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How do I use rope in PF?


Advice


The party was attempting to climb a cliff under duress. This was the first time I DMed Pathfinder, so I was unaware the Use Rope skill was eliminated in the conversion. I like Use Rope for climbing and securing enemies and cargo to mounts and so on, so we defaulted back to 3.5 rules, but it didn't seem completely fair to the players as they had no way to put skill points into it.
So how do you guys handle the stuff that used to be under the Use Rope skill in PF? I found almost nothing about utilizing ropes in the core rule book.
Survival maybe?


I just let them use the rope.

Do they need a skill for it?

It's like, if you're traveling around the world, killing monsters and s+%+, but you don't know how rope works...

Well you've got bigger issues than getting over that cliff. Like your impaired brain function and palsied fingers.

Dark Archive

Yeah. It does seem kind of silly to have a skill devoted to just using rope. It's a basic skill anyone can be somewhat good at.


Bill Kirsch wrote:
I like Use Rope for climbing and securing enemies and cargo to mounts and so on,

If you really want to have people make a skill check, how about these.

Climbing: climb check (the DC's for some of these are already in the core rule book).
Securing enemies: DC is 20+CMB (see grapple rules in the core rule book)
tying cargo to mounts: ride check.


Generally, I let it slide, unless it's for a specific purpose (i.e. a sailor on a ship would use profession [sailor]). To tie someone up, just about anybody can do that.

Silver Crusade

I can't give you a full answer on this, but as far as securing enemies goes... that's covered under the rules for the Escape Artist skill. It's presumed the DC is 20 + the rope-user's Combat Maneuver Bonus.

As for the other uses, I'm not sure.

Edit: Beaten to it. Oh well.


It's one thing to know how to knot a rope, it's another to do it highly effectively. I'd say it's something you could do untrained, but I'd let someone with ranks in Escape Artist (since knowing how to reverse engineer bonds is really helpful for getting out of them), Profession (Sailor) and/or Survival count their ranks toward the DC of escaping the bonds.

As far as skill discussions, I'm kind of annoyed at Jumping being a part of Acrobatics, I believe it's largely a function of ones strength- I've consolidated Swimming, Climbing and Jumping into Athletics, which I obviously lifted from 4th Ed. I figured I'm not hurting anyone by giving Joe Fighter with 2 skill points to spend per level a little less to spread those scant points across.


illworx wrote:

It's one thing to know how to knot a rope, it's another to do it highly effectively. I'd say it's something you could do untrained, but I'd let someone with ranks in Escape Artist (since knowing how to reverse engineer bonds is really helpful for getting out of them), Profession (Sailor) and/or Survival count their ranks toward the DC of escaping the bonds.

As far as skill discussions, I'm kind of annoyed at Jumping being a part of Acrobatics, I believe it's largely a function of ones strength- I've consolidated Swimming, Climbing and Jumping into Athletics, which I obviously lifted from 4th Ed. I figured I'm not hurting anyone by giving Joe Fighter with 2 skill points to spend per level a little less to spread those scant points across.

While I don't necessarily have a problem with this, and frankly, I think its one of the things 4ed did right, keep in mind that your rogues might get a tad annoyed at this. They give up a decent amount of combat strength with the primary return being they get to be more skillful. However combining two and a half skills into a nice tidy package for the fighter kind of negates a bit of that advantage.

That being said, I do agree that Jumping should be strength based. Sure, being dextrous might aid you in getting over the bar (think Fosbury Flop here) but without sufficient strength it won't matter.


Just let them secure things, use climb to climb, use escape artist to tie people up. I hated the use rope skill so much. Even worse that if it was untrained. Its using a rope, it doesn't take an amazing talent to do it loosely and you can use other skills to judge it. In all my years playing 3.5 use rope came up once. To tie up a bad guy, who was out cold, and didn't try to escape because I then tied him up with chains. I don't miss use rope.

