Charm Person is some kind of magic, supernatural ability
, Applied Phlebotinum
or Charles Atlas Superpower
(we don't know how that would work, so don't ask) that makes people want to do what you want them to do, especially the Weak Willed
. May or may not have obvious parallels with hypnosis, which is not really anything like this.
It's distinct from Compelling Voice
because Charm Person can be resisted
or broken out of, leading to I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight
and Intrinsic Vow
moments and such. A good way to differentiate between the two is that Charm Person
can never be used to force someone to do anything that would violate the target's moral code (for example, attacking one's king).
If the writers want to give The Hero
mind control powers, this is probably what he'll get, because it's both the least powerful and least evil of all the versions of Mind Control
Named after, of course, Charm Person
from Dungeons & Dragons
and its many, many variants.
Do not confuse with The Charmer
. The effects of more powerful Charm Person spells or abilities may be compared with Love Potions
. See also Hypnotic Eyes
, for a frequent way this power is implemented. Compare Politeness Judo
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Anime & Manga
- Narumi-sensei from Gakuen Alice is able to emit pheromones that can make anyone, regardless of age or gender, become infatuated with him. In some cases (such as Natsume), the target may become so enamored that all they can do is faint from the shock.
- Many Eden of the East fans have concluded that Akira's Johnny has mind control powers. The reason? In the first episode, not only does he (wearing nothing but a girl's coat and scarf) flash a random guy on the street and say something that makes him laugh, then hand over his pants with a smile, but later he drops his pants in front of a female police officer who, instead of arresting him, laughs and sends he and Saki on their way. For the sake of information, the police officer had asked to see his Johnny to see if it matched a picture of him naked and waving a gun around in front of the White House. She sent them on their way because it didn't match, which was because Akira was colder at the time.
- The eponymous character of Tomie (created by Junji Ito) relies primarily on this to get what she wants, which is ironic as most readers are more likely to remember her multiple vicious deaths and regenerating From a Single Cell every bloody time.
- Ghost in the Shell has a character use something called hypnovoice to get a crowd to turn against the police. The fact that the cops try to convince them they're being duped suggests it can be beaten.
- In the Rosario + Vampire anime, an anime-exclusive character, Ijuuin Kotaro, has the ability to enchant anybody of the opposite sex into becoming his love slave by saying "Je t'aime". He successfully charms all of Tsukune's friends and becomes their beloved Master, but is defeated, and the spell is broken.
- Gambit (depending on who's writing at the time) has a degree of "hypnotic charm". However, it doesn't work if the charmee knows about it.
- Stacy X of the X-Men comics had pheromone powers which could induce bliss and stimulate bodily sensations and functions allowing her a certain amount of control over her enemies.
- Batman: Poison Ivy's pheromones tend to work like this. She can also use more direct Mind Control through toxic kisses (when they don't just kill outright). The scope and effects of these powers are Depending on the Writer.
- The Enchantress, who's fought The Mighty Thor among others, has the power to seduce people and give them a kiss that puts them under her control.
Films — Animation
- Aladdin plays with this using Jafar's magic serpent staff. Usually when Jafar uses it to control people's minds it's 100% effective, but when he tries to make the Sultan order Jasmine to marry him, the spell fails for a second. "But you're so old!" It seems Jafar's powers do have some limits.
Films — Live-Action
- From Star Wars, the Jedi Mind Trick. A few of the examples in Jedi Mind Trick are also this.
- Hilarity Ensues when Dracula uses this in Dracula: Dead and Loving It. He pretends it's a Transylvanian method for helping with insomnia. The problem is it works exactly as he says it should work in that Renfield starts to doze off before he can be hypnotized.
- Horvath in The Sorcerer's Apprentice uses this to find out where Dave is hiding. His Minion with an F in Evil lampshades this by quoting Star Wars.
- The "Mind Charm" spell in Lone Wolf, and the "Enchantment" magic in the spinoff Grey Star. Both have rather short-lived effects, though.
- One of the powers consistently displayed by the human form of the god Nyarlathotep in H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos (his abilities tend to vary a bit depending on the writer, but this is one of his core abilities). He is unnaturally charismatic, and able to make people listen to him and obey his commands without them knowing why they are doing so.
