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SgtCarnage92
2012-11-27, 10:30 AM
I'm not sure this topic has been discussed on here before, but I've had a number of heated discussions with players regarding using mind-affecting spells on PCs.

I see them as fair game as it can add depth to role-playing and an extra level of challenge to a player who has to adjust his character's behavior to stay in line with a particular spell's parameters. It can also create some fantastically dramatic moments.

The counter argument is that it can come across as the GM trying to take control of a player's characters and not letting them play the character as they want by forcing them to act a particular way. This is a valid argument, especially if the player perceives the GM as railroading (something i was guilty of when I first started GMing).

What sort of opinions do you all have on this topic? Is there any advice you would give to a GM who wants to be able to use mind-affecting magic?

Hopeless
2012-11-27, 10:39 AM
I have two questions;

1) Do Rings of Mind shielding work against this kind of stuff?

and

2) If you let a character gain such an item will you not immediately rule they don't work the way its name implies?

Gained one as a result of a 3.0 game bought with reward money in Waterdeep after the money gathered was originally to be used to get a Greater Restoration cast to remove the aging effect of a ghost black dragon that aged the character by 60 years.
The dm ruled that although my character was the only Helmite who was present to fight off a demonic invasion even though he immediately announced the alarm to a contact in Baldur's Gate there were no cleric's available to help in Waterdeep so he bought that ring instead since their quest involved dealing with some telepathic slaad and viewed this as very useful... ended up moving away before that would come up however...

Sorry been a while figured I find out what you'd think as I'll never will learn what my former dm would have done!

Malak'ai
2012-11-27, 10:42 AM
I personally have no problem with it. PC's are fair game for any tatic within the NPC's power limit.
My view is : If it can be used by a PC, it can be used against a PC.

hymer
2012-11-27, 10:50 AM
@ OP: I use it sparingly as a DM, and I keep it short when it happens. Some of my players absolutely detest having others dictate how their character acts, and I tend to agree as a player. If I can't even control my own character, what am I doing here?

@ Malak'ai: I get where you're coming from. On the other hand, the PCs who can do this sort of thing tend to have the high will saves and ways of protecting themselves. So if the magician opens this can of worms, it's still the melee who'll be the NPC's targets.

Ravens_cry
2012-11-27, 10:58 AM
They should be used with care. Taking a players control away from their character takes away almost all the fun of the game itself.
Also, from a planning perspective, they tend to be rather binary. Either the characters save and are fine or fail and are out of the game, so they are hard to plan for.

SgtCarnage92
2012-11-27, 11:28 AM
1) Do Rings of Mind shielding work against this kind of stuff?

I honestly couldn't tell you without looking up the item myself. I would imagine it would at least help however.



2) If you let a character gain such an item will you not immediately rule they don't work the way its name implies?

It depends on the item description. I tend to go by RAW and if it explicitly says you gain immunity to mind-affecting magic I would let it fly. If the item description does not explicitly say that, then all is fair game.

I tend to have less trouble with short effects such as having the fighter lose control for a round and attack his nearest ally as well as a rather entertaining encounter involving a plant monster with hallucinogenic spores.

The original debate came up in a social encounter i ran involving a bunch of civilians hiding out in a temple (zombie outbreak in the city). Within the temple I had a vampire beguiler who had charmed her way into a position of trust, and was manipulating the people there into walking into a trap laid out by her allies. None of the civilians knew she was a vampire and the players (who recognized her proposed plan as being fishy) caught on fairly quickly. I figured she would try to manipulate the party with her spells as well trying the whole "divide and conquer" technique. This started a heated debate when I had her cast "charm person" on a player character and the player broke character to complain, accusing me of trying to take control of their PC.

edit: affect/effect confusion

Mark Hall
2012-11-27, 11:41 AM
I view them as fair game BUT you should keep in mind the limitations of the spell.

Dominate? Yeah, you're their Muppet. Charm person? Well, the caster is now your bestest friend in the whole world, but that doesn't mean you instantly hate your old friends. If the player is willing to play that their new bestest friend has asked them to protect him from his old friends, then the player should be able to choose the method as appropriate... he may tackle his friends instead of trying to kill them.

