Crossbow curiosity

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Howdy folks, trying to wrap my limited brain-power around this....

In the PHB, pg 219, the crossbow is listed as having damage of 1d8, while the longbow is 1d10. Both have the same proficiency bonus, while the longbow has better range, and also reloads as free, while the crossbow reloads as minor.

Is this some sort of misprint? Shouldn't the crossbow have higher damage?

I realize it's a fantasy game, but even in prior editions I believe that the crossbow took longer to reload, but had the capability to do more damage. In this edition, it's not even equal - the longbow does more, which does not sound right.

I know there is a 'Superior' crossbow, which does equal damage to a longbow, but requires a Feat slot to use, which also does not make sense to me.

Has this been clarified anywhere? Or am I looking at having to houserule it for my group?

Thanks in advance.


Simple vs Martial weapon, if I recall correctly.  As a simple weapon, the crossbow is inferior to