Spell Conversion: Bigby’s Silencing Hand 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.


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 Silencing Hand. The spell does something that designers of Dungeons & Dragons are trying to avoid more and more over the years: Disable a character completely for a round.

Getting skipped is due to a spell effect is annoying for any player. That’s why stunning effects are usually kept on the player’s side. The way this spell silences means a caster can be rendered useless for the entire fight.

But the spell is still unique and can be converted. Let’s look at the important mechanics we want to convert:

  • 2nd Level, one target
  • Create a hand
  • Physically silences a creature
  • Saving throw each turn

The best spell to compare it to is Silence. While Silence affects an area where the targets can usually walk out of on their turn, Bigby’s Silencing Hand targets one person specifically.

Interestingly, the way the spell works a Strength Saving Throw is the most appropriate of all abilities. This makes this spell a fun unique addition to any spellcaster. But be cautious, using this spell too much against your players can really decrease the fun of your spellcaster friends.

Luckily, the spell can also be disspelled by destroying the hand, so affected creatures can get help from their allies.

Considering all of this, this is my conversion of Bigby’s Silencing Hand in 5e:

Bigby’s Silencing Hand

2nd-level evocation
Casting time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S, M (an egg shell and a snake skin glove)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Choose a humanoid that you can see within range. You create a hand that flies over to the target and clamps tightly over its mouth. The target must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be silenced for the duration. At the end of each of its turns. the target can make another Strength saving throw. On a success. the spell ends on the target.

Additionally, the hand can be magically disspelled or destroyed by 6 magical damage (AC 10).

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, you can create an additional hand and target one additional humanoid for each slot leveI above 2nd. The humanoids must be within 30 feet of each other when you target them.


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 Strangling Grip.

See you in the Green Dragon Inn,


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