My fighter exchanged a crossbow for a longbow at a Weapons Workshop he came across. The character has proficiency with Simple and Martial Weapons, with the Dueling fighting style, and is Dexterity modifier is +4.

By replacing the crossbow, would the attack bonus stay the same?

Also, the crossbow had a damage roll of 1d6 + 6 piercing damage.
Would the Longbow's damage be just 1d8 or 1d8 + 6?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am asking about both, the attack bonus as well as the damage roll. \$\endgroup\$
    – stark
    Mar 2, 2020 at 14:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you clarify how you got a +6 damage bonus with your crossbow? If you have +4 dexterity and don't have the Archery style, where's the extra +2 coming from? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 2, 2020 at 14:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related on How do I figure the dice and bonuses for attack rolls and damage rolls? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 2, 2020 at 15:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, how did you get a 1d6 damage roll with a crossbow? Was it a hand crossbow? Because even the light crossbow already has a d8 damage die. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Mar 3, 2020 at 11:28

3 Answers 3


Dueling doesn't work with ranged weapons

Specifically, the Dueling fighting style requires you to be:

wielding a melee weapon in one hand

Longbows and crossbows are ranged weapons, and in addition to that, longbows require you to use two hands (see the two-handed property). Thus the +2 from the Dueling fighting style shouldn't be added to the damage of either attack.

The resultant damage for the longbow is then 1d8 + your Dexterity modifier, so for you it would deal 1d8+4 piercing damage.

The bonus on the attack roll is the same. For ranged weapons it is simply the Dexterity bonus + proficiency bonus (if proficient, which they are), plus any other bonuses they have from features (such as the Archery fighting style if they have it) or magic items.

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    \$\begingroup\$ They may be adding proficiency to damage instead of applying Dueling, which is equally incorrect. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Mar 2, 2020 at 18:29

Other answers have discussed changes (and/or lack thereof) to your attack roll, damage dice, and damage bonus, as well as possible misunderstandings in the sources of these bonuses (adding proficiency to damage, adding dueling bonuses, etc). At risk of going beyond the scope of your question, I want to point out two other changes - one subtle and one dramatic.

The subtle change: Range

Longbows have substantially better range than crossbows. Hand crossbows have a range of 30'/120'; light crossbows, 80'/320'; heavy crossbows, 100'/400'. Longbows, by comparison, have a tremendous range 150'/600' - 50% more than even the huge 18 pound heavy crossbow!

I mention that this change is subtle, because range is one of those things that doesn't come up in every game. Dungeon combat is often very close range, close enough that a light crossbow's 80' range is usually plenty. Adding to this, your table might not treat distances at all, in which case your range to target is completely immaterial. On the other hand, if you ever need to take out a scout as it flees on a horse, you'll be glad to have the extra range afforded by the longbow.

The dramatic change: Loading

All crossbows have the Loading trait. In short, this makes it impossible to use your Fighter's Extra Attack feature (unless you take the Crossbow Expert feat, which allows you to "ignore the loading quality of crossbows with which you are proficient").

Longbows, notably, do not have Loading. While an arrow from a longbow may deal the same as a bolt from a light crossbow, a skilled Fighter can let loose many more arrows in the same amount of time. This should not be overlooked and it will make you far deadlier as you advance.

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    \$\begingroup\$ IIRC, it takes the Crossbow Expert feat to get past the loading limitation for Fighter Extra attacks. 1. You ignore the loading quality of crossbows with which you are proficient. That would allow a higher level Fighter to get 4 attacks at level 20, or three attacks at level 11, with the heavy crossbow. Not sure if you want to add that in. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3, 2020 at 16:27

As listed on page 14 of the Player's Handbook,

For attacks with ranged weapons, use your Dexterity modifier for attack and damage rolls. A weapon that has the thrown property, such as a handaxe, can use your Strength modifier instead.

There's no reason your bonuses would change between a hand crossbow and a longbow unless one of them is magical or you have a specific ability that applies to only one of crossbows or longbows. There's no general rule that would cause them to have different attack or damage bonuses; the only difference would be the damage die size.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You haven't addressed how/why the damage bonus is different from the character's Dexterity bonus. You can't blanket say they're the same without dissecting the source of the bonuses. (Also, regarding your comment on the question and as a place to start... the Archery style affects the attack roll, not the damage roll.) \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Mar 2, 2020 at 18:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I adjusted my answer a bit, but mostly I'll just update my answer if the OP ever explains the discrepancy between the Dex mod and the damage bonus. I'm assuming the OP made a mistake, but they'll have to explain it. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3, 2020 at 21:51

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