DnD One Crossbow Expert Feat Guide

The Crossbow Expert is one of those niche feats that is well known among players who like a certain type of build. Mechanically necessary to help set crossbows apart from bows, to give them value beyond the short bow route, crossbow expert attempts to bring these powerful Medieval weapons to life in the world of D&D.

The One D&D Crossbow Expert feat makes crossbow builds possible in the new system by giving a player +1 to Dexterity, allowing them to ignore the load property of crossbows, takes away disadvantage in melee combat, and allows them to add damage to extra crossbow attacks.

crossbowmen in medieval battle
Centuries-old depiction of a French battle…showing how important, revered, and feared the crossbow was as a real world Medieval weapon.

Let’s dive deeper into this feat to see everything it can do!

Crossbow Expert Feat DnD One Review

The best way to break down a feat is to check out the exact wording. So let’s take a look at this feat and then break down every single benefit one by one to see how DnD One’s Crossbow Expert stacks up.

From Unearthed Arcana for DnD One:

Prerequisite: Proficiency with any Marital Weapon, Level 4 or higher

Thanks to extensive practice with crossbows, you gain the following benefits:

Ability Score Increase. Increase your Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.

Ignore Loading. You ignore the Loading property of crossbows.

Firing in Melee. Being within 5 feet of an enemy doesn’t impose Disadvantage on your Attack Rolls with crossbows.

Dual Wielding. When you make the extra attack of the Light weapon property, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the extra attack if that attack is with a crossbow that has the Light property.

Unearthed Arcana, Expert Classes 2022

Let’s break each benefit down for this important Level 4 Feat.

Benefit #1: You increase your Dexterity score by 1, up to the normal maximum of 20.

Simple and to the point. Most half feats give an option, but in the case of Crossbow Expert this makes sense. It’s a Dexterity attack so why would any other Ability Score get the bump?

Solid way to move an odd number to an even one or finish off maxing out that annoying 19 Dexterity score.

Benefit #2: You ignore the Loading property of crossbows.

Sometimes the best parts of a feat aren’t the sexy ones but the mechanically necessary ones that are needed to create a powerful feat. Ignoring the use of any action or bonus action to reload and just being able to fire at will is critical to making a crossbow build in D&D work which makes this benefit boring maybe, but very powerful.

Benefit #3: You no longer have disadvantage on attacks when an enemy is within 5 feet of you.

This is critical because it doesn’t force you to switch weapons when enemies attempt the normally tried and true tactic of bull rushing the ranged attack specialists.

Again, not eye-catching as a feat benefit but very strong and it works with the others to make a crossbow-wielding D&D player character a much scarier sight on the battlefield than they otherwise would be.

Benefit #4: If using a light crossbow or hand crossbow (one with the Light property) and you make an extra attack you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the extra attack.

A long and wordy benefit, but basically if you are using a bonus action to make an extra attack instead of getting no modifier to the damage done, a light crossbow used in this type of attack can now have your ability score modifier (DEX) added to the damage, which isn’t spectacular, but every little extra point of damage can count.

How Does Crossbow Expert Feat Measure Up?

This is a feat that is designed for a very specific type of build, and it’s a way to help those players who want to use a crossbow to differentiate themselves from players who would just use a short bow or long bow. While this is a very niche feat, it’s one that is absolutely essential to making the crossbow build work in modern D&D.

This feat does a good job of doing just that and giving a fighter or ranger (or even a rogue) viable build actions moving forward with using crossbows versus actual bows.

There’s extra damage, there’s the ability to use these close up, and ignoring the reload action is simply critical. You could not legitimately make this build work in D&D if you were beholden to those specific rules.

Crossbow Expert Feat: DnD One Vs 5E

So how does the new DnD One/6E (because let’s be real, DnD One = 6th Edition no matter what WOTC is saying right now) measure up against the old 5E version of Crossbow Expert that it’s based off of?

Well let’s take a closer look and compare the two!

Related Article: 5E Crossbow Expert Feat Guide

All the old benefits from 5th Edition remain, as DnD One’s version of this feat only adds even more to the crossbow wielding player. The +1 to Dexterity is new and although that wouldn’t be the biggest world mover one way or another, it is a nice additional bonus that you don’t get from the 5E version of the feat.

The wording was also changed when talking about attacking with a one handed weapon – mostly mechanical in nature to shift language from mechanics that 5E used to using the mechanics language that One DnD uses now, but it’s more or less the same in allowing a crossbow with the Light property to get extra damage when an attack is made as a bonus action.

Though depending on how your DM read rules this could open up a bonus attack from a Light Crossbow with that extra bonus attack and not just a hand crossbow like in 5E but again, depending on how your DM previously and now currently decides to interpret the new rules.

Who Should Take the Crossbow Expert Feat in DnD One?

This isn’t class based per se, but generally speaking because of the way that each class is built you’re only going to have three, maybe four classes who take this build. This is mostly a feat for Fighters or Rangers, but there are also Rogue builds and Valor Bard builds that can make interesting archers. In 5E these usually had a 1-2 level dip into fighter but could be done without them, as well.

Basically if you want to be a ranged combatant who uses crossbows as opposed to conventional bows then you need crossbow feat. That will generally be one of those classes, but it’s all about build intention at this point.

There are potentially builds of Artificer that could do interesting things with this but it’s already been brought up that Artificer from Tasha’s really isn’t playable in the current DnD One Unearthed Arcana so we’d have to see more information before being able to comment on that for this version of the feat.

DnD One Crossbow Expert Feat Final Grade

I always have a tough time grading feats like this because this isn’t a feat built for a class or a group of classes, but it’s created to make a very specific type of build viable in a game where it otherwise wouldn’t make any sense at all compared to the alternatives. I would say this is a Pass/Fail type of grade.

Does the DnD One Crossbow Expert feat do what it wants to do by making a crossbow build viable (pass) or does it fall short? I would say that the Crossbow Expert feat does a great job of making it viable for a player to go with crossbows versus the short bow/long bow route. They can do combat up close, ignore the loading action, and and even get a bit of a damage bonus on off-hand or extra attacks.

So it makes the build viable with makes it a rock solid Pass, and one that anyone considering a crossbow build of any kind for DnD One will absolutely need to pick up this feat.

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