Is making a ranged attack with a rod of ropes a move action, an attack, or a standard action? The description of the second function of the rod of ropes (Complete Scoundrel 116) (4,000 gp; 4 lbs.) says, in part, that
When you [take a move action to] press button 2, a small leather wrist loop springs from one end of the rod and three sharp grappling hooks sprout from the other end. Pressing the button [as a move action] again launches one-third of the rod (the end with the three hooks) in the direction you aim it. [...] The rope stops unreeling if the hooks strike something solid (including a creature) or if you give the rod a quick backward jerk.
This function's description continues, saying
This function can be used to attack and push back opponents within 30 feet (beyond that distance it lacks sufficient power). On a successful ranged attack (no range increment) the hooked end deals 1d6 points of damage. ...
Is making both of the following ranged attacks a move action, an attack, a standard action, or a full-round action? The description of the third function of the rod of ropes says, in part, that
Pressing the [third] button [as a move action] again launches the two ends of the rod (each one-third of its length) in opposite directions simultaneously. [...] The grappling hooks work exactly as described above, including [presumably, dealing damage and] the possibility of bull rushing opponents.
Note: Answering 1 may or may not answer 2.
- A creature makes a Use Rope skill check (DC 10 +2/10 ft.) to secure a typical grappling hook. Can a creature secure the rod of ropes' grappling hooks to struck foes?
I can't provide clear rules support, so my answer will be more from extrapolating some examples known to me.
It requires Standard Action for both 1. and 2.
While description doesn't specify that clearly, the wording seems to me as implying that. Instead of saying something like "the hook/hooks may damage something in their path" it states that the rod can be used to attack. So this may require additional effort (spent on aiming).
In the whole game there are no means to attack something spending Move Action, which I can recall from my memory on the fly. And, while there definitely may exist ones, they should be really rare exceptions. So, at least while you can't find some sort of such move-equivalent attacks that in your imagination remind you mechanics of this rod, I suggest you to stick with Standard Action attacks.
As for the second part of your question specifically, I'd be totally OK allowing several attacks for spending single Standard Action. You may consider Scorching Ray spell or Greater Manyshot as examples. I'd also suggest to use Line template to see which two targets can be affected.
Also, you can't secure a Grappling Hook on a creature...
... unless you'll design some entirely new mechanic for that with some extended checks to account for the abilities of the defender. And it should be very hard, at least as I see it! And you souldn't be able to benefit from damage and Bull Rush power of the rod then.
For question 3: securing a grappling hook:
Why not? It would be a ranged grapple comparable to ranged pin's ranged grapple (a feat from Complete Warrior). Alternatively, see the wording for a Net attack or using a whip for a ranged disarm or ranged trip. So a Use Rope check vs. a Grapple check to secure, forfeiting normal damage for that use. Each round an opposed grapple check to maintain control.