The spell Tiny Servant (XGtE, p. 168) lets the caster create a Tiny creature out of an object:

You touch one Tiny, nonmagical object that isn’t attached to another object or a surface and isn’t being carried by another creature. The target animates and sprouts little arms and legs, becoming a creature under your control until the spell ends or the creature drops to 0 hit points. See the stat block for its statistics.

If a wizard casts Tiny Servant on a crossbow, would the crossbow be able to fire itself at an enemy?

In the statblock, the only action the servant can take is "Slam":

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) bludgeoning damage.

A crossbow does 1d6 (hand crossbow), 1d8 (light crossbow), or 1d10 (heavy crossbow) damage, which is noticeably more than the Slam action. Moreover, the extra range of the crossbow would let the Tiny Servant stay out of harm's way during combat.

Would it be appropriate to let the Tiny Servant crossbow fire itself during combat?
Presumably, the Tiny Servant wouldn't be proficient in firing its own ammo, but the extra range and damage would be invaluable.


3 Answers 3


A crossbow probably wouldn't count as a Tiny object, so this wouldn't work either way.

According to the table on page 247 of the DMG for HP for objects of various sizes, a Tiny object would be something like a lock or a bottle, while a Small object would be a chest or lute.

A crossbow is far more likely to be comparable in size to a lute (and thus considered Small) than a bottle (or stein/mug as depicted in the book), so it would be an invalid target for the Tiny Servant spell. Even the Flying Sword in the Monster Manual is considered a Small creature.

If it did work, however, then you'd likely be in house-rule/homebrew territory.

The Tiny Servant spell gives you the stat block for the animated object. That's it. Anything beyond what is in that stat block is up to the DM to adjudicate.

Side note:

Take a look at the Animate Objects spell on page 213 of the PHB. The Tiny Servant is close-ish to the stats given to Tiny objects animated by Animate Objects. A crossbow, in terms of damage output, would fall more into the Small size category.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Given that an animated crossbow probably doesn't have the strength to reload itself, if this was viable it would make sense that the damage for the one shot it could make could be higher than it can inflict with its own normal strength. (Although what +hit would it get? Is it proficient in aiming itself at range, the way it is at Slam?) So yeah, things to consider if you're considering house-ruling this. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 25, 2021 at 13:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hand crossbows are certainly not "Small" sized; it weighs 3 points, and is no more than 2.5 feet in any dimension, and is therefore a tiny object. Compared to a chest, which weighs 25 pounds and takes up its own 5 foot square, it's clear to see why it's not small sized. Further, Imps, Quasits, and other traditionally tiny creatures have weights far in excess of 3 lbs, and sizes much larger than a hand crossbow; so again, definitely a Tiny object. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 26, 2021 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RobertPainVanZant a lute is a small object and weights 2 lbs. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2021 at 1:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Lutes are also hollow, whereas a hand crossbow is made of relatively stout stuff. The fact that it's under weight and size to qualify as a tiny object, and that other single-handed weapons such as a dagger, can be considered tiny, leads me to believe that calling a hand-crossbow a tiny object is reasonable. Among creatures it is certainly on the tiny side... I'd probably have said Small too, but if a player pointed these things out, I'd feel somewhat arbitrary if telling them no. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 16, 2022 at 1:27

It wouldn't have proficiency with crossbows.

In general, in DnD 5e, spells do what they say they do and no more. In this case, if you cast this spell on a Crossbow, it would result in the creation of a minion using the listed stat block which, as you noted, only has the Slam attack listed.

This means that the only weapon that the construct is proficient with is its Slam. If it tries to pick up and use any other weapons, it lacks proficiency with them. This would presumably also apply to any built-in weapons that the object might have possessed. So, maybe it could shoot its crossbow, but it would only be rolling its Dexterity bonus on the attack roll to do so.


A crossbow is definitely a tiny object, and would certainly qualify

To begin, I'm going to quote the Tiny Servant rules text.

You decide what action the creature will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you can issue a simple, general command, such as to fetch a key, stand watch, or stack some books.

However, whether or not it can make an attack with itself is another matter entirely. So long as your DM allows it continue to function as an object while it is animated, in other words, it retains its qualities and properties as an object while it is a creature - then I see no reason you can't command it to fire itself.

As others have stated, it would do so without proficiency, and I will add that the hand crossbow is probably too weak and too small to be able to load itself, so you would most likely be required to use a bonus action to reload it, and thus be unable to fire another bolt on the next turn.

As far as the "rule of cool" goes, I see no reason your DM wouldn't allow it; on average, it will deal 1 additional damage(on average) with the attack, but it makes the attack with a lower attack bonus, which seems like a fair trade-off.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you think a crossbow is closer in size to a bottle (tiny) than to a lute (small) ? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2021 at 1:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .