Why is everyone so down on Charm Person?

Noumenon

First Post
It seems like the charm person most people play with is more like antagonize person. Either the person hates you when they make their save, or once the duration expires and they feel controlled, or once their friends realize you enchanted them. Use charm person to get a date, and many people will accuse you of mind rape.

I would totally agree with all these consequences for using a spell called dominate person on someone. But this spell is called charm person, and it needs to do what it says on the tin. That means making a friend, not losing one. If working through all the consequences makes the spell work backwards, then maybe you shouldn't work through all of them.

For example, maybe a real-life fireball would make a firecracker sound that would alert everything for miles around. Maybe it would make the smell of singed eyebrow hair stick to your clothes so that everybody thought you reeked. Those are plausible consequences, but working them out would make fireball a pain in the ass, rather than a joy to use.

Basically, I want a charm person that simulates charm, not mind control. Buying you a beer, not a roofie in your drink. After someone gets done turning on the charm in real life, you might feel slightly used, but you might feel kind of flattered that they gave you all that attention. You might even be friendlier afterwards.

I want a charm person you could use to cheer up an angry baby. And I don't see in the spell description why you shouldn't. Do I have to make it a house rule?
 

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Aus_Snow

First Post
Basically, I want a charm person that simulates charm, not mind control. Buying you a beer, not a roofie in your drink. After someone gets done turning on the charm in real life, you might feel slightly used, but you might feel kind of flattered that they gave you all that attention. You might even be friendlier afterwards.
What if it had been due to the effect of a tech device, in this wacky modern age? Just assuming for a sec such a thing exists. . .

Tech. . . magic. . . you see?

Some random stranger comes up to you, and (to an unusual extent) controls your mind/emotions without you so much as being asked, and you'd be fine with it.

OK. . .
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
It seems like the charm person most people play with is more like antagonize person. Either the person hates you when they make their save, or once the duration expires and they feel controlled, or once their friends realize you enchanted them. Use charm person to get a date, and many people will accuse you of mind rape.

Well, I don't see much of a way around that. The spell can make you do things against your nature or better judgement if the caster can win that oppossed Charisma check, so when the spell ends you're going to know something was done to you. How you feel about that would probably depend on what was done.

If the spell ends and I realize I've been buying beers for the adventurers who I caught trying to cheat my son the armorer, then I'm going to be pretty ticked off. If I woke up next to the party mage, I can't see why murder wouldn't enter my mind.

There's not many people I know of that wouldn't take high offense at that. Being taken in by a slick-talking con man or beautiful woman is one thing, but being the target of a spell that you probably had very little chance of resisting is quite another.
 

It seems like the charm person most people play with is more like antagonize person. Either the person hates you when they make their save, or once the duration expires and they feel controlled, or once their friends realize you enchanted them.

That would depend on what you did to them, but taking away someone's free will (even if they didn't realize it at the time) will likely leave them feeling upset once they get their free will back.

My understanding is that, in previous versions of the game, the victim might not realize they had been charmed if the charmer didn't overly manipulate them. However, in-game, I usually see it only to temporarily pacify enemies (often very difficult, as the enemy might not be solo, and their own friends can tell them what happened once the charm effect wears off).

Use charm person to get a date, and many people will accuse you of mind rape.

Using emotional manipulation to get sex is probably going to be called rape. For instance, if a man intimidates a woman into sex, it is called rape, even if he didn't use actual violence. I will say no more, as that's really heading into red-zone territory.

I would totally agree with all these consequences for using a spell called dominate person on someone. But this spell is called charm person, and it needs to do what it says on the tin. That means making a friend, not losing one. If working through all the consequences makes the spell work backwards, then maybe you shouldn't work through all of them.

The spell has a duration, and it makes the person your friend for a duration. If it made them your friend for life, it would be overpowered. To make a real friend, use the old-fashioned way. (Or, failing that, find a longer duration spell.)

For example, maybe a real-life fireball would make a firecracker sound that would alert everything for miles around.

It creates a low roar, so no.

Maybe it would make the smell of singed eyebrow hair stick to your clothes so that everybody thought you reeked.

Considering the state of hygiene in the middle ages in Europe, that could hardly make things worse ;)

Also, the spell has a long range. Sometimes you need to drop it on enemies right next to you though, but then being covered by their blood would also make you reek.

Basically, I want a charm person that simulates charm, not mind control.

There's a psionic power called Telempathic Projection in 3.x that does that. I think the change is "permanent" (more likely "instant") but again, you can lose the friend easily depending on what you did during and after the power expires.

After someone gets done turning on the charm in real life, you might feel slightly used, but you might feel kind of flattered that they gave you all that attention. You might even be friendlier afterwards.

That would depend on how they used you.

I want a charm person you could use to cheer up an angry baby. And I don't see in the spell description why you shouldn't. Do I have to make it a house rule?

