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I'm running Curse of Strahd, and have reworked Strahd as an actual wizard and not just a vampire with convenient wizard-powers. One of the spells he has is charm person.

If my PCs cast protection from evil and good on themselves, will this protect against charm person as cast by an undead? The specific wording of PfEaG is

Until the spell ends, one willing creature you touch is protected against certain types of creatures: aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead.

The protection grants several benefits. Creatures of those types have disadvantage on attack rolls against the target. The target also can't be charmed, frightened, or possessed by them. If the target is already charmed, frightened, or possessed by such a creature, the target has advantage on any new saving throw against the relevant effect.

My thinking is that this is intended to protect against things like innate charm abilities (like a succubus). However, will it also protect against charm person IF the caster of said spell is undead?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the creature type of your reworked Strahd? Is he undead or humanoid? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Jul 14 '18 at 23:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Still undead! So, RAW, Charm Person is still coming from an undead source, but I wanted to know if other people might also argue for the RAI that Protection is meant for innate charm abilities and not spells. \$\endgroup\$ – Dane B. Jul 14 '18 at 23:23
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Your interpretation is correct. There is no reason to believe the protection of the spell is limited to innate abilities; if it was, it would say so. Spells only do what they say they do.

In order to argue the opposite - that it only grants protection from innate abilities - it would be reasonable to point to some other protection method that only protects against innate abilities, but not cast spells. I don't think you can find such an example.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Might also be worth pointing out that spells only do what they say they do. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 15 '18 at 4:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worth, there are some protections that stop spells but not innate non-spell abilities that have spell-like effects. For example, Leomund's Tiny Hut stops physical attacks and spells, but a dragon's breath passes right through it. So there is a meaningful distinction between the two. However, as you say, I can't think of any that work the other way around, protecting from innate abilities but not spells. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan Thompson Jul 16 '18 at 3:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you feel you need a further justification for why a cast spell would be blocked by the Protection, from an in-universe perspective, the Protection spell is basically blocking your mind from being touched by the mind/spirit of an undead creature. A charm is an influence from one mind to another, and it doesn't matter what mechanic allowed that connection to form; the protection spell is still going to 'sense' that the source is an undead (or elemental, fey, fiend, etc) and block the effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Jul 17 '18 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson - Okay, it's been awhile, but what makes you think tiny hut won't stop dragon's breath? \$\endgroup\$ – Jack Sep 3 '18 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ The tiny hut spell says that it blocks, creatures, objects, spells, and other magical effects. A dragon's breath is none of those, so it is unaffected by the spell. Jeremy Crawford confirms this here: sageadvice.eu/2018/01/29/… \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan Thompson Sep 3 '18 at 19:48

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