The sanctuary spell description states:

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

If I conjure 8 wolves with conjure animals, and they attack the enemy, is the enemy "affected" by the conjuration spell for the purposes of sanctuary (causing sanctuary to end)?


1 Answer 1


RAW: No.

RAW, the spell only ends Sanctuary in the moment you are casting the spell. When you cast Conjure Animals, you are not affecting an enemy creature (you are only Conjuring animals). If you then use the spell to affect an enemy creature, you are not casting the spell again, thus it does not end Sanctuary.

A similar case happens with Witch Bolt. See rules designer Jeremy Crawford's explanation here. Essentially, Witch Bolt keeps hitting after being cast. If you cast Sanctuary after casting Witch Bolt, Witch Bolt deals damage but doesn't end Sanctuary.1

Rules as Intended

It's unclear. From the same tweet above, Witch Bolt should end Sanctuary. Extrapolating this line of thinking, not only casting a spell to affect an enemy creature, but using it (e.g. issuing the command "Attack them" to your wolves) would end it as well. It's also arguable if issuing the command is the same as actually using your action to "recast" the spell, as in Witch Bolt.

So, if you are not running RAW, it's up to the DM how he sees Sanctuary working and what should end its effect or not. For example, Dragon's Breath also doesn't end it - even though it does something pretty against the usual conception of Sanctuary. 1

1 Both of these statements are not true any more due to November 2018 errata. Dealing damage now ends Sanctuary, thus Dragon's Breath, Breath Weapon from Dragonborns and other effects that had this loophole now end Sanctuary.

The errata does not change this answer, though.

Just for clarification, an errata for the PHB was released in November 2018. The text now states:

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

Note, however, that the warded creature, i.e. the one casting Conjure Animals, is not the one dealing damage to the other creature. The conjured animal is the creature dealing damage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ But dragons breath has a similar effect to witch bolt, repeatable action that effects an enemy. While with conure animals you are Laramie shouting commands to your summoned bears to attack. Which of you think about it is like encouraging (or commanding the other players) to attack the enemy (except the other players don't actually have to attack the enemy. In eit \$\endgroup\$
    – Pliny
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 1:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking on Dragonborn's Breath Weapon actually when I wrote that, which also doesn't end (because it's not an attack or a spell), but then I only found the Dragon Breath question here. Whoops. Either way, the difference is exactly that the spell compels the animals to do something that will affect the enemy when you tell them to do it. And your line is already stated in the answer: "It's also arguable if issuing the command is the same as actually using your action to "recast" the spell, as in Witch Bolt." - when I say "it's arguable" I'm not saying "argue in comments". \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 2:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ As can be seen in this the updated linked answer errata has now changed the wording of the sanctuary spell. I am unsure if this changes this particular answer but you may want to revise regardless. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ You may want to update the earlier parts of the answer per the errata; witch bolt does now end sanctuary. Dragon's breath also ends sanctuary if the same creature has both spells cast on it (e.g. if a warded ally uses the ability from dragon's breath to do damage). The last part of the answer mentions this, but the earlier parts are unchanged and contradictory to the errata. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 22:19

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