Any Suggestions?

Turim

Mongoose
The hypnotic suggestion spell is very open to interpretation, and there is only one example given in the spell description. So, what are your favorite uses of this spell, that are acceptable in your campaigns? I'm looking for both combat and out-of-combat uses.
 

thulsa

Mongoose
Bump...

Some questions about this spell, Hypnotic Suggestion, from the main rulebook...

1. Does it affect humans/humanoids only, or monsters as well? (Target says "Living creature", text refers to "the person".) Note that Domination works only on humanoids.

2. Must the target be able to understand the sorcerer's language, or is the command telepathic? (From the description in Mass Hypnotic Suggestion one can infer that the targets must actually hear the sorcerer's voice, so that would seem to indicate that the sorcerer must actually issue a spoken command.) [If it is language-dependent, that would rule out a lot of animals and monsters as targets.]

3a. What are the limits of the spell, and more specifically what are its uses in combat? What can it make targets do? What can Hypnotic Suggestion and Mass Hypnotic Suggestion do, compared to Domination? Can it make the targets fight for the sorcerer (possibly against their own allies) or make them drop their weapons, run away, etc.?

3b. What about self-destructive actions, like jumping off a cliff or impaling oneself on a spear? In this case I assume the targets would at least get a new Will save with a +2 bonus, in line with the Domination spell.

- thulsa
 

iltharanos

Mongoose
thulsa said:
Bump...

Some questions about this spell, Hypnotic Suggestion, from the main rulebook...

1. Does it affect humans/humanoids only, or monsters as well? (Target says "Living creature", text refers to "the person".) Note that Domination works only on humanoids.

Well, the text in the first sentence also says "creature", so I'd go with the interpretation that it affects all creatures, and not just humans/humanoids ... but this is made moot by the next point.

2. Must the target be able to understand the sorcerer's language, or is the command telepathic? (From the description in Mass Hypnotic Suggestion one can infer that the targets must actually hear the sorcerer's voice, so that would seem to indicate that the sorcerer must actually issue a spoken command.) [If it is language-dependent, that would rule out a lot of animals and monsters as targets.]

The spell description indicates the most reasonably explanation is that it is language-dependent, thus limiting its usefulness to humans capable of understanding the sorcerer.

3a. What are the limits of the spell, and more specifically what are its uses in combat? What can it make targets do? What can Hypnotic Suggestion and Mass Hypnotic Suggestion do, compared to Domination? Can it make the targets fight for the sorcerer (possibly against their own allies) or make them drop their weapons, run away, etc.?

If you check the System Reference Document's description of the spell suggestion (in D&D), you'll note the near-identical spell parameters of the D&D Suggestion spell and the Conan spell Hypnotic Suggestion.

The key difference between hypnotic suggestion and domination is that the latter can make the target of the spell perform obviously self-destructive orders, while the former spell cannot achieve such results. Whether the spell can make the target fight for the sorcerer or drop their weapons and run away depends on whether you can word the request in such a way as to make it sound reasonable. If you can, then it would work ... the GM of course being the one to determine whether your phrasing was reasonable or not.

3b. What about self-destructive actions, like jumping off a cliff or impaling oneself on a spear? In this case I assume the targets would at least get a new Will save with a +2 bonus, in line with the Domination spell.

- thulsa

See previous answer.
 

thulsa

Mongoose
Whether the spell can make the target fight for the sorcerer or drop their weapons and run away depends on whether you can word the request in such a way as to make it sound reasonable. If you can, then it would work ... the GM of course being the one to determine whether your phrasing was reasonable or not.

Thanks for the input. However, I wonder if my personal interpretation (as the DM) of "reasonable" in most situations would render this into a non-combat spell.

For example, say the PCs intrude an evil temple and are attacked by a band of cultists/priests. If the PC scholar casts Mass Hypnotic Suggestion and says "Throw down your weapons and stand back, or else we will, eh.. kill you", or "Stand back and let us pass, because we're only here to, eh... inspect the building materials used in the inner sanctum"... or whatever. Perhaps silly examples, but the suggestions would not seem very reasonable to a bunch of cultists who are sworn to protect the place.

Now, I can possibly see this spell being used to turn the attitudes of an angry lynch mob (which you could also do with a Diplomacy check against a tough DC, if you had a whole minute). Also, a Hypnotic Suggestion placed on a single guard may allow the party to pass a guarded door if the PCs are appropriately disguised (as guards/nobles/officials), etc.

But I really don't see this spell as turning hostile attitudes in the middle of battle.

What do you think?

- thulsa
 

iltharanos

Mongoose
Hmm. Regarding hypnotic suggestion (or the mass version) and its use in combat. One example of a "reasonable" use of the spell in combat (continuing the example you gave) that comes to mind would be if there were a theoretically greater and/or more immediate threat to those cultists.

e.g. The PCs intrude into an evil temple and are attacked by a band of cultists. PC Scholar casts mass hypnotic suggestion and says "The King's Elite Soldiers from the nearby city are hiding in the ravine outside the temple and are here to burn it down! Ignore us, for we are but lowly thieves!"

Similarly another reasonable use of hypnotic suggestion would be in a situation exactly like the example given above, except the PCs proceed to slaughter the cultists. In the first round, six out of nine cultists die easily before the PCs, none of whom is hurt. PC scholar then casts the hypnotic suggestion "Leave, for surely you will now all die before the murderous blades of my invincible companions."

