Rope trick in 5e says:

You touch a length of rope that is up to 60 feet long. One end of the rope then rises into the air until the whole rope hangs perpendicular to the ground. At the upper end of the rope, an invisible entrance opens to an extradimensional space that lasts until the spell ends.

The extradimensional space can be reached by climbing to the top of the rope.

Movement is halved when climbing. Theoretically a character with movement of 30 feet could climb down and up a 7 foot rope during a turn by expending 28 feet of movement (7ft × 2 each way)

Given these details, if a character casts Rope Trick with a 7 foot rope and climbs into the space... then on subsequent rounds could the character expend 14 feet of movement to climb down the rope, perform an action, then expend 14 feet of movement to climb up the rope and back into the extra-dimensional space?

Taking this further... could the rope be just 3 feet in height and a wizard duck into and out of the extradimensional space each round?

Of course, the risk at this low height is that enemies might climb into the space as well. A dragon could put its head through the hole and breathe. Other mayhem is possible. But, it may also give a character in dire condition a brief respite against ranged attacks or spells.

  • \$\begingroup\$ At first thought, it's a variant of this question. Basically, using downsides of turns mechanics to get unfair advantage in combat. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Dec 17 '17 at 13:14

The rules allow this, but...

There's nothing in the rules that prevents this from happening. However, there are a few things to consider about this tactic before employing it.

It can be immersion-breaking

Although it is technically within the rules of DnD to abuse the turn-based combat system for janky things like this, for some players this can break the sense of immersion that comes with good DnD. It can transform the fight from an epic tale about spell-slinging wizards to a videogame where you abuse the mechanics for maximum power. This kind of tactic is legal in the game, but does not make for a good story or in-universe character.

Any good DM can (and should) punish this tactic

For example, were I the DM here's how it'd play out. The first time you use Rope Trick as a sanctuary, some enemies might try to follow you up but it would mostly work out - this is what the spell is for, and it's a fun part of the game.

However, once you try the climbing up and down shenanigans, I'd just have enemies start readying actions. If they ready an attack, they can just attack you while you're on the rope. You could also have enemies stand at the bottom of the rope and attack your allies, and use attacks of opportunity whenever you attempt to climb back up. I also think it would be very reasonable to grant them advantage while attacking a climbing target. At this point, climbing up and down each turn is actually helping your enemies.

You're missing the best use of Rope Trick

Rope trick is a fantastic spell for the use case you mentioned in the question:

[to] give a character in dire condition a brief respite against ranged attacks or spells.

However, it works better thematically and mechanically to stay in the sanctuary. You can take a few turns to use healing potions and spells, regroup, and reconsider tactics. You could even have your whole party take a short rest. Popping in and out every turn can be immersion-breaking and actually hurt more than it helps mechanically.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This is a very good answer. The only thing I would add is "enemies would burn the rope to force you out" \$\endgroup\$ – JP Chapleau Dec 18 '17 at 13:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ In my group we have a rule that the NPCs can do whatever the PCs can. If a player abused this at my table then all their enemies would use this trick next time. This has kept our group relatively exploit free for many years. \$\endgroup\$ – Ling Dec 18 '17 at 15:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JPChapleau Very true. They could also toss any kind of persistent threat (hunting trap, fire spell, caltrops, etc) at the bottom, climb partway up the rope and hang out with readied actions, climb up after the players, tie some knives onto the rope, or even make their own rope trick. There's a whole wide range of ways a good DM could deal with this tactic. \$\endgroup\$ – Dacromir Dec 18 '17 at 17:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JPChapleau Burning the rope to “force someone out” could be challenging given that rope trick says, “...The rope can be pulled into the space, making the rope disappear from view outside the space...” This could be particularly quick given the OPs description that the rope is only 3-7 feet long. Additionally, even if the rope is burned, there is no description in the spell stating that would force characters out of the extradimensional space. Theoretically, they could jump out of the space down that 3-7 feet to the ground at will. \$\endgroup\$ – Praxiteles Jan 17 '18 at 10:16

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