5E Sanctuary useless?

PnPgamer

Explorer
I am having a hard time picturing uses for sanctuary. as it says, it causes wis save or pick another target. This sounds fine and dandy but why do I get the feeling that targeting or shooting another target is just almost as good of a result? In what cases would the attack be wasted? have you guys found uses for it?
 
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The spell can protect someone who might be low on HP. Attacking a less wounded target can be helpful. The warded character can also heal or cast a buff spell. It is a 1st level spell, so the effects are not going to be terribly powerful.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
I am having a hard time picturing uses for sanctuary. as it says, it causes wis save or pick another target. This sounds fine and dandy but why do I get the feeling that targeting or shooting another target is just almost as good of a result? In what cases would the attack be wasted? have you guys found uses for it?
It's handy defensively. If the enemies are targeting the squishy (low AC, low HP), this forces them to do something else. Tryin' ta be clever and taking out the healer can also be thwarted.
 
At my table, it has been useful for the paladin (Oath of Devotion 7/Wild Sorc 4) tank in a couple of ways:

1.) Since he is usually the only one on the front line, Sanctuary can be used to reduce the melee damage he takes by 60 to 75% against trash mobs, or by maybe 40% against truly scary things. They can't redirect their attack and it gets wasted. He doesn't use it often, really, but it's nice to have (Dodge + Sanctuary) or (Blade Ward + Sanctuary) as an option if he finds himself low on hit points or something.

2.) He can use it to protect other characters in emergencies. When the party got attacked by ten Mage Armored Invisible Stalkers, both the paladin and the lore bard (primary healer) took large amounts of damage in the alpha strike--I think the bard was at 4 HP when the paladin got his chance to act. The bard had gotten off a Hypnotic Pattern, which immobilized 7 or 8 of the Invisible Stalkers, and the paladin rushed over to his side and threw down Twin Sanctuary + Lay on Hands for 35 points of damage, which allowed the bard to keep Hypnotic Pattern up, which combined with Wall of Force saved their collective bacon.

#2 is the most common use of Sanctuary at my table. It's especially awesome that Sanctuary is a bonus action no-concentration spell.

In theory you could use Sanctuary as kind of a Shield-like spell if you attacked and then re-cast it every round; you'd reduce your damage by maybe 75% without impairing your offense at all at the cost of one first-level spell slot per turn.

Another option would be to grapple an enemy creature and then cast Sanctuary with your free hand. On subsequent rounds you could Dodge while maintaining your grip, which isn't an attack and so does not break Sanctuary. That could be effective against a Medium/Large melee monster like an Efreeti, especially if the Bardlock has it Hexed on Strength checks so it can't escape the grapple. Disadvantage to all attacks plus inability to move plus Sanctuary when you try to kill the paladin while everyone else is pasting you with ranged attacks sounds really... annoying. In fact, I need to try that one.

It is unclear whether grappling/pushing breaks sanctuary, since no attack roll is involved even though you're taking the attack action. At my table I'd be tempted to rule that it does, because grabbing someone in a hostile fashion sure doesn't seem like a noncombatant kind of thing to do, but the RAW on PHB 194 is clear: grappling is not an attack.
 
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ad_hoc

Hero
It is a 1st level spell that only takes a bonus action to cast and lasts a minute with no concentration required.

It is fine as a way for a cleric to protect someone who is weak as it only takes a bonus action to cast.

There are more uses when story factors come into play. It can protect a weak NPC that you are escorting. It can allow a PC to race through an enemy infested area with the macguffin they need to deliver elsewhere. And so on.

*edit - It was actually used in a game I was in where the cleric was caught in the water being attacked by quippers. As it was a bonus action, they were able to cast it and still use their action to dash to get to land quicker (or dodge or whatever).
 

mellored

Explorer
it's less useful against ranged characters, who yes can simply shoot someone else, but if you can hide behind someone with it on them, you get cover (+2 AC).
Or put it on someone with sentinel against a melee guy, and it's very likely the enemy can waste his actions.

Also useful for protecting someone with a concentration spell going. Like put it on a bard who landed hold person on the BBEG, to prevent his minons from freeing him.

Note that if you cast a spell like spiritual guardian or blade barrier first, it won't break sanctuary if someone walks in to them. Though, a DM may disagree.

All in all it's a pretty decent spell.
 
