Do crossbows and other noted exceptions miss past their long range underwater?

The rules is written as

A ranged weapon attack automatically misses a target beyond the weapon’s normal range. Even against a target within normal range, the attack roll has disadvantage unless the weapon is a crossbow, a net, or a weapon that is thrown like a javelin (including a spear, trident, or dart).

My question is if this part:

A ranged weapon attack automatically misses a target beyond the weapon’s normal range.

Is a complete clause on its own independent of the next sentences, or is a part of the later sentences. Do all ranged weapon attacks miss past their normal range, or only weapons that aren’t listed as exceptions?

Do Crossbows add Dex to damage?

My long-term RPG instinct is to say “clearly they don’t”. (Pathfinder, 3.5, AD&D, etc.)

Looking at some NPCs seems to be back this up. The Veteran (MM 350) deals a straight 1d10 with their Heavy Crossbow, despite having Dex+1, and the Scout (MM 349) deals 1d8+Dex with their Longbow.

However, I cannot actually find where this is detailed in the PHB…

  • Section on Dexterity (PHB 176) does not have any exception for the crossbow.

    You add your Dexterity modifier to your attack roll and your damage roll when attacking with a ranged weapon, such as a sling or longbow.

  • Crossbow features are Ammunition and Loading, but neither of these seem to address damage. (PHB 146-9])
  • The sections on “Making an attack” (PHB 196-8) don’t mention anything about damage modifiers at all.

Also, I cannot find any mention in the latest errata (v1.1) (Oct 2015).

Does anyone else have a RAW for “crossbows don’t add Dex to damage?”.

UPDATE: the MM has a few other examples that are not consistent with “Dex on damage”, but in general, most are accurate. The answer below seems to back my findings, crossbows do add Dex modifier to damage.

UPDATE 2: the MM errata (2015-12) corrects the Veteran example.

Hand crossbows, shortswords, and artificers

Ok, so here is my question. Let’s say you have an artificer that is a battle smith, so he has the extra attack ability. Now let’s say he has a shortsword in one hand, and a hand crossbow which is given the repeating shot infusion; Which specifically ignores the reloading property, and causes it to magically generate ammo to fire. Now, let’s say the artificer takes the attack action, would the artificer be allowed to swing with the shortsword with the first attack, and fire the hand crossbow with the second attack against another enemy? Or must both attacks granted from Extra Attack be made with the same weapon?

Can you reload two crossbows with Aegis Greater Extra Arms or having multiple arms and Crossbow Mastery feat in the same round?

Can you reload two crossbows with Aegis Greater Extra Arms or having multiple arms and Crossbow Mastery feat in the same round?

Extra Arms, Greater: The extra arms on the aegis’s astral suit function at nearly the same capacity as his normal arms. Each arm can now wield or use a light or one-handed weapon, shield, or any other item that he could normally use. Alternatively, the aegis can use one or both arms when wielding a two-handed weapon, possibly allowing him to wield a pair of two-handed weapons. The circumstance bonus on Climb checks and CMD against grapple attempts increases to +3 per extra arm that is not holding anything. The aegis must be 8th level and have the Extra Arms and Lesser Extra Arms customizations before selecting this customization.


Crossbow Mastery

How to work/fight with two animated (monster/creature) hand crossbows with clips? [closed]

Years ago efforts were made to discuss use of two hand crossbows/dual wielding. It was determined that loading was a problem and such gear would not work past the first shot.

Interestingly, rapid loading crossbows with clips exist, but this is a more recent automatic invention, that is, not even remotely medieval or Swords & Sorcery Friendly. That said, one could easily take an Flying Sword relative, the Animated Weapon and have a gnome mechanic mount a clip on top. Problem solved? Not quite.

Obviously, one has to find a way to convince a Flying Crossbow to accept someone else’s aim. Let us assume, for the sake of this argument, this is possible – or something even more bizarre could replace this flying golem-weapon. Perhaps one could mount golem or skeleton hand/arm parts mounted to a crossbow so it loads itself. But THEN what?

The questions:

  1. Could this creature co operate with their ‘owner’? If so, how?

Clearly this is a creature (or, at the very least, a creature attached to a weapon). Does it collect its own share of experience points? Does an attack count as the wielder’s proficiency and bonuses or must one use the animated creature’s abilities – or the average? If a fireball goes off, what kind of ‘dexterity saving throw’ does the creature or animated part(s) get? Is this similar to attacking with an improvised weapon? Or is this like attacking someone with a small and somewhat unwilling partner, like an ogre using one live goblin in each hand as… living flails?

  1. Does this even fit in D&D action economy?

Who gets initiative? Do this hand crossbow only fire ‘correctly’ if the initiative counts match and they are in sync, similar to a three legged race? If the wielder is attacked with a single-target spell can they block in such a way that their quasi-living crossbow takes the damage instead?

  1. Is this thing even street legal?

Does using a creature in combat defy all RAW rules? Wouldn’t this device count as a henchman, hireling, familiar, pet, or (if one were riding this crossbow) a mount? Would Mr. Crawford himself ban such an abomination and curse my family for all eternity for even suggesting such a thing?

How do I promote the use of crossbows instead of bows in LARP?


