would Sacred Flame hurt a person the target is holding as hostage/human shield?

An enemy had grabbed a friendly NPC and was using him as a hostage and standing behind him as cover. The (new) DM seemed to be implying that the archers in our party would risk shooting the friendly. I thought sacred flame would be good because it can target creatures in cover and seems to go through environment without damaging anything else. So we reasoned sacrad flame would just fry the enemy and leave our friendly unharmed. Thoughts?

Shifting Sacred Flame to Toll the Dead for Evil NPCs

The PHB makes it clear that radiant damage comes from the Positive Plane and is often associated with the Celestials of the Upper Planes, while necrotic damage comes from the Negative Plane and is often associated with Fiends and the Lower Planes

Damage Types (PHB196)

Necrotic. Necrotic damage, dealt by certain undead and a spell such as chill touch, withers matter and even the soul. Radiant. Radiant damage, dealt by a cleric’s flame strike spell or an angel’s smiting weapon, sears the flesh like fire and overloads the spirit with power.

Positive and Negative Planes (PHB300)

Like a dome above the other planes, the Positive Plane is the source of radiant energy and the raw life force that suffuses all living beings, from the puny to the sublime. Its dark reflection is the Negative Plane, the source of necrotic energy that destroys the living and animates the undead.

Several cleric spells allow you to choose your damage type between radiant or necrotic, and if spirit guardians is the exemplar, you would make this choice based on alignment.

Spirit Guardians (3rd level conjuration)

You call forth spirits to protect you…If you are good or neutral, their spectral form appears angelic or fey (your choice). If you are evil, they appear fiendish. On a failed save, the creature takes 3d8 radiant damage (if you are good or neutral) or 3d8 necrotic damage (if you are evil).

Destructive Wave (5th level Evocation)

You strike the ground, creating a burst of divine energy that ripples outward from you. Each creature you choose within 30 feet of you…take[s]…5d6 radiant or necrotic damage (your choice)

Forbiddance (6th level Evocation)

You create a ward against magical travel…the creature takes 5d10 radiant or necrotic damage (your choice when you cast this spell).

Other cleric spells do just one or the other type of damage, but there are enough of these that DMs and players making alignment-based choices can find appropriate damage types at most levels:

1st: Guiding Bolt (radiant), Inflict Wounds (necromancy)

4th: Guardian of Faith (radiant)

5th: Flame Strike (radiant), Holy Weapon (radiant)

6th: Sunbeam (radiant), Harm (Necrotic)

7th: Finger of Death (Necrotic), Symbol (Death) (Necrotic)

8th: Sunburst (radiant)

However, at the time of the printing of the PHB and MM, there were no official cleric cantrips that did necrotic damage. This led to NPC’s such as the Acolyte (any alignment), Cult Fanatic (any non-good alignment), and Priest (any alignment) being assigned for their principle offensive cantrip sacred flame, which does radiant damage.

Now that Xanathar’s Guide to Everything has made official a cantrip that deals necrotic damage (toll the dead), would it make sense to replace sacred flame in the stat blocks of evil NPC’s with toll the dead?

Are there any balance or other issues that arise with such a general change?

Or, would it make more sense to keep sacred flame, but to modify it so that the caster can choose the damage type, as in spirit guardians et al.?

Related: Are positive and negative energy from their respective planes inherently good and evil?

Does Sacred Flame or Firebolt do more damage on average to a Shadow over an arbitrary but finite number of rounds?

Assume the following character build:

Level 2 Variant Human Wild Magic Sorcerer with Magic Initiate Feat; relevant spells are Sacred Flame and Fire Bolt. While I don’t think character level is relevant, it is included in case an ability plays a larger roll than anticipated.