It is fine as a way for a cleric to protect someone who is weak as it only takes a bonus action to cast.
IMO it is somewhat less useful for a cleric than a paladin because a lot of the things a cleric wants to do with his action are spells, and casting Sanctuary then leaves him with an action that he has no real way to use. A paladin tank, however, can still Attack (or Smite) or Lay On Hands the way he does during most combats.
 
Or put it on someone with sentinel against a melee guy, and it's very likely the enemy can waste his actions.
I'm not seeing this one. If Sentinel comes into play, Sanctuary has already been lost--there's an anti-synergy there. No action loss by the enemy, he just attacks the Sentinel exactly the way he would have if there had been no Sanctuary--unless you're thinking that the enemy wouldn't know Sanctuary had been cast?
 

Scorpio616

Visitor
This sounds fine and dandy but why do I get the feeling that targeting or shooting another target is just almost as good of a result?
Because some PCs can be VERY tough and foes have to focus fire to bring them down. Having even a few attacks retargeted makes the difference between a dead PC and two or three injured PCs that can be healed up with a Channel Divinity, mass healing word or a Prayer of healing / HD after the fight. And since a healer is a priority target vs intelligent foes, the spell is very useful against foes that see the cleric healing someone back to their feet.
 

mellored

Explorer
I'm not seeing this one. If Sentinel comes into play, Sanctuary has already been lost--there's an anti-synergy there. No action loss by the enemy, he just attacks the Sentinel exactly the way he would have if there had been no Sanctuary--unless you're thinking that the enemy wouldn't know Sanctuary had been cast?
You put sanctuary on a rogue with sentient. They then don't (or can't) attack the rogue, and thus must move or attack someone else.
Rogue then get's a free backstab. Which will then break sanctuary, but not before.

6d6+dex damage is worth a bonus action + level 1 spell slot.


Though personally i like spiritual guardian + sanctuary better. Or call lighting for a storm cleric, since you can keep blasting and be safe from concentration saves.
 

fba827

Visitor
I tend to find sanctuary better for npc targets....

.... An escort mission trying to get an important ambassador from point a to b but he has no combat skills

.... A fight in the middle of town where there are innocent bystanders just caught in the middle of the rampaging Godzilla


.... To cast on the person about to be stabbed/killed in a ritual as a delaying tactic when you burst in the door and need to take out the ritualist before he can complete the ritual that involves killing the sacrifice.


For a PC,

... The PC who is too injured to do much else and is otherwise out of ammo to shoot at a ranged attacker who is continuing to shoot at the party

... The PC who is trying to open the lock/undo a trap/get the artifact while the other pcs are trying to simply buy time and hold back the attackers when getting the objective for that one PC is more important than hurrying to kill overwhelming odds that are on their heels

Sure those are all situational, but my point being that I find sanctuary useful more so for casting on npcs, and rarely on pcs when the objective is less about killing and more about needing the time and opportunity to get from a to b.
 
You put sanctuary on a rogue with sentient. They then don't (or can't) attack the rogue, and thus must move or attack someone else.
Rogue then get's a free backstab. Which will then break sanctuary, but not before.

6d6+dex damage is worth a bonus action + level 1 spell slot.

Though personally i like spiritual guardian + sanctuary better. Or call lighting for a storm cleric, since you can keep blasting and be safe from concentration saves.
Right, there's some offensive potential, but where is the defensive benefit? The statement that puzzled me was "Or put [Sanctuary] on someone with sentinel against a melee guy, and it's very likely the enemy can waste his actions." Did you mean "it's very likely the sentinel will get an opportunity attack?" (It works almost exactly the same without Sentinel BTW--I don't see what value Sentinel is bringing to the table either. Any old Rogue with Sanctuary would do.)

It looks to me like after you make your sneak attack, the enemy will then attack you right back. Where's the action-wasting occurring?
 
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mellored

Explorer
It looks to me like after you make your sneak attack, the enemy will then attack you right back. Where's the action-wasting occurring?
it gives the enemy a choic, take an OA, waste an action to disengage, or possibly waste an action attacking the protected target.
 
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it gives the enemy a choic, take an OA, waste an action to disengage, or possibly waste an action attacking the protected target.
The exact same is true without Sentinel.

Basically, Sanctuary and Sentinel are an anti-synergy. They're both useful independently, but they don't stack with each other.
 

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