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What effect does the “loading” weapon property have in practical terms?

  1. In the absence of the property, why would it be assumed that a PC could fire more than once per action (firing once would be one action)?

  2. The scenario I’m picturing is where a PC has action, bonus action, and reaction on a turn. It would seem that a PC could fire 3 times.

In essence, this property doesn’t seem to make any difference (at least that I can see).

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1 Answer 1

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It limits PCs with the Extra Attack class feature

A 5th level Fighter (and many other classes) are able to make multiple attacks as part of their Attack Action. The Loading property prevents a character with Extra Attack from making multiple attacks with that weapon.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This would be rather overpowered if the Fighter could use a Heavy crossbow 4 times on his/her turn. 4 times 5.5 (H. crossbow) vs. 4 times 4.5 (Longbow). If you were allowed to ignore Loading, you could deal 22 damage avg. per turn as opposed to 18. \$\endgroup\$
    – TheCentaur
    Apr 10, 2019 at 0:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TheCentaur I didn't mention it in my answer because it wasn't relevant, but the Crossbow Expert feat lets you do just that. :P \$\endgroup\$
    – Nesbitto
    Apr 10, 2019 at 4:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nesbitto yes it does, but it costs you a feat, for +1 average damage per attack. Feats in 5e are _rare_. The Sharpshooter feat, in comparison, allows you to deal +10 damage if you reduce your attack roll by 5. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 10, 2019 at 10:50

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