Let's say a PC casts charm person on the town's sheriff. One hour later, the spell ends and the sheriff realizes he has been charmed, and is now furious and out to arrest the PC. During the confrontation, the PC casts charm person again. Does the sheriff simply forget/forgive his previous vendetta and let the PC go free? Does the knowledge of being previously charmed affect the interaction in any way? How would you play out this scenario?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Why would the Sheriff want to arrest the PC? Do local ordinances outlaw spellcasting? \$\endgroup\$
    – Sam Azon
    Jun 26, 2023 at 22:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This kind of spell which can manipulate people's behavior is against the law in this city. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27, 2023 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


Charm Person is not mind control

The description of the Charm Person spell states:

You attempt to charm a humanoid [...] 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.

Charm Person does not modify memory, neither it allows the caster to command the charmed person. It's only effects are:

  1. The person becomes charmed:

    "Charmed" is a specific game term:

    A charmed creature can't attack the charmer or target the charmer with harmful abilities or magical effects. The charmer has advantage on any ability check to interact socially with the creature.

  2. The person "regards you as a friendly acquaintance".

    The latter is ambiguous and requires a DM's adjudication. I'd say it shouldn't affect the sheriff's actions much: "you're a good guy, but the law is the law". However, your mileage may vary. Choose an option which seems correct to you and stick to it in the future gameplay.

    The rule of thumb is: a spell shouldn't replicate effects of higher level spells, such as Dominate Person or Modify Memory.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Re: 'Does the knowledge of being previously charmed affect the interaction in any way?' Should the second save be made with advantage, if the target knows that it was charmed, as per "does so with advantage if you or your companions are fighting it."? If charm person does not modify memory, and the sheriff knows that they were charmed, how does that affect the interaction? 'You are my friendly acquaintance, but you are also a friend that has used charm on me in the past - of course, you wouldn't be doing that now, would you?' \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jun 23, 2023 at 14:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KirtnoQA4mewhilemodsstrike the rules don't say the second saving throw must be made with advantage. However, a DM can apply advantage/disadvantage as (s)he thinks is neccessary. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Jun 24, 2023 at 10:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt KHaving been affected by a spell in the past doesn't normally grant a creature advantage on the saving throw, and neither does knowing a hostile spell is coming. There is nothing that suggests charm person should be an exception to these general rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Sep 18, 2023 at 21:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe The target of the charm has advantage if the charmer or charmer's companions "are fighting it". If the target knows a hostile spell is coming, that doesn't count as fighting? 'Fighting' is defined only as anything that happens after the first turn of combat? After the first attack roll of combat? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Sep 18, 2023 at 22:45

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