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D&D 3E
Oh boy I just played a game where we had to climb down a hole that's… 
30th-Jan-2005 02:22 am
Oh boy
I just played a game where we had to climb down a hole that's about 40+feet down. Now we had five people hold some rope (grappling it) I descended down the hole as they held it in place. They rolled a strength check and failed letting me drop. Now after I took the proper damage they tried 4 people and other guy and basically the same thing happened. The DC is weird. The DM had it so it was 15 then as each person went it increased by 2. This seemed to high.

So what am I asking? What is a good way of having some PC's descend down a hole in a cave using rope. Meaning what kind of checks should be used and so on.

I would really love a lot of responses and if you need more details please ask.

Im just trying to find a way of using rope like that that can be in an consistent manner. A DC that can be used across the board with negatives or what have you. thanks
30th-Jan-2005 08:15 am (UTC)
I wouldn't have required a check at all. I would just have looked at the characters' strength scores and said "can they lift this character's weight? Are they strong enough to hold him/her?" ... there shouldn't be a DC for lifting something with a known weight... can you lift it, or can't you? Breaking doors and lifting a portcullis are things that involve other forces, but holding someone or something up on a rope? No check.
31st-Jan-2005 11:53 am (UTC)
I agree with you somewhat. It's just we had 6 people. One person had spider climb so she was set, but the rest needed to be dropped down. Also we had to climb down consecutive holes which to me still might require a check, but the whole weight thing does make sense. I believe we could have done it without such a hard check but I think one still should have been there. Maybe just like the 5 and something around that for the holders. Because one of the holders could lose his grip, or trip somehow, or a bug could crawl in his face....I mean checks to me make it a little funner because with the roll of the die you never know what will happen.
30th-Jan-2005 08:27 am (UTC)
as far as climb checks go, they can get pretty dastardly. However, I suggest knotted rope, it's a DC 0 to climb it. The number of people should really matter, unless it's a huge amount. Which in this case, isn't. It shouldn't be a DC across the board. A slick surface is different than knotted rope. Modifiers are there for circumstances. Streamlining it down isn't needed. No everything should be so simple
31st-Jan-2005 12:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah that's what I was trying to point out that things arent simple. I wish we did have knotted rope, but the cave hole was about 30 something feet and we only had i think 50ft rope so knots were out. After I read all the responses I finally realized different things we could have done. Such as mold a piece of rock with the spell I think stone shape to make a secure anchor and went from there. But I will have to see what happens.
31st-Jan-2005 12:20 pm (UTC)
If you only had 50ft of rope, how did the others climb down it having dropped the rope?
31st-Jan-2005 12:34 pm (UTC)
oh i dont even remember to many of the details but i believe we were going to find a rock in the dark wrap it around the rope and try to toss it up...very weird situation
30th-Jan-2005 09:40 am (UTC) - I changed my mind as I was going.
That does sound excessive, wasn't there anything to tie it to?
Presumably as you were climbing down a pit there was a wall to brace against as you climbed?

The DCs listed in the players guide would suggest 5 for this task, or 0 if you knotted the rope.
If the surface is slippy then the DC is increased by 5..for the climb check this is.

What sort of walls did the pit have? That can make a big difference if you don't have a rope. From what you've said it'd be easier to do it without a load of people holding a rope for you-which seems a bit odd.

If they failed and let you drop surely the rope had dropped too, so were the other people making non-rope-assisted climbs, or was there more rope?

Increasing by 2 makes some sense, as each person after the first would be considered to be using the "aid another" action, which adds 2 to the check if their check succeeds DC10.

If you were going to use a strength check to hold the rope; which isn't unreasonable really, if there was nothing to tie it to.

I'd compare the weight of the character with the strength of the primary character(ie the one making the main check) and how much they could lift. Assuming they could lift the weight of the character(it's actually likely they could lift more so the DC would be lower-The rules state that for lowering a character through sheer strength you lift twice your max load, so someone with strength 14[unlikely to be the highest in a normal party]can lower 350lbs) would mean DC 10+str bonus(so they make it on average), then apply the aid another action for the others. On those grounds his ruling doesn't seem that unreasonable, although adding to the DC seems the wrong way around,there should be a DC which is made easier with more help.

I'm not sure I'd even make them roll if the max lowered ammont exceeded the character weight by a decent ammount.
31st-Jan-2005 12:06 pm (UTC) - Re: I changed my mind as I was going.
We had nothing to tie it to, but now that I think of it we could have used stoneshape i think to make a good anchor. Yeah the climbed checks they made up make sense 5 or 0 if knotted makes sense and I know it would have been easier with the surface of the hole being rocky. We did have a boat load of people, but then after we sent the first heavy person down we then moved to the next heaviest and the next. We have 5 people that needed to get down and six people total. I like the second to the last paragraph with the weight and lifting. I think that makes sense.
31st-Jan-2005 12:18 pm (UTC) - Re: I changed my mind as I was going.
I've been thinking about it more since then, and I think making someone roll at all for a weight they can clearly deal with according to the rules does seem a bit over the top, but I'd still do it the way I said if there were to be a roll.
31st-Jan-2005 12:43 pm (UTC) - Re: I changed my mind as I was going.
Yeah I understand, but I think rolls make it more interesting sometime, but im so tired of it im kind of done with the whole thing hehe
30th-Jan-2005 03:28 pm (UTC)
As people have pointed out, there are really two things going on here. First is the character's ability to climb down the rope without losing his grip and falling. This really is pretty easy, like a DC 5. Could in theory range from 0-10 if the wall is really slippery or if you have a good rope, but basically it's a 5. Which means that most everyone should be able to climb down the rope without any difficulty.

