I am making a bard and noticed they have proficiency in hand crossbows. Upon looking at hand crossbows, they have the light property, which apparently means they can be used in the off-hand without penalties. But is there even a way to make use of the crossbow in my off-hand? If I wanted to use them with another weapon in the main-hand and without the feat, then the loading property would get in the way. (Apparently, crossbows are being loaded just before they fire.)

What if I had my main hand free to cast spells (unless I'd need to be holding the instrument, I guess?), couldn't I then technically cast a spell with my hand and then fire the crossbow? Or how about Vicious Mockery -- it uses only a verbal component and it's not an attack spell either. Should I be able to use VM and then fire the hand crossbow from my off-hand as a bonus action?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Something that wasn't really made clear in the duplicate, but asked here (might even make it worth reopening). You can only make an "off-hand" attack when you use the Attack action. Spells like "Vicious Mockery" use the Cast a Spell action and do not qualify for using your Bonus Action for an off-hand attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 18:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer @MivaScott. I'm not quite sure why this is marked as duplicate, I'd already found and read the original thread and couldn't find a satisfying answer. I believe the off-hand attack you're referring to is the one from the feat's description though, isn't it? Basically I can't find anywhere that says you can't use the crossbow as a bonus action regardless of your main action, like you would use a spell or other ability as a bonus action... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ For the most part, in D&D, you can only do what the game says you can do. You cannot make a bonus action attack with a hand crossbow unless the game says you can. The feat says you can make that bonus action attack IF you use the Attack action. Not the Cast a Spell action, or similar. I hope that clears that up? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tal
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can only make an attack with a Bonus Action (known as an "off-hand" attack from previous version) if fighting with two weapons. But both weapons must be melee attacks. No crossbows. The Crossbow Expert feat gets around the melee portion, but ONLY for the hand crossbow. So your spell casting is still out of luck. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 19:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your question asks: "Is it possible to utilize the "light" property of hand crossbows without crossbow feats?", the linked question has answers stating that there is no way to utilize the light property of hand crossbows, with or without feats \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 20:16


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