Timing of suggestion


Rules Questions


When someone is affected with suggestion, and the [suggestion does not say anything like 'immediately', 'as soon as possible' can the affected people delay the fullfilment of the suggestion by rationalized it is more sensible to do it later? Can they delay until the suggestion duration wears off?

For example, let's say that during the fight someone was targeted with suggestion "To cure your affliction, visit the temple priest." and they failed their save. Would they abandon the fight and immediately start seeking the priest? Or can they decide that the fight is more pressing, and they can wait with healing themselves until after the fight?

Another example, let's say a villain sends a demand to one of the PCs in their sleep, suggesting them to visit a specific place. Assuming the PC fails their save, would they wake up and head there the first thing in the morning, or could they decide it makes sense to wait for other PCs to wake up, prepare their daily spells, and maybe eat the breakfast first? Can they first tell other PCs about the sending they received (As far as I understand there's nothing in the spell ssaying they won't remember it) and cause other PCs to check if there's a compulsion on them?

You can say that it's only a problem for badly worded suggestions, but suggestions need to sound reasonable, and if you add additional specification s how and when the suggested action is supposed to be performed, they may fail to satisfy this condition. Keeping suggestion simple may sometimes be preferable.


Dot. I love a good charm/suggestion thread.


It doesn't say immediately, but I've always treated suggestion as occurring immediately unless the creature were prevented from acting for some reason. Like if the suggestion was , "Discretely (or maybe non-suspiciously) go to the temple priest to cure your affliction" the target might comply by waiting until its not suspicious. They have breakfast, prepare spells, etc and then say they're going into town for the day.

But if you just worded it as "Visit the temple priest" I would have them immediately attempt to fulfill the suggestion.


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The Suggestion spell states: make the activity sound reasonable

In the first example, leaving mid fight is generally not reasonable, so it fails. If the suggestion included something like "after the fight, do X", then it might make the reasonable test.

For the second example, the Demand spell has a duration of 1 round, the target might wake up, but would probably just go back to sleep as it takes more than 1 round to wake up. [For me, it takes much longer to wake up.]

/cevah


Claxon wrote:

It doesn't say immediately, but I've always treated suggestion as occurring immediately unless the creature were prevented from acting for some reason. Like if the suggestion was , "Discretely (or maybe non-suspiciously) go to the temple priest to cure your affliction" the target might comply by waiting until its not suspicious. They have breakfast, prepare spells, etc and then say they're going into town for the day.

But if you just worded it as "Visit the temple priest" I would have them immediately attempt to fulfill the suggestion.

Except if that is how the subject understand the command (go immediately), then it may not be reasonable to leave during the fight, and a GM may rule that suggestion simply fails (see Cevah's ruling).

Cevah wrote:
In the first example, leaving mid fight is generally not reasonable, so it fails. If the suggestion included something like "after the fight, do X", then it might make the reasonable test.

This is exactly my point of doubt, it is not generally unreasonable to seek healing at the temple, it is only unreasonable to leave the fight immediately. The wording of suggestion "Visit the temple priest" does not tell the subject to leave the fight, and nowhere in the spell description it is said that the subject follows that suggestion to the exclusion of all other activities, like dominate person spell does. So it looks to me like it is possible that the suggestion works, but the subject may do other things while it is in effect. This however leads to my question, how much would a character be able to delay following the suggestion.

Cevah wrote:

For the second example, the Demand spell has a duration of 1 round, the target might wake up, but would probably just go back to sleep as it takes more than 1 round to wake up. [For me, it takes much longer to wake up.]

/cevah

I read it that the message is 1 round, but the suggestion effect has normal duration of suggestion spell, that is 1 hour/level. Otherwise it would be mostly useless to deliver demands at a distance. I believe this to be RAI, even if not RAW, and that's how it is played at my table.


Right, if you suggest leaving the fight it would probably fail. Because it's a very unreasonable suggestion. But suggesting that the cleric cast cure light wounds, instead of something that would be more helpful might work.

So yeah, you have to determine what "reasonable" is. Which is going to vary by GM.


Let's then just focus on a suggestion that GM considers a reasonable overall, but following it immediately is not reasonable. Should it work, and affect the subject's action at the time it becomes reasonable, or should it immediately fail?


I think it depends on the intent of the caster. If the caster intends for the creature to do it immediately it should fail if doing it immediately is unreasonable. If they meant "at your earliest convenience" then it's fine and that's what will happen.

