Figured I would start a thread to help those who want to use charm learn how to more effictively at all levels.
Hopefully others will add to this, point out better ways, and of course the habitual posters that 'hate charms' and why.
Charm haters will post, read what they say...for the proper use of charms revolve around helping the party survive, moving them along faster for loot, and completing objectives.
Low level charming.....
You can only charm humanoids (humans, elfs, kobalds, hobgoblins, etc) with charm person. The third level spell 'suggestion' allows you to charm humanoids and monsters, but does not last as long. Sorcerers have to wait until 6th level (I think) to get a 3rd level spell.
a 2nd level spell called comand undead will charm undead critters of all kinds, pick that one up.
Useful feats include enchantment focus, necro focus (for undead charm) and heighten...heighten, if you have to pick one, is the one I would use as a Wiz...sorc I would go for enchantment focus. Heighten casts the spell as if it were as the level of your highest spells. Since wizzies progress quicker up the level ladder of spells, it is of more benefit.
High Level Charming
I would suggest the charm monster and dominate person spells... I find that dominate person works better on humaniods, even though they have the same will save. Also, there is a cool down involved for the spells.
Mass suggestion and/or symbol of persuasion if you are a wizard is cool too.
For feats, heighten and enlarge are best. Focuses and spell resistance help too. Definitely get the spell resistance enhancements at the very least.
For low levels, the enchantments break quickly, for the high levels always carry break enchantment scrolls with you. This is in case you charm something that must die before a door opens.
Mass charming versus individual charming.....
Charming a group of monsters is awesome and fun...but the problem is they all pop at once too..not so good at times.
Charming multiples also means you can pick up unwanted charms, for instance a group fo cleric casters....Having 3-5 cleric casters break charm at once is no fun at all.
Individual charming means you can select the type you want to charm, and charm a lot of them. They seldom break at the same time and large mobs will thin themselvesl.
Unless the party is wiping, I will seldom do this...unless there are a ton of casters we are facing, then you will have to do a few of them. Charming a caster may seem great, but it is a will save and the chances, especially of a cleric, are better for a save and wasting mana. Your team should be concentrating on killing casters/clerics and so will your other charmed.
I, if facing a group, charm the fighters and rangers. They will engage the casters and draw their aggro from the party... They will help bring down the nastiest casters and the uncharmed casters will usually take out a lot of the charmed too.
Mobs and more mobs
If you have a huge mob ahead...or a string of small mobs that you know will just start aggroing on the party, charm one of them using enlarge (if you have that feat)...as long as the mob does not see you, the entire group, or series of groups, will attack the charmed one.
Once the aggro is on the charmed one, charm a few more fighters as your party attacks. The disarray and aggro of the mob will usually allow your fighters to attack unmolested for a time...this will help the tide turn your way quickly and efficiently.
If the party is in deep trouble, just spam the heck out of the charm spells until the situation is under control.
Uses and abuses
If your party is awesome, and is cutting through the mobs, charming may not be necessary much at all. You can have fun with all your other spells. You will not be helping by doing charms if they do not need it.
Charming 'just cause you can' is a waste of mana also. Charming some of a mob helps, all of a mob is not....However, if soloing or in a bad pug you can go charm crazy and have your own army.
How to use charms
Charms are great aggro magnets. If approaching a mob, use sneak. If you sneak good, the charms do not...thus the approaching mob will attack them and not you. This can help an overpowered group cope with a bad situation and still move forward.
Always keep charms as far away from shrining party members as you can..tell them to wait until you are done. As soon as they break they can one shot a shrining party member or three...or worse if you had a caster charmed.
VON3..that room, you know the one..the awful one...if you are level appropriate, it can be nasty. Charm a few of the first mob..chamr as many as you want. Let you pary jump down and kill the rest. Get set up for the second mob that will come from shrine. When ready, use break enchantment scrolls and release the charms..when the last one dies, the next mob comes out. Just charm one of them and kill the rest. Now you have the shrine, have time to heal up and prepare.
Break enchantment on charmed guy and kill him..now the thrid group comes....do the same thing. Then the fourth is killed.
By using charm and break enchantment, you are able to completely control the 4 waves of monsters, and your party should not have a bad time there at all. Effective use of charm and break enchantment...and a ton of mana saved by both caster and cleric...and no party wipe with xp loss.
In the same quest, charming the earth elementals keeps the marut from wiping your party if you are having problems, as they will get the aggro pretty well.
.....that is all for now, will add, modify this as I go....welcome to add input and I will also add it...
Until then, good luck charming.