- China Sorrows has this in Skulduggery Pleasant, and uses it for her personal gain whenever she can. However, it's effect seems to lessen once you've known her for a while.
- Tabitha, the Villain Protagonist of the Delicate Fire series, can invoke this via magically-enhanced sexual allure, resulting in what's effectively a supercharged version of The Dulcinea Effect. Her power affects both men and women, and seems limited only in that the target needs to start with at least some sliver of attraction towards her, no matter how small.
- In Artemis Fowl, fairies have the power to "mesmerize" other beings using direct eye contact, even when low on magic power. Against humans, the power is almost completely effective, with even strong-willed individuals succumbing in under a minute. However, eye contact is required in most cases; it doesn't work on semi-reflective surfaces like mirrored sunglasses.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe
- The Thrawn Trilogy shows the difference between this and Compelling Voice as the corrupted Jedi Joruus C'baoth uses both. In the first instance he simply forces an Imperial officer into delivering a secret message and then forgetting all about it, leaving the Imperial none the worse for wear, except for a few missing memories - the sourcebook says that his willpower was permanently damaged, but considering what this officer got up to in later books, he had a lot to begin with. In the second case C'baoth uses a sustained version of Compelling Voice to break the will of a different officer, destroy most of his personality, and turn him into a near mindless puppet who can't survive without C'baoth's constant mental control.
- Outbound Flight: Jorus C'baoth, who Joruus was cloned from, really wasn't any better. He was quite domineering and always wanted to control everything - and, given his view that morals are basically optional, he tried it. As he fell to the Dark Side he forced protesting civilians to be silent.
- Lessa from Dragonriders of Pern has an ability to subtly influence people's thinking, referred to as "leaning" on them. Used most dramatically when she provokes F'lar into dueling Fax, but overall fails about as often as it succeeds, as those on the receiving end can tell something's not quite right if they're paying attention.
- Star Trek Novel Verse
- Flinx's empathic influence works like this in some of Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth novels. His control over others' emotions is scarily potent, yet limited because he can't call up what lies outside the target's normal spectrum of feelings (e.g. making a fanatical nihilist afraid of dying won't work). Requires a lot of maintenance to keep the effect going, else the subject starts to catch on that their feelings are out of whack.
- Saruman in The Lord of the Rings is the most powerful user of the ability in the trilogy, but it's a fairly common power among Maiar — Sauron used to be far better at it than Saruman, Gandalf shows occasional flashes of it, and for that matter so does Bombadil — and Eldar — a short list of characters whose ability to sway peoples' minds far beyond simple oratory: Galadriel, Fëanor, Lúthien, Celegorm...
- Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance series is loaded with these due to the main characters being mostly strong telepaths.
- Graceling featured a Graceling who, it seemed, permanently had the Jedi Mind Trick going on. Everyone believed what he said no matter how implausible it was. This power even extended to people hearing it second- and third-hand, though it weakened the more people it wen through.
- Shannon Hale's Books Of Bayern series features "people-speakers" with a magical gift that enhances their interpersonal skills, so they can read people accurately and always come up with the right thing to say to get someone to do what they want. They can be unnaturally persuasive, although others with magical gifts have some resistance to this. However, people with this gift are in danger of becoming corrupt and power-hungry, always feeling driven to manipulate others and bend them to their will.
- Asharak/Chamdar from The Belgariad does this repeatedly to Garion. Garion has been seeing him around the place his whole life, and has never been able to tell anyone about him, although he can dance around it to give people hints, enough so that Silk manages to figure it out. Unusual in that he could have controlled him more thoroughly, but Polgara would have noticed, so he had to keep it light.
- The short stories "What Song The Sirens Sang" by Charles Sheffield and "Ignition Point!" by Isaac Asimov use the premise that sufficiently sophisticated analysis of human reactions makes it possible to automatically generate highly compelling political speeches. In the Asimov story, the psychological feedback from the fired-up audience fires up the speaker to the point of no longer needing the specially written speeches.
- The Heroes of Olympus (the sequel series to Percy Jackson and the Olympians) reveals that some children of Aphrodite can "charmspeak", and hints that children of Hermes have similar powers.