Seriously, the use of use rope was extremely limited. DC 10 to secure something, and the harder uses for it were splicing rope and tying a rope around you one handed. Both of those are specific and I hope never come up. Ever. If its out of combat just let them do it.


That was the problem, however. They were in combat. Some were on the cliff, some were at the bottom and some were at the top. There was a lot of climbing, securing rope to assist others in climbing, bad guys attempting to cut ropes, other bad guys in a tug of war with the ropes, precious supplies being dragged up the cliff, secured with a hastily tied knot, etc. Lots of potential rope use checks in that encounter. We made due, but it would have gone easier with the old 3.5 skill.


Bill Kirsch wrote:
We made due, but it would have gone easier with the old 3.5 skill.

Not having to roll at all makes it much easier I would think. Sometimes its best just to let an action happen.


I guess it depends on the level of detail you are used to. My group is pretty detail oriented.
Under standard "we climb the cliff" situations, I agree. But this was not the case here.
It built tension when they failed a check, and we quite literally had a few cliffhanger moments. ;-)


I can add a lot of details. I can talk about how the rope was made of the finest horse hair from a far northern village slowly trimmed by a housewife named Edna Grove. Woven with hemp harvest from the lands of the east, from a village of Etran, by poor peasants seeking longer days and ravaged by trolls. The profits would go to hiring adventurers to fight the trolls.

That doesn't mean I like use rope. Its not a level of detail. Its a roll. You can build lots of tension with words and climb checks. You can talk about how they see the last thread of the rope tugged by the knife and slowly unfurl as each twine is cut.

Its insulting to say I don't use the level of detail...


Some people are easily insulted, I guess.
You don't see the use of the skill. I do. There is no point in continuing to argue about it.


Use of rope by climber's would fall under the Climb skill.

Use of rope by sailor's on a ship would fall under Profession (Sailor).

Use of rope to skip rope would fall under Acrobatics.

Use of rope to lasso a horse would fall under Handle Animal.

Use of rope to set a rope snare would fall under Survival.

It's not that the skill is omitted. I believe that the developers felt like the specifics of the Use Rope skill fell better under other skill sets. Any seasoned climber knows how to use rope for climbing, but would no have a clue about how a sailor would use rope. To make Use Rope it's own skill has always been lame. It has nothing to do with the detail of the skill, but as to whether or not someone could use a rope to accomplish a specific function.

Scarab Sages

Tying someone up with rope is just done and the DC to Escape Artist it is Binder's CMB +20.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/skills/escape-artist


Use rope is very situational IMHO. Though I could see complex pulley systems or specialized knots calling on the skill. Perhaps you want to tie up your companions and bring them to the enemy's keep as if collecting a bounty... but the knots are really just sophisticated slip knots.

Or an alchemist tying a rope to his potions so he can hold more, or toss them a few at a time. Crafting bolas, nets, zip lines, etc. A rope can even be an effective weapon if one knows how to tie a monkey's fist... a knot known in historic navies as an improvised mutiny weapon.


One of my players insists that he roll a d20 when he ties a knot, no matter what it's for, so I let him roll a survival roll w/ a low DC. It kind of makes sense b/c snaring animals is bound to include tying rope, right? I would think a suitable profession skill could be used as well (like sailor). He seems happy enough with it.

Now, just to reiterate, I don't actually want him to roll for it, he just really, really wants to. <shrugs> All my other players are quite content to say they tie a knot and move on.

Hope that helps.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Bill Kirsch wrote:

I guess it depends on the level of detail you are used to. My group is pretty detail oriented.

Under standard "we climb the cliff" situations, I agree. But this was not the case here.
It built tension when they failed a check, and we quite literally had a few cliffhanger moments. ;-)

I do go into details (a lot!) and to me a rope is a tool. If you have a need for Rope Use then why not Blade Use ? (not for combat)

Blades are tools used in so may ways, often with rope but also in all sorts of circumstances where a player want's to chop down something or slash threw something, etc.

