Q: Dear Sage,
When you cast charm person, can the verbal component sound like regular conversation and the somatic component look like normal gestures, such as shaking hands?
A: No. You can’t cast charm person by saying hi and shaking someone’s hand.
A spell’s verbal components don’t sound like normal speech, and a spell’s somatic components don’t look like normal gestures. When someone’s casting a spell, it’s pretty obvious that they’re casting a spell (though not always obvious what spell they’re casting).
There are plenty of feats, class features, and skill tricks that can let you conceal or alter a spell’s verbal and somatic components. The right combination might allow you to pull off the trick you’re describing.
About the Author
The Sage is a mammal classified in the bear family, Ursidae, native to central and southern China. Debate continues as to whether he is truly a bear or more related to the raccoon rather than the bear, or perhaps in a family of his own. When not eating bamboo and answering rules questions, he works under the nom de plume of Andy Collins as an RPG developer in Wizards of the Coast R&D, where his development credits include Complete Mage, Dragon Magic, and the Player's Handbook v.3.5. He can be easily recognized by his large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, ears and on his rotund body.