Basically, I don't give PCs immunity (even immunity by omission) to the perils of the world. If they don't want to be someone's muppet, they need to work out how to stop it.

SgtCarnage92
2012-11-27, 11:56 AM
I explicitly avoided making my beguiling vampire use a dominate ability (actually using an alt monster ability that gave her "charm person" instead) to try and avoid a PC from becoming a muppet.

Craft (Cheese)
2012-11-27, 12:22 PM
I'm not sure this topic has been discussed on here before, but I've had a number of heated discussions with players regarding using mind-affecting spells on PCs.

I see them as fair game as it can add depth to role-playing and an extra level of challenge to a player who has to adjust his character's behavior to stay in line with a particular spell's parameters. It can also create some fantastically dramatic moments.

The counter argument is that it can come across as the GM trying to take control of a player's characters and not letting them play the character as they want by forcing them to act a particular way. This is a valid argument, especially if the player perceives the GM as railroading (something i was guilty of when I first started GMing).

What sort of opinions do you all have on this topic? Is there any advice you would give to a GM who wants to be able to use mind-affecting magic?

Hypothesis: Mind-control magic is fun for the caster but not fun for the victim because all of the options are one-sided. The caster has basically a completely open ended set of demands they can make, but the victim has no choices at all.

Perhaps the problem can be solved by the mind-affecting spell giving new choices that didn't exist before to the victim, rather than take them away?

Aspects are an obvious approach: A mind-control spell can consist of 10 words or less describing what the caster wants the victim to do. You gain fate points by following the letter (possibly not the intent) of these orders obediently but you can also spend them to disobey briefly, and if you're clever you can spend them to turn the caster's words against them and gain a bonus to something you try to do.

Example: John the Evil Wizard casts a mind-control spell to attempt to disarm Mary the Assassin, who is trying to stab him with a knife.

He says "Put your dagger into my hand, now!"

Mary, being a clever girl, can spend a fate point to respond with "Of course, sir." Then she stabs him through his right hand with a bonus to the roll, crippling his spellcasting abilities. If she obeyed and gave him the dagger, she would have gained a fate point to spend later. Does she obey and maybe gain the upper hand later, or does she spend her resources to get an advantage now? With this approach it's actually a choice, rather than the GM just telling Mary's player "Here's what your character does."

Radar
2012-11-27, 01:58 PM
(good stuff)
Do you mind, if I borrow this mechanic for later use? It would have very interesting implications for the game.

Absol197
2012-11-27, 02:10 PM
Wow, Cheese, that was good stuff! I might use that myself, as well!

As for the experience in our group, we've used such abilities on the PCs, but we always do so sparingly. Additionally, we also allow the player to keep playing the character, but follow the NPC's demands. So the DM says, "You're being ordered to do this," and the player determines what the character does, knowing that he/she has to follow the orders. It allows the player to still have a little bit of control, even when the character has none.

As a humorous aside, we recently had an amusing occurance involving a PC and mind-control. The half-fiend in our party was barred from entering a city we needed to go into briefly, so he remained behind. In order for the (very chaotic) character to pass the time, he cast a suggestion spell on himself, suggesting that the joke he had just told himself was the funniest joke he had ever heard in his life.

We can back from our mission to find him laughing so hard he could barely breathe :smallsmile: .


~Phoenix~

Friv
2012-11-27, 02:13 PM
I am increasingly of the opinion that players dislike this because they are whiners.

Now, frankly I can understand people being annoyed by getting Dominated, because you're not able to do anything. People can also get annoyed about being knocked out or killed, for the same reason. If your players can be killed, they don't get to consider total mind-control to be any different.

As for opinion-altering mind control... if you can't handle acting according to your character, why are you playing a game about acting according to a character? I find it hard to believe that I can roleplay a bad relationship with my father, a murderous hatred of gnomes, or a burning greed for money, but as soon as the DM says, "Friv, you think this guy is totally trustworthy" I can't handle that? :smallannoyed:

If someone in my game pulled that crap on me, and I should note that none ever have, I would be sorely tempted to end the game right there and pull out a game of Hero Quest or Warhammer or something.

Hopeless
2012-11-27, 03:23 PM
I view them as fair game BUT you should keep in mind the limitations of the spell.

