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Bigby's hand can grapple via Grasping Hand. This allows:

The hand attempts to grapple a Huge or smaller creature within 5 feet of it. You use the hand's Strength score to resolve the grapple. If the target is Medium or smaller, you have advantage on the check. While the hand is grappling the target, you can use a bonus action to have the hand crush it. When you do so, the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 2d6 + your spellcasting ability modifier.

With a strength of 26, can it move creatures? Not only do you get the action, but you can:

When you cast the spell and as a bonus action on your subsequent turns, you can move the hand up to 60 feet and then cause one of the following effects with it.

So, after a grapple, could I move it 60' in the air? Then next turn move it another 60' and cause the crushing damage? At some point while it's way up in the air, release the grappled creature for falling damage?

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Yes, Bigby's hand can move in any direction even while grappling

Jeremy Crawford has clarified:

Q: is Bigby's Hand actually flying e.g. is it's movement speed = flying speed? The spell doesn't seem to describe it as neither "walking" nor "flying"

A: Bigby's hand doesn't have a speed. As the spellcaster, you can magically move the hand in any direction.

So, all other issues aside, you can indeed move the hand into the air.

Bigby's Hand has a specific ability, Grasping Hand, that allows it to grapple creatures.

The hand attempts to grapple a Huge or smaller creature within 5 feet of it.

Barring any specification from the spell, there is no reason to think that this grapple does not follow the rules of grappling which say:

When you move you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you your speed is halved

Thus, there is no reason why the hand could not drag a grappled creature.

The hand is not affected by the grappling speed penalty

Bigby's hand is not a creature, it is a spell effect which has the ability to grapple. As clarified above, it does not have a speed. Since it does not have a speed there is nothing to penalize and that part of the grappling rule cannot affect it. So, the distance you can move the hand (60 ft) is not at all affected by the grappling speed penalty.

Consider this: would you reduce the distance a creature could teleport if it had reduced speed? No. Because that movement is magical movement specified by the spell effect and unrelated to speed in any way. The same exact concept applies to the hand.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for posting the tweet, even though it invalidates my answer. :) Maybe I'm misreading something, but the comments you made after your second and third quotes seem to be in contradiction to your conclusion. I.e. You seem to suggest that grappling would halve speed and then not. Am I not catching something? \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Mar 21 '18 at 0:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @keithcurtis if there hand had a speed then it would absolutely be reduced. But it doesn't. So there is nothing to reduce. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 21 '18 at 0:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, and I agree with you, in light of Jeremy's recent clarification. My comment was regarding the middle part of your answer. I think you are setting the ground for your final answer, but it sounds like you are making the opposite case. You pretty much state that Bigby's Hand Grapple and move have no reason to operate differently, and then your last paragraph reverses this and agrees with the first, that it is different. I think the middle could be tidied a bit. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Mar 21 '18 at 14:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @keithcurtis oh I see. Thank you. I'll see about cleaning it up. Sorry if the previous sounded snippy. It was not intended that way. I appreciate the comments and the feedback. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 21 '18 at 14:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Me too. The island of civility and grace presented by this site is one of the main reasons I was attracted to it. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Mar 21 '18 at 14:24
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This answer has since been invalidated. It was originally based upon making a call using insufficient information. Jeremy Crawford has now posted clarification that the Hand has no Speed characteristic and simply moves magically. I am leaving it up to allow other DMs to have support of argument should they wish to rule differently in their own games. Also, The part about 3 dimensional movement stands

Yes, but it's not quite as good as you describe.

Under Moving a Grappled Creature:

When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved. unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.

So the hand's speed (as a Large "creature") is likely to be 30 feet, not 60, unless the target is Small or smaller.

A case could be made for the full movement, as the hand does not have a Speed, but is an effect that can be moved. Since the hand has an AC, Strength, Dexterity and Hit Points, it's probably fair to rule that the movement is governed by by the same rules as Speed. The rules are ambiguous as to whether the movement is allowed in 3 dimensions, but since it is a magical hand of force that is not described as walking around on its digits, flight or hovering must be assumed. I would lean towards full three dimensional movement, but in the absence of clear description, a DM could rule otherwise.

Secondly:

When you cast the spell and as a bonus action on your subsequent turns, you can move the hand up to 60 feet and then cause one of the following effects with it.

Emphasis mine.

This is a specific case which overrules general. The move must come before the effect.

So you could move the hand to the target and make the grapple. Then, on you next turn, you could move and crush. The rules state this takes a bonus action to have it perform the crushing, but it does not specify if this is the same bonus action you used to move and make an allowed action, or an alternate. Again, the wording makes this frustratingly unclear. If it is the same, you could do the crushing damage, if not, you would have to forgo the crushing damage to move the hand.

The target gets another breakout roll on its turn. Failing that, you could move the hand another 30 feet and/or crush again (depending on your DM's call)

In short, yes, it should be possible, but the Hand will move only half speed (starting the subsequent turn after the Grapple) unless you are grabbing a Small or smaller creature, and your DM might disallow the crushing damage. Also, the grabbed person will be able to attempt a breakout contest on each of their turns.

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Bigby's Hand has no speed and can be moved in any direction by the caster. But my interpretation of this is that if Bigby's Hand is moved away from the grappled target the grappled condition ends. If Bigby's hand has 0 movement then it can not move with its movement halved. It must be moved by the caster.

This is not really a problem if you want to throw your grappled foe off a cliff or into the air. Bigby's Hand has a mechanic to do that. The Forceful Hand option lets you push an opponent up to 5×(modifier)+5 feet (30 if your a Wizard of 20 intelligence) in any direction.

Now I would also rule that moving the creature into the air would cause them to fall, and move away from the hand, so dealing damage this way will end the grappled condition.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any sources to support that moving the hand while it is grappling somebody ends the grapple condition? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Aug 21 '18 at 13:24

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