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D&D 3E/3.5 A ropey issue

Cleon

Adventurer
While reading through the description of the Pathfinder magic item robe of infinite twine yesterday when my random thoughts led me to contemplate the humble hempen rope and a thought occurred to me.

How much weight can a standard hempen rope support? It'd be nice to have some idea how many adventurers can dangle from one before it runs the risk of snapping! For that matter, how thick is the rope?

Since there was nothing better to do this weekend I spent a pleasant few hours thinking about the question and rummaging through the internet on data about rope strength - which proved harder than I thought, since rope made out of hemp or other natural fibres is little used these days.

Anyhow, you might as well enjoy the results of this "research".

Basic Stats
Rope, Hempen, 50 ft. (3/3.5/Pathfinder): This rope has 2 hit points and can be burst with a DC 23 Strength check. Price 1 gp, Weight 10 lb.

First Approach - Break DCs vs Strength/Carrying Capacity
A Break DC of 23 means a character must have a Strength bonus of +3 or greater to snap the rope, requiring a Strength of 16 or higher. The Carrying Capacity rules say a character can lift twice their maximum load off the ground and stagger about with it, ergo they are applying a force equal to that weight. A Str 16 gives a max load of 230 lbs so their "max lift" is 460 lbs.

That seems too low, being roughly the weight of two medium-sized humanoid adventurers and their equipment. However, 460 pounds is the extreme edge case. The character is doing their utmost to break the rope and was extremely lucky (rolling a natural 20) to stretch the rope just right so they hit or create a weak spot on the rope causing it to fail. In normal usage that wouldn't be the case.

Instead let's consider a character who can "take 10" on a Strength check but will just fails to hit the rope's Break DC of 23. This requires a +12 Strength bonus so they would have have a Strength of 34 or 35, meaning their maximum load is 2800 or 3200 pounds and their maximum lift is 5,600 or 6,400 pounds.

Averaging that out suggests the standard hempen rope has a breaking load around 6,000 pounds.

That doesn't mean 5,000 pound Cloud Giants can go freely bungee-jumping with standard hemp rope however. That's the maximum load at which the rope is sure to break. The safe load of a rope is but a fraction of this, ranging from one-quarter to one-fifteenth of the breaking load depending on the likely use. For "your life depends on it" tasks good engineering practice recommends a factor around twelve, for a safe load of 500 lbs, especially if the rope is regularly exposed to strain and expected to last a while. However for the risk-casual adventurers a factor of six should be enough, for a safe load of 1,000 lbs beyond which there's a risk of the rope breaking.

Incidentally, merely tying a knot in a rope will reduce its breaking load by 50% or so, since knots concentrate stresses in the rope and make it more likely to break. So a 6,000 lb. breaking load rope will fairly definitely snap if you tie it round a 3,000 lb. rhinoceros and try to hoist it in the air. Going by some of the rope-related websites I read together the loss in breaking strength can be as little as 35% with the right knots, suggesting another task for a Use Rope skill check…

Second Approach - Real World Comparisons
Okay, we know 50 feet of this hempen rope weighs 10 pounds, therefore the rope weighs 0.2 pounds per foot (5 feet per pound) or, if you prefer S.I. units that comes to about 298 grammes/metre.

It took me way longer than I expected, but I eventually found enough sources on the weights of ropes made from actual hemp (Cannabis sativa) to determine that's the weight of a hemp rope 20mm in diameter (i.e. Buy Rope & Hemp Shop Rope), or 13/16th of an inch.

That Buy Rope datasheet gives an estimated breaking load of 2650 kg (5837 lb.) but the Hemp Shop Rope gives 1856 kg (4092 lb.). However the Hemp Shop's rope is 253g/m so is 5/6th the weight of the SRD hempen rope which therefore should be roughly 15-20% stronger, or 2183 kg (4816 lb.), which still is oddly low compared to the other figures I found which were all in the high-five-thousands to mid-six-thousand pound range. For example, this Smackdock Rope webpage (which turned out to be a good general reference source) lists 20 mm Italian hemp rope as having a 2,900 kg breaking load [6388 lb].

Overall, 6,000 pounds for the breaking load seems an acceptable compromise, especially as it matches the result of the first approach. What a remarkable coincidence!

For other "hempen" fibres, manila ropes made of abacá (Musa testilus) appear to be almost as strong as hemp, while sisal ropes made of sisal (Agave sisalana) are significantly weaker than hemp and manila.

Conclusion
The SRD standard hempen rope is a 13/16th inch diameter hemp rope that can support 1,000 pounds safely, or up to 3,000 lbs with an increasing risk of it breaking.

Note
Since this post is based on an evening of idle internet browsing through the internet, don't use the rope strength for real life applications!
 

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aco175

Legend
The SRD standard hempen rope is a 13/16th inch diameter hemp rope that can support 1,000 pounds safely, or up to 3,000 lbs with an increasing risk of it breaking.
I can see this being about right. I see some websites saying the break DC is 17 for 5e games.

What kind of better rope is there? People talk about spider silk being 1/2 the weight, but can carry the same or more weight. I was thinking about thief's rope/ninja rope, but the spider silk is fine for most things.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I can see this being about right. I see some websites saying the break DC is 17 for 5e games.

Yes, DC 17 seems way too low for a 5E hemp rope. That suggests an "average humanoid" with Strength 10 has a 20% chance of snapping the rope just by yanking on it with all their power.

Would you risk hanging from a cliff by a rope with a 20% chance of failure?

What kind of better rope is there? People talk about spider silk being 1/2 the weight, but can carry the same or more weight. I was thinking about thief's rope/ninja rope, but the spider silk is fine for most things.

Well while "researching" for rope data I wandered into checking on silk fibres since "rope, silk" is a standard SRD equipment item.

Here's the base stats:

Rope, Silk, 50 ft. (3/3.5/Pathfinder): This rope has 4 hit points and can be burst with a DC 24 Strength check. Price 10 gp, Weight 5 lb.

Rope, Spider's Silk (Pathfinder): This rope has 6 hit points and can be burst with a DC 25 Strength check. Price 100 gp, Weight 4 lb.

First Approach
Using the "Break DCs vs Strength/Carrying Capacity" method.

Silk Rope: Break DC 24 => safe Strength bonus +13 => Str 36-37 => max lift 3,680 or 4,160 lb. => max load 7,360 or 8,320 lb.
Spider's Silk Rope: Break DC 25=> safe Strength bonus +14 => Str 38-39 => max lift 4,800 or 5,600 lb. => max load 9,600 or 11,200 lb.

Rounding that to a convenient number, that suggests a regular silk rope has a breaking load of 7,800 pounds and a spider's silk rope 10,500 pounds. Assuming a "safe load" ratio of 1:6 that's 1,300 pounds for silk rope and 1,750 lb. for spider's silk rope.

A standard silk rope is probably made from regular insect silk (as in the stuff spun by silk moth larvae), while a spider's silk rope is specifically stated to be made from the silk of Monstrous Spiders. Possibly very big ones, since a Gargantuan Monstrous Spider's web only has a Break DC of 24. Then again, that Break DC may represent a single strand that "is strong enough to support the spider and one creature of the same size" and according to the Creature Size and Scale table that's a minimum of 32 tons or 64,000 pounds (since 3E uses US short tons).

More likely it's a silk strand from a Large Monstrous Spider as the standard weight range of a Large creature is 500-4,000 pounds, so a "safe load" of 1,750 lbs. falls within that range. A Large spider's web has a Break DC of 17 however. Possibly a Monstrous Spider web is easier to break than a single "support strand" because it's a collection of thin strands which can be snapped individually rather than a single large one.

A spider's silk rope could be made from hundreds of strands of silk from a Small or Tiny spider braided together like a normal hempen rope rather than a single strand from a Large one, if only because smaller Monstrous Spiders would be a lot easier and safer to keep "domesticated" than massive ones.

I guess it's possible the +7 difference between a Large Spider's Break DC 17 web and a Break DC 24 spider's silk rope is because the rope has been specially treated for strength and durability - some kind of secret drow alchemical mixture perchance? It'd explain why the stuff costs 100 gold pieces!

Also, a Large Monstrous Spider's web has 12 hit points per 5-foot section, twice the 6 hp of a spider's silk rope so maybe whatever treatment is used to turn their silk into rope makes it stronger but less durable? Or it just uses half the silk of a 5 ft. by 5 ft. stretch of Large spider webbing. A Medium Monstrous Spider's web has 6 hit points per 5 ft. section, for what it's worth.

Hmm, I seem to be wandering off the issue…

Second Approach
My best guess is spider silk rope should have approximately the same strength as high quality nylon rope, but the strongest known spider silks such as that from Darwin's bark spider (Caerostris darwini) are approximately twice as strong (up to 10 times stronger than kevlar!), so should produce a rope roughly twice as strong as nylon.

It's important to note that claims of a fibre being "X times stronger than steel/kevlar/whatever" are often deceptive, since they're usually for microscopic perfect fibres. An actual rope is only as strong as its weakest point, and will contain millions of individual fibres, many of which are weak, flawed or poorly bound to their neighbours, meaning the rope's breaking strength will be a lot less than the maximum theoretical strength of the material.

Regular silk from insect cocoons and the like is typically not as strong as spider silk, and can be much weaker depending on how the silk is harvested/spun and what particular insect it's from. I'll assume that regular silk ropes are made from the strongest varieties such as the standard silk of Mulberry silkworm cocoons from the silk moth (Bombyx mori) which is 50% to 60% spider strength.

