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Bigby's grasping hand was an evocation spell that created a hand of force to grapple with an opponent.[2][5][6][7][9] Clerics who cast this spell named it for their deity—Lathander's grasping hand, for example.[5] To Zakharan mages, always reluctant to acknowledge ajami names and accomplishments, the spell was known simply as grasping hand, and counted among the spells of the universal province.[8]


This spell was one of the Bigby's hand family of spells. It created a hand about the size of an ogre[2][5] or about 10 ft (3 m) tall with a splayed finger span of about the same distance[5] (earlier versions could be even larger[6][7][10]) that could be used to grab and hold a creature. All versions of this spell relied on the caster's senses to detect and locate a target, the fist did not have senses of its own.[2][5][6][7][9] But once a target was designated, the hand would unerringly stick with the target regardless of invisibility, polymorphing, darkness, or other means of concealment or disguise.[5][6][7][9]

The earliest versions never missed the target once it was designated,[6][7][9] but later versions performed repeated melee attacks until the grapple succeeded or until the spell expired.[2][5] A successful grab immobilized the target.[2][5] The grasping hand could also be used in the same manner as Bigby's interposing hand or as an improved Bigby's forceful hand with greater strength.[5] For the earlier versions, the weight of the target determined the reduction in movement rate. A 1,000 lb (455 kg) creature could be held motionless, while a 16,000 lb (7,270 kg) creature would be slowed to half its normal movement speed.[6][7][9]

Range and duration varied widely over the history of this spell. For the earliest versions, a wizard that had advanced just enough to cast this spell could control the hand for 14 minutes and extend its reach to 140 ft (43 m) indoors/140 yd (128 m) outdoors.[6][7][9] Later versions lasted only a minute[2] or two,[5] but the reach was extended from 120 ft (36.6 m)[2] to 230 ft (70.1 m) at a minimum.[5]

For all versions of this spell, the health of the hand was the same as the caster's uninjured health.[2][5][6][7][9]

When cast on Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells, a fiendish claw appeared instead of a hand.[11]


In addition to the verbal component, all versions required somatic gestures.[2][5][6][7][9] After the Second Sundering, the hand imitated the movement of the caster's hand for the duration of the spell.[2] The early versions required a glove made of leather,[5][6][7][9] but after the Second Sundering, the material components were refined to an eggshell and a glove made of snakeskin.[2]


  1. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 211. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 218. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  3. Jeremy Crawford, James Wyatt, Keith Baker (November 2019). Eberron: Rising from the Last War. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 56. ISBN 978-0-7869-6692-9.
  4. Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 164. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 204. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 David "Zeb" Cook (August 1989). Player's Handbook (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 183. ISBN 0-88038-716-5.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 David "Zeb" Cook (April 1995). Player's Handbook 2nd edition (revised). (TSR, Inc.), p. 232. ISBN 0-7869-0329-5.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sam Witt (January 1994). The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook. (TSR, Inc), pp. 124, 126. ISBN 978-1560768289.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 Gary Gygax (1978). Players Handbook 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), p. 86. ISBN 0-9356-9601-6.
  10. Gary Gygax (1978). Players Handbook 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), p. 79. ISBN 0-9356-9601-6.
  11. Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 77. ISBN 0786966769.