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Charm Person 5e D&D Guide

Charm Person 5e D&D Guide

The perfect spell for manipulating the people in the world around you, Charm Person, can make negotiations go considerably more smoothly.

It’s also not bad to help your friend out if they get busted by the town guard for pickpocketing in the market square.

The rules for Charm Person are found in the Players Handbook on page 221.

Charm Person 5e

1st-level Enchantment

Casting Time: 1 Action

Range: 30 Feet

Components: V, S

Duration: 1 Hour

You attempt to charm a humanoid you can see within range. It must make a Wisdom saving throw and does so with 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.

The rules for Charm Person outline this as a non-combat or role-play-based spell. The target gains advantage on the save if you or your companions are fighting it. It breaks the charm automatically if you or your companions harm the target.

The most important thing in the spell’s description is this: the creature knows it was charmed by you after the spell ends.

Is Charm Person Good?

Charm Person is a save-based enchantment spell with the potential to be upcast to target additional humanoids. The Charm Person spell puts the target under the charmed condition.

This makes the target unable to target the charmer with harmful spells or attacks. It also gives the charmer advantage on social interactions with the target. Overall, for a 1st level spell slot, it is pretty weak but does have some uses in the right scenario.

It is important to remember that if the target is harmed by you or your allies, the spell will break. This can be tricky because while the target might be friendly with you, they might not go out of their way to help your colleagues.

Hot Tip
Elves and similar creatures are either immune to the effects of charm or highly resistant. This is something to keep in mind if the fey and related creatures are common knowledge in your game world.

What Happens When Charm Person Fails?

There are a few theories on what happens when the Charm Person spell fails, such as if the target made their wisdom save or they are immune.

The first theory is based on the spell not doing anything until the target makes the save. If they make the save, nothing happened.

The result is a lost spell slot and not much else. This could be the best way to handle attempting to charm a creature that is immune to the effect. Their mind is too sturdy to be manipulated by such magic.

The second theory is that the spell does take effect, and the target resists with their willpower ending the spell.

This would trigger the end line of the spell that states, “When the spell ends, the creature knows it was charmed by you. ”This would be a problem depending on the circumstance. Now the target is aware of the spell and can react accordingly.

Bottom Line
Ultimately, this comes down to a house rule by the DM. This is one of those examples of the rules being guidelines. What happens when the Charm Person fails is a judgment call, and the important thing to remember is consistency – what works for the players works for the DM.

Situations for Charm Person

Charm Person can specifically target humanoids. This is what, depending on the situation, makes this spell really strong or really weak.

If your character is spending a large portion of time in towns and civilized areas or dealing with a majority of humanoid races, the spell is great. However, if you are dealing with mostly monsters while adventuring, the spell can be quite useless.

Common uses for Charm Person would revolve around civilized locations. It could be used to gain discounts at a shop, get the local guard to let your friend go, or do anything that involves persuasion or deception. Essentially, Charm Person is useful for social interaction in general.

There are also numerous humanoid, monstrous races, such as goblins, gnolls, lizardfolk, and kobolds, that could be targeted by Charm Person.

This could be useful in avoiding an encounter altogether, getting a guide, or sweet-talking the chief of a tribe. Just remember that after the time expires, the target knows they were charmed.

Hot Tip
The Charm Person spell works on creatures defined as humanoids by the book. This is put in place to limit the power of the spell compared to higher-level spells such as Charm Monster. The spell should automatically fail if targeting a creature that is not a humanoid.

Does Dispel Magic Cancel Charm Person?

Dispel Magic has the purpose of canceling magic spells cast from a person or other magic source. In short, the answer is yes, Dispel Magic will cancel Charm Person. As a side note, the Identify spell will reveal the presence of the charm spell.

Hot Tip
The Dispel Magic spell will cancel a Charm Person spell. A person can be double charmed, but they will not cancel out. Natural abilities, such as a vampire’s charm, are not the same as a spell and would not be affected by Dispel Magic.

Charm Person 5e FAQs

What Is the Difference Between Charm Person and Dominate Person in 5e?

There is quite a big difference between Charm Person and Dominate Person, as they fill entirely different roles and can even be said to be the difference between good (Charm Person) and evil (Dominate Person).

Charm Person simply makes a creature regard you as a friendly acquaintance or ally, while Dominate Person gives you full control over your target. If you say jump, the dominated person will jump.

Charm Person is mainly used to calm enemies down, revert them from being hostile, or just get some useful information out of them since they regard you as a friend. 

Dominate Person, on the other hand, is used to forcefully command a creature to do almost anything simple and general. If you don’t want to command them, you can also use Dominate Person to just defend your allies and remove one enemy from the battlefield.

What Is the Best Way To Defend Against Charm Person in 5e?

The best way to defend against Charm Person would be through the Wisdom saving throw. Various skills and classes like Bard’s countercharm and Paladin’s Aura of Devotion can help to boost your saving throw.

Another way you can defend against Charm Person would be to obtain rare items that give immunity or resistance to being charmed, which will work against other charmed effects as well.

Final Thoughts

Charm Person is a fun spell for getting a good deal on adventuring gear, but ultimately, like many enchantment and illusion spells, it is highly based on circumstance.

If you know before you pick your spells that the game will be centered around espionage and political discourse, it’s probably a smart pick.

If your adventure takes you off into the uncharted planes of existence, you can probably find something better.

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