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    Default Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    So, when the spell expires, the target knows that you charmed it.

    But what is a reasonable reaction to this from a narration standpoint? What exact information does the target even realize? It isn't like the local miller has any idea what the 'charm person' spell is, beyond a general sense of magicalness. What if you're playing in a region of a setting where magic by and large doesn't exist? Do they just know that you influenced them somehow, or is it more specific?

    Asking not for a campaign I'm running, but for a crappy fanfiction I'm writing. Trying to run a version of Harry Potter and the Natural 20.
    I'm a tad rude. It's a tendency of mine that I'm trying to get better about. Call me out on it if you see it.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Loved that fanfiction.

    Anyway, it comes down to the DM (or in this case, the writer), but since it came up, Harry Potter gives us a first hand account of Dominate Person (Or the imperius charm), which apparently fills your head with a pleasant fuzz and you just become super lax and receptive to commands. It seems targets do remember what they've done, so if someone gives out commands, you at least know the voice of the one giving you commands.

    As for how a local miller would take it, it depends on how high-magic the world is, but even in a low magic setting I would probably have their first thoughts upon the spell ending would be they were possessed, perhaps by a demon or a witch.
    Last edited by Frozenstep; 2019-05-04 at 07:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    In magical worlds, they would know that you cast the Charm spell on them, just like it says in the description. That's very uncool. If the rule of law is strong enough for that to be illegal and turning to the authorities is a reasonable option, and the person you cast it on is peaceable and generally law abiding, you should expect to be reported to the authorities and punished appropriately (execution, cutting out your tongue and hands, banishment, etc.). You've demonstrated that you cannot be trusted to be around people with access to your powers, so either you need to removed from access to people or your powers. If not, he should probably try to kill you and would be perfectly justified in doing so.

    In the nonmagical realms, at the very least the person would know that you did something to him that affected his mind. That's still very uncool. You might not be arrested or killed because of the greater uncertainty, but shunning would be appropriate.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenstep View Post
    Loved that fanfiction.

    Anyway, it comes down to the DM (or in this case, the writer), but since it came up, Harry Potter gives us a first hand account of Dominate Person (Or the imperius charm), which apparently fills your head with a pleasant fuzz and you just become super lax and receptive to commands. It seems targets do remember what they've done, so if someone gives out commands, you at least know the voice of the one giving you commands.

    As for how a local miller would take it, it depends on how high-magic the world is, but even in a low magic setting I would probably have their first thoughts upon the spell ending would be they were possessed, perhaps by a demon or a witch.
    Well, I'm working with 5e and with ASOIAF, so it is different.

    Sure, superstitious general thoughts about you cursing them with your evil eye or something similar.

    Quote Originally Posted by jh12 View Post
    In magical worlds, they would know that you cast the Charm spell on them, just like it says in the description. That's very uncool. If the rule of law is strong enough for that to be illegal and turning to the authorities is a reasonable option, and the person you cast it on is peaceable and generally law abiding, you should expect to be reported to the authorities and punished appropriately (execution, cutting out your tongue and hands, banishment, etc.). You've demonstrated that you cannot be trusted to be around people with access to your powers, so either you need to removed from access to people or your powers. If not, he should probably try to kill you and would be perfectly justified in doing so.

    In the nonmagical realms, at the very least the person would know that you did something to him that affected his mind. That's still very uncool. You might not be arrested or killed because of the greater uncertainty, but shunning would be appropriate.
    LOL this seems a bit extreme. I mean, even if the miller knows it isn't like he can prove anything. If the guards are so quick to follow up with extreme punishment, whats to stop a less law-abiding miller from saying that his wife cast charm person on him, and therefore needs to die? If he stole something, sure, he'll get in trouble for that, but that's in addition to the charm effect.

    Like, if the guy didn't do anything to you other than mess with you a bit, how angry would you even be? I can see him telling his neighbors not to trust you, but that's about as much as I'd expect.

    Then too, the guy with the spellbook is probably rich, and likely to be more advantaged in the sight of the law.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    A lot of people were executed for casting charms and spells on other people, and not a single one of them really cast a spell or charm. So, I'm sure a lot of innocent people are killed for charming others. There isn't really any burden of proof here. Is the miller a trustworthy, upstanding person? Do others collaborate with the story? I can see casting charm person really quickly turning into a witch hunt, and at that point its better for the authorities to just go with it rather then risk a riot.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    I would say that there is a clear mental effect of the spell so that the target knows that its volition and will to resist your words or react as they might normally choose were removed. They don't realize this until after the spell ends but it is very clear to the character that they were affected by something AND they know the person who was the source of it.

