The monster "crawling claw" (an animated amputated hand, a la Thing) seems to have a muddled history of revisions across D&D 3e and 3.5.
- In the 3.0 book Monsters of Faerun (29), a crawling claw is a 1 HD Diminutive construct. A sidebar in that book provides the means to create them: the 3rd-level sorcerer/wizard spell create crawling claw, which explicitly places them under the caster's control. (The spell has no costly material components and does not stipulate an upper limit on the number of claws that a caster could create with repeated castings, which suggests the strategy of accumulating lots of them to use as e.g. a creepy source of unskilled labor.)
- The 3.5 web enhancement to Player's Guide to Faerun updated a number of monsters from 3.0, including the crawling claw, which gained the swarm subtype with without further commentary.
- The 3.5 book Lost Empires of Faerun (163) presents another creature called the crawling claw, which is a 5 HD Tiny construct swarm (consisting of many animated amputated hands.) It presents rules for creating the swarm, which requires three hundred (!) hands and a cost of 9,250 gp + 710 xp. (It also shows a price of 18,000 gp, though I'm not sure if this means that claw-swarms are available for sale, or even if they're commanded like golems, etc.)
So it appears that the crawling claw was updated from a single hand (MoF), to a fragile swarm presumably consisting of many hands (PGtF-WE), to a somewhat tougher swarm explicitly consisting of many hands (LEoF). However the means of creating crawling claws changed from the cheap spell create crawling claw to an expensive construct-as-magic-item process.
Given all this, does the spell create crawling claw still exist in 3.5? If so what does it do? Can a crawling claw still exist as a single creature, or has it been updated and completely replaced with the many-handed swarm version? If the single-hand version exists, is it some kind of single-critter "swarm" because of the update in the PGtF web enhancement?
My suspicions: (1) by RAW, the spell still exists, (2) the spell's RAW effects, which are probably broken, are presumably moot for practical purposes because most DMs would not allow PCs to cast the spell. However I am interested to see if I'm missing something here and the spell is still workable by RAW, partly because I was intrigued by the possibility of getting a bunch of cheap/weak constructs via the spell.