- Ta'veren (think "Chosen Ones mixed with a touch of Reality Warper") have a measure of this ability in The Wheel of Time series, but it works only sporadically and is not under their conscious control.
- The Bene Gesserit in Dune learn a technique called the Voice, which lets them persuade people to follow their instructions. The technique involves speaking in just the right tone and timbre to make the person most susceptible to your suggestions (though the film and mini-series adaptations have Voice users speak in a creepy, growling voice). It does have limitations, though: for obvious reasons it won't affect deaf people, and it also won't work on mutes, because a Voice user has to hear their target talk in order to figure out what tone to use with them.
- In Dark Life, Pretty has a form of amped-up hypnosis, using infrasound to alter people's brainwaves, and then implanting suggestions.
- Mesmeric powers are what allows the Magister Trilogy's Souleaters to be the natural predators of humans. Souleater Queens are especially dangerous, since they can charm other Souleaters, providing the only unity and leadership this otherwise insanely competitive and independent speices knows.
- In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Catarina uses this on Lucian, managing to persuade him that it was all a misunderstanding — getting him to overlook her Deal with the Devil and the Cold-Blooded Torture that had lamed him.
- In Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom series, Allie's father can do this. He managed to get her in enrolled in Harvard and lasting there for two years before she broke loose from one such effect.
- In Dean Koontz's "Demon Seed" a super-computer can control people in this way, using its artifical voice. At the end the computer has been beaten but continues to try to influence people. We then find they've cut off the voice and all its messages are being printed out and have no effect
- In Fredric R. Stewart's Cerberon, Aladavan uses this ability frequently, often accompanied by a "subtle gesture." It doesn't seem to work well when people are actively resisting him. One character knows he's doing this to her, while he's doing it, and later thanks him for it because she wouldn't have listened to him otherwise.
- The Wild Cards series has several individuals who could potentially fall into this category. The most prominent is David Harstein, known as the Envoy. Harstein's ace gave him the ability to emit pheromones that made anyone who scented them immediately like, trust and listen to Harstein above all others. The only weakness of this skill was that the effects of the pheromones vanished when Harstein left the vicinity, but the influenced individual still retained the memories of what they had done while affected.
- This is one of the more prominent powers of the shamais in A.L. Phillips's The Quest of the Unaligned. It is an extremely subtle effect, described as "like water wearing down a stone". You can fight off the effect if you realize what's happening or are prepared, but this rarely happens. We actually see this effect firsthand when the most powerful pure shamai in the land uses it on the hero and viewpoint character Crown Prince Alaric. The bonus story "Fire, Water, Air, and Pigs" reveals that shamais are resistant to the powers of other shamais, and that the other three elements also protect you to a lesser degree. It is also implied that personality plays a part, as Nahruahn seems to be especially bad at blocking it.
- One former Psi-Cop on an episode of Babylon 5 used this effect to his advantage. Garibaldi figured it out and figured out a way of defeating it if he were to fall victim to it.
- Doctor Who
- It has been suggested that the Doctor has this ability. This power may be due to his low-level telepathy. In fact, the Doctor may have used to this power to allow Harriet Jones (former Prime Minister) to get ousted in the first place.
- The Master almost certainly has it, to the point that he was able to convince Britain to vote him in as Prime Minister. The Master built and launched a network of satellites that used a low-level psychic field to compel people. In the original series, he would often be able to mind-control people just by looking them in the eyes. Once the special effects were up to it, it was accompanied by his eyes glowing yellow. That's what the Doctor meant by "he's always been a little hypnotic" once he learned about the satellite plan. Why "I am the Master, and you will obey me!" doesn't work anymore isn't addressed, though.
- Raina in Cleopatra 2525.