Okay, so a regular silk rope is 10 feet long per pound (or 0.1 lbs. per foot). That's 148.9 grammes per metre. A spider's silk rope is 12.5 feet long per pound (or 0.08 lbs. per foot). That's 119.1 grammes per metre.

According to Engineering Toolbox data on Nylon Rope Strength:

A 16mm diameter nylon rope weighs 147 g/m and has a minimum breaking strength of 8,910 pounds.
A 14mm diameter nylon rope weighs 119 g/m and has a minimum breaking strength of 7,200 pounds.

So, if silkworm silk were 60% as strong as nylon, its minimum breaking strength ought to be 0.6 times the the breaking strength of 16mm nylon rope which'll be… 5,346 pounds, or approximately the same strength as the standard hempen rope.

If a spider's silk rope is as strong as nylon, its minimum breaking strength is 7,200 pounds.

Those figures seem a bit low. However, those are minimum breaking strength, and good engineering conduct is to include a healthy safety factor. The average breaking load could be noticeably higher.

According Smackdock Average Rope Breaking Loads:

A 16mm diameter three-strand nylon rope has an average breaking load of 6,640 kg (14,625 pounds).
A 14mm diameter three-strand nylon rope has an average breaking load of 5,100 kg (11,233 pounds).

Using the above:

60% of 5,100 kg would translate to a standard silk rope having a breaking load of 8,775 pounds.
50% of 5,100 kg would translate to a standard silk rope having a breaking load of 7,313 pounds.

And a standard spider's silk rope having a breaking load of 11,233 pounds.

Those figures are reasonably close to the First Approach's breaking loads of 7,800 lb. for silk ropes and 10,500 lb. for spider's silk ropes.

Silk's a bit denser than nylon (mulberry silk's typically 1.35 g/cm³, spider's dragline silk 1.31 g/cm³, nylon 6.6 is 1.15 g/cm³). That doesn't make a difference to our Strength calculation, but might affect the actual thickness of the rope.

All things being equal, the rope's diameter will be that of the equivalent nylon rope times the square root of the density ratio (nylon density divided by silk density).

Silk Rope: 16 mm × square root (1.15/1.35) = 14.77 mm => roughly 6/10th of an inch.
Spider's Silk Rope: 14 mm × square root (1.15/1.31) = 13.11 mm => roughly 1/2 of an inch.

However, a silk rope could be "fluffier" than a nylon rope with more airspace between its fibres. I don't really know, since I couldn't find any data on actual silk ropes.

This might be because a real-like silk rope would be much more vulnerable to abrasion damage than a nylon rope. Since individual silk fibres are so thin, it'll take very little to break one and a silk rope (in theory) might fray very easily when it rubs again something (including itself at points where it's knotted). A Monstrous Spider silk rope presumably would not suffer from this problem as its fibres would be much thicker than a regular Fine-size spider's.

As for a standard silk rope, maybe it's made from the cocoons of Giant Silkmoths the size of pigeons rather than regular sized insects? Considering the abundance of giant insects in D&D, Giant Silkworms are definitely a possibility and would be a simple answer to the abrasion problem.

Or silk rope is only used for a few days or weeks and chucked away or unwoven and used for regular fabric as soon as it becomes too worn to be safely used. That seems rather profligate, but adventurers tend to have money to burn.

Conclusion
Rounding to some convenient numbers:

The SRD standard silk rope is a 9/16th inch diameter silkworm silk rope (possibly from Giant Mulberrry Silkmoths) that can support 1,300 pounds safely, or up to 3,900 lbs with an increasing risk of it breaking.

The Pathfinder spider's silk rope is a 1/2 inch diameter Monstrous Spider silk rope that can support 1,800 pounds safely, or up to 5,400 lbs with an increasing risk of it breaking.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Additional Notes

Stretchiness
Ropes stretch before they break. I couldn't find elasticity data for actual hemp with some casual internet browsing, but manila rope has a breaking strain of 20% according to smackdock and that fibre appears to have pretty similar properties to hemp. The percentage is how much longer the fibre gets before it snaps, meaning a 50 ft. length of rope will generally stretch to 60 ft. in length before it breaks under a load.

Regular silk from insect cocoons can have a wide range of breaking strains from 4% to 40%, with Mulberry silkworm silk ranging from 10-23.4% according to Wikipedia at least. Let's call it a nice round 20% on average, meaning a 50 ft. length of insect's silk will generally stretch to 60 ft. in length before it breaks under a load. It'd be more convenient if standard silk rope is made to be as "stretchy" as hempen rope.

Dragline spider silks (dragline silk, produced by the spider's Major Ampullate gland, being the strongest kind of silk spider's produce in terms of its maximum breaking load) appear to have breaking strains ranging from 18% to 33% according to Wikipedia. Let's call it 25% on average, so a 50 ft. length of spider's silk can stretch up to 62.5 ft. before it breaks.

However, Flag silk, produced by the spider's Flagelliform gland is MUCH stretchier, with breaking strains up to 400% (so they can stretch up to five times their length without breaking), although 270% is an average figure quoted by Ask an Entomologist. Unfortunately, flag silk is also far weaker, with typical breaking loads around half that of dragline silk, although its "toughness" (ability to absorb damage) is almost as good.

A really stretchy rope is of limited usefulness in nautical applications - a set of rope stays to keep a mast in position would be pretty useless it they're so elastic the mast flexes from side to side - but would be very handy for safety nets, climbing ropes, bungee cords and the like, since they can absorb damage by stretching under the impact of a blow or fall.

Come to think of it, that could justify the low Break DCs and Hardness 5 of a Monstrous Spider's webbing. The "capture portion" of a spider's web is made of flag silk, not the more load-resistant dragline silk. The hardness represents the web's ability to stretch without being damaged. So if you take a Large Monstrous Spider webbing's Break DC 17 and add its hardness of 5 to make 22, the 2-point difference between that and a spider silk's rope Break DC 24 is a sort-of-match to 2× increase in carrying capacity a 5-point increase in Strength produces (which'd increase a character's Strength modifier by +2 or +3).

'Course that's bending "reality" to match the numbers rather than vice-versa, but at least it's consistent.

Incidentally, nylon rope appears to have a breaking strain of 25 to 50%, which I believe/suspect varies according to the type of nylon. I haven't bothered trying to find out more since it didn't seem that germane to D&D rope use!

Notes on Falling Damage
Being secured by a rope does not make the impact from a fall disappear. It just (hopefully) shortens the distance.

Let's say you're an adventure climbing the Forbidden Cliff of Sheer Doom! with a hempen rope, one end of which is tied to you and the other end is secured to a piton in the Cliff of Doom. There's a 40 ft. length of rope between the piton and the rope harness you've rigged for yourself.

You've found a secret door 20 feet below the piton, but while trying to open it you fluff your Climb check and fall. The rope stops you falling once it stretches to 40 ft., so you would take damage from a 20 ft. fall (the rope's length minus the 20 ft. height the piton was above you).

That's why climber's keep on securing pitons just above them!

Conclusion
If you wish to add "really stretchy ropes" to your game, may I suggest:

Rope, Spider's Climbing, 50 ft. (Homebrew): An ingenious mix of different monstrous spider silks, this rope has 6 hit points and can be burst with a DC 24 Strength check. If you fall while secured with the rope it will stretch, reducing the falling damage by 5 points. The rope's tough but elastic silk can stretch up to one and a half times its normal length (75 ft.). A spider's climbing rope is about 1/2 inch thick and can support 1,300 pounds safely, or up to 3,900 lbs with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 100 gp, Weight 5 lb.

Rope, Spider's Elastic, 50 ft. (Homebrew): This rope has 5 hit points and can be burst with a DC 23 Strength check. If you fall while secured with a spider's elastic rope the rope will stretch to absorb the falling damage. If there's enough height for you to fall four times the rope's normal length without hitting an obstacle (such as the ground) you take no falling damage, otherwise the effective falling distance is the rope's normal length reduced by 10 feet for every 30 feet of height the rope can stretch before you hit the obstacle. A spider's elastic rope is about 1/2 inch thick and can support 900 pounds safely, or up to 2,700 lbs with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 100 gp, Weight 5 lb.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Addendum
I forgot to mention that the listed diameters of ropes are for ropes under tension, since they are measured when the rope is being stretched during its manufacture (likely after it's spun together on a ropewalk in the case of D&D level technology).

If a silk or hempen rope were stretched to near its breaking point of 120-125% its normal length then, assuming its volume were the same, it would be roughly 110% that thickness when unstretched.

So so the "resting diameter" of a silk or hempen rope ought to be somewhere between 1% and 10% higher than its listed "under tension" diameter. Now I don't know how much professional D&D ropemakers test their products, but if they normally test a brand new rope to near its breaking load to ensure it doesn't have any flaws that would cause outraged adventurers to murderhobo them it could be that the actual thicknesses of the ropes listed above are 10% higher than the quoted diameters. However, they could just as easily only stretch the rope to, say, its maximum working load of 1/2 its breaking load, which'd make the resting diameter 5% or so higher.

A percent or ten doesn't see to be enough to make a big song-and-dance about.

