Charmed Condition 5e

Published on February 9, 2024

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Charmed Condition in D&D 5e

While seemingly innocuous, the charmed condition is a nuanced and oft-misunderstood condition in D&D 5e. While it comes with a set of its own native effects, it’s also a defacto condition applied to a player or monster whenever their mind is being influenced by outside forces.

Now the charmed condition doesn’t seem so charming, does it?

In this guide, we’ll aim to clarify the charmed condition, its mechanics, how to counteract it, and its implications in gameplay.

What is the Charmed Condition?

According to the Basic Rules, being under the charmed condition means the following D&D 5e:


  • 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.

Appendix A: Conditions – Basic Rules

While the above effects can certainly make an impact on combat and social situations, the charmed condition’s deadliest consequences usually come as a secondary result of the spell or ability that applied the condition.

For example, the vampire’s Charm ability applies the charmed condition, but also:

The charmed target regards the vampire as a trusted friend to be heeded and protected. Although the target isn’t under the vampire’s control, it takes the vampire’s requests or actions in the most favorable way it can, and it is a willing target for the vampire’s bite attack.

Vampire – Basic Rules, pg. 352

In this case, not being able to attack the vampire and them having advantage on ability checks against you is kind of the least of your worries.

Is the Charmed Condition Mind Control?

Unless otherwise stated, the charmed condition isn’t mind control; it’s mind influence. Getting advantage on social checks isn’t something that will let you convince an NPC to hand over their life savings, nor is the “friendly attitude” applied by many of these spells.

If you want to go for straight-up enthralling mind control, I’ve got good news for you. Dominate person and dominate monster apply the charmed condition and you can get precise control over the target. The charmed condition may not be mind control, but this definitely is.

How Does Charm Person Work in 5e?

Issues with the charmed condition most often crop up because of charm person. This fiddly, charming little spell applies the charmed condition and also makes the target regard you as a friendly acquaintance. But, it does have some drawbacks. Seeing as it’s a 1st-level spell, it has the caveat that when the spell ends, the target knows it was charmed by you.

Let’s dig into the mechanics, both implied and explicit, about charm person.

What Does Friendly Acquaintance Mean?

Unfortunately, there are no explicit mechanics in the Dungeon Master’s Guide for what being a “friendly acquaintance” means. But we do have some rules on “starting attitude” from the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

A friendly creature wants to help the adventurers and wishes for them to succeed. For tasks or actions that require no particular risk, effort, or cost, friendly creatures usually help without question. If an element of personal risk is involved, a successful Charisma check might be required to convince a friendly creature to take that risk.

Chapter 8: Running the Game – Dungeon Master’s Guide

So, charm person can be especially useful for changing the starting attitude of a creature from indifferent or hostile to friendly for a conversation. It’s also helpful that it applies the charmed condition, so you’ll get advantage on any social checks.

That said, they’ll likely jump down to hostile once the spell wears off and they realize they’ve been charmed.

A Creature Knows It Was Charmed By You

The last clause of charm person also doesn’t have a lot of clarity, and the attitude of a creature who knows they were charmed by another is primarily up to the Dungeon Master. This could mean they suddenly become hostile to you, but it could also have other effects based on the scenario. Unfortunately, even an ability like the sorcerer’s Subtle Spell won’t be able to get around this caveat. Luckily for the more cunning adventurers out there, the easiest way to get around this clause is to use a disguise—be it magical or otherwise.

Breaking the Charm

Because there are so many ways to apply the charmed condition, and so many secondary effects they apply, it would be difficult to cover them all. Luckily, there are a number of ways to negate the charmed condition, many of which are applied innately through class and racial abilities:

Saving Throws

The best way to avoid the charmed condition is not getting charmed in the first place. Most charm effects require a Wisdom saving throw to resist or end early, so make sure to stack into Wisdom or pick up Resilient (Wisdom) if you know you’re going to be facing a lot of charming enemies.


Spells like aura of purity, calm emotions, dispel magic, dispel evil and good, and greater restoration can end the charmed condition. You could also get your charmed ally to a place under the effects of the hallow spell, or if you know a particularly powerful magic user, get them to cast the mind blank or power word heal spells on them.

Racial and Class Features

Luckily for Sylvan descendants, like elves and half-elves, Fey Ancestry is one of the best ways to mitigate charm effects because it grants you advantage on all saving throws against being charmed. All that time around those tricky fairies really paid off, eh?

Apart from just being born that way, you can pick up charm resistance in your class but taking the Path of the Beserker barbarian, which makes you immune to being charmed and frightened. This is great for barbarians who min-maxed into Strength and Constitution, and not so much into Wisdom.

Bards also get the ability to resist the charmed condition, but they can share with the whole party! 6th-level and higher bards can use Countercharm to start playing a tune that gives yourself and your allies advantage against being charmed, but you have to keep spending your action on it every turn for it to be effective.

Taking Damage

This isn’t a sure thing, so it’s best to save this for the last resort, but some charm effects end if the charmed creature takes damage. This is most common for charm effects that incapacitate creatures, like sleep or hypnotic pattern. Taking damage is also a common way to end charm effects that force cause creatures to become friendly to the caster, like charm monster/person, but they usually have to take damage from the charmer to have the effects negated.

Break the Spell

So there you have it. We’re glad we can help spread the word to make folks understand that the charmed condition isn’t as innocent as it may seem. So, the next time you see a cute boy in science class who’s allergic to the sun, you might want to make sure you keep your distance.

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. He is a Adamantine best-selling author of Strixhaven: A Syllabus of Sorcery on DMs Guild and is a contributing author at D&D Beyond. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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