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Ropes are not actually a distinct item type - they are merely what chains are called when they are made of cloth. They are both listed under the 'chains' heading in the z-stocks menu, are stored in finished goods stockpiles, and are generally interchangeable.
Chains are created at the metalsmith's forge with one metal bar (or four adamantine wafers), using the metal craft skill (but are found listed under "Furniture" and not "other objects" in that menu). Ropes are created at the clothier's shop with one cloth, using the clothier skill.
Taking a rope with you at embark lets you construct a well more quickly. While usually it's much cheaper to take raw materials and produce ready goods after embark, the item value of a rope is 20 vs. 12 of the thread. The dwarves will not enjoy using a base quality item as much, but cost-wise it matters 3 times less than the mechanism.
|"Chain" in other Languages