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Whe I created my character, I had him purchase 50 feet of silk rope. Our party has used that rope to temporarily bind NPCs, and do other mundane things. All uses were temporary and the rope was never assumed to be left behind. It was also never specified that the rope had to be cut to any particular length for a task.

My question is this: Is rope ever expended when used for temporary binding or mundane tasks? Should it be cut to appropriate lengths for a particular task? Or is this considered trivial minutiae?

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Typically, rope lasts forever.

Rules

There are no rules about ropes breaking on use, unless they are explicitly broken/cut.

In game

A rope is usually reusable, unless of course, you cut it to length. Though if you think about it, this can almost always be avoided, and the only reason you typically need to do this is if you

  • need two lengths of rope at the same time
  • will leave part of the rope behind, like when descending into a chasm and you can't (or don't want to) untie the rope you fastened to that tree up there

Look at the most common uses for rope:

  • Binding: You can just coil 50ft. of rope around your prisoner's torso (Or whatever length of rope remains after binding his feet and hands (no reason to cut here, too). It's only 10-15 coils. He might not like it, but if you cared, why would you bind that person?
  • Climbing: Trailing rope never hurt anyone
  • Rigging: Isn't getting caught in a coil of rope even a trope of some sort?

Meta game

In D&D 3.X/Pathfinder, a silk rope costs 10gp, which is a "non-issue" from level 3 onwards, at the latest (assuming somehow normal wealth). It also has limited weight, carrying around multiple ropes in a Handy Haversack or Bag of Holding is very simple. Even without that, you will usually not suddenly need more than 50ft. of rope per character.

At this point, keeping track of whether or not you break or not break your rope is not only tedious, but also pretty pointless, since the "danger" is usually no problem at all (spare ropes, see above).

Special cases

Of course, there may be games where having a rope is a huge advantage, such as survival scenarios. In these cases, narrative rope-breaking may be beneficial to the story and is usually fair game.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could be worth a shout-out for trollgut rope. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Sep 24 '14 at 22:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Rope has many, many uses, which is why I always carry my robe of infinite twine. \$\endgroup\$ – GreySage Jul 18 '16 at 16:25
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This depends entirely on your game.

I am not aware of any rules in the Pathfinder system for things wearing out, aside from ammunition and inflicted damage.

However some groups enjoy a higher level of verisimilitude, and may consume mundane items. Frankly however I've never seen this type of play a medium or high levels in any D&D 3 based game. There are already too many things to track to worry about your mundane rope.

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