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Bigby's grasping hand

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Bigby's grasping hand was an evocation spell that created a hand of force to grapple with an opponent.[2][3][4][5][7] Clerics who cast this spell named it for their deity—Lathander's grasping hand, for example.[3] To Zakharan mages, always reluctant to acknowledge ajami names and accomplishments, the spell was known simply as grasping hand, and counted among the spells of the universal province.[6]


This spell was one of the Bigby's hand family of spells. It created a hand about the size of an ogre[2][3] or about 10 ft (3 m) tall with a splayed finger span of about the same distance[3] (earlier versions could be even larger[4][5][8]) that could be used to grab and hold a creature. All versions of this spell relied on the caster's senses to detect and locate a target, the fist did not have senses of its own.[2][3][4][5][7] But once a target was designated, the hand would unerringly stick with the target regardless of invisibility, polymorphing, darkness, or other means of concealment or disguise.[3][4][5][7]

The earliest versions never missed the target once it was designated,[4][5][7] but later versions performed repeated melee attacks until the grapple succeeded or until the spell expired.[2][3] A successful grab immobilized the target.[2][3] The grasping hand could also be used in the same manner as Bigby's interposing hand or as an improved Bigby's forceful hand with greater strength.[3] For the earlier versions, the weight of the target determined the reduction in movement rate. A 1,000 lb (455 kg) creature could be held motionless, while a 16,000 lb (7,270 kg) creature would be slowed to half its normal movement speed.[4][5][7]

Range and duration varied widely over the history of this spell. For the earliest versions, a wizard that had advanced just enough to cast this spell could control the hand for 14 minutes and extend its reach to 140 ft (43 m) indoors/140 yd (128 m) outdoors.[4][5][7] Later versions lasted only a minute[2] or two,[3] but the reach was extended from 120 ft (36.6 m)[2] to 230 ft (70.1 m) at a minimum.[3]

For all versions of this spell, the health of the hand was the same as the caster's uninjured health.[2][3][4][5][7]


In addition to the verbal component, all versions required somatic gestures.[2][3][4][5][7] After the Second Sundering, the hand imitated the movement of the caster's hand for the duration of the spell.[2] The early versions required a glove made of leather,[3][4][5][7] but after the Second Sundering, the material components were refined to an eggshell and a glove made of snakeskin.[2]


  1. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 211. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 218. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook 3.5 edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 204. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 David "Zeb" Cook (August 1989). Player's Handbook (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 183. ISBN 0-88038-716-5.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 David "Zeb" Cook (April 1995). Player's Handbook 2nd edition (revised). (TSR, Inc.), p. 232. ISBN 0-7869-0329-5.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sam Witt (January 1994). The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook. (TSR, Inc), pp. 124, 126. ISBN 978-1560768289.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 Gary Gygax (1978). Players Handbook 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 0-9356-9601-6.
  8. Gary Gygax (1978). Players Handbook 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), p. 79. ISBN 0-9356-9601-6.

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