You attempt to charm a humanoid you can see within range. It must make a Wisdom saving throw and does so with advantage if you or your companions are fighting it. 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. When the spell ends, the creature knows it was charmed by you.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd Level or higher, you can target one additional creature for each slot level above 1st. The creatures must be within 30 feet of each other when you target them.
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 hour
School: 1st-level enchantment
Player’s Handbook, pg. 221
Charm Person 5e
Making friends, building relationships — this stuff takes time. But with Charm Person, it’s as easy as a word and a gesture.
There are times when regular conversation isn’t producing results but battle isn’t the answer either. Parties that like to dig for information and learn every advantage they can before embarking on a mission will value one player having Charm Person ready for such scenarios.
Who Can Cast Charm Person in 5e?
The following classes have Charm Person on their spell list:
The following subclasses get Charm Person for free:
- Cleric (Trickery Domain)
What Does Charm Person Do in 5e?
Charm Person forces a humanoid within range to make a Wisdom saving throw. If it fails, it’s charmed and if it passes, nothing happens. If you or your allies are fighting the creature, it has advantage on the saving throw. You can’t attack or do anything hostile toward the creature, or the charm effect ends early.
In addition to regarding you as a friendly acquaintance, charm also comes with certain effects. Charmed creatures cannot attack the charmer or target them with spells. Additionally, the charmer has advantage on any ability check involving social interaction with the charmed creature (PHB 290).
The spell’s effect lasts for one hour and does not require concentration to maintain. That hour gives you plenty of time to put distance between you and the charmed individual if you don’t want to deal with the repercussions of it realizing you charmed it.
When upcast, you can charm one additional creature in range (30 feet) to make the Wisdom saving throw and possibly charm. The creatures must also be within 30 feet each other.
What Are the Rules for Charm Person in 5e?
The rules for Charm Person in DnD 5e are as follows:
Charm Person only works on humanoids. All humanoids will be marked as such directly below their name on their stat block. All player races are humanoids, as are common enemies like Goblins, Bugbears, and Kobolds.
Doing anything harmful to the charmed target breaks the effect early. The spell’s description says “anything harmful,” so spell effects like debuffs .
The rules of the charm condition apply. Charmed creatures cannot attack the caster or target it wtih harmful abilities or magical effects. Also, the caster has advantage on ability checks when interacting socially with the charmed creature (PHB 290).
Charmed creatures aren’t compelled to say anything. “Friendly acquaintance” implies that the charmed creature will be polite and not tell any outright lies, but it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll divulge all their secrets. However, you do get advantage on your social interactions, so they’re more likely to go well.
The creature knows you charmed it after the effect ends. Whether it becomes violent or not depends on the nature of the creature and the discretion of the DM.
However, since the similar enchantment cantrip Friends explicitly states that the charmed creatures “becomes hostile toward you” after its charm effect ends and Charm Person does not say that, the charmed creature likely doesn’t become outright hostile after Charm Person wears off.
If the target passes its Wisdom saving throw, it does not realize you tried to charm it. This effect only happens when the spell ends. Since the spell never started, it also never ended.
Additionally, as the Player’s Handbook states “unless a spell has a perceptible effect, a creature might not know it was targeted by a spell at all…a more subtle effect, such as an attempt to read a creature’s thoughts, typically goes unnoticed, unless a spell says otherwise” (PHB 204).
Since Charm Person does not say otherwise, we must assume it follows those same rules. Here’s half a confirmation on Sage Advice as well.
When upcasting on multiple targets, each target must be within 30 feet of each other as well as you.For example, you couldn’t use Charm Person on someone 30 feet north of you and 30 feet south of you simultaneously. But if you picked a target in the middle of the two (30 feet from each and yourself), you’d be able to affect all 3 (expending a 3rd-level spell slot).
Charm Person doesn’t stop hostility against your party. If you successfully charm a creature in the middle of combat, it is still hostile to the rest of your party unless/until you’re able to talk it down.
Post-charm, the creature will blame the charm on the caster they saw. So if you were disguised when you cast Charm Person, the enemy will blame your alter ego. If you were hidden when you cast Charm Person, they will not know they were affected by a spell at all.
Multiple Charm Persons are possible on one target, but the highest level one takes precedence. Rules for “Combining Magical Effects” are found on PHB 205 (“the most potent effect….applies while their durations overlap”) and confirmation that it works like this for Charm Person as well on Sage Advice.
If the same levels of Charm Person are cast on the same target, I’d argue whichever was cast first applies until it falls off, at which point the other takes over. However, this isn’t explicitly laid out in the rules, so a DM could reasonably rule that the newest charm effect takes precedence.
Dispel Magic can end Charm Person early. Charm Person is a magical effect, after all.
