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Two members of our party recently came under mind-altering effects (not sure exactly what it was, maybe Suggestion, but it involved failing a Wisdom save), causing them to attack the rest of the party. I'm not sure what was told to the Rogue, but I know the Barbarian was told that he was in danger, and needed to attack everybody, including members of the party close by. (I don't have a direct quote, it was a few days ago.)

This was extremely detrimental to the party, since it was our Barbarian and Rogue who were affected, meaning that our tank and main damage dealer were both turned against the party in combat.

This got me thinking: what actions can our party take (both preemptively and in battle) to counter or prevent Suggestion?

Our party composition (all level 20):

  • Barbarian (Totem of the Bear)
  • Wizard (Evocation focused)
  • Druid (Shapeshift-focused)
  • Rogue (Assassin)
  • Bard (College of Lore)

Preemptively, I was thinking about perhaps plugging our ears with cotton or something else, though this would surely give us some sort of disadvantage on auditory checks, and I'm not sure if this would even counter spells like Suggestion (I'm not familiar with how functionally these mind altering spells work - I've only played melee characters).

In battle, the only thing I could think of on the fly would be to use the Bard's Cutting Words ability, though I'm not sure if it would be effective since presumably the monsters would be using spells, which would not fall under the "Attack roll, an ability check, or a damage roll" restriction of Cutting Words.

Thus more generally, how can we as a party prevent Suggestion from succeeding? Are there spells that would prevent Suggestion from working, or magical items which would confer relevant status immunities? Are there preemptive strategies that we could have taken to reduce the effectiveness of Suggestion, or to nullify it entirely?

I feel like I am missing something strategically regarding how to counter Suggestion, so any recommendations based on experience, RAW, RAI, or otherwise will definitely be appreciated.

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closed as too broad by Miniman, KorvinStarmast, user17995, daze413, Thomas Jacobs Jul 17 '17 at 14:59

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There are way too many "mind-altering" effects out there to list in a single question. If you have a concern about an individual effect, I suggest limiting your question to that and submitting other questions for other effects. In addition, you're assuming your DM is always going by the book - which they may not be. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 11 '17 at 14:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Ok, I'll edit my question, thanks for the heads up \$\endgroup\$ – B. S. Morganstein Jul 11 '17 at 14:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I've limited it to suggestion - is this more appropriate? \$\endgroup\$ – B. S. Morganstein Jul 11 '17 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Btw: Mind-control effects on player-characters is something a good DM should use very sparingly, if at all. The reason is that they take away the player's agency over their characters, which most groups don't enjoy much. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Jul 11 '17 at 15:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is just asking about ways to counter Suggestion. I'm nominating this for reopening.\ \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Aug 22 '18 at 12:52
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Following RAW, there a number of ways to counter Suggestion:

  1. Counterspell (PHB 228 - your bard has the best chance at this)
  2. Bard's Countercharm (PHB 54 - if you know it's coming, this works. If not, it's too late. Also, creatures that are Immune to charm can't be Suggested, but the Charm effect isn't listed. It is up to DM if Countercharm would work here)
  3. Silence (PHB 275-6 - Can't talk, can't cast Suggestion)
  4. Blindness/Deafness, Darkness, Fog Cloud, Insect Swarm(PHB 219 - If they can't see you, they can't Suggest. If you can't hear them, they can't Suggest)
  5. Entrap them (or you) in Wall of Force (PHB 285 - spells can't go through it.)
  6. Ioun Stone of Absorption/Greater Absorption (DMG, 177 - absorbs spells of 4th level or lower with a reaction)
  7. Bless (PHB 219 - increase your save with a d4)
  8. If only targeting you, Ring of Spell Turning/Rod of Absorption (DMG 193 and 195).
  9. Protection from Good/Evil or Hallow if being cast by a creature that meets those requirements.(PHB 270)
  10. Dispel Magic (PHB 234 - end the effect on a target)
  11. Antimagic Field (PHB, 213-4 - no magic, no suggestion)
  12. Staff of Charming (DMG, 201 - Lets you get a save and toss it back at the caster)
  13. Blackrazor (DMG, 216 - Sentient weapon gives immunity to Charm)
  14. Bardic Inspiration (PHB 53-4 - must have handed it out prior to the need)
  15. Magic Circle (PHB 256-7- takes a minute to cast, so you really have to be prepared.)
  16. Leomund's Tiny Hut (If you can take the time to cast it, it'll stop spells from travelling through.)
  17. Kill or hurt the caster - if he's dead or injured he may lose concentration.
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    \$\begingroup\$ You're missing bardic inspiration, which can be added to saving throws. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Jul 11 '17 at 15:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I mentioned this on another comment, but effects like countercharm are debatable. The suggestion spells says that immunity to charms grants you immunity to the spell, but it doesn't actually apply the "charmed" condition to the target if it fails the save. By that logic, since the target isn't receiving the charmed condition, effects that give you advantage against charms wouldn't give advantage on the saving throw. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Jul 11 '17 at 15:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Leomund's Tiny Hut also prevents spells from going through. Darkness + Grappling would also work in place of Blindness/Deafness. Hallow could stand in for Protection from Good/Evil. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Jul 11 '17 at 15:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have my doubts that Wall of Force would stop it since they can both see and you can hear them. Based on Crawford's targeting primer on the podcasts this one is arguable in my opinion. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Jul 11 '17 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth I agree, but there is evidence counter to that. Total Cover is provided by Wall of Force and can't target behind total cover \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 11 '17 at 17:39
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There are quite a few different ways to avoid Suggestion. I'm going to provide a more general list, suitable to other people with a similar question, rather than limit it to your specific group's characters.

