Learn how the charmed condition works, how you can take advantage of it and protect yourself from it
The charmed condition is one in which a character’s ability or spells is able to magically alter the mind of another to view them as friendly. It’s a manipulation of the mind and is often used in circumstances when another individual might not ordinarily be friendly towards a character. It has uses both in combat and in social encounters, though does have limitations too.
And of course, who hasn’t wished they could manipulate someone’s attitude towards them with a simple magical spell. You could convince your boss to give you a raise, a bully to leave you be or gain the affection of a crush. Of course, there certainly are moral implications of manipulating someone’s mind and attitude towards you and D&D 5e does go some way to address this.
In this article, we’ll discuss what the Charmed condition is, how it works, how you can use it to your advantage and how to protect against its effects.
The Player’s Handbook provides the rules for the charmed condition, explaining that it causes the following effects:
Player’s Handbook, p290
- 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.
What is the Charmed Condition?
The Charmed condition is a magical effect that changes a creature’s attitude towards another creature. A charmed creature regards the charmer as a friendly, and it will not attack the charmer unless it is provoked. However, the charmed creature won’t necessarily follow the charmer’s orders blindly, especially if the orders are obviously harmful to itself (it’s not mind control, just influences attitudes towards the charmer).
The Charmed condition is different from the Incapacitated or Paralyzed conditions, which render a creature unable to take any actions. A charmed creatures is still able to act as normal and can even attack creatures allied to the charmer (though may be more easily convinced to not do so).
How Does the Charmed Condition Work?
There’s a fair bit of nuance in the charmed rules and a fair bit a DM may need to rule on to determine how a charmed creature reacts so we’ll break down a bit further what can and can’t be done while charmed.
First off, you can’t attack the charmer if you’re charmed. this includes magical and non-magical attacks. You also can’t use any harmful abilities or effects on the charmer. This means you can’t do anything to the charmer that would affect them negatively.
Within this rule, it’s not just who you’re targeting but who’s affected, for example, you might cast an area of effect spell that doesn’t directly target the charmer but would still hit them. This is also something you can’t do while charmed.
In addition, if the charmer is attempting to interact socially with you, they have advantage on all rolls. This includes things like deception, persuasion and performance checks.
This doesn’t mean that a character will blindly do whatever the charmer says. Convincing someone to give you all their money will still require a very high roll on persuasion and even with advantage, could be easy to fail. On top of this, you can’t convince someone to do something that they would never do like kill themself or, potentially, give away all their money. Instead, the charmed character is simply more friendly to you and more easily persuaded (or manipulated). Think of them as a good friend that you’ve magically manipulated to be your friend, rather than some kind of thrall that obeys your every command.
On top of this, it’s worth being aware that many charmed spells will state that once the spell has ended, the charmed creature will be aware that they’ve been charmed and will become hostile towards you, after all, no one likes having their mind played with. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the charmed creature will attack the charmer, but no one likes having their mind messed with and being attacked is certainly one avenue a charmed creature might take.
What can cause the charmed condition?
There are a number of ways to cause the charmed condition in D&D 5e including spells, abilities, magic items and monster abilities. We’ve detailed these out below so you can make sure you have options for your characters or creatures if you want to charm someone.
Spells that cause charmed
Probably the easiest way to cause charmed is by choosing a spell that causes this effect. It’s worth noting that different spells have additional charm effects, for instance, some will allow the caster to choose who the charmed creature attacks, others will not necessarily result in the charmed creature becoming antagonistic towards the charmer so it’s worth learning the exact rules for each spell. The following are all the spells in D&D 5e that cause the charmed condition:
|Spell Name||Level||School||Casting Time||Range||Components||Duration||Saving Throw||Effect|
|Animal Friendship||1st||Enchantment||1 action||30 feet||V S M (A morsel of food)||24 hours||Wisdom||Target is charmed and is convinced that you mean it no harm.|
|Awaken||5th||Transmutation||8 hours||Touch||V S M (An agate worth at least 1,000gp)||Instantaneous||None||You give a beast or plant of less than 3 intelligence intelligence 10, the ability to speak and senses similar to a human’s. In addition, the target is charmed for 30 days at which point, it will decide how it regards you based on how you treated it.|
|Charm Person||1st||Enchantment||1 action||30 feet||V, S||1 hour||Wisdom (with advantage if you’re fighting the creature)||The target is charmed for the duration but knows you charmed it when the spell ends.|
|Charm Monster||4th||Enchantment||1 action||30 feet||V, S||1 hour||Wisdom (with advantage if you’re fighting the creature)||The target is charmed for the duration but knows you charmed it when the spell ends.|
|Crown of Madness||2nd||Enchantment||1 action||120 feet||V, S||Concentration, up to 1 minute||Wisdom||The target becomes charmed and must use its action each turn to attack a creature designated by the caster|