The spider's elastic rope homebrew is really stretchy though, stretching up to 400% its normal length means its resting diameter should be 200% its fully stretched diameter. That might suggest I need to amend the "about 1/2 inch thick" to "about 1 inch thick?" but, upon reflection, I think the rope would be made under roughly the same stresses (up to 125%?) as a normal silk rope or spider's silk rope - a spider's capture web isn't under extreme tension after all, since the arachnid spins it to have a lot of "give" to absorb the impact of prey blundering into it.

Oh, and for the sake of completion the spider's climbing rope homebrew has a breaking stress of 150% (so a 50 ft. length may stretch to 75 ft. before snapping). That indicates it absorbs 1 point of falling damage per 5 foot of stretch, which is comparable to the spider's elastic rope's 1d6 per 30 foot (ten yards divided by max roll of one six-sided dice = 30/6 = 5 ft.).

Actually, I think I'll incorporate the stretch length in the writeup above.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Well since I've got this far I might as well do the other item of rigging in the SRD:

Chain: Chain has hardness 10 and 5 hit points. It can be burst with a DC 26 Strength check. (10 ft., 30 gp, 2 lb).

First Approach
Using the "Break DCs vs Strength/Carrying Capacity" method.

Chain: Break DC 26 => safe Strength bonus +15 => Str 40-41 => max lift 6,400 or 7,360 lb. => max load 12,800 or 14,720 lb.

Okie-dokey, if we use the natural fibre rope's 1/6th safe load ratio that's a safe working load of 2,100 to 2,500 pounds and a max working load of 6,300 to 7,500 pounds.

Second Approach
Okay, the big problem is what is this blinking thing made of! It could be anything from pig iron to the best quality steel. Heck, I vaguely remember seeing pictures of a chain made out of wood.

The SRD chain is comparatively expensive (3 silver pieces per foot) and as heavy as hempen rope at 5 feet per pound (0.2 lb/ft. or 0.298 kg/m).

Come to think of it, the SRD chain costs four times as much per pound as a longsword (30 gp for 2 lb. versus 15 gp for 4 lb.). That suggests it's made from high quality metal at least as good as a typical sword.

Steel Rope
The closest match on engineering toolbox is wire rope - that weight lies between 5/16th inch (0.16 lb/ft., min breaking strength 8,520 lb.) and 3/8th inch (0.24 lb/ft., min breaking strength 12,200 lb.) diameters.

Averaging out the weight/length and min breaking strength suggests a 0.2 lb/ft. wire rope has a minimum breaking strength around 10,325 pounds, which is a bit lower than the first approach's 12,800 or 14,720 lb. breaking load. However, wire ropes and metal chains have a better safe load ratio than natural fibre (notice the table uses a 1:4 ratio rather than the 1:12 on the manila rope and sisal rope engineering toolbox pages), so the safe load of a 0.2 lb/ft. wire rope would be around 2,580 pounds - pretty much the safe working load derived from the First Approach, which seems close enough for casual D&D engineering maths.

However there's a slight problem - the stats are for wire rope, not a chain!

Steel Chain
A bit of internet rummaging turned up a typical rigging breaking loads for various types of metal rigging which tells me how strong they are, but unfortunately not how heavy they are.

Then I came across Chain Size – Break Strength and Safe Working Load on setsail.com which contained some useful factoids, namely:
  • 3/8″/9.6mm Grade 70 – break strength 24,000 pounds/10,880 kg
  • 5/8″/16mm Proof Coil – break strength 27,600 pounds/12.500 kg

    Assuming you carry 300 feet/90meters of chain, the 3/8″ will weight in at 408 pounds/185 kg. The 5/8″ weighs 1107 pounds/502kg.
The above appear reasonably in agreement to the rigging breaking loads data sheet - the 3/8" stainless rod rigging's breaking load is 22,500 pounds.

A 10 ft. length of chain like the SRD version will weigh one-thirtieth the above. So, putting that together:

3/8" grade 70 chain, break load 24,000 lb, 10 ft. length weighs 13.6 lb.
5/8" proof coil chain, break load 27,000 lb, 10 ft. length weighs 36.9 lb.

The grade 70 chain is 6.8 times heavier than the SRD chain, so all things being equal it'll be 6.8 times stronger. If we scale down the chain so the weigh becomes 2 pounds for a 10 foot length:

breaking strength = 24,000 / 6.8 = 3,529 pounds.
diameter = 0.375 / square root (6.8) = 0.144 inches (9/64 in. or 3.65 mm).

The metal the chain is made from, Grade 70 Carbon Steel, is a typical steel in terms of strength, with an ultimate tensile strength of 70,300-89,900 lb/in² and a yield strength of 37,700 lb/in².

With the recommended 1:4 safety ratio, that's a safe load of 882 pounds, which is WAY lower than the First Approach's result of 2,100-2,500 lbs.

That said, a safe load of 2,100 to 2,500 pounds is still possible since high quality steels (such as spring steel) can be much stronger than the typical Grade 70 used above. For example, 5160 spring steel has a breaking strength of 1,025 MPa and a yield strength of 650 MPa. Compared to Grade 70's 485-620 MPa breaking strength and 159–221 MPa yield strength that's roughly twice as strong overall, but it yields to loads three to four times heavier without permanent damage. The even mightier Eglin steel has breaking strength 1818 MPa and yield strength of 1,547 MPa, so is three times stronger than Grade 70 steel and its yield load is seven to nine times higher!

Wrought Iron Chain
I also found an applied science for metal workers' page on strength of chains that says it's better to make load-bearing chains out from wrought iron, since it's less brittle than carbon steel (so less prone to shatter under the shock of a sudden load) and easier to repair (since it's more amenable to welding).

According to Wikipedia, wrought iron has an ultimate tensile strength of 34,000-54,000 lb/in² and a yield strength of 23,000-32,000 lb/in².

That metal worker's webpage gives this formula for calculating the safe working strength of wrought iron chains:

Safe Load (pounds) = Bar Diameter (inches)² × 0.7854 × 40,000 [tensile strength] × 1.63 [chain link factor] × 0.5 [safety ratio]

Which boils down to:

Safe Load (pounds) = Bar Diameter (inches)² × 25,604.04

Which reverses to:

Bar Diameter (inches) = square root of [Safe Load (pounds) / 25,604.04]

Plugging a 2,200 pounds safe load into the above gives us a bar diameter of 0.29 inches (7.44 mm). So it's 78% as thick than the 0.375 inch diameter grade 70 steel chain above, which'd make it 0.78 × 0.78 = 61% as heavier*, or roughly 8 pounds for a 10-foot length instead of 2 pounds.

HOWEVER, note that the above formula uses a 2:1 safety factor rather than the 4:1 of the engineering references I came across. With a 0.25 safety ratio the chain would be twice as heavy or about 16 pounds, giving it a 0.41 inch bar diameter (10.5 mm).

*Fortunately all types of iron and steel have a pretty similar density (at least within a few percent) so there's no need to adjust the volume/thickness to account for the different metal.

Size & Diameter of Chains
Note that a chain's size measures the diameter of the bar used to make the chain, not the chain's overall dimensions. For example, a 1/2" chain would have links at least 1.5 inches across (a half inch for the bar on each side plus a gap in the middle wide enough for adjacent links to fit through). Thus the actual chain might be 1.6-1.75 inches across, or significantly wider if there's a lot of space within the link.

Unlike ropes, chains are not measured under tension, since they are forged rather than woven. Their listed diameter is their rest diameter. A two inch diameter Grade 70 steel rod will break when it stretches to around 121% its normal length. However, once it has stretched a certain point (I guesstimate about 110% if the material's Young's modulus is uniform under stress) the rod will have reaches its yield point and will begin to bend and distort at its weakest point(s), permanently damaging the chain.

Wrought iron has a very similar "stretchiness" to Grade 70 steel (its Young's Modulus is 193 GPa versus Grade 70's 200 GPa), but being roughly twice as weak (tensile strength 234-372 MPa vs. 485-620 MPa) it will typically break when it stretches by half as much as the steel (say 111%), though its decent yield strength (159–221 MPa vs. 260 MPa) mean it can stretch and recover a respectable amount (I'd guesstimate about 106-108.5%, sat 107.5 on average).

Notes on Chain Links
The links of a chain are generally made by bending short sections of metal bar in a loop. The cheapest of chains leave it at that, meaning any stress that's enough to unbend one of the links will cause the chain to fail.

Alternatively, up to half of a chain's links are cast as solid metal and bar links are made to string them together - this may be a bit cheaper and less labour intensive than bending every link. Being no expert on chain manufacturing I'm unable to say.

Proper chain has the ends of each bar link sealed shut. In thick modern chains the links are typically welded.

In Ye Olden Days it was a common practice to rivet the ends of each loop together. The rivets will generally be the weakest point of the chain. Riveted links was the standard method of making mail armour (aka chain armour, which is tautologically called chainmail in D&D), with each link looping around several of its neighbours before being riveted close.

Conclusion
The SRD chain is made from high-quality steel bars roughly 1/6 inch thick, resulting in a chain about 0.5 inches in diameter. It can support 2,400 pounds safely, or up to 7,200 lbs with an increasing risk of breakage.

Addition
The wrought iron chain inspired me to homebrew the following:

Chain, Iron: Made from 3/8" thick wrought iron bars, resulting in a chain about 1.25 inches in diameter. An iron chain has hardness 10 and 10 hit points, it can be burst with a DC 25 Strength check. The chain can support 1,600 pounds safely, or up to 4,800 lbs with an increasing risk of breakage. (10 ft., 3 gp, 4 lb).

