[RPG] How much weight can the standard 50′ rope hold


If I'm climbing down a rope, and get near the bottom, how much would I have to be carrying to break the rope?

What is the strength of a standard 50 foot rope from the equipment list?

Best Answer

So, given @Szega's very, very valid "5E is not a physic simulator" point but running with the suggestion of extrapolating from the DC 17 strength check anyway...

The 5E lifting and carrying rule is quite coarse:

You can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying capacity (or 30 times your Strength score).

If we assume that a +7 to Strength will hit a DC 17 reliably, that means 24 Strength (only monsters can break ropes every time, it seems) ... and 30 × 17 gives 720 lbs.

The answer from @chaoticgeek looks at real-world ropes and gives 675lbs as the "safe load factor" — ¹⁄₁₂th the tensile strength. The number based on the DC is right in that ballpark, and if we use 12× ~700lbs as maximum load with stress, we get around 8500 lbs. So this all seems reasonable.

Or, one could argue that someone with Str 4 — a -3 bonus — can hit a DC 17 some of the time, and that the safe load should cover that, because that's what "safe" means. That gives a safe load for standard hemp or silk rope at only 68 pounds, with max weight at a little over 800 lbs. This one seems low.

Also, note that the uncommon magical item Rope of Climbing says:

This 60-foot length of silk rope weighs 3 pounds and can hold up to 3,000 pounds

But it doesn't have a given strength DC to break. Instead, it has AC 20, 20 hit points, and (slow) regeneration. So it's probably safe to just say that its limit doesn't necessarily correspond to that of regular rope.