The guard’s stomach dropped in fear at the same time as his cheeks burned with rage, in a moment everything suddenly became so clear. It seemed perfectly natural at the time, opening the gate and escorting that adventuring party through the checkpoint. Now the fog had lifted he was painfully aware that the shy Tiefling hadn’t muttered at first, but was actually bewitching him with some kind of spell. His hand began to hurt as he gripped his pike too tightly, it was too late to do anything about it now, they’d surely be across the city by the time clarity had returned to his mind. That just left him alone with his frustration and the anxiety of having to explain what happened to the watch captain.
What is Charm Person?
Charm Person is a 1st level enchantment spell available to many classes. It takes an action to cast and lasts an hour, it doesn’t require concentration. When you cast the spell, you can force one humanoid within 30 feet of you to make a Wisdom saving throw. They have advantage on this saving throw if you or your allies are already fighting them. On a failed save, the humanoid is charmed by you for the spell’s duration or until you or your allies do something harmful to them. While charmed, the target will think of you as a friendly acquaintance; however, it’s worth noting that when the spell ends for any reason, they’ll know that you charmed them. If you choose to upcast Charm Person then you can target an additional humanoid for every spell level above 1st. For example, using a 3rd level slot would allow you to target three humanoids at once.
Is Charm Person a good spell?
This isn’t a straightforward yes or no. It depends on your build and your DM, how much use you can get out of this spell. As a combat spell, it’s not very good. There’s a couple of reasons for this: while the spell takes your party members into account to make the save easier to pass and end the spell, the charmed condition does nothing to prevent the target from attacking your party members. It only protects the caster. The target having advantage on the save if combat has already broken out makes this unreliable at best to use in combat, leaving out combat use.
Using this spell out of combat falls into two categories, avoiding combat and social interaction, which can overlap in any given circumstance. If you’re able to cast this on a hostile before initiative is rolled, say on a guard while you’re hidden, then you’re able to avoid that guard as a combat encounter altogether. This can be complicated by having multiple hostiles, but that can be addressed by casting at a higher level, using the Twinned Spell metamagic, or something as simple as targeting the leader of the group. Using Charm Person in social situations sounds like an ideal use case, but the clause of the target automatically knowing you charmed them could cause hostility from a previously neutral (or even friendly) NPC. The utility of the charmed condition is also very narrow. You’ll have advantage on checks to interact socially, but if you have a poor Cha modifier or no proficiency in a skill like Persuasion, the benefit may not do much for you.
To get the most use out of Charm Person, you ideally need a good Cha modifier with proficiency in social skills like Persuasion and a DM willing to let you get away with some shenanigans with the charmed person.
How can you get Charm Person?
Charm Person is available from a lot of sources, so if you’re interested in picking up this spell, you have a lot of options to do so. Let’s start by listing the classes that have Charm Person on their spell list, relevant features of that class will be noted in ():
Arcane Trickster (Rogue subclass) – This subclass gives access to the Wizard spell list. Rogues also get Expertise to help get the most of it.
Eldritch Knight (Fighter subclass) – Like above, this grants access to the Wizard spell list.
Fey Wanderer (Ranger subclass) – This subclass gives you Charm Person at 3rd level without it counting against your limited spells known.
Trickery Domain (Cleric subclass) – This subclass gives you Charm person as a domain spell at 1st level.
Magic Initiate (feat) – This feat will allow you to get a free casting of Charm Person once a day as well as two cantrips from one of the spell lists covered above. Note: you won’t be able to cast Charm Person using your spell slots unless you have at least one level in the class you took Magic Initiate for.
Fey Touched (feat) – With this feat, you can choose Charm Person as the 1st level enchantment spell, while also getting Misty Step. You can cast both for free once a day but can also cast them with any spell slots you may have.
Fierna Tiefling (variant race) – This race option will give you the ability to cast Charm Person once a day at 3rd level. It will also give you the Friends cantrip and, from 5th level, allow you to cast Suggestion in the same way, making for a very thematic package.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful. If you’re trying to choose some spells for your next character, then look at our spells section. Good luck out there adventurer, and be careful with your newfound power to charm enemies and alienate people.