[RPG] How to decide what is a “reasonable” Suggestion?


I have already asked some questions that concern the Suggestion spell (here and here). However, there are still some aspects of this spell that are not clear to me. In particular, the fact that the course of action must sound reasonable can be ambiguous. According to the manual, you cannot ask a target to stab himself, but you can ask him to give his horse to a random person. Now, consider for example the following situations:

  • A halfling is carrying a magical ring that could be extremely dangerous if it was in wrong hands. A wizard suggests him to give it to the first person he meets.
  • A young seaman has just been given a giant vessel and he is going to set sail, the dream of his life. A wizard suggests him to sell him the vessel for a few money.

can the Suggestion spell be used in these situations? Can these courses of action be considered as reasonable? In general, how to quickly determine if the course of action is reasonable?

Best Answer

This is ultimately subjective and up to DM ruling, but if you want a quick way to judge it, imagine that "Suggestion" is the name of a bottle of strong spirits, you just drank the whole thing, and now it's telling you that doing X would be totally awesome.

Ten years from now, will you be in the bar with your fellows, saying "Haha, remember that time when I drank a bottle of Suggestion and then X!"? That means it was totally reasonable, so X goes.

On the other hand, ten years from now, will you be waking up crying in the middle of the night, shouting "Why, why did I do X!"? That means it's not reasonable, so X doesn't go.

This would make giving away The One Ring very unreasonable, but giving away the magic ring you just "liberated" from some "evil creature" totally reasonable. It mostly makes it so the reasonable-ness of any act is judged by how much it's going to ruin your life and haunt you, not by any amount of monetary value or whatever, which seems to be the idea behind the spell.

For example, you might get a noble to give you his purse of gold, but not get a farmer to give you his only cow. You could, however, convince the farmer to dance naked through the streets, but you couldn't convince the uptight noble to do the same.