The discussion on the tag has sided pretty strongly with the idea that it should be replaced with another tag—namely and/or . The tag does not yet exist, but it covers a need, so it will be created either way. The question here is whether or not should be treated as a synonym.

The argument for is that is often going to be a subset of . People searching for may very well expect to have included, and tagging questions seems redundant in a meta-tag kind of way. After all, all forms of magically befriending someone would logically go under the heading of .

The counter-argument is that it is entirely reasonable for a game to use the term “charmed” for both magical and mundane forms of charm. The hypothetical 007 RPG might have someone become “charmed” the same whether it is James Bond’s charisma or the KGB agent’s mind-control ray or the voodoo priest’s hypnotic drug that is triggering that, and it seems a little weird to classify Bond’s one-liners as . Whether or not such a game exists is kind of immaterial; it could exist, and by synonymizing things will make it a pain to handle such questions should they ever come up.


3 Answers 3


Between the linked discussion and the discussion here, I think I have come to a personal preference:

Leave separate, focus on control

Already we have an answer suggesting that should be broadened to , apparently thinking that being that broad is the idea behind anyway. I dislike that suggestion because I don’t think there’s a compelling need to group all questions about any form of mental influence together, since things like fear tend to operate very differently from things like charming. But if that confusion is already happening, it suggests that emphasizes control rather than more subtle forms of influence.

So I say we own it. As noted in the question, we already had some reasons to leave separate, as discussed in the previous question on . This just adds another one. On the whole, I think there is room for a tag that covers things that allow you to take over another character, but does not cover things like or that influence a character’s behavior without giving you control over them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem with “mind affecting” is that it moves even more exclusively into Tagging According To D&D Terms… In non-RPG contexts, what's “mind affecting” is usually called “mind control”. Personal experience is that it has nearly no currency outside of D&D or WotC-D&D-derived-RPG discussions; this Google Ngram seems to agree that “mind affecting” has nearly no English currency. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 1:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ In general, I feel like this situation is kinda warped around one user's over-familiarity with D&D and unfamiliarity with English. I don't feel like that's a perspective that deserves equal weight in how tags get made. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 1:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie That’s fair, but I think the first thought on hearing “mind control” is control, so I don’t think this is really warped as an answer. Most people might consider “charmed” or “fear” to be within mind control, but it’s not their first thought, and the issues that come up with those may differ from cases with true control, warranting separate tags. Regardless of how I came to it, I think this conclusion is the one I’m sticking with. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 1:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I'd be fine with this too. I've put in a counter-proposal that I'm also fine with, and I'm happy to see what people think. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 2:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I wish this had gotten more votes, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. Since 4 is greater than 2, and switching from this answer to yours seems easier to do later than the reverse, I’m checking this one and may start to migrate existing [enchantment] questions to [mind-control] or [charmed], as appropriate. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 12:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sounds good to me. It has the virtue that it's the path of least "no return": it's easy to make them synonyms later if it becomes apparent it's needed, but much harder to undo a synonym that turns out to have been a bad idea. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 14:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Yeah, that was my thinking. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 14:32

I propose we synonym to .

This would be fairly uncontroversial at another time (possibly debatable still, but not quite so controversial), but at the moment there are a few things I think are causing misunderstanding that I'll work through before giving the reasoning for the proposal. Skip to the end for just the rational for the proposal.

Preamble: Tags are for subjects, not game terms

Tags are for question subjects, which are usually expressed in the natural language most likely to be found by searchers.

Tags aren't meant for technical game terms directly. The only time a technical term gets its own tag is when the subject of enough questions is that technical term and there are enough of those questions to need them to be gathered together under one tag. Even then, it gets a tag not because it's a technical term, but because it has risen to the level of a subject here, in its own right.

I bring this up because there is an active misconception that something being a technical term in D&D is relevant to tagging, although it isn't. The only thing that's relevant is what topics questions are about, and being or not being a technical term is an incidental attribute of a tag, not a core reason to exist.

Why does that matter? Because the relationship in D&D between charmed and mind control (or mind-affecting abilities) has been cited, but is irrelevant when we are considering the relationship between and (or .

In sum, we don't care what “charmed” means rules-wise in D&D — whether it's a Condition or a sub-category of Mind Affecting Spells or whatever system-specific details — because that has no bearing on how we manage our question topic categorisation.

Some examples of tagging subjects, as they arise in questions

Tags should cover the question's topic directly rather than indirectly:

  • If Jame Bond 007 has a skill to cause a charming effect on an NPC (and IIRC my old copy, it does), then it almost certainly falls under rather than . That latter tag was created to cover mostly the strong, compulsion type of charm that is usually magical or supernatural; its tag description doesn't lend it to using (e.g.) whenever Bond seduces a henchman or a D&D bard uses Performance to mundanely sway a crowd. Such a question shouldn't have in the first place, so shouldn't have either even if they're made synonyms.

  • If, for example, a Fate game has ways to charm people, it's almost certainly not going to be a question about how charm effects work — it's going to be about how Aspects work in that situation. Tagging such a question with or is out of place, because the question isn't about those except incidentally — it's about how Aspect rules work in Fate, and would take .

    Although I can imagine being added to a subset of such Fate questions, on most it would not be doing useful categorisation work, since charm-type effects is not a useful division of expertise in Fate. It certainly wouldn't belong on all Fate questions about fictional situations involving charm magic.

