Attacking with Charmed Creatures

There may be times when charmed creatures, perhaps even party members, will be compelled to fight their companions. When this happens, remember that the creature, NPC, or player character no longer has control over his decisions.

If a charmed player character is compelled to attack his friends, he must do so in an effective manner. Grappling or punching is not acceptable if the character possesses a better method. At the same time, the charmed character need use only those abilities that are obvious to his new (and, one hopes, temporary) master.

Thus, if a charmed fighter with a sword at his side is carrying a javelin of lightning, he fights with his sword unless specifically commanded to do otherwise. The master in this case could not command him to use the javelin of lightning unless he had some way of knowing the fighter carried one.

Similarly, a wizard's master must know which spells his charmed spellcaster possesses, and which he has memorized. This is most commonly learned simply by asking. However, due to the charmed fellow's befuddled state, there is a 25 percent chance that he will unwittingly cast a spell harmful to himself and his master. Relying on charmed spellcasters can be a very risky business.

Limits on Charmed Creatures

A charmed creature has two critical limitations on its actions. First, it cannot carry out commands requiring individual initiative. The master cannot say, "Fight with your most powerful magical item!" since this requires judgment on the part of the charmed character. Second, the charmed creature won't obey any command that would obviously lead to self-destruction. Since combat is composed of many different variables, fighting in itself is not clearly self-destructive, even against hopeless-seeming odds.

Degrees of Charm

There are two degrees of charm power in the AD&D game, that of monsters and that of characters.

The charm power of monsters, such as vampires, makes verbal communication unnecessary. The charmed creature understands the monster's desires through mental command. A character charmed by this power obeys the commands of his master totally, at least within the limits of his ability and the guidelines above.

The charm power of characters is more limited. The master must have some method of making himself understood to the charmed creature, preferably by speaking the same language. Otherwise, charmed creatures can attempt to follow their master's hand gestures. This can be a useful and entertaining spur to role-playing.

Table of Contents