Dominate? Yeah, you're their Muppet. Charm person? Well, the caster is now your bestest friend in the whole world, but that doesn't mean you instantly hate your old friends. If the player is willing to play that their new bestest friend has asked them to protect him from his old friends, then the player should be able to choose the method as appropriate... he may tackle his friends instead of trying to kill them.

Basically, I don't give PCs immunity (even immunity by omission) to the perils of the world. If they don't want to be someone's muppet, they need to work out how to stop it.

Had that pulled on two of my characters.

The first a 2e paladin was charmed by a succubus, I pointed out to the dm that he had protection from evil aura only to be told that in his game i had to declare it was active before it would work ignoring the fact this was never mentioned until after my character was charmed...

The second was a human female paladin and we encountered a rare form of vampire that people who read yet another fantasy web comic would recognise as she hunts by separating her head from her shoulders and the rest of her body.
That was 2e rules still though so...

SpamandEggs
2012-11-27, 04:03 PM
This is the kind of thing I usually do without telling the PCs. If your mind is being affected by magic, why would you know it? NPCs usually don't. Instead of casting charm person, for example, and then telling them what their characters think, I cast the spell and adjust my narration to suit the NPC in question.

Example: after a failed save against charm person or dominate monster or whatever, "the fearsome bag tells you to stop the paladin smiting her" becomes "the kindly old lady asks you to help her with the thug who keeps bothering her, the one in all that gold armor". Usually, the player's staying in character will make them choose to do what an NPC wants of their own free will, like someone would think they were doing if they were actually being mind-controlled.

obryn
2012-11-27, 04:21 PM
RPGs should be fun for everyone at the table. Never overlook that it's a game.

If your group tends to appreciate the added sorts of challenges - roleplay and otherwise - that mind control presents, more power to you. You've found your fun.

If your group doesn't like this sort of thing, don't do it. It's not about being a "whiner" (we're playing elfgames, remember - there's no actual "macho" option here), it's about trying to get the most fun out of the precious hours you and your group spend together at the table. Ideally, your players are playing because they enjoy hanging out and being challenged, but not all sorts of challenges are created equal. And if one kind of challenge is not fun, then you're wasting yours and everyone else's time.

I'd say, if your discussions with your players have become "heated" it's probably best not to use them in-game.

-O

Jay R
2012-11-27, 04:47 PM
Mind-affecting magic should be as legitimate as going unconscious when at negative hit points. If a sword can keep your character from making his own choices, why couldn't a spell?

A Dominate spell or being locked in a jail cell both equally keep the player from making choices for his character. Both are equally legitimate.

But both destroy the game if the character stays that way for long.

nedz
2012-11-27, 05:47 PM
I do this rarely, but I always try to give open ended orders so that the player does get to make some decisions.
If a player really hate this then they will acquire defences.

Glimbur
2012-11-27, 06:06 PM
I'm ok with Dominate Person, and I have actually used it in a game. To be fair, the party was fighting an Elder Brain so they had it coming.

I am ok with longer term but more subtle mind control. A different party in that campaign signed some magically binding contracts and one of them married a devil and such.

I would rather not run a long term dominate. If it was necessary to the narrative/too sensible for the NPCs to do, then I would kind of fast-forward through it because players are in the game to have fun, not to hear about how I make their characters in to horrible people. They can do that themselves :smallwink:

hymer
2012-11-27, 06:50 PM
@ those who think unconsciousness and mind affecting spells are effectively the same:

In some games, I'm sure it's correct. Mind affecting abilities may be very short in duration, or getting injured is very serious and will bother you for a long while.

In most games I've played, though, recovering from loss of consciousness is routine. You'll likely be back during or right after the fight where you became unconscious.
I don't think most people would object to being charmed, held or dominated for the duration of a single fight, though some might. And some might get annoyed, and then calm down when they realize they'll get a break enchantment as soon as it's convenient.

I guess it has a lot to do with early experiences and trust in the GM. If either were bad, expectations will be low.

SgtCarnage92
2012-11-27, 07:02 PM
This is the kind of thing I usually do without telling the PCs. If your mind is being affected by magic, why would you know it? NPCs usually don't. Instead of casting charm person, for example, and then telling them what their characters think, I cast the spell and adjust my narration to suit the NPC in question.

Example: after a failed save against charm person or dominate monster or whatever, "the fearsome bag tells you to stop the paladin smiting her" becomes "the kindly old lady asks you to help her with the thug who keeps bothering her, the one in all that gold armor". Usually, the player's staying in character will make them choose to do what an NPC wants of their own free will, like someone would think they were doing if they were actually being mind-controlled.

I actually like the subtlety of this and might use in the future.

It seems there is a variety of opinions on both sides of this one and much of it comes down to the group of players that are being worked with. I only really had one player complaining (and he's whined about other things too, such as always having to play a frakking drow...). It would never be something I used often, but I'll keep it as an option on the table, if anything to add a little variety to the action. It's just one more thing to add to my pregame disclaimer.

Water_Bear
2012-11-27, 07:03 PM
My advice is to play it as written, but don't push it too far.

Some GMs go too far with the effects of mind control, turning a Majesty or Charm Person into unbreakable thrall just to push their plots forward rather than using the limitations already written into the rules. Worse, there are GMs who use mind control powers without thinking about how the consequences and fall into "love potion date rape" territory or similar icky-ness.

But mind control is a useful tool for GMs to use, as long as it is kosher by the rules and allows some sort of Save or elaborate set-up. The best kinds, IMO, are ones which require no metagaming by the Players; mental illusions, glamers, and modified memories are subtle enough the GM can convey their effects entirely through description without the Players realizing their PCs were had until later. Still, even Dominate and stronger abilities have their place in the toolkit, though they are easier to misuse.


Example: John the Evil Wizard casts a mind-control spell to attempt to disarm Mary the Assassin, who is trying to stab him with a knife.

He says "Put your dagger into my hand, now!"

Mary, being a clever girl, can spend a fate point to respond with "Of course, sir." Then she stabs him through his right hand with a bonus to the roll, crippling his spellcasting abilities. If she obeyed and gave him the dagger, she would have gained a fate point to spend later. Does she obey and maybe gain the upper hand later, or does she spend her resources to get an advantage now? With this approach it's actually a choice, rather than the GM just telling Mary's player "Here's what your character does."

The problem with any mechanic like that is that it creates an automatic conflict of interest. A Player is the worst possible person to decide if an effect works on their character in combat, because the whole design of the game (even FATE) is around them trying to guide their character to victory. Even if they know that it makes sense for their character to fail, the temptation will always be to bend and stretch the rules to keep them alive.

The whole point of having a GM/DM/ST and a written set of rules in the first place is to avoid that kind of situation.

Craft (Cheese)
2012-11-27, 07:18 PM
The problem with any mechanic like that is that it creates an automatic conflict of interest. A Player is the worst possible person to decide if an effect works on their character in combat, because the whole design of the game (even FATE) is around them trying to guide their character to victory. Even if they know that it makes sense for their character to fail, the temptation will always be to bend and stretch the rules to keep them alive.

The whole point of having a GM/DM/ST and a written set of rules in the first place is to avoid that kind of situation.

Well, that's the entire point behind negative invocation: You choose to surrender some narrative control now in return for narrative control later. Is resisting this command important enough to justify spending fate points on it? It might, or it might not.

Oracle_Hunter
2012-11-27, 07:35 PM
My advice is to play it as written, but don't push it too far.
I'll agree to this statement, but not the elaboration.

As Ravens_cry correctly noted, Mind Control effects (but not Mind-Altering effects such as Illusions) strike at the heart of roleplaying -- Player Autonomy. While it is all well and good to subvert Player expectations from time to time, playing with Player Autonomy is like playing with fire: done carelessly it can spread out of control and cause substantial harm.

My general rules for Mind Control magic is: brief or limited, but never both.
Brief but Expansive Mind Control is a powerful technique but it does not rob the Player of his autonomy for very long. Things like 4e's Dominate (when expanded to "free actions" like Speaking about plans) are a fine example of this kind of usage. A Dominated PC can be commanded to do most anything but such effects rarely last more than a round or two of combat.