    This hypothetical is here as an example of a technical term rising to the level of RPG.se first-class Subject: it is often the main topic of a question, and those are useful to gather together, so it got a tag due to that subject-ness, regardless of its technical-term-ness.

  • Similarly, we have the tag because how illusions work became a subject needing categorisation. The tag doesn't represent the School of Illusion, it represents the larger concept of illusions themselves, and there are possible questions about the School that shouldn't have the tag due to not actually being about illusions themselves.

    An example question I can think of that is about the School of Illusion but not is one that asks about designer reasons why an AD&D 2nd ed. Illusionist doesn't get access to Necromancy. Such a question would actually have , and not !

Proposal: synonym to , and worry about other tag subjects as they come up

In common parlance, magical or supernatural charm is a form of mind control, and is, in intent and in current tagging practice, only really for that kind of non-social, supernatural charming effect. For non-supernatural mind control charming, we have sufficient tags already to categorise those questions, so we don't need to account for them here.

Since concepts that have become widely-applicable question subjects are what we tag with, we should tag accordingly. Since that kind of charm is covered by the concept of mind control, and since there has been some mention that people have looked for a mind-control tag (I have too!), it makes sense to make a synonym of .

If there are other adjacent topics that need tags, or we for some reason really need to subdivide questions between “hard” mind control and “soft” mind control, those needs will assert themselves and become clear as we move forward. We can take care of those at that later time.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the part that’s tripping me up is the claim that the hypothetical system wouldn’t use [charmed] for questions about that status condition if it was caused by some mundane effort, but would use it if it were caused by a supernatural element, even though in this system the condition itself is the same in both cases and the question could easily be asking about how to handle a charmed target/how a charmed target is supposed to behave, where it being caused by mundane means is more context or pre-amble. Would you have such a question use [mind-control]? \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I think if the condition itself were a separate cause of further rules, [charmed]/[mind-control] might apply — the question would be less about how it happened and more about this effect. In a game where the effect was wholly describe by rules contained in the causative skill though, it would be a question about the skill's rules and likely not make sense to have [charmed]. Basically, tagging for content with non-hypothetical questions should clearer than this hypothetical supposition Drake raises. (And we've yet to see this hypothetical corner case arise non-hypothetically.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 15:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ (The hypothetical was posed by doppelgreener, not Drake.) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Anyway, would you then by the same token say that a question about charm person relating to its targeting, or spell resistance, or some such thing, should have [spells], and not [charmed]? \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I think so. I think [charmed] (or [mind-control]) would be superfluous there, as they wouldn't describe the question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 15:09

Mind-Affecting would work better than Mind-control. Also, Charmed is basically a Condition which tag already exists.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I dislike [mind-affecting] because questions about non-control forms of mind-affecting effects—fear, courage, inspiration, morale, and so on—are really different subjects that should be tagged differently, e.g. [fear]. As for charmed being a condition, that’s a decent point, we could just remove it in favor of that, or synonymize it with [condition]. I’m not sure I like either option, but I hadn’t thought of them (and will have to think on them some more). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 23:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan The issue with 'mind-control' is that not everything causing charmed condition is actually mind controlling. In 5e most Charm spells improve the target's opinion favorably (thus gaining bonus/advantage on persuasion rolls and such) but you don't actually control it. This issue would be solved if the more inclusive mind-affecting would be used instead of control, and it could then also work for fear effects. \$\endgroup\$
    – Drake
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 0:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not particularly hung up on a distinction made in one particular game, even one as large as D&D. The concept of “mind control” as used in the wider cultural lexicon of English-speaking peoples is broader than the D&D definition, and easily covers swaying someone as strongly as D&D charm spells do. (And, in fact, D&D uses “compulsion” and “ongoing mental control” and other signifiers to emphasize that they mean something more specific than “mind control.”) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 0:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan It isn't just one game, as charm might in other systems not mean 'mind-control' either, and I thought the discussion is to make tags more inclusive, so in that case mind-affecting would be better as that would also allow fear causing effects be part of it as example \$\endgroup\$
    – Drake
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 0:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The discussion is to make the tags accurate and useful for organizing questions; nothing more, less, or else. A tag can be too broad (covering too many different questions that there is not much point in looking at the entire group), too narrow (covering a topic better viewed in conjunction with other related topics), or have other issues such as being unclear (covering things not obviously connected to the name, or not covering things apparently connected). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 0:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ So if mind-affecting is to cover fear and inspiration and morale as well as charm and compulsion, I think it’s too broad. If it’s not supposed to include those, then it’s an unclear title, since D&D players (in particular, but probably not alone) will expect those things in it. That’s why I’m not a fan of the choice. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 0:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem with the term “mind affecting” is that it's a phrase that appears almost exclusive in D&D rules discussions. It rarely appears outside of D&D discussion because what “mind affecting” is meant to mean in D&D is usually covered in normal English by the phrase “mind control”. See also Google Ngram showing the extreme non-currency of “mind affecting”. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 1:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie That particular problem is probably easily remedied by something like [mental-influence].... which apparently lost currency by the 1920s for whatever reason. Huh. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 1:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Possibly. I'm not sure [mental-influence] has the discoverability that we usually like to have in a tag name though. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 1:52

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