Comparison to Spider's Silk
Spider silk is stronger than high quality steel per unit weight (while steel may have higher tensile strength in terms of MPa it is also roughly six times denser than silk).

The standard spider's silk rope is 40% as light as an SRD chain of the same length (4 pounds vs 10 pounds for a 50 foot length), so if it were as heavy as the chain it'd support 250% the load.

A spider's silk rope that's 250% heavier than normal should support 4,500 pounds safely, or up to 13,500 lbs with an increasing risk of it breaking. I estimate it has 15 hit points and Break DC 27.

The homebrew iron chain is five times heavier than a spider's silk rope (4 pounds vs 20 pounds for a 50 foot length).

A spider's silk rope that's 500% heavier than normal should support 9,000 pounds safely, or up to 27,000 lbs with an increasing risk of it breaking. I estimate it has 30 hit points and Break DC 29.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Unlike ropes, chains are not measured under tension, since they are forged rather than woven. Their listed diameter is their rest diameter. A two inch diameter Grade 70 steel rod will break when it stretches to around 121% its normal length. However, once it has stretched a certain point (I guesstimate about 110% if the material's Young's modulus is uniform under stress) the rod will have reaches its yield point and will begin to bend and distort at its weakest point(s), permanently damaging the chain.

Wrought iron has a very similar "stretchiness" to Grade 70 steel (its Young's Modulus is 193 GPa versus Grade 70's 200 GPa), but being roughly twice as weak (tensile strength 234-372 MPa vs. 485-620 MPa) it will typically break when it stretches by half as much as the steel (say 111%), though its decent yield strength (159–221 MPa vs. 260 MPa) mean it can stretch and recover a respectable amount (I'd guesstimate about 106-108.5%, sat 107.5 on average).

Ropes have a yield point beyond which they stretch and weaken too, obviously, but unfortunately my casual internet browsing has failed to find any information on what that is for hemp or manila, so your guess is as good as mine as to when an SRD hempen rope is likely to permanently stretch.

Wikipedia's Yield (engineering) page quotes spider silk as yield strength 1150 MPa and breaking strength 1400 MPa. That indicates its resistance to plastic deformation is better than all but the most elastic steels, since it can take up to 82% its breaking load and bounce back to normal. Incidentally, that breaking strength seems a bit high - most sources I've seen quote 1000 to 1100 MPa for typical dragline silk, although a few species can do better than that (like the aforementioned Darwin's bark spider).

EDIT: Further on the above, I suspect Wikipedia's 1400 MPa spider's silk may be based on the silk of the giant golden orb weaver (Nephila pilipes), a species noted for particularly strong silk as per this paper. Note that paper also studied the silk of the tiger spider "Nephila plumipes" (now renamed Trichonephila plumipes) whose webs are of more typical strength - the Strain-Toughness/Stress Diagram shows the golden orb's silk reaching 1600 MPa while the tiger spider barely manages 900 MPa.

For comparison, Grade 70 steel can take somewhere between 32% to 36% (159/485 - 221/620); 5160 spring steel can take 63% (yield strength divided by tensile strength is 650/1,025), while Eglin steel can take 85% (1547/1818).
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
After checking the sums and Carrying Capacity tables I've decided the Conclusion breaking loads for chains are a little too high, so I tweaked them down so the iron chain is slightly weaker than a spider's silk rope (which has the same Break DC) and the regular chain (which is +1 DC higher) was a nice round 50% stronger than its wrought iron cousin.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Miscellaneous Cords
The Pathfinder SRD has a few additional items of general adventuring gear that seem pertinent:

String or Twine: Sold in balls or spools of 50 feet, string and twine are useful for rigging traps and alarms and are a vital component of grappling bolts and arrows. String or twine has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 14. Price 1 cp; Weight 1/2 lb.

Bloodvine Rope: This 50-foot length of tough, lightweight rope is made from alchemically treated bloodvine, a rare scarlet-colored vine that grows only in warm jungle environments. Though prized by climbers for its durability, bloodvine can also be used to bind creatures. Bloodvine rope has a hardness of 5 and 10 hit points, and can be broken with a DC 30 Strength check. A creature bound by bloodvine rope can escape with a DC 35 Escape Artist check or a DC 30 Strength check. The DC to create bloodvine rope with Craft (alchemy) is 30. Price 200 gp; Weight 5 lbs. Source Advanced Class Guide (2014).

Stretch cords: Sold in pairs, these cords have an elastic quality. Both cords measure 2 feet long but can be extended to 4 feet. Each end of a cord has a small metal hook. Employed together, these cords can be used to tie down all sorts of equipment and prevent damage from wind or other inhospitable weather. Price 5 sp; Weight 1/2 lb. Source Ultimate Wilderness (2017).
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Okay, I'll go through them in the above order:

String
Using the First Approach, Break DC 14 => +3 Strength bonus => Strength 16-17 max lift => 460 or 520 pounds => working load 76.66 or 86.66 pounds.

Using the Second Approach, 100 ft. of string weighs 1 pound, so one foot weighs 0.01 lb. Which is 67.18 m/kg, or 14.88 g/m, or 3.275 kg/220m.

That weight matches a cord somewhere around 4.5 mm to 5 mm in diameter, which to me sounds more like thin rope than thick string:

Engineering Toolbox 5mm sisal rope (0.01 lb/ft. or 0.02 kg/m, min break strength 290 lb or 1.29 kN)
Engineering Toolbox 5mm manila rope (0.014 lb/ft. or 0.02 kg/m, min break strength 405 lb or 1.8 kN)
Buy Rope 6mm hemp rope (6kg/220m [36.66 m/kg or 27.27g/m, break load 250 kg or 550 lb.])

The above breaking strengths translate to a working load of around 45 to 50 pounds assuming a 1:6 safety ration, which is distressingly low compared to the First Approach's Break DC derived working loads of 76 to 87 pounds. Those loads would require a natural fibre cord around 6 mm in diameter - that's definitely a rope!

The Pathfinder SRD lists "string or yarn" as costing 2 cp a pound, which is one-fifth the price-per-weight of hempen rope (1 gp for 10 lb => 1 1b. is 1 sp or 10 cp). This strongly suggests it's made from a cheaper and presumably inferior fibre than hemp. Maybe sisal or flax?

If standard Pathinder String is made from such a cheap material, then presumably better quality cord made of hemp or silk should be a thing too.

Conclusion
The Break DCs of Pathfinder string or yarn indicate it's a thin rope roughly one-quarter of an inch in diameter, able to support 70 pounds safely, or up to 210 lbs with an increasing risk of it breaking. It's too cheap to be made from hemp, so must be made from inexpensive but relatively weak plant fibres such as sisal or flax.

The listed weight is too low for the indicated Break DC; a plant fibre line that strong should be roughly twice as heavy, or about 50 feet to the pound.

A line one-quarter of an inch is way too thick to be realistically called "string or yarn", so I would recommend renaming it "Cord" and adding "Twine", "Line" and "Thread" for thinner yarns.

Twine tends to be 3 mm in thickness (about 1/8th of an inch), although I've seen it in 2 mm so could call it 1/10th of an inch on average (about 2.5 mm).

A fairly thick thread (size 69 of Tex 70 thread) is about 0.01 inches in diameter). So if 1,000 metres of Tex 70 weights 70 grams a tenth of a pound (45.4 grammes) of thread would be… 649 metres or 1,428 feet long. Silk thread is slightly denser than nylon, so a thread of that thickness would be heavier and shorter.

Putting that together could gives us stats for yarns along these lines:

