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The following situation came up recently in my D&D 5th Edition game: My PC (a Cleric) was initially restrained by a summoned Spider's web attack and was being dragged away. Upon freeing himself, my PC immediately cast Sanctuary on himself.

A round or two later, the spider managed to roll a successful Wisdom save to attack and restrain the PC again. The DM ruled that this 'broke' my Sanctuary.

At the time I didn't think anything of it (and combat ended next turn anyway so the point was fairly moot in this instance), but having reread the description for Sanctuary I'm not entirely sure this is what should have happened. Sanctuary states that a creature can make an attack if they pass their Wisdom save, but doesn't mention that the Sanctuary falls upon a successful attack:

You ward a creature within range against attack. Until the spell ends, any creature who targets the warded creature with an attack or a harmful spell must first make a Wisdom saving throw.

Should the Sanctuary have ended in this instance, as the DM ruled?

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No.

The Sanctuary spell wards the creature from attacks until the spell ends and has only 2 conditions to end:

PHB 272:

Duration: 1 minute

When the duration ends, the spell finishes as normal.

PHB 273:

If the warded creature makes an attack or casts a spell that affects an enemy creature, this spell ends.

This is the only specific condition from the sanctuary spell to end before the duration. Notice that the spell doesn't end even if the target dies.

However...

If you got webbed and restrained because one attack passed through Sanctuary, you're still restrained. The spell only protects you againt attacks and targeted spells since area of effects attacks aren't prevented at all. What I mean is, pulling a restrained you around at the end of a string isn't an attack, Sanctuary can't save you from that; but nevertheless, it won't "break" your Sanctuary spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 Thanks, the point regarding restraint is probably the important distinction here. Perhaps I misheard, or the DM miscommunicated. I will double check with him :). Thanks again. \$\endgroup\$ – Robotnik Mar 13 '18 at 23:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yep. It's also worth noting that Sanctuary is not a concentration spell, so no greater effort is needed for it to continue to be in effect. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 14 '18 at 5:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just an update: Upon a re-read of the spell description the DM confirmed that he had misinterpreted how Sanctuary worked and confirmed that in future scenarios, being restrained won't break Sanctuary. \$\endgroup\$ – Robotnik Jun 6 '18 at 6:07
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No.

According to the spell description, it ends after 1 minute or if the sanctuary-protected person makes an attack or casts a spell against an enemy.

Duration: 1 minute

You ward a creature within range against attack. Until the spell ends, any creature who targets the warded creature with an attack or a harmful spell must first make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature must choose a new target or lose the attack or spell. This spell doesn't protect the warded creature from area effects, such as the explosion of a fireball.

If the warded creature makes an attack or casts a spell that affects an enemy creature, this spell ends.

Nothing in the spell description indicates that it would end if an attacker bypassed it by succeeding on a Wisdom save.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1, Thanks, I believe it may have been a miscommunication around how the 'restraint' was being handled. I'll clarify this with the DM the next chance I get :) \$\endgroup\$ – Robotnik Mar 13 '18 at 23:17

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