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 Force Sculpture. The spell has a also two enhanced versions, Bigby’s Superior Force Sculpture and Bigby’s Most Excellent Force Sculpture. We can implement those with the new mechanic of using a spell on a higher spell level.
With these array of spells you can create from the smallest utensils to the biggest warship anything you can imagine. I can see how this spell can stall a game to a halt when players try to create something extraordinary and the DM has to account for it. It can definitely derail an adventure module, so it should be given out with caution especially for novice DMs.
But the spell is still unique and can be converted. Let’s look at the important mechanics we want to convert:
- 4th level, 6th level or 8th level
- Creates an item or structure out of clay
- Cost and complexity of the end product depend on the casting level
The spell can’t really be compared to any other spell in the 5th edition list. Closest would be Creation and Wall spells. When giving out the spell to players you should discuss with the party what is possible beforehand.
I think a good way to balance the spell is to assume that the casting wizard needs the appropriate knowledge about what he wants to create.
So if he wants to build a big warship, he needs to use his Downtime first to write a detailed plan.
Considering all of this, this is my conversion of Bigby’s Force Sculpture in 5e:
Bigby’s Force Sculpture
Casting time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S, M (lump of clay)
Duration: 1 hour
You can shape a plane of force in any way you wish. The form can’t have any sharp edges or loose parts, e.g. a table, chair, bucket.
All objects created can’t be harmed by physical attacks. The structure has a maximum of 8 cubic feet in matter and has the same hit points as you.
At Higher Levels. This spell can also be cast on 6th and 8th level. At 6th level, diamond dust worth 250 gp is consumed when cast. The shape can now have edges like a sword and can be more intricate like a wagon. The size of matter limit is now 64 cubic feet. Casting time is 1 minute and duration is 6 hours. At 8th level, diamond dust worth 1000 gp is consumed when cast. The shape can now have intricate parts and structures like a sailing ship is possible. The size of matter limit is now 256 cubic feet. Casting time is 30 minutes and duration is 1 day.
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 Battering Gauntlet.
See you in the Green Dragon Inn,