5E Is Charm Monster too good?

dnd4vr

Adventurer
In our session today one of the spellcasters tossed out a Charm Monster on one of two cyclops in the first round of our encounter. The DC was 15, but with the -2 WIS modifier it needed a 17 or higher. Even with advantage, is is not surprising it failed its save (only a 36% chance to make the save).

Now, the DM was looking over the spell and a bit flummoxed.

The range is short, only 30 feet. (poor)
Only V,S components. (good)
1 hour duration. (great)
Target any creature. (great)
Target likely gets advantage on saves. (really poor)

Other features:
No concentration. (incredible)
No additional saves. (incredible)

After the failed save the player asked the cyclops to defend them against the other. The DM called for a Charisma (Persuasion) check. The player rolled a 22, beating the DC 20, so the charmed cyclops attacked its comrade.

After the encounter, the DM opened the discussion about the spell. It is too powerful?

The combination of such a long duration without concentration, targeting anything not immune to charm, and no further saves, seems a bit too strong even when you consider the advantage on the save. When you consider also how few creatures have WIS save or even a high WIS, it seems really strong for a 4th level spell.

Granted the player also needed a 13 or higher to get the cyclops to risk its life in a direct fight.

Does it all balance out? Anyone seen Charm Monster in use enough to offer an informed opinion?
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
The charmed condition is not as powerful as previously. You could not give it orders and have the charmed creature obey them to the letter. As an example.

It just does not attack you.
And when the spell ends the creature knows who attempted to charm it.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
In our session today one of the spellcasters tossed out a Charm Monster on one of two cyclops in the first round of our encounter. The DC was 15, but with the -2 WIS modifier it needed a 17 or higher. Even with advantage, is is not surprising it failed its save (only a 36% chance to make the save).

Now, the DM was looking over the spell and a bit flummoxed.

The range is short, only 30 feet. (poor)
Only V,S components. (good)
1 hour duration. (great)
Target any creature. (great)
Target likely gets advantage on saves. (really poor)

Other features:
No concentration. (incredible)
No additional saves. (incredible)

After the failed save the player asked the cyclops to defend them against the other. The DM called for a Charisma (Persuasion) check. The player rolled a 22, beating the DC 20, so the charmed cyclops attacked its comrade.

After the encounter, the DM opened the discussion about the spell. It is too powerful?

The combination of such a long duration without concentration, targeting anything not immune to charm, and no further saves, seems a bit too strong even when you consider the advantage on the save. When you consider also how few creatures have WIS save or even a high WIS, it seems really strong for a 4th level spell.

Granted the player also needed a 13 or higher to get the cyclops to risk its life in a direct fight.

Does it all balance out? Anyone seen Charm Monster in use enough to offer an informed opinion?
It depends on the situation and how you count persuasion.

Charmed does not give you command, neither does Persuasion.

The DC 20 (friendly, great risk, DMG) is for convincing someone, not for commanding someone within a fight with a single order barked in six-second. Read the rest of the DMG social, where you hot the 20, it's not giving persuasion an instant command order capability.

Not saying it is inappropriate for an ettin to be agreeable with betraying the other guy, but while he mst trust the caster he doesn't trust everyone else one bit.

So, yo me, if the FM plays it as instant order and doesnt bring NPC traits into it, then yeah it can be potentially over the top.

Personally, I dont think it is. Not for a 4th level spell hitting a brother's weakness.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
My informed opinion is that there's nothing wrong with it in the games I DM/play in. As written it's added greatly to the fun over the years.

At your table? I can't speak to that.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Hmm... I suppose when you combine the requirement to fail the save (64%) and make the roll to persuade (even if just as a single request), which in this case was 40%, the total chance of this outcome was only about 1 in 4. Since this represented the highest level slot the caster can use, I guess it really ins't too crazy.

Thanks for the insight.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Charm Person's greatest advantage is that it allows you to shift NPC attitude in the midst of a fight. You still need to convince it to do what you want it to do. I would probably rule that attempting to do would take either your bonus action or action for the round depending on how involved your request is. I do not see it as phenomenally powerful. The stars pretty much need to align to turn a creature against its allies.
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
Hmm... I suppose when you combine the requirement to fail the save (64%) and make the roll to persuade (even if just as a single request), which in this case was 40%, the total chance of this outcome was only about 1 in 4. Since this represented the highest level slot the caster can use, I guess it really ins't too crazy.

Thanks for the insight.
You need to take the entire context of the spell into account. It is not just a collection of save DCs and checks.
 

Seramus

Adventurer
Too powerful compared to what? The DM has infinite cyclops, and the player has very finite spell slots. Were the other players feeling upset or overshadowed?
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
Charm Person's greatest advantage is that it allows you to shift NPC attitude in the midst of a fight. You still need to convince it to do what you want it to do. I would probably rule that attempting to do would take either your bonus action or action for the round depending on how involved your request is.
This is the key aspect: what does the DM require to call for the persuassion check. In my games I allow knowledge checks as a bonus action, but any kind of diplomacy that calls for a check requires an action. Taking 2 actions to turn a creature to your side in a game where 3-4 rounds of combat are the norm isn't overpowered by any means. If the DM allowed the check as part of the spell or on the same turn, that can be very powerful, especially if you go before the monster.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Another aspect where "the stars aligned" in this circumstance is the fact that cyclops only speak Giant and the caster happened to know the language. Not something you would expect that often. So, being able to communicate the request in this instance was pretty unique.

