Charm Person: Its Potential Uses and Limitations
Charm Person is a 1st level enchantment spell which can be learned by bards, druids, sorcerers, warlocks, and wizards. The spell targets a single humanoid within 30 feet, who must make a wisdom saving throw to resist the effect (the wisdom saving throw is made at advantage if the spell-caster is currently fighting the target). If they fail the saving throw, they are charmed by the spell-caster for 1 hour and treat them like a friendly acquaintance.
Because this spell is easily broken once combat begins (the target gets a saving throw each time the caster’s companions harm them), it is best used in role playing situations to avoid combat altogether, or to gain other advantages. This spell has a number of fun uses, and a couple limitations to keep in mind when casting.
Uses1. Stop an enemy or other NPC from giving away your position
Charm a child to make them stop crying, allowing your party to stealthily escape an enemy camp. This way, your party can run away with any prisoners in tow and prevent a potentially deadly confrontation with the enemies inside.
Charm a goblin scout who has spotted your party and ask him to take you back to his cave to hang out. When the charm ends, you’re already deep inside enemy territory, and can gain a tactical advantage, fighting from the less-defended inside of the camp.
2. Explore unknown areas
Charm a mermaid and ask her to help you breathe underwater, then take the opportunity to explore an abandoned shipwreck.
Charm the gardener to guide you to the center of an insidious hedge maze.
3. Obtain information from NPCs that help you bypass difficult puzzles or obstacles
Charm a guard member and ask how his day is going- Maybe he’ll tell you what he’s seen during his watch over the gate.
Charm the gatekeeper to give you the answer to the riddle.
4. Get help from uncooperative merchants
Charm a griffon-tamer and ask to borrow a pride of griffons to transport you and your party north to an abandoned cloud giant castle.
Charm a penny-pinching merchant to get a reasonable price on goods.
5. Stay out of trouble with the law
Charm a witness and ask them to lie to the guard, corroborating your story and helping you avoid jail time.
Charm a guard member to prevent them from turning you in for low-level crimes.
Charm a judge or jury member to get a lenient sentence or have the case dismissed.
6. The options are endless
Charm your potions professor so they’ll accept your late homework.
Charm an NPC to stand watch for you so you can get a good night’s rest.
Charm a guard so they’ll go on break long enough for you to slip in and out of the keep unnoticed.
Because the target makes the wisdom save at advantage if it is currently in combat with the spellcaster, this spell should be cast before combat breaks out for the best chance of success.
The spell makes the target regard you as a friendly acquaintance, but nothing more. This means the target won’t tell you his deepest, darkest secrets, betray someone he loves, or any other effects that higher-level enchantments would bring about.
After the spell effect ends, the target knows that you charmed them. This can lead to an awkward situation at best and a deadly situation at worst. Most people don’t take kindly to being charmed, so be sure to use this spell wisely.
Looking for Something Stronger?
Command lasts for one round, but can be used easily in combat and forces the target creature to follow a 1-word command, such as approach, drop, flee, grovel, or halt. This is powerful as it allows low spell-casting classes, such as paladins, to have battlefield control, and easily gain advantage on attacks or force characters to come into melee range.
Suggestion lasts for 8 hours. You command the target to perform a task, which must be stated in 1-2 sentences. The task cannot be obviously harmful to the target and should follow a reasonable course of action from the target’s perspective. The target does its best to perform the task.
Mass Suggestion is very similar to Suggestion, but lasts for 24 hours and allows you to target up to 12 creatures. The potential this spell offers is as boundless as your imagination.
Dominate Person lasts one minute and creates a telepathic link between you and the target. You issue mental commands to it, which is does its best to obey, or you can use your action to take complete control of the target, forcing it to do exactly what you want.
Dominate Monster is the same as dominate person, but allows you to target a creature.
Geas lasts for 30 days. You tell a creature to follow a command. Once per day, if they act contrary to your command, they take 5d10 psychic damage.