But also going on is the idea of people holding the rope. As inncubus said, people can lift above their heads twice their max load, so that number is going to be pretty big. And there really is no reason to make a check for whether they can lift you if you are less than the amount they are able to lift. And more than one person holding the rope would not be an 'aid-another.' If you have two places of support, the weight it halves among them (basic physics I believe). So two people would have a super-easy time holding up another.

The only check I would think to put in (and this is if you're a kinda sadistic DM) is to wonder if they can keep up the endurance to hold the rope while you spend 5+ rounds climbing down it. Now, you are able to hold your breath underwater or run (which are nice comparable endurance trials) for a number of rounds equal to your constitution, so again that really wouldn't be an issue (unless the sickly wizard is holding the rope and the person is taking 10 or more rounds to climb). And after that, you start making con checks with a DC 10 + 1/round. So even that isn't really a big deal; you can fail it, but it's pretty unlikely to ever get to that point in the game.

So in conclusion, the climbing character should be making simple climb checks (DC 5), and unless he's really slow about it, the holding of the rope should be inconsequential. The only real problem comes about when the last guy needs to get down.
31st-Jan-2005 12:13 pm (UTC)
I think you just made very good sense. I like the check being low because thats just real and yeah I guess the holding part doesnt matter because if you go by weight lifting it makes sense. But I think my DM making a check for it made it funner because you never know whats going happen. There are rules and they are there to be bent, but its fun when you can use them in a manner to make it more interesting. Like having the rope slip out of your hands and making it harder on the other people. I dont know, but what you say works pretty well.
30th-Jan-2005 03:51 pm (UTC)
Maybe next time you should improvise a pulley by wrapping the rope around something sturdy ... also, invest in some pitons and a hammer.
31st-Jan-2005 12:14 pm (UTC)
yeah well we didnt think we needed that kind of stuff at that point. We were really pissed at this king and wanted to get down there and get the job done ASAP hehe
30th-Jan-2005 04:07 pm (UTC)
invest in several immovable rods attach the rope to a rod and activate the rod that rod will stay in place the rope secure and it's all smooth sailing. *just remember to grab the rod on your way out, don't wanna go wasting gold*
31st-Jan-2005 12:15 pm (UTC)
sounds like a lot of money, but a good idea
30th-Jan-2005 05:14 pm (UTC)
Climbing down a fastened rope with a wall to brace you is a DC 0 unless the walls are slimy, and even then with the rope it's like a DC 5 or 10 CLIMB check. Strength is figured into climb so doing a strength check was just redundant.
30th-Jan-2005 05:41 pm (UTC)
I think the Strength check was for the people holding up the rope ... the Climb check wasn't the issue here.

There's some logic behind it ... how long can you really hold up a two-hundred pound dwarf wearing plate mail before your arms get tired? But, really, I think the "how much can you lift?" rules plus Endurance checks (Fortitude saves) for prolonged exertion cover it.
30th-Jan-2005 07:51 pm (UTC)
Well heck! Have the dwarf hold the rope and then jump down. ;)
31st-Jan-2005 12:00 am (UTC)
By "hold the rope" you mean "take a nap with the rope tied around his waist," right?

Make a Reflex save to dodge the plummeting dwarf ...
31st-Jan-2005 12:18 pm (UTC)
yes the strength was just for the holders and i think it is more detailed than it may seem....so yes how long can u hold a dwarf and we're not even talking about the other people that have to go down after.
30th-Jan-2005 07:54 pm (UTC)
No check required. 4 people holding the rope, one guy shimmying down? Anyone can do that.. sometime's 3rd edition amazes me.

31st-Jan-2005 02:26 am (UTC)
They're making it harder than it is according to the rules.
31st-Jan-2005 12:26 pm (UTC)
yeah but shit happens. Wouldnt it be funner to fall face first into a dwarfs ass (roll a 1) then to be like, "okay you go down the hole...its not hard and you make it down okay"

I dont think its that we're trying to make it harder...just little more interesting.
31st-Jan-2005 12:23 pm (UTC)
I think there should be some small check. We have to go down 2 maybe even more holes which are less than a minute apart. Then yes there are 5 then one guy but what after that? 4 and 1, three and 1, and so on are your hands without gloves going to feel pretty? I may be getting to much into this but I am just trying to get something out of this.
31st-Jan-2005 02:29 am (UTC)
Avoid the whole situation.

Tie the knotted rope off to a sturdy thing that is laying across the pit, well, or what-have-you. You don't need any really special equipment and you don't need anyone holding the rope. If you want, you could rig the thing to which it is tied to come down with some rope manipulation.

You know... It sounds to me like your DM tries to make things harder than they are just for the heck of it. Do supposedly simple tasks result in strange areguments over rules and physics?
31st-Jan-2005 12:31 pm (UTC)
If you read many of the above responses I think you might understand where im coming from. Just trying to make it more interesting. My DM doesnt make it harder to me its funner I would rather attempt to make a check then to say it works and be done with it to tell you the truth. Yes these arguments happen, but mainly because our 60year old math lady has to arguue about certain situations once every session...if i could i'd get rid of her, but w/e I will deal. But yes physics and angles are brought up but mainly by her...the rest of us go through it because the DM usually makes great sense...i was just curious about what others thought
31st-Jan-2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
I think that a single person climbing down a rope anchored by five people should be a no brainer if that person has even one rank in Climb. If the climber has no ranks then 1) why is he doing the climbing??? and 2) I'd set him a basic DC10 climb check.
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