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The PHB defines the charmed status with the following rules:

  • A charmed creature can't attack the charmer or target the charmer with harmful abilities or magical effects
  • The charmer has advantage on any ability check to interact socially with the creature

However, several spells and abilities use charm as 'complete control' over the victim.

In Awaken, it says the animal is charmed, full stop. Is this only the minor kind of charm? If so, at the end it chooses to remain friendly or not. What does that mean? It has the same status condition as charm forever? Or that it just likes you?

Examples of this are Dryad charm, dominate/anything, suggestion (for one sentence) succubus charm, animal friendship, bag of tricks, the list goes on. All of them describe the condition as charmed but you completely direct the targets action

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That's it

There's only one type of charmed in 5e, and that is the status which you quoted: You get advantage on social skill checks and it can't attack you any more. That's all the "control" you get. If a spell gives more control than that, it is explicitly described.

I didn't play editions prior to 5th but I think I heard somewhere that the charmed condition used to be a lot stronger than that. If that is the case, I have bad news for you: That is really "all" it does. There's no spell that uses charmed as a codeword for complete control as far as I know.

At the end it chooses to remain friendly or not

There is a friendly attitude for NPC's in the DMG (p. 244). I couldn't find any guidelines on how to decide on whether a creature will remain friendly or not, so I guess that is up to your DM. However, there's a passage that says:

A friendly creature wants to help the adventurers and wishes for them to succeed. For tasks or actions that require no particular risk, effort, or cost, friendly creatures usually help without question. If an element of personal risk is involved, a successful Charisma check might be required to convince a friendly creature to take that risk.

So while you still don't get complete control, you can probably get the creature to do quite a few things for you with some successful checks.

Note that Awaken doesn't change the creature's attitude towards you, so awakening a hostile creature might do more harm than good.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's disappointing. Thanks for clarifying though. It makes sense to read it that way \$\endgroup\$ – Nemenia Feb 21 '16 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that “friendly” is a possible attitude in the NPC social interaction guidelines in the DMG (p. 244). It's less like a status condition and more like a shorthand convenience for a DM's roleplaying, but it seems clear that that friendliness or lack thereof after being charmed is referring to these NPC attitude categories—and the guidelines can easily be used by a DM to judge their friendliness or lack thereof after being charmed. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 21 '16 at 3:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Thanks for the hint, I updated the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – ammut Feb 21 '16 at 13:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't the text "At the end it chooses to remain friendly or not" imply that Awaken makes the target friendly? \$\endgroup\$ – Merudo Apr 25 at 20:56
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There is only one "kind" of charmed, which is a condition detailed on p.290 of the PHB.

Charmed

  • A charmed creature can't attack the charmer or target the charmer with harmful abilities or magical effects.

  • The charmer has advantage on any ability check to interact socially with the creature.

The Awakened example in you question imposes just the charmed condition. The other examples impose charmed, plus other effects that are not from the charmed condition.

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