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There's a magical location in Drow of the Underdark called Blood of the Spider Queen. If a character fulfills the requirements and performs the activation they get among other things a permanent Sanctuary spell against other Drow. Unfortunately it doesn't go into any detail about how that would actually work.

In case it informs the answer: The requirements are to be a drow follower of Lolth and have at least five cleric levels. The activation is to sacrifice a living, sentient creature at the site. And the value put on this ability for the purposes of calculating wealth by level is 5,000 gp.

Special Ability (Su): A blood of the Spider Queen site grants the recipient a +5 bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Intimidate checks when dealing with other drow. She also gains a recognizable aura of having been chosen by Lolth to lead the dark elves. This latter benefit has no game effect other than to let other drow know that they risk Lolth’s wrath by openly defying the recipient. Finally, a blood of the Spider Queen site grants the recipient the effect of a permanent sanctuary spell against other drow, whether or not they are followers of Lolth. Any dark elf who wants to attack the recipient must make a successful DC 22 Will save to follow through with the attack.

There's several ways I could see this going: It could work on an individual basis or group basis, and a per battle basis or a per turn basis. By that I mean, if the character engages in battle with three enemy drow, it either works for all of them as normal for the sanctuary spell and breaks for all three the moment the character attacks one of them. Or it works for each enemy individually and only breaks for the enemy the character attacks. In both cases it either re-establishes itself on the character's next turn or after the battle is over.

It seems to me this should be treated as an always on magical item. I'm just not exactly sure what happens when an always on magical item turns off. I can't think of any off the top of my head that have a turn off condition. My first thought is it re-establishes itself at the beginning of your next turn. If it operates on a group basis then that's not too powerful I think. You either attack, in which case they all get to attack too, or you don't and they (probably) don't get to either. Repeat every round.

Thoughts?

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There's an armor enchantment called Innocence in the Kingdoms of Kalamar Player's Guide that grants permanent Sanctuary, and in that case it works as the spell (except infinite duration) and is restored on next turn as a free action by the wearer.

Kalamar books are not quite official. They seem to be considered about on par with Dragon Magazine. So if you allow Dragon content, then this should be fine. This is however a 3.0 book, just to be clear.

The enchantment is a +2 bonus, but also includes some ability damage to good aligned enemies. An effective +3 armor would cost 9,000 gp and the magical location is worth 5,000 gp. The magical location effect is however restricted to a specific race, which makes it worth less. Strictly using this reference I'd say the magical location ability is the same: If it breaks due to the character's actions it restores itself at the beginning of the character's next turn.

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The location's boon spells out what it does:

Any dark elf who wants to attack the recipient must make a successful DC 22 Will save to follow through with the attack.

That appears, to this GM, to be a pretty clear declaration of intent: if a character has that boon and a drow is attempting to attack that creature, the need to make a Will save or they'll lose the attack.

Perhaps they lose their nerve in the face of the "recognizable aura of having been chosen by Lolth", perhaps the protection simply causes them to forget how to perform that attack for a moment (ever been standing at your door, key in hand, staring at the lock and trying to remember how to get to get in? maybe a moment of that happens to the would-be attacker).

In-universe, this is obviously a potent ability. It does come with an in-universe drawback, though: the mark being chosen by Lolth is also a target for any would oppose Lolth's goals (or seek to lead the drow). Which, the location does call this out:

Lolth bestows these particular benefits to create some semblance of hierarchy for her otherwise chaotic children. The powers of a blood of the Spider Queen site bring just enough stability to the drow to support the noble houses and the cities. Of course, the gift is a double-edged sword, because the social structure guarantees constant infighting among the dark elves, but Lolth finds the internecine warfare a source of great amusement.

That extension (coupled with the recharge of, basically, "not until the recipient does or stops following Lolth") implies (to this GM) that, for the most part, it's only the heads of the noble houses that receive this boon. If those heads could be killed by a pair of 1st-level "young punks" ganging up on them, or if the protection was lost by said heads "simply defending themselves", the nobility would seem to be too precariously perched for Lolth's purposes. Internecine warfare's all fun and games, but a pair of random servants stabbing the boss on their first day is just bad writing.

Not directly an answer, but seemingly relevant anyway... This GM would treat that location's boon as the campaign-altering event that its description suggests it should be: those who gain the boon have literally been chosen by Lolth; they should be focused on "lead[ing] the dark elves" and should put aside pretty much any other goal without a direct line to that leadership. That is: to this GM's mind, the "sanctuary" effect's impact on the campaign pales in comparison to gaining the notice of both a deity and an entire race, and acts in service of that notice.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Why reference the Sanctuary spell at all in that case? One of the key aspects of Sanctuary is you only get its protections until you attack. And your interpretation also seems overpowered for something the book considers a 5th level cleric could get, and that only impacts your wealth by level by 5,000 gp. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kuro_Neko
    Aug 30 at 23:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kuro_Neko: using Sanctuary offers a hook for other effects to interact with it (eg., something that ignores Sanctuary or the drow +2 to Will saves against spells). As to the power level: that's down to the campaign. If the campaign features a lot of combat against drow, it's great; if not, it's rather less impactful (similar to Ghost Touch or Bane). And, of course, the DC doesn't scale, so hitting that DC will become more and more likely with time (especially since the drow favored classes are casters); it's great against mooks, but is only middlingly likely to affect higher-level characters. \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Aug 31 at 15:19

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