In our Spell Conversion Series we will look at spells from 2nd edition that didn’t make it into the 5th edition of D&D. For a full list of all named spells, go here.
In order to convert a spell we need to look at the guidelines of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, at the original spell in 2nd edition and at the existing spells in 5e. The new spell shouldn’t overshadow an existing spell nor be too complicated.
5th edition’s biggest advantage over older editions is that spells are extremely streamlined and bookkeeping on the Dungeon Master’s side is kept to a minimum.
Also, some spells might be used for a specific situation. This showcases how some mages in Greyhawk invented magic for their own needs. Consider players to get in touch with those unique spells by meeting disciples of these famous mages (or even the mage himself) rather than handing them out freely.
Today we look at Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet. The spell has a really specific mechanic but is at the same time inccurate in its effect. It is understandable that WotC disregarded this spell, especially with the streamlining of structure damage.
But the spell is still unique and can be converted. Let’s look at the important mechanics we want to convert:
- 4th Level, targeting a door
- Destroys a door in a number of times depending on the door’s material
- Spawn a new entity (big ram)
- Can only be magically dispelled or destroyed
You can compare this spell with Knock in its function to get past a door and gameplaywise with a structure damaging spell. The specific design to only work against doors (no damage against creatures or walls) needs to be the spell’s strength and weakness.
Ultimately, a 4th level spell should be more powerful than a 2nd level Knock and at the same time not fail in its only purpose. Destroying a door. So I decided to enhance the spell to always break metal doors and its effect against magical doors.
Considering all of this, this is my conversion of Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet in 5e:
Bigby’s Battering Gauntlet
Casting time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (metal rod with metal gauntlet)
Duration: 1 minute
You create a metal ram that modifies its size by fitting the door it is caat on.It immediately starts attacking the door, destroying any wooden door with its first attack, stone doors with the second and metal doors with its fourth.
Arcane locks are dispeĺled on the first attack (wooden door with an Arcane Lock therefore destroyed in two turns. Every other magical lock of higher quality has a 50% chance to withstand an attack.
The ram is an object, has AC 15 and hit points equal to half of your hit point maximum. If it drops to 0 hit points or the door is destroyed, the spell ends.
As you might have realised, converting spells is never easy and highly subjective. There are many ways to the same goal. Our goal is to make our World of Greyhawk experience unique, different from a homebrew of Forgotten Realms campaign. And with every new spell that used to be a Greyhawk exclusive, we are getting closer to our goal.
Next time we are going to convert Bigby’s Besieging Bolt.
See you in the Green Dragon Inn,