5E Is Charm Monster too good?

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
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?
The DM allowed too much. The spell just makes it friendly to the caster. It does not stop it from being friendly to its companion. If one of my best friends tried his absolute best to get me to attack one of my other best friends, I'd tell him to stuff it. You only roll if the outcome is in doubt, and in my mind there is no way that cyclops would have attacks its friend, so the attempt would have been an auto failure.
 

Harzel

Explorer
The DM allowed too much. The spell just makes it friendly to the caster. It does not stop it from being friendly to its companion. If one of my best friends tried his absolute best to get me to attack one of my other best friends, I'd tell him to stuff it. You only roll if the outcome is in doubt, and in my mind there is no way that cyclops would have attacks its friend, so the attempt would have been an auto failure.
Generally, I agree, but as has been pointed out, cyclops might not have exactly the same sort of social ties as humans.
 

Flamestrike

Explorer
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.
Attacking a friend with lethal force is a pretty big ask man, even to protect a different friend.

Of course, they were Cyclops.

IMG Charm person (when succesful) generally turns a combat encounter into a social encounter.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Generally, I agree, but as has been pointed out, cyclops might not have exactly the same sort of social ties as humans.
I mean a random human might not have those same social ties to their friends as others. That said it does seem a bit over the top for any creature to attack it's old friend to protect it's brand new one. It's possible and plausible but seems extremely unlikely given any random creature.

My basic take is that a creature doesn't attack it's friends and that it would take convincing the NPC that it's old friend was an enemy before it attacked him.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
What actually happened looks like the DC 20 check was used to convert charm monster to dominate monster. Dominate monster would do what was described how it was described sans the CHA check. In any case, it's how the check was handled and not the spell itself.
 

S'mon

Legend
The OP description of how it played out seems very reasonable to me, and in line with what I'd expect for a 4th level spell. Compare Banishment - Roll20

Probably weaker than Hypnotic Pattern at level 3 - Roll20
Compare Suggestion at level 2 -
 

S'mon

Legend
The more relevant question is would Polyphemus attack and eat a friend?
Yes; although Polyphemus is surely CE not CN. I generally make it fairly easy to persuade evil creatures to attack someone nominally on their side, harder for neutral, & potentially impossible with good creatures (or at least they'd use non-lethal attacks).
 

Todd Roybark

Villager
A brief aside, is Polyphemus CE? If someone erroneously delivered a bottle of Middleton Very Rare Whisky to my abode, I’m drinking the whisky.

If said whisky, moreover, broke into my abode and started drinking my other whisky, as Odysseus and his crew did to Poly, then it is going to most assuredly get consumed.

Many persons would not consider the slaying of armed/ thieving intruders to one’s residence as evil. A prohibition against eating sapient creatures is culturally specific and not universal.....see the consumption of dolphins and great apes for example.

Aside over, back to our scheduled programme.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The more relevant question is would Polyphemus attack and eat a friend?
The even more relevant question is would a D&D cyclops attack and eat a friend? They dwell in family groups and drive OTHERS out of their territory. That shows a bond going on. Not only was this a friend, but it was family.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I mean a random human might not have those same social ties to their friends as others. That said it does seem a bit over the top for any creature to attack it's old friend to protect it's brand new one. It's possible and plausible but seems extremely unlikely given any random creature.

My basic take is that a creature doesn't attack it's friends and that it would take convincing the NPC that it's old friend was an enemy before it attacked him.
What would it take to convince you that your friend(pick any friend) not only is an enemy, but one that is so dangerous that he needs to be immediately attacked and killed?
 

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