Can Sanctuary save our party from a wipe out if I cast it on myself as a healer?

I am playing in a campaign where our DM's creatures often deal high damage to our PCs and occasionally we run into a large mob.

I want to know if I can cast Sanctuary on myself to deal with a wipe-out?

SCENARIO: I am the main healer. I have multi-classed as a Cleric (Disciple of Life) and Rogue (Mastermind), with expertise in Perception and Stealth.
If I think we are about to be wiped out by a large mob, can I cast Sanctuary on myself to discourage my being attacked, then use my Cunning Action as a bonus action to make a run for it?

The idea is that I will run away at full speed for one or two turns, using my movement and both my action and bonus action to dash.

Then I cast Enhance Ability on myself, roll for a Stealth check and return to the scene in hiding - ready to cast Mass Healing Word on the party before the 1 minute is up.

My hope is that most of the mob will have moved away from the scene, some will have tried to follow me and I will be able to get the party back onto their feet to finish up any remaining mobs.

Could I use Sanctuary to this effect?

1st-level abjuration
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a small silver mirror)
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 spell. This spell doesn’t protect the warded creature from area effects, such as the explosion o f a fireball. If the warded creature makes an attack or casts a spell that affects an enemy creature, this spell ends. (PHB p. 272)

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Personally, I wouldn't do all the extra work of running off to hide. That's a lot of time that your party isn't getting heals. \$\endgroup\$
    – aaron9eee
    Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 9:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "SANCTUARY [...] This spell doesn’t protect the warded creature from area effects, such as the explosion of a fireball." → Sorry for the noob question, but: How common is it for a large mob to wipe out the whole party without using any area effects? \$\endgroup\$
    – walen
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 9:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Walen I think it dos not happen all that often on most tabletops,but our DM has a homebrew crit rule. We got nearly wiped on 3 occasions between levels 1 to 5. But, our the comment section is not for extended discussion. It would be a nice question for a forum though. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Senmurv
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 9:41

3 Answers 3


It works if you help them now, not later

Since you are the healer, and you are protected, so the party will be less likely to wipe-out... But why do you run away after casting sanctuary? Peoples can't target you with harming stuff! Don't run away, cast Mass Healing Word right now.

If you wait, as @Theik said in his answer, your party will be in bigger troubles than before you leave. So use the fact that you are in "can't touch me" mode to help them NOW!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. Sometimes my PC is so basic: Fight, no wait, Flight! Freeze, no Flight! Ooops, maybe I should've fought. \$\endgroup\$
    – Senmurv
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 4:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Why cast Sanctuary in the first place? It's a bonus action spell, but you can't cast any healing spells (only cantrips) for the rest of the round. Which means you now have to wait another round of people potentially attacking you. Just cast mass healing AND THEN RUN. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 20:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MivaScott actually, I think it's smarter to make it way harder to hit before healing everyone. A bad healer die before the rest of the party, but if the healer is hard to hit, he have great chances of not dying. But maybe he should cast sanctuary on the first round when the party might not need to be heal anyway \$\endgroup\$
    – Rorp
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 7:26

No, this way you just save yourself

Your idea only works if NPCS and players are only fighting because...well... they're fighting. Realistically, there's something both sides are trying to accomplish, else they wouldn't be fighting in the first place.

Now your plan is to cast a spell, run away, then return later to bring the party back up to their feet to continue the fight, but this is flawed in multiple ways.

Assuming you manage to run away, why would the rest of the NPCs just... wander off and leave the dying bodies of your former friends on the ground? Why were they fighting if all they cared about was downing everybody?

And even if, for some reason, the NPCs were so entirely disinterested in the fight that they gave up as soon as everybody was down and you ran away, there's no saying that you won't return to find one or several of your allies dead if they've failed their saving throws.

Assuming you try to use this strategy, expect to either:

  • Return and find all your party members dead
  • Return and find all your party members have been captured
  • Return and find some alive, some dead, and all stripped of their possessions
  • Find that losing the NPCs is a lot harder than you think, because they can run faster than normal humans or simply have ways to slow you down
  • Find that stealthing back isn't as easy as you expected, because they posted guards. Being stealthy only works so long as the terrain allows you to be stealthy.
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I would be amazed if they could outrun (and still have an action) a rogue using cunning action to dash-dash-move every turn. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin Anything with a flying speed will keep up very easily unless it's a slow flying speed and the entire area is literally a flat void without obstacles in the way. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 18:20
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ @Theik So, the answer to the question is #YES, but my plan is a load of twaddle! I can own that. Thanks for helping me see past my nose. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Senmurv
    Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 20:43
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @T.E.D. Perhaps, but then I also think running away, losing every pursuer and then sneaking back is going to take more than a minute as well. You can't exactly dash+dash run on the way back and somehow pretend to be stealthy. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 10:29
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin Why do they need an action? As long as they can keep up, there's no way the plan of hiding somewhere and then coming back is ever going to work. As long as an opponent can keep up, OP has no time to ever hide and go back for his friends. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Commented Jan 29, 2020 at 14:41

Yes, Sanctuary could help save your party from a wipe.

Sanctuary will prevent enemies from targeting you, assuming they don't make their saves and you do nothing to break the spell. This lets you focus on healing, and not be as concerned that the bad guys are going to single you out for extra "attention".

You could even use some of your Rogue abilities to help your party.


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