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    Default "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Do you think it's wrong to use Charm Person on someone just so they will like you? You're not necessarily using it so that you can have them do something for you, but just so you feel more popular.

    I mean, in a high school teen comedy sort of way, I can see it happen. The nerdy wizard guy who spends all of his time studying and getting picked on by the fighter and barbarian jocks. Then, one day, the wizard figures out how to cast "charm person" and various other spells that make them irresistable to the CHA 17 cheerleading bards.

    Suddenly, they start going around charming every person that they think are popular in school, and try to make themselves feel better about themselves.

    Is that wrong? IS THAT REALLY THAT TERRIBLE? I JUST WANT TO BE LIKED DAMMIT! WHY WON'T PEOPLE LIKE ME!?!?... err... I mean, him, why don't people like "him"...

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    various other spells that make them irresistable to the CHA 17 cheerleading bards.
    Envision this scenario. A lonely high school guy can't get it on with girls, so he goes to a party, exposes a cheerleader with huge.... charisma to a mind altering substance, and retreats into the bedroom with her.

    What do you think?

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Yep, it's a use of force (in the form of magical coercion) used for no greater purpose than personal merit.

    Essentially the definition of "wrong".

    If you charmed someone into putting their weapon down so no one got hurt in a battle, or charmed a king into calling off a war, maybe you could wrangle it under "bad stuff for a good purpose", but not charming the cheerleaders so you can get sweet sweet nookie.
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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    For the proper answer to this, watch the BTVS episode "Superstar".
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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Yeah, the charm line is pretty evil once you look at what it does. About the only nonevil use is self defence.

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Various "alternate sourcebooks" do explore the legal, ethical, and moral implications of mind controlling magic. Is it wrong? Well, that's ultimately for the PCs to decide, but it is questionable to say the least. The concept is interesting, especially if it's a good or neutral aligned apprentice wizard doing it.

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Well, it's good if used with good intensions, evil if otherwise. You could say that fireball is evil since you can destroy an orphanage with it, etc...
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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    It's wrong and evil, but not as much fun as it would be to use alter self on random schoolmates... wait it's personal only right?

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeful View Post
    It's wrong and evil, but not as much fun as it would be to use alter self on random schoolmates... wait it's personal only right?
    Contrary to intuition, Alter Self can be used on people other than yourself.

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Now, before anyone gets any wierd ideas about me I just want to say:I am not trying to say it's okay, just want to spur some discussion on the topic. anyway, moving on.

    I personally have felt that the use of magic, because we acknowledge it as a skill and it's validity as a tool, we invariably can liken it to the use of drugs to alter a person's mind, which is probably one of the worst kind of violations you can visit upon a person.

    But what if it's someone who doesn't understand their power? What if it's a sorceror (despite his high CHA score), is just too socially awkward to know how to get people to be friends with him and doesn't really understand his powers? Maybe he doesn't understand why it makes people like him and he's happy that it does. so he continues to do it, not realizing that he's essentially sliding emotional roofies to people. This doesn't excuse the act, of course. But would you really consider him, though his actions are wrong, evil?

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    Envision this scenario. A lonely high school guy can't get it on with girls, so he goes to a party, exposes a cheerleader with huge.... charisma to a mind altering substance, and retreats into the bedroom with her.

    What do you think?
    This is probably the most accurate comparison I've run across. It's like slipping someone a magical mickey. Not cool.
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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    But what if it's someone who doesn't understand their power? What if it's a sorceror (despite his high CHA score), is just too socially awkward to know how to get people to be friends with him and doesn't really understand his powers? Maybe he doesn't understand why it makes people like him and he's happy that it does. so he continues to do it, not realizing that he's essentially sliding emotional roofies to people. This doesn't excuse the act, of course. But would you really consider him, though his actions are wrong, evil?
    No, but I'd kick his ass anyways.

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    But what if it's someone who doesn't understand their power? What if it's a sorceror (despite his high CHA score), is just too socially awkward to know how to get people to be friends with him and doesn't really understand his powers? Maybe he doesn't understand why it makes people like him and he's happy that it does. so he continues to do it, not realizing that he's essentially sliding emotional roofies to people. This doesn't excuse the act, of course. But would you really consider him, though his actions are wrong, evil?
    Yeah, actually, I probably would. Misguided or mistaken evil is still evil.

    Now, my reaction to that would be vastly different than my reaction to someone who knew what he was doing. In the latter case, I would have no tolerance for intentional wrongdoing. In the case you have brought up, however, I would prefer to set the record straight on what was going on and why it needed to stop. The hope being, of course, that once that sorcerer realizes what he was doing, he would straighten up and stop doing evil things.
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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    No, but I'd kick his ass anyways.
    Well, Solo, you evidentally have a much better WILL save than I do, cuz man that guy is so dreamy.

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    I'd say it isn't wrong (just creepy) if the nerd who does it simply uses his charm person (something with no side effet) merely to hang around people who, otherwise, wouldn't like him.

