5E Sanctuary useless?

Kalshane

Visitor
My Paladin (OoD) has used it a couple times when one of his allies has taken a beating and are likely to be dropped before their turn comes back up again.
 

Satyrn

Visitor
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.
Oh. And you could cast it on the fighter with the Protection fighting style, so that you force the enemy to attack the guy beside him, at which point the fighter imposes disadvantage.
 
Rogue with Sentinel and Sanctuary standing next to a fighter. The enemy can try to attack the rogue, but if it fails the saving throw, it would have to attack the fighter. Or it could just choose to attack the fighter and not worry about it.
Once the enemy attacks the fighter, Sentinel activates and lets the Rogue use his OA to hit the enemy with sneak attack.

Somewhat situational and I'm not sure it's the best use of the spell, but it could work.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
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.
The spell's roleplay dimension can't be ignored.

By that I mean that in any real world, saving your own ass is kind of important.

But D&D is a group game. Making yourself difficult to target is indeed essentially useless if the monsters just go on hitting on your team ally, just as the OP has discovered.

So to understand the spell, you need to remember it's supposed to be used by individuals, not party members.
 

Volund

Explorer
My cleric uses Sanctuary quite often whenever he's concentrating on a buff like Bless or Holy Aura. Turn one: cast buff. Turn two: Dodge action and Sanctuary bonus action. In a 10 or 15 ft wide corridor, he has used Sanctuary + Dodge to completely deny passage to a group of large enemy creatures (the movement rules don't let a hostile creature move through your space unless they are 2 sizes larger or smaller, PHB 191), while the ranged attackers and spellcasters behind him did their work.

It's a 1st level spell, bonus action to cast, and doesn't require concentration - a good spell when you look at what resources it uses compared to what it achieves in the right situation. I cast this on myself or somebody else almost every session I play my cleric.
 
as a melee war cleric, sword and board for example, you could cast Sanctuary on yourself before dashing at a group of archers, making the odds of them landing an attack on you as you dash towards them slimmer. Once you get yourself up close, come out of Sanctuary and start hacking away at squishies. It's also very good with one on one encounters, for example, an arena, gladiator-type of encounter.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
But D&D is a group game. Making yourself difficult to target is indeed essentially useless if the monsters just go on hitting on your team ally, just as the OP has discovered.
With the same information I get the opposite result. The way I look at it: D&D is a team game. Sanctuary is a great spell to make sure the right teammates get attacked.

* If there are two likely targets, it can make monsters go after the one with better defenses, be it AC, Resistance, etc.

* If one teammate is damaged badly, it can encourage damage to other teammates so there isn't a potental loss of action by having them drop.

* If one teammate is undamaged, it's use on others can encourage monsters to attack that one. Enough damage to kill one PC will not impair fighting ability at all when spread across two PCs.

* Because of the large amount of self healing out of combat, it's conserves spell/potion and other in-combat healing if damage is spread across several PCs, and which Sanctuary can encourage.

For these, even a single round before they go again can cause foes to change targets, and would need to suck OAs to change back. As a bonus action low level spell, it can often be cast with little cost.

It also has some straightforward uses.

* If you only have one character standing up fallen PCs you can make sure they don't drop.

* Foes without casters may not recognize the spell and need to waste an attack to understand what is going on.

But really, if you were solo it is partial action denial on yourself, so it's only because D&D is a team game that it has so many excellent uses.
 

Ganders

Explorer
Clearly, it works best when switching to another target won't work. Maybe they lack ranged weapons and don't want to get backstabbed. Or they were trying to force concentration saves. Or the person with sanctuary blocks a hallway or cliff edge or somesuch.

Not long ago my group was charged with guarding a bridge -- which a whole army of orcs wanted to cross. We cast sanctuary on the fighter who just stood in the middle of the bridge, with a cleric behind him for heals. With their low wisdom they got very few attacks in; he lasted quite a while.
 

Iry

Adventurer
I really enjoy Sanctuary as a foil for readied actions.

There have been many times where the alarms in an enemy region have been sounded, and the bad guys have readied actions to shoot the first enemy combatant they see. The Sanctuary Tank walks around the corner with Dodge and triggers all their readied actions, with nobody else as a visible target.

Obviously doesn't help as much if the enemy readies something like "Shoot the robed guy as soon as I see him", but enemies readying actions to shoot the first person to come around a corner or burst into a room are really common in our games.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Rogue with Sentinel and Sanctuary standing next to a fighter. The enemy can try to attack the rogue, but if it fails the saving throw, it would have to attack the fighter. Or it could just choose to attack the fighter and not worry about it.
Once the enemy attacks the fighter, Sentinel activates and lets the Rogue use his OA to hit the enemy with sneak attack.

Somewhat situational and I'm not sure it's the best use of the spell, but it could work.
I agree with you there are many situations where sentinel works well with sanctuary.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I really enjoy Sanctuary as a foil for readied actions.

There have been many times where the alarms in an enemy region have been sounded, and the bad guys have readied actions to shoot the first enemy combatant they see. The Sanctuary Tank walks around the corner with Dodge and triggers all their readied actions, with nobody else as a visible target.

Obviously doesn't help as much if the enemy readies something like "Shoot the robed guy as soon as I see him", but enemies readying actions to shoot the first person to come around a corner or burst into a room are really common in our games.
Agree with you but want to point out ready is not committed. You can choose to ready to attack enemies as they come into range/sight and still not shoot at the dodging guy - waiting for someone not dodging.

