Control; It is a concept that exists in all forms of reality, and Dungeons and Dragons do not hold itself as an exception to such an idea. From Control of a nation to control over the decisions a person makes for themselves, Control and the power it wields can be used to change a single person and the world around them for the best or the worst.
Charm Person 5e is another form of Control that is seen as robbing a person of their agency and turning them into a living puppet. Commanding a being to do as you wish is a powerful tool, and Dungeons and Dragons have something along those lines through its spells.
While spells such as Dominate Person or Dominate Beast do exist, the players who use them have to start from somewhere, or instead with something. Enter Charm Person 5e, the beginning of a player’s path to mind control and the domination of free will, and the subject for this article.
What is Charm Person 5e: mechanics and requirements
- Casting time: 1 Action (6 Seconds)
- Level: 1st
- Range/Area: 30 ft
- Target: One Humanoid Creature within range
- Components: Vocal and Somatic
- Duration: 1 Hour
- Classes: Bard, Cleric (Trickery Domain), Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Charm Person Spell description
You attempt to charm a humanoid you can see within range. It must make a Wisdom saving throw, and does so with an advantage if you or your companions are fighting it. If it fails the saving throw, it is charmed by you until the spell ends or until you or your companions do anything harmful to it. The charmed creature regards you as a friendly acquaintance. When the spell ends, the creature knows it was charmed by you.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, you can target one additional creature for each slot level above 1st. The creatures must be within 30 feet of each other when you target them.
Spell Lists. Bard, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Advantages and drawbacks
Advantages of Charm Person 5e
A large pool of potential users
As one can easily see in the Attributes Section of the article, many spellcasting classes can use this spell, with only Paladins, Rangers, Artificers, and Monks being the only ones not ordinarily able to do so.
With a wide selection of options for a player to choose to be able to take this spell, it means that there is a greater chance of said player taking this spell into their spell list for them to be able to use for themselves.
Now, this does also mean that, in terms of hostile creatures, the Dungeon master also has a decent amount of options to give their creatures the same spell, especially with the other boons that will be discussed later in this section taken into consideration.
Low-level spell-slot requirement
Spell Slots are something that always limits and hinders how many times a spell can be cast between the times a player goes through from one Long Rest to another.
Lower Level spell slots for spells give the Caster who has the spell in question a more significant amount of times they can use that spell before having to take another extended rest to regain those expended spell slots.
With Charm Person being placed in such a low spell slot requirement, it promotes its usage to the spellcaster who has it, especially with the possibility of being able to upcast it in mind, which will be discussed later on in this section.
No physical material to hold them down
Physical Materials, in the same manner as leveled spell slots function, are mainly used to limit and restrict how many times a spellcaster can use a single spell before they either run out of the required material, run out of the needed spell slot, or both.
Charm Person does not have this need for physical material to be able to cast it/ which further promotes the use of the spell in situations where it could be needed. Additionally, charm Person removes the need for the player to track down and/or stockpile the physical component that would have been required otherwise.
Charmed as a whole
Although it is not true mind control as some stronger spells in the same field of purpose are capable of, such as Dominate Person or Dominate Monster, Charmed is genuinely the step in the right direction to be able to use this.
As it is the main purpose of the spell, any target within the 30 ft. range would have the charmed status effect placed onto them for the Duration of the spell. This causes the afflicted humanoid creature to not only be unable to attack the charmer in question, but the charmer has an advantage on any ability check that is made with the affected creature that would involve interacting with it on a social level.
This has its uses both in and out of combat encounters, with both possible outcomes having their benefits.
Longer Duration allows for more work to be done
Having a person be Charmed under the conditions of this spell can work out for a player and/or the other members of the Party.
Depending on when the spell is used and for whatever purpose the Caster has chosen to use the spell. As such, having the spell’s Duration be an hour allows the Caster to take more advantage of the humanoid creature under the spell’s effect while it is still active.
This can also give the Party more chance to do what they need to, whether clearing up other enemies in the middle of a combat encounter or handling other less hostile actions that would get them in trouble if the charming being was not in such a state.
Can be Upcast for better results
Being able to upcast spells has its benefits, especially for spells in the 1st level spell slot range. Having the ability to do it from such a low level means that characters capable of casting 9th-level spells can have a minor spell become an absolute powerhouse within a single casting.
Charm Person is no exception, as with each level past the 1st level that the spell is upcast to, the spell can target one extra humanoid creature within range. For a hypothetical example, a level 20 player character can upcast this spell up to the 9th level (if their class has 9th level spell slots) and be able to target ten total creatures within 30 feet of them.
Such an ability could hold the potential to skip combat encounters entirely or end them early while the Party manages to escape, though it can be upcast outside of combat. Trying to convince a Court of nobles to one cause or attempting to negotiate their way out of a possibly terrible passive situation can be made much easier as the spell charms an entire room when upcast to such a degree.
