I'm just glad I actually found that in the WSG and wasn't misremembering it having those details!
Well I started D&Ding with 1E and in my youthful gaming life I never invested in any of the sources in your previous post - although I brought (and read!) the Wilderness Survival Guide as soon as it came out and remember not being impressed by it or the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide. We used equipment costs & weights from the 1E Players Handbook throughout that period, even though the switch to 2E had occurred and I'd got a 2E Player's Handbook it didn't see much use.
I've extensively expanded my collection since then and, while the Arms & Equipment Guide and Aurora's Catalogues are in there - somewhere! - I only remember looking through Aurora's and thinking I should "adopt" the idea of Death Cheese (and by extension, cheese made from other monster milks).
Getting back on track, the 2E rope statistics as quoted are all over the place.
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"
Well those weights and costs match the 2E Player's Handbook but the strengths are pathetic.
A decent hemp rope of that heaviness (2.5 feet per pound, which equates to a 28mm hemp rope) should have a breaking load around 12,000 pounds, so even with a more conservative engineer's safety ratio of 1:12 should be safe with a load of 1,000 pounds not 500, while with the more adventurous ratio of 1:6 I've been using should support 2,000 pounds safely.
Hmm… I like the ring of that master 1:6, I hereby dub thee the "adventurer's ratio".
The 2E silk rope is just as strong as the hemp by weight - both support 50 pounds per pound of rope. That's really crummy for silk, being 40% the strength of a decent silk rope of that thickness, but is possible if the rope is made from very low quality silk made from offcuts and broken cocoons (rather than being spun from single threads unwound from a cocoon after the silkworm inside is killed as is the normal practice).
As mentioned before, the main disadvantage of a silk rope is that the fibres are so fine they abrade through very easily, an undesirable quality in a rope.
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)."
That load is about right for a hemp rope ladder of that thickness. If a 13/16 inch hemp rope is 1,000 lbs, a 3/4 inch one is 12²/13² as strong, or has a safe load of 144/169 × 1,000 = 852 pounds.
It's the breaking load of a single rope that matters, since uneven weight distribution can put practically all the load on one side of a ladder, straining only the rope on that side.
Isn't it too cheap though? If it's one silver piece per 4 feet a 50 ft. ladder would cost 12½ silvers.
A regular 50 ft. hemp rope costs 10 sp. The rope ladder has to have two ropes (albeit slightly thinner ones) with extra length for the knots to secure the ladder's slats - let's say the two factors cancel each other out, which be 20 sp for the ropes alone.
So the Aurora rope ladder only costs as much as the rope it's made of.
That might sense if it didn't also have wooden slats - those should increase the cost of the whole thing. I'd also think having to manufacture the thing should add a few coppers to the price as well.
Maybe make it 3 or 4 sp per 10-foot length? The regular 2E hemp rope / Aurora slatted rope ladder is 2 sp per 10 feet.
"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."
Considering how much I'm posting about ropes & chains on this thread, it seems prudent not to expand the subject to ladders. It risks branching out to bridges!
"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)
* Load does not increase with length; rope weight should be subtracted from total load
Dia Cost Wt (lb) Load (lb)* 1/8" 6 sp 6 12 1/4" 2 gp 18 96 1/2" 5 gp 36 970 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
The 2E Player's Handbook features two kinds of chain: heavy chain (4 gp & 3 lbs. per ft.) and light chain (3 gp and 1 lb. per ft.). There's no information on their strength in that source.
Since the above Aurora table is for 25 ft. lengths, a light chain is 75 gp and 25 pounds and a heavy chain is 100 gp and 75 pounds.
Neither of those weights are in the table and the price is way higher - a 25 gp Aurora chain is 2 inches thick and weighs 210 pounds, not 25!
The table is for iron chains, which I've estimated has "standard stats" of 3 gold and 4 pounds per 10 feet (supports 1,600 lbs.), while a standard steel chain as per the SRD is 30 gold and 2 pounds per 10 feet (supports 2,400 lbs.). That's three times stronger by weight, but it assumes rather good steel - a two times stronger by weight steel chain as per the Aurora Catalogue is perfectly credible.
What is not so credible is the numbers in that table.
