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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Pretty much the title. As a class with just a single Extra Attack (in my case Bard, but it would be the same for... Paladin, I guess, and Bladesinger I think too, and Warlock with Blade Pact.

    Handbow + Crossbow Mastery gives you 3 attacks each turn, at any range. 1D6 too, so not too terrible on damage. I'm just not sure it's good enough compared to the alternatives, which would be things like... Longbow (only 2 attacks but stronger and doesn't require a feat to use), Eldritch Blast (Scales with level, strong but requires a warlock dip), and probably other things too.

    Thought I'd see if anyone had any thoughts, as the things I've found online tended to be a few years old, or using UA versions of abilities.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    it's certainly good on rangers, as it works pretty nicely with hunter's mark- extra d6 per attack is better with more attacks after all- and anything that's going to pick up sharpshooter already is similarly pretty good with the one more attack. And honestly, even without those, hand crossbow's extra hit is going to be more effective in pure damage than a longbow with one fewer. The big downside however is the range of the hand crossbow being pretty poor.

    I wouldn't take it on like a paladin or barbarian, or a fighter that's melee focused. A feat is really expensive on paladins in the first place, let alone a feat that isn't going to be in your go-to battle plan, so for them javelins is probably fine. Barbarians are a little easier on ASI's, but I'd rather be picking up GWM, PAM, sentinel, mage slayer, etc.
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    I look at the lich and smirk a bit, as I bring myself back to my feet

    "What are you smiling about?" it says

    "hehe, it looks like you've made... a grave mistake :D"

    the bard, actively bleeding out on the ground *ba-dum-tss*

    "Ha! Nice try. Telling a bad joke to try to make your opponent drop their guard. Oldest trick in the book. Trust me, I was there."

    *barbarian falling, sword in hands, from the top of the castle wall directly above the lich*


  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxhound438 View Post
    it's certainly good on rangers, as it works pretty nicely with hunter's mark- extra d6 per attack is better with more attacks after all- and anything that's going to pick up sharpshooter already is similarly pretty good with the one more attack. And honestly, even without those, hand crossbow's extra hit is going to be more effective in pure damage than a longbow with one fewer. The big downside however is the range of the hand crossbow being pretty poor.

    I wouldn't take it on like a paladin or barbarian, or a fighter that's melee focused. A feat is really expensive on paladins in the first place, let alone a feat that isn't going to be in your go-to battle plan, so for them javelins is probably fine. Barbarians are a little easier on ASI's, but I'd rather be picking up GWM, PAM, sentinel, mage slayer, etc.

    My thinking was for a Swords Bard, perhaps with a single level in Hexblade Warlock. The Handbow could use CHA for damage, and you'd have Hex (essentially replacing hunter's mark in your example). You can also use Flourishes, so you could get +D6 (or more depending on level) AC, or do D6+ damage to all enemies near you.

    The current way to get 3 attacks on a swords bard is to take the TWF fighting style, and use scimitars (which are D6 damage, the same as Handbows, but are melee range only).

    I even thought you could swap from handbow to a melee weapon when the enemy gets close, but I realised that the Mastery feat makes that unecessary too. You can just shoot people point blank in the face.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    I mean it depends what you're comparing it to and at what level, and how you're getting the Crossbow Mastery, since unless you're a Variant Human you're trading an ASI that probably would have gotten you +1 to hit and damage. It also costs you your bonus action, which is either no big deal or a huge deal depending on what you'd otherwise be doing with that action.

    Personally, I've found it to be stupidly good on Variant Humans at Level 1, especially if you eventually pick up Sharpshooter. You're basically a machine gun. It's also quite good if you're a Rogue and just want an extra way to trigger Sneak Attack if you miss with your first attack.

    If you compare to a CHA based class with a Warlock dip for Agonizing Blast the CHA class will probably do more damage, won't use ammo, can't have it taken away from them, but can't attack in melee range w/o disadvantage and is 2 levels behind in their main class progression. They're also 2 levels behind in bumping up their CHA via ASIs, although they don't need the feat so that's sort of a wash depending on what level you're at.

    I actually play a Longbow based Fighter X/Rogue 2 with Sharpshooter, and I'm pretty sure it's mechanically worse than the Crossbow Expert equivalent. Range is rarely a factor, and Fighters have lots of feats.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by rooneg View Post
    I mean it depends what you're comparing it to and at what level, and how you're getting the Crossbow Mastery, since unless you're a Variant Human you're trading an ASI that probably would have gotten you +1 to hit and damage. It also costs you your bonus action, which is either no big deal or a huge deal depending on what you'd otherwise be doing with that action.

    Personally, I've found it to be stupidly good on Variant Humans at Level 1, especially if you eventually pick up Sharpshooter. You're basically a machine gun. It's also quite good if you're a Rogue and just want an extra way to trigger Sneak Attack if you miss with your first attack.

