“These aren’t the droids you are looking for” might be a Jedi mind trick, but in the world of Faerun, people would call it a use of the Suggestion spell. This spell is an enchantment that is very fun to use if you know what you are doing, and it can be used both in and out of combat.
Still, how do you use the spell? What makes Suggestions so powerful? And when should you use it to make your enemies do what you want? Here’s our Suggestion 5e Guide for Dungeons and Dragons.
What Is The Suggestion Spell?
Here are the stats for the spell. The description is quite long, so we are going to break it down in chunks, but here are the stats according to the player’s handbook:
- 2nd level enchantment
- Casting Time: 1 action
- Range: 30 feet
- Components: V M (A snake’s tongue and either a bit of honeycomb or a drop of sweet oil)
- Duration: Concentration, Up to 8 hours
- Classes: Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Alright, breaking the stats down, we see that Suggestion is a 2nd level spell that costs 1 action to cast and has a range of 30 feet. You need a verbal and material component, where you need either a snake’s tongue and either a drop of sweet oil or honeycomb.
The material components for this D&D spell can be a bit tricky, but we will cover that. Now, what does the spell do?
The Effects Of The Suggestion Spell
First, you are taking the action (in combat about six seconds), so you only have time to do a sentence or two. But you can cast the spell and influence a creature to perform an action. The creature needs to be able to hear and understand you, and if the creature is immune to the charmed effect, it can’t be affected by the spell.
The Suggestion needs to be worded in a way that sounds reasonable, and you can’t ask the creature to harm itself or put itself into any danger. Asking a bugbear to throw itself off a cliff or a kobold to walk into a rushing river is not something that can be done with the spell, and in fact, it will end the spell.
Once you make the Suggestion, the target needs to make a Wisdom saving throw, and if it fails, they must pursue the action to the best of their ability. They can continue to do this action for the full eight hours; otherwise, if the task can be finished, then the spell ends. You can also give the target a trigger as well. For example, you might suggest that a bandit give his treasure chest to the first commoner he sees.
Now, if this bandit goes around and doesn’t see a single commoner, the trigger cannot be met, and the spell ends. Finally, if the target that is placed under Suggestion does take damage by you or your allies, the spell will end as well.
Taking Advantage Of The Powers Of Suggestion
You can do quite a lot with the powers of Suggestion in 5e, and innovative players can have a lot of fun with the spell. You can cast Suggestion on a random passerby and say, ‘hey, steal that key and toss it in the hay pile.” The commoner will run and steal the key if it can (again performing the action to the best of its ability), and once the key lands in the hay bale, then you can grab it and unlock the jail door to rescue your friend.
Of course, the unlucky commoner will probably take the blame for the action, but hey, that happens right?! You can also use the spell to avoid combat situations and avoid other problems before they get out of hand. It’s not a full get out of jail free card, because you do need to have compelling reasons why they will follow the order.
For example, you might cast Suggestion on a group of cultists to make them let you pass in peace. However, you might need to state that your party is allies of the cult, they need to speak to the master of the cult, and they need to leave now. These extra bits of roleplaying can help add authority to the Suggestion spell and might improve its chances of succeeding.
Make Sure To Talk To Your DM
The main key point of the Suggestion spell is that “The Suggestion must be worded in such a manner as to make the course of action sound reasonable.” You can just suggest the impossible and have it be followed, and you need to make sure that your Suggestion seems like something that could reasonably be done.
For example, asking a knight to give their noble warhorse to the first village she comes across is a pretty tall order. So you need to be able to spin the Suggestion to make the course of action seem reasonable. Maybe focus on the fact that villages need horses, and as a noble and brave knight, doesn’t the knight have a right to give their horse to the lowly commoners that need it?
Still, reasonable can be subjective, and it’s best to talk to your DM in private about the spell. Maybe you both can come up with some reasonable ways that you can use the spell and then some ways that are not so reasonable. Good communication beforehand allows you to save arguments and ambiguity later, so always make sure to talk.