Long-term but Limited Mind Control permits the PC to engage in a long-range roleplaying challenge by working against the limits you place on the Player. Rather than reflexively fighting against the control (e.g. "giving" a knife by stabbing the controller) the Player can work to stay within the boundaries given him. "Friend" type Mind Control is a good example of this, since it should simply place some limited constraints on Player Autonomy rather than rob it of them entirely.
It should go without saying that no Mind Control should be used without a chance for Character Resistance or Player Choice in accepting it -- the latter is very effective in the hands of skilled DMs who can turn them into a Bang (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorcerer_%28role-playing_game%29#Bang) or simply an opportunity for a Player to have some fun working against his usual allies.

Also: As a rule, I try not to discount Player behavior as "whining" as Friv put it. If there is an aspect of a game that routinely comes up as an issue (Alignment, Mind Control effects, Railroading) then I find it more productive to flag those aspects as "danger zones" and use them only when my Players are briefed on how it works so that they are not surprised when it happens to them.

Water_Bear
2012-11-27, 07:46 PM
Do you mean "Long Term or Expansive, but never both"? Not sure that brief limited effects would be that bad, except from a "why is the villain wasting time doing this" front.

Out of curiosity, what part of my elaboration do you disagree with?

Oracle_Hunter
2012-11-27, 07:54 PM
Do you mean "Long Term or Expansive, but never both"? Not sure that brief limited effects would be that bad, except from a "why is the villain wasting time doing this" front.
Uh, yeah that is what I meant :smallredface:

Out of curiosity, what part of my elaboration do you disagree with?
Mostly that you lean more heavily on RAW than DM discretion in this matter. 3.x, in particular, permits outrageous (IMHO) amounts of Mind Control to casters that would require PCs to invest in a Magical Arms Race just to maintain control of their characters at high level. While I dislike the Magical Arms Race as a rule, this kind of struggle simply should not be permitted in your average game due to the corrosive effects of limiting Player Autonomy to a roleplaying environment.

Personally, I lean more towards the "DM discretion first" school of thought. Ideally you are playing a system that works just fine by RAW but when it doesn't it is the DM's job to structure the house rules and adventure structure to keep it fun despite what the rules say.

kardar233
2012-11-27, 08:23 PM
I'll agree to this statement, but not the elaboration.

As Ravens_cry correctly noted, Mind Control effects (but not Mind-Altering effects such as Illusions) strike at the heart of roleplaying -- Player Autonomy. While it is all well and good to subvert Player expectations from time to time, playing with Player Autonomy is like playing with fire: done carelessly it can spread out of control and cause substantial harm.

My general rules for Mind Control magic is: brief or limited, but never both.
Brief but Expansive Mind Control is a powerful technique but it does not rob the Player of his autonomy for very long. Things like 4e's Dominate (when expanded to "free actions" like Speaking about plans) are a fine example of this kind of usage. A Dominated PC can be commanded to do most anything but such effects rarely last more than a round or two of combat.

Long-term but Limited Mind Control permits the PC to engage in a long-range roleplaying challenge by working against the limits you place on the Player. Rather than reflexively fighting against the control (e.g. "giving" a knife by stabbing the controller) the Player can work to stay within the boundaries given him. "Friend" type Mind Control is a good example of this, since it should simply place some limited constraints on Player Autonomy rather than rob it of them entirely.
It should go without saying that no Mind Control should be used without a chance for Character Resistance or Player Choice in accepting it -- the latter is very effective in the hands of skilled DMs who can turn them into a Bang (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorcerer_%28role-playing_game%29#Bang) or simply an opportunity for a Player to have some fun working against his usual allies.

Also: As a rule, I try not to discount Player behavior as "whining" as Friv put it. If there is an aspect of a game that routinely comes up as an issue (Alignment, Mind Control effects, Railroading) then I find it more productive to flag those aspects as "danger zones" and use them only when my Players are briefed on how it works so that they are not surprised when it happens to them.

I think this is a good way of putting it. I think the problem with a lot of DMs who abuse "hard" mind effects like Dominate is that they don't realize that a character who is Dominated is fairly equivalent to a character who is dead. Systems like Craft(Cheese)'s get around that (and in a pretty cool way) but in most contexts being under a "hard" mind effect totally removes player agency.