String or Yarn
Strings and yarns can range in thickness from cord the diameter of thin rope to fine threads thinner than elven hair. Yarn is sold in balls or spools. A spool of string is heavier than a ball of the same length due to the weight of the bobbin or spindle it's wound around.​
Cord: Sold in lengths of 50 feet or 600 feet, cord has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 14. A cord can support 70 pounds safely, or up to 210 lbs with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 2 cp for 50 ft.; or 2 sp for 600 ft.; Weight 1 lb. for 50 ft. (2 lb. in spool); or 10 lb. for 600 ft. (+5 lb. in spool)​
Cord, Hempen: Sold in lengths of 50 feet or 600 feet, hempen cord has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 14. A hempen cord can support 80 pounds safely, or up to 240 pounds with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 1 sp for 50 ft.; or 1 gp for 600 ft.; Weight 1 lb. for 50 ft. (2 lb. in spool); or 10 lb. for 600 ft. (+5 lb. in spool)​
Cord, Silk: Sold in lengths of 120 feet or 600 feet, silk cord has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 15. A silk cord can support 100 pounds safely, or up to 300 pounds with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 2 gp for 120 ft.; or 10 gp for 600 ft.; Weight 1 lb. for 120 ft. (2 lb. in spool); or 5 lb. for 600 ft. (+5 lb. in spool)​
Cord, Spider's Silk: Sold in lengths of 150 feet or 600 feet, spider's silk cord has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 16. A spider's silk cord can support 150 pounds safely, or up to 450 pounds with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 25 gp for 150 ft.; or 100 gp for 600 ft.; Weight 1 lb. for 150 ft. (2 lb. in spool); or 4 lb. for 600 ft. (+5 lb. in spool)​
Twine: Sold in balls or spools of 200 feet, twine has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 9. A length of twine can support 17 pounds safely, or up to 50 pounds with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 2 cp; Weight 1/2 lb. (1 lb. in spool)​
Twine, Hempen: Sold in balls or spools of 200 feet, hempen twine has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 9. A length of hempen twine can support 20 pounds safely, or up to 60 pounds with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 5 cp; Weight 1/2 lb. (1 lb. in spool)​
Line, Silk: Sold in balls or spools of 400 feet, silk line has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 10. A length of silk line can support 25 pounds safely, or up to 75 pounds with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 1 gp; Weight 1/2 lb. (1 lb. in spool)​
Line, Spider's Silk: Sold in balls or spools of 500 feet, spider's silk line has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 11. A length of spider's silk line can support 35 pounds safely, or up to 100 pounds with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 125 sp; Weight 1/2 lb. (1 lb. in spool)​
Thread: Fine linen or cotton thread sold in spools of 800 feet, thread has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 2. A length of thread can support 2 pounds safely, or up to 6 pounds with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 1 cp; Weight 1/4 lb. (1/10 lb. without bobbin)​
Thread, Silk: Sold in spools of 1,600 feet, silk thread has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 3. A length of thread can support 3 pounds safely, or up to 9 pounds with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 2 sp; Weight 1/4 lb. (1/10 lb. without bobbin)​
Thread, Spider's Silk: Sold in spools of 2,000 feet, this thread has hardness 0, 1 hit point, and a break DC of 4. A length of spider's silk thread can support 4 pounds safely, or up to 12 pounds with an increasing risk of it breaking. Price 25 sp; Weight 1/4 lb. (1/10 lb. without bobbin)​
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Bloodvine Rope: This 50-foot length of tough, lightweight rope is made from alchemically treated bloodvine, a rare scarlet-colored vine that grows only in warm jungle environments. Though prized by climbers for its durability, bloodvine can also be used to bind creatures. Bloodvine rope has a hardness of 5 and 10 hit points, and can be broken with a DC 30 Strength check. A creature bound by bloodvine rope can escape with a DC 35 Escape Artist check or a DC 30 Strength check. The DC to create bloodvine rope with Craft (alchemy) is 30. Price 200 gp; Weight 5 lbs. Source Advanced Class Guide (2014).

Wow, Break DC 30 - that's four higher than a solid metal chain! Really impressive for a liana.

Right, that should mean the line can support four times as heavy a load as the Break DC 25 spider's silk rope, for "a bloodvine rope can support 7,200 pounds safely, or up to 21,600 pounds with an increasing risk of it breaking".

So it's +300% stronger than spider's silk rope, had +66% more hit points and has hardness 5 too boot. It also somehow has DC 35 for Escape Artist checks to escape from it (which I guess means someone without Use Rope can just use one a bloodvine instead. Heck, someone with lower than +25 Use Rope is better off tying up their victims with one).

That seems excessively good for a rope that's only twice as pricey as spider's silk.

Hold on, can you make ropes of entanglement out of bloodvine to make them ridiculously hard to escape from?

Stretch cords: Sold in pairs, these cords have an elastic quality. Both cords measure 2 feet long but can be extended to 4 feet. Each end of a cord has a small metal hook. Employed together, these cords can be used to tie down all sorts of equipment and prevent damage from wind or other inhospitable weather. Price 5 sp; Weight 1/2 lb. Source Ultimate Wilderness (2017).

Nothing much to go on here, no Break DCs or how much weight they can support.

The 100% stretch factor (2 feet to 4 feet) indicates they are as as elastic as high quality nylon. They're a bit cheaper than standard silk rope by length - five silver pieces for four feet, while the same length of silk rope (10 gp for 50 ft.) would be eight silver pieces. Plus that 5 sp includes four small metal hooks, which presumably would cost something to make too. If anything, they appear to be underpriced.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Weapons
There are a few D&D/Pathfinder weapons that use rope, I'll only quote parts of their description that are relevant to this thread's "how strong and heavy are they" topic unless I get distracted by an interesting point.

Net (3/3.5/Pathfinder)
A net’s maximum range is 10 feet. If you control the trailing rope by succeeding on an opposed Strength check while holding it, the entangled creature can move only within the limits that the rope allows. The net has 5 hit points and can be burst with a DC 25 Strength check (also a full-round action). A net is useful only against creatures within one size category of you.
Price 20 gp Weight 6 lb.

Net, Snag (Pathfinder)
Price
30 gp Weight 10 lb.

Okay, if a Medium creature can entangle a Large creature with a Net, that suggests the net covers the same Space as a Large creature, or 10 ft. by 10 ft.

That suggests it must be made of several hundred feet of rope. If the net portion were a grid of ten 10-foot lengths going one in one direction and another ten in the orthogonal direction (Up-to-Down & Left-to-Right, North-to-South & West-to-East or whatever) that'd be 200 feet, plus the "trailing rope" would likely add another 10 ft. That's 210 feet without allowing for knots, extra trailing rope, and ropes a generous foot apart - which might be far enough for a Small creature to easily wiggle out between them.

But despite all that length of rope a net only weighs 6 pounds, the weight of a 30 foot stretch of hemp rope, plus it has a Break DC of 25 - maybe because the entangled victim has to burst multiple strands simultaneously to escape? The 5 hit points might suggest the victim has to burst the equivalent of two or three lengths of rope at once to escape, as hempen rope has 2 hp. The scaling of Carrying Capacity loads would suggest that's equivalent to a +3 to the Break DC, which might mean the individual ropes in a Net could be DC 22.

Maybe the Net's made out of silk rope that's thinner than normal? If it was, say, 50% the cross-sectional area and 240% the length of a normal silk rope it'd weigh 120% as much, which'd match the 6 pound weight of the SRD stats.

Plus, it'd help justify something made out of rope costing 20 gold pieces - you could buy a thousand feet of standard hempen rope for that much money.

As for Pathfinder's Snag Net, while it's heavier and pricier the main point of the weapon is it's harder to escape from and can deal very slight piercing damage to an entangled victim with its barbed hooks.

Harpoon (Pathfinder)
Range Increment
10 ft. (thrown); Weight 16 lbs.; A harpoon’s weight includes 10 pounds for the weight of 50 feet of hemp rope. The weight can be reduced by using shorter or lighter rope.

Please note that while there are stats for Harpoons in 3E D&D they're not in the SRD, so I'll only examine the Pathfinder version.

Nothing of much interest here. It just uses a standard hemp rope.

Lasso (Pathfinder)
Cost
1 sp Weight 5 lbs.
Category ranged Proficiency exotic
Weapon Group thrown
This thrown weapon is a length of rope with a simple open knot on one end that allows you to entangle a foe like you would using a net.
The lasso has 2 hit points and AC 10, and requires a DC 23 Strength check to break.

I was a bit baffled on first seeing this entry, because the Lasso doesn't have a Range Increment listed. After perusing multiple Paizo forums, there appear to be two conflicting opinions:

#1 The "entangle a foe like you would using a net" means that, as per the "A net's maximum range is 10 feet", a lasso can only be thrown 10 ft. and has no Range Increment.
#2 It's an accidental omission and a lasso is a thrown weapon with a 10 ft. Range Increment.

Personally I think #2 makes way more sense. Glancing at the Wikipedia's entry on the Lasso and various other rope-use webpages a short search of the internet turned up, I found that (a) cowhands sometimes use ropes up to 70 feet long, or even 100 feet or longer, to rope their cattle; (b) Yahoo Answers How far can you throw a line?says they can throw a 3/8" dock line 14 metres (about 46 feet), while A Guide to Rope Throwing and Throwlines says "An experienced arborist can use a throwline to get a TIP of up to 60 feet". Those distances are around the the 50 foot maximum of a 10 ft. Range Increment thrown weapon.

There are a couple more curious points. The Lasso has Break DC 23, the same as the standard hempen rope, but it weighs five pounds, half the weight of a standard rope, while costing only one silver piece, one tenth as much as a hempen rope.

What's that about? Being half weight might indicate the rope's half length (25 feet), which would make sense if the weapon only has a 10 foot maximum range, but why on earth would it be so cheap?

I'd make a lasso cost 1 gp or maybe 5 gp. Apparently a good lasso should be made from rope that's thinner & stiffer than usual and possible weighted slightly for ease of throwing, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to make the rope slightly costlier per unit length/weight than the normal hemp.

Oh, and give it a 10 ft. Range Increment for heaven's sake. The Pathfinder rules say a harpoon can be thrown up to 50 ft. and that thing weighs sixteen pounds!
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Magic Ropes
The 3E and Pathfinder SRDs have a few enchanted roped and rope-related items germane to this thread.

Generic D&D Magic Items

Net of Snaring (3/3.5)[not Pathfinder]: This net provides a +3 bonus on attack rolls but can only be used underwater, thus making it a somewhat useful item rather than what most would really call a cursed item. Underwater, it can be commanded to shoot forth up to 30 feet to trap a creature.

Moderate evocation; CL 8th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, freedom of movement; Price 10,000 gp.

Note: The Pathfinder version of the net of snaring is different from the 3/3.5 D%D version and is described below under Pathfinder Magic Items.

Rope of Climbing (3/3.5/Pathfinder): A 60-foot-long rope of climbing is no thicker than a wand, but it is strong enough to support 3,000 pounds. Upon command, the rope snakes forward, upward, downward, or in any other direction at 10 feet per round, attaching itself securely wherever its owner desires. It can unfasten itself and return in the same manner.