Ability Scores:
STR: 8 (-1)
DEX: 14 (+2)
CON: 14 (+2)
INT: 10 (+0)
WIS: 12 (+1)
CHA: 14 (+2)

Spell Save DC: 8 + 2 + 2 = 12
Spell Attack Modifier: 2 + 2 = 4

Spell Save DC for Sacred Flame: 8 + 2 + 1 = 11

Magic Initiate (5e PHB page 168):

Choose a class{cleric}: You learn two cantrips of your choice from that class’s spell list. … Your spellcasting ability for these spells depends on the class you chose: … Wisdom for cleric

Sacred Flame (5e PHB page 272):

Cantrip.
Casting Time: 1 action.
Flame-like radiance descends on a creature that you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 1d8 radiant damage. The target gains no benefit from cover for this saving throw.

Firebolt (5e PHB page 242):

Cantrip.
Casting Time: 1 action
You hurl a mote of fire at a creature or object within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 fire damage. A flammable object hit by this spell ignites if it isn’t being worn or carried.

Shadow (53 MM page 269),

Armor Class 12
Hit Points 16 (3d8 + 3)
DEX: 14 (+2)
Damage Vulnerabilities radiant
Damage Resistances … fire …

Damage Resistance and Vulnerability (53 PHB page 197)

If a creature or an object has resistance to a damage type, damage of that type is halved against it. If a creature or an object has vulnerability to a damage type, damage of that type is doubled against it.

Assuming that we don’t have to worry about the Sorcerer taking any damage (just for the sake of the question, otherwise it boils down to the Sorcerer dying after a few rounds), which spell would be the better choice to deal the maximum amount of damage on average within an arbitrary but finite amount of rounds?

Does the Sacred Kin barbarian’s Supernatural Fury feature replace the Rage feature entirely?

This question is about the Supernatural Fury feature of the Path of the Sacred Kin barbarian subclass from Xanathar’s Lost Notes to Everything Else (a third-party product by the DMs Guild Adepts).

The Supernatural Fury feature states:

At 3rd level, you can focus on the magic in your blood, allowing you to concentrate your rage into the ancient magic of your bloodline and enter a Supernatural Fury. You gain the ability to cast and concentrate on spells, even while raging, at the expense of your physical resistances.

When you enter your Supernatural Fury and you aren’t wearing heavy armor, the following benefits replace the benefits of the Rage feature:

  • You gain a bonus to your AC equal to your Strength modifier (minimum of +1).
  • You have advantage on Constitution checks and saving throws made to maintain concentration on a spell.
  • You have resistance to magical damage and are immune to the damage type you chose from your Ancestral Origin.

Your Supernatural Fury lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you’re knocked unconscious or if your turn ends and you haven’t attacked a hostile creature, cast a spell, or taken damage since your last turn. You can end your Supernatural Fury on your turn as a bonus action.

Does this mean the Sacred Kin barbarian can choose between entering a “regular” rage and a Supernatural Fury? Or can he (from Level 3 on) only gain the benefits from Supernatural Fury, because it completely replaces the “old” rage he used on Level 1 and 2?

Can a Sacred Fist/Master of Many Styles multiclass keep Flurry of Blows with Fuse Style?

I’m currently looking at building a Sacred Fist, with the two level dip into Monk that seems fairly common. I was thinking of using the Master of Many Styles archetype. Fuse Style mentions that it replaces Flurry of Blows (as archetype talents replace core ones of their class). So there would be no Flurry of Blows from the Monk levels I take. However, I have Flurry of Blows already from starting at level 1 in Sacred Fist.

Do I keep Flurry of Blows, or is that also gone from having Fuse Style?

Binder and Knight of Sacred Seal Soul Binding feature clarification

My question is, can Knights of the Sacred Seal use the Soul Binding feature to bind to multiple Vestiges at once as long as one of them is their Patron Vestige?

So Knight of the Sacred Seal states that it stacks with Binder for continuing progression for your Soul Binding feature such as gaining the ability to bind to multiple Vestiges at once. However in the flavor text for it, it says that KotSS can bind other Vestiges but that they choose not to. Likewise in the text for the Patron Vestige feature it points out how you lose access to all supernatural class features until you can bind to your Patron again, but can bind to other Vestiges as normally until then.

you can bind other Vestiges in the interim, as normal for the Binder class.

As such both the fluff and the crunch infer that you can only bind to other Vestiges as a KotSS while waiting to bind to your Patron Vestige again.