Xanathar's Guide to Everything introduced the Circle of the Shepherd subclass option for druids. This circle gets the Mighty Summoner ability at level 6 and the Guardian Spirit ability at level 10. Both grant an improvement to a druid's beast and fey summons. Both are worded so that they clearly apply to the beasts and fey created by the spells conjure animals and conjure woodland beings. It's not as clear whether they apply to the giant insects created by the giant insect spell.
... Any beast or fey summoned or created by a spell that you cast gains the following benefits:...
...When a beast or fey that you summoned or created with a spell ends its turn in your Spirit Totem aura... (XGTE p. 24)
That's three requirements:
- the pets must be beasts or fey;
- the pets must be created or summoned;
- the mechanism of creation or summoning must be a spell cast by the shepherd druid.
I believe my question hinges on the second requirement. Giant Insect is a spell (requirement 3 is met). It causes there to exist giant arthropods, all of which are beasts according to the Monster Manual (requirement 1 is met). The description of the giant insect spell doesn't explicitly use the verbs "create" or "summon", though (requirement 2 is unclear):
You transform up to ten centipedes, three spiders, five wasps, or one scorpion within range into giant versions of their natural forms for the duration. A centipede becomes a giant centipede, a spider becomes a giant spider, a wasp becomes a giant wasp, and a scorpion becomes a giant scorpion.
Each creature obeys your verbal commands, and in combat, they act on your turn each round. The DM has the statistics for these creatures and resolves their actions and movement. (PHB p. 245)
My question is whether the giant scorpion, giant spiders, etc. created by giant insect get the benefits of the Mighty Summoner and Guardian Spirit abilities. I suspect a correct answer will also answer the question: Does giant insect create?
If you have a definitive answer, let's hear it. My thought is that an argument can be made either way:
A. No, giant insect does not create beasts.
- It takes existing beasts and transforms them. See? No creation involved!
- It's a transmutation spell, not a conjuration or teleportation spell. It changes without creating or summoning.
B. Yes, giant insect creates beasts.
- In normal English, changing an object's nature is rightly called "creation". If I turn materials into a shed, a sculpture, or a painting, no one will correct me if I say that I created a shed, sculpture, or painting.
- An oyster adds nacre to a grain of sand, creating a pearl. giant insect adds arthropod-material to an arthropod, creating a giant arthropod.
- No matter what we call the magic ("transmutation", for example), giant insect temporarily causes a tremendous amount of mass to be present where there was none before. That mass was either brought into existence or brought in from somewhere else; the overwhelming majority of the giant arthropod was either created or summoned, and the preexisting material is so spread through the creature as to be indiscernible from the new material.