    If he uses it to gain certains.. advantages, then I'd say it's wrong.

    (I had a character, Solka Truesilver, who used Charm Person like water. But while he charmed peoples and teammates, he never abused of their magically-inspired trust. Once, the DM had given me a golden opportunity to.. ahem.. "do" a princess I had charmed, but I find sex-in-RPGs so creepy that I almost ruined the spell to avoid the whole thing.)

    So, I'd say if Solka used his power to put people into danger. To make them do things they'd regret later. To abuse them, it would be wrong. If it causes no harm to other around him, that's not immoral.

    (I remember, we once took 2 prisonners from an ennemy patrol. I managed to charm one of them, while the other one resisted. We ended up executing the one who resisted, while I felt responsible for the well-being of the one under my charm)

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Charm Person isn't always an evil spell in my opinion, but I would say the mentioned use here is evil. Using it to make a criminal give themselves up without incident would be a good use.

    You could argue that trying to sleep with someone who you've charmed would count as threatening them, and thus break the enchantment.

    Having an antagonistic NPC who uses charm person like this, and just wants friends could be interesting, although such a character would probably end up being laughed at, and thus shouldn't be a BBEG.

    Go on, take a sip, you know you want to.

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    Well, Solo, you evidentally have a much better WILL save than I do, cuz man that guy is so dreamy.
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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    believe it or not, SolkaTruesilver, your character is precisely what inspired this thread.

    You spoke of using your Charm Person on the barbarian PC every morning to keep him your bodyguard and that just got me thinking about it.

    Think of it in a different way, does this make the Jedi mind trick also far more questionable?
    Last edited by elliott20; 2008-05-28 at 11:29 AM.

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    So...

    How does perfume or cologne fit into this picture? You wear it to smell nice, and in many cases the point of the exercise is to exert a subconscious influence on others.

    I agree there is a line between acceptable steps to take in the quest for likeability and unacceptable steps. But where do we draw that line? What counts as unacceptable messing with the other person's head and what doesn't?
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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post

    Think of it in a different way, does this make the Jedi mind trick also far more questionable?
    Yes, although there is a world of difference between using it to con a man out of his money as opposed to rescuing your old padawan's son from the clutches of the evil empire.


    How does perfume or cologne fit into this picture? You wear it to smell nice, and in many cases the point of the exercise is to exert a subconscious influence on others.
    Smelling nice and mind control are, I fear, two completely different things.
    Last edited by Solo; 2008-05-28 at 11:29 AM.

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    So...

    How does perfume or cologne fit into this picture? You wear it to smell nice, and in many cases the point of the exercise is to exert a subconscious influence on others.

    I agree there is a line between acceptable steps to take in the quest for likeability and unacceptable steps. But where do we draw that line? What counts as unacceptable messing with the other person's head and what doesn't?
    I'd think that the line gets crossed at the point where a person is activley altering anothers perceptions. To make clear what I mean here: putting on cologne, for example, you are not doing anything directly to another person. You are doing something to yourself in the hope that the other person will like that change to you. If I charm someone I am acting on them directly, which I have no right to do.
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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Solo View Post
    Yes, although there is a world of difference between using it to con a man out of his money as opposed to rescuing your old padawan's son from the clutches of the evil empire.

    Smelling nice and mind control are, I fear, two completely different things.
    I totally agree with you Solo on both counts, as the usage of the power is completely different. (which is almost like a nod to "the ends justify the means" argument...)

    While I do agree with you that smelling nice and mind control are fundamentally different, I can see the point Dervag is making though. At what point do we draw the line where using a social aid is wrong?

    i.e. every time I turn on the tube, I see an Axe cologne ad (which is strangely remniscent to Hi Karate). The ad usually involves some teenager/college dude spraying himself with the stuff and suddenly every women around him will literally throw herself at him. creepy as hell, but does this cross the line?

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    In my opinion, perfume would be the equivilent of using magic items/spells that give a bonus to CHA or Diplomacy. Since Diplomacy represents you being able to make people friendly by being charismatic rather than coercion, there's nothing wrong with the method being used.

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    creepy as hell, but does this cross the line?
    Nope. Since it doesn't actually do anything more than make you smell nice. Now, if it actually was a chemical that somehow compelled women to throw themselves at you if you wear it, I'd say that it does cross the line. The guy in the commercial is putting it on so that he can transmitt the chemical, by smell, to the target women.
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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by SolkaTruesilver View Post
    I'd say it isn't wrong (just creepy) if the nerd who does it simply uses his charm person (something with no side effet) merely to hang around people who, otherwise, wouldn't like him.

    If he uses it to gain certains.. advantages, then I'd say it's wrong.
    As much as I can appreciate that second sentiment (we agree on that), I don't really agree that charm person is as benign as you're implying. True, its only effect is to make people like you. But the way I see it, you're overriding the preferences of the people you're charming.

    People do have the right to choose who they associate with, and if they don't want to be friends with you, I don't think it's right to essentially force them to like you.