    If you compare to a CHA based class with a Warlock dip for Agonizing Blast the CHA class will probably do more damage, won't use ammo, can't have it taken away from them, but can't attack in melee range w/o disadvantage and is 2 levels behind in their main class progression. They're also 2 levels behind in bumping up their CHA via ASIs, although they don't need the feat so that's sort of a wash depending on what level you're at.

    I actually play a Longbow based Fighter X/Rogue 2 with Sharpshooter, and I'm pretty sure it's mechanically worse than the Crossbow Expert equivalent. Range is rarely a factor, and Fighters have lots of feats.

    My character at the moment is a Swords Bard + 1 level of warlock for CHA attack damage and eldritch blast, very 'typical' kind of build. Which is why I am theorycrafting alternatives that might be a bit more flavourful haha.

    Current consideration (though obviously takes a lot of 'focus' to work) -

    Hand Crossbow. Crossbow Mastery + Sharpshooter + (maybe) Elven Accuracy. Greater Invisibility (or Faerie fire, or other options).

    3 shots every turn, each at Advantage using 3 dice, at +10 damage per shot.

    And you can even use it at point blank range without any disadvantage.

    Probably loses it's usefullness compared to getting swift quiver though. And it does take up all your Feats. But then, thats what feats are for!

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxhound438 View Post
    it's certainly good on rangers, as it works pretty nicely with hunter's mark- extra d6 per attack is better with more attacks after all- and anything that's going to pick up sharpshooter already is similarly pretty good with the one more attack. And honestly, even without those, hand crossbow's extra hit is going to be more effective in pure damage than a longbow with one fewer. The big downside however is the range of the hand crossbow being pretty poor.

    I wouldn't take it on like a paladin or barbarian, or a fighter that's melee focused. A feat is really expensive on paladins in the first place, let alone a feat that isn't going to be in your go-to battle plan, so for them javelins is probably fine. Barbarians are a little easier on ASI's, but I'd rather be picking up GWM, PAM, sentinel, mage slayer, etc.
    Hunter's mark uses your bonus action so you can't shoot a third time on the turn you use hunter's mark or any turns in which you move hunters mark so i don't think it's great with hunter's mark.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    I would move away from a barbarian as the you lose the raison d'etre of the barbarian--rage--a strength based skill.

    Bard and Ranger are intriguing for the ability to get swift quiver at level 10. This gives you some extra attacks. I, personally, favor a fighter. Keeping it simple still gives you an incredible fighting machine. Going Variant Human, on a point buy, allows a 12 STR ; 16 DEX (+1 from Vhuman); 16 CON (+1 from Vhuman); 8 INT; 12 WIS; 8 CHA---with a point left over.

    Taking Crossbow Expert as your starting feat--and using only a hand crossbow--you have 2 attacks out of the gate. Take the Archery Fighting style--+2 to attack roll with a ranged weapon. By level 4 you have added Second Wind (a mini-heal), Action Surge (another attack used once between short/long rest), Battlemaster with 3 maneuvers and at 4 Sharpshooter. Your to hit is a +8--3 proficiency, 3 for DEX and +2 Archery style. You can gamble away on using the -5 to attack roll/+10 to damage that sharpshooter allows. Also remember you have 4d8 superiority dice to bolster that attack roll or give you advantage.

    From there you only become more powerful. At 5 an extra attack; at 6 +2 DEX; at 7 another d8 superiority die; at 8 +2 DEX. By the time you get your third attack at 11 you have +11 to hit; 5 d10 superiority dice (they become d10's at level 10) and can be making 6 attacks a round. From there you only become more powerful as you have 4 more ASI's to spend on feats/stats. There are a plethora of things you can choose: Lucky, Tough, Mobile, etc.

    All of this with no MADness. It is well worth a look.
    Last edited by Tikkun; 2017-12-06 at 04:29 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tikkun View Post
    I would move away from a barbarian as the you lose the raison d'etre of the barbarian--rage--a strength based skill.

    Bard and Ranger are intriguing for the ability to get swift quiver at level 10. This gives you some extra attacks. I, personally, favor a fighter. Keeping it simple still gives you an incredible fighting machine. Going Variant Human, on a point buy, allows a 12 STR ; 16 DEX (+1 from Vhuman); 16 CON (+1 from Vhuman); 8 INT; 12 WIS; 8 CHA---with a point left over.

