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I have been creating a warlock character, and I noticed that the list of starting equipment states (emphasis my own):

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
  • (a) a component pouch or (b) an arcane focus
  • (a) a scholar’s pack or (b) a dungeoneer’s pack
  • Leather armor, any simple weapon, and two daggers

Meanwhile, when I created a ranger previously, I noticed that its list of starting equipment says:

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) scale mail or (b) leather armor
  • (a) two shortswords or (b) two simple melee weapons
  • (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
  • A longbow and a quiver of 20 arrows

For the ranger, it specifies that the 20 arrows come in a quiver. However, it does not mention that the warlock's crossbow bolts come with a case.

Does this mean that characters who start out with crossbows do not also have a crossbow bolt case to start with?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does it really matter? What problem are you trying to solve with this question? Swords don’t say they come with sheathes, do you expect that they don’t come with sheathes as well? Also, the “why” part of this question is off topic as designer reasoning. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Apr 4 at 9:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey: The confusion I am trying to solve is that normally, RAW are quite clear and when something small like that is lacking, there's a reason for it. For example, a staff, unless directly stated, cannot be used as a melee weapon... However, when it comes to the bolts, this little omission of the case/quiver seems odd when there is not enough information on it's importance to validate why a player may or may not choose to spend the extra gold buying a case for their bolts. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Apr 4 at 9:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LioElbammalf Giving speculative reasons for why falls under speculative answers that meta talks about. As a rule of thumb, if you feel the need to justify why you don't post it as an answer, it probably shouldn't go in the question's comments either. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Apr 4 at 23:14
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They come with a case or other appropriate container.

Oddly enough, we see this in the description of the Ammunition weapon property:

Drawing the ammunition from a quiver, case, or other container is part of the attack (you need a free hand to load a one-handed weapon).

The rules for weapons with the Ammunition property assume you have some sort of container to pull them from, so you have some sort of container to pull them from.

The DM can decide that a bolt quiver is free.

If you’re the DM, you can just decide the bolts come with an appropriate quiver or case, and you can even make it free.

If your table is into keeping up with the details of equipment, that is fine - enjoy your game. But personally, I would be somewhat put off if, when I told my DM, “I buy some bolts”, he said “where are you putting them? Your pockets? The quiver is extra”.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I do love this answer, but can't help but note that historically, arrows would be carried and distributed in bundles tied with twine, with quivers being part of the archery gear made to fit the archer in question... I am genuinely curious how to deal with all the used quivers and their wasted leather. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Apr 5 at 2:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB Why do you feel you have to deal with that? \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Apr 5 at 2:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess just the campaigns I went through... seems odd to not think of when some campaigns state that meat is so rare, or that a farmer is scraping by to make ends meet, or clothe their family... But I could be overthinking the wrong things \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Apr 5 at 2:53

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