5E Is Charm Monster too good?

5ekyu

Adventurer
I wouldn't allow a persuasion check to convince someone to attack another current friend. Would you attack a friend if another one asked you to really nicely?
Agreed... but that keys on friend... thsts where the social interaction rules come into play as they emphasize the traits and specifics of the who and what.

If they were close, maybe like I said try and stop the fighting, not kill the other.

But if they did not like each other...

This also comes down a bit to robust GMing. In my dwarf tiefling gang encounter, I had well before then shown a division in the hirelings and the tiefling exploited those prior references specifically in her statements.
So in the case of two cyclops, somewhat mythical known for their internal disagreeability, whether the GM had planted seeds of them being brothers, allies, liked, hated etc each other... goes a long way for enabling or disabling this choice of tactics.


.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I wouldn't allow a persuasion check to convince someone to attack another current friend. Would you attack a friend if another one asked you to really nicely?
If I failed my saving throw and was under the power of a magical spell?? Who knows what I would do... you have to remember, this is magic after all.

Seems to me that the player mentioned in the OP is trying to do things with Charm Monster that would only work with Suggestion.
Why do you think this would only work with suggestion? Even so, if this effect could be accomplished with a 2nd level spell, a more powerful 4th level one should be able to accomplish a similar, if not greater, effect, don't you think?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
This is why we have DMs and not a computer running our games. Something like this is complicated, and there is no one right answer. While not outright stupid like Ogres, Cyclops are not particularly bright. The PC did make a good check and Cyclops are chaotic neutral.

I'm not sure I would have run it this way or not but the reaction would not have been automatic. For example if there's no real story behind the cyclops, I may randomly determine if it's even reasonable for one cyclops to turn on another. Maybe they're rivals. Maybe they're bonded mates. Heck if I know.

Charmed is not dominated, persuasion is not magic. So to answer the OP's question: no I don't think it's too powerful. Situationally very useful when the moon and stars align, perhaps overly powerful depending on DM interpretation.
 

MarkB

Hero
If I failed my saving throw and was under the power of a magical spell?? Who knows what I would do... you have to remember, this is magic after all.
Yeah, but the only thing the magic is doing is fooling you into thinking that the person is your friend when they aren't. That's the point - in 5e, Charmed doesn't really do anything beyond that. It doesn't compel obedience, or even cloud your judgement.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Yeah, but the only thing the magic is doing is fooling you into thinking that the person is your friend when they aren't. That's the point - in 5e, Charmed doesn't really do anything beyond that. It doesn't compel obedience, or even cloud your judgement.
True, but that is why the DM asked for the Charisma (Persuasion) check. It was the check that persuaded the cyclops to "protect his new friend" by fighting his comrade, willing to make significant sacrifice and risk harm in doing so.

I think it certainly clouds your judgement if "The charmed creature is friendly to you." when it was before openly hostile.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
Agreed... but that keys on friend... thsts where the social interaction rules come into play as they emphasize the traits and specifics of the who and what.

If they were close, maybe like I said try and stop the fighting, not kill the other.

But if they did not like each other...

This also comes down a bit to robust GMing. In my dwarf tiefling gang encounter, I had well before then shown a division in the hirelings and the tiefling exploited those prior references specifically in her statements.
So in the case of two cyclops, somewhat mythical known for their internal disagreeability, whether the GM had planted seeds of them being brothers, allies, liked, hated etc each other... goes a long way for enabling or disabling this choice of tactics.


.
Sure, all of those things make a difference. One thing that I would have taken into account is that a cyclops isn’t terribly quick-witted. They won’t have a lot of time to process in a few seconds. 3e had advice that I think is relevant here. If a charmed creature sees some of his allies fighting each other, he’s likely to respond with confusion. I’d normally require some processing time to figure out a course of action that makes sense. A cyclops might just get angry, yell at everyone, and (non-lethally) smack people. Of course this spell specifically prevents him from smacking the caster, so he might default to attacking his ally if it were only the caster and his own allies present. But since there were still other clear enemies (ie, the rest of the PCs) it seems like the far preferable choice is to keep fighting the PC and maybe insult his new friend for a “stupid” suggestion, “No, fight those guys, dummy!” It’s opinion of the other PCs is completely unchanged by the spell.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
True, but that is why the DM asked for the Charisma (Persuasion) check. It was the check that persuaded the cyclops to "protect his new friend" by fighting his comrade, willing to make significant sacrifice and risk harm in doing so.

I think it certainly clouds your judgement if "The charmed creature is friendly to you." when it was before openly hostile.
Just saying, as a player I would probably ask the DM if he is sure about that call. Diplomancy is not supposed to be a thing in 5e, at all.

