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The spell description states:

You suggest a course of activity (limited to a sentence or two) and magically influence a creature

Is the one or two sentence itself the verbal component, or are there some other sounds you need to make, that are the same no matter what the course of action is?

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marked as duplicate by DuckTapeAl, SevenSidedDie dnd-5e Nov 16 '15 at 17:35

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A verbal component can be literally anything spoken in a specific manner, pitch or timbre, and varies based on the world you are playing in. Source: PHB pg. 203

Verbal (V)

Most spells require the chanting of mystic words. The words themselves aren’t the source of the spell’s power; rather, the particular combination of sounds, with specific pitch and resonance, sets the threads of magic in motion. Thus, a character who is gagged or in an area of silence, such as one created by the silence spell, can’t cast a spell with a verbal component.

Specific examples:

The Krynn play setting has verbal commands such as Shirak and Dumak to light and quench the light on Raistlin Majere's staff (the Staff of Magius). This can be shouted, spoken or whispered, as is evidenced many times throughout the War of the Lance and the Twins novels. These are single word spells that are quick and efficient for the effects. Later on in the novels, the more complex spells use more complicated forms of verbal components, an example of which can be found here:

http://dragonlancenexus.com/lexicon/index.php?title=Magius_Language

Forgotten Realms utilizes a rythmic chanting that can also be shouted, spoken or whispered as is evidenced by numerous books highlighting different kinds of spell casting in action. Drow elves muttering quietly while casting fireball is simply one example of such action. Priests and Clerics mouthing the words while whispering the phrases necessary to incite healing is another.

Since 5e doesn't actually give specific spell chants or state specific chants that are required, it's really between the player and the DM.

The bottom line is, a verbal component only requires that somebody make some sort of verbal incantation to use it. That can be a single word, a syllable spoken in a specific manner, or an entire string of magical sounding casting. So a caster could hide the verbal component in a simple introduction as a title to his name.

For this example I'll put the spell word in italics. Something like: "Hi, I'm Creston Driak Nullfire, blade for hire. Do you think your friends could help us out?"

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You said better what I think I tried and could not. Lino: 1, Sleep deprived me: 0. Here's an upvote. \$\endgroup\$ – D. Sorrim Nov 16 '15 at 17:00
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Verbal components are their own thing

According to the basic rules, page 79:

Most spells require the chanting of mystic words. The words themselves aren’t the source of the spell’s power; rather, the particular combination of sounds, with specific pitch and resonance, sets the threads of magic in motion.

So, simply suggesting something does not count. You need to infuse your suggestion with 'magical essence' in order to count as a use of the 'Suggestion' spell.

The PHB doesn't get any more granular than that, so the specific implementation is up to you. However, as was recently answered here, creatures generally do not know that Suggestion is being cast on them. Given that, it seems like the 'specific pitch and resonance' of the spell is relatively subtle, as otherwise it would be obvious when cast.

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The rules don't state anything speciffic about this, so I think it is (as many things in this edition, wich I think is awesome) open to interpretation.

The Player's Handbook says about Verbal Component (page 203)

Verbal (V)

Most spells require the chanting of mystic words. The words themselves aren’t the source of the spell’s power; rather, the particular combination of sounds, with specific pitch and resonance, sets the threads of magic in motion. Thus, a character who is gagged or in an area of silence, such as one created by the silence spell, can’t cast a spell with a verbal component.

I would say that in this case it should be safe to assume that the sentences used for the suggestion can be the verbal component. This also imply that you cannot use "suggestion" with any kind of telepathy.


This said, you should talk this over with the DM and other players. Maybe the setting you are playing states (or assumes) that Verbal Component for each spell is an specific word (like Harry Potter's world), to say something.

Or maybe you need to chant this special words, but the target never remembers you casted a spell in the first place after the suggestion...

But this last part is, like I said before, open to interpretation.

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To make a long answer short, it's however the player would decide to perform their spell, I'd guess.

For a spell like suggestion, I would hazard a guess at saying it is regular speech, insinuated in such a way (either by inflection or not) to be acknowledged as a suggestion spell.

Phb p. 203 - Component: Verbal (V)

Most spells require the chanting of mystic words. The words themselves aren't the source of the spell's power; rather, the particular combination of sounds, with specific pitch and resonance, sets the threads of magic in motion.

By this definition of a verbal component supplied in the 5e material, it is likely a special manner of inflection while suggesting an action would be enough to activate the spell, so the tone of the caster's voice. It is also possible this inflection could be the same way someone would normally attempt to suggest something reasonable to another individual, it just happens to cast the Suggestion spell due to having the proper spell slots and material components / focus.

Note also that this definition uses most when regarding spells that require chanting of words, not all. Which means some spells, while having verbal components, do not innately require chanting. Perhaps clarification by one of the folks at WoTC could shed light onto this better than the rest of us can speculate. For now, a guess will have to do.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would be much more comfortable letting the DM decide, not the player. \$\endgroup\$ – András Nov 16 '15 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm sure. But doesn't a player get to choose how they say something? If the way a spell is activated is as freeform as Lino said in his answer (which is better than mine) then the player really does get to decide how they will activate suggestion on a given individual. You could of course rule that suggestion MUST be performed in a given fashion, but then what's the point of RAW in this instance? \$\endgroup\$ – D. Sorrim Nov 16 '15 at 17:02
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RAW doesn't say. I think most DMs would probably judge the suggestion to be the verbal component.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review \$\endgroup\$ – Tritium21 Nov 16 '15 at 17:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I didn't critique or request clarification. All I did was answer the question. I said, the RAW doesn't specify if the spell suggestion's verbal component is the whole verbal component or not. I then said that the call was up to the DM, but most DMs would probably say that the suggestion in itself is the vocal component. The answers after mine either say the same thing, or argue how a DM would rule that the suggestion is the verbal component. The other answers may be more in depth, but mine has everything that is necessary and sufficient for a valid answer. \$\endgroup\$ – J. A. Streich Nov 16 '15 at 18:50

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