A rope of climbing can be commanded to knot or unknot itself. This causes large knots to appear at 1-foot intervals along the rope. Knotting shortens the rope to a 50-foot length until the knots are untied but lowers the DC of Climb checks while using it by 10. A creature must hold one end of the rope when its magic is invoked.

Faint transmutation; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, animate rope; Price 3,000 gp; Weight 3 lb.

Rope of Entanglement (3/3.5/Pathfinder): A rope of entanglement looks just like any other hempen rope about 30 feet long. Upon command, the rope lashes forward 20 feet or upward 10 feet to entangle a victim. An entangled creature can break free with a DC 20 Strength check or a DC 20 Escape Artist check.

The rope has AC 22, 12 hit points, and hardness 10, and it has damage reduction 5/slashing as well. The rope repairs damage to itself at a rate of 1 point per 5 minutes, but if a rope of entanglement is severed (all 12 hit points lost to damage), it is destroyed.

Moderate transmutation; CL 12th; Craft Wondrous Item, animate objects, animate rope, entangle; Price 21,000 gp; Weight 5 lb.


Pathfinder Magic Items
The Pathfinder version of the net of snaring is quite different to the underwater-only D&D one so its SRD stats will be repeated here (see below). The pathfinder SRD includes the rope of climbing and rope of entanglement but those Wondrous Items are basically the same as the 3E D&D versions so I won't bother repeating their stats.

Pathfinder has several entirely new rope-related magic items. The razored rope, rope of knots, robe of infinite twine and vindictive harpoon have at least one feature I consider worth discussing. I'll exclude third-party entries to the SRD such as Bastion Press's Reaver’s Net. There may be more magic ropes in the SRD that I've missed since I haven't checked through the entire database, but I think that'll do.

The vindictive harpoon is pretty much a standard magic weapon mechanically, since it's only special feature is being freely usable underwater. I guess I should have a discussion post about magic weapons and masterwork ropes.


Net of Snaring (Pathfinder)
Price
28,940 gp; Slot none; CL 11th; Weight 6 lbs.; Aura moderate conjuration and transmutation

DESCRIPTION
This +1 distance net seems lighter than expected and is slightly sticky to the touch.

Three times per day, the wielder may speak the command word and throw the net of snaring at a target. This is a ranged touch attack with a range of 40 feet. The net immediately grows by two size categories. If the attack hits, the target must succeed at a DC 25 Reflex save or become entangled. So long as the wielder retains control of the trailing rope, he may attempt or otherwise act on a grapple as a free action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. Speaking the command word again shrinks the item to normal size so long as no creature is confined within it.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS
Feats Craft Magic Arms and Armor, levitate, permanency, shrink item, web; Cost 14,470 gp; Source Pathfinder Player Companion: Dragonslayer’s Handbook (2013)


Robe of Infinite Twine (Pathfinder)
Aura
moderate conjuration; CL 7th; Slot body; Price 1,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

DESCRIPTION
This coarse hempen robe seems made from a single strand of 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.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS
Feats Craft Wondrous Item, minor creation; Cost 500 gp; Source Ultimate Equipment (2012)


Rope of Knots (Pathfinder)
Aura
moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Weight —; Slot none; Price 6,000 gp

DESCRIPTION
This rope is 100 feet long and can perform all the functions of a rope of climbing. Furthermore, upon command the rope of knots snakes out and knots itself into a rope structure. The rope can tie itself into any structure which can be created out of 100 feet of rope. Possible structures include (but are not limited to) a sturdy rope bridge up to 25 feet long, a 10-foot-square net or hammock, or a 40-foot-tall rope ladder. The rope takes up to 10 rounds to create a complex structure or half that time to return itself to a simple coil. The rope has hardness 1 and 20 hit points. It repairs damage to itself at a rate of 2 hit points every 10 minutes.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS
Feats Craft Wondrous Item, animate rope; Cost 3,000 gp; Source Ultimate Equipment (2012)


Rope, Razored (Pathfinder)
Aura medium transmutation; CL 3rd; Slot none; Price 8,301 gp; Weight 3 lbs.

DESCRIPTION
A razored rope is a +1 lasso made out of tightly braided lengths of fine chain, used to help restrain cowards attempting to flee a battle. It can be used to entangle an opponent as normal, but deals 1d4 points of damage to a creature that attempts to slip free and fails. The razored rope is also more difficult to escape from, requiring a DC 18 Escape Artist check to slip free from and a DC 28 Strength check to break.

If your patron is a god of battle, as a standard action you can cause the lasso to constrict around a creature already entangled by the rope, dealing 1d4 points of damage.

If your patron is not a god of battle and you attempt to make the lasso constrict, it lashes up and strikes you for 1d4 points of damage.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS
Feats Craft Wondrous Item, animate rope; Cost 4,150 gp; Source Pathfinder Player Companion: Faiths of Balance (2011)


Vindictive Harpoon (Pathfinder)
Aura
moderate transmutation; CL 9th; Slot none; Price 10,305 gp; Weight 16 lbs.

DESCRIPTION
This +1 returning harpoon is made from the jagged, scrimshaw-carved tusk of a narwhal attached to a 50-foot length of woven sinew. Unlike most thrown weapons, a vindictive harpoon functions as well underwater as on land, and its wielder takes no penalties on attack rolls underwater.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS
Feats Craft Magic Arms and Armor; Spells freedom of movement, telekinesis; Cost 5,305 gp
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Okay, going through them in order, which prompts me to add an entry on masterwork and magic ropes:

Net of Snaring (3/3.5): This net provides a +3 bonus on attack rolls but can only be used underwater, thus making it a somewhat useful item rather than what most would really call a cursed item. Underwater, it can be commanded to shoot forth up to 30 feet to trap a creature.

Moderate evocation; CL 8th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, freedom of movement; Price 10,000 gp.

Net of Snaring (Pathfinder)
Price
28,940 gp; Slot none; CL 11th; Weight 6 lbs.; Aura moderate conjuration and transmutation

DESCRIPTION
This +1 distance net seems lighter than expected and is slightly sticky to the touch.

Three times per day, the wielder may speak the command word and throw the net of snaring at a target. This is a ranged touch attack with a range of 40 feet. The net immediately grows by two size categories. If the attack hits, the target must succeed at a DC 25 Reflex save or become entangled. So long as the wielder retains control of the trailing rope, he may attempt or otherwise act on a grapple as a free action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. Speaking the command word again shrinks the item to normal size so long as no creature is confined within it.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS
Feats Craft Magic Arms and Armor, levitate, permanency, shrink item, web; Cost 14,470 gp; Source Pathfinder Player Companion: Dragonslayer’s Handbook (2013)

Okay, there's no Break DC, weight or load capacity in the above so there's nothing to indicate that the ropes they're made of differ in strength from standard magic items.

The D&D SRD net of snaring is given a +3 bonus to hit, but it doesn't specify that it's an actual +3 weapon. A standard +3 magic weapon enhancement costs 18,000 gp, almost twice as much as the net's 10,000 gp but the net only works underwater (which apparently is why it's listed under "cursed items"), so maybe the writers arbitrarily reduced the cost? Alternatively, it could just be a standard magic item, which'd make it as tough as a regular masterwork item. Or maybe aim between the two extremes and make it equivalent to a +1 net, since magic weapons must have a minimum bonus of +1. Making one requires Craft Magic Arms and Armor, strongly implying that it's a magic weapon.

Dang it, I'd better cut out the (Wondrous Items) after D&D Magic Items in my above post… …Done!

The Pathfinder net of snaring is a +1 distance net.

Masterwork and Magic Ropes
Since you can make masterwork weapons out of ropes and chains, presumably masterwork ropes and masterwork chains must exist to make them with. That masterwork chains exist is also indicated by the presence of masterwork manacles in the SRD.

Masterwork manacles have Break DC 28, while standard manacles have Break DC 26. So let's say that rule applies to all masterwork ropes and chains - the masterwork version has +2 Break DC.

The SRD rules state "Each +1 of enhancement bonus adds 2 to a weapon’s or shield’s hardness and +10 to its hit points".

The Pathfinder net of snaring is explicitly stated to be a +1 weapon, so should have hardness 2 higher than a standard net.

If the D&D net of snaring is a +3 net, it should have a hardness 6 higher than a standard net.

Now I think increases in hardness probably have a 1-on-1 relationship with an object's Break DC. If a +2 hardness object needs two more points of damage to actually reduce its hit points, that's equivalent to being struck by a creature with a two-point higher Strength modifier, so it seems logical it also takes the same increase of Strength to break them with brute force, hence a two-point higher Break DC.

So if a standard net's Break DC 25, a +1 net should be DC 27 and a +3 net DC 31.

Conveniently that'd mean that a masterwork net and a +1 net should have the same Break DC, since they're both 2 higher than a normal net. There's still a major difference in that the magic net would also get +10 hit points from the enchantment.

Increasing the Break DC by 2 would also increase the breaking load of the rope or chain. Going by the Strength and Carrying Capacity rules, since a +2 Strength modifier increase require a Strength score 4, a +1 rope's breaking load should be about 175% as much.

A +3 net has +6 Break DC so the Strength score needs to be 12 higher, so the breaking load would be 520% as much according to the Carrying Capacity table.