- Bo in Lost Girl
- The Russian mini-series Wolf Messing: Seeing through time, based on the (fictionalized) biography of the supposed Polish-Jewish psychic Wolf Messing, has the titular character do this several times. The first time is quite by accident, when he runs away from home as a boy and sneaks on a train to Warsaw. When caught by the train conductor, he gives the man a piece of paper, who stamps it as if it's a ticket. Later, he unintentionally causes the conductor to jump off the moving train. His abilities are shown to not work on a few strong-willed individuals, including the Magnificent Bastard Baron Heinrich Canaris, who keeps hounding Messing through the latter's life, first in order to get the psychic to help him with gambling and then trying to capture him as an SS Standartenführer. Another memorable use of this ability has Messing do it from another room to 4 Nazis in order to simply walk out of a German prison.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- As mentioned above, Charm Person (and Suggestion). There are several levels of enchantment spells in D&D. Charm Person merely makes the target perceive you as an ally (like the Jedi mind trick), Suggestion forces the target to perform a single task, and Dominate Person puts them under your complete control. There are countless other charm or compulsion spells with more specific effects.
- It's also possible to make a character (nicknamed "the Diplomancer") whose "Diplomacy" skill is cranked so high that they can make ANYONE who's capable of being persuaded at all into their best friend with a minute or so of talking.
- Mind Control with the Suggestion limitation or high levels of Charisma do this in GURPS.
- The Presence discipline in Vampire: The Masquerade, and its successor Majesty in Vampire: The Requiem. Low-level powers involve drawing the attention of everyone in the room and causing a person to spill all their secrets; higher level powers involve summoning a person from a great distance away and being untouchable because you are so very pretty. Dominate is more like Mind Control.
- Changeling: The Lost has the Contracts of Vainglory, which range from "I bear the mantle of authority, so you're more inclined to listen to me" to "I'm so unnaturally beautiful that you couldn't possibly bring yourself to hurt me" to "I think I'll pull a Galadriel and go so horrifically pretty that you run screaming."
- In Steve Jackson Games' In Nomine, Impudites, a Band (type) of demons has this ability, it causes the victim to see the demon as his or her close personal friend, making them more likely to go along with what the demon wants them to do (and also allowing the demon to steal their Essence. The Ethereal Song of Attraction has a similar effect, making the victim passionately obsessed with the performer.
- Mutants & Masterminds has Emotion Control: Love which essentially works like a hyped-up version of Diplomacy, shifting people's attitudes to you, possibly from outright hostility to fanatical obsession.
- Exalted has a fair number of abilities like this, of course. One demon has the power to make anyone who sees her smile fall in love with her permanently.
- The basic Mind Control power in the Hero System isn't technically limited in this fashion, but the more an intended effect goes against the subject's own usual nature, the more the roll of the Mind Control dice needs to beat the target's EGO score by to take effect — and the easier it normally is to break out again, too. Thus, smart mind controllers are encouraged by the system to choose the subtle approach over simply clobbering their victims into submission with mental brute force.
- The Mask of Charisma gradually alters the target's opinion to match that of the person wearing it.
- Or, you know, the mask of mind control.
- Mass Effect
- The Charm and Intimidate skills, which work exactly the same way it did in KOTOR, except there's no magical Jedi power to it. Shepard is just that persuasive.
- Morinth's special ability "Dominate" works much like the traditional "Charm Person" spell.
- If your Charisma stat is high enough, some conversations in Planescape: Torment will have a conversation option labeled "Turn on the Charm". It will not allow you to flub a charm attempt — either you have enough skill to succeed at it, or you aren't allowed to choose the charm option, instead having to choose a regular dialog choice. Same with Intimidate. Planescape also has Wisdom and Intelligence reveal these options. The implication is that you have enough Charisma/Intelligence/Wisdom/Charm/Intimidate to be able to understand JUST the right thing to say.
- In Fallout, with a high enough Speech stat, you can convince people to do just about anything. (well, as long as you get a chance to, anyway). Similar to the Planescape examples above, having high (or extremely low) stat scores can also unlock unique dialogue options. Fallout 3 changed many non-stat based charm, persuade and intimidation -type options to have a chance to fail, though, this was reverted in New Vegas.
- The Elder Scrolls has the various charm spells. Even very hateful characters will stop attacking you if they (temporarily) like you that much.
- Gene's special ability in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops works like this, his voice having some special quality that makes those listening do what he says.
- In the Suikoden series, Jeane is the only character with a rare and permanently affixed Charm Rune, which she uses to charm people into liking her and monsters into occasionally fighting for her. (Of course, the type of clothing she wears might have something to do with the way all of the men go ga-ga around her.)