Just consider the scaling:
Chain (per 25 ft)
|⅛ vs 4||⅛ vs 4||½ vs 4||⅛ vs 1||⅛ vs 4|
The relationship between the cross-sectional area (which ought to be proportional to diameter squared unless it's oddly shaped) and the chains cost, weight and load-bearing capacities are all over the place, by a factor of 10.24 for cost (3" vs 1/8"), 8.77 for weight (4" vs 1/8") and 6.51 for load-bearing (1" vs 1/8").
At least the cost scales smoothly, with the chain growing cheaper as it gets thicker - which'd make sense since a smaller chain is more labour intensive to make since it has more links per unit length and eventually riveting or welding those links closed will get 'orribly fiddly.
However, the weight per cross-sectional area shouldn't change since iron doesn't become less dense as it thickens! A ratio of 8.77 would turn regular iron (room temperature density 7.874 g/m³) into a material with a density of 0.897. The last time I checked iron does not float on water!
The price per pound is more consistent, with the costliest (4") being only 1.62 times pricier than the cheapest (1/2"). The way it changes is a bit weird, with most chains being about 10 to 12 pounds per gold piece but the 1/2" and 1" chains being about 7. Maybe those chains are the commonest size and so are a bit cheaper? Perhaps they match the "light chain" and "heavy chain" of the 2E PHB, although they are both about two-thirds heavier than those. But then they're also way cheaper, meaning the Player's Handbook chain is likely some kind of steel.
Most of the chains have a somewhat consistent load to cross-sectional area ratio of 3,000 to 5.000 (I'm ignoring the factor PIE would play in the ratio since it's a constant and we're only considering how the load-bearing ability varies with diameter). The chain does get rapidly weaker at diameters under 1/2 inch, suggesting those thicknesses are poorly made - probably due to whoever forging the chain going cheap and not closing the links properly.
The load vs weight ratio is the most variable of all, with a 4" chain having 46 times the ration of the 1/8" chain.
However, they're all way too weak! My homebrew Iron Chain estimate gives a wrought iron chain that would give a 160:1 load vs weight ratio in a 25 ft. length. My estimates of the SRD chain is 480:1, which is a decent match for high grade steel. Those breaking loads should be up to a hundred times higher!
By comparison, according to my estimated breaking loads, 25 foot length of rope would have load vs weight ratios of 200:1 (hempen), 520:1 (silk) and 900:1 (spider's silk). Remember, silk is actually stronger than steel on a pound-per-pound basis, but is a lot less dense than iron so a chain can be stronger if the diameters are the same.
That's all I have time for, I'll comment on the Aurora ropes later.
EDIT: I forgot to comment on the gold and silver chains in Aurora!
The only difference presented is cost - silver chains are twenty times the price, gold chains two hundred times.
Firstly, both gold and silver are somewhat weaker than wrought iron. According to Wikipedia and Strukt, the figures are:
|Metal||tensile strength||shear strength||yield strength|
|Wrought iron||234–372 MPa||193–310 MPa||159–221 MPa|
|Silver||110-360 MPa||55 MPa|
|Gold||120–220 MPa||205 MPa (hard)|
Those numbers can vary considerably depending on the precise composition of the metal. A chain of high-purity silver can approach or overlap the strength of wrought iron - but will be a good deal softer and start yielding at lower loads than the iron chain would. Pure gold is extremely ductile but it's unlikely a chain would be made from it, presumably a gold chain intended for load bearing would be "hard gold" that's up around 220 MPa tensile and 205 MPa yield.
Also, silver and gold are heavy. It'd depend on the alloy in the chain, but pure silver is 10.49 g/cm³, pure gold 19.30 cm³ and wrought iron ~7.7 g/m³, so a silver chain should be around four-thirds as heavy as an iron one (as iron is roughly 3/4 the density of silver), while a gold chain is 2.5 times as heavy (as iron is 2/5 gold's density).
That will also play into the weight / load performance. The previous tensile strengths are based on cross-section not weight, if gold is 250% the density it'd only be 40% the strength on a pound-per-pound basis. However, it'd be even lower than that since it's weaker than wrought iron - at worst it has 220/372 that 40%, or about 24% the strength per pound.
Silver's a bit better.