    Naratively this could be however you choose to describe it.

    "My mind felt like cotton and quite detached and afterward I couldn't believe how much I seemed to like this person"
    OR
    "Everything was so sharp and clear and this one person was particularly clear. Everything they said was fascinating and I couldn't stop listening. I even found it difficult to disagree with anything they said."
    OR
    "It was very strange. Suddenly I didn't quite feel like myself. My thoughts when I interacted with this one person were stuck on reacting favorably no matter what they said. I liked everything they said even when I disagreed with them. I even tried to convince my friends that the new person and their friends were cool and we should leave them alone."

    How the victim reacts afterward depends on the specific victim, how much knowledge they have of what caused their reaction, and their capabilities.

    Many characters would react extremely negatively to this sort of mind control. In a low magic world, the person using it would like be branded a witch/warlock/devil/demon/evil wizard and hunted down if the victim told their friends.

    A more knowledgeable character in a high magic world would realize that they had been subjected to a charm person spell and depending on what they were convinced to do and what it means their reaction could be anywhere from very negative to neutral. They are unlikely to be friendly and open to someone who had charmed them. They could be neutral towards the caster if they are weaker than the caster and there isn't much they could do or if they agree with the goals if not the methods of the caster.

    All of this depends on the NPCs, the situation and the game world.
    Last edited by Keravath; 2019-05-04 at 07:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Honestly, I think you would feel pretty much the same way you would feel if you were conned. So, you'd not be likely to trust that person in the future and beyond that your reaction would be proportional to how taken advantage of you feel you were.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by sophontteks View Post
    A lot of people were executed for casting charms and spells on other people, and not a single one of them really cast a spell or charm. So, I'm sure a lot of innocent people are killed for charming others. There isn't really any burden of proof here. Is the miller a trustworthy, upstanding person? Do others collaborate with the story? I can see casting charm person really quickly turning into a witch hunt, and at that point its better for the authorities to just go with it rather then risk a riot.
    Such witchhunts were usually predicated on the supposition that the caster got their powers in deal with the devil.

    so, unless that's a reasonable assumption for the setting, I'd say that its not really comparable.

    Even then, people in the middle ages were sometimes executed for *making* accusations of witchcraft. It all depends on context.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    Honestly, I think you would feel pretty much the same way you would feel if you were conned. So, you'd not be likely to trust that person in the future and beyond that your reaction would be proportional to how taken advantage of you feel you were.
    Right, I think the quesiton of what you actually did to them is very very important. If you stole a few coins from them, they'll be pissed. If you made them fail their guard duty, they'll be mortified and might never report it.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    Such witchhunts were usually predicated on the supposition that the caster got their powers in deal with the devil.

    so, unless that's a reasonable assumption for the setting, I'd say that its not really comparable.
    These are simple people that do not know magic. It's all the devils work.
    Or they are people who understand magic. Then they know this is a charm spell.
    Last edited by sophontteks; 2019-05-04 at 08:23 PM.

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    Zombie

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by sophontteks View Post
    These are simple people that do not know magic. It's all the devils work.
    Or they are people who understand magic. Then they know this is a charm spell.
    I think in most D&D worlds the average person would know that magic just is, even if they don't understand it.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    LOL this seems a bit extreme.
    I don't think it's extreme at all. If you aren't using it on someone you would be willing to kill in a situation where you would be willing to kill them, Charm is an evil spell. Do you really think ordinary people would tolerate having someone around who is willing to invade their minds and subvert their wills for a little momentary gain? There's no way.

    I mean, even if the miller knows it isn't like he can prove anything. If the guards are so quick to follow up with extreme punishment, whats to stop a less law-abiding miller from saying that his wife cast charm person on him, and therefore needs to die? If he stole something, sure, he'll get in trouble for that, but that's in addition to the charm effect.
    How do you know he can't prove anything? Odds are, it's not just his words against yours because you were trying to get him to do something out of character, even if just slightly. Even if nobody noticed you cast the spell, that's evidence that weighs in his favor. But really, if you are able to go around casting Charm spells willy nilly, I'm pretty sure the court system can get some Zones of Truth set up. All they have to do is cast it and ask the miller what happened. Then it's off to your well-deserved punishment.

    Like, if the guy didn't do anything to you other than mess with you a bit, how angry would you even be? I can see him telling his neighbors not to trust you, but that's about as much as I'd expect.
    I would want to kill him. And I would do anything in my power to make sure it happened. You don't mess with people's minds then expect them to be okay with it.