Its the difference between

"you NEED to see a cleric about that rash"
and
"you should see a cleric about that rash"

The first one will get brushed off as there are more immediate concerns vs the second one which, sets it as a priority just not necessarily something that has to happen right this second. The first one might work if there is a cleric that could be reasonably reached in a round. The result would be the character rushing over to said cleric asking for help. Status removal during combat isn't unreasonable. It's really the same as a character using a wish or miracle. The exact wording doesn't matter so much as the character's intent if the wish or miracle is coming from themselves.


I think LordKailas makes a solid point. The caster has successfully used a 3rd level spell it should have the impact, within reason, that they desire. If not I think the DM should forewarn them of any issue they might have with the wording and allow them the option to reword their Suggestion. And keep in mind it need not be totally pass/fail, the text of the spell implies the reasonableness can result in modifiers to the save. And while it specifically mentions negative values I think positive modifiers are well within the DM's perogative if he feels the suggestion is weak but not outright unreasonable.


Adjoint wrote:
Let's then just focus on a suggestion that GM considers a reasonable overall, but following it immediately is not reasonable. Should it work, and affect the subject's action at the time it becomes reasonable, or should it immediately fail?

It should fail, but as LordKailas demonstrates you can easily change the wording slightly to make it reasonable and not require it be done immediately.

A GM should let a player know about that sort of wording issue, and not require a player to so exactly state the desired course of action, as long as there is a way to reasonably state the request that would give leeway in executing it. But "in character" you would need to state the request with that wording.


Adjoint wrote:
Cevah wrote:
For the second example, the Demand spell has a duration of 1 round, the target might wake up, but would probably just go back to sleep as it takes more than 1 round to wake up. [For me, it takes much longer to wake up.]
I read it that the message is 1 round, but the suggestion effect has normal duration of suggestion spell, that is 1 hour/level. Otherwise it would be mostly useless to deliver demands at a distance. I believe this to be RAI, even if not RAW, and that's how it is played at my table.

The suggestion spell does not affect the person after the spell expires. Why should Demand be any different. The spell text does not support this.

Demand is designed for a more immediate and stronger suggestion.

Demand wrote:
If the message is impossible or meaningless according to the circumstances that exist for the subject at the time the demand is issued, the message is understood but the suggestion is ineffective.

This implies that the suggestion does not need to be reasonable, only possible. And with an 8th level spell, that is an appropriately powerful effect.

/cevah


Cevah wrote:
Adjoint wrote:
Cevah wrote:
For the second example, the Demand spell has a duration of 1 round, the target might wake up, but would probably just go back to sleep as it takes more than 1 round to wake up. [For me, it takes much longer to wake up.]
I read it that the message is 1 round, but the suggestion effect has normal duration of suggestion spell, that is 1 hour/level. Otherwise it would be mostly useless to deliver demands at a distance. I believe this to be RAI, even if not RAW, and that's how it is played at my table.

The suggestion spell does not affect the person after the spell expires. Why should Demand be any different. The spell text does not support this.

Demand is designed for a more immediate and stronger suggestion.

Demand wrote:
If the message is impossible or meaningless according to the circumstances that exist for the subject at the time the demand is issued, the message is understood but the suggestion is ineffective.

This implies that the suggestion does not need to be reasonable, only possible. And with an 8th level spell, that is an appropriately powerful effect.

/cevah

Demand was used by a baddie in our playthrough of Curse of the Crimson Throne: Anniversary Edition; in that instance, it worked as Adjoint describes, which is how I interpreted it as well. I wasn't the GM for that campaign, so I don't know whether that use was a written strategy in the AP, but if so I'm even more inclined to agree that the suggestion portion has a different duration than the sending portion. Granted, AP designers don't always get the rules right, but frankly the whole point of that 8th-level spell is to implant suggestions at a distance, not to just jerk someone around for a round.

As I understood it (ugh, these spells are so vague!), the suggestion itself works exactly like the suggestion sppell with regards to reasonability. The line you quote at the end simply clarifies that circumstances local to the target may make the suggestion meaningless or impossible and that the sending itself still works even if the suggestion does not.

Basically, demand equals sending with a suggestion stapled to it, and the rest of the spell text covers the ways the two parts interact. Or I'm wrong and the AP writer and/or my GM are wrong, which is certainly possible.


