Crossbows are pretty cool. They have fantastic range and damage compared to a standard short bow. The loading and unloading of the bolts add a satisfying sound to any attack. However, like all ranged weapons, they have their limitations.
In 5e, Crossbows must be reloaded and fired from at least five feet away. If you choose the Crossbow Expert feat, they can reduce these limitations and maximize the crossbow’s power.
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What is Crossbow Expert 5e?
The text for the feat from the Player’s Handbook reads: Thanks to extensive practice with the crossbow, you gain the following benefits:
- 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.
How Does Crossbow Expert Work?
In 5e DnD, Crossbow Expert is a feat you can choose for your character. A feat is a benefit or ability that represents the characters’ talents. Feats make it easier to customize your character.
Crossbow Expert is a feat that allows for multiple attacks per turn while using a crossbow with which you are proficient. This feat eliminates the penalties applied to reloading, which is excellent for characters that get an extra attack.
By choosing Crossbow Expert, your player can also shoot at a hostile target within 5 feet. Without the Crossbow Expert feat, shooting at a target within five would mean your play rolls attack at a disadvantage. This feat applies to all ranged attacks, not just those made with crossbows!
Who Can Best Use Crossbow Expert?
Fighters are the perfect class for Crossbow Expert. At level 2, Fighters can use action surge. This class feature allows them to attack twice per round. If you chose Crossbow Expert as an additional feat, Fighters could also shoot their crossbow as a bonus action.
Therefore, it is possible to use three actions just within one turn. If your level 3 Fighter is wielding a mace and crossbow, they would be able to slap the target across the face and backhand them, followed by a shot in the gut with a light crossbow. That’s a lot of damage!
Imagine pairing this feat with many other remarkable feats offered to fighters or using action surge at a higher level. Fighters would be making a wise choice by choosing the Crossbow Expert feat.
Some Rogues can also use the Crossbow Expert feat. Your Rogue character can substitute Crossbow Expert for Cunning Action when you have a ranged-based Rogue. That extra attack could cause a world of hurt, especially during a sneak attack.
Who is Crossbow Expert Least Useful for?
Crossbow Expert is the least useful for classes and subclasses that have an extra attack but don’t have much use for a ranged weapon. For example, a Monk rarely chooses a ranged weapon for a spell. Barbarians and Paladins also have extra attacks, but their tank-style build makes ranged attacks counterintuitive.
It would also make little sense for a magic user to choose Crossbow Expert. They have a magnitude of ranged attacks and would only benefit from one aspect of the feat.
Rangers would also not particularly benefit from Crossbow Expert. Imagine a class with “range” in the name that would be perfect for an arrow-themed feat. However, the Ranger class has better-suited feats such as Hunter’s Mark or Hail of Thorns in their wheelhouse. Though Crossbow Expert is incredible, there are better options for the Ranger.
Should You Choose Crossbow Expert?
Yes! If you are a Fighter inclined to hide a crossbow up your sleeve. Crossbow Expert is a feat designed for those who want to maximize their attack and diversify their style. This feat suits any class that wants to maximize their bonus action. It all depends on your character in action.
Jillian started learning Dungeons & Dragons in 2014. After being encouraged by a friend to make a character, she became fully involved in character creation and later became an awesome Dungeon Master. Jillian strives to use her creativity to spread her knowledge of DnD and interpret the ruleset.