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D&D 3E
Charm Person... (inspired by Colin Blackthorn's post) 
31st-Mar-2008 11:12 am
Serious
I have to wonder how effective Charm Person is when cast on a member of a sociopathic xenophobe by someone not a member of the victim's race. It would influence the DC of the save in my opinion and even if the spell does succeed how well does it work?

Thoughts?
Comments 
31st-Mar-2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
It arbitrarily sets the reaction level to Friendly, regardless of any other circumstances, which I'd think would have a short-term effect... the spell only lasts an hour per level, too. From the description in the DMG, Friendly looks like somebody who passes you on the street and nods hello without saying or doing anything... not gonna hit you with a rock, but also not gonna lend you 20 bucks without a good reason. The more active uses of Charm are combat-related... out of combat, even though he's Friendly, he's not going to hand over all of his magic items to you "just for safekeeping." Out of combat, rather than agreeing to help you go fight the monster, he's going to try to convince you not to do it.
31st-Mar-2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
In my opinion, when you use charm person, you get all the biases of the charmed person. Friendly to a xenophobe could mean, "I count to ten before I kill you," or, "I'll let you buff before the fight." It could even mean that your enemy praises your courage and integrity even as they plan to fight you.
31st-Mar-2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
As a DM I might assign a slight penalty to the save DC depending on how xenophobic the target was, but not much. They do get an opposed Cha check against taking any action they might not normally take (as per the spell description).

As for how would it work, I think the Diplomacy entry is pretty good. It says that friendly "Wishes you well" and they might "Chat, advise, offer limited help, advocate". They might even come out and say, "I don't like your kind, but you've got a certain quality that is better than the rest."
31st-Mar-2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
i think changing the save DC based on attitude would be the wrong approach. they're either charmed or not based on the mechanic lined out in the rules. what they're willing to do for a "friend" would be where attitude comes into play. if you're dealing with a violent xenophobe that doesn't mean they still get to kill you. it just means they won't refrain from killing your friends no matter how nicely you ask.

you charm a greedy halfling and he'll take you at your word that you and your friends are harmless, but he won't give you the keys to his safe, because he wouldn't do that for any of his friends.

you charm a psychopathic orc and he stops smashing you with an axe but remains unconvinced it's a bad idea to start smashing your cleric instead.

Edited at 2008-03-31 04:45 pm (UTC)
1st-Apr-2008 12:19 am (UTC)
I would argue that it shouldn't influence the DC. It doesn't matter how much of a xenophobe they are, if they are weak-willed (ie, have a low Will save), then they can be affected by the magic.

And once they are affected, they are friendly towards the PC. It doesn't matter if the NPC isn't ever friendly to anyone, they are now friendly towards the PC. It's magic. So in this case, I'd argue that they magically forget that the PC is of the wrong race--the PC is now the target's best friend.

Charm Person has all kinds of limitations. This would be one of the few areas where it could really shine, the intended application of the spell even. I'd recommend against trying to nerf it here, your players might not appreciate it.

3rd-Apr-2008 08:47 am (UTC)
I would say that being a sociopathic xenophobe is somewhat irrelevant in this case, because dealing with that type of scenario strikes me as the entire function of the spell.

Whether you are, or are not, a member of a different race, class, gender or faith would play no factor, as the point of the spell is to force a friendly exchange from those who would otherwise have no reason to regard you as such. Your Willpower save represents your attempt to hold on to your natural biases and hatreds, and if you fail you succumb to the influences of magic. You may happen be the most racist bigot in the world, but that doesn't grant you stronger resistances to supernatural forces. Magic is a force that exists to defy logic and reason, and so even a chaotic evil antisocial psycho might suddenly invite you for tea and want to be your "BFF 4 EVA!" This is the exact niche the spell is meant to fill.

If you really feel the need to tweak the spell, I would recommend something like slightly reducing the reaction bonus. Perhaps the Xenophobe simply becomes "neutral" rather than "friendly," or perhaps they simply stop caring about the casting character in any positive or negative ways.
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