    Then too, the guy with the spellbook is probably rich, and likely to be more advantaged in the sight of the law.
    Well if the society is so corrupt that they will tolerate evil magic users running around because they are rich, that's when you hire adventurers to kill the evil magic user. Surely not everyone in the land is corrupt.

    Enough people and torches and pitchforks have also proven effective.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    They would know that all the "this one is a friend" feelings they had were fake.

    An appropriate response depends on the character. A coward might flee, someone like the Mountain would cleave you in two were you stand, someone like Aria would put you on her list, some might tolerate your behavior if there is something important enough at stake.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2019-05-05 at 02:10 AM.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    The appropriate moral response to someone using any form of mind control on you is to inflict as much harm upon them as possible by whatever means you have available.

    There may be room for forgiveness, but not for justification.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    I expect the reaction is similar to being swindled. Or broken up with by your boyfriend who was cheating all along. The person feels used.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by FaerieGodfather View Post
    The appropriate moral response to someone using any form of mind control on you is to inflict as much harm upon them as possible by whatever means you have available.

    There may be room for forgiveness, but not for justification.
    If I shove you to the floor in a friendly game of rugby that is entirely different from shoving you down a flight of stairs in an attempt to murder you despite the actions being the same. Intent and consequences do matter in terms of how something is perceived by the victim.

    In many instances Charming someone is no more invasive than the non-magical version of 'mind control' used to compel people to believe things which are not true - being a very good liar. Now depending on the lie picking up the nearest heavy object and bludgeoning them to death may be a reasonable response but that's hardly a reasonable reaction to any form of lie.

    Remember Charm Person is not Dominate Person - it makes you more receptive but does not force. If a friend took me out for a couple of drinks before asking me for a farvour technically they've drugged me to make me more amenable to their words but I'm not going to be angry about it at all. If they got me off my face drunk and tried to make me sign a legal contract giving them loads of money then yes I would be pissed. Circumstances, intent and results matter.

    Depending on what the Charm was used for I would expect many people would either refuse to deal with the person again or would have disadvantage on subsequent Cha checks.
    Last edited by Contrast; 2019-05-05 at 05:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    In many instances Charming someone is no more invasive than the non-magical version of 'mind control' used to compel people to believe things which are not true - being a very good liar. Now depending on the lie picking up the nearest heavy object and bludgeoning them to death may be a reasonable response but that's hardly a reasonable reaction to any form of lie.

    Remember Charm Person is not Dominate Person - it makes you more receptive but does not force. If a friend took me out for a couple of drinks before asking me for a farvour technically they've drugged me to make me more amenable to their words but I'm not going to be angry about it at all. If they got me off my face drunk and tried to make me sign a legal contract giving them loads of money then yes I would be pissed. Circumstances, intent and results matter.
    The difference is consent.

    If you feed me a couple of drinks before telling me an egregious falsehood, I still chose to take those drinks and I still chose to believe you. To whatever degree I am swindled, I can not deny that I am complicit in it.

    Dose my drinks with something I am not expecting... and we are back to my original statement.

    You can argue that the consequences-- the greater good-- might justify the use of such magic, and I might agree with you, but some things are mortally offensive regardless of the context.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by FaerieGodfather View Post
    The difference is consent.

    If you feed me a couple of drinks before telling me an egregious falsehood, I still chose to take those drinks and I still chose to believe you. To whatever degree I am swindled, I can not deny that I am complicit in it.

    Dose my drinks with something I am not expecting... and we are back to my original statement.

    You can argue that the consequences-- the greater good-- might justify the use of such magic, and I might agree with you, but some things are mortally offensive regardless of the context.
    So you'd consider it reasonable to 'inflict as much harm upon them as possible by whatever means you have available' if someone bought you a double while telling you it was a single? And we're back to my original statement - specifics matter

    If I used Charm Person to get a bouncer to let me into a club without paying the entry fee I do not think it would be reasonable for them to drop the rest of their life and come after me with the intent of inflicting as much harm on me as possible. The reaction is disproportionate to the injury.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    I think in most D&D worlds the average person would know that magic just is, even if they don't understand it.
    Saying the "Devils work" was bad wording on my part. It's a bit too christian. The idea of an unknown evil is a lot more varied. Its the work of <Insert evil here>.

    People have an extreme apathy towards anything they don't understand. If they don't understand magic, they will tend to react to it with violence. It's a very common trope in history and fantasy alike.

