This question is inspired by on this question but is focused on the sanctuary spell instead of the rage feature.

The last line of the Sanctuary spell is -

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

I am slightly doubtful of the split-up of this sentence, does it mean any attack (thus even attacking an object like a door could end the spell) or only attacks against creatures end the spell ?

On a second note if the target of Sanctuary attacks an illusion does it count as attacking/affecting an enemy creature ?


2 Answers 2


Sanctuary ends if you make an attack

Please note that you are using an old version of the wording of the spell. There has been errata released on the PHB which changes the wording on Sanctuary and makes this issue much more clear (errata page 3):

The final sentence now reads, “If the warded creature makes an attack, casts a spell that affects an enemy, or deals damage to another creature, this spell ends.”

This wording makes it clear that making any attack, even one against an illusion or an object would end the spell

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for linking the errata, I did not know that errata had been released for sanctuary, that clears up a lot of my doubts \$\endgroup\$ Jan 6, 2020 at 12:38


RAW, it's difficult to determine what the or was supposed to mean.

It could mean:

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

In which case, Sanctuary would not end if you attack a door. If attacking an illusion of an enemy creature counts as attacking an enemy creature is something the game does not define at all, so is something best left to your DM.

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

In which case, Sanctuary would end if you attack a door or an illusion.

I personally go with the second interpretation, with the argument that it fits the concept of Sanctuary better, and that if they wanted it to only affect attacking enemy creatures, they should have worded it better. It prevents players trying weird gimmicky things like "I want to attack the sword the enemy is holding, which is not technically the enemy, to disarm him."

This is also the interpretation that seems to be supported by the later errata, as pointed out by Sdjz in his answer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not disagreeing with you in general, but I think disarming someone instead of skewering them on a piece of metal fits the theme of sanctuary rather well. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Jan 6, 2020 at 12:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega Perhaps, but then so does grappling them, and that does not fall under sanctuary, because that counts as a special melee attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Jan 6, 2020 at 12:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega Disarming combatant on one side while leaving other side armed and free to harm them does not IMNSHO fit the theme of sanctuary, no matter how you try to twist the idea of "sanctuary". \$\endgroup\$ Jan 6, 2020 at 20:47

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