Hitchhiker's Guide to the Planes
His head jerked at the creaking moan of his cell door opening, the heavy manacles chaining him to his chair preventing him from turning to see his new guest.
In the light of the hallway he could see the marks on his wrists and ankles were turning an ugly purple, matching the lacerations and bruises on his chest and face.
As the scent of exotic perfume crept it’s way into the room, he managed a chuckle; If all the toys in the Lord’s dungeon couldn’t make him talk, what chance did this silly girl have?
“We’re not so different, you and I.”
The cliché was lost on the prisoner amongst the soft, feminine melody of the unfamiliar voice. Something was different this time…
Since the beginning of time man has wanted to control his peers, so it’s no surprise that the origin of the first charm spells are all but lost. In all cultures and races across the world, mages of even modest power have possessed the ability to control and manipulate minds to some degree.
Scholars of magic worldwide are familiar with Charm Person, one of the first spells taught to apprentices due to its universal applications, it’s ease to learn and it’s lack of dangerous fireballs.
Accompanying the instruction of this unassuming spell is a hidden lesson that many Wizards may take years to learn, if ever. That power over your fellow man can be the most dangerous of all magic.
Charming a human will result in them seeing you as an ally or a trusted friend. The spell is not mind control. It is more akin to creating a blind spot in a person’s psyche, one which you can occupy.
Charm Person is usually limited by time, and since the target will be aware, it is best used on those whose grudges you can bear or in the direst of circumstances.
Controlling another human, or the failure of, is about power, and not of the magical sort. If you already have power over someone you charm, the risk and rewards are often small. Charming someone who is more powerful than you can often result in great benefit followed by terrible consequences. No charm is indefinite, and eventually the target will regain their free thought along with some animosity. This leaves the caster a proverbial loose end. The more dangerous the person you charm, the more dangerous the loose end.
It is not advisable to use this spell to turn friends against each other, they will resent you even more and asking a target to do something exceptionally against their wishes can result in the cognitive dissonance breaking the spell. It is worth repeating: this is not mind control.
How well you can use this spell is limited only by on your own intelligence and creativity, because it requires you to talk to a person and convince them, it can be sometimes difficult to use, but the open ended nature of it’s possibilities make it an exciting and powerful ability.
Casting the spell
All variations of Charm person require some form of spoken activation, therein lies both the simplicity and the complexity of the spell.
The spell is simplistic in terms of the arcane energies required to channel the essence onto an intended target, in fact it is trivial to the point that it is often included in tests to initiate a new prospective apprentice into the lowest ranks of a mage’s order. As a result it is often overlooked by scholars in the mechanics of magic, however the true masters of the craft are rarely found atop the ivory towers of the wizards.
The power of a charm is not in the initial cast, but in the maintenance of the spell. Such control over another requires concentration and can be broken quickly if the caster’s focus drops for even a moment.
An expert charmer is more than a magician, they are a force of personality. Charm person will amplify a persons natural charisma. If the caster is already able to talk their way out of difficult situations, a Charm person spell may be all they need to become sovereign of everyone they meet. Some of the most prominent figures in history are thought to have used this very spell to influence events to their benefit. The doubt it casts on the legitimacy of rulers adds an insidious string to the spell’s bow.
Consider the mind to be like the great sea. It has depth and breadth beyond comprehension. It will surprise you and if you wish to tame it, it is better to do so on a calm day with no wind than amidst the tempest.
Leaders and figures of great prestige are often found paying their weights in gold for anti-magical devices or defensive incantations. Some may foolishly think this is to protect against acts of violence, but the wise know that it would only take a few careful words to cause the fall of an empire.
- From the letters of Katsuie, Daichi of Enchanting at Kasai Tatakai Karejji
Ethics of charming
Many pages have been written by philosophers about the interactions of magic and the mind, but one of the most compelling arguments in favour of charming is that it contains it’s own safeguard.
For reasons that have not been explored too deeply, the conclusion of the Charm Person spell incites a great sense of treachery in the victim, creating great animosity towards the caster, even in cases where the target is an aware and willing participant.
It appears that you must borrow good will and trust from a person in a successful cast, which contains within it a satisfying sense of balance. Make no mistake however, the debt must always be repaid.