What is Suggestion?
Suggestion (PHB, p. 279) is a 2nd level enchantment spell primarily available to arcane spell casters, such as the Bard and Wizard. It requires a vocal and material component, with the latter being a snake’s tongue and either a piece of honeycomb or a drop of sweet oil. It takes an action to cast, forcing a creature within 30 feet to make a Wisdom saving throw, having to carry out the suggestion you made to them as long as it is not obviously harmful to them. The suggestion must only be one or two sentences long and can feature a trigger, such as giving their horse to the first beggar they come across during the duration. The spell lasts for 8 hours whilst you maintain concentration, the spell ends when the suggestion is completed, or earlier if it takes longer than the duration, or the caster loses concentration. The spell can also end early if you, or any of your companions, damage the target of the spell.
For this spell to work you need to see the creature, and they must be able to hear and understand you. Creatures immune to the charmed condition are also immune to this spell.
Is Suggestion a good spell?
This is a great out-of-combat spell that can allow you to achieve your goals in a far more subtle, and nonviolent, way than you may otherwise be able to achieve. If you choose to try and use this spell in combat, just understand that for some combatants stopping or fighting alongside you may be a harmful act that they won’t follow. Otherwise, you can increase the effectiveness of Suggestion by learning more languages or gaining features that allow more creatures to understand you.
An example of an ideal use case for this spell is ‘convincing’ a guard to escort you through a checkpoint you’d otherwise have had to fight, or attempt to sneak past.
How can you get Suggestion?
If this spell interests you then fear not! It is a widely accessible spell, on four different spell lists and accessible to many subclasses:
- Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard – These four classes get access to Suggestion on their spell lists.
- Knowledge Domain (Cleric Subclass) – This Cleric gets the spell as a Domain Spell at 3rd level.
- Arcane Trickster (Rogue Subclass) – This Rogue can choose spells from the Wizard spell list, and can choose Suggestion as one of their restricted spells at 7th level as it is from the Enchantment school.
- Eldritch Knight (Fighter Subclass) – Similar to above, this Fighter subclass can choose spells from the Wizard list and can choose Suggestion with one of their limited unrestricted choices at 8th level.
- Aberrant Mind (Sorcerer Subclass) – Whilst the Sorcerer class as a whole can choose this spell, the Aberrant Mind gains a slew of additional spells that they can trade for a different spell from the Divination or Enchantment school. This can help a Sorcerer deal with their very limited number of spells known.
- Fierna Tiefling (Race Variant) – This alternative to the PHB Tiefling can cast Suggestion once per long rest from 5th level onwards, in addition to Charm Person and Friends. If you are a fan of this type of spell, this is a good race option for you.
- Yuan-ti Pureblood (Race Option) – This snakefolk gains the ability to cast Suggestion once per long rest from 3rd level onwards. The version of this race presented in Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse also allows a character with spell slots to cast the spell with those slots in addition to the free casting.
How to roleplay the Suggestion spell
Need some help roleplaying the Suggestion spell? Here are some examples to help you out:
- As the party enters the throne room of the evil king, you notice that he seems particularly on edge. His guards are armed and ready, and he has a suspicious look in his eye. As the party approaches, you cast the Suggestion spell, whispering into the king’s ear that he should take a moment to relax and enjoy the festivities. Suddenly, the king’s face softens, and he orders his guards to stand down. He invites the party to sit with him and enjoy some refreshments, giving them a chance to gather information and perhaps even strike a deal.
- The party has been wandering through the woods for hours, searching for the hidden grove where the magical tree is said to grow. As the sun begins to set, you cast the Suggestion spell on your companions, suggesting that they take a break and set up camp for the night. Although they were determined to keep searching, they suddenly seem to agree that rest is necessary, and begin to set up tents and gather firewood. As you settle in for the night, you hear a soft rustling in the trees, and catch a glimpse of the elusive grove you’ve been seeking.
- The party is deep in negotiations with a group of hostile goblins, trying to secure safe passage through their territory. The goblins are skeptical and aggressive, and the tension is high. Sensing that the negotiations are about to break down, you cast the Suggestion spell on the goblin leader, suggesting that he consider the party’s proposal with an open mind. Suddenly, the goblin’s expression changes, and he seems to be considering the proposal more seriously. With a little more negotiation, the party is able to secure the safe passage they need, avoiding a potentially deadly confrontation.
Hopefully, this article gave you some enchanting suggestions for your next character build. If you’re interested in researching other spells then check out our spells section, or if you’re here because you’re preparing for your next Warlock, then check out our Warlock guide. Good luck out there adventurers, next time you talk to your friends you should share this site, no need for that Wisdom save.
I’m trying to build a villain based off of the pied piper who led away rats and eventually children from the village of Hamelin. At first I was thinking the piper would be a bard who used the suggestion spell but it says creatures need to understand the caster. I suppose he could have cast speak with animals first but I don’t think bards can use that spell. Would the pied piper have to dual class? Or is there another spell that could lead rats and children to their doom?
There are several spells and abilities that could fit the concept of the Pied Piper. One option would be to use the charm person spell, which allows the caster to make a humanoid creature regard them as a trusted friend. This could potentially work on children as well, depending on their age and level of suspicion.
Alternatively, the dominate person or dominate monster spells could also be used to exert control over individuals, although these spells are more powerful and come with greater risks and ethical concerns.
For leading rats, the animal friendship or speak with animals spells could be used, allowing the caster to communicate with and potentially influence the rodents. Another option could be to use the mold earth or stone shape spells to create tunnels or passages for the rats to follow.