“Now, everybody just chill out a minute. If you all want to bash each other’s skulls in, be my guest, but only after I’ve said what I have to say. Listen up.”
When I am not DMing, I am doing the crazy thing and teaching high school. Sometimes, when the people without the frontal lobes start getting all hypothalamus-al and hyper-thyroidal, the only thing you can do is be the loudest and calmest person in the room. Or the craziest.
Sometimes you need to speak reasonably. Sometimes you need to yell at everyone else to sit down and shut up. It doesn’t matter which tactic you take, so long as everyone just calms the banana-sandwich down!
And this isn’t just for crazy teenagers about to get violent. It also works for crazy teenagers who are about to make any bad decision involving each other’s bodies. “Keep your hands to yourself. I don’t care if they’re asking for it!” Whether it’s butt-whoopings or aggressive cuddles, sometimes you have to be the adult in the room and remind everyone of the consequences of the actions they are about to take. Just calm down and think.
This spell is the way to magically do just that, which is strange considering it’s available to bards, clerics, and warlocks — not a very rational group of people. Yeah, sometimes a cleric can be mature, but sometimes they also get all crusader-y and righteously vengeful.
I would honestly suspect this spell to be in the purview of the druid and some of their patented Sleepy Time Tea, but what are you going to do? Let’s get into it. What does this spell do, how does it do it, and how can you best take advantage of it?
- Level: 2nd
- Casting Time: 1 Action
- Range/Area: 60 ft. (20 ft.)
- Components: V, S
- Duration: Concentration 1 Minute
- School: Enchantment
- Attack/Save: CHA Save
- Ritual: No
You attempt to suppress strong emotions in a group of people. Each humanoid in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on a point you choose within range must make a Charisma saving throw; a creature can choose to fail this saving throw if it wishes. If a creature fails its saving throw, choose one of the following two effects. You can suppress any effect causing a target to be charmed or frightened. When this spell ends, any suppressed effect resumes, provided that its duration has not expired in the meantime.
Alternatively, you can make a target indifferent about creatures of your choice that it is hostile toward. This indifference ends if the target is attacked or harmed by a spell or if it witnesses any of its friends being harmed. When the spell ends, the creature becomes hostile again, unless the DM rules otherwise.
Spell Tags: Social
Available For: Bard Cleric Oath of Redemption The Archfey
Basic Rules, pg. 221
Who Can Cast Calm Emotions?
Bards, Clerics, and Warlocks of The Archfey can cast calm emotions. While, in general, these are potentially social-type characters who make their impact on dealing with tense social situations, this may not be the best spell for your investment if you are playing a Bard or a Warlock.
Enthrall and crown of madness are enchantment spells that will give you a stronger effect on the social situation. In general, if you just want to calm a group down, you could make a persuasion check. Enthrall and crown of madness will not stop a fight from happening, but it will certainly direct the fight into a place you want it to go.
For Clerics, calm emotions is a better choice for emotional crowd control, but there are a few other ways to do just that. Casting silence will make everyone stop arguing. Not only can this help people to stop ranting and raving and think a bit more rationally, but it also has the side effect of maybe making people realize they should stop yelling and start punching.
Whatever works, right?
When To Use Calm Emotions
Of course, this is a useful spell if you are playing in the type of game where social interaction is just as important as using the stabby bits on the enemy’s squishy bits. The obvious use of calm emotions is to make everyone one step friendlier. If a group of humanoids is all angry and emotional, you can make everyone calm down for a minute and think things through before deciding to try and poke holes in each other.
The other application for calm emotions is to suppress any charm or frighten effect. This is the best situation to use calm emotions.
This way, when the Big Bad with the silver tongue magically gets your barbarian friend to start wailing on the Paladin, you can cast calm emotions to help your friend be a bit more reasonable. It won’t stop his rage, but it will stop the magical charm that’s making him take his anger out on his shiny buddy.
Furthermore, if the Barbarian suddenly realizes the Big Bad is actually a clown and gets scared out of his wits, you can suppress the frightened effect that is making him a useless lump of meat on the battlefield.
Also, in a social situation, sometimes the party is subjected to a vampire, a Bard, or a charismatic leader of some type who wants to charm the party and throw them off the trail. As the emotional center of the party, it might be up to you to thwart the deceptive beauty and keep your party on mission.
That way, you can avoid being used as a pawn by the vampire who is being hunted by a Paladin and just happened to come across you in the pub and think you would make an impressive kung-fu meat shield. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.
Common Questions About Calm Emotions
Can Calm Emotions Cancel Rage?
Yes, but not directly. Rage ends if you have not attacked a hostile creature within one turn. Calm emotions can reduce everyone’s emotional standing from hostile to unfriendly.
Therefore, if you cast calm emotions on a group and the Barbarian suddenly has no hostile creatures to target, hypothetically, the rage will end. However, if the Barbarian still chooses to attack someone, that target will immediately become hostile, thus perpetuating the rage. So, just like in real life, some people can simply choose not to calm down.
Can Calm Emotions Cancel Fear and Charm Person?
Yes. Calm emotions suppresses a frightened effect. However, keep track of the duration of both spells. If the calm emotions wears off before the fear, then the fear will immediately kick back into effect.
Can Calm Emotions Cancel a Dominate?
Calm emotions can suppress a dominate spell. However it can not cancel the spell, but keep track of the duration of both spells. If the calm emotions wears off before the dominate, then the dominate will immediately kick back into effect.
Can Calm Emotions Make Someone Friendly?
No, but it can be an important first step to genuine appreciation for a person. I say this because calm emotions does stop the hostility so that actual conversation can take place. However, sometimes, you don’t really know if you hate a person until after you have an honest conversation with them. At least now, though, you know you’re doing the right thing by choosing violence.
Does Calm Emotions Affect the Caster?
Yes, but only if the caster is within range of the spell and if they choose to fail it.
Does Calm Emotions Prevent the Charmed or Frightened Condition?
Calm emotions doesn’t prevent the spells from being cast, nor does it prevent you from failing the saving throw against them. However, the spell will suppress their effects for a duration, which means that the caster aiming those spells at you will have to concentrate for longer than the duration of the calm emotions.
Does Calm Emotions Work on Beasts, Undead, Fey, Etc?
No. The spell clearly states that calm emotions only works on creatures with the humanoid type.
Do Elves and Creatures Immune to Charm and Frighten Have Resistance to Calm Emotions?
No. The spell does not impose the charmed or frightened condition, which means there is nothing for the player to resist. For the secondary effect where creatures stop being hostile, this effect is not classified as a charm or a fear effect, and therefore the elf/player has no resistance.
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I played the game a lot as a kid, back in first edition. Over the past few years since 5e was released, I’ve really started getting back into it. Currently, I run a campaign online for some friends and my brothers, and we also play a side-sesh just to mix things up.