Ready to shoot at only one target seems a bad choice since you are just eliminating your options. I mean, what if the first enemy combatant is a dog that gets KOed? You have lost the ability to shoot the second guy, the ranger who was right behind him.

Ready to shoot at enemies as they come into range leaves options open, including yo not shoot the dodging tank.
 

Iry

Adventurer
Agree with you but want to point out ready is not committed. You can choose to ready to attack enemies as they come into range/sight and still not shoot at the dodging guy - waiting for someone not dodging.

Ready to shoot at enemies as they come into range leaves options open, including yo not shoot the dodging tank.
Oh definitely! But when the bad guys don’t shoot, the rest of your team doesn’t have to come around the corner. And they can’t take that decision back and decide to fire on the dodging guy after all. Now your dodger knows the enemy numbers and position (as far as he can see) and free action barks that to the team (if he keeps it short).

Most bad guys don’t know you’re Dodging either, they just see someone rushing up to them with a deadly weapon in hand. How they react to that depends on their training, organization, morale, knowledge about your party, etc. But in most situations, the safe best is that a good chunk of them are going to take a shot at your guy.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Oh definitely! But when the bad guys don’t shoot, the rest of your team doesn’t have to come around the corner. And they can’t take that decision back and decide to fire on the dodging guy after all. Now your dodger knows the enemy numbers and position (as far as he can see) and free action barks that to the team (if he keeps it short).

Most bad guys don’t know you’re Dodging either, they just see someone rushing up to them with a deadly weapon in hand. How they react to that depends on their training, organization, morale, knowledge about your party, etc. But in most situations, the safe best is that a good chunk of them are going to take a shot at your guy.
Hmmm... In my games taking physical actions to provide enough trouble to shooters to cause them disadvantage is condidered obvious and would be clearly narrated differently enough to make it so. Much the same way i narrate incapacitate different from just "took no action" or "readied action."

But hey, GMs rule differently and as long as players are fine with their own character being utterly clueless about the difference in an aggressive stance and dodging when they pick targets, its likely fine.
 

Iry

Adventurer
But hey, GMs rule differently and as long as players are fine with their own character being utterly clueless about the difference in an aggressive stance and dodging when they pick targets, its likely fine.
I try to base it on the knowledge and skills of the monster. A dark elven blade master with raiding experience definitely knows when an advancing humanoid is paying more attention to covering himself than finding an opening in his opponent’s guard. A giant troll that battles for territory with other trolls, but mostly eats unarmed villagers would recognize what an enemy troll is doing, but not what the avenging paladin might be doing (besides being an obvious threat). A black pudding doesn’t know squat.

Player characters have it a little easier since they encounter similar monsters with some frequency, but I definitely make them roll when they are trying to figure out a strange new enemy.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I try to base it on the knowledge and skills of the monster. A dark elven blade master with raiding experience definitely knows when an advancing humanoid is paying more attention to covering himself than finding an opening in his opponent’s guard. A giant troll that battles for territory with other trolls, but mostly eats unarmed villagers would recognize what an enemy troll is doing, but not what the avenging paladin might be doing (besides being an obvious threat). A black pudding doesn’t know squat.

Player characters have it a little easier since they encounter similar monsters with some frequency, but I definitely make them roll when they are trying to figure out a strange new enemy.
Ok, well, to each his own of course, but for me most actions that are being actively taken dont really require rolls to figure out.

Disadvantage on your attack is the same degree of impediment gained by shooting at a target you cannot see or trying to shoot a bow while being mauled at in melee and i would not require a character to make a check to "recognize" those when its affecting them.

To me, the "i look and am moving normal but will dodge" is more of ready action to dodge which is a different thing. In thst case, sure insight checks for intentions may need to be made.
 

Iry

Adventurer
To me, the "i look and am moving normal but will dodge" is more of ready action to dodge which is a different thing. In thst case, sure insight checks for intentions may need to be made.
It’s mostly an abstraction for me. A round might be a series of canny feints and prods at your defenses, before one slips past your guard and makes you frantically scramble to block. Or it might be a great bellow that makes you flinch, and suddenly a mighty axe is crashing through your shield.

One attack mechanically, but a theatre of action in those 6 seconds. Every monster and PC will have their own style.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
It’s mostly an abstraction for me. A round might be a series of canny feints and prods at your defenses, before one slips past your guard and makes you frantically scramble to block. Or it might be a great bellow that makes you flinch, and suddenly a mighty axe is crashing through your shield.

One attack mechanically, but a theatre of action in those 6 seconds. Every monster and PC will have their own style.
No argument there but I dont normally let style and flourish turn into checks to identify.

For example, that series of feints and prods, if a players wanted to hide whether or not it made an attack during those fronts and prods, I typically would not be inclined to say do, just as I wouldnt describe thrir foes' turn as "series of feints and prods" and not tell them if an attack had occurred.

But I can see where that kind of thing could be right for other tables.

Adds a bit of tension if some, lot or all of the actual actions taken are "unknown" so you are guessing what is really going on. Maybe one of those pros was a failed attack or maybe that was a healing word he bellowed or maybe it upped its defense so much that I get disadvantage but not in any way that I get a clue about it until I make an attack.
 

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