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Currently using a Custom Origin (Tasha's CoE) Half Drow Rogue(Scout) 3 Armorer Artificer 5 with the Crossbow Expert feat. I want to make the maximum amount of attacks I can in the surprise round, which I believe is 3 (from the extra attack Armorers get at 5th Lv and as a bonus action from Crossbow Expert feat). I have a shield in my left arm, holding a hand crossbow on my right hand and the "gemlike node" for the Lightning Launcher is on the right hand of the armor.

Ex: My PC Kas wants to unleash a barrage of ranged attacks from cover to a distracted foe. He uses the Lightning Launcher with the first two attacks and finally uses the hand crossbow as a bonus action to finish off the volley.

Now it was never mentioned whether this node is on the palm side of the armored fist or the back of the hand, but only mentioned as either on your chest (like an Arc reactor from Ironman) or on the "armored fist". Personally I think it should be higher on the forearm like on a bracer or gauntlet part of the armor. Placing the node on the chest defeats the clause of the Crossbow Expert feat that needs a "one handed weapon" to be used to trigger using the hand crossbow as a bonus action. Also the Lightning Launcher is classified as a "simple ranged weapon".

Now being a "simple ranged weapon" on the "armored fist", does this qualify as a "one handed weapon" for the purpose of fulfilling the need to use a "one handed weapon" in order to use the hand crossbow as bonus action?

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You cannot use a shield and a hand crossbow.

Hand crossbows have the ammunition property, which states:

you need a free hand to load a one-handed weapon

If you are holding a shield and a hand crossbow, you do not have a free hand to load the crossbow.

It is unclear if the Lightning Launcher counts as a one-handed weapon.

Crossbow Expert states:

When you use the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack with a hand crossbow you are holding.

The Crossbow Expert bonus action requires an attack with a one-handed weapon, and it is unclear if the Lightning Launcher counts, as it can be implanted in the chest or the hand. This one is up to the DM. Get rid of the shield, and this works as long as the DM rules that the Lightning Launcher counts as a one-handed weapon for the purposes of satisfying the condition of the Crossbow Expert bonus action attack.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I see your point and a similar post lead me to ask this. rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/169623/… TLDR: Can you use Booming Blade with Armorer's Guardian Armor & and does it Gauntlets count as a melee weapon costing at least 1 Silver piece. Granted I can tech use the hand crossbow 3 times, but the first shot of the Lightning Launcher does 2d6+Dex mod vs a hand crossbow's 1d6+ Dex mod and a possible addition 2d6 for Sneak Attack if shooting with advantage. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2021 at 1:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JhyarelleSilver It’s going to be up to the DM if the launcher works with crossbow expert. If they’re cool with it, it works, but you definitely cannot use a shield with this setup, unfortunately. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2021 at 1:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Worth noting, with Extra Attack you can make one attack with the lightning launcher and one attack with the crossbow, and then you can get the extra d6 for the LL and unambiguously qualify for the bonus crossbow attack. This also gives you a 2nd chance to get your sneak attack (2d6) instead of a 2nd chance to get the extra LL damage (only 1d6). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2021 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like I can't comment on other answers as a guest, but it is worth mentioning you only need a free hand to LOAD the crossbow. You could load it outside of combat then equip the shield. This is especially relevant as the OP indicated they mostly care about using this in a surprise round. Given sufficient setup, you could even have several loaded hand-crossbows sitting nearby. Each round, you could fire the hand crossbow (bonus action), drop it (free action), and pick up another (interact), while still doing whatever else you want with your move and action. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dungus
    Aug 11, 2021 at 15:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Dungus Strictly RAW, loading is part of the attack. The full relevant quote is: "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)." It probably wouldn't be unreasonable to allow someone to pre-load a crossbow (or several) and then equip a shield. Still, buying multiple crossbows and performing the appropriate setup is unlikely to be practical most of the time. (E.g. I'd probably give someone disadvantage on stealth if they were walking around carrying 5 loaded crossbows.) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2021 at 16:02

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