[Edited to correct autocorrect's correction of "diplomancy" to "diplomacy"]
 
Last edited:

Gladius Legis

Explorer
Why do you think this would only work with suggestion?
Because of the spell descriptions of both spells. Charm Person/Monster isn't out and out mind control. It's strictly a change in target attitude. Suggestion explicitly is a mind control effect.

Even so, if this effect could be accomplished with a 2nd level spell, a more powerful 4th level one should be able to accomplish a similar, if not greater, effect, don't you think?
Charm Monster's advantage over Suggestion is that Charm Monster works on anything. Whereas Suggestion only works on creatures who can hear and understand you.

Whether that's enough of an advantage to be worth being 2 levels higher than Suggestion is another topic altogether, but there it is.
 
Last edited:

MarkB

Hero
Charm Monster's advantage over Suggestion is that Charm Monster works on anything. Whereas Suggestion only works on creatures who can hear and understand you.

Whether that's enough of an advantage to be worth being 2 levels higher than Suggestion is another topic altogether, but there it is.
Well, its other advantage is that it actually makes a friend for you. Suggestion only allows you to issue a single carefully-phrased instruction. It also requires Concentration.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Just saying, as a player I would probably ask the DM if he is sure about that call. Diplomacy is not supposed to be a thing in 5e, at all.
Fair enough. Like I said in the OP, the DM is up for discussing just how our table wants to rule on this spell. We didn't want to waste time in session, and I wanted to get input from members here. :)

Charm Monster's advantage over Suggestion is that Charm Monster works on anything. Whereas Suggestion only works on creatures who can hear and understand you.

Whether that's enough of an advantage to be worth being 2 levels higher than Suggestion is another topic altogether, but there it is.
Hmm... interesing.

With Suggestion, you have to give it a course of action or the spell ends as I see it. With Charm Monster, the creature becomes friendly, but only if you can interact with it will it possibly act on your behalf and even then only if you are successful in convincing it to do so.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Just saying, as a player I would probably ask the DM if he is sure about that call. Diplomacy is not supposed to be a thing in 5e, at all.
Huh? 5e has social as one of its pillars, quite a few skills and abilities that move that way engaging that and even a fairly robust, reactive and resilient sub-system in its DMG... So no idea what of this encounter or diplomacy is not intended to be a part of 5e "at all."
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I say convincing a friend to attack another friend is more challenging than a dc 20 check. Especially when there are other non-friends that seem to be aggressive to his friends that he could attack as well.

So I say the issue was with the DC.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
Huh? 5e has social as one of its pillars, quite a few skills and abilities that move that way engaging that and even a fairly robust, reactive and resilient sub-system in its DMG... So no idea what of this encounter or diplomacy is not intended to be a part of 5e "at all."
Sorry, it was supposed to say "diplomancy". Autocorrect.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I say convincing a friend to attack another friend is more challenging than a dc 20 check. Especially when there are other non-friends that seem to be aggressive to his friends that he could attack as well.

So I say the issue was with the DC.
Well, within system, for a friendly character getting them to take high risk or sacrifice is a DC 20 check.

However, as noted the GM can rule things as not possible or disadvantaged or assign other DCs as appropriate, plus time required etc.

To me the more obvious and more likely approach would be a plea to "help settle this without more fighting. You get you guys to stand down, I will get mine, then we can work it out" and it's quite possible the cyclop's get into fight over that- with me offering to back his play, etc.

But the key comes down to the GM determining more than just "tempo cyclops" to see if friends fits at all. I seem to remember that one story where the other cyclops dud not act very friendly to their disabled comrade.

I find the system works well if those things are done but less so if it's just treated as DC and compulsion.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
Ok, so, the issue still stands, why would you think diplomancy is not a thing 5e is meant to include, see use, whatever "at all"?
Because I like the subsystems for social interaction in the DMG. They are light and logical, and assume types of social interactions that make sense. They work with the basic 5e assumptions that the DM starts by deciding if something is even possible (ie, can you even change a certain creatures attitude to you from Hostile to Indifferent in a particular situation?) If it is, they give you guidance on how to do that, that often doesn't even require a check. When a check is called for because the result of something is uncertain, the possible results of that check fall within ranges that make sense based on normal human assumptions.

They don't assume anything like the 3e Epic Level Handbook high DC uses of Diplomacy where if you could hit high enough numbers you could change someone's opinion of you from overt hostility to fanatically ready, willing and rearing to go to sacrifice their life for you in 6 seconds.

In 5e, if you can figure out the right way to get someone's attitude of you to Friendly (charm spells are way to magi-cheat here, so that's cool), and the DM judges that this creature might be able to be convinced to do a certain thing at all through conversation (ie, the result is even possible in this situation), and, you have what the DM judges to be a sufficient amount of time to attempt it, then you might be able to make a check to see if you can convince them to do so (possibly with Advantage, with charm gives you for free).