The DM ruled issuing a quick request was a bonus action.

By comparison, FYI, "too powerful" compared to other 4th level spells and other charm spells. It has phenomenal upside (1 hour, no concentration, no repeated saves, no material component). Even with advantage, the average creature has maybe a 50/50 chances of saving overall. With such a long duration, it definitely is powerful to remove one target from the fight, even if you can't convince it to aid your side afterwards. It took what should have been a moderate encounter and made it less than easy.

Now, part of this could be our play style as well. We often only have one or maybe two encounters between a long rest (unless we are doing a dungeon crawl or in a hot spot). The side effect of this means our characters can unload their best stuff without too much fear of being in trouble later on (it does happen occasionally, but not very often).
 

MarkB

Hero
So, the only effects of this spell are that:
  • The creature can't directly attack the caster.
  • The caster has advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks against the creature.
  • The creature considers the caster to be its friend.
It doesn't change the creature's attitude to any of the caster's allies - if it was hostile to them before, it still is.

It doesn't change the creature's attitude to any of its own allies - if it was friendly to them before, it still is.

In most cases, the best you would reasonably be able to hope for during combat is that the creature chooses to sit out the fight, rather than having to choose between fighting its new friend or its existing friends.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
That is interesting. I don't think our DM gave the player advantage on the CHA check... I'll have to ask. It changes the odds, however.

Since the target is friendly, the reaction table in the DMG indicates a DC of 20 (or higher) would resolve with the target accepting "significant risk or sacrifice to do as asked." Attacking your "old" friend to protect your "new" friend would fall under significant risk or sacrifice--at least to our DM and table. If the check had been worse, then it would probably have just sat out as you suggest.

But that is also the difference between rules and rulings I suppose.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
This is the key aspect: what does the DM require to call for the persuassion check. In my games I allow knowledge checks as a bonus action, but any kind of diplomacy that calls for a check requires an action. Taking 2 actions to turn a creature to your side in a game where 3-4 rounds of combat are the norm isn't overpowered by any means. If the DM allowed the check as part of the spell or on the same turn, that can be very powerful, especially if you go before the monster.
Not too long ago, a tiefling was being grappled by two dwarves who had orders to capture but not seriously hurt her. So she cast charm person on both, got one of two, who immediately loosened his grip a might.

Then she made a 20+ on her charisma checks getting turning "boys boys plenty to go around" to "hey can it be just me and you" to one-on-one "lets go over there, where we can be private while they sort it out" etc.

Wound up being a "whole of the fight" for her but it worked great and generated a great many great lines.

This would have gone differently had their irders been different or they not been quickly hired thugs with no particular loyalty to... Well... Anyone.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
That is interesting. I don't think our DM gave the player advantage on the CHA check... I'll have to ask. It changes the odds, however.

Since the target is friendly, the reaction table in the DMG indicates a DC of 20 (or higher) would resolve with the target accepting "significant risk or sacrifice to do as asked." Attacking your "old" friend to protect your "new" friend would fall under significant risk or sacrifice--at least to our DM and table. If the check had been worse, then it would probably have just sat out as you suggest.

But that is also the difference between rules and rulings I suppose.
Except for the advantage, it sounds spot on with rules, except for three GM options - which means its fine.

1 social exchanges are not automatically one actions at all. So a quick 1 action command as opposed to discussion with back and forth might get a no chance or at least disadvantage.

2 The traits and nature of the NPCs may make some options not possible. If this was a relative they liked or loyal to, the attack the other might not be possible at all regardless of check. Then again it might give disad countering the advantage for less strong feelings, or other.

3 Regardless of request/order, how the target responds is up to them. Maybe it grabs the other, telling it and your allies to stop fighting instead of helping your allies kill its partner.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Except for the advantage, it sounds spot on with rules, except for three GM options - which means its fine.

1 social exchanges are not automatically one actions at all. So a quick 1 action command as opposed to discussion with back and forth might get a no chance or at least disadvantage.

2 The traits and nature of the NPCs may make some options not possible. If this was a relative they liked or loyal to, the attack the other might not be possible at all regardless of check. Then again it might give disad countering the advantage for less strong feelings, or other.

3 Regardless of request/order, how the target responds is up to them. Maybe it grabs the other, telling it and your allies to stop fighting instead of helping your allies kill its partner.
Good points. I wouldn't be surprised if the DM negated the advantage on the CHA check for charm due to the hasty interaction to get the cyclops to attack the other ones--so it would have been a straight check (no adv or disadv).

Since the other was already half dead due to the other PCs attacking it, I would have been an interesting interaction if the charmed cyclops had tried to "step in" to stop the fighting. Honestly, I don't even know if the DM entertained that thought or not...
 

MarkB

Hero
Good points. I wouldn't be surprised if the DM negated the advantage on the CHA check for charm due to the hasty interaction to get the cyclops to attack the other ones--so it would have been a straight check (no adv or disadv).
If the cyclops's ally was telling it not to listen to the PC, that could also be modeled as giving disadvantage to the check.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
If the cyclops's ally was telling it not to listen to the PC, that could also be modeled as giving disadvantage to the check.
It could be, but I don't think that is enough to give disadvantage. If the other cyclops was a brother or something, then maybe, but of course that is entirely up to the DM.
 

Advertisement

Top