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If not dynamite, then something similar like a bomb from the DMG.

Both have a similar rules text:

As an action, a creature can light a [stick of dynamite/bomb] and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 3d6 [bludgeoning/fire] damage on a failed save [./, or half as much damage on a successful one.]

Nothing there says it targets/counts as an attack.

The spell Sanctuary says:

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

Do the rules consider you having dealt damage once the explosive goes off? Is it any different if you set the dynamite to explode after a set number of rounds (assuming you are still under the effects of sanctuary), and perhaps an innocent bystander walk by while you aren't looking?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just a note about content source: those pieces of equipment are from the DMG (preceding Alien Technology) and their existence in a given campaign is entirely in the hands of the DM. DDB's equipment listing doesn't indicate source in any way frustratingly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 15:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: What is damage you do vs. damage a creature takes? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 19:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ An 'edgier' edge case could be the case of someone warded by sanctuary setting a trap which later damages someone [during the duration of the sanctuary]. Or someone setting a trap, and then casting sanctuary... \$\endgroup\$
    – Chemus
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 0:32

2 Answers 2

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Yes you can...

But the spell ends when you deal damage with the bomb.

Do the rules consider you having dealt damage once the explosive goes off?

The rules don't specify this explicitly. But allowing indirect damage begins a slippery path of extreme rules lawyering ("this wasn't me dealing damage, but my spear"). In some cases, RAW falls short. The writers are only human and can miss details. That's why we need a DM, after all. A bomb-throwing cleric under the effect of Sanctuary clearly goes against both the intention and the spirit of the spell.

Is it any different if you set the dynamite to explode after a set number of rounds

This is an edge case which needs DM's adjudication. I'd say it is still the character who deals damage. The character has agency, not the dynamite stick.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What if the character trips and accidentally falls on the remote dynamite detonator? 🙃 \$\endgroup\$
    – Kai
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 2:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Delayed Blast Fireball falls into this "it wasn't me" trap, too: what happens if I cast the spell then wait a minute? ... or someone else causes my concentration to end - did I do damage or did they? I suspect the answer is the same as the dynamite question, and it would probably be helpful for DMs to figure out how to answer those questions consistently within their world. \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 5:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ hmm, sound familiar? "spears don't kill people, adventurers do" \$\endgroup\$
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 16:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kai that happened because the DM describe it this way. Ask the DM, what happened with the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 19:27
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God knows what you did.

When sanctuary was originally published, it was available only to Clerics and Paladins. This gives some insight into the original intent for the spell's function. The question here is something like "Can I claim that it wasn't me, but it was the dynamite, that hurt those creatures?" And in the context of a caster deriving their power in some way from a higher power, as clerics and paladins do, you definitely cannot make that claim.

It seems clear enough that the last phrase, "or deals damage to another creature, this spell ends" is supposed to be the "junk-drawer" stipulation - it catches all the other junk that should end the spell that isn't technically a spell or an attack.

There is room for the DM to rule otherwise, but it seems pretty obvious that the "I didn't hurt those creatures, it was the bomb (that I threw with the intent to kill those creatures)" loop hole is not how the spell is supposed to work.

Now, the spell sanctuary is available to the more recently published Artificer and the Genie Warlock, so I need to explain my argument a little bit more. There is no deity controlling the function or establishing the rules of an artificer's spells, so that is not the argument I am making for the artificer or genie-lock. Rather, I am saying "the spell originally functioned this way, for this reason, and did so for many years until the release of the artificer, which tells the intent for the spell's function. We then apply this intent for the spell's function to the newer use cases". But, it is because of the artificer and genie warlock having the spell that I say “there is room for the DM to rule otherwise”.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @AncientSwordRage I'm not exactly making the argument that the spell doesnt work this way because a deity doesnt allow it to work that way. I'm saying it works that way for a cleric/paladin, which tells us how the spell is intended to function, then we apply that "rules as intended" to all cases. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AncientSwordRage If you fired an arrow from your bow without the intent to hit someone, but it randomly hit a bystander anyway, would you expect the spell to end? I would. Delaying the damage 6 rounds doesn't really change anything. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 19:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ This would seem to lead to some odd results for any character that can lay traps or use poisons. Adventurers are hiding inside sanctuary in a dungeon, miles away someone tries to break into their base and sets off a trap or that poison apple the rogue left for the BEEG gets eaten or a wandering goblin catches their toe on a lost poison arrow or more simply, any characters who use it in a fortified position in addition to traps and their sanctuary collapses without warning... \$\endgroup\$
    – Murphy
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 12:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Murphy Doesnt seem that odd to me. Also seems like a crappy move by the DM - "By sheer coincidence something happened far away that ends your sanctuary at the exact moment you needed to use it". Nah. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 13:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ -1 for calling into account the intent of the deity; that's flavor based on context. Some deities like Loki would absolutely love their clerics exploiting these kinds of loopholes, while anybody with the Magic Initiate feat can cast the spell without a connection to a deity at all. Spells do what they say they do, and only what they say they do. Nothing in the description of sanctuary suggests that this limitation is in place. (I do agree that this use case is invalid though.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 21:02

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