There are already several questions concerning immovable rods, but I thought I'd add this to the list.

Consider a stealthy and inventive assassin. She's on a mission to infiltrate the castle and kill a visiting duke. The assassin has to cross a wide moat and scale the castle wall, but for unspecified reasons she can't use her normal tools.

Luckily, our intrepid antihero has gotten her hands on not one, but two immovable rods.

Can she fix one rod in place, hang from it one-handed, and fix the other rod ahead of her, repeating this process to create a set of monkey bars in order to cross the moat?

Once across, can she do a similar process, but vertically, in order to create a ladder?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Historical note: The 3.5rd edition DMG not only explicitly allowed this, it included a colour picture of someone doing it. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Mar 3, 2016 at 0:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe I'd love to see that picture. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3, 2016 at 4:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Thunderforge Found it \$\endgroup\$
    – Sabre
    Mar 3, 2016 at 13:25

3 Answers 3



Yes, you can two Immovable Rods as an infinite ladder or monkey bars, and it's really cool.

Immovable Rod

This flat iron rod has a button on one end. You can use an action to press the button, which causes the rod to become magically fixed in place. Until you or another creature uses an action to push the button again, the rod doesn’t move, even if it is defying gravity. The rod can hold up to 8,000 pounds of weight. More weight causes the rod to deactivate and fall. A creature can use an action to make a DC 30 Strength check, moving the fixed rod up to 10 feet on a success.

It's certainly reasonable to try holding each rod in one hand in such a way that your thumbs are on the buttons, so that you can alternately release and engage the rods. As a rod is released, you could swing forward holding onto the fixed rod, and engage the free rod, thereby propelling yourself across the moat. You could do the same thing to climb vertically, although you'd be doing a one-handed pull-up as you moved each rod. The GM might impose strength, dexterity, or even constitution checks along the way. Depending on the distance and other factors, fatigue might become a serious issue. Particularly annoying is the description of it being a flat iron rod. Wrapping it with leather to make handgrips might be more comfortable.

There might be easier ways.

If you don't want to cling to the darned things while you're trying to push the buttons on the ends, you can tie a rope and a stirrup to each. Then stand in the stirrups and alternately activate the rods.

No matter what, it's going to be slow, because it'll most likely take a turn per activation. It could take a long time to go very far.

A little invisibility might help with getting spotted as you dangle by your arms over the shark-infested moat picked out by spotlights.

Up here in the castle we've got boxes of those things. We resell 'em down in the thieves' quarter. You wouldn't believe the number of would-be anti-heroes who try to get over the walls that way. Sometimes we get several a night. We generally roll dice as to whether to use fireball, heat metal, or grease. Sometimes we just lasso them. If it's slow we use a mage hand to mess with the buttons.

Then there was the guy who was so strong he didn't bother with pressing the buttons. He'd just keep pulling on the things til he'd get them to move. That dude was no fun at all once we got him on deck. Serious attitude problem.

Then there was the assassin who got past us somehow and nailed a visiting duke. We think she was using those rods, but we're not sure. She must have had some other trick up her sleeve.

Yeah, between the yahoos with the immovable rods, the flyers, the spider climbers, the monks, the thieves, the polymorphed lizards, the familiars, the invisible flying carpets and everything else, it gets pretty busy up here. One night we had so many we almost ran out of charges on the gems of seeing.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 stirrups. That would make a long climb easy to coordinate with only 2 rods, and not very tiring. You can even let go with one hand fairly easily to get things from pockets, or to open a window. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 4, 2016 at 5:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note it will be quite a bit more difficult to climbs such a ladder than a normal one, since you can't use your legs. I make my players make a athletics check to do so because it more like climbing a peg board than a ladder. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Feb 19, 2020 at 21:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @John the hardest part of climbing a peg board (at least for me) is managing to fit the peg in the board, climbing it is actually far easier. This wouldn’t be a problem with the rods, because you could press the buttons whenever you want. Additionally, DnD characters are quite strong, so I doubt it would be much of a problem for them. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 5, 2021 at 20:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica I would hardly call dnd characters strong, that depends on the character, in my current game we don't have a single person with a positive str modifier. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Nov 5, 2021 at 21:44

Yes, creating a ladder or monkey bars is classic usage of two immovable rods. It might require STR or DEX checks along the way but I don't see why this shouldn't be allowed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I can see how monkey bars would work, but not a ladder. Imagine balancing on a single rung with no handrails or other rungs to hold on to, then bending back down, grasping a lower rung, and bringing it above your head. I can't imagine even the most skilled gymnast managing that! \$\endgroup\$
    – Bob Tway
    Mar 3, 2016 at 11:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Matt Thrower - maybe that would make a good question - "how can you use two immovable rods to climb through the air like a ladder?" Maybe the rods are attached to boots with strings to press the buttons. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Mar 3, 2016 at 14:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Reminder: comments are for clarifying content, not discussion. Please take any discussion to Role-playing Games Chat or (as has already been suggested) to its own question to settle the issue. Prior discussion has been removed (as will future discussion). \$\endgroup\$ Mar 4, 2016 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude You may wish to clarify what “STR or DEX checks along the way” looks like and how two rods might be used mid-air as a ladder, as most of the argument/discussion is being provoked by that gap. You may also with to not. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 4, 2016 at 16:47

To use them as a "ladder", you could use them like climbing picks, keeping your hands on the ends and pressing the buttons alternatively as you move higher. You wouldn't need to stand on them, but you could brace your knees, feet and the rods themselves against a wall.


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