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I have run into this a lot recently. PCs walking over a bridge or a log or whatever over a chasm will tie a rope around one of the characters and the rest will hold the end of the rope as he crosses, thus catching him if he falls.

Is it just a strength check to do so?

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This isn’t really spelled out under the rules, you just have to combine checks as you see fit as DM. You could ask for Use Rope to check the strength of the knot. Ropes themselves have stats for how much weight they can hold. If the chasm is particularly wide, swinging into the wall beneath those holding the rope could still hurt.

But frankly, none of that really seems worth the time. I probably wouldn’t even bother with the Strength check, unless they were really pushing their luck.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Further believe a strength check shouldn't be needed by participants if they can carry the weight of the person (that's tablized in the PH). \$\endgroup\$ – joedragons Jan 18 '18 at 17:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @joedragons But a falling shock's “weight” can be far greater than the resting weight of an object/person, so that wouldn't make much sense. It's not like the falling person is being gently picked up. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 19 '18 at 5:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Is "shock" a written rule or are you imposing it? \$\endgroup\$ – joedragons Jan 19 '18 at 17:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @joedragons He’s talking about reality. He’s kind of misusing the word “weight” from a technical, physics standpoint (weight is typically defined as the force that an object exerts due to the force of gravity acting on it: Newton’s equal and opposite reaction to gravity—and that doesn’t change due to motion), but it’s definitely a real thing. Something that could support a given weight if gently lifting can easily snap if the same weight is just dropped on it. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 19 '18 at 17:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, @KRyan has the right of it. (Those scare quotes are there for that weight/mass/force wrinkle. Being schooled in physics in metric, the distinction between mass and weight was drilled into us. "Weight" is still not quite right here because a shock isn't a resting force, but I figured scared-quoted "weight" is more approachable than physics jargon…) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 19 '18 at 18:00
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there's a table in the PHB core for how much weight each strength can lift. Add them all together and compare that total to the same chart. Use that strength table for the Strength check. If they are ready, DC 10, if they aren't expecting him to fall or are distracted, DC 15+.

for added excitement, you can do the checks sequentially, so if the first person is distracted, you lose their weight bonus, but move on to the next character, and so on until the last person's chance to save the character slips through their fingers.

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It would depend a lot on the creatures holding the rope and the one falling but for the most part i would ask for a strength check, even if the characters could normally carry that amount of weight.

This is because the momentum of the falling character will mean that more strength is required to stop it falling than it would to lift it in the first place.

I would ask for the strength checks starting with the player first player holding the rope. If they pass, then nobody else needs to make a throw. If they fail the check by less than 5 then the next player makes the same check with advantage as some of the weight is being held. If the first player fails by more than 5 the next player makes the check normally as the first player loses their grip on the rope. If they fail by 10, or critically fail, i would say that the player is pulled over the edge and then move on to the next player who makes the saving throw but with a higher DC and so on.

This adds the risk that I think you are looking for and forces them to consider the order in which they cross the bridge carefully.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please note, this question asks about D&D 3.5. There are no such things as strength saves or advantages/disadvantages. \$\endgroup\$ – annoying imp Jan 19 '18 at 18:48

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