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The Rope Trick spell description specifies:

Holding one end of a 60-foot or shorter rope causes the other end to rise up until the rope is fully perpendicular to the ground. At the high end, a portal opens to an extradimensional space into which eight medium or smaller creatures can fit by climbing up the rope. The rope can also be dragged up into the space to hide the entrance and the portal itself is invisible.

Spells and attacks are unable to enter or exit the extradimensional space, but those within can see out of it as through a 3 by 5 foot window centered over the high end of the rope.

If everything inside the extradimensional space has not exited beforehand, it will fall out when the spell ends.

Our group has been playing under the assumption that the window is positioned vertically relative to the ground plane, because that's the way most windows we see are positioned. This would mean that you climb into the hole as if on top of a cliff edge at the end of the rope and you then have a view of the world as if you'd be looking out of any normal building window.

However, this seems to be in contradiction with popular depictions on the internet.

The difference would be surprisingly relevant to some standard strategies we have been employing.

How is the Rope Trick portal positioned relative to the ground plane/gravity/the rope?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Where did you copy the spell description from? All the ones I've found say "window centered on the rope" rather than of "window centered over the high end of the rope" \$\endgroup\$ Sep 12, 2019 at 19:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Finally, someone found a good use for the [alignment] tag... :P \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 13, 2019 at 10:42

2 Answers 2

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It isn't defined

As you've noted, the spell description doesn't specify orientation. Windows are just openings and while most of think of a window on a wall, a window in a floor or ceiling is still a window and ropes can be pulled up into a vertical or horizontal window.

As user @MattVincent notes in a comment on the question, your spell description is not equivalent to the printed one. The changes are minor, but rope trick states (emphasis mine):

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. The space can hold as many as eight Medium or smaller creatures. The rope can be pulled into the space, making the rope disappear from view outside the space.

Attacks and spells can't cross through the entrance into or out of the extradimensional space, but those inside can see out of it as if through a 3-foot-by-5- foot window centered on the rope.

Anything inside the extradimensional space drops out when the spell ends.

It's up to the table/DM

If the orientation that you've been using has worked for the table, then you're good! If you want to keep it as such, you can. If you want to let your players pick an orientation at time of casting, you can.

And you can always change your mind if you think it's being exploited - but be sure to discuss it at the table so all understand how it works in the world you play in.

At my tables

We've imagined it in the same way that the image you link to does. A portal/window opens above parallel to the surface they're on with a rope dangling down.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for arguing and have been deleted. If you have valid points to make and arguments about why a concept is correct or not, elaborate in your own answer. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 12, 2019 at 15:52
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The portal opening must be perfectly parallel to, and facing, the ground.

The description of the rope trick spell states (emphasis mine):

causes the other end to rise up until the rope is fully perpendicular to the ground.

For the rope to be fully perpendicular to the ground, and disappear into the portal, the portal must be oriented so that the opening is perfectly parallel to, and facing, the ground. Any other arrangement of the portal would cause the rope to bend its way into the portal, defying the plainly stated requirement of fully perpendicular.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is the side of a mountain "the ground"? Or is the group you will land on if you (or the rope) falls "the ground"? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Feb 4 at 12:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ "perpendicular to the ground" is nowhere near as simple as it seems. Even if the ground is flat, is it, really? Often "the ground" is uneven, at some level of detail, and so level ground is a generalization. Unless "the ground" is rigidly defined it seems unreasonable that the geometry that you're basing on it should be also so rigidly interpreted. Also, imagine tying a rope around a tree at maybe 20' above the ground, rope falling straight to the ground. One could easily say that's a fully perpendicular rope, even though it's tied around the tree. Still, +1 for bringing up a valid point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 4 at 13:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri The ground is any non-liquid, horizontal (sloped or otherwise) terrain that doesn't require "climbing," "flying," or "swimming," to traverse. Whether or not the side of the mountain counts as ground depends on whether or not your DM has you utilizing climbing rules for movement; by game definition, you do not climb the ground, you crawl on it (a movement option available when prone on the ground). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5 at 8:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jack The angle of the ground to the sky does not matter; in any arrangement where the rope goes up fully perpendicular to the ground, and where the ground is defined as a non-liquid, horizontal terrain whose slope doesn't prompt the DM to invoke climbing, flying, or swimming rules, the rope can go fully perpendicular, (up relative to the ground), into a portal that is perfectly parallel to the ground above which it was cast, so long as the opening faces the ground in that arrangement and not the 'sky'. If the rope can't go 'up', the spell fails- but seems rare if you use a short rope. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5 at 9:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ The rope doesn't disappear into the portal unless it gets pulled in. You can pull a rope in through a vertical window. Also, since the portal is a 2-dimensional plane centered on the end of a rope (line), which is a point, the plane can be angled in any way in 3-dimensional space. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 29 at 14:38

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