I’m a big fan of Charme Person. Like, big time. For the following reasons:
- It allows the mage to play puppeteer with somebody. Awesome. This spell so wins. Plus it presents the mage interesting problems (“should I just make him die? kill him myself? let him go back? keep on charming him every day?”). Plus, in feeding megalomaniac urges is second to just Fireball: free minions are both tricky and awesome.
- Because it is truly a spell with a huge range of uses. It can be used to turn the tides of a battle, to get information, to get some slack from people like guards, teachers, bankers, bartenders, shopkeepers, wenches, tax inspectors and so on. Especially if the PCs are somewhere they’re not going to stick around when charme will wear off.
- There’s a great chance people met somewhere can be very knowledgeable about their whereabouts. Doubly so in confined places like dungeons. Having the charmed act as a guide while keeping him away from trouble is something the charmed might appreciate, in retrospect, and if played smart can hardly be against the subject alignment. Even just asking “how the heck do we get out of here?” can save the party’s bacon.
- Charming an NPC allows PCs to peek “behind the scenes” and learn tidbits about your setting without going out of character. This is a meta-tool that can be used either to showoff your effort, highlight or foreshadow something important that you want to make sure players notice (possibly because they didn’t get it the fist time around) or to provide closure for some events players have been puzzling about. Be careful while using meta-tools as they’re very powerful and with great powers blah blah blah.
- It allows forces me to create NPCs on the fly, and I totally love that. NPCs and exploration are what make me want to run games, doubly so if I have to come up with mad stuff on the fly.
- It’s just first level. It lasts days. It’s probably going to last more than the charmed individual… 🙂
- When it wears off, problems might happen. An entire generation learnt to hate Bargle because of two spells, and one was this.
- An evil/chaotic NPC will probably propose and be willing to do extremely dirty work for his master. Torture, thieving, murder, prostitution, slavery, racket…
As a house rule, I make the spell permanent if the save is failed with a 1. It happened in my sandbox, and it’s been great fun to have Wolf (a ruthless bandit leader with alcohol and lotus problems) hang around with the party. He would suggest to do things most other PCs would not be ready to do or to even suggest (except the Cthulhu cleric, but that’s a topic for another post).
Something else that happened is that while my players were exploring Sham‘s Dismal Depths: Bowser the medium (played by my cousin Andrea) charmed a morlock to keep him from raising the alarm. Ugub the Morlock was used as a guide, the party keeping him safe from harm and, when they were going to leave the dungeon, Bowser even paid him and let him go back to his workshop. When the spell ended Ugub (reaction roll… high enough) realized that the magic-user treated him better than his taskmaster, left his workplace with a bag full of tools and rejoined the party. This is the reason why we now have playable morlock tinkers… 🙂