Water_Bear
2012-11-27, 08:24 PM
Mostly that you lean more heavily on RAW than DM discretion in this matter. ...

Personally, I lean more towards the "DM discretion first" school of thought. Ideally you are playing a system that works just fine by RAW but when it doesn't it is the DM's job to structure the house rules and adventure structure to keep it fun despite what the rules say.

Ah, gotcha.

Personally I prefer rules to rulings, but that's my personal Lawful Evil DM style popping up rather than a foolproof philosophy. It does help to establish an aura of impartiality though; if you're known for playing things strictly by-the-book Players will give you more leeway in situations where they would normally call shenanigans. Like in case of mind control, for example: where a more free-wheeling DM might get called out on it, sticking by the rules and not being creepy gives the players more reason to trust you not to screw them.

Also; RAW in 3.5 is madness. Madness. I sincerely hope no-one is playing that kind of game without a PhD in D&D-ology.

Toy Killer
2012-11-27, 08:33 PM
Hypothesis: Mind-control magic is fun for the caster but not fun for the victim because all of the options are one-sided. The caster has basically a completely open ended set of demands they can make, but the victim has no choices at all.

Perhaps the problem can be solved by the mind-affecting spell giving new choices that didn't exist before to the victim, rather than take them away?


I played a wight character who had a similar out look on being 'command Undead'-ed by the neutral cleric in our group. I (by definition) had to do as he said. I had capacity to make some creative choices as to How I did what he said.

At one point, being the only one that could work for 24 hours underwater with out spell assistance, was told to bury an artifact in a sea that was protected against spell detection (As I recall, the box was made of lead) and it was an item that made some kind of connection to Orcus or Vecna or something to the kin.

So I took the box, buried it, dragged a stone statue over top of it and left clues everywhere we went as to where it was buried. I wanted a patron god of undeath to have a solid connection to my world, and it did me no good if it wasn't found... I was told to bury it, not Hide it...

Vorr
2012-11-27, 09:26 PM
What sort of opinions do you all have on this topic? Is there any advice you would give to a GM who wants to be able to use mind-affecting magic?

I use it all the time. Though often not very directly. I find it very, very boring for a DM to say ''Oh your character does this or that''. It's much more fun and interesting for things to just happen.

As a DM, you can simply alter reality to effect the players. Simply put, no different then the normal game play. For example, if you want the players to go out of there way to save some people on a wagon, you'd ''suddenly'' make that a wagon full of orphan children. If the characters are hesitant to track down the ''evil killer by the lake'', then the killer will ''suddenly'' do something to get there attention. You want the players to go after a dragon, then ''suddenly'' that dragon attacks the character's castle. And so on.

(And just to note, this is how fiction is done. After all, if you were to write a crime novel and not have a criminal that commits a sexy and interesting crime, then you'd never get anyone to read it. No one would watch a movie about a guy that jaywalks, but if that guy ''suddenly'' killed people, then they would. This is the same reason why aliens attack New York and not say, anywhere else on the planet. )

So when it comes to mind control, it works best to just have reality altered. So when the vampire charms the PCs, you don't bother with the 'combat rules'. You just have the PCs find that any 'holes' in the story are suddenly filled or have explanations. NPC's suddenly have alibis, explanations and cover stories. The idea is to have the 'mind control' more 'role playing' then 'role playing'. So the players can still figure out the story, plot and the details.

The most fun can come from where you drop all sorts of hints about something, and then the players think something that you never told them directly. And then they take actions based on that something that they don't know.....and they are wrong. It can be so much fun for a group to make this sort of mistake, and then realize that they made a huge mistake from the start.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-11-27, 11:12 PM
I played a wight character who had a similar out look on being 'command Undead'-ed by the neutral cleric in our group. I (by definition) had to do as he said. I had capacity to make some creative choices as to How I did what he said.

At one point, being the only one that could work for 24 hours underwater with out spell assistance, was told to bury an artifact in a sea that was protected against spell detection (As I recall, the box was made of lead) and it was an item that made some kind of connection to Orcus or Vecna or something to the kin.