How Do I Use Charm Person in 5e?
To use Charm Person to maximum effect, use it when:
Getting information. Charm Person is built for civilized situations where words can get you a bigger advantage than swords. While not the perfect interrogation tool (people don’t usually expose their master plans to the friendly acquaintance who pours their morning coffee), it certainly helps break the ice.
Plus, having advantage on all socially-based ability checks against the target means you might be able to maneuver your way toward the information you care about most.
Just remember that the creature will know you charmed it afterward, so if it’s prone to temper or has a boss it can run to tell, you might be safer running away or ending the chance that news of your conversation spreads (killing is safest, but threats might also do).
Bargaining. Swindlers love Charm Person for getting the upper hand in negotiations. Again, players should remember that friendly acquaintances don’t hand over the keys to their estate and present their life savings to them. But if you want to pick up some expensive gemstones at a bargain price, Charm Person might just do the trick.
Just be sure to get the hell out of there before the spell breaks — even if you do so, that gem merchant might have a bone to pick next time she sees you!
Gain a pre-combat advantage. Sometimes, you can see a fight coming from a mile away. Rowdy street thugs approach you with jeers and insults or you happen across an orc scout before reaching their hideout. Since you’re not yet in combat, the target won’t have advantage on the saving throw.
You can use this to effectively take one enemy out of the fight (so long as you and your allies are careful not to harm them) before the fight even begins. You won’t be able to make them betray their comrades, but at least they’ll stay out of your way and possibly provide basic information regarding the threat that lies ahead.
Note that a guard witnessing his ally being attacked might still intervene and attack other players, even if he won’t attack the player who charmed him.
Skipping encounters. Stealthy parties who’d rather finagle their way to the boss room without expending too many resources will appreciate the potential efficiency of Charm Person. Maybe you’ll even be able to charm an internal rival and convince them that now is the time for a coup, cutting your foes in half or clearing out a particularly nasty room that stands in your way.
Who Can I Target With Charm Person 5e?
You can only target humanoids with Charm Person. Here’s a (not comprehensive) list of humanoids from The Monster Manual:
Lycanthropes of any variety
All player races
The target must also be within 30 feet and you need a clear path to the target.
Is Charm Person 5e a Good Spell?
Charm Person is a good spell if you are engaged in quests that require more social interaction than pure combat. That being said, it also has potential combat utility if you can cast it on someone before the fight actually breaks out.
Charm Person is mostly limited by the target only believing you a “friendly acquaintance” and remembering it was charmed after the spell ends. Both of these things mean the power of Charm Person is largely up to what your DM is willing to let you get away with.
Charm Person Compared to Friends
Friends is an enchantment cantrip that has a similar effect as Charm Person, but it doesn’t actually charm the target. It simply gives the caster advantage on Charisma ability checks with the target. It doesn’t prevent the target from attacking the caster.
Friends also requires concentration and only lasts a maximum of one minute. Additionally, the target becomes hostile at the end of that minute once it realizes that you’ve manipulated it.
While the creature also knows it was charmed after Charm Person ends, the creature doesn’t automatically become hostile as they do with Friends. Overall, Charm Person is a more potent version of Friends.
Charm Person 5e DM Tips
Charm Person is likely to invite rules-lawyering the first (or fiftieth) time that it’s cast in a new campaign. As the DM, it’s your job to determine exactly how powerful Charm Person is. This boils down to two major decisions:
How do people treat their friendly acquaintances?
What do charmed creatures do once the spell’s effect wears off?
A DM that rules a friendly acquaintance is basically a best friend will make the spell considerably stronger, but they could also balance that by making creatures extremely angry post-charm.
Or you could rule that friendly acquaintances aren’t too inclined to talk or be nice (especially if the target wasn’t a kind person to begin with), then you can also make the after effect less punishing.
Consistency and clarity are what’s most important when communicating Charm Person’s effect to players.
The other really important thing to remember is that the casting of Charm Person is not obvious. It’s a mental-style spell, and as laid out in the rules, nobody is aware that you’ve charmed someone. The target also isn’t aware that it was targetted if it passes its save.
Don’t go making angry shopkeeps that yell about mental intrusions due to Charm Person after they pass their saving throw — that’s not how it works. If a magically inclined individual is present (or targeted), then you might rule that they pick up on the spell.
Simple Charm Person 5e Spell Text
Charm Person: (30 feet, 1 hour, V/S) A humanoid in range makes a Wisdom saving throw. It has advantage if it’s fighting you or your companions. On a failure, it is charmed by you. If you or your companions harm the creature, the spell ends early. The creature regards you as a friendly acquaintance until the spell ends. The creature knows it was charmed by you after the spell ends.