So for the normal +1 to +5 range of magic weapon plusses, that'll come to:

Weapon Bonus
Hardness/Break DC​
Load Multiplier​
+0 (normal item)
+0​
1.00​
+1 weapon (or masterwork)
+2​
1.75​
+2 weapon
+4​
3.00​
+3 weapon
+6​
5.20​
+4 weapon
+8​
9.20​
+5 weapon
+10​
16.0​

Hmm… if we have Masterwork Rope that are +2 Break DC how about something inbetween with +1 Break DC for a good but not master quality rope? Such a rope would have a breaking load 130% as much as a normal quality rope. I'd call it Superior Rope.

Contrariwise to better quality ropes, lower quality ropes can exist to represent ropes made of cheaper and weaker materials and degraded ropes that have become old, worn, or rotten.

I'd go for something like:

Inferior Rope: A poor quality rope that is good enough for most mundane tasks were it would not be required to support dangerously high loads. This rope has a 1 point penalty to its Break DC and a breaking load 80% of a normal rope.

Weak Rope: A rope that is so feeble it should only be used for tasks were it would not matter if the rope fails. It would be rejected as unusable by most sailors. This rope has a 2 point penalty to its Break DC and a breaking load 60% of a normal rope.

Rotten Rope: A rope that is badly damaged or made with incredible ineptitude out of low quality materials. Only a foolish or desperate person would rely on it. This rope has a 5 point penalty to its Break DC and a breaking load 25% of a normal rope.

Quality
Break DC​
Load Multiplier​
Rotten
–5​
0.25​
Weak
–2​
0.60​
Inferior
–1​
0.80​
Normal
+0​
1.00​
Superior
+1​
1.30​
Masterwork
+2​
1.75​

Methinks that a masterwork or superior rope might not have a breaking load that's much higher than a regular rope, but is made to such a high quality that it has few weak points so it's "safe load" multiplier is lower than the 1:6 I've been using. If it's, say a 1:4 safe load its breaking load would only need to be 1.16% higher to have a 175% better working load.

Hmm, I appear to be wandering off track from contemplating the SRD magic ropes now.

Better do separate post(s) on Size & Quality of Ropes. I have further musings on rope scaling, how damaging ropes could affect its quality and Break DC and so forth.

For that matter, I'd better come up with some ideas how much masterwork ropes and chains should cost…
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Rope of Climbing (3/3.5/Pathfinder): A 60-foot-long rope of climbing is no thicker than a wand, but it is strong enough to support 3,000 pounds. Upon command, the rope snakes forward, upward, downward, or in any other direction at 10 feet per round, attaching itself securely wherever its owner desires. It can unfasten itself and return in the same manner.

A rope of climbing can be commanded to knot or unknot itself. This causes large knots to appear at 1-foot intervals along the rope. Knotting shortens the rope to a 50-foot length until the knots are untied but lowers the DC of Climb checks while using it by 10. A creature must hold one end of the rope when its magic is invoked.

Faint transmutation; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, animate rope; Price 3,000 gp; Weight 3 lb.

Reverse-engineering the First Approach, assuming being "strong enough to support 3,000 pounds" means a working load of 3,000 pounds then the rope of climbing has a breaking strength of 18,000 pounds. A Strength score of 43 is the best match to that, with a max lift of 19,200 pounds (Str 42 is max lift 16,640 lift). That's a +16 Strength bonus, so the Break DC should be 27 (since the Break DC is 11 plus the Strength modifier of the Strength category that can max lift the breaking load, since we're assuming the "take 10" effort is just enough to strain the rope to its breaking point).

Break DC 27 is the Break DC of a +1 spider's silk rope going by the previous post on masterwork and magic ropes' Break DCs. It'd also be the Break DC of a +2 hempen rope by the same guidelines. That seems reasonable for an enchanted rope.

A rope of climbing weighs 3 pounds for a 60 foot rope, or 20 feet per pound of weight. That's even thinner than the 12.5 ft. per lb. of a Pathfinder's spider's silk rope let alone the 10 ft. per lb. of a silk rope or 5 ft. per lb. of a hempen rope.

So it must be a rope that's lighter than normal, presumably bearing a stronger enchantment that compensates for the thinner material. For example, it could be a hempen rope that's ten times stronger than normal and three-tenth the weight, accounting for the resulting rope being three times stronger than a normal hempen rope. However increasing a rope's strength by a factor of 10 would require it to be equivalent to a +4 hempen rope, which seems too high for a regular magic item. More appropriate comparisons would be a spider's silk rope 2.66 times stronger than normal and 0.625 times the weight. That's between the ×1.75 load multiplier of a +1 weapon and the ×3 load multiplier of a +2 (see previous post), so it's "within bounds" for an +1 spider's silk rope. Alternatively, it could be a silk rope 4.60 times stronger than normal and one-half the weight, which'd be roughly equivalent to a +2 weapon.

That leaves hardness and hit points.

If it's equivalent to a +1 spider's silk rope then a rope of climbing would have 6 hit points plus 10 bonus hit points (+1 magic) or 16 hit points. However, the rope is 62.5% the thinness of a regular spider's silk rope so presumably has 62.5% the hit points (since the Breaking Objects rules indicate hit points are proportional to thickness just as Hit Dice of monsters are generally proportional to their dimensions (note that monsters twice as tall tend to have twice the HD). That would give the rope 10 hit points (16×0.625), which seems a nice round number.

Hardness wise, the Pathfinder rules don't give hardness to spider's silk rope, suggesting it just has hardness 2 from its +1 enchantment.

However, the SRD states Monstrous Spiders produce silk with hardness 5. If the proposed spider's silk rope used in a rope of climbing shares that trait, it should have hardness 7 including the 2 points of hardness from the rope's enchantment.

Of SRD ropes with listed hardness values we have D&D/Pathfinder's rope of entanglement which has hardness 10 and 12 hit points (so high-ish hardness like a Monstrous Spider's silk) and Pathfinder's rope of knots with hardness 1 and 20 hit points (so low hardness like a normal rope).

Hmm, which to pick.

Well, a rope of knots "can perform all the functions of a rope of climbing" and is a similar utility item to that magic item while a rope of entanglement is is quite different in its intended use as an offensive wondrous item, so I'm inclined to go for the low hardness option. Let's give a rope of climbing the same hardness and hit points as the rope of knots and leave it at that. I could give it 10 hit points of 16 hit points as calculated above, but if it has "all the functions" of a rope of climbing I'll assume that includes how difficult it is to cut through. A rope of knots is only twice as expensive as a rope of climbing but is almost twice as long (100 ft. vs 60 ft.) and has additional functions, so it seems inappropriate to make one a lot tougher than the other as well.

If anyone want some justifications for those values. Erm… the magic gave it half the expected hardness (2 => 1) and twice the expected hit points (10 => 20).

There you go!

Conclusion
A rope of climbing is roughly equivalent to a +1 spider's silk rope and has Break DC 27, hardness 1 and 20 hit points.
 


Cleon

Adventurer
Rope of Entanglement (3/3.5/Pathfinder): A rope of entanglement looks just like any other hempen rope about 30 feet long. Upon command, the rope lashes forward 20 feet or upward 10 feet to entangle a victim. An entangled creature can break free with a DC 20 Strength check or a DC 20 Escape Artist check.

The rope has AC 22, 12 hit points, and hardness 10, and it has damage reduction 5/slashing as well. The rope repairs damage to itself at a rate of 1 point per 5 minutes, but if a rope of entanglement is severed (all 12 hit points lost to damage), it is destroyed.

Moderate transmutation; CL 12th; Craft Wondrous Item, animate objects, animate rope, entangle; Price 21,000 gp; Weight 5 lb.

The 12 hit points of a rope of entanglement is the same as a +1 magic weapon made from a standard hempen rope, but such a rope would have have hardness 2. Obviously some additional enchantment was used to grant it hardness 10 and DR 5/slashing.

The weight of 5 pounds would match a 25 foot length of hemp rope, which lines up with the "about 30 feet long" in the description. If it were literally 30 feet long it should weigh 6 pounds assuming the rope is of standard hempen heaviness.

Note that there's no mention of an attack role or anything - a rope of entanglement unerringly wraps itself around its target. There's also no size limit, so it can entangle enormous creatures that would need more than 30 feet of line to tie up - I doubt that'd wrap around a Colossal Purple Worm more than once. Presumably the rope "stretches to fit" like magic clothing does.

The fact that "An entangled creature can break free with a DC 20 Strength check" is interesting. To me that implies they escape via brute force without breaking the rope. So I'm thinking the rope simply releases them when its strained to a degree it risks snapping, suggesting it might have a Break DC significantly higher than that 20.

The increased hardness might also be evidence that the rope has a higher Break DC than the DC 25 I'd expect from a +1 hempen rope. Maybe even Break DC 33 since it's hardness is +10 rather than +2? That'd match a +5 rope though, which feels too high, especially considering a +5 magic weapon normally costs +50,000 gp.

If one averaged its hardness 10 with the 2 extra Break DC a regular +1 rope would provide, that'd be +6 for Break DC 29. That's equivalent to a +3 hempen rope. A +3 magic weapon costs +18,000 gp for the enchantment, which is within the ballpark of the rope of entanglement's listed price of 21,000 gp.

Not sure I care for either of those arguments though. A rope of entanglement could simply be enchanted to be as strong as a steel chain of the same heaviness, thereby matching the listed hardness 10. That'd be Break DC 26 since both a hempen rope and chain are 5 feet long per pound.

