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The sanctuary spell description says:

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, casts a spell that affects an enemy, or deals damage to another creature, this spell ends.

My question is whether I ruled the above spell correctly based on the scenario below:

  • Character A casts Sanctuary on Character B
  • Creature 1 tries to attack Character B and fails its Wisdom Save.
  • Creature 1 sees Character C within its movement speed, thus moves to Character C and attacks (regardless of whether it has multi-attack or not).

The Player who controls the character A (the one who cast Sanctuary), feels that since Creature 1 failed the Saving Throw then the attack was wasted and should not have been able to attack Character C. They concede that Creature 1 can move to Character C but not attack them.

However, based on the wording of:

On a failed save, the creature must choose a new target or lose the attack or spell.

...I feel that a creature can move and make an attack as it does not specify anything about movement speeds and clearly states that another target must be sought.

Was I correct? If not, please explain why.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify what your specific ruling was in this scenario? It's not clear what your actual ruling was. \$\endgroup\$ – Xirema Dec 10 '18 at 21:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I just want to confirm that the same creature that cast sanctuary was the same creature who attacked? Also, were there any other events after they attempted to attack Creature B and then moved to Creature C? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 10 '18 at 21:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not clear on what the ruling in question is. It seems you just followed the text to the letter. I"m not sure what part of your example scenario is in question here. Is it whether the creature can use its move before using its redirected attack action? You have two things labeled 'A' a character and a creature. Maybe use a different letter for the creature? \$\endgroup\$ – user47897 Dec 10 '18 at 21:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I updated it so that it's not Creature A attacking, but a 4th creature now named D to differentiate the Sanctuary Caster from the Attacker. This also appears to be a duplicate, but if you don't agree that the question is identical, or if the answer there isn't clear, please let us know! \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 10 '18 at 21:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that that wiki is not an official rules source, and frequently misquotes things in a futile attempt to avoid getting taken down by WotC. I've replaced the inaccurate quote of the spell description with the proper one. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 11 '18 at 1:51
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Yes, the creature can move to reach a non-Sanctuary target

Sanctuary does not inhibit the creature’s normal options except for requiring it to find a different target or lost the spell/attack.

As an aside, if the creature had multiple attacks and enough movement it could try to target the Sanctuary, fail, move, attack someone else, come Branco try again, fail etc. until it ran out of attacks or movement.

Also, you’re the DM so your ruling is correct whatever the rules say.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ See this is the confusing point about the spell in my opinion, if you go to a creature and fail a saving throw, you haven't actually attacked it, you have just decided not to attack it for some reason so moving to another creature and attacking that creature instead makes sense. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Perryman Dec 10 '18 at 21:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to move this answer to the question linked as a dupe since it offers an opposing viewpoint. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 10 '18 at 21:38

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