Around my area (Russia), the bow and crossbow energy in LARP is mostly limited by their draw weight, which is around 16 kg for bows and 18 kg for crossbows. However, bows usually have a lot longer draw length than the crossbows, e.g. 60-80 cm for bows, which usually is not limited by the rules, and 30 cm for crossbows (usually limited to this length). It often turns out that bows show better energy performance than crossbows. It also takes less time to take another arrow than to reload a crossbow, crossbows are usually more complicated in their design and hence more prone to misfires or other malfunctions.

It should also be noted that while a real bow takes a lot more time to master than a real crossbow, this is not the case with a LARP bow, as its potential is very limited by the “safe” arrows with 35-50 mm wide points.


So, while bows, despite some of their downsides (e.g. low DPS compared to melee weapons, people not feeling the arrow hits and hence not counting them), have their niche as being the best ranged option available in fantasy games, crossbows are very rarely deployed.

This leads to weird situations when armies that would look much better with crossbows (e.g. a dwarven army) don’t deploy them.

Solutions that don’t work

  • Increasing the allowed draw weight for crossbows is most likely not an option due to safety reasons, at least until I succeed at making everyone wear protective glasses like in airsoft, which currently doesn’t sound feasible in fantasy LARP. For some unknown reasons, people believe that a helmet is enough (it actually isn’t as it usually doesn’t protect eyes).
  • Neither is increasing the damage crossbows inflict: it is usually not possible to distinguish an arrow hit from a crossbow bolt hit, and increasing the damage of both will just make the situation worse. There have been experiments around increasing the ranged damage, they just make bows overpowered.
  • Banning bows for some players by the rules doesn’t make them switch to crossbows, they often rather have no ranged personal weapons at all. This has been tested and doesn’t work.
  • Banning anything by the in-game laws doesn’t work at all. People don’t care. E.g. magic is often considered “heretical” by some faction, and at some point “the conflict is resolved” and it makes peace with this faction.
  • Providing crossbows for the players is very expensive, providing a lot of those to the players for free is costly. Plus, I don’t want to spend my time chasing players so that they either return my own stuff to me or pay a compensation if something is broken. I have experience at giving my things to other players (mainly foam swords which I already own in huge quantity), and it is mostly negative.

The question

Crossbows look cool, and sometimes fit in the situation better than bows, but are rarely used because of their practical disadvantages. So, how can I promote use of crossbows instead of bows in LARP as a game master, bearing in mind the aforementioned restrictions?

If you have the Repeating Shot infusion on two hand crossbows, can you use two-weapon fighting?

It’s been established that an artificer infusing Repeating Shot on a hand crossbow does not need a free hand to reload it, as it produces its own ammunition (and the weapon itself is not two-handed)

If one were two infuse two hand crossbows with this infusion, would the artificer, or another person be able to use two-weapon fighting with crossbows?

It’s redundant with the Crossbow Expert feat, but still worth asking.

How would it unbalance gameplay to remove the limitation “requires a free hand to load” for hand crossbows?

Crossbow Expert: hand crossbow & shield

I’m working on stats for royal guards of a homebrew capital – using Guard Captain as template. I gave them a hand crossbow and the Crossbow Expert feat, thinking it would allow them to wield a shield in one hand and a hand crossbow in the other.

Crossbow Expert mentions on PHB p. 165:

You ignore the loading quality of crossbows with which you are proficient.

• Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.

• When you use the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack with a hand crossbow you are holding.

At first I thought that would be enough to be wearing a shield while attacking with a hand crossbow, but the Loading property actually says:

Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only one piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.

So “loading” refers to loading speed, and the feat makes you faster. It’s the Ammunition property that, by RAW (PHB p. 146), doesn’t allow wielding a shield while attacking with, and reloading, a hand crossbow:

[…] Drawing the ammunition from a quiver, case, or other container is part of the attack (you need a free hand to load a one-handed weapon). […]


  • Extra Attack, Crossbow Expert, and hand crossbow: 4 shots per turn?
  • How do you load a hand crossbow?
  • How do you load a crossbow?


How would it unbalance gameplay to remove the limitation “requires a free hand to load” for hand crossbows? Thematically, it makes sense, because in my setting this city is rich enough to have such fancy technology as “semi-automatic” hand crossbows (however that would work). Since my world setting allows it, it would be only fair if it’s also an option for the PCs – if they happen to acquire such a weapon and/or training. I’m mostly interested in the shield & hand crossbow combination, but if I’m overlooking other potential exploits that would unbalance gameplay please inform me.

I’m fine with allowing it for NPCs (for my guards) because I can just calculate the new CR, based on increased DPR and AC. As DM I have enough control to keep that balanced at the table. When allowing it for PCs as well though, I’m not sure which unbalanced exploits I might be overlooking. A good answer includes an analysis of mechanical costs and benefits for PCs when removing the limitation “requires a free hand to load”.

To remove this limitation, I’m thinking of three possible ways:

  1. Tweaking the Ammunition property of hand crossbows specifically.
  2. Adding a feature to the Crossbow Expert feat.
  3. Solve it through magic by making the fancy crossbows of the royal guard uncommon magical weapons that can be reloaded without having a free hand.

An amazing answer includes a game balance analysis on these possible solution as well.