So a framework to assist a DM in structuring social responses is what 5e has, a way to bend someone's will to you in a few seconds (diplomancy) is what 3e had.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Not too long ago, a tiefling was being grappled by two dwarves
Oh goody a joke!

...
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.
Man, that was a weird punch line.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Because I like the subsystems for social interaction in the DMG. They are light and logical, and assume types of social interactions that make sense. They work with the basic 5e assumptions that the DM starts by deciding if something is even possible (ie, can you even change a certain creatures attitude to you from Hostile to Indifferent in a particular situation?) If it is, they give you guidance on how to do that, that often doesn't even require a check. When a check is called for because the result of something is uncertain, the possible results of that check fall within ranges that make sense based on normal human assumptions.

They don't assume anything like the 3e Epic Level Handbook high DC uses of Diplomacy where if you could hit high enough numbers you could change someone's opinion of you from overt hostility to fanatically ready, willing and rearing to go to sacrifice their life for you in 6 seconds.

In 5e, if you can figure out the right way to get someone's attitude of you to Friendly (charm spells are way to magi-cheat here, so that's cool), and the DM judges that this creature might be able to be convinced to do a certain thing at all through conversation (ie, the result is even possible in this situation), and, you have what the DM judges to be a sufficient amount of time to attempt it, then you might be able to make a check to see if you can convince them to do so (possibly with Advantage, with charm gives you for free).

So a framework to assist a DM in structuring social responses is what 5e has, a way to bend someone's will to you in a few seconds (diplomancy) is what 3e had.
Ah so you are using thevgdnersl term Diplomancy as in the specific rpic level 3rd edition? Ok, do yeah then I guess that is right or not. I dont know cuz I had dropped e.5 and never adopted the epic levrl diplonsncy.

But 5e does carry through diplomancy in the more general term of having social frameworks sndcdpells which can combine to get those done.

As I have referenced those same sub-systems and impsctnof charm etc. I think we agree on our preferences.
 

Ashrym

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?
Lack of concentration is nice but the spell itself doesn't really do that much. The attitude shift is the important part, and protection from being attacked. The discrepancy isn't in the spell but in how the social interaction check was handled.

As others mentioned, a bonus action or action to give instructions immediately followed isn't necessarily appropriate. Taking risks is subjective to how much of a risk and in this case the risk was rather extreme (loss of life or loss of family regardless of outcome of the fight).

Charmed creates friendship, not control. Convincing friends takes time, not quick actions or commands.

From the Cyclops perspective, he's been charmed. He cannot attack the charmer. The charmer is his friend who is trying to convince him to attack someone to whom he's not hostile while the charmer's friends, to whom he is still hostile, is also attacking his other friendly companion. That's the situation taking place while making the persuasion attempt. The DM would still treat the cyclops as any other uncontrolled NPC in a similar situation.

The fight would probably be over before the social persuasion could be accomplished, tbh. It's more likely the charmer merely bought himself some protection from one cyclops, and I can see other ways it might play out, but not like what happened.

I would also point out that the ability to roll a 22 persuasion is either a lucky roll or the result of significant investment. A 15 DC using a 4th level spell means 8th level characters (+5 ability score, +2 proficiency bonus). In order to roll a 22 on the check the caster needs to either be CHA based or proficient and still have an extremely high roll; or both and only needed a 15 on that check to roll the 22 given barring some hedgecase examples.

Even a bard with expertise in persuasion would still need a 13 at that level to make that roll. That means the check itself isn't that difficult for the specific caster in question but still not that casual either an required significant investment or luck. ;-)

If I failed my saving throw and was under the power of a magical spell?? Who knows what I would do... you have to remember, this is magic after all.
The "influence" of the powerful spell is specific in what it does. A persuasion check is not magic, however, and that's what we're really looking at here.

Why do you think this would only work with suggestion? Even so, if this effect could be accomplished with a 2nd level spell, a more powerful 4th level one should be able to accomplish a similar, if not greater, effect, don't you think?
Suggestion actually creates a directive. Even then it's subjective in what that can accomplish.

The suggestion must be worded in such a manner as to make the course of action sound reasonable.
Either spell ends if you or your companions do something harmful to the subject.

Charm person or monster are both over-rated, imo, and the scenario given was an over-powered use of persuasion. ;-)

EDIT: brain fart. Level 8 is +3 prof, so +4 casting stat?
 
Last edited:

Dausuul

Legend
If I failed my saving throw and was under the power of a magical spell?? Who knows what I would do... you have to remember, this is magic after all.
The spell says exactly what it does. You consider the caster a friend, and you are under the charmed condition (which has defined rules effects). That is the sum total of what the spell does. Thus, your behavior is the same as it would be if one of your friends was attacking the other.
 

Advertisement

Top