In a campaign I've been playing in, we've been having a real tough time deciding how powerful to make the first level Charm Person spell for Magic Users. Some background, we are playing Swords & Wizardry, a 0e retroclone, but nearly all systems have similar descriptions of the spell.
In S&W, it's described this way: "If the spell succeeds (saving throw allowed), the unfortunate creature falls under the caster's influence." It's the interpretation of that last word that we can't agree on. Some in the group want to see it as just making the ensorcelled person feel that they are the caster's best friend and would like to help them out if they can, but not so powerful as to make the target do anything they wouldn't normally do.
Others in the group argue that such a reading makes the spell nearly useless because it does nothing more for the caster than what good role playing and a high charisma could accomplish. Instead, barring asking the target to do something like commit suicide, they should be compelled to do almost anything the MU asks.
Seems to me that the first reading makes the spell too weak, and second reading makes it too strong. It's only a first level spell after all. To complicate things, S&W has a 3rd level spell called Suggestion that forces the target to carry out a hypnotic suggestion, but just the one task. AD&D has a similar spell, except at the 4th level. How is this different from Charm? Shouldn't a higher level spell be much more powerful?
Has anyone else run into this dilemma? If so, how did you resolve it? Anyone have any thoughts about how to find a middle way? Thanks in advance for the help.