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The enemies abound spell states:

[...] On a failed save, the target loses the ability to distinguish friend from foe, regarding all creatures it can see as enemies until the spell ends...

Does the phrase "all creatures it can see", Rules As Written, include itself?


One reason this matters: The sanctuary spell, with errata states:

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

So what happens if you cast a spell on yourself such as false life, sleep, or cause fear?

Does the sanctuary spell end because you are your own enemy?
Or does the sanctuary spell not end because you are not your own enemy?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells I believe that is the why the regarding all creatures it can see as enemies is bolded, with the all in italics. Presumably a creature can see itself, which is what I believe the question is assuming. Although having that logic spelled out in the question may be useful, if I interpreted it correctly. \$\endgroup\$ – Willem Renzema Sep 1 at 1:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells I've now rephrased the question to ask whether that assumption is correct \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Sep 1 at 13:52
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You cannot be an enemy to yourself

An enemy is a person or group that is working against a viewpoint person or group. So the person targeted by Enemies Abound regards every creature they can see as purposefully working against them, though whether these enemies are seen as working against them as a group or individually is up to roleplay.

Although it is possible for people to self sabotage or otherwise do things are against their own interests, they cannot regard themselves as both working to fulfil and to prevent their own interests and goals at the same time. As doing so would make a recursive loop of their interest now being to stop themself from stopping themself from stopping themself.

The intent of this spell was to give characters an ability akin to Frenzy or Confusion in other games, where the effected target lashes out at whatever is close to them. If they regarded themself as an enemy then they would strike out at themselves, being the closest enemy, which seems to go against the intention of the spell.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not positive that the justifications presented in the first paragraphs (though well stated) truly support an answer about magic in a fantasy universe. This answer could be improved with some form of comment on D&D 5e's rules. The final point (about attacking yourself) is your strongest point for this reason. I do think this answer is correct, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Sep 1 at 6:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ash Rock I get that the intent of the spell was probably that you dont see yourself as an enemy. But in a RAW form it causes this to happen because of the line: regarding all creatures as enemies. This is possible it just means the target is insane and has to occasionally work against and toward their interests (insanity is a thing). \$\endgroup\$ – Gerson Lopez Sep 1 at 11:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GersonLopez Yet more evidence that "RAW" is a vacuous notion. Does anyone actually play the spell as having that effect? \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Wells Sep 1 at 14:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkWells For what it's worth one of my tables would. You follow what is written and if the written text doesn't match expectations, you rewrite it or overrule it explicitly, providing a new version of the text that everybody can have and use instead \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Sep 1 at 15:06
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If you are affected by the enemies abound spell and see yourself as an enemy, you would never cast a buff spell such as false life on yourself, because you'd never willingly help your enemy (your enemy being yourself in this case). To get around this, your argument for using false life would have to be that buffing yourself is a means to an end to harm your other enemies. But if this did happen, I'd say sanctuary would indeed end.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I've reworded and edited my question so you may want to adjust your answer. false life was merely a placeholder spell, apologies for the confusion/misdirection \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Sep 1 at 5:44

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