Another charm person question


Rules Questions


I've read a couple other threads, and I feel as though I'm not grasping something. It's this 'threatened' thing. If someone is outside that melee range, am I still threatened by them?

Here's the scenario. I'm a cleric, and the head of my order is a baddie. He tried to charm me, but I saved, and became aware of his dark aura. I took an attack on him, he backed away, called upon his congregation to protect him, and as they closed on me, he cast charm again. I rolled a ten for my save. I have plus two from my trait, and would have had plus five from being threatened. Thats 17. Gm said the save was dc 17.

The problem was, the Gm said that since he was not in melee range, I wasn't threatened by him. My argument was, he attacked me, and I have a church full of parishioners closing in. I feel pretty threatened. No go. So now my cleric has been captured and I'm rolling up a new character.

So, basically, if I play a ranged character, I can just go around shooting people in the face, and as long as I'm not point blank, I'm not a threat to them? Did I get screwed out of my cleric? Please clarify for me this threatened rule, as it's not very well laid out that I can find.


I think you are mixing up the common and mechanical uses of 'threatened'.
Mechanically, 'threatened' is short hand for 'squares where you can be struck by an Attack of Opportunity'.
Read up on AoOs.

It has little to do with general hostilities.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

I think you are mixing up the common and mechanical uses of 'threatened'.

Mechanically, 'threatened' is short hand for 'squares where you can be struck by an Attack of Opportunity'.
Read up on AoOs.

It has little to do with general hostilities.

So you are saying that threatened in the case of charm person had nothing to do with distance from a player, which is what my gm was claiming?


I'm saying you should read the AoO rules. This has nothing to do with Charm Person specifically, and nothing to do with distance from the player. Player vs. character distinctions are important.
I'm not even sure what ability you are referring to that would give you a +5 bonus to saves when threatened. What is it?

Going on what you have given me, with a few necessary assumptions due to lack of information, it sounds like the combat went like this:

1. You attack cleric. In this case you threaten each other since you both can make melee attacks against the other. You have used all your actions, so it's the clerics turn.

2. cleric moves away. You don't say how far he moved, so I have to make some assumptions. Probably a 5' step. He could have used a move action to move farther away, but if he was going to cast a spell, that would have meant he would provoke an AoO from you, so a 5' step is most likely
Unless you have reach greater than 5', you now no longer can make melee attacks against each other without moving closer. Hence you do not threaten each other.

3. 5' steps are free actions so the cleric still has a move action and standard action left. He calls his congregation and tells them to put themselves between you two. Talking is generally a free action, but spending a move action on it guarantees he can get the point across. A bunch of people between you grants cover, which also prevents you from threatening squares. The priest is probably doubly protected from AoOs made by you.

4. with a standard action left, the priest casts Charm Person.

Note that Charm Person is not a paralysis spell or a dominate spell. You are not helpless, nor do you mindlessly follow all orders. You look upon the caster as a trusted friend and are inclined to go along with seemingly reasonable requests, but that does not mean you automatically accept everything he does. He must make a Charisma check against you to convince you to do things you won't normally do, and hostile actions on his part immediately end the effect.


So long as you could of moved without provoking an AoO from the cleric or any of the cleric's allies then the DM is correct about you not getting the +5 to save.

That being said, Charm Person is not the same as Dominate.

Charm Person wrote:
The spell does not enable you to control the charmed person as if it were an automaton, but it perceives your words and actions in the most favorable way. You can try to give the subject orders, but you must win an opposed Charisma check to convince it to do anything it wouldn’t ordinarily do. (Retries are not allowed.) An affected creature never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing. Any act by you or your apparent allies that threatens the charmed person breaks the spell.

So, any attempt to grab, restrain or even lead your character away in that situation would most likely result in the charm spell just being broken.

The spell would of stopped your character from attacking the cleric but there's nothing in the spell to prevent you from just walking out and if anyone tried to physically stop you from leaving the charm would be broken.


The +5 bonus for the save is from the description of charm person. It states that if the target is threatened or attacked by you or your allies you get a +5 bonus to your saving throw.

Bjorn is right about the confusion of the term threatened. There is the game term threatened and the common English version of the word. The game term threatened is not relevant in this case. What is relevant is the common English term.

What is really comes down to is, what was the congregation doing to you. If they were only protecting the boss, that may not be enough to be considered threatening you. If on the other hand they were pulling weapons and getting ready to attack you that would be considered threatening you.


LordKailas wrote:

So long as you could of moved without provoking an AoO from the cleric or any of the cleric's allies then the DM is correct about you not getting the +5 to save.

This is wrong. If that is the case any time you are within 5 feet of an ally of a person casting charm person they get a +5 save. So if out of combat an enemy is standing next to a party member (say talking to them about the weather) and I cast charm person from a safe distance away they get a +5 save?


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
LordKailas wrote:

So long as you could of moved without provoking an AoO from the cleric or any of the cleric's allies then the DM is correct about you not getting the +5 to save.

This is wrong. If that is the case any time you are within 5 feet of an ally of a person casting charm person they get a +5 save. So if out of combat an enemy is standing next to a party member (say talking to them about the weather) and I cast charm person from a safe distance away they get a +5 save?

To clear a few things up, the lead cleric took a move action, moving ten feet. I took my aoo, and then the charm spell was cast. The congregation had weapons drawn and was closing in on me. Previously the lead cleric had told me I was to leave or it would go poorly for me, and at that point, the congregation stood up, and drew weapons.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

The +5 bonus for the save is from the description of charm person. It states that if the target is threatened or attacked by you or your allies you get a +5 bonus to your saving throw.

Ah, that's where I was getting things wrong. I still tend to think of the 2e versions of spells instead of the PF ones. Didn't think to look at the spell text. Rather embarrassing mistake to make. Disregard most of my previous replies, then.

You are right, Bob, and your DM is wrong. Him actually threatening you and having the congregation move in weapons drawn is definitely a threatening act, and AOOs do not come into the situation at all. You should have gotten that +5 from the spell. I will also reiterate that even if you fail the save, any hostile action taken by the caster and his allies afterwards will automatically break the spell. I don't know if that was relevant but it is worth considering.

Ah, the joys of games where words have both their common meaning and specific rules meanings and the designers forget this when writing. (though I will say that the DM should have understood the difference in this particular case).


OK, that's what I thought as well. I let it go at the time,since I didn't want to derail the session over a rules argument, but that was a very unsatisfying way to lose my cleric, as he left the church with his newfound friends for some unknown fate.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
LordKailas wrote:

So long as you could of moved without provoking an AoO from the cleric or any of the cleric's allies then the DM is correct about you not getting the +5 to save.

This is wrong. If that is the case any time you are within 5 feet of an ally of a person casting charm person they get a +5 save. So if out of combat an enemy is standing next to a party member (say talking to them about the weather) and I cast charm person from a safe distance away they get a +5 save?

IMO I get the impression the DM is using the game term of threaten not the colloquial use of it. So, strictly looking at it from that perspective. Does the ally chatting about the weather have their weapon drawn? If not then they don't threaten any squares around them, including the one occupied by the person they are talking to the weather about.

I agree with others that if I were the DM I would treat the term "threaten" as it is used in charm person in the general sense. My comments are only in terms of the narrow definition that the OP's DM seems to be using.

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