Artificer: Cantrips vs. Crossbows

ThinkDM

The Artificer gets access to two different ranged options: cantrips and crossbows. Which is stronger from a pure damage perspective?

What’s stronger?

At first blush, cantrips scale much better. That’s because the damage increases from 1d10 to 4d10. Compare this with the Heavy Crossbow (1d10) or Hand Crossbow (1d6). While Arcane Armament permits you two attacks, the loading property of the crossbows means you only get one attack.

Of course, crossbows are going to be stronger up front because you also get to add your damage modifier (Dexterity) to the result. This is somewhat offset by Artillerists who can add their spellcasting modifier (Intelligence) to their cantrips with their level 6 Wand Prototype.

Crossbows are sneaky good, if you’re willing to make the investment. The Crossbow Expert feat is an absolute must to ignore the loading property so you can make two attacks per round. Otherwise, the crossbows have no…

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