The Sorcerer hums to herself, sending suggestive thoughts towards the guard on duty… nothing crazy, just a light push on his mind, suggesting that she and her companions were good friends of the guard, rather than the trespassers they clearly are. Rounding the corner of the gate, she crosses her fingers, hoping silently that the spell did the trick.
Smiling fondly, the guard gives a friendly wave as the group approaches and they’re able to pass through without a fight… The Sorcerer breathes a sigh of relief and returns the guard’s greeting.
Table of Contents
What is the Suggestion Spell?
One of the traditional images, at least amongst those who haven’t had much contact with the magical fraternity, is of a spell caster being able to control, influence, and generally affect the will of an individual target.
In reality, the scope of magic use is far beyond most people’s comprehension, being vaster, more complex, and more dangerous than many could imagine. But if a spellcaster were to conform to such a stereotypical action, Suggestion is probably the spell that they would opt for.
Suggestion Spell Description
The Player’s Handbook tells us that Suggestion is a 2nd level Evocation spell.
“You suggest a course of activity (limited to a sentence or two) and magically influence a creature you can see within range that can hear and understand you. Creatures that can’t be charmed are immune to this effect. The Suggestion must be worded in such a manner as to make the course of action sound reasonable. Asking the creature to stab itself, throw itself onto a spear, immolate itself, or do some other harmful act ends the spell.
The target must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, it pursues the course of action you described to the best of its ability. The suggested course of action can continue for the entire duration. If the suggested activity can be completed shorter, the spell ends when the subject finishes what it was asked to do.”
Suggestion 5e Stats
|Casting Time||1 action|
|Classes||Bard, Cleric* Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard|
How Does Suggestion Work?
The effectiveness of the Suggestion 5e in the real world, i.e., on adventures, depends on two things. The way you word the Suggestion and the way the DM interprets it. The DM might even have their own house rules regarding how the spell can be used to keep its effectiveness consistent with the level and general nature of the campaign.
With regards to the player, be clear in what you are suggesting, and remember, only one Suggestion applies; you can’t suggest a string of commands and expect anything but the first to be effective. Some DM’s might even rule that the spell fails if the ask is too complicated.
Also, a general rule is that the Suggestion should be worded so that the request sounds reasonable. This is the DM’s get-out clause for extreme requests.
So, when faced with a whole pack of Hobgoblin militia patrolling the borders of their homeland, don’t suggest that the Captain of the Guard assassinates each of his troops. This is in no way a “reasonable request.” But you could Suggest that the Captain of The Guard recognizes you as being friends and, in a “These are not the Droids you are looking for” course of action, lets you pass by.
DMs should be free to determine what a reasonable request is, so do not try to be over-ambitious with your Suggestion. Remember, the spell is called “Suggestion” and not “Total Mindless Possession!”
Is Suggestion 5e a Good Spell?
The Suggestion 5e spell has been in the rules since the very start of the game, remaining a popular and important part of the magical lore of the game since its inception. It is a potent spell and a fairly vague one; after all, the effects of the spell are really governed by the player’s imagination. For this reason, the Dungeon Master needs to manage how it is used with caution, and the player should also choose their words carefully.
But the short answer is yes, always take this spell if it is available to you. It becomes even more necessary if you are the sort of character who prefers to pursue a more diplomatic line. One who prefers dialogue to violence, who would rather disperse opponents than try to hack their way through them. And obviously, it is great for getting creatures and NPCs to do your bidding, thus keeping you out of harm’s way.
It is also a spell that has much more potential in a more general roleplaying situation than it does in hack-and-slash melee.
Which Classes Can Use Suggestion?
Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards, and Knowledge Domain Clerics get access to the Suggestion spell at the 3rd class level. Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters also have access to it at the 10th level when 3rd-level spell slots become available to them.
Amongst these classes, the likes of Bards and Arcane Tricksters, who are best suited to using Suggestion, are the sorts of people who will use the perceived charm and schmooze to get people to do their will whilst propping up the bar in the local tavern or having quiet talks with people in dark alleyways.
Using Suggestion Spell in DnD Campaigns
Think of Suggestion as an alternative to combat. It is the spell that, if successful, makes the Temple Guards turn a blind eye, allows a market trader to sell you a prized item at a discount, or suggests an NPC be the first to break through a dungeon doorway (to get all the glory, of course.)
It does have more combat-specific uses, you might try to convince an opponent that you are on their side or insignificant, but the fun you can have with it in more roleplayed situations generally outweighs using it to get a slight edge in combat.
Before starting GameCows with his wife Kendra, he used to teach English Language Arts in the US. He combined his love of gaming with education to create fun game-based learning lessons until he eventually decided to run GameCows with Kendra full-time. He’s known for pouring over rulebooks in his spare time, being the rule master during game night, and as the perma DM in his DnD group. Bryan loves board games, writing, traveling, and above all his wife and partner in crime, Kendra.