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Does being under the effect of more than one Sanctuary spell require more than one saving throw?

In the case where there are two Clerics who cast Sanctuary on the same PC:

  • would a monster trying to attack the character need to make two separate Wisdom saving throws in order to attack?
  • or, would the monster only need to make one saving throw against the Cleric who has the highest DC to attack?

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.

(PHB p.272)

If you refer to rules about combining spell effects in your answer, please explain your reasoning.

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A creature cannot be actively affected by two instances of the same spell, this includes the warded creature; one saving throw is made

The rules on "Combining Magical Effects" state:

[...] The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect—such as the highest bonus--from those castings applies while their durations overlap, or the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent and their durations overlap [...]

In this case we have the same spell (sanctuary) cast multiple times and thus the castings don't combine on the target (the warded creature). This means that the target of the sanctuary spells can only be actively benefiting from one instance of sanctuary at a time; the "more potent" one will be active.

Which instance of sanctuary is "more potent" is entirely left up to the GM. The example given is the spell that has the highest bonus, but that's only one possible case. The GM can decide which effect is considered "more potent"

That said, both casting of sanctuary are still there. So if one were removed by some means the second one would now be the active spell on the creature.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @Medix2 In this case of Sanctuary how would you determine the "most potent" effect? Or is it a case of the sequence in which the spells are cast? \$\endgroup\$ – ET got home Feb 13 at 0:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ETgothome "Such as the highest bonus", but I've hopefully made an edit to address that more explicitly \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 13 at 0:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ big +1 @Medix2 Thanks for including and helpful for working out other similar spells. \$\endgroup\$ – ET got home Feb 13 at 9:16
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The Combining Magical effects section of the Basic Rules states:

Blockquote The effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap. The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect--such as the highest bonus--from those castings applies while their durations overlap, or the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent and their durations overlap. For example, if two clerics cast bless on the same target, that character gains the spell's benefit only once; he or she doesn't get to roll two bonus dice.

Therefore if two clerics each cast sanctuary on you only one of them is actually applied, the one with the highest spell save DC, while they are both on the same target causing only one saving throw to be made if a creature tries to attack the target of the spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ But you do not say which one would be applied - while we can work it out, this answer would be better if you did. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Feb 13 at 0:26

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