So I took the box, buried it, dragged a stone statue over top of it and left clues everywhere we went as to where it was buried. I wanted a patron god of undeath to have a solid connection to my world, and it did me no good if it wasn't found... I was told to bury it, not Hide it...

^This cuts to the crux of the matter. Almost any form of mind-control magic I've ever seen, either in D&D or fiction, can be at least partially circumvented by cleaving to the letter of a command rather than its intent.

Even the dominate spells in 3.5 have a clause about clever targets being able to dodge around the intent of a command.

I've never seen a spell that's failed save = you're a muppet.

I do generally use mind control rather sparingly, as a matter of courtesy, until and unless the players start abusing it. Though in the case of certain creatures and campaigns it sees a bit more extensive use; mind-flayers, aboleths, and horror campaigns mostly.

Arranis Thelmos
2012-11-27, 11:27 PM
I personally have no problem with it. PC's are fair game for any tatic within the NPC's power limit.
My view is : If it can be used by a PC, it can be used against a PC.

I just have to share based on this. Malak'ai is my DM here, and I play a Gnome Illusionist. Just not too long ago, an Orc Mage used a Greater Illusion to make it appear we were being chased by an Orc patrol. Well, they're 100 feet off or so and our ranged weapons pass through them so we make will saves. About half the group or so made the save, but not me. They come in closer and we make another save, everyone else but me makes it. One last save--nope! My Illusionist still failed it. The patrol charges and I end up soiling myself in fear, but that quickly changed to humiliation as the weapons passed through me harmlessly.

TL;DR. Illusions are fair game against Illusionists. :smallwink:

Malak'ai
2012-11-27, 11:34 PM
I just have to share based on this. Malak'ai is my DM here, and I play a Gnome Illusionist. Just not too long ago, an Orc Mage used a Greater Illusion to make it appear we were being chased by an Orc patrol. Well, they're 100 feet off or so and our ranged weapons pass through them so we make will saves. About half the group or so made the save, but not me. They come in closer and we make another save, everyone else but me makes it. One last save--nope! My Illusionist still failed it. The patrol charges and I end up soiling myself in fear, but that quickly changed to humiliation as the weapons passed through me harmlessly.

TL;DR. Illusions are fair game against Illusionists. :smallwink:

Not to mention the Elf Ranger NPC who made himself look like a jacka$$ when he charged in, attacked like a mad man and then stormed back with the comment "Well... They looked real" :smalltongue:.

Acanous
2012-11-27, 11:47 PM
I preffer the "Your Scenerio is now This" approach. You cast the spell, the player fails his save, you detail to him a new scenerio.

Dominate, for example, would be "OK Paul, your warlock wakes up. He's had a horrible nightmare, the fight you were just in. But what woke you up? Your keen hearing detects a creak coming from the shadows near the window of your room. Suddenly, assassins spring out!"

Of course, he's still in the old combat, the assassins are the old party members. But Paul gets to control what his character does, and how.

nedz
2012-11-28, 12:51 AM
My players do seem to enjoy this occasionally they get to roleplay a completely different character for a while. It would get old if I did it too often though.

DigoDragon
2012-11-28, 09:17 AM
My players are mixed about being hit by Charm effects. Some are okay with it, others have difficulty adjusting to a different mindset. Overall I simply don't use it often, reserving such moments for plot points.

I did have one hilarious moment that confused the players to good effect though--
The party was at an elven town where everyone was waring shirts that read "Never Forget". The weird thing is that no one in the town could see the shirts. After some investigating, the players learned that the city guard were using the townsfolk as test subjects on a new charm spell that could force a subject to "overlook" a specific physical detail, forgetting that it is there.
Rather than use an illusion spell to make the shirts invisible, this charm spell works on your mind directly to create a blind spot in your senses.

In this case, the spell was to ignore the existance of the "Never Forget" shirts.

Well the players did stop the experiments and learned that the effect wears off in 48 hours if not recast so they were happy to do the town a service and left. ...Two days later they awoke and noticed they were all wearing the "Never Forget" shirts. :smallbiggrin:

PersonMan
2012-11-28, 09:21 AM
I preffer the "Your Scenerio is now This" approach. You cast the spell, the player fails his save, you detail to him a new scenerio.

