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Had an interesting player/GM interaction in a recent game and was hoping to get some outside thoughts on the matter of rope trick.
Our party has been hounded by will o'wisps for several nights now. Since our characters are only 6th-level the wisps' fast fly speed, natural invisibility, and magic immunity has made it hard for the PCs to do much more than drive them off for a short while.
In the meantime, they have taken to luring other monsters into our characters' camps for their own sadistic enjoyment. So far the heroes have been forced to fight undead bloody skeleton trolls, a young green dragon, a hydra, and a pack of barghests on account of them.
They showed no signs of letting up so I decided to prepare an ambush.
"Ha! We won't be seeing the likes of them again now that they know what we're capable of!" shouts Riva, much louder than is necessary for her companions to hear.
After returning to the camp, she casts rope trick and ushers everyone else inside. Riva remains outside and casts see invisibility and silent image.
She then creates the illusion of a crackling fire, using illusory smoke to conceal the dangling rope. She also creates the figment of several sleeping expedition members, left terribly exposed in their seeming exhaustion and overconfident victory.[/ooc]
Riva then lies in wait, pretending to be asleep herself, ready for evil's inevitable return.
This immediately sparked a debate between the GM and myself about one's ability to hide the dangling rope. He seems to think that nothing whatsoever can hide or conceal the rope, as the spell description clearly states the following:
The rope cannot be removed or hidden. The rope can support up to 16,000 pounds. A weight greater than that can pull the rope free.
I take that to mean that the rope cannot be hidden by those within the portal, that is, it can't be pulled up into the portal or anything like that. Ignoring the fact that the spell is already internally inconsistent (it says the rope can't be removed, but then immediately gives a method of removing it in the very next sentence) the GM has a much broader interpretation. The one he proposes seems, to me, to be a physical impossibility.
After all, the people on the other side of the planet can't see the rope for all the earth in the way. If cast inside a room at an inn, then surely it is hidden from people outside the room, outside the inn. If I built a fire with choking smoke under it in the forest, then surely the rope doesn't suddenly start glowing through the smoke or something, right? You can't read it in terms of absolutes because the rope will ALWAYS hidden from somebody; hence the physical impossibility of his interpretation.
In short, what does that rule actually mean, and how should it be run per RAI/RAW?
School transmutation; Level sorcerer/wizard 2
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (powdered corn and a twisted loop of parchment)
Target one touched piece of rope from 5 ft. to 30 ft. long
Duration 1 hour/level (D)
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no
When this spell is cast upon a piece of rope from 5 to 30 feet long, one end of the rope rises into the air until the whole rope hangs perpendicular to the ground, as if affixed at the upper end. The upper end is, in fact, fastened to an extradimensional space that is outside the usual multiverse of extradimensional spaces. Creatures in the extradimensional space are hidden, beyond the reach of spells (including divinations), unless those spells work across planes. The space holds as many as eight creatures (of any size). The rope cannot be removed or hidden. The rope can support up to 16,000 pounds. A weight greater than that can pull the rope free.
Spells cannot be cast across the extradimensional interface, nor can area effects cross it. Those in the extradimensional space can see out of it as if a 3-foot-by-5-foot window were centered on the rope. The window is invisible, and even creatures that can see the window can't see through it. Anything inside the extradimensional space drops out when the spell ends. The rope can be climbed by only one person at a time. The rope trick spell enables climbers to reach a normal place if they do not climb all the way to the extradimensional space.