For no particular reason, I’ve put together a comparison chart of the charm person spell between most early editions of D&D and all of the OSR games I own.
While generating it, I noticed a lot of D&D/OSR systems use ogres as a dividing line (“no larger than a ogre”) as to whether or not a particular creature can be charmed or not.
My assumption is that somewhere in the ancient days of D&D, some band of grognards running a dungeon crawl found themselves embroiled in an angry argument about charming ogres, and it ended up influencing game systems going forward.
I’ve added a column with my best interpretation of whether a ogre can be charmed in each system with the charm person spell.
Charm Person spell by System
|Original D&D||N||Until Dispelled||12”||Suggests, but doesn’t actually state that target gets a saving throw when spell is cast.||Affects one two-legged non-undead mammalian near or less than man-size. “including Sprites, Pixies, Nixies, Kobolds, Goblins, Orcs, Hobgoblins and Gnolls.”
States that target is “completely under the influence of the Magic-User”. No limits to commands are given.
|Holmes Basic D&D||N||Until Dispel or Save||120′||Save when cast, after that, gives target saves based on intelligence.
7-9: 3 weeks
10-11: 2 weeks
12-15: 1 week
16-17: two days
18 or more: each day
|Affects “two legged, generally mammalian humanoids of approximately man size including sprites, pixies, nixies, kobolds, goblins, orcs, hobgoblins and gnolls. It does not affect the undead or large monsters.”|
|Basic D&D||Y||Until Dispel or Save||120′||Save when cast, after that, gives target saves based on intelligence.
3-8: per month
9-12: per week
13-18: per day
|Affects any non-undead human or human-like creature no larger than an ogre.
“bugbears, gnolls, gnomes, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, lizard men, ogres, pixies, or sprites”
“Orders against its nature (alignment or habits) may be resisted, and an order to kill itself will be refused”
|Cyclopedia||Y||Until Dispel or Save, or if caster attacks target.||120”||Same as Basic in the description, but the extra rules in chapter 13 suggest the target can make a new roll if the target is put in danger that the caster is not in.
It also has another, more complex optional chart for new saves based on intelligence.
|Affects humans, demihumans, and certain giant-class creatures (no larger than ogres)
There’s a separate section for charm spells that has more complex rules. It suggests only humanoids capable of existing in a society are affected.
It also states that some lycanthropes can be charmed in human form, but the charm is broken when they become animals.
|AD&D 1||?||Until Dispel or Save||12”||Save when cast, after that, gives target saves based on intelligence.
3 or less: every 3 months
4-6: 2 months
7-9: 1 month
10-12: 3 weeks
13-14: 2 weeks
15-16: 1 week
17: 3 days
18: 2 days
19 or more: 1 day
|References Druid spell charm person or mammal, but limits it to persons.
“brownies, dwarves, elves, gnolls, gnomes, goblins, half-elves, halflings, half-orcs, hobgoblins, humans, kobolds, lizard men, nixies, orcs, pixies, sprites, and troglodytes.”
|AD&D 2||N||Until Dispel or Save||120 yards||Save when cast. Target gets a +1 for every point of damage the caster’s group has inflicted.
Regular saves based on intelligence as in 1st edition.
|Affects any person man-sized or smaller.
“ brownies, dryads, dwarves, elves, gnolls, gnomes, goblins, half-elves, halflings, half-orcs, hobgoblins, humans, kobolds, lizard men, nixies, orcs, pixies, sprites, troglodytes, and others”
Specifically leaves out ogres.
|D&D 3rd Edition||N||1 hour per level||(25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels||Will Save at Casting||Works on Humanoid creatures (Ogres are Giants)
“you must win an opposed Charisma check to convince it to do anything it wouldn’t ordinarily do. “
“ Any act by you or your apparent allies that threatens the charmed person breaks the spell.”
|Black Hack||Y||One command or action||Nearby (30ft or 6 squares)||No saves for target. Caster makes an Intelligence Attribute test to succeed.||“A Nearby NPC or Monster obeys a simple command and will perform a simple Action.”|
|Delving Deeper||?||Until remove curse, or Dispel, or Save||120′||Save when cast. Another save is given if there is “Gross abuse or negligence”||Affects “man-like and -sized creatures but excluding undead and supernatural sorts”|
|White Box||N||Until Dispel||120′||Save at casting||“affects living bipeds of human size or smaller, such as goblins or dryads”|
|Basic Fantasy||Y||Until Dispel or Save||30′||Save at casting. If target is being threatened by caster or allies, it gets +5 to saving throw.
After that, gives target saves based on intelligence.
|Affects humanoids 4 hit dice or less (Ogres have 4+1 HD)
|Labyrinth Lord||Y||Until Dispel or Save||120′||Save at casting, after that, gives target saves based on intelligence.
3-8: per month
9-12: per week
13-18: per day
|Non-Undead humanoids no larger than ogres.
“Any act by the caster or his apparent allies that threatens the charmed person breaks the spell.”
|Castles & Crusades (2nd edition)||N||1 hour per level||50′||Charisma save at casting||Affects a “medium-size or smaller humanoids” (Ogres are Large)
“the caster must succeed at a Charisma check to convince it to do anything it wouldn’t ordinarily do”
“Any act by the caster or the caster’s apparent allies that threatens the charmed creature breaks the spell.”
|B/X Essentials||N||Until Dispel or Save||120′||Save vs Spells at casting
Gives target saves based on intelligence.
|Affects non-undead humanoids less than 4+1 Hit Dice (ogres have 4+1 HD)
|Dungeon Crawl Classics||Y||Until Dispel or Save||120′||Will vs check
Target gets another save based on intelligence.
|Affects “mundane living humanoid” (Ogres are humanoids)
-2 penalty on monsters and undead
-4 penalty on demons
Can affect more than one person depending on the spell check roll.
|Lamentations of the Flame Princess||?||Until Dispel or Save||120′||Save vs Magic
“Abuse or nglect” will trigger another save.
“murderous violence” will also trigger another save with a +5 bonus
|“works on all humans and human-like creatures (except Elves); other (non player character class) humanoids are not affected if they have more than four Hit Dice. “
“ Any request which is against the subject’s interests or personality triggers a saving throw to refuse the request. If the saving throw is successful, the request will be refused, but this will not break the Charm. If as part of a request, the caster promises the subject something that the subject is normally inclined to want, then this saving throw is not necessary, and the subject will comply.”
|ACKS||Y||Until Dispel or Save||60′||Save vs. Spells at casting. Target gets a +5 if being attacked||Affects “ bugbears, dryads, dwarves, elves, gnolls, gnomes, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, lizardmen, men, mermen, morlocks, neanderthal, naiads, ogres, pixies, sprites, and troglodytes, and other man-like creatures no larger than an ogre and possessing 4 or fewer Hit Dice.”|
|OSRIC||N||Until Dispel or Save||120′||Save at casting
Charmed creatures are allowed periodic saving throws to break the charm, based on intelligence:
|Affects a “’person,’ meaning character races (but note that elves are 90% resistant), and humanoids (as defined in Chapter V) up to a ceiling of one hit die of charmed creatures per character level at any one time.”
Ogres are not considered humanoids in OSRIC
“The charm will be broken automatically if the magic user obviously tries to harm the charmed creature.”
|Bluehack||Y||1 week||Near (60 ft)||PC target can roll INT to save.
For NPC target, caster can roll INT to succeed.
|“A near target becomes a close ally “|