In 5th edition combat, does a character using a ranged weapon like a bow or crossbow get to add their dexterity to their damage? Such as a rogue with a 15 Dexterity using a light crossbow, would they deal 1d8+2 damage?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Do Crossbows add Dex to damage? \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeQ
    Aug 2, 2019 at 7:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Though the titles may seem similar, the linked question is asking whether a rule from past edition about crossbows specifically carries over to 5e. The asker of that question was already aware of the rule this question is asking about, and that question was asking whether crossbows were an exception to the rule. They're definitely not duplicates. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 2, 2019 at 7:45

1 Answer 1


Yes, a ranged attack with a ranged weapon would include your Dex bonus to both attack and damage rolls.

The Player's Handbook mentions this twice.

First in chapter 7 ("Using Ability Scores") regarding Dexterity:

Dexterity Attack Rolls and Damage

You add your Dexterity modifier to your attack roll and your damage roll when attacking with a ranged weapon, such as a sling or a longbow.

This is stated again in chapter 9 ("Combat") under the section "Making an Attack":

To make an attack roll, roll a d20 and add the appropriate modifiers. ...

The ability modifier used for a melee weapon attack is Strength, and the ability modifier used for a ranged weapon attack is Dexterity. Weapons that have the finesse or thrown property break this rule.

So yes, for a character with 15 Dexterity (i.e., +2 modifier), they would normally calculate the crossbow's damage roll as 1d8+2.

Note that this only applies to ranged weapon attacks. Ranged spell attacks usually don't use Dexterity.

Some spells also require an attack roll. The ability modifier used for a spell attack depends on the spellcasting ability of the spellcaster.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Of note, your header says "ranged weapon attacks" which are not the same as "attacks with ranged weapons", for example, the first includes thrown weapons, the second does not. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 2, 2019 at 13:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ For completeness, it should say ranged attacks with ranged weapons - otherwise someone will try to get that bonus when they swing their bow at someone... \$\endgroup\$
    – Davo
    Aug 3, 2019 at 0:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Davo Fixed again, with even properer semantics. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeQ
    Aug 3, 2019 at 0:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Davo a ranged attack with a ranged weapon would still let you throw the bow adding the first word "ranged" there is, in my opinion, unhelpful. This is because of the unintuitive rule that if you make an improvised attack with a weapon the weapon is no longer a melee or ranged weapon. It is an improvised weapon that is being used to make a melee or ranged attack \$\endgroup\$ Aug 3, 2019 at 1:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's a good point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Davo
    Aug 3, 2019 at 13:39

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