    Speaking from that "nerd" perspective, I've always gone by the idea that if they don't like me for whatever reason, then that's their loss.

    (I had a character, Solka Truesilver, who used Charm Person like water. But while he charmed peoples and teammates, he never abused of their magically-inspired trust. Once, the DM had given me a golden opportunity to.. ahem.. "do" a princess I had charmed, but I find sex-in-RPGs so creepy that I almost ruined the spell to avoid the whole thing.)
    Thank you. Seriously, I have no small amount of respect for that kind of sentiment. Trust, however small or temporary, should never be abused.

    So, I'd say if Solka used his power to put people into danger. To make them do things they'd regret later. To abuse them, it would be wrong. If it causes no harm to other around him, that's not immoral.
    And as much as we agree on what isn't acceptable with charm or domination abilities, I still think that the spells override the free will and ability to decide that most people, I think, take for granted. I think that like any right, those shouldn't be denied to a person without very good reason.

    And please note, I'm not saying that charm is inherently evil. I'm saying that using it without a good reason is.

    (I remember, we once took 2 prisonners from an ennemy patrol. I managed to charm one of them, while the other one resisted. We ended up executing the one who resisted, while I felt responsible for the well-being of the one under my charm)
    Again, I fully agree with that idea. You seem to be a very courteous and honorable user of such spells, and I respect you for that.
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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    It's not inherently evil. It's most certainly creepy, very likely "wrong," but not outright evil. There is the capacity for horrible evil, but that requires more steps. This scenario does present a rather interesting villain, in that you could have one who, because of his youth, is oblivious to the ethical implications of what he's doing.

    The PCs could declare him evil and kill him, but then they might have to live with the guilt of murdering a kid. On the other hand, an older and wiser PC could explain the consequences of the kids actions, and impress upon him the sanctity of free will.

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    How does perfume or cologne fit into this picture? You wear it to smell nice, and in many cases the point of the exercise is to exert a subconscious influence on others.
    And, of course, the internet sells hypnotic cologne that makes you completely irresistible... (if you think that's a good idea, I know some Nigerian people who'd be happy to help you)

    Legally, this is a huge gray area, considering the single most common "thing to put in a girl's drink" is simply alcohol. Morally, it's a big sliding scale (lying about yourself to be better liked is also not quite okay, moral-wise), but the breaking point is whether people would be upset if they found out about it.

    If, the next morning, you tell a girl that you were wearing aftershave, she'll most likely shrug. If you tell her you aren't really a movie star, she could well be upset. If you tell her you put something in her drink, she'll likely call the cops on you.

    Evil starts with deceit. If you are about to do something you don't want people to find out about, I'll bet it's not going to be a "good" deed.
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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    I always stick to this rule:
    "If there is no trickery, people at least know what they get".

    That is, if you had asked the cheerleader if it was okay with her that you used cologne, she would probably say yes. If you asked her if you could mind control she would say no. So cologne is fine, while mind altering is a no-no.

    If she says yes to mind altering, go ahead - that is one freaky encounter coming right up

    EDIT:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    If, the next morning, you tell a girl that you were wearing aftershave, she'll most likely shrug. If you tell her you aren't really a movie star, she could well be upset. If you tell her you put something in her drink, she'll likely call the cops on you.

    Evil starts with deceit. If you are about to do something you don't want people to find out about, I'll bet it's not going to be a "good" deed.
    Last edited by Blanks; 2008-05-28 at 11:59 AM.

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Corolinth View Post
    The PCs could declare him evil and kill him, but then they might have to live with the guilt of murdering a kid.
    Weakling.

    On the other hand, an older and wiser PC could explain the consequences of the kids actions, and impress upon him the sanctity of free will.
    Pansy.

    You kids these days with your lenient chriminal justic system and your sympathy and your revolving doors and your princes of whales and your lightbulbs and your magic missile and your pierced scrotums and your belly dances and your mini skirts and your Botox and your tongue twisters and your snow mobiles...

    In my day, when we caught a young'un misbehaving, we laid down the law and made an example of 'im so as to inspire the survivors to higher standards of behavior, is what!

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    Default Re: "But I just wanted to be liked!" Charm Person and ethics

    Where is Collin152? I thought mind-taking was his schtick.

    Really, I think the difference between Charm Person and Mind Rape/Dominate is the difference between theft and robbery. Adventurers use their tools, skills and powers to break and enter all the time, and if you stop to think about it, it's pretty evil (or at least unlawful.) But they usually get away with it because they serve the greater good.

    Charm Person has a place as a useful tool, and just like Fireball you can turn it to evil or good. It can be used to save a guards life, or it can be used to force people to take actions they never would otherwise. If all you're doing is using it to make temporary friends just to make yourself feel good, then it's probably not evil (though it's shortsighted to use magic as a crutch). If you use those new "friends" to obtain something selfish, then it becomes evil and tainted with greed of the caster.

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