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D&D 5E Charm, the evil spells

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It might be worse, but primarily because I don't think prison guards could be trusted not to abuse such power.

Take a different example. A violent criminal has a gun to a child's head. There is no question in anyone's mind that the criminal will shoot the child unless stopped. You have only two guaranteed ways to stop him. You have a sniper who never misses a head shot. And you have a telepath whose niche superpowers allow them to force violent criminals to surrender to the authorities peacefully. Or you can choose a third option, but the child's survival is not guaranteed. Which do you choose?

Personally, I think using the telepath is the obvious moral choice.
If your only path forward is “gun to a child’s head” I’m not going to engage further.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think that from a modern perspective (i.e. the one we share), depriving someone of their autonomy and volition is unequivocally evil.
In reality, yes. In the game, I'm not as convinced; if the choice comes down to charm/dominate a foe or kill/maim it (which it often does) then to me charm/dominate becomes the decent option.

And charming another PC is the perfect answer if said PC has been possessed or otherwise altered (e.g. been hit with an opposite-alignment curse) and would otherwise pose a threat.
So how about compelling summoned creatures and outsiders?
Summonees usually show up pre-compelled to obey the summoner, don't they?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I dont evaluate my in game actions based on real world history. Charming people is evil, but its not on par with numerous other actions. It typically happens once or twice a campaign and its not an issue. I did have a player once who used charm in every possible situation they could. Eventually, I had to explain to them the character was a bit of a scum bag and heading down a path where they would have a knife at their throat and no friends to help. Its situational and abuse usually has repercussions. Being an assassin is the same. You cant reason your way out of being evil. Eventually it will catch up with you. I wont stop you from playing such a character, but I'll never agree to such being a good character.
You probably wouldn't like a particular character I once played, then. :)

She was a Dryad (thus had charm as an innate racial ability) Bard (thus had charm as a baked-in class ability) with both Charisma and Comeliness (yes, this campaign was the one time we ever used 7 stats) off the charts meaning anyone she tried to charm was at massive penalties to their saving throws.

Needless to say, her usual MO was all charm all the time. We did T1 Hommlet, and our approach ended up being to have my Bard charm an entire town full of Kobolds (over 500 of them!) and sic them on the dungeon, then mop up what was left. That she also spoke Kobold helped immensely here.

Easiest dungeon ever.

Broken as hell, mind you, but fun to do once. :)
 
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Faolyn

Hero
Breaking free from mind control is undoing it, isn't it; every bit as much as being raised undoes being dead or being cured undoes being hurt.

Absent time travel, you can't undo what you did while under someone's control any more than you can undo missing some time because you were dead for a while.
I feel I should say that these really are just my feelings on the matter. I'm not trying to pull out rules here to support me.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Because it demonstrates that mind control isn't itself inherently evil, but rather how it is used. I never said that most uses of mind control weren't evil, I only claimed that mind control isn't inherently evil (meaning there is at least one use case where it isn't evil).
It demonstrates no such thing. It demonstrates that even an inherently evil act can have mixed (and thus partially good) ends. That’s it.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Because it demonstrates that mind control isn't itself inherently evil, but rather how it is used. I never said that most uses of mind control weren't evil, I only claimed that mind control isn't inherently evil (meaning there is at least one use case where it isn't evil).

Exactly, some people have some bizarre notions that influencing an adversary's mind is inherently evil when burning him to a crisp is not.
 

A violent criminal has a gun to a child's head. There is no question in anyone's mind that the criminal will shoot the child unless stopped.
It’s not terribly difficult to posit corner cases in an effort to refute a moral assertion but this is sheer infantilism. What are you? Five?

So far, you’ve suggested that charm person is no worse than having a prison guard pin you down and shove his fingers up your arse, which doesn’t lend a whole lot of weight to your position.
 

So how about compelling summoned creatures and outsiders?
If the creature is condensed from the ether templated from the Realm of Forms and to it they shall return, then it is a morally neutral act.

If the creature is pulled from a distant realm, usually in fiction there is some bargaining for services. It's a bit rude like a cold call, but ultimately it is a bargain. If the summoner has sufficient might and will to simply compel the creature then that would be questionable. Then I guess we would have to consider if it had a mind.

I don't consider the lower level spells like friends and charm person evil. I consider that targets under their effects won't do anything that they otherwise wouldn't. The caster just becomes exceptionally, well, charming. Suggestion is on the borderline. They might do something they otherwise would not, although not anything drastic like harm themselves. Domination is right out as that is extinguishing the will of the target and making them your puppet.

