Spell Conversion: Bigby’s Fantastic Fencers 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 Fantastic Fencers. This spell is a monster summoning spell. Over the generations the amount of spells that summon creatures to aid the party steadily decreased. This has mostly to do with minimizing bookkeeping in combat. Also, WotC doesn’t want players to flip through the Monster Manual to find stuff to summon.

But the spell is still unique enough to use it in 5th edition. Here is what it can do:

  • 5th Level spell
  • Spawn hands with swords
  • Every hand is a combatant listening to the mage’s orders.

This spell is a well designed combat starter in Bigby’s arsenal. The spawned creatures don’t need concentration to maintain and can hold foes of him. Balance wise a fifth level spell shouldn’t spawn a creature with a CR higher than 5. When spawning multiple monsters the combined CR should be well below this limit.

The original spell actually consumes an amulet worth 1,000 gp. In my opinion this is not necessary for a simple spell.

Considering all of this, this is my conversion of Bigby’s Fantastic Fencers in 5e:

Bigby’s Fantastic Fencers

5th-level evocation
Casting time: 1 action
Range: 15 feet
Components: V, S, M (a silver amulet worth 1,000 gp)
Duration: 1 hour

You create three hands holding longswords 15 feet around you. They act on your turn starting the turn you summoned them.

The hands have an AC of 18, 15 hit points and 30 feet of movement. They have the same saving throws as the caster being immune to all status effects.

They can use the Attack action to do a melee attack and use their reaction to do an attack of opportunity with 6 as the attack modifier. A hit does 1d8+3 damage and the attacked creature has to succeed a Strength saving throw DC 12 or are disarmed.

If the hands are somehow disarmed, they are disspelled.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell at 6th or higher level the amount of fighting hands increases by 1 per level.


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 Feeling Fingers.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,


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