    Taking Crossbow Expert as your starting feat--and using only a hand crossbow--you have 2 attacks out of the gate. Take the Archery Fighting style--+2 to attack roll with a ranged weapon. By level 4 you have added Second Wind (a mini-heal), Action Surge (another attack used once between short/long rest), Battlemaster with 3 maneuvers and at 4 Sharpshooter. Your to hit is a +8--3 proficiency, 3 for DEX and +2 Archery style. You can gamble away on using the -5 to attack roll/+10 to damage that sharpshooter allows. Also remember you have 4d8 superiority dice to bolster that attack roll or give you advantage.

    From there you only become more powerful. At 5 an extra attack; at 6 +2 DEX; at 7 another d8 superiority die; at 8 +2 DEX. By the time you get your third attack at 11 you have +11 to hit; 5 d10 superiority dice (they become d10's at level 10) and can be making 6 attacks a round. From there you only become more powerful as you have 4 more ASI's to spend on feats/stats. There are a plethora of things you can choose: Lucky, Tough, Mobile, etc.

    All of this with no MADness. It is well worth a look.

    I don't think I said Barbarian did I? I totally intended to put "Sword Bard" haha. Did I write Barb somewhere?

    I like Bard for it's support abilities, being able to throw out a mass hypnosis or suggest/charm one of the leaders, or make a dragon crippled with Laughter for a couple turns, are well worth it I think :)

    I just wanted to make the most out of the few attacks I might get :)

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Crossbow Expert is a good feat on classes that only get two attacks and can make competent ranged attacks.

    Iím AFB so could be wrong but I distinctly remember Improved Pact Weapon specifically does not allow the summoning of a hand crossbow. So the only way to actually get cha to attack and damage with a hand crossbow would be if you found a magic one and made it your pact weapon. Thatís a lot of investment for hopes at finding something that only a ďniceĒ DM would actually give you.

    Now if you went that route you wonít be getting Swift quiver until lvl 13 at the earliest. Crossbow Expert on the other hand can be taken at level one. Haste with the feat would be the same number of attacks anyways.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    Pretty much the title. As a class with just a single Extra Attack (in my case Bard, but it would be the same for... Paladin, I guess, and Bladesinger I think too, and Warlock with Blade Pact.

    Handbow + Crossbow Mastery gives you 3 attacks each turn, at any range. 1D6 too, so not too terrible on damage. I'm just not sure it's good enough compared to the alternatives, which would be things like... Longbow (only 2 attacks but stronger and doesn't require a feat to use), Eldritch Blast (Scales with level, strong but requires a warlock dip), and probably other things too.
    Crossbow Expert has some synergy with warlock (Eldritch Blast) because it removes disadvantage on ranged attack rolls if you're within five feet of a hostile creature. If you don't also have the sharpshooter feat, it's probably mandatory if you intend to use a hand crossbow.

    Otherwise, you only have a range of 30 feet. That means you can't use the 120 ft. long range without getting disadvantage on attack rolls. If you hover around in the normal range (30 feet) to avoid disadvantage, you will end up engaged in melee a lot. Not an issue with the feat, though, since that eliminates disadvantage (and doesn't open you up to AoO by moving out of melee).

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteNutButter View Post
    Crossbow Expert is a good feat on classes that only get two attacks and can make competent ranged attacks.

    Iím AFB so could be wrong but I distinctly remember Improved Pact Weapon specifically does not allow the summoning of a hand crossbow. So the only way to actually get cha to attack and damage with a hand crossbow would be if you found a magic one and made it your pact weapon. Thatís a lot of investment for hopes at finding something that only a ďniceĒ DM would actually give you.

    Now if you went that route you wonít be getting Swift quiver until lvl 13 at the earliest. Crossbow Expert on the other hand can be taken at level one. Haste with the feat would be the same number of attacks anyways.

    "...you can touch one weapon that you are proficient with and that lacks the two-handed property..."

    This is all you need to make a bond with a weapon using Hex Warrior. So you can make your weapon CHA based with just a 1-level dip in Warlock, and get the Shield spell and Hex, Eldritch Blast, and even Booming Blade if you want. I'd probably pick the new 'Cause Fear' over Hex though, as it would match my character a bit better.

    The Blade Pact stuff is just for making a weapon you can summon, and use the buff invocations on it, but none of it is needed for a Bard CHA build.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Finney View Post
    Crossbow Expert has some synergy with warlock (Eldritch Blast) because it removes disadvantage on ranged attack rolls if you're within five feet of a hostile creature. If you don't also have the sharpshooter feat, it's probably mandatory if you intend to use a hand crossbow.

    Otherwise, you only have a range of 30 feet. That means you can't use the 120 ft. long range without getting disadvantage on attack rolls. If you hover around in the normal range (30 feet) to avoid disadvantage, you will end up engaged in melee a lot. Not an issue with the feat, though, since that eliminates disadvantage (and doesn't open you up to AoO by moving out of melee).