Related read: Warhorse 5e Guide
Where Do I Get The Materials?
A snake’s tongue and either a bit of honeycomb or a drop of sweet oil are the material components for the spell. Of course, if you have a component pouch, then all of this is probably in there for you. If you don’t have a component pouch, the components can be found without too much trouble. A snake’s tongue can be found if you end up battling a giant serpent and cut the tongue out, or you might even be able to go hunting for regular-sized snakes if you are in a warm environment.
A few dice rolls and a bit of roleplaying will get you a snake’s tongue with no problem, or you can simply buy it at an alchemy shop. Sweet oil or a bit of honeycomb can be found at most restaurants, taverns, and general stores. Honey is pretty common, as is sweet oil, and it won’t cost more than a few silver to buy. These items are not consumed whenever you cast the spell, so once you have them, you will be able to cast the spell to your heart’s content.
How you would use these materials to roleplay casting the spell is certainly a little confusing. Would you hold up the snake tongue and cover it in the drop of oil while speaking the words of the spell? Would you wrap the honeycomb in the snake tongue and then hold it up, using it as a focus for the spell? Be a little creative with it, and try not to wonder what holding a snake tongue feels like. Your character probably isn’t enjoying it!
How Does Suggestion Affect The Target?
Alright, now that we’ve focused on the spell, we need to see how it affects the target that you are casting in on. Now, unlike some other spells that affect the mind, after the spell is cast and ends, the target does not know that they have been cast on. So if you cast a spell on the bandit to make him give the treasure away, he won’t know that the spell was cast on him.
He’ll ‘come up’ with the idea to give the treasure away himself, and then he won’t connect the action of giving the treasure away with your character casting the spell. Instead, he might try to get the treasure back, but he won’t be coming for your party! This is very interesting, as you don’t have to worry about the consequences of the Suggestion spell coming back to bite you!
What Targets Are Able To Have The Spell Cast On Them?
Well, first the target needs to be able to hear and understand you. If the target is deaf, unable to speak your language, or otherwise unable to understand your words, then the spell fails. Targets such as undead or constructs are also unable to have Suggestion cast upon them. Now, while Suggestion is not a charm spell, if the target is unable to be charmed, they cannot be suggested either.
Still, most humanoid enemies speak common, and you can charm them. If they do not speak common, then you might be able to use some of the languages that you speak to continue to charm them. This makes extra language very useful if you want to suggest something to someone!
Suggestion 5e Guide: FAQs
Question: What If Suggestion Is Cast On You?
Answer: Of course, some enemy spellcasters and other magical creatures are able to cast spells as well, and of course, one of these spells can be a Suggestion! If you fail your wisdom saving throw, then your character is under the effect of Suggestion, unless they are immune to charm.
Then the wizard will be able to give you a Suggestion. Now, chances are this Suggestion won’t be to murder your entire party, as this is considered an unreasonable order. Still, you might be suggested to go somewhere and do something away from the battlefield. Additionally, if this is a social encounter, you might be removed from the encounter or forced to do something detrimental (but not harmful) to the party.
Question: What Are Some Good Ways To Think Of Suggestions?
Answer: The massive amount of options that the Suggestion spell can provide, even whenever you factor out the unreasonable requests, can sometimes seem very overwhelming. If you don’t want to spend several minutes during a combat or social encounter thinking of a Suggestion that you can use, there are a few questions you can reasonably ask yourself to consider what you should suggest.
First, think about what this creature would reasonably do. A dumb bugbear might be susceptible to more Suggestions than a trained guard. You might be able to convince the bugbear to fall on its face during combat, but you won’t have the same thing happen to a guard whenever you say the same thing to them.
Most guards have some form of combat training, and they know that being prone in combat isn’t helpful.
Thinking about the person or creature you are trying to suggest something to can help you roleplay and consider ways to make their Suggestion seem reasonable. Plus, it can be like a puzzle you need to figure out, and that can be fun. It also makes every interaction where you cast Suggestion different!