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    So you'd consider it reasonable to 'inflict as much harm upon them as possible by whatever means you have available' if someone bought you a double while telling you it was a single? And we're back to my original statement - specifics matter

    If I used Charm Person to get a bouncer to let me into a club without paying the entry fee I do not think it would be reasonable for them to drop the rest of their life and come after me with the intent of inflicting as much harm on me as possible. The reaction is disproportionate to the injury.
    The bouncer is not going to come after you for avoiding a fee. They are coming after you for messing with their head. It's equivalent to slipping the bouncer a powerful drug. It's not the bouncer reacting disproportionately, its the person who invaded another persons head just to avoid paying a fee who acted disproportionately.
    Last edited by sophontteks; 2019-05-05 at 10:46 AM.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by sophontteks View Post
    Saying the "Devils work" was bad wording on my part. It's a bit too christian. The idea of an unknown evil is a lot more varied. Its the work of <Insert evil here>.

    People have an extreme apathy towards anything they don't understand. If they don't understand magic, they will tend to react to it with violence. It's a very common trope in history and fantasy alike.
    IMO Magic is just the science of D&D. Most people don't understand the science and technology around them. Doesn't mean they hate and fear it.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    IMO Magic is just the science of D&D. Most people don't understand the science and technology around them. Doesn't mean they hate and fear it.
    Ah, yes because people are known for trusting science throughout history. Reminds me of the new castlevania series. Dracula's wife was burned for being a witch because she dabbled in science. You show people something they don't understand, and they will hate and fear it. I wish it wasn't so.

    Even today there is a great apathy toward science. I don't want to get all "Political" here but the earth is flat, planes are spraying mind control gas over our heads, fluoride is a drug in the water supply used to keep the populace complacent, climate change is a lie, and college professors are filling their students with lie's to fit some great political agenda.
    Last edited by sophontteks; 2019-05-05 at 12:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by sophontteks View Post
    The bouncer is not going to come after you for avoiding a fee. They are coming after you for messing with their head. It's equivalent to slipping the bouncer a powerful drug. It's not the bouncer reacting disproportionately, its the person who invaded another persons head just to avoid paying a fee who acted disproportionately.
    To be clear here I'm not trying to argue charm spells aren't morally reprehensible. I'm saying that someones reaction to having a charm spell cast on them will likely depend heavily on how and why the charm was cast.

    Are you honestly saying if you were DMing a game if a PC used charm person to get past a bouncer you would have that bouncer quit their job and spend their life hunting down and trying to kill the PC? Or would they report them to their manager/the local guard and then just...get on with their life because nothing actually bad happened to them? They would still be mad but not 'inflict as much harm upon them as possible by whatever means you have available' mad.

    Maybe we're using different definitions of what 'inflict as much harm upon them as possible by whatever means you have available' means. If your definition of that is 'be angry if you see the person again' then we're probably in agreement. I interpreted 'inflict as much harm upon them as possible by whatever means you have available' as 'I have a new goal in life which is to inflict as much harm on this person as possible'. This seems a massive overreaction to me to something that in many cases won't be substantially worse than someone just lying to you.

    Out of interest how do you feel people would react to finding out someone had cast Enhance Ability (Charisma) on themselves before speaking to them, seeing at the effect is identical mechanically?

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    So, I don't want the discussion to completely degenerate, so here's some examples.

    • Charm person is cast on an unsuspecting person. They chat for an hour, and over the course of the time genuinely come to like each other. The spell fades off, and though the magic fades, they're still have an hour of very pleasant memories.
    • Charm person is cast on a guard, someone who has the job of stopping people from getting in a place. The people get into the place and leave within an hour. Does he report what happened to him immediatley, or hope that no one noticed his role in letting them in?
    • Charm Person is blatantly used for theft. What is the reaction here? Would the resulting punishment be worse than for theft?



    Assume that all of these take place in a setting where magic is reasonably commonplace and understood.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    Are you honestly saying if you were DMing a game if a PC used charm person to get past a bouncer you would have that bouncer quit their job and spend their life hunting down and trying to kill the PC? Or would they report them to their manager/the local guard and then just...get on with their life because nothing actually bad happened to them? They would still be mad but not 'inflict as much harm upon them as possible by whatever means you have available' mad.
    Something bad did happen to them. Something terrible. The PC invaded their mind and altered the very essence of who they are. Short of actually killing them, that's the worst thing you can do to someone.

    Out of interest how do you feel people would react to finding out someone had cast Enhance Ability (Charisma) on themselves before speaking to them, seeing at the effect is identical mechanically?
    The spells are entirely different mechanically. With a Charm spell you invade my mind and affect my being. With an Enhance Ability (Charisma) you are affecting your own self.