    True, you're down to 30 feet in range before you take disadvantage, but then if you're aiming for consistant advantage using spells like Fairie Fire and Greater Invisibility, then they'd cancel out and you'd get to shoot to 120 feet with normal rolls.

    You could even use Darkness to cancel it out I think, and shoot without disadvantage (or advantage).

    Normal Sword Bard would aim to be in melee range anyway, so using Hand XBows basically makes your 'melee' range 30 feet instead of 5 feet. Which means you can shoot from 30 feet away, then run away 30 feet, so you can't be attacked back, without the enemy getting attack of opportunity. I think, anyway.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Whoops my bad. But on the other hand barb...bard...what's a letter between friends.

    Of course, I would not recommend the hand x bow and crossbow expert feat to you as to make it worthwhile involves investing your already limited ASI's. Better to be a wood elf and gain proficiency with the longbow, extra movement speed, extended dark-vision and Mask of the Wild. This gives you stealth, a 1d8 weapon and greater distance in ranged attacks. If you toss in Elven Accuracy, you have a better chance of getting a critical hit. And since you want to cast damaging/controlling spells your immediate needs are to boost your casting stat rather than dexterity.

    The hand x bow is really leveraged best with Crossbow Expert and Sharpshooter with the Archery fighting style and piling on the DEX. That's 4 ASI's. On a character that only gets 5 it can be problematic. Plus the longbow works just as well with swift quiver. In this way you can get your CHA to 20 and still have some room for feats or raising your CON.

    Just a thought.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    My character at the moment is a Swords Bard + 1 level of warlock for CHA attack damage and eldritch blast, very 'typical' kind of build. Which is why I am theorycrafting alternatives that might be a bit more flavourful haha.

    Current consideration (though obviously takes a lot of 'focus' to work) -

    Hand Crossbow. Crossbow Mastery + Sharpshooter + (maybe) Elven Accuracy. Greater Invisibility (or Faerie fire, or other options).

    3 shots every turn, each at Advantage using 3 dice, at +10 damage per shot.

    And you can even use it at point blank range without any disadvantage.

    Probably loses it's usefullness compared to getting swift quiver though. And it does take up all your Feats. But then, thats what feats are for!
    If you've already got one level of warlock it feels pretty hard to justify using an ASI on crossbow expert instead of just taking a 2nd level of warlock for Agonizing Blast + some other cool invocation. Yes, it puts your spell progression back another level, so you probably want to put it off until you've got 5 levels of Bard (so the 2nd warlock level would be your 7th character level), but Agonizing Blast doesn't get cool until past level 5 anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. It's 1 less attack per turn than Crossbow Expert (between 5th and 11th level anyway), but especially early in the game you're REALLY going to want to be putting ASIs into CHA (or Elven Accuracy), and you wouldn't assemble Crossbow Expert + Sharpshooter + 20 CHA until at least level 17 anyway. Plus, 1d10 is higher than 1d6, and you're going to spend a LONG time not benefiting from Sharpshooter since you'll pick it up so late.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by rooneg View Post
    If you've already got one level of warlock it feels pretty hard to justify using an ASI on crossbow expert instead of just taking a 2nd level of warlock for Agonizing Blast + some other cool invocation. Yes, it puts your spell progression back another level, so you probably want to put it off until you've got 5 levels of Bard (so the 2nd warlock level would be your 7th character level), but Agonizing Blast doesn't get cool until past level 5 anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. It's 1 less attack per turn than Crossbow Expert (between 5th and 11th level anyway), but especially early in the game you're REALLY going to want to be putting ASIs into CHA (or Elven Accuracy), and you wouldn't assemble Crossbow Expert + Sharpshooter + 20 CHA until at least level 17 anyway. Plus, 1d10 is higher than 1d6, and you're going to spend a LONG time not benefiting from Sharpshooter since you'll pick it up so late.

    My character starts with 18 CHA (or Dex I guess if I wanted to swap them), so I could have Crossbow Expert + Sharpshooter at level 8 with only 18 CHA, meaning I'd deal 1 less damage than if I spent an ASI. 54 damage vs 55. Though I guess it'd mean I'd also miss slightly more often... 5% more, I think, though not sure on the math on that.

    I'd perhaps try and avoid Warlock entirely, if I was going for a crossbow. But then that would mean getting at least 18 DEX as well as 18 CHA. My second highest stat is 16 though.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Arkhios's Avatar

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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    My advice: don't get too hung-up on the damage dice. A 1d6 means only on average ~1 point less than a 1d8, and likewise ~2 points less than a 1d10.
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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is Hand Crossbow + Crossbow Mastery good enough?

    This is what I was considering for a friends game since I wanted to test it out and work out all the kinks for another similar character that gets the chance to use modern weapons. Depends how far you want to invest in both classes.

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