Within that guideline, how it is used is also important. Making a target pliant to get information for the (actual) greater good is fine. Using the target for personal amusements would be a violation.
 



Fanaelialae

Legend
It’s not terribly difficult to posit corner cases in an effort to refute a moral assertion but this is sheer infantilism. What are you? Five?

So far, you’ve suggested that charm person is no worse than having a prison guard pin you down and shove his fingers up your arse, which doesn’t lend a whole lot of weight to your position.
Don't be rude.

You seem to be having some difficulty comprehending my point so I will reiterate. Mind control can undoubtedly be used for evil. However, not all uses of mind control are evil. This demonstrates that mind control is not inherently evil.
 


Horwath

Hero
The ability to object is present in one case and absent in another. Prison is incredibly dehumanizing itself, but guards with command and suggestion would be even worse.
what is the point of objecting if no one will hear it?

At least suggestion removes the strain on your vocal cords.

charm/suggestion/dominate are only evil as action suggested by those spell.

if being suggested/dominated to go to sleep at home instead of keeping watch and getting killed, that is a good action.
 

Mirtek

Hero
But mind control is not excusable in any way. The only enchantment I can think of that isn't outright Evil, is calm emotions, and even that is a landmine, ethically.

Using Dominate Person to make a guy kill his best friend is worse than stabbing the best friend to death yourself. Both are evil, one is much worse.
Why? IMHO that's a pure personel POV and one I can not relate two.

If two best friends attack me and I

a) kill both with my sword
b) kill both by burning them with my fire magic
c) kill both by having one kill the other with my mind controll magic and then kill the survivor

To me those methods are all just the same

Oh, and by the by, you wouldn't exactly have no legal defense you could make if you killed a serial killer that you could then prove was murdering people around you and that you could reasonably believe was going targeting you or your family next. You'd probably not get off clean, but you wouldn't be facing the same charges as you would if you murdered your neighbor for stealing your lawnmower.
Actually you would. At least in my country. Unless you can prove that an attack on your and your family was imminent your legal course of action would have been to go to the police with your evidence.

And probably even if it were imminent you would have been supposed to just leave with your family and go to the nearest police.

Only if you killed him in an attack that was already happening it would be different.

I'm thinking of the Imperius curse in Harry Potter, whose victims don't remember - or at best don't remember well - what they did while the curse was in effect.
Well, HP is horribly incoherent with that.

So Imperius is an unforgiveable curse, but love potions can be sold in joke article shop to high school students
 
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FireLance

Legend
Charms in D&D are generally manipulations, they make you feel or think differently. Drugs would be an analogous type of situation though some charms can make you feel much more specific things.
Agreed. I think the closest real-world analogue to Charm spells is being involuntarily drugged so that your judgement is impaired and you would do things that you would not normally do. So while it is bad, I don't think it is as bad as torture or death.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
But it was relevant when we were talking about nazis as valid targets for non-evil murder?
To add to the complexity, what kind of Nazis are we talking about? SA thugs or civil servants who joined the Nazi party so they could continue to work? Concentration camp guards who freely volunteered for the job or ”volunteers” who were former Soviet POWs and guarding a camp was better than being starved to death?
I know, people think Nazi is so clear these days, but even that identity isn’t entirely devoid of moral complexity.

So what am I getting at? Issues like this aren’t entirely amenable to black and white/evil and good analysis. And even if you apply some kind of axiomatic reasoning to it, your axiom is probably more idiosyncratic than a widely held truism and will miss a lot of subtlety.
 

payn

Legend
You probably wouldn't like a particular character I once played, then. :)

She was a Dryad (thus had charm as an innate racial ability) Bard (thus had charm as a baked-in class ability) with both Charisma and Comeliness (yes, this campaign was the one time we ever used 7 stats) off the charts meaning anyone she tried to charm was at massive penalties to their saving throws.

Needless to say, her usual MO was all charm all the time. We did T1 Hommlet, and our approach ended up being to have my Bard charm an entire town full of Kobolds (over 500 of them!) and sic them on the dungeon, then mop up what was left. That she also spoke Kobold helped immensely here.

Easiest dungeon ever.

Broken as hell, mind you, but fun to do once. :)
I may think of this as evil (and I do), but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like the character and certainly doesn't mean I wouldn't allow it in my games.
 

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