I have an idea for a DnD 5e (PHB-only) Warlock that takes a hand crossbow as his pact weapon. Here are my clarifications and assumptions:

Race: Drow Elf (proficient in hand crossbows)

Class: Warlock, Pact of the Blade

This Sage Advice article says a warlock may bond with a found magic hand crossbow to make it his pact weapon

The Sage Advice compendium says the Crossbow Expert Feat allows you to ignore the "loading" property of the hand crossbow in order to make multiple attacks with it, and use your bonus action to attack with the same hand crossbow you attacked with (multple times), since you would still ignore the loading requirement here

Relevant warlock invocations: Thirsting Blade (attack twice with pact weapon when you use the attack action) and Lifedrinker (add your CHA mod to attacks made with your pact weapon)

So, to me, this means: A Warlock may fire a hand crossbow up to 3 times per turn (twice via Thirsting Blade, once as a bonus action via Crossbow Expert), adding his DEX mod (ranged weapon) and CHA mod (Lifedrinker) to each bolt's damage: 1d6 + DEX + CHA per bolt.

Is this interpretation correct?

  • \$\begingroup\$ if you take Hexblade, it will be 1d6 + CHA + CHA \$\endgroup\$
    – Adeptus
    Feb 8, 2023 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


Yes, but you have to be level 12 to do this

The Sage Advice articles says:

You can also use Pact of the Blade to bond with a magic weapon, turning it into your pact weapon. This magic weapon doesn’t have to be a melee weapon, so you could use the feature on a +1 longbow, for instance

This takes care of the ranged pact weapon, and allows the use of both Thirsting Blade and Lifedrinker with a ranged weapon. This means you can attack twice with your Attack action using a magic ranged weapon.

And the Sage Advice compendium says:

Does Crossbow Expert let you fire a hand crossbow and then fire it again as a bonus action? It does! Take a look at the feat’s third benefit. It says you can attack with a hand crossbow as a bonus action when you use the Attack action to attack with a one-handed weapon. A hand crossbow is a one-handed weapon, so it can, indeed, be used for both attacks, assuming you have a hand free to load the hand crossbow between the two attacks.

This allows you to attack twice -- once with your action, another with your bonus action. Since you have Thirsting Blade (which works with any weapon as long as it's your pact weapon), you can get three attacks in all.

However, while Thirsting Blade is available at 5th level, Lifedrinker is available at 12th level. So to complete this build, you have to be a 12th level character at minimum. Most of it, you can enjoy from 5th level onwards though, as only Lifedrinker is the high level component.

  • 17
    \$\begingroup\$ Just to be clear, the only part that makes this level 12 is Lifedrinker. You can get your bonus action attack at level 4 via the Crossbow Expert feat and your second attack during your attack action at level 5 via the Thirsting Blade invocation. So, all you're missing from level 5 to 12 is the +CHA on each bolt! :) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2017 at 7:52

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