@LordKailas @Claxon

If I understand correctly, you're saying that if the caster is aware that at the moment following the course of action that they are suggesting is unreasonable, they should be able to word suggestion in such a way that it takes effect not immediately, but when it becomes reasonable. To avoid any misunderstandings, the player is just required to say that this 'delayed' suggestion is his intention, and the spell that his character casts will work this way. Even if the wording they player gives can be interpreted in various ways, we assume that the wording 'in character' is such that the spell works as intended (within the level of details allowed by the spell).


Well, I'm not even suggesting that the caster is aware of the questionable wording. It would be more along the lines of

PC: I cast suggestion and suggest to the enemy "To cure your affliction, visit the temple priest."

DM: so.... are you trying to get the enemy to disengage combat now to go do that or do you mean its something they should do after the combat?

Based the the answer given by the PC the suggestion would then either take effect or immediately fail. As the DM has clarified the caster's intent. Certainly if the DM wants to be a stickler on the wording they can be but all that does is turn the PC into a lawyer every time they want to cast suggestion, which likely won't add to the enjoyment of the game.


portion of blahpers post wrote:
Basically, demand equals sending with a suggestion stapled to it, and the rest of the spell text covers the ways the two parts interact. Or I'm wrong and the AP writer and/or my GM are wrong, which is certainly possible.

And this is also the way I have always used the spell.


Adjoint wrote:

@LordKailas @Claxon

If I understand correctly, you're saying that if the caster is aware that at the moment following the course of action that they are suggesting is unreasonable, they should be able to word suggestion in such a way that it takes effect not immediately, but when it becomes reasonable. To avoid any misunderstandings, the player is just required to say that this 'delayed' suggestion is his intention, and the spell that his character casts will work this way. Even if the wording they player gives can be interpreted in various ways, we assume that the wording 'in character' is such that the spell works as intended (within the level of details allowed by the spell).

Yes that's exactly what I'm suggesting. I try to be relatively lenient in this sort of thing. We as players aren't our characters, I'm not a 20 int wizard casting this spell. I may not be able to think of how to say it exactly, but my character probably can.

As long as the player conveys their intent clearly to the GM, I see no reason not to allow it.

Now, if there is some non-apparent reason why something couldn't be done immediately it could still fail. But that would just be more reason to always build in that sort "When it is reasonable to do so" statement into your suggestion.


The one round duration of demand applies to the sending aspect. You convey your 25 words and the recipient has that long to respond if they wish. The suggestion functions as a suggestion spell otherwise.

A suggestion for someone to leave or avoid combat can be reasonable. It depends on the person and the situation. If a fight starts and you suggest to one combatant that they go to a temple, then certain factors will apply. For instance, are they injured? Do they have an affliction that could threaten them suitably to necessitate getting healed or cured (which is the implied suggestion)? Is the temple right there or a block away or is it half a day's walk? Is there a known cure or method of treatment closer and more reasonable (that they know of)?

A simple suggestion to just stay out of a fight may be reasonable. Again, it depends on the person and it also depends on the other combatants and the perceived nature of the combat. For instance, if one of the other combatants/allies is the target's loved one or sibling or good friend and it's likely they'll be significantly hurt in the fight (ie. lethal combat), some people won't stand to the side. If it's a tavern brawl or likely to just result in bruises ultimately (and the ally is clearly willing to fight), it could be, but the situation is too open-ended and the range of possibilities can't all be plumbed. Also note that most players will always try and play their personalities as being directly opposed to any suggestion, so you need to watch for those as well (in the case of those 'deeply opposed to mental control' the Will save is meant to account for that).

In the case of long term effects of suggestion, it will take effect reasonably unless the wording is such that it is unreasonable after an encounter. If during a fight you suggest they sell their sword and get a new one, it's not reasonable for them to engage in commerce during a fight, even if you immediately offer them a bag of gold (unless their character legitimately would do that). If it's basically their only weapon (and they reasonably believe they will need it within the near future and won't have a replacement), they won't do it. After the fight, they will be compelled to follow the suggestion if an opportunity presents itself within the spell's duration (they meet a merchant, they can go to town and it isn't surrounded by a besieging army or dragon and they aren't wanted criminals in the town or something(though they would still try to sell it elsewhere)).

If a suggestion is to go bathe in a nearby lake, the character will go do so. If they get attacked, they will defend themselves, not run and jump in the lake. After the fight, assuming the duration is still in effect, they will continue with the suggestion. If they reach the lake and it's surrounded by animal bones, has a foul smell, or clearly has piranha or alligators in it, then the suggestion likely becomes unreasonable at that point. If the target knew of any of this beforehand, the spell might just fail at the time of casting without the caster even knowing why (if they don't know about the lake's situation).

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