I have a problem about the spell Suggestion. One of my players wants to use it on an NPC and the NPC fails the save, does the 'thing' he is told to do and now ____. Does the NPC 'magically' forget about the spell? Or in other words, can someone remember that a spell was cast on them (specifically Suggestion)?

Here is something I thought about with regards to the Friends spell (PHB P.244):

...When the spell ends, the creature realizes that you used magic to influence its mood and becomes hostile toward you...

So, Suggestion doesn't have that in its description, neither does it have something similar. Does that mean this is just not the case with Suggestion? And if so, with every other spell, where said sentence or a similar are not stated?

Or did they just attached this sentence to the spell Friends to clarify 'If he wasn't your enemy before, he is now'.

So, here again the question is: Are you able to recognize that a spell is being cast on you after you've fulfilled your 'suggested' task via the spell Suggestion (or a similar Spell)?


From PHB p. 204


Unless a spell has a perceptible effect, a creature might not know it was targeted by a spell at all. An effect like crackling lightning is obvious, but a more subtle effect, such as an attempt to read a creature’s thoughts, typically goes unnoticed, unless a spell says otherwise.

(emphasis added)

Given that, I'd say that the target of a Suggestion spell is generally never aware of the spell. Of course, there might be specific circumstances that deviate from this general rule. ^_^


I would say the creature would not be aware of your magical influence for one primary reason:

The suggestion must be worded in such a manner as to make the course of action sound reasonable.

If the suggestion sounds reasonable, the target would have no way to suspect you influenced them or not. If it failed, they would simply say no and think "Hah, who do they think they are, asking me to do something like that?"

Bottom line: It sounds more like it would be the DM's ruling as to what the NPC determines is a "reasonable" request, and what requests would end up inciting them afterward or just leaving them confused. I'd imagine the feeling of being suggested would be close to when you go to a restaurant, get your food, the waiter says "Enjoy your food." and then you inadvertently reply "You too." without thinking. The confused feeling from Suggestion is probably the same thing.

The "reasonability" of a suggestion most likely relies on the alignment and outlook of the target. That rule can be twisted and fit however you like into your campaign as far as I'm concerned. An evil character/NPC would more likely find "Steal his wallet" or "Punch that man" a more reasonable request than a good character/NPC would, and vise versa. If the request is worded well and goes against a character's alignment, you could rule that after it is completed the target would become angered by their having performed that action in the first place, and then engage the caster or their group since he hypothetically couldn't tell who really cast the spell. Of course, you are more than welcome to disregard this. This is just the "What would I do?" in this circumstance.


The target of the spell does not know it was influenced by Suggestion, but connecting the dots is quite easy.


As discussed in this question, it is not hard to notice someone is casting a spell, depending on the situation. If you stand in guard, it is hard to miss, if you are in combat, and swords are banging on breastplates, it is less obvious.
However noone would use Suggestion in a battle to have an enemy drop a key. Much more likely to force someone to change sides.

So either the process, or the result is quite easy to notice.


In most DnD worlds, magic is known enough, so you have heard about charming people with spells.

Discover the connection

You stand in guard with Joe, than some random guy comes to you, starts waving his hands, mumble strange words, and you suddenly feel the urge to kill Joe. Normally I would put the Intelligence DC to 5 fo realilze you were under a spell. If you always wanted to do it, because you discovered he is sleeping with your wife, the DC should probably be 10. There are simply better times and places for it.
Less obviously wrong things than murder should have a bit higher DC, depending on how uncharacteristic it was for you.

Which spell

Knowing the exact spell you were under would be much harder, like an Arcana DC 20 check, with some bonuses if the spell is on your spell list.

In my opininon the hardest part is noticing that someone cast a spell, everything else is quite obvious

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you provide an example indicating that the suggestion spell requires some obvious signs? Spell from the book indicates Verbal and Material Components alone. This suggests (pun intended) that suggestion is very subtle and difficult to detect, hence the name Suggestion and not Command (which is a separate spell). \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Nov 16 '15 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Doing something you would not usually do is quite obvious. In a world where everyone knows of magic, nothing esle is really necessary. Out of combat even mumbling is quite easy to detect, and in combat the suggested action (change sides) is quite ovbious too. \$\endgroup\$ – András Nov 16 '15 at 13:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There are absolutely no somatic components of any kind. The spell just says "You suggest a course of activity and then magically influence a creature you can see." The suggestion doesn't have to be secretive. It can be something as simple as you going up to someone and saying "Why don't you take a seat over there." and if the suggestion works, they do it. Suggesting a course of activity has nothing to do with verbally chanting your suggested activity in a manner that makes it obvious that it's a spell. \$\endgroup\$ – D. Sorrim Nov 16 '15 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Andras im looking for you to provide something concrete that supports your answer. Since the spell doesnt have a somatic component, nothing in it supports obvious action at all. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Nov 16 '15 at 15:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ In our world people who engage in an action because of direct brain stimulation usually rationalize the action to themselves. Simply telling them that they haven't made the decision themselves is usually not enough to get them to conclude that they haven't taken the action because of their free will. Similar things are true for posthypnotic suggestions for individuals with high hypnotic susceptibility. \$\endgroup\$ – Christian Nov 16 '15 at 17:38

The NPC should make a knowledge arcana check, or a spellcraft check. DC to be determined by the DM based on the prevalance of that spell in the socialization of the NPC. A dwarven merchant would need an 18, a human low level wizard would need a 12. This is very advanced DMing since the DM is both creating the DC dynamically, and essentially creating the NPC'S ranks in spellcraft or knowledge arcana (not to mention intel). BUT this back and forth that happens internally for the DM is the game's mechanic for determining if that particular NPC would recognize the spell or not.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Skills do not have ranks in D&D 5e. Did you mean something else or did you mistake this for a question about a different game? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 16 '15 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I DM 3.5, sorry, i know 5e is slightly different, but the principal should still stand. \$\endgroup\$ – user25856 Nov 16 '15 at 21:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Skills are superficially similar between the editions, but the details, terminology, and numbers are different enough that the advice for which to use and how to set DCs given here is probably misleading. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 16 '15 at 21:36

protected by Oblivious Sage Apr 14 '16 at 15:08

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.