One of my players made a Sharpshooter Fighter with a hand crossbow. He asked me whether he could customize his bolts, for example making them make bludgeoning/slashing damage, fire damage, or something else.

As far as I know, the only custom/magical arrows/bolts currently published are:

Essentially, these simply add more damage or make a target prone.

I've found some homebrews that try and add some diversity to the list of available ammunition, but I'd rather stick to official material.

Is there any other official type of ammunition my player can use on his Fighter?


2 Answers 2


Besides your list, there is only one more modification that can be made without spells, with oil of sharpness:

This clear, gelatinous oil sparkles with tiny, ultrathin silver shards. The oil can coat one slashing or piercing weapon or up to 5 pieces of slashing or piercing ammunition. Applying the oil takes 1 minute. For 1 hour, the coated item is magical and has a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls.

Taking this and what you’ve listed, that covers all the usual modifications that can be made to ammunition (RAW).

In addition to these things, there are some spells that do the job, but may not be accessible to your Fighter without some homebrew.

Flame arrows:

You touch a quiver containing arrows or bolts. When a target is hit by a ranged weapon attack using a piece of ammunition drawn from the quiver, the target takes an extra 1d6 fire damage. The spell’s magic ends on the piece of ammunition when it hits or misses, and the spell ends when twelve pieces of ammunition have been drawn from the quiver.

Lightning arrow (PHB, p. 255):

The next time you make a ranged weapon attack during the spell’s duration, the weapon’s ammunition, or the weapon itself if it’s a thrown weapon, transforms into a bolt of lightning. Make the attack roll as normal. The target takes 4d8 lightning damage on a hit, or half as much damage on a miss, instead of the weapon’s normal damage.

Whether you hit or miss, each creature within 10 feet of the target must make a Dexterity saving throw. Each of these creatures takes 2d8 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

That’s it for RAW options, but maybe these spells can serve as inspiration for him brewing something.


For completeness sake, another way to modify the damage your arrows deal is through X Weapon spells:

  • Elemental Weapon

  • Holy Weapon

And through X Smite spells:

  • Branding Smite

  • Banishing Smite

These enchant either you or your weapon and cause your attacks to deal additional damage or have additional effects.


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