It is a rather difficult spell to interpret, since it all depends on how the GM defines "reasonable". If it proves too bothersome, I'd just go with the approach that the spell is essentially a non-combat spell, in the sense that it isn't of much use once fighting has actually broken out and is in full swing (but so would still be of use in stopping an angry mob that has yet to attack or bypassing a solitary guard).
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
IMO, charming spells of all types are often interpreted in a more generous fashion than they should be. I would have no difficulty limiting this particular spell's utility in the midst of combat, although particularly inventive uses, such as iltharanos's example, can get around this.

On the other hand, a group of priests may well believe the PCs are in their temple in order to inspect the building materials in use ... but I don't necessarily see that as much of a reason not to kill them. Or, perhaps the priests are convinced the PCs are their beloved brothers ... truly evil priests would quite possibly not hesitate at killing their friends and family, should they defile a sacred place.

IMO, suggestions and charms need to be taken in the context that the charmee would take them, which will often lead to results other than that intended or expected by the caster. Unless the caster knows the target intimately, there is always going to be at least a measure of doubt.*

The added bonus here is that, as long as the players understand this, the GM can still use his judgement to allow such spells to have truly effective results in many situations, without feeling the need to do so consistently. In this way, the spell remains effective, but not an overpowered weapon the PCs will always rely on.


*As a side note, I would say that with larger groups, especially as you approach mob sizes and mentalities, the actual effects will be more consistent. After all, psychology predicts what is typical, and is proven in averages, even if any specific individual may never react as predicted.
 

argo

Mongoose
thulsa said:
1. Does it affect humans/humanoids only, or monsters as well? (Target says "Living creature", text refers to "the person".) Note that Domination works only on humanoids.
The spell says "one living creature" so I'd say that includes monsters (but not undead or constructs). Outsiders and elementals are technically living creatures and in a DnD game this should work on them but in a Conan game I could see it not working or maybe giving them a bonus to their save.


2. Must the target be able to understand the sorcerer's language, or is the command telepathic? (From the description in Mass Hypnotic Suggestion one can infer that the targets must actually hear the sorcerer's voice, so that would seem to indicate that the sorcerer must actually issue a spoken command.) [If it is language-dependent, that would rule out a lot of animals and monsters as targets.]
Yes, the spell description says that you must "word" a suggestion of no more than "a sentance or two", this indicates that the spell is a sonic, language-dependent spell. Of course a tricky sorcorer may have many ways of speaking to strange creatures in a manner that they can understand.

3a. What are the limits of the spell, and more specifically what are its uses in combat? What can it make targets do? What can Hypnotic Suggestion and Mass Hypnotic Suggestion do, compared to Domination? Can it make the targets fight for the sorcerer (possibly against their own allies) or make them drop their weapons, run away, etc.?
The spell says that you can "influence" the actions of the target with a "suggestion" that "sounds reasonable to the person". It also says that the spell "can remove the influence of either the conscious will or the unconscious desires, so that they will perform the suggested course of action that otherwise reason ro instinct might have prevented."

What this means is that the spell lets you either 1) if something would normall seem like a good/bad idea if it wern't for extenuating circumstances then the spell can make the target forget about those circumstances and do/not do that thing (in a similar vein it can also suggest a new order of priorities for a target). Or else 2) if something would normally seem desierable/undesierable the spell can alter that and make the target behave according to his new values. The limit is that you must express this change in attitude in terms the target would think are reasonable if the suggested altered perception really was true. For example you can suggest to a target that he is really really thirsty and it is more important that he go find water than stay and guard his post, but you could not suggest that he pick up a rock and eat it because eating rocks is never reasonable.

The difference between suggestion and domination is that suggestion only plants an idea in the target's mind and then leaves him alone to carry that idea out (although the magic of the spell does make the idea seem verry important) wheras domination supresses all free will and makes the target little more than a puppet on a string.

3b. What about self-destructive actions, like jumping off a cliff or impaling oneself on a spear? In this case I assume the targets would at least get a new Will save with a +2 bonus, in line with the Domination spell.
No, that is what the more powerful domination spell is for (and even then domination gives you a second save). Besides, your suggestion must seem "reasonable", how could you ever make impaling yourself on a spear sou sound reasonable? (unless maybe the target is already suicidal, then I might let it work).

Some classic examples of suggestion in combat:

We are clearly stronger than you. Surrender now before you get hurt! (Note: you do not need to kill one of his allies first in order to make this work, if you have killd an ally or really are clearly stronger then he should get a -2 to save for an espically reasonable suggestion)

Your friend there is bleeding to death on the ground. You must carry him to a doctor right now! (again, this probably warrants a -1 or -2 penalty to saving throw)

My friend there is too quick for you to hit him with your big sword. I suggest you drop it and try to grapple him instead! (works great if you know your friend has combat reflexes and suspect the enemy doesn't have Imp Grapple :twisted: )

The archer in the cliffs is obviously much more of a threat than we are. I suggest you ignore us and go try to get him first!

In the name of Mitra! Aren't you sweating under all that armor? I suggest you take it off before you pass out from heat stroke!

Look at me in my robes, I'm no threat! Go get the big guy in armor first! (the signature move of BBEScholars who don't care about their meat shields the world round 8) )


Some popular out of combat suggestions:

Hey, what's that over there? You better go take a look. I mean, as a guard its your job to know who's skulking about right?

Don't you know who he is? Damn straight! If you value your job then I'd suggest you tell him exactly what he wants to know.

You wouldn't part an old man and his walking stick, would you? ( -2 penalty to save on this one if you have a beard and pointy hat)

These aren't the slave girls you're looking for. ( -2 penalty to save if you have a beard and dirty robes)


Hope that helps.
 
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