Disadvantages of charm person
They’ll know what you did
Not every spell is perfect, especially with something as easy to cast and useful as Charm Person. Unlike the Charmed condition, the humanoid creature being charmed will know that they were charmed by the Caster once the spell’s Duration is over.
This could end in various ways, from mere acceptance and forgiveness for having to resort to such a spell to get their way up to instigating a larger conflict through aggression and requests for help.
Using this spell can have its downsides when it comes to the aftermath of it, with the reaction of the afflicted Party being up to the Dungeon Master at the end of it. Along with just how much the targeted creature remembers from being charmed outside of the sheer fact that the Caster was the one to do it to them.
Best uses for Charm Person 5e
1. “What do you want? How about Peace?”
War can be dangerous, and the battles between them are more so. Combat Encounters, throughout any campaign, hold the potential risk of downing a character or two, if not killing off, depending on how the fight and the rolls made within them tend to go.
A spell such as Charm Person can bring a combat encounter to a quicker end or be completely avoided if the Caster chooses to upcast it to a higher level.
Such use of the spell does help with making sure the Party stays alive, along with conserving their strength for the fights that are an inevitability, such as boss encounters at the end of a dungeon or questline within the campaign.
After all, the best way to win a war is to take steps to avoid it, and the same mindset could be added to any battles that the Party could decide they simply wish to end early or just skip altogether.
2. Friends to the End…of the Spell’s Duration
An idea of peace between the spellcaster and another humanoid creature does not have to stop at avoiding combat encounters; It can also be used for one-on-one discussions. Since the afflicted person would see the Caster of the spell as a known acquaintance rather than a stranger (or worse, an adversary), and could make social interactions much easier.
This could range from a wide variety of possibilities, from interrogations of a thief responsible for the theft of an item important to the main quest, all the way to attempting to convince a lone baron to assist the Party in their endeavors. Of course, the possible social interactions do not stop there, as Charm Person could also be used to assist a player in haggling prices with shopkeepers, as surely a friend of the shopkeep would offer their services and wares at a lower price to a friend.
Of course, since the spell’s Duration ends with the creature affected by the spell realizing what has happened to them, it would be best that someone who decided to use the spell for this purpose is long gone by the time they had bought what they needed, lest they wish to get the local guard on them for theft charges.
3. Friends and Countrymen, Lend me your ears!
As a final extension of the spell, Charm Person can be used to convince more than one person through the Charmed Condition. Through the powerful means of upcasting the spell, a party member who has the spell within their spell slot could use it to try and convince up to a certain number of people.
For example, this can be done by trying to convince a group of Kings and Queens to lend them their support, raising the spirits of several downtrodden soldiers who had lost their morale, and even trying to start the spark of a revolution against an oppressive dictatorship.
After all, not all of the uses of Charm Person have to be done with passive thoughts and goals in mind; The spell can be used to try and achieve any manner of goal achieved, whether it holds a peaceful outcome at its end or not.
Advice and final thoughts
Becoming a friend with anyone within a Campaign is a powerful tool. After all, a friend to the Party can offer them their services, their homes, and even their loyalty to whatever cause the Party may be trying to achieve.
Charm Person helps make those friends, even if the friendship would only last an hour and would end upon the Duration of the spell ends. This spell can even make enemies into temporary friends and allow them to gain an insight into the mind of their foes.
So that the Party can better understand not only how to fight them in the future but also be able to handle peaceful situations with these enemies again in a better manner, should such an opportunity arise. With all of this in mind, along with the advantages of having this spell and how it operates within a campaign.
Someone within the wide array of spellcasting classes that can pick up this spell definitely should. Even if the player’s intentions with this spell upon picking it up and using it within a campaign are not always going to be with the best in mind for those around them, it is a worthwhile spell to have in one’s arsenal.
Charm Person Spell FAQ
If Charm Person 5e is used on a humanoid creature that is asleep would there be any advantage/disadvantage to the effects?
Casting a spell on a sleeping target would be slightly beneficial to the Caster, though not by a huge margin. A person using this spell against a sleeping target would most likely do it like this. So the afflicted humanoid has less of a chance of really knowing that they were charmed by the Caster since they did not properly see/hear the vocal and somatic components needed to cast the spell.
What is the DC required for the Wisdom Saving throw that attempts to combat Charm Person 5e?
The DC is regularly whatever the Spellcaster’s Spell Save DC is listed on their character sheet. Such a DC is normally calculated by adding 8 plus the modifier for the spellcasting ability, then adding the proficiency bonus to the total. An example would be a Bard having a +5 to Charisma and a +2 to their Proficiency Bonus, making the DC a 15 that would be needed to pass the save.
Does the friendly nature of the charmed person extend to other members of the Caster’s Party or just the Caster alone?
The Caster is regularly seen as a friend to whoever is affected by Charm person, whether a complete stranger or a hostile creature fighting them. In the case of the latter half, a party should coordinate with each other about what creature should be the target and agree to leave them be as best they can. As the spell’s Duration ends early if any harmful effect damages the afflicted creature