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Charm Magic


Charm magic is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do, even if they don't want to. The results are less direct than the combat-oriented Elementalism, less reliable than Divine magic, but shares the subtlety of Shamanism.

There are (contrary to popular belief) problems that violence just can't solve, or where it would be by far the least efficient solution. If faced with insurmountable odds, a single act of Charm could avert a crises and keep everyone alive.

Charm is also used a lot in urban settings, where more overt magic is frowned upon, and likely to get you arrested. Much of the more covert politics is conducted by Charmists in the employ of one (or more) of the Guilds.

Being perhaps the most discrete school of magic, and with the least restrictions, Charm is often practised by the more cunningly devious characters, and the ones with shadier moral standings: rogues, con artists, and high-class thieves for example, but many priests and the more well-rounded adventurers find it useful too. There are no Guilds to join, no rituals to abide by, and it has the further advantages of being undetectable, and being unhampered by armour.

All this is because Charm is not actually magic in the truest sense.

Let me explain.

The Relationship between Charm and Charisma

The line between what is Charm Magic, and what is merely extreme cunning is very blurred - so blurred in fact that they are treated as essentially the same thing.

Thus Charm magic works as if the spells were no more than Charisma skills. They are bought and used in the same way as skills from any skill group. There are no levels, no spell points, no prayers or incantations. You simply focus on your victim, smile sweetly (or scowl ferociously) and say a few well-chosen words for the desired effect to be achieved.

So, to clarify: The skill group will be referred to as Charisma, of which most of the skills are Charm skills. Anyone who specialises in these Charm skills will be referred to as a Charmist. Charm 'magic' is merely the usage of the more potent skills from the Charisma list.

Note that there are Charm-type effects that are not found in the Charisma skill list. Anything that refers to "Charm magic" elsewhere in the rules (certain undead are immune to Charm magic for example) refers to all these Charm-type effects as well as any from the Charisma list.

Spell Research

Spell research is, as a concept, strongly encouraged in SLuRP. However, in the case of Charm it is not as well defined as the other schools. The rules for Charm-spell research are thus no different from the rules for suggesting new skills i.e. Ask a ref. You never know, he might say yes. Just be sure you have a reasonable understanding of the capabilities of Charm.

The Rules:

The victim must understand your intentions. This usually means they must speak your language, but if you can make the meaning clear by other means (by waving a sword and screaming perhaps), that will do just as well.

The consequence of this is that the victim must be able to see and hear you clearly. Your victim will, therefore, be well aware of what you are doing. However, if you are successful in your efforts, they will act under their own will. They will not consider themselves as having been charmed, but if a third party asks them what they are doing, they may suddenly feel very silly.

Charm 'magic' is no more than ultra-efficient persuasion. Victims cannot be persuaded to do anything especially against their character, or at all life-threatening, unless you can give an extraordinarily good reason.

For example, if they can be persuaded that their life would be threatened more if they don't do what you ask, they might then do something radical. It depends a lot on the circumstances.

The player must make an effort to be charming. For every use of a Charm skill, the player must actually speak enough that role-playing "being charmed" is not too much of a stretch for the victim. Much credit can be earned for especially good soliloquies and arguments.

Verbals : Verbals are just the combination of the above rules. You do your persuading/charming bit, say "spellcasting", the name of the 'spell', and then (if appropriate) the specifics of the effect you desire.

A word on Mind-affecting Magic:

A common question that's asked is "Do I know a spell was cast at me?" The answer is not straightforward, and requires a bit of an aside.

The Charm 'magic' that is detailed here is no more exotic than the techniques utilised by high-flying salesmen. You are persuaded to do something, possibly against your better judgement, but you will know you are being persuaded. After the event, you may regret it, or think "It seemed like a good idea at the time", but you have not done anything you couldn't prevent.

The various mind-affecting spells of elsewhere are a little different, in that they can affect you without your being aware of the spellcaster. After the effects wear off, you will definitely wander what came over you, but unless you know about these things (most adventurers do) you will not immediately suspect magic. If you do conclude that you have been magicked, you cannot know who the spellcaster was, but you may be able to guess ("The one in the pointy hat is looking very guilty").

If someone casts a fireball at you, that's somewhat more obvious.

See also : Alchemy
  : Divine
  : Elemental
  : Hermetic
  : Shamanism
  : Petty Magic
  : Charm/Charisma Skill-List
  : Charm/Charisma Table
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