Did I say that my players never arrested anyone? NO. I said they never used a mancatcher to do it. There are many ways to arrest someone in D&D. Hold Person being the favorite of most players I GMed with.

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 9:39 pm
by willpell
The cleric has to burn a spell slot for that, assuming the party even has a cleric (usually a good assumption, but not 100% always). And fighter-types with normal weapons generally take a to-hit penalty when dealing nonlethal, unless they take a feat for it. Buying a special weapon and carrying it around, in the same Hammerspace backpack that contains all 580,000 of your other specialized weapons without encumbering your 34 strength, is a much lesser investment than burning one feat slot. And you never know when that -4 penalty might actually affect your roll, even if your to-hit is usually spectacular.

If your players have never used one, they either don't think the way I do, or it simply never occurred to them (as it never did to me prior to this thread).

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 11:26 pm
by shesheyan
I think its more a question of not wanting to carry around such a large weapon with a very specific use. They were aware of it since I used it against them a few times. Not every party has a Bag of Holding.

Using a Hold Person to arrest then interrogate someone in order to gain important information for the adventure is a spell well spent imho.

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 1:08 am
by Big Mac
Big Mac wrote:Can you not beat people to death with one of these, as well as catch them with it?
Actually the picture of the man catcher on the Wikipedia article looks like it would do a serious amount of damage to an unarmoured opponent:
Image

Wikipedia says that man catchers were used in medieval times, to capture noble opponents, so that they could be held for ransom (although someone has tagged that factoid with a request for a citation). If that's true, then that would be something, other than bounty hunting, where the PCs could use these weapons. If there was a conflict between two nations and the PCs worked for one side as mercenaries, they could earn a bunch of cash for kidnapping rich nobles from the other side. It could be a little bit like having a "letter of marque" that authorises privateering. :)

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 1:54 am
by Dragonhelm
Every time I see this weapon, I think of Prissy from the old Foghorn Leghorn cartoons, yelling, "A man!"

Unfortunately, I find it hard to take this weapon seriously. Besides, I think it would be difficult to use and unwieldy.



https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/73 ... a851d7.jpg

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 2:27 am
by night_druid
Dragonhelm wrote:Unfortunately, I find it hard to take this weapon seriously. Besides, I think it would be difficult to use and unwieldy.
I don't think it was meant as a weapon to be used in battle, but rather a device to wrangle dangerous prisoners. Two guards, each holding a prisoner by one, could probably get them to comply. Those spikes look a bit more menacing when you're wearing a linen shirt instead of plate armor...;)

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 5:50 am
by Krimson
The Sasumata is a similar weapon, and as you can see a non spiky aluminum version is still in use. Apparently it is used by police, for self defense, and in schools as a means to detain trespassers.

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 5:19 pm
by willpell
Big Mac wrote:Actually the picture of the man catcher on the Wikipedia article looks like it would do a serious amount of damage to an unarmoured opponent:
It would hurt, but it wouldn't be more than an HP or two of damage, with no Strength bonus applied. The wounds would likely become infected IRL, but D&D has no such mechanic, and in terms of raw physical trauma, this would fall firmly into "tis but a scratch" territory.

Re: Man Catcher

Posted: Sun May 22, 2016 6:34 am
by BlackBat242
Havard wrote:
night_druid wrote:
Havard wrote:It seems hard to justify spending a weapon proficiency on this weapon, but good point about a bounty hunter type campaign.
Chalk it up to the 2e PHB having one of the greatest equipment lists ever. :)
I really like the 2e PHB equipment list. One of the reasons why I started this topic is that we talked for great lengths of time about so many of the weapons and other items on those pages of the book. With the Man Catcher, the typical discussion was always "who would ever choose this as their weapon".

But in addition to the bounty hunter type campaigns, I also think your point about some of the weapons mainly being intended for NPCs is an interesting perspective.

-Havard
However, the mancatcher is a 1E AD&D weapon.

It first appears in Dragon Magazine #64 (Aug 1982), in the "From the Sorcerer's Scroll" section (official rules additions/changes by Gary Gygax), then it appears in the Unearthed Arcana weapons lists!