- Dark Rangers in Warcraft 3 have Charm as their ultimate spell, allowing them to permanently take control of non-hero enemy units.
- Taking enough ranks in the Leadership skill can let you talk your way out of most major conflicts. In a few cases, you can convince the enemy to kill themselves.
- Additionally, the Charm and Dominate spells instantly turn an enemy to your side for a while if you can overcome their mental effect resistance. With enough points in Mental Magic and Spellcraft it can work reliably even on end-game enemies.
- Second Sight has this as one of John Vattic's powers. He can use it to either calm down allies who are panicked or gain a sort of invisibility (by making everyone passively ignore him, machines aren't fooled.). However trying to charm someone who is trying to kill you isn't recommended.
- Notorious in Romancing Sa Ga series (Remake of the first RS Game has the ailment, the original doesn't) and Sa Ga Frontier (Charm Gaze)
- Final Fantasy Tactics
- Somewhat subverted in that rather than mages getting the ability to inflict the Charm condition through a spell as in most RPGs, thieves do it. With enough "Job Points", they can learn the ability to steal not only the usual money and weapons but also hearts.
- The thief's version of Charm is temporary; it's essentially an improved form of Confuse, in that the victim will only attack their allies instead of anyone at random. Just like confusion, all it takes to snap them out of it is a physical attack. For the permanent version, which not only lasts the whole battle but allows you to recruit the affected, you'll need an Orator.
- Reis can also do this with her bare-handed attacks after you complete her subquest. But given that she's a dragon in human form, the enemy has to survive the hit first.
- In BioShock, Hypnotize Big Daddy (from BioShock 1) and Hypnotize (from 2) can be used to hypnotize many of the enemies in the game to fight alongside you. Eventually they will break free however.
- Deconstructed in the Civilization IV mod Fall from Heaven. In the Flavor Text, the Charm Person spell is basically described as a Mind Rape, warping the genuine feelings of love and protection that the target feels for his friends and family, and mapping it to the caster instead. The victim still hates the person who's doing this to them, but the mental manipulation is so great that it leaves the victim completely unable to fight back or even defend themselves while the caster's allies cut them to ribbons.
- In The Legend of Dragoon, Shana, the Moon Child has this power, in which people will follow her and do as she wants. Unlike most examples of the trope, she has no control over this power (indeed, she doesn't even know she has it). It's a plot point as well, as anyone who sees the Moon Child will help her in her goals, which is to say, usher in the God of Destruction.
- Propaganda, a Chinese hero from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, has this sort of mind control. She never commands, but only suggests. She has discovered that while her Mind Control isn't as directly powerful as that of most telepaths, it tends to last longer and is harder to resist.
- Prince Adrian Juste in Ember got Cursed with Awesome to be found charming by everyone. Everyone drools over him, which for him gets really old after awhile, and he goes for the one chick who (with the help of magic) doesn't want to go for him. Turns out he was cursed with charmingness to make sure he didn't become the great conqueror he had the potential to become. If he had everything he wanted handed to him on a silver platter, his ambitions would go elsewhere.
- In the Whateley Universe, psychics generally manifest this ability as opposed to straight mind control. Don Sebastiano, Solange, and even Jade have used this to slowly worm their way into someone's psyche. Jade, however, had a series of VERY special circumstances. Unfortunately, convincing someone like this functions as More than Mind Control, and is rather hard to catch in the act. Jade has used the Big Sad Puppy Dog Eyes to get her way rather than any mutant abilities.
- Zak Saturday of The Secret Saturdays can control cryptids, but can't make them do anything that they absolutely don't want to do.
- Freakshow's staff in the Danny Phantom episode "Control Freak", can control ghosts. Naturally, being half-ghost made Danny susceptible to it, at least until Sam fell off a bridge, inadvertently leading to the staff getting broken.
- Nicara of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo can make warlocks fall in love with her. She manages to enchant Vincent Van Ghoul and plans to use her kiss to absorb all his powers before the clock strikes midnight (as her powers only work on Friday the 13th), but is delayed by Scooby-Doo and co. and fails.