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5E How to Use "Charm Person" Without Getting Caught


I'm about to embark upon a campaign as an enchantment-centric character, and this "charm person" business is very much on my mind. Thanks to vocal and somatic components, it seems to me like it's virtually impossible to charm someone if there are witnesses. Is there a smart way to use mind-control magic subtly, or is it all about picking moments when no one is watching?

Comic for illustrative purposes.

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Charm person and friend are great for profit now and pay later!
of course you can use subtle spell but where is the fun If people don’t get angry because you charm them!

Thanks to vocal and somatic components, it seems to me like it's virtually impossible to charm someone if there are witnesses.
Verbal and Somatic components could look like someone cracking their knuckles in a peculiar fashion while humming a song.

Different magical traditions might have very different V, and S components for the same spell effects.

Best advice I can give is talk to the DM and start laying down the ground rule agreements.


Step 1) Cast the spell;
Step 2) Do whatever you were planning to do once the spell was cast;
Pay attention now as this is usually the step people miss:
Step 3) Run away faster than your target can run, prior to the spell's duration running out.

Follow these simple three steps and you are unlikely to get caught.

Khelon Testudo

Cleric of Stronmaus
Shouldn't the Deception or Persuasion skills help - especially when you have advantage? \
Mark: "You cast a spell!"
PC: "No, I was shoo-ing a fly!"
Mark: "I'm sure I heard magic chanting!"
PC: "Oh dear, that must have been my Tourette's."


I had a PC who wanted to cast Charm Person on the king. I'm like, okay, let's think this through. In the same room as the king, we've got the archwizard of the university, the dean of the socerer/bard college, the head of the druid circle, and a bishop from the cathedral, all of whom are familiar with magic. Charm Person has both verbal and somatic components so if you cast it someone is going to notice it. You can make a Deception roll to cast the spell without anyone noticing you if you'd like. The PC decided against charming the king.

In my opinion, the victim of a Charm Person spell should make a Wisdom check to be able to realize immediately what happened. They will get it eventually, but perhaps not right away. Without that, Charm Person is just a "Make NPC Angry" spell.


I like to combine 'friends' or 'charm person' with 'disguise self' or use of a disguise kit. Target will get angry, but at a non-existent persona.
That all depends on the DM. They could rule that you charm the target, not the non-existent person, and therefore you don't gain the benefits while disguised.


Is this for 5e? If so all of these suggestions are for naught. The victim knows who cast the spell on him.
Yeah, that was my thought as well. 5e charm person is, as others have said, pretty much worthless without the DM overtly contradicting the rules text or introducing a house-rule like the above "Wis save to realize what happened now instead of in two days" or the like.


Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The spell specifically states "When the spell ends, the creature knows it was charmed by you."

So it's up to the DM. Do they have to recognize you so it's okay as long as you were disguised somehow? The spell doesn't say that, even if it might be a reasonable assumption. But most methods of disguise don't change your voice, so that would be a limitation. It would also be reasonable to rule that the target magically recognizes the caster.

In other words, a lot depends on your DM. I tend to limit usefulness to targets you aren't going to see after the spell expires, in my campaign using magic to influence others, while not outright forbidden, is dangerous.


Stand outside the door, maybe so you can peer through the crack, and cast.

Also, shouldn't all those people have to do Identify checks to know what you're casting? :)

I have also done the excuse yourself to the restroom and find a place outside their eyeline/hearing to cast.


One idea might be careful how you use it. Mark of Hospitality halflings in Eberron get Friends as a cantrip. Even though the spell states that the target becomes hostile when it ends, Keith Baker has stated House Ghallandra halflings don't use it to do anything bad to you. They turn on the charm, and when it ends, what do you have to be mad at them about? For making you feel better? So despite what a spell says, maybe consider what actions you take while they are under the spell.