Evil Hand | New Spell for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

Lately, I’ve been working on a bevy of subclasses that seem have somewhat of an evil bent to them. So today, I announced my on Patreon that I’m going to be creating a mini-player option book called EVIL (yes, in all caps). This book will include all the subclasses I’ve been creating lately in their finalized form plus some other nifty stuff I’m cooking up for patrons. It might even include an evil adventure.

Today, while I was thinking about this idea (in the shower, of course), I was thinking of some fun, evil spells. That’s when it hit me: what a spell where you can possess a humanoids hand and have it attack him a la Evil Dead 2?

Oh yeah, let’s do it.

Playtest Content

The material here is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not refined by
final game design and editing. They aren’t officially part of the game.

Constructive feedback is welcome and appreciated in either comments or social media. If you can give me a valid reason with examples why something is off, 9/10 I’m likely to make changes to the content and credit you for doing so. Otherwise, feedback without anything to back it up gets ignored (or at most a smile emoji like this 🙂 ) Thanks!

Design Notes

There are three parts of the evil hand spell. First, you have to possess the target’s hand. Then, when the target’s hand is possessed, you’ve essentially created two effects: first, you have a crawling claw that works for you (albeit, one that’s attached to the target). And second, the target loses its ability to use that hand.

Therefore, I need to match spells to each of these three effects in order to determine the spell’s level.

  • The possession effect works like the dominate person spell, somewhat, although it only affects the person’s hand. But I think that’s a pretty good place to start as its a 5th-level spell, has a range of 60 feet, and lasts for 1 minute (concentration).
  • Page 272 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide has rules for lingering injuries, including losing an arm or hand. It states that you can no longer hold anything with two hands, and you can hold only a single object at a time. However, it doesn’t seem to have any real disadvantages other than that. The spell bestow curse is a 3rd-level necromancy spell that can give a 1 minute (concentration) disadvantage on an ability score, attack rolls, potential loss of actions, or your spells deal extra damage to it.  I think we’re getting a little closer now.
  • Finally, it creates a crawling claw, which is a CR 0 creature, just a like a familiar. And find familiar is only a 1st level spell.

Okay, so we have the basics out of the way. Judging by everything I put up there, I think the spell’s effects that I’m thinking of most closely resembles bestow curse, but a just little better. However, it’s still not as good as dominate person. Therefore, I see my evil hand spell as a 4th-level necromancy spell. I plan on giving it the same range, duration, and higher-level duration bumps as dominate person.

New Spell: this following spell is available to sorcerers, warlocks, and wizards.

Evil Hand

4th-level necromancy

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 60 feet

Components: V, S

Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

You attempt to animate and control a humanoid’s hand that you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Charisma saving throw or the target loses control of its hand and the hand becomes charmed by you for the duration. For the spell’s duration, the target can no longer hold anything in the charmed hand or with two hands unless you will the charmed hand to do so.

While the hand is charmed, it takes on the statistics of a crawling claw (MM, page 44), and you have a telepathic link with it as long as the two of you are on the same plane of existence. You can use this telepathic link to issue commands to the hand while you are conscious (no action required), which it does its best to obey. You specify a simple and general course of action, such as “Attack that creature,” “Fetch that object,” or if it is free of the target’s wrist, “Crawl over there.” If the hand completes the order and doesn’t receive further direction from you, it defends itself to the best of its ability. As long as the charmed hand is still attached to the target’s wrist, it is grappled by the target. However, the hand can still make attacks against the target and other creatures within reach.

The target or another creature can make an attack against the charmed hand while it is connected to the target’s wrist. In addition, the target or another creature can use its action to try and sever the charmed hand from the target’s wrist. In order to attack itself or sever its own hand or allow another creature to attack or sever its hand, the target must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the target can’t bring itself to attack itself or allow another creature to attack its hand or wrist until the end of its turn; a creature attacking the hand must make a melee weapon attack against the target’s AC as normal. On a successful save, the attack automatically hits and the attacker rolls for damage against the crawling claw. If the target or another creature attempts to sever the wrist instead, the attack automatically hits and if the attack deals 3 or more damage, the target takes the damage and its hand is severed.  Once the target’s hand is severed, the hand is no longer grappled and it operates independently of the target (but still under your command). At the end of the spell’s duration, the hand becomes a lifeless severed hand.

Once it loses its hand, the target can no longer hold anything with two hands, and it can hold only a single object at a time. Magic such as the regenerate spell can restore the lost appendage.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a 5th-level spell slot, the duration is concentration up to 10 minutes. When you use a 6th-level spell slot, the duration is concentration, up to 1 hour. When you use a spell slot of 7th level or higher, the duration is concentration, up to 8 hours.

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Art by Wizards of the Coast.

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