I prefer the "Worth With the Player" option. Tell them OOC that they've been hit by a spell and what effects it has on their character (potentially even the duration), then they act accordingly.

Some spells, like Charm Person, cause the target to perceive the caster as a "trusted friend or ally", which runs into some issues when you have characters who would happily kill their best friend if it would benefit them, so working with the player, to work out something that makes sense given both the magic and their character, is better than saying "nope, you trust him. No, no you can't be distrustful" and leaving the player in the dark.

For things like Charm Person on a normally reserved, lone-wolf type character, I'd see no problem with it if they realized IC that they were under magical compulsion...especially if they came across someone with incredibly high Charisma and thought the same thing might be happening again.

Of course, this only works with players who are willing to work with you, but unless they are the game is going to have big issues anyways...

ReaderAt2046
2012-11-28, 09:27 AM
My 2 cps:

For Charm Person or other "Soft" mind-control, just tell them and let them RP it. If they can't handle that, then and only then should they lose control. For "hard" magic, I think that it should take control away from the players, but allow them many more new saves than RAW. (Maybe one every time a new order is given?)

Friv
2012-11-28, 12:03 PM
Also: As a rule, I try not to discount Player behavior as "whining" as Friv put it. If there is an aspect of a game that routinely comes up as an issue (Alignment, Mind Control effects, Railroading) then I find it more productive to flag those aspects as "danger zones" and use them only when my Players are briefed on how it works so that they are not surprised when it happens to them.

The reason that I've gotten kind of testy on this subject is that I've seen people online complaining about it who don't give a fig about getting a sword shoved through their character's guts, getting poisoned, being unable to find traps, or so on. Or worse, people who will get quite angry if you as the DM aren't trying to shove a sword through their characters' guts.

Yes, as a general rule, you shouldn't keep doing something that's not fun for your players. That's pretty much a given. If they're totally uninterested in mind control stories, don't keep using them. If they're totally uninterested in combat, don't have fights. But most of these players don't want mind control to not be a thing. They want mind control to not be a thing that affects them.

And your restrictions are perfectly good - but then, if a player got killed in a fight I wouldn't make them sit around for hours without being able to play, either. I just don't really see why, if it exists in a game, mind control gets to be on this bizarre pedestal above every other effect that removes player agency. I find that the answer is usually "irrational obsession that people could stand to take a step back and look at", rather than "serious concern".

ReaderAt2046
2012-11-28, 12:19 PM
I think it's the same reason that mind-control magic is far more creepy than being killed in any other medium. There's just something different on a very physical and biological level between being killed and having someone else run your body. Sort of like why raping someone is a lot more disturbing than killing them.

DaedalusMkV
2012-11-28, 04:50 PM
I preffer the "Your Scenerio is now This" approach. You cast the spell, the player fails his save, you detail to him a new scenerio.

Dominate, for example, would be "OK Paul, your warlock wakes up. He's had a horrible nightmare, the fight you were just in. But what woke you up? Your keen hearing detects a creak coming from the shadows near the window of your room. Suddenly, assassins spring out!"

Of course, he's still in the old combat, the assassins are the old party members. But Paul gets to control what his character does, and how.

This is what all the GMs in my group do too. It's no fun just running the party Barbarian like an NPC, but passing him a note that says "You have been Dominated. Your new goal is to defeat the other PCs" can be a great deal of fun. Not only can it be an interesting roleplaying situation (there was no clause in there about being their enemy, so he could talk to them normally as long as it didn't stop him from attacking them), but it also allows players to keep some degree of their agency. In the above case the Barbarian decided that since he liked the other PCs and the wording wasn't specific, it would be acceptable to attack with nonlethal damage. Which it was. In another case where a Wizard was given the order "Protect me", he got the bright idea to throw a Resilient Sphere at the Sorceress doing the Dominating.

If done right, mind control can even be fun for the players. The above Wizard was extremely pleased with himself for the rest of the session, and we've had a couple of very amusing exchanges result from simple Suggestion spells ("What the hell are you talking about? Yeah, we're dirty, but going for a swim in the Water Elemental is a terrible idea!"). As long as you aren't planning to Dominate them for hours of RL time or turn them into an NPC, I don't see any problem with mind control.