Spell Archive: Crown of Madness

Turn your foes against their allies and reap the benefits. Today we take a look at what’s often one of the most underpowered enchantment spells.

Some of the spells in our archive have very specific ruling on how we are allowed to use them. Today’s entry happens to be one of those, but it is also the kind of spell that could make a big difference in combat.


Crown of Madness

2nd-level enchantment

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 120 feet

Components: V, S

Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

One humanoid of your choice that you can see within range must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become charmed by you for the duration. While the target is charmed in this way, a twisted crown of jagged iron appears on its head, and a madness glows in its eyes.

The charmed target must use its action before moving on each of its turns to make a melee attack against a creature other than itself that you mentally choose. The target can act normally on its turn if you choose no creature or if none are within its reach.

On your subsequent turns, you must use your action to maintain control over the target, or the spell ends. Also, the target can make a Wisdom saving throw at the end of each of its turns. On a success, the spell ends


Spell Talk

A couple of interesting notes on this one. For starters, since Wisdom Saving Throws are one of the most common saves in the games, there’s a decent chance that your target might be equipped to deal with them depending on the type of monster. This is definitely something to keep in mind when picking up this spell.

Although 2nd level might sound like a bargain on this one, especially when compared with other similar spells like Dominate Person, you should definitely be aware of its one-minute duration. Chances are that trying to use this in an RP based situation won’t be as useful as casting Charm Person, for example.

As for the actual effect, I’d also be mindful of the fact that the creature must start its turn my taking the instructed attack before its movement or it’ll simply go ahead and do its own thing. That means that there’s a chance you won’t always be able to get the most out of this spell. That said, their being charmed and not able to target you in any way is still quite nice.

As long as you can hold concentration, and they don’t make the save at the end of their turn, of course.


Tips and Tricks

This is definitely one of those spells that you want to use only under the right circumstances. If you’re lucky and the situation calls for it, you might be able to take out the main threat out of an encounter and turn them to your side instead. This could be particularly beneficial when fighting a stronger monster surrounded by lower threat goons. Having the Hobgoblin turn on its goblin friends could definitely render the encounter as lot easier.

I would say a good rule of thumb is to only use this either in crowded spaces or when there’s plenty other targets near. We want to make sure that we won’t be wasting our turn concentrating on a spell that doesn’t do anything for us.

One last quick thing: the spell specifically requires for the attack to be of the melee kind. That means no casting this on other casters! Don’t do it!


Reflavor

While it is technically a crown of madness, I don’t see why it couldn’t technically be reflavored as pretty much anything else. Interestingly enough, the official wording does describe the target as having glowing eyes, so you could very much lean into that as much as you want.

Another bit you could change up (or talk to your Dungeon Master about) is just how aware the creature is of their enchanted state. Are they conscious and fighting it the whole time? Or is it more of a primal urge that overcomes them? Maybe it’s a bit more subtle and they simply see you as a friend.

All these different things could make this spell unique to the caster.


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