Do they need a specific skill for using a blade? I dont't feel they do. They need the proper skill or combat capacity to reach the objective. IMO


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Craig Frankum wrote:

Use of rope by climber's would fall under the Climb skill.

Use of rope by sailor's on a ship would fall under Profession (Sailor).

Use of rope to skip rope would fall under Acrobatics.

Use of rope to lasso a horse would fall under Handle Animal.

Use of rope to set a rope snare would fall under Survival.

It's not that the skill is omitted. I believe that the developers felt like the specifics of the Use Rope skill fell better under other skill sets. Any seasoned climber knows how to use rope for climbing, but would no have a clue about how a sailor would use rope. To make Use Rope it's own skill has always been lame. It has nothing to do with the detail of the skill, but as to whether or not someone could use a rope to accomplish a specific function.

Indeed using rope for climbing falls under the climb skill and always should have. A mountain climber who is good at setting up lines on a mountain side, does not have any particular advantage when tieing down a sail on a ship.

In addition, for those attempts of enemies to pull ropes loose, or a 'tug of war' thats what CMB checks are for.


Kolokotroni wrote:
Craig Frankum wrote:

Use of rope by climber's would fall under the Climb skill.

Use of rope by sailor's on a ship would fall under Profession (Sailor).

Use of rope to skip rope would fall under Acrobatics.

Use of rope to lasso a horse would fall under Handle Animal.

Use of rope to set a rope snare would fall under Survival.

It's not that the skill is omitted. I believe that the developers felt like the specifics of the Use Rope skill fell better under other skill sets. Any seasoned climber knows how to use rope for climbing, but would no have a clue about how a sailor would use rope. To make Use Rope it's own skill has always been lame. It has nothing to do with the detail of the skill, but as to whether or not someone could use a rope to accomplish a specific function.

Indeed using rope for climbing falls under the climb skill and always should have. A mountain climber who is good at setting up lines on a mountain side, does not have any particular advantage when tieing down a sail on a ship.

In addition, for those attempts of enemies to pull ropes loose, or a 'tug of war' thats what CMB checks are for.

What about tying up and hauling up equipment? all while under attack? What skill would govern that? climbing just doesn't quite cover it.

While I would agree that it is sufficiently limited that it does not require a separate skill, it should be made clear just what skill it does come under. I personally what probably put this under climbing or profession (sailor), but it still feels somewhat arbitrary.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

If it is something actually important enough, Survival or a Dex check. Otherwise we just say it happens and move on.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

tying up equipment is just an action. Hauling it up a cliff is a strength check (though honestly again is just an action if its within your load limit)

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Gargs454 wrote:
That being said, I do agree that Jumping should be strength based. Sure, being dextrous might aid you in getting over the bar (think Fosbury Flop here) but without sufficient strength it won't matter.

I think an argument can be made for Dex. Jumping isn't purely about strength, there's also a speed compenent (flexing your muscles quickly to spring off the ground) .

Plus, at the end of the day, I think I'd rather have rogues be good at jumping then fighters, it seems more in keeping with their concept to be jumping around during combat. I'm willing to accept a little unreality in the game if it makes it more fun (in my opinion anyway).


The way i have always done it is this: drawing rope is a move-action that provokes to draw out in combat, unless you have quick draw or a handy haversack. if you desire to tie up an aware enemy they must be grappled, and being tied gives them the Pinned condition. if you do this while being threatened by other enemies it provokes, but if they are not threatening it is a standard action that requires a cmb check (to grapple) that provokes an immediate excape artist or cmb check to break grapple, and that can be done after rolling to maintain the grapple. UNLESS you have quick draw or a feat that allows you to pin a grappled enemy, at which point it would become a move or free action and attempting would not allow the target another escape artist/cmb check to break grapple. also this can only be done while already having the rope in your hands, or with quickdraw. so without quick draw or a feat that allows you to pin a grappled opponent you would need to grapple in one round, then maintain and pull out the rope, then maintain and pin them, provoking an escape attempt from the target immediately. quick draw or greater improved grapple shortens the time this takes by one round, and doesnt provoke an immediate attempt. to use rope to tie someone up out of combat (an unconscious person) i allow it, but as the questioning goes on i make periodic str checks to break the ropes and attempt an escape. to use rope for climbing i make it a climb check with a +2 or +5, depending on the dc of the check. same with swimming. i allow pc's to use rope to stay organized in areas where some or all of them cannot see (darkness/deep darkness) as long as they walk in a line with no more than 5 feet seperating each other. i use it as a +2 on strength checks to haul a helpless ally up a wall/cliff.