That's Telempathic Projection. If you Charm a baby, it will be friendly to you, but it may still be angry for other reasons.

On another note, it's a "person spell" and I hate that kind of spell. I refuse to use them as a DM or a PC.
 

Byronic

First Post
I think it's really just the thought of being manipulated. But I don't think you're supposed to actually let the other person know that they've just been enchanted, otherwise it wouldn't work as well.

"I know you're a trusted friend but you just cast a charm on me, so while I feel this way I know I can't really trust what you say at the moment"

Really I think that after the durations finished they might just get bored with you and wonder what they even bothered. This might be different if the person has some reason to suspect it was an enchantment. In which case they have a good reason to think poorly of you.

If you manipulate someone in real life, they will get annoyed as well once they realize they've been had. It's the danger of using enchantments like that.
 

I agree with the OP.

In my campaign I house rule the spell, saying that the magic of a successfully cast charm spell erases the memory of the spell being cast. A successfully charmed person wont normally come to the conclusion that he was charmed afterwards, unless third parties intervene.

Ken
 


Noumenon

First Post
Tech. . . magic. . . you see?

Some random stranger comes up to you, and (to an unusual extent) controls your mind/emotions without you so much as being asked, and you'd be fine with it.

Remember, this hypothetical tech device is something that makes you feel really good -- like you just caught up with an old friend. The only part that would disturb you is if you found it unnatural. I mean, if someone in the park gives you a sexy wink, or smiles at you to lift your mood, you know they're attempting to give you a hormonal rush that will make you like them -- but you don't mind.

And again, coming up with reasons why the spell sucks is not a good goal. Maybe anyone who sees you fly realizes you could steal their baby. Maybe anyone who sees you do feather fall assumes you're an incorporeal ghost. There's no need to posit an intense negative reaction to a spell unless you think it's overpowered and needs balance.

The spell can make you do things against your nature or better judgement if the caster can win that oppossed Charisma check, so when the spell ends you're going to know something was done to you. How you feel about that would probably depend on what was done.

If the spell ends and I realize I've been buying beers for the adventurers who I caught trying to cheat my son the armorer, then I'm going to be pretty ticked off.

I'd say if you do use the spell to give orders (it says "you can 'try' to give the subject orders), then you are using it in more of a dominate person "mode" and the consequences are going to be more appropriate. If you are just using it to grease the wheels ("won't you tell the password to a friend?") and not to give orders (how would someone being your friend make it any easier to order them around anyway?) then they aren't going to feel as controlled afterwards.
 
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Noumenon

First Post
I will say no more, as that's really heading into red-zone territory.

Yes, I already got a thread closed due to this concept, and this is partly my attempt to exonerate myself. I didn't even need to use charm person as an example in the original thread, as the DC would be the same if the guy used dancing lights to impress his dates and get a +2 on a Charisma check. But because I did use charm person, everyone got really disgusted.
 

Fenes

First Post
I posted about this yesterday by coincidence: Charmed, I am sure.

Here's the post:

Charm Person is one of the spells that often lead to trouble at the gaming table. Used by PCs, it can cause a lot of problems to some DMs, used by an NPC it can cause a lot of frustration for the players. The main cause is, in my opinion, a misunderstanding of the spell.

Charm Person is often mistaken for something else, like dominate person. The charmed character is expected to switch sides in combat, and to attack its former friends without mercy.

But that's not what Charm Person does. Charm Person doesn't make anyone hate their friends - all it does is making the caster the new best friend of the character that was charmed, and making him consider the new friends actions in the best light possible. The other characters are still seen in the same light - friends, allies, lovers, etc.

As a DM, I tell players always this: It's your best friend. That's all. What do you do?

The answer depends on the character. In the case of the charmer and the rest of the PCs fighting, many characters will try to prevent harm to any of their friends, they won't mindlessly attack their friends, much less kill them. (Of course, if a character, for example an evil NPC, doesn't have friends other than the charmer, just disposable allies, killing them is not unlikely to save its only friend.) For not too few, restraining their "best friend" from attacking the others, who might kill him "in self-defense" is a valid choice - especially if they acted in a similar way with their real friends before, like knocking out a hotheaded character before he attacked a noble, for example.

For non-combat situations, one has to remember that some things a character would not do, not even for a best friend. A secret that a character didn't even tell their "former" best friends is unlikely to be spilled to the new best friend. Nor is betraying an oath likely if the character wouldn't do that for anyone - charm person doesn't change a character's character, it just adds a new best friend.
(Barring persuasive talking and other forms of influence, of course - charm person is a great help with that.)

In conclusion, simply telling people that "the charmer becomes your friend, everything else, including your views of others and your character stays the same" avoids a lot of the troubles charm person can cause.
 

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