The Yuan-Ti Pureblood playable race has the Innate Spellcasting trait, whose description states (VGtM, p. 120; emphasis mine):

You know the poison spray cantrip. You can cast animal friendship an unlimited number of times with this trait, but you can target only snakes with it. Starting at 3rd level, you can also cast suggestion with this trait. Once you cast it, you can't do so again until you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

Can the Yuan-Ti Pureblood's suggestion spell from this trait only be used to target snakes?

I was under the impression that only the animal friendship spell from this trait was limited to only being able to target snakes, while poison spray and suggestion could be used as stated with no such targeting restrictions.

However, I've run into a DM in organized play who is arguing that suggestion is limited to snakes only, and I cannot find any official text anywhere clarifying this.

It doesn't make much sense to me that suggestion would only work on snakes when suggestion requires the target to understand you. Outside of special circumstances, most snakes would not be able to understand you as a Yuan-Ti... The animal friendship part of this ability is the only part that lists this restriction, and it seems to only restrict that spell rather than the entire trait. Otherwise, it would also imply poison spray could only be cast on snakes, which is just silly from both a canon and utility sense.

Despite my arguments against it, this DM seems set on his ruling unless I can find something official stating otherwise. Anyone know of any references to this ability I can show him?


The text you quote is actually clear on this matter. The limitation is only for the spell animal friendship. "With this trait" might be the source of the confusion, but it is not stated that this trait can only be used against snakes. As you say, then it would limit poison spray too, which does not make much sense.


In Volo's Guide to Monsters, on page 96 under the "Capture, Not Kill" section, it indicates that Suggestion isn't limited to snakes.

Here's the exact wording:

They use many methods for capturing enemies, such as poisoning, knocking out an opponent instead of making a killing blow, throwing nets, using magic such as suggestion, or restraining them in the coils of a giant snake.

Suggestion is used to capture enemies, and snakes aren't generally included among the Yuan-Ti's enemies.


Unfortunately, no such ruling exists.

In the description of the trait, "it" refers to the spell in the sentence it appears in. If the restriction to only snakes applied to suggestion, it would be in that sentence also or in its own sentence after both spells.

Nowhere in Volo's or the PHB is a racial trait, class feature, or feat referred to as "it". They are rarely referenced, but when they are, it's always as "this trait" or "this feature".


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