    As for Strangebloke's examples:
    1. The person realizes that none of their feelings are genuine and that they have been manipulated by an evil person. The person doesn't believe anything you told them during the conversation. They turn you in to the authorities or try to kill you.
    2. It depends on the guard and the situation. A coward afraid of being punished would try to cover it up, an upright guard wouldn't. But if spells like Charm are common place, and the guard doesn't have any effective means to resist, why would the guard be punished for being affected by a spell?
    3. Absolutely worse than ordinary theft. You've demonstrated that you possess great power but lack the responsibility necessary to wield it. Society is justified in ensuring that you lack the ability to wield that power going forward.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by jh12 View Post
    Something bad did happen to them. Something terrible. The PC invaded their mind and altered the very essence of who they are. Short of actually killing them, that's the worst thing you can do to someone.
    That's more mindrape's schtick - a spell that can actually change a character's personality.

    There's a reason why Charm Person is considered the least evil form of "mind control":

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CharmPerson

    And in 3.5 at least, an epic diplomat, can turn someone not just into a friend, but into a fanatic follower - without magic:

    http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/skills.htm#diplomacy

    Worth keeping in mind when assessing how charm person should be regarded, in both 3.5 and other editions like 5e.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2019-05-05 at 03:10 PM.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    That's more mindrape's schtick - a spell that can actually change a character's personality.

    There's a reason why Charm Person is considered the least evil form of "mind control":

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CharmPerson
    Making a decision they wouldn't ordinarily make is changing their essence, even if only temporarily. Any amount of mindrape is too much. And very evil.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Itís the fantasy equivalent of slipping someone a mickey. Just think about how youíd feel if someone slipped something into your drink, at the bar, and then took advantage of you to whatever varying degree.

    I think itís pretty clear that itís always worse when the offender has intentionally influenced your mind.

    It is a big deal. Itís a very big deal. On principle.

    I would want to kill the person, but I live in a modern society where the threat of capture and punishment is (at least to my estimation) very close to 100%. So fear would prevent me from doing it.

    If I lived in a world where escape was a more probable outcome, Iíd be increasingly more likely to kill the person.

    Even with the risk of lifetime in prison, in our modern technological society, Iíd be hard pressed not to kill someone who drugged my child or my wife.

    Thereís not really a question of malicious intent once you intentionally drugged someone - you have malicious intent.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    In the D&D novel Spellfire, the CG Elminster suggests that wizards in general frown on those who charm often or for frivolous reasons. But the spell itself is not portrayed as intrinsically evil.


    Quote Originally Posted by Contrast View Post
    Depending on what the Charm was used for I would expect many people would either refuse to deal with the person again or would have disadvantage on subsequent Cha checks.
    I can agree that this would be a reasonable minimum reaction though.

    5e Charm is also considerably nerfed compared to previous editions. From "trusted friend and ally" in 3e to "friendly acquaintance". In 2e and earlier it was even more powerful than that.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2019-05-05 at 03:50 PM.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    In the D&D novel Spellfire, the CG Elminster suggests that wizards in general frown on those who charm often or for frivolous reasons. But the spell itself is not portrayed as intrinsically evil.
    I agree it's not intrinsically evil. Very few things are. It's a tool, and like most tools it can be used for good or evil. If you cast it on someone who you otherwise would be willing to kill (or seriously hurt/incapacitate) in that situation, it's a perfectly fine spell used in a perfectly fine way. In almost any other situation, it's not. But the problem is with the user, not the spell.

    But I think it makes more sense to look at things from the perspective of the abused, rather than the abusers, so Elminster's evaluation doesn't seem all that relevant to me.

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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    The young Elminister lived under a wizard tyranny, and until Mystra got involved in his life, hated wizardry. for how easily it could be abused.

    So his perspective on wizard magic is likely to be a bit more accurate than that of the average wizard, at least.
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    Default Re: Proper Reaction to Charm Person.

    Quote Originally Posted by jh12 View Post
    Something bad did happen to them. Something terrible. The PC invaded their mind and altered the very essence of who they are. Short of actually killing them, that's the worst thing you can do to someone.
    I think you're overstating charm person a touch. It doesn't change your mind or your very essence. It makes you marginally more amiable to the person who cast it. Heck, while it does make it a bit easier to talk you into something you're not that opposed to anyway, it has 0 chance of someone talking you into something you absolutely would not do. Heck, if you hate someone such that they'd have disadvantage in talking you viewing anything they say in a favorable light, charm person would only get you back to an even chance.
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