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Old 10-14-2017, 07:41 PM   #1
Rasputin
 
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Default Rope snapping while climbing or lifting

What are the chances of rope breaking while climbing or lifting something? I'm a little surprised not to find something for this in GURPS Low-Tech, but I'm looking for a quick ruling that's like, "Exceed the maximum weight of the rope, and it must make an HT roll or snap and break, and any critical failure on a Climbing roll will make the rope break, too." Maybe a little more complex than that—this is pretty sadistic—but the same general idea.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:20 PM   #2
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: Rope snapping while climbing or lifting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
What are the chances of rope breaking while climbing or lifting something?
Low-Tech actually does have some guidelines for this, although they're more a matter of simply specifying that a rope automatically breaks once it exceeds its listed weight limit (which is halved for dynamic loads such as climbing or arresting a suddenly-dropped weight). See Low-Tech p. 23, "Rope, String, and Thread".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasputin
I'm looking for a quick ruling that's like, "Exceed the maximum weight of the rope, and it must make an HT roll or snap and break, and any critical failure on a Climbing roll will make the rope break, too." Maybe a little more complex than that—this is pretty sadistic—but the same general idea.
If you want something more complex than "if the rope exceeds its maximum weight, it breaks", I'd suggest something like you proposed (a HT roll to avoid breakage), but starting a little earlier than max weight - for instance, have the rope roll HT starting at 50% of max weight, but with a +1 bonus for every 10% it's under max weight, and a -1 for every 10% it's over. For example, a silk rope has a max weight of 5000 lbs. under stationary load. Having it lift 2500 lbs. would force it to make an HT roll, but at +5. Subjecting it to a load of 5500 lbs., on the other hand, would force an HT roll at -1. For stationary loads, I'd only have the rope roll once, and if it succeeded, it would hold, at least until environmental conditions caused it to deteriorate. For dynamic loads, I'd have the rope roll once per hour of normal use, and every time it was clearly subject to a sudden shock. So, roll once an hour of climbing, for instance, and every time someone actually fell and a rope might arrest the fall.

I wouldn't have a critical failure of Climbing or similar skills automatically snap a rope, under this system. Instead, I'd suggest that a critical failure of skill would add (1dX10)% more weight to the most heavily-laden rope than planned, potentially requiring a check to see if it breaks.

Having a relevant skill at 15+ could justify a perk to avoid having to roll HT rolls for ropes whose effective HT scores, after modifiers, was 16 or higher, effectively a "No Nuisance Rolls" perk for rope breakage.
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Old 10-15-2017, 12:39 AM   #3
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Rope snapping while climbing or lifting

Realistically, the maximum listed weight for a rope includes a safety margin, so giving it a HT check for things like fraying isn't the worst option in the world.
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Old 10-15-2017, 03:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Rope snapping while climbing or lifting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
Low-Tech actually does have some guidelines for this, although they're more a matter of simply specifying that a rope automatically breaks once it exceeds its listed weight limit (which is halved for dynamic loads such as climbing or arresting a suddenly-dropped weight). See Low-Tech p. 23, "Rope, String, and Thread".
Yes, mostly I would use broken ropes as results for a Critical Failure on skills like Climbing, Knot Tying, Packing/Cargo Handling/whatever they call it, Boating ... Part of knowing how to use ropes is knowing how much you need and checking for frays, degraded fibres, bad splices, and other problems.

I agree with Anthony that rolling a HT check if the players do something which is just above the capacity of a rope is another good choice.

There is a pyramid v2 article on ropes with a slightly more detailed version of the rules from GURPS 4e Low Tech.
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:12 PM   #5
Rasputin
 
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Default Re: Rope snapping while climbing or lifting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
Low-Tech actually does have some guidelines for this, although they're more a matter of simply specifying that a rope automatically breaks once it exceeds its listed weight limit (which is halved for dynamic loads such as climbing or arresting a suddenly-dropped weight). See Low-Tech p. 23, "Rope, String, and Thread".
I looked at that before posting and no, they don’t say that the rope breaks. All they say is that rope won’t support more than the listed weights:
Quote:
Originally Posted by GURPS Low-Tech, p. 23
The weights listed below assume stationary loads: hauling cargo, suspension bridges (see GURPS Low-Tech Companion 3), etc. For situations where the rope undergoes dynamic loads and sudden shock – e.g., towing and climbing – it can support only half as much. For instance, that rope with a maximum load of 281 lbs. will only support 140 lbs. if the user is climbing quickly . . . or if he falls and the rope must save him! If he climbs slowly (less than half normal climbing speed), the rope will support the full 281 lbs.
There’s nothing in there about actually breaking, though you could read that into it. You could also say that the rope slips or loses its catch, though admittedly to a climber it’s little different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
If you want something more complex than "if the rope exceeds its maximum weight, it breaks", I'd suggest something like you proposed (a HT roll to avoid breakage), but starting a little earlier than max weight - for instance, have the rope roll HT starting at 50% of max weight, but with a +1 bonus for every 10% it's under max weight, and a -1 for every 10% it's over. For example, a silk rope has a max weight of 5000 lbs. under stationary load. Having it lift 2500 lbs. would force it to make an HT roll, but at +5. Subjecting it to a load of 5500 lbs., on the other hand, would force an HT roll at -1. For stationary loads, I'd only have the rope roll once, and if it succeeded, it would hold, at least until environmental conditions caused it to deteriorate. For dynamic loads, I'd have the rope roll once per hour of normal use, and every time it was clearly subject to a sudden shock. So, roll once an hour of climbing, for instance, and every time someone actually fell and a rope might arrest the fall.
Yeah, I was figuring something like that. That actually gives a nice starting point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
I wouldn't have a critical failure of Climbing or similar skills automatically snap a rope, under this system. Instead, I'd suggest that a critical failure of skill would add (1dX10)% more weight to the most heavily-laden rope than planned, potentially requiring a check to see if it breaks.
I was proposing having Climbing critical failures snap the rope if the climber has already gone over the listed weight. Under that, the rope is still fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
Having a relevant skill at 15+ could justify a perk to avoid having to roll HT rolls for ropes whose effective HT scores, after modifiers, was 16 or higher, effectively a "No Nuisance Rolls" perk for rope breakage.
I like that one.
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:27 PM   #6
DanHoward
 
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Default Re: Rope snapping while climbing or lifting

As Anthony said, all ropes have a safety margin built into their rated load capacity (100% isn't uncommon). If a rope is rated for 100 lbs then there is no need to roll if the load is less than this. For any load exceeding the weight limit, simply roll percentile (e.g. if the max load is exceeded by 20% then the rope breaks on a roll of 20 or less). If the max load is exceeded by 100% (200 lbs in the above example) then you get automatic breakage. A successful Climbing or DX roll might stop the character from falling but the rope still breaks.

As Low-Tech says, you need to halve the weight limit for dynamic loads (e.g. towing or climbing).

If the rope is older and has deteriorated then you reduce the rated capacity of the rope but you still use the same mechanics to determine breakage.

There was a good article in the old online Pyramid magazine that covered all this. It had a lot of detail about making rope and cordage too. If anyone has the archive, it was called "Pulling your Weight".
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Last edited by DanHoward; 10-16-2017 at 05:53 PM.
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