D&D Ideas — Charm

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Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is charm, which we discussed in our live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST and talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. Speaking of charm, we’ve created quite a few magical trinkets of this variety, stashed away in the Mage Forge Vault. But! Someone cracked open the vault and absconded with a bunch of them over at Nerdarchy the Website here. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates and info on how to game with Nerdarchy, by signing up here. Visit us over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel here and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss live chats on Mondays at 8 p.m. eastern plus our regular three videos each week where we talk about D&D and other RPGs. While we are at home following health safety guidelines we’re continuing to film our videos remotely and Live Chat Revivified streams weekdays at noon eastern with creators joining Nerdarchist Dave to talk nerdy and take questions from the live audience. With the COVID-19 pandemic situation we want to assure everyone we’re following all the guidelines and regulations, and practicing safety and preventative measures like social distancing, and we strongly urge everyone to do the same. Our partners and employees health is our No. 1 priority. Visit Coronavirus.gov for the latest news, updates and developments.

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Delving Dave’s Dungeon

This week’s topic is charm. Let’s start with the definition first and see what we can turn into game inspiration.

Charm /CHärm/

noun

  • The power or quality of giving delight or arousing admiration.
  • A small ornament worn on a necklace or bracelet.
  • An object, act, or saying believed to have magic power.

verb

  • Delight greatly.
  • Control or achieve by or as if by magic.

I think this is a great jumping off point for inspiring our D&D game. It gives five things to work with and I think we can turn them all into gaming mechanics.

Monster Ability

This one screams monster trait or action to me. The idea is an ability that causes other creatures to be infatuated with the wielder of this power.
Enamoring Aura. Creatures chosen by the aura emitter within 20 ft. must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed. They won’t attack, cast a spell at or perform any other action that would cause harm to a creature emitting this aura until the end of the creature’s next turn.

Loot

This could be an art object or a piece of treasure found as part of a hoard. Or it could easily be the next McGuffin to kick off a new adventure.

Spell Charm

Wondrous Item Varieties. A spell charm is usually fashioned from clay and can take any shape. A spell charm stores one spell of any level. They can be found with a spell already in it or blank. By casting a spell while holding a spell charm you can store a spell within it. Anyone can cast the spell from within it by simply crushing the charm. The spell uses the original casters DC or attack bonus.

Persuasion Skill

Even this can inspire us. Think about the NPC, villain or monster that personifies this skill. Let it define how they operate. I envision the kind of person who is more likely to have others do their dirty work or heavy lifting for them.

Charm Wine

This makes me think of an effect. Another plot idea is Charm Wine. Players are in a tavern and things start getting weird. Patrons or staff at this establishment beginning acting odd. Everyone is also drinking and raving about the wine. Turns out pixies are enchanting the wine by spiking it with pixie dust. This makes anyone who drinks it susceptible to suggestions of others. After sipping this enchanted delight you must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed. Everything spoken to someone charmed in this way takes everything spoken to them as a command, which accounts for the bizarre behavior of the tavern. Characters can investigate what going and try to convince the pixies to find sport elsewhere or perhaps forcibly remove them. Do the victims need an antidote or will its effect just wear off over time?

From Ted’s Head

Some time ago Nerdarchy felt the need for a different type of magical item, the charm. The fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide includes charms as Other Rewards in chapter 7, but we’ve codified them a little more specifically in our games and content.

Charms are consumable magic items. Any creature holding or wearing the item can use an action to activate the magic of the charm. Once activated the charm takes effect immediately and lasts until the next sunrise unless otherwise noted. The item then becomes a nonmagical object. Here I have included some dark charms inspired by monsters to add to your D&D game:

Charm of Troll Braid

Wondrous item, very rare

This thick braid of coarse black hair is stained heavily with blood on one end. When you activate this charm you regenerate 1 hit point every round at the start of your turn if you have at least 1 hit point. This closes all wounds and leaves no scar. Detached limbs will reattach if held on for 1 full minute. Limbs will regrow in an hour. This charm will not effect and or cancel out effects that result in immediate death, such as disintegration or decapitation.

Charm of Giant Hair Twist

Wondrous item, rare

This twist of hair is much thicker than any humanoid would grow. It is thick and strong, and long enough to be worn as a belt. When activated your Strength score increases by +2 to maximum of 20, and you have advantage on all Strength (Athletics) checks.

Wraith Wrap

Wondrous item, rare

This black and grey tattered scrap of cloth can be worn as a mantle about the neck and shoulders. Once activated you register as undead to anything that can detect undead. You can become incorporeal as a bonus action for up to 1 minute at a time. Once you have done so you must wait 10 minutes before you can do so again. While incorporeal you can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. If you are in a solid object when your time runs out you are shunted to the closest unoccupied space regardless of direction and you take 1d6 points of damage for every 5 feet you are forced to travel.

5E D&D charm magic items
A bevy of magical charms are just a fraction of the what’s held inside Secrets of the Vault: Mage Forge Vol. 1. [Art by Ludovico Tellatin]

From the Nerditor’s desk

Nerdarchists Dave and Ted explored ideas for incorporating charm into your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons game so instead I’m going to consider what this means outside the campaign and how it extends to the players gathered together for 5E D&D adventures.

Dave mentions how charm can mean a few things like a quality of inspiring delight or admiration, possibly including an element of magic. Are there ways for players to charm each other during play?

Certainly! Just a few minutes ago we finished playing session 1 of our new Nerdarchy Team campaign. I’m pretty sure we all wrapped up the session feeling charmed. If you’ll forgive a bit of cliche the magic of collaborative storytelling resulted in both delight and admiration. All of the players felt very happy with how our broad strokes of backstory and character creation came to life through our interactions with each other and all of us definitely admire our Dungeon Master’s adroit weaving of these elements together.

If you want to charm the heck out of your fellow 5E D&D players I cannot recommend enough acknowledging their contributions to the game and story, both in character and out. You can imagine the most amazing backstory, but when no one seems to care much whenever you try to work it in, this doesn’t feel very good. On the other hand, taking the ball and running with it can enrich everyone’s experience — including the DM.

In our new campaign, called Those Bastards, we all play characters with an unknown father and a birthmark in the shape of a constellation. Each character is wildly different in every way, but we came together with varying interest in seeking our dad and any other siblings we might have. During our first session we spent as much time sharing our characters’ stories with each other and tying these things to each other narratively as we did adventuring.

As soon as the session ended everyone fell into Discord chat with exclamations of how much fun we’d had and how intrigued and invested we were not only in the Big Quest but each other. Each of us charmed the others by leaning into our shared personal story together and our DM’s world became even more vibrant through this interplay.

One of the great disappointments to me as a player is when everyone talks to the DM but rarely or ever each other, and it makes me feel like I’m playing a solo game with several others simultaneously. But anytime a session includes interactions between the players and their characters I feel positively charmed, and I’m pretty sure everyone else enjoys this too.

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