Let's be conservative and use the lowest of those three Break DC estimates.

Conclusion
A rope of entanglement is roughly equivalent to a +1 hempen rope but is enchanted to be as strong as steel chain. It has Break DC 26 and can support 2,400 pounds safely, or up to 7,200 lbs with an increasing risk of breakage.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Wilderness Survival Guide, 1E p36 - "The standard 50-foot coil of rope is is assumed to be somewhat smaller than 1/2 inch in diameter, and a rope of this diameter can support upto 1,500 pounds without being in danger of fraying or breaking. If this weight limit is exceeded, there is a 20% chance per turn (non-cumulative) while the strain remains on the rope that it will break. If the rope does not break, there is a 10% chance, cumulative per turn, that it has become weakened from the stress (10% after one turn, 30% after two turns, 60% after three turns, 100% after four turns). The chance of a weakened rope breaking the next time it is used to support more than its weight limit is 40% per turn (noncumulative).

"For mountain climbing and other uses in the wilderness, a longer and stronger rope is often used. A climbing rope is 150 or 200 feet long and 1/2 inch in diameter, with a weight limit of 2,000 pounds. It is also subject to weakening or breaking as described above"
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Wilderness Survival Guide, 1E p36 - "The standard 50-foot coil of rope is is assumed to be somewhat smaller than 1/2 inch in diameter, and a rope of this diameter can support upto 1,500 pounds without being in danger of fraying or breaking. If this weight limit is exceeded, there is a 20% chance per turn (non-cumulative) while the strain remains on the rope that it will break. If the rope does not break, there is a 10% chance, cumulative per turn, that it has become weakened from the stress (10% after one turn, 30% after two turns, 60% after three turns, 100% after four turns). The chance of a weakened rope breaking the next time it is used to support more than its weight limit is 40% per turn (noncumulative).

"For mountain climbing and other uses in the wilderness, a longer and stronger rope is often used. A climbing rope is 150 or 200 feet long and 1/2 inch in diameter, with a weight limit of 2,000 pounds. It is also subject to weakening or breaking as described above"

That's an interesting reference, thanks to pointing it out.

Heavens, it must be pushing 30 years since the last time I cracked open my collection's Wilderness Survival Guide. I tend to only look up 1E sourcebooks with monsters or monster conversion-related content in them these days. Let's see, the WSG came out in 1986 so it might have been over thirty years. (Insert "get off my lawn" reference here!)

Anyhow, comparing those figures to my 3E based musings, they're a decent match to my estimates for a silk rope, "somewhat smaller than 1/2 inch" and "up to 1,500 pounds" being fairly close to my silken rope (9/16 inch and 1,300 lbs) and spider's silk rope (1/2 inch and 1,800 lbs).

A 1E AD&D standard rope has an encumbrance of 75 coins, although that's does not necessarily translate directly to a weight of 7.5 pounds, since 1E the encumbrance of bulky or cumbersome items (like rope or pillows) is higher than the 10 coins per pound.

The WSG's rope is certainly too thin to be regular hemp - a rope weighing 7.5 pounds that was a shade under half an inch thick would have to be made of something twice as dense as hemp. It ought to be roughly 7/10th of an inch rather than the 13/16th inch of the 10-pound 3E hempen rope.

The simplest explanation is that it's a silk rope, and the "climbing rope" is just a slightly thicker silk rope (4/3rd the heaviness to account for its breaking load being 2,000 pounds rather than 1,500). Since it's also 3 or 4 times longer than the standard 50 foot rope at 150-200 ft., it should weigh roughly 4 times as much.

Contrariwise, the 1E Player's Handbook spell entry for minor creation mentions "a bit of twisted hemp to create rope" and presumably the standard rope in that book's equipment list is hempen (as many ropes in Ye Good Olde Days were). The 1,500 pound safe load could just be because the author used a 1:4 safe ratio rather than the 1:6 one I did.

Hold on, consider that the WSG rope has a 20% chance of breaking. In 3E that would occur in an SRD breakage roll when a Strength modifier equals the Break DC minus 17 (i.e. the rope breaks on a roll of 17-20, so for a Break DC 23 hempen rope the breaking force must equate to a +6 Strength mod, or have a Strength of 22-23).

In 3E objects risk of breaking starts with a 5% chance since it's rolled on d20s.

We know there's a 20% chance of "fraying and breaking" at over 1,500 pounds, if it followed the 3E Carrying Capacity scaling it'd have a 5% chance of breaking under a load that's equivalent to a Strength modifier three points lower. A –3 modifier would require a –6 (or maybe –5?) reduction in the Strength score, A +/– 5 or 6 point change in Strength modifies a creature's carrying capacity by 200% or 230%. Which'd mean a rope that has a 20% chance of failing to an load over 1,500 pounds (according to 3E RAW) have a 5% chance of breaking at a load over 650 or 750 pounds.

That 750 pounds is 75% of the 1,000 pounds of my hemp rope guesstimate, which perfectly matches an encumbrance that's 75% that of a 3E hemp rope, so maybe these numbers match up to the AD&D rope being a three-quarter strength version of the SRD hempen rope (that is mysteriously extra-dense to make it thinner).

Of course the above few paragraphs is trying to bend the 3E rules to fit real-world physics.

I think it's more reasonable to say the rope in the Wilderness Survival Guide is some kind of silk rope, as that's a better match to the weight and safe load. There's also a chance that the author might have looked up the figures for modern climbing ropes (which is roughly equal to a silk rope in strength and density since they tend to be made of nylon or a similar material).

I'll just pretend not to notice that silk rope appears in the 1E Oriental Adventures for the equivalent of 25 gp (and hemp rope for the equivalent of 10 cp - a mere quarter of the 4 sp it costs in the 1E PHB!).

That would ruin a beautiful theory!
 

Stormonu

Legend
I'm just glad I actually found that in the WSG and wasn't misremembering it having those details!

For comparison, in the Arms & Equipment Guide, 2E p 116

"Hemp Rope: ...The diameter of a hemp rope can range from 1/4-inch to three inches or more (found primarily on ships). A fifty-foot length of hemp rope weighs nearly 20 pounds and is capable of holding more than 500 pounds of weight. Cost 1 gp."

"Silk Rope: ...A silk rope is less encumbering to work with (its smooth texture is not as rough on the hands), but does not have the ability to hold as much weight as a hemp rope. Usually no more than 200 pounds can be held by the line at once. A silk rope weighs about eight pounds for a 50-foot length. Cost: 10 gp"

From Aurora's Whole Realms Guide, p10

"Rope Ladder: ...Our rope ladders are also useful as bridges. We use only 3/4 inch hemp with 2-inch board slats, for loads up to 800 pounds. Our rope ladders are sold in two-foot increments, minimum of 8 feet, maximum of 60 (1 sp/4 ft)."

--p 57--
"Ladder: Our ladders are made of sturdy duskwood and come in 2-foot (7 sp), 6-foot (3 gp), 10-foot (5 gp) and 20-foot (10 gp) sizes. For an extra
gp, our 10- and 20-foot sizes can be fitted with hooks, allowing the ladders
to be strung together and hung from a window or roof. Can support 500 lb vertically and 400 lb laid out horizontally."

--p 73--
"Chain: A fine chain of gold can win a lady’s hand as surely as a broad
chain of iron will bind that of a hobgoblin. We offer chains in all sizes,
from 1/8-inch wide ornamental chains to 4-inch wide anchor chains. The chain prices listed below are for iron chains. Steel costs twice as much and can bear twice the weight. Silver is 20 times the cost, and gold is 200 times more expensive (available only in 1/8 to 1/2 inch sizes).

Chain (per 25 ft)

DiaCostWt (lb)Load (lb)*
1/8"6 sp612
1/4"2 gp1896
1/2"5 gp36970
3/4" 9 gp 98 2,300
1" 17 gp 130 5,000
2" 25 gp 210 12,000
3" 35 gp 400 27,000
4" 60 gp 700 65,000
* Load does not increase with length; rope weight should be subtracted from total load

--- p 74 ---

ROPE: We offer many varieties of rope, from narrow strings useful for
ornamentation up to massive ropes used aboard ships. All of our ropes utilize the optimum weave, from a triple braid in our string stock to a dual pentad braid.
The widths of hemp rope up to 1 inch are shaved for easier handling.
Hemp Rope (per 50 ft)*

DiaCostWt lbLoad lb**
1/16"5 cp1/310
1/4"2 sp250
1/2"5 sp9225
3/4"1 gp20500
1"2 gp36900
2"7 gp1423,550
3"16 gp3208,000
4"28 gp57014,250
* Multiply width by 10 for rope hp's
** Load does not increase with length; rope weight should be subtracted from total load At times, a smoother, lighter, or stronger rope is needed for a specific task. In these cases, silk is the best choice. Silk rope is easy on the hands and resists twisting and binding. All our silk ropes are woven by elven artisans.
Silk Rope (per 50 ft)*

Dia50 ft.Wt lbLoad lb **
1/8"2 gp1 1/260
1/4"4 gp3 1/2140
1/2"10 gp8320
3/4"23 gp18720
1 " 50 gp 30 1200
* Multiply width by 15 for rope hps
** Load does not increase with length; rope weight should be subtracted from total load

(Aurora's Whole Realms Catalog is da bomb for any sort of equipment for D&D).
 

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