|Dominate Beast||4th||Enchantment||1 action||60 feet||V, S||Concentration, up to 1 minute||Wisdom (with advantage if you’re fighting the creature)||The caster gains control of the target, which can take only the actions the caster instructs. The target is also charmed.|
|Dominate Monster||8th||Enchantment||1 action||60 feet||V S||Concentration, up to 1 hour||Wisdom (with advantage if you’re fighting the creature)||The caster gains control of the target, which can take only the actions the caster instructs. The target is also charmed.|
|Dominate Person||5th||Enchantment||1 action||60 feet||V, S||Concentration, up to 1 minute||Wisdom (with advantage if you’re fighting the creature)||The caster gains control of the target, which can take only the actions the caster instructs. The target is also charmed.|
|Fast Friends||3rd||Enchantment||1 action||30 feet||V||Concentration, up to 1 hour||Wisdom||The target is charmed and will endeavour to perform whatever task you ask it to though tasks might cause harm or conflict with their normal activities will instigate another wisdom saving throw. When the spell ends, the target knows you charmed them.|
|Friends||Cantrip||Enchantment||1 action||Self||S, M (a small amount of makeup applied to the face as the spell is cast)||Concentration, up to 1 minute||None||You have advantage on charisma checks against the target for the duration of the spell though the target doesn’t have the “charmed” condition imposed on them.|
|Geas||5th||Enchantment||1 minute||60 feet||V||30 days||Wisdom||The target is charmed and compelled to carry out some service or refrain from some action, as determined by the caster or suffer damage.|
|Hypnotic Pattern||3rd||Illusion||1 action||120 feet (30ft cube)||S M (A glowing stick of incense or a crystal vial filled with phosphorescent material)||Concentration, up to 1 minute||Wisdom||Targets become charmed, incapacitated and have a speed of 0.|
|Incite Greed||3rd||Enchantment||1 action||30 feet||V S M (a gem worth at least 50gp)||Concentration, up to 1 minute||Wisdom||Targets are charmed and any within 5 feet of you will stare reedily at the gem you present, doing nothing.|
|Modify Memory||5th||Enchantment||1 action||30 feet||V, S||Instantaneous||Wisdom||The caster can modify the target’s memories of an event that occurred in the last 24 hours. During the spell, the target is charmed and incapacitated.|
|Nathair’s Mischief||2nd||Illusion||1 action||60ft (20ft cube)||S M (a piece of crust from an apple pie)||Concentration, up to 1 minute||Wisdom or dexterity||Various including being charmed.|
Magic items that cause charmed
While not a reliable way of being able to inflict the charmed condition on an enemy, if you have a generous DM, you may be gifted an item that can cause creatures to be charmed. Even then, such items are not common. Here are a few that you can petition your DM for/bestow upon your eager party:
- Philter of love potion
- Rod of rulership
- Orb of dragonkind
- Pipes of the Sewers
- Ring of Animal Influence
- Staff of Charming
Creatures that can cause charmed
For the DMs out there, there aren’t a lot of creatures that can cause the charmed condition, though if you’re keen to use it, you can always bring in a spellcaster with spells that cause charmed. These abilities can easily turn the tide of combat preventing certain characters from attacking you, convincing them to leave you be and can be used in even more creative ways.
It is important however, for the DM to use an ability like charmed carefully, you don’t want to force you’re players to do too much or halt them in their tracks. We’ve listed all the creatures that can cause the charmed condition though there may be a few more lurking out there:
How to protect against charmed
You probably don’t want to be manipulated by the charmed condition. While it’s not the worst of conditions to have imposed against you, it can certainly be an awkward one. Below are the ways you can protect yourself against the charmed condition:
- High wisdom – You’ll usually need to make a saving throw before you can be charmed and usually this is contested against your wisdom. A lot of other spells can also be saved against wisdom so it can be a handy ability to at least have some capabilities in.
- Abilities – Some abilities can give you a boost or even immunity against the charmed condition. All Elves have advantage on saving throws against being charmed (at least they do now with the release of Monsters of the Multiverse) as do Gnomes with their gnome cunning. The resilient feat can give you proficiency on wisdom saving throws if you want. Some classes also have abilities that grant some protection against charmed.
- Spells – A few spells can be used to protect against the effects of charmed. These include Protection from Evil and Good and Mind Blank. As a level 1 spell, protection from evil and good will only protect you from being charmed by certain types of creatures for a short period of time but could be useful if you know you’re going to be facing a group of succubi for instance. Mind blank is a long lasting protective spell that protects you from psychic damage and all emotional and mind reading spells so works well against mind flayers for example but is a very high level spell at level 8.
The Charmed condition is a powerful effect in D&D 5e that can drastically alter a creature’s attitude towards another. Players should be aware of spells, abilities, magic items, and monsters that can cause the Charmed condition, as well as ways to protect against it. As always, it’s up to the DM to decide when and how the Charmed condition is used in their games.
All condition guides
Conditions are powerful tools or problematic obstacles in D&D 5e. You can learn more about all the conditions of D&D 5e in our guides below: