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We know that only the sailor background in D&D 5e is given silk rope. Any pack made for adventuring provides hempen rope. Based on the weight and cost of silk rope and the use in the sailor background, we can safely assume that silk rope is either more fragile, used for more delicate purposes, or is harder to make. What are other differences besides weight and cost?

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You can safely assume that it costs more and weighs less

That's it. There is nothing anywhere that says it is less durable or used for more delicate purposes.

It's just lighter.

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By rule, nothing. The DMG's stats for rope specify that both silk and hempen rope have the same AC and hit points, and can be rent by the same strength check.

You're paying for less weight, is all. Unless in your world silken rope's a status symbol....

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yep, OP's assumption is actually backwards...silk is shockingly strong, which is why you can spin it so thin as a fabric, and it still holds up pretty well. What I've seen is that real silk rope is about twice as strong as equivalent diameter hemp rope. There are, of course, no rules to support this--but it's likely that the silk rope is lighter because it's a thinner spun rope. Same strength, less total material. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 1:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I was actually surprised to see silken rope listed as the same strength as hempen. Definitely 5mm silk compared to 3/8" hemp =D \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 1:48

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