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I'm currently paying an Arcane Trickster and use dual hand crossbows as his signature combat style. I also took the Crossbow Expert feat.

So here's my conundrum.

  1. Can I use Mage Hand Legerdemain to reload any crossbow I'm proficient with?
  2. If so, can one application of Mage Hand Legerdemain load both the Hand Crossbows I'm dual-wielding?

The Crossbow Master feat says "ignore the load property of the crossbow", but you still have to have one hand free to load the crossbow. Loading two hand crossbows would make it difficult because you need one hand free. Can't it be just fluffed that, at any time after the shooter fires his 2 hand crossbows or a Heavy/Light Crossbow and before the beginning of his next turn, that his weapons were loaded via "ignore the load property of the crossbow"? Couldn't Mage Hand Legerdemain add to that fluff?

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No, for several reasons.

  • Mage Hand is mostly limited to one object. All of the descriptors of mage hand, even disarming traps and picking locks, only refer to one object. Even loading one crossbow would require the manipulation of two objects: the bolt and the crossbow itself.

  • Mage Hand requires an action (or bonus action). With mage hand legerdemain, you still need to expend a bonus action to direct the mage hand (spending an action to reload obviously defeats the purpose of quick-firing crossbows). Even if you could use mage hand to load a crossbow, you could only load one at a time.

  • Crossbows require a lot of force to load. A brief googling around shows a lot of variation in crossbow draw forces, but all of them are significantly higher than the 10lb maximum of mage hand. Physics in D&D is always a bit hairy, but that draw force is going to be applied in both directions, so it will always exceed the weight maximum. For example, when you pull back on a bowstring, you are both pulling on the string and pushing forward against the bow.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't all of your objections be rendered moot by using the mage hand to hold the potentially-much-less-than-10-lb crossbow and a real hand to reload? He doesn't need an action to reload as long as he has a hand free \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Feb 22 '17 at 6:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ For a single crossbow, the Crossbow Master feat solves that. My answer mostly addresses the possibility of using mage hand when you're already dual-wielding crossbows, so you have no free hands. \$\endgroup\$ – Icyfire Feb 22 '17 at 6:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Icyfire if you have mage hand held one of the crossbows you now have a free hand to reload both. \$\endgroup\$ – BgrWorker Feb 22 '17 at 7:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ BgrWorker Newton's first law. If the power to draw a crossbow has over 10 pounds of draw, that's applied to both the hand holding the weapon and the hand pulling the cord back. \$\endgroup\$ – Frezak Feb 22 '17 at 10:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can get on board with bullets 2 and 3 but 1 is a bit weak since to disarm traps and pick locks it is a set of tools that you are using... one of our players is a locksmith and he never uses just one pick to open a lock (he uses the old style, not the new fangled all purpose tool). I look at this as the old Bigby's Dexterous Digits spell from I think 1E or maybe 2E from the Greyhawk book. Still couldn't load a crossbow simply for the weight constraint though. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Feb 22 '17 at 14:00
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It does not work, but you don't need it anyway

@Icyfire listed all the reasons why mage hand can not load a hand crossbow.

However, you only need one hand crossbow to fully benefit from Crossbow Expert, as shown in this Sage Advice. Now your other hand is free to load it whenever needed.

So the question is moot.

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