So what do you do with the Tied Up maneuver that you can only do on Pinned targets if tying people up makes them Pinned?


Strannik wrote:

One of my players insists that he roll a d20 when he ties a knot, no matter what it's for, so I let him roll a survival roll w/ a low DC. It kind of makes sense b/c snaring animals is bound to include tying rope, right? I would think a suitable profession skill could be used as well (like sailor). He seems happy enough with it.

Now, just to reiterate, I don't actually want him to roll for it, he just really, really wants to. <shrugs> All my other players are quite content to say they tie a knot and move on.

Hope that helps.

"Roll the dice to see if I'm getting drunk!"


Rynjin wrote:
So what do you do with the Tied Up maneuver that you can only do on Pinned targets if tying people up makes them Pinned?

well thats pretty much what it is, but i only do that on home campaigns because i think the tied up rules are stupid.


Clerics of Calistria are pretty handy with a rope, I would think.

Otherwise, disable device or any of the skills listed above.


illworx wrote:
As far as skill discussions, I'm kind of annoyed at Jumping being a part of Acrobatics, I believe it's largely a function of ones strength- I've consolidated Swimming, Climbing and Jumping into Athletics, which I obviously lifted from 4th Ed. I figured I'm not hurting anyone by giving Joe Fighter with 2 skill points to spend per level a little less to spread those scant points across.

I agree 100%. An alternative might be to use Str instead of Dex on acrobatic checks that involve jumping.

Side note: I really wish skills would not be so attached to specific ability scores. Stealth could use Int instead of Dex, for example.

Scarab Sages

Robe of Infinite Twine is a nice 1kg item.

Robe of Infinite Twine:

The wearer can draw up to 30 feet of twine or up to 10 feet of hemp rope per round from the robe without harming it. As an immediate action, the wearer can draw up to 150 feet of twine or 50 feet of rope from the robe, but this gives the robe the broken condition and suppresses its powers until it is repaired. Twine or rope drawn from the robe remains connected until cut or torn, but is treated as common material rather than part of a magic item. Pieces removed become normal twine or rope.

See a pit? Fill it with rope.
River blocking your way? Dam it up with rope.
Know that an enemy calvery is coming in a few days? Fill the fields with rope.
Found a trap? Spring it by tossing a coil of rope.
Cave is dark? While still attatched, make a glowing trail by casting Light on your rope.
Need to protect your camp? Attatch bells to all the twine you can make and set it around your campsite. Then build a fort with rope.

ROPE!!!!! ALL THE ROPE!!!!


Cao Phen wrote:

Robe of Infinite Twine is a nice 1kg item.

** spoiler omitted **

See a pit? Fill it with rope.
River blocking your way? Dam it up with rope.
Know that an enemy calvery is coming in a few days? Fill the fields with rope.
Found a trap? Spring it by tossing a coil of rope.
Cave is dark? While still attatched, make a glowing trail by casting Light on your rope.
Need to protect your camp? Attatch bells to all the twine you can make and set it around your campsite. Then build a fort with rope.

ROPE!!!!! ALL THE ROPE!!!!

The casting light on the entire rope thing was fixed in an errata some time ago. Light emanates from just the point touched, not the entire object.

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