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The rope trick spell description 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

Can you cast rope trick while you are mid-air, and have the rope hang vertically in the air with the entrance opening at the upper end?

This is not about trying to cast rope trick upside down, or in any other orientation. The question is if you can cast it while you are flying or hovering in the air. The reason I'm unsure about this is that the spell description says the rope "rises into the air" (which might imply you are not "in the air"), and it mentions that it hangs perpendicular to "the ground".

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there something that makes it seem like you can't? Or are you asking if the rope trick can be inverted and go vertically up? \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Feb 21 at 21:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ It mentions the ground, and the classical image is the rope lifting up from the ground. It says the rope raises "into the air" but when you fly you already are in the air. This is not a trick question (other than it is a Rope Trick question :-)) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21 at 21:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a particular problem you're trying to solve for this? Is there a reason it should work differently? \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Feb 21 at 21:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ There is the problem that we are currently trying to do this to combat some aerial opponents form a safe base. We think it can be done, but are not sure. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21 at 21:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is sort of the inverse of one of my questions: Does the spell Rope Trick fail if the rope is longer than the height of the room? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21 at 22:03

2 Answers 2

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Sure, why not?

I see no reason this wouldn't work; ie, you're hovering there however it is that you're hovering, and you cast rope trick. The rope goes up from where you cast it.

And there is nothing in the spell description that says this wouldn't work. You mentioned that maybe the phrase "rises into the air" means it has to be on the ground, but that is not the plain English reading of the phrase "rises into the air". A balloon, floating skyward, at any point can be said to be rising into the air. Rising into the air is not restricted to something on the ground.

Or to put it another way, "you can certainly try."

Ask the GM

Really, the best person to ask is the GM. This is one of those circumstances where the rules don't really seem to have anticipated the unique use you want to put the spell to. That's great! That's one of the things that makes D&D so much fun. But really, you need to go back to first principles: describe to the GM what you want to do, and the GM will narrate the consequences of your actions.

If, by any chance, the GM is unsure of whether it should work, there's nothing in the rules that says not. If through some unanticipated quirk allowing it to work causes some game-balance issue, the GM can rule differently in the future. It's perfectly okay for the GM to say, yes, I allowed this before, but it's broken and we need to reign it in, providing an in-game explanation if needed. In this case, it's hard to see what that quirk would be.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ RAW, while falling: "rises into the air ... from where you cast it", would that require a DEX saving-throw to then catch the rope? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 22 at 21:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Coll, that would be a good question to ask. rpg.se works better if questions aren't asked and answered in comments. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 22 at 21:53
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It doesn't say the rope has to be on the ground

The spell affects a length of rope that you touch, with no mention of where that rope is otherwise. The rope then reacts much like when you're holding a balloon and let it go. I would use the same wording to describe both, even when neither is on the ground when it starts to rise.

This is in contrast to spells that say they target the ground, such as Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp:

You choose a 5-foot-square unoccupied space on the ground that you can see within range. A Medium hand made from compacted soil rises there and reaches for one creature you can see within 5 feet of it.

Or even objects that say they need to be put on the ground, such as an Instant Fortress:

You can use an action to place this 1-inch metal cube on the ground and speak its command word.

And it's also missing an explicit limit on hover height, in contrast to the Driftglobe (from the DMG):

You can speak another command word as an action to make the illuminated globe rise into the air and float no more than 5 feet off the ground.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There does have to be ground somewhere, or gravity, though, for the hangs perpendicular to the ground phrasing. So you might have a problem casting it on the elemental plane of air, or in the astral plane, unless your DM decides that it does still work in those cases. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23 at 3:01

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