Spell Conversion: Bigby’s Construction Crew in 5e

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.

Method for Spell Conversion in 5e

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.

The spell

Today we look at Bigby’s Construction Crew. This spell has a specific out of combat use. WotC changed the importance of downtime a lot. While base building was really common in older editions they are no rules in place in 5th edition. So this spell lost obvious value.

But the spell is still a nice piece to flesh out your Greyhawk campaign if you consider base building. Here is what it can do:

  • 4th Level spell
  • Spawn a set of hands that work as skilled construction workers
  • Construction tools need to be provided (worth 500 gp)

The spell is best judged by looking at the price of skilled workers. A skilled worker costs 15 gp per day and after the initial investment of the tools alot of money can be saved. As no lodging or food is needed, even more money can be saved. It is a truly powerful spell that can make or break a world’s economy, so a high spell level is absolutely necessary. It might even be that this spell is one of Bigby’s biggest secrets that could enable a lot of powerful enemies if shared.

Considering all of this, this is my conversion of Bigby’s Construction Crew in 5e:


Bigby’s Construction Crew

4th-level evocation
Casting time: 1 action
Range: 180 feet
Components: V, S, M (assertment of miniature tools worth 500 gp)
Duration: 12 hrs

You create seven pairs of magical hands. All hands come equipped with construction tools and a pair resembles the workforce of one worker. They are able to do any work necessary on a construction site like carpenting, masoning, mining or sapping. The hands can’t deal any damage and have an AC of 10 and 5 hit points.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell at 5th or higher level the amount of hand pairs increases by 2 for each level.


Conclusion

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 Dextrous Digits.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,

Frogsama

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