Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

There are already several questions concerning immovable rods, but I thought I'd add this to the list.

Consider a stealthy and inventive assassin. She's on a mission to infiltrate the castle and kill a visiting duke. The assassin has to cross a wide moat and scale the castle wall, but for unspecified reasons she can't use her normal tools.

Luckily, our intrepid antihero has gotten her hands on not one, but two immovable rods.

Can she fix one rod in place, hang from it one-handed, and fix the other rod ahead of her, repeating this process to create a set of monkey bars in order to cross the moat?

Once across, can she do a similar process, but vertically, in order to create a ladder?

share|improve this question
34  
Historical note: The 3.5rd edition DMG not only explicitly allowed this, it included a colour picture of someone doing it. – GMJoe Mar 3 at 0:08
2  
@GMJoe I'd love to see that picture. – Thunderforge Mar 3 at 4:55
17  
@Thunderforge Found it – Sabre Mar 3 at 13:25
up vote 78 down vote accepted

Yes.

Yes, you can two Immovable Rods as an infinite ladder or monkey bars, and it's really cool.

Immovable Rod

This flat iron rod has a button on one end. You can use an action to press the button, which causes the rod to become magically fixed in place. Until you or another creature uses an action to push the button again, the rod doesn’t move, even if it is defying gravity. The rod can hold up to 8,000 pounds of weight. More weight causes the rod to deactivate and fall. A creature can use an action to make a DC 30 Strength check, moving the fixed rod up to 10 feet on a success.

It's certainly reasonable to try holding each rod in one hand in such a way that your thumbs are on the buttons, so that you can alternately release and engage the rods. As a rod is released, you could swing forward holding onto the fixed rod, and engage the free rod, thereby propelling yourself across the moat. You could do the same thing to climb vertically, although you'd be doing a one-handed pull-up as you moved each rod. The GM might impose strength, dexterity, or even constitution checks along the way. Depending on the distance and other factors, fatigue might become a serious issue. Particularly annoying is the description of it being a flat iron rod. Wrapping it with leather to make handgrips might be more comfortable.

There might be easier ways.

If you don't want to cling to the darned things while you're trying to push the buttons on the ends, you can tie a rope and a stirrup to each. Then stand in the stirrups and alternately activate the rods.

No matter what, it's going to be slow, because it'll most likely take a turn per activation. It could take a long time to go very far.

A little invisibility might help with getting spotted as you dangle by your arms over the shark-infested moat picked out by spotlights.

Up here in the castle we've got boxes of those things. We resell 'em down in the thieves' quarter. You wouldn't believe the number of would-be anti-heroes who try to get over the walls that way. Sometimes we get several a night. We generally roll dice as to whether to use fireball, heat metal, or grease. Sometimes we just lasso them. If it's slow we use a mage hand to mess with the buttons.

Then there was the guy who was so strong he didn't bother with pressing the buttons. He'd just keep pulling on the things til he'd get them to move. That dude was no fun at all once we got him on deck. Serious attitude problem.

Then there was the assassin who got past us somehow and nailed a visiting duke. We think she was using those rods, but we're not sure. She must have had some other trick up her sleeve.

Yeah, between the yahoos with the immovable rods, the flyers, the spider climbers, the monks, the thieves, the polymorphed lizards, the familiars, the invisible flying carpets and everything else, it gets pretty busy up here. One night we had so many we almost ran out of charges on the gems of seeing.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 stirrups. That would make a long climb easy to coordinate with only 2 rods, and not very tiring. You can even let go with one hand fairly easily to get things from pockets, or to open a window. – Peter Cordes Mar 4 at 5:52

Yes, creating a ladder or monkey bars is classic usage of two immovable rods. It might require STR or DEX checks along the way but I don't see why this shouldn't be allowed.

share|improve this answer
1  
I can see how monkey bars would work, but not a ladder. Imagine balancing on a single rung with no handrails or other rungs to hold on to, then bending back down, grasping a lower rung, and bringing it above your head. I can't imagine even the most skilled gymnast managing that! – Matt Thrower Mar 3 at 11:53
2  
@Matt Thrower - maybe that would make a good question - "how can you use two immovable rods to climb through the air like a ladder?" Maybe the rods are attached to boots with strings to press the buttons. – Jack Mar 3 at 14:59
    
Reminder: comments are for clarifying content, not discussion. Please take any discussion to Role-playing Games Chat or (as has already been suggested) to its own question to settle the issue. Prior discussion has been removed (as will future discussion). – SevenSidedDie Mar 4 at 16:43
    
@LegendaryDude You may wish to clarify what “STR or DEX checks along the way” looks like and how two rods might be used mid-air as a ladder, as most of the argument/discussion is being provoked by that gap. You may also with to not. – SevenSidedDie Mar 4 at 16:47

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.