I've also only listed things that specifically mention "charm" related effects. There are a number of other things that could give you bonuses to certain types of saves, but they're so generic they'd make the list unwieldy. I've also deliberately excluded things that are blockers in general, like messing with the enemy's ability to see or the party's ability to be seen.

That said... one general thing worth mentioning is that Suggestion is a Concentration spell. Beat on the person casting it hard enough, and they may be forced to drop it.

Race & Class Abilities

  • Being an Elf (PHB p39), they get advantage against charm effects.

  • At 6th level, all Bards get Countercharm (PHB p54). It grants advantage on saves against fear and charm effects.

  • At 6th level, Berserker (PHB p49), which sadly your Barbarian is not, is immune to charm and fear when raging, and suspends any existing fear or charm when entering rage.

  • At 10th level, a Druid of the Land (PHB p69) cannot be charmed or frightened by elementals or fey.

  • At 7th level, a Paladin of Devotion (PHB p86) blocks charm against all creatures within 10 feet. It increases to 30 feet at 18th level.

Spells

There are also spells available. They're all in the PHB, I'm not going to give individual page references.

  • Antimagic Field stops or suppresses just about everything.

  • Aura of Purity provides advantage on saves against a whole bunch of conditions, and the source doesn't matter.

  • Calm Emotions suppresses charm effects.

  • Counterspell can stop it before it starts.

  • Dispel Evil and Good can break charm effects, but only works against celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead.

  • Dispel Magic is always a good option for undoing spell effects.

  • Greater Restoration undoes it.

  • Magic Circle works against the same types of creatures as Protection and has an area of effect. It also stops charmed, frightened, or possession cold - they simply do not work on creatures with its radius. Even better, against a single target it can be flipped to protect everybody outside the circle.

  • Mind Blank makes the target immune to charm for 24 hours.

  • Power Word Heal takes care of charms.

  • Protection from Evil and Good completely blocks charmed, frightened, and possession by aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead. If it's cast after the fact, they get advantage on any new saves.

Fighting fire with fire is also an option - spells like Charm Person, Dominate Person, Suggestion, Mass Suggestion, and others can be used to re-charm your allies back to your side.

I've left out a few things, like Geas and Hallow that have long casting times.

Magic Items

There are a few magic items you might find useful, too:

  • Staff of Charming (DMG p201) allows you to automatically turn a failed save against an enchantment spell into a success, and allows you to turn them back on the caster. It requires attunement by a full spell caster. It also gives you the ability to use some of those fight-fire-with-fire spells I mentioned, so it's a double-win.

  • Blackrazor (DMG p216) makes you immune to charm. Of course, this is an intelligent weapon, so you'll have other things to deal with if you should somehow acquire it.

Points of Debate

What's the difference between a "charm effect", being "charmed", and being "Charmed"? As a GM, I rule that they're all the same thing, because losing control of your character is no fun. If the players have resources available and want to spend them to undo the effect, one should not quibble over semantics. D&D 5E is explicitly designed to favor common English rulings over precisely written rules. If it sounds like it should work, then it does work.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Also mind blank , aura of purity, beacon of hope, circle of power, etc. \$\endgroup\$ – Marq Jul 11 '17 at 15:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Being an elf is debatable. The suggestion spells says that immunity to charms grants you immunity to the spell, but it doesn't actually apply the "charmed" condition to the target if it fails the save. By that logic, since the target isn't receiving the charmed condition, and Elf wouldn't get advantage on the saving throw. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Jul 11 '17 at 15:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Marq I left off a few of your suggestions, because they're a bonus against all magic and not specific conditions. If I went that route, the list would bloat unmanageably large. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jul 11 '17 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's quite amusing to think of a Barbarian who keeps getting charmed and counter-charmed, charging back and forth across the battlefield constantly trying to change his target... \$\endgroup\$ – Joe Jul 12 '17 at 10:21
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I'm not sure if Suggestion was being used correctly based on what you've posted in the comments and in your other question. Keep in mind, a few key aspects of the spell's limitations:

  • Suggest a course of activity (limited to a sentence or two);
  • Suggestion must be worded in such a manner as to make the course of action sound reasonable;
  • On a failed save, the target pursues the course of action you described for the duration...If the spell can be completed in a shorter time, the spell ends when the subject finished what it was asked to do.

Suggestion is not, nor should it be a replacement for Dominate Person. It's a bit fishy if a 2nd level spell is achieving an effect wholly superior to a 5th level spell (same effect, longer duration, only 1 save, somehow multiple targets, etc.). I think it could be reasonable interpretation to maybe get the Barbarian or Rogue to hit an ally once, but not for an entire fight (but if your DM is deciding otherwise, then it sounds like Suggestion has been elevated in power dramatically and your side should be taking advantage).

As for your specific question to counter it. The other answers mostly cover it:

  1. Counterspell
  2. Countercharm
  3. Protection from Evil and Good (which is overlooked a lot in 5e for some reason)
  4. Silence
  5. Another Suggestion spell
  6. Dispelling the suggestion (autosucceeds since it's a 2nd level spell)
  7. Mind blank (24 hours of immunity for recipients and your Wizard could cast it twice per day using their 8th and 9th slots)
  8. Break concentration

Overall, I suspect your DM isn't using Suggestion correctly (or is using a different spell). If they're insistent that this is how Suggestion works, then I'd suggest using Suggestion a lot more to take advantage of the DM's very liberal interpretation on it and using the above methods to counter when it's used against you.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed, and after discussions in chat, I'm more convinced that there is some serious house ruling going on behind the scenes. But for the purposes of the question and moving forward I think that understanding suggestion and how to counter it will be sufficient, if only to better understand what exactly it is the DM is doing. +1 \$\endgroup\$ – B. S. Morganstein Jul 11 '17 at 16:02
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In addition to the other answers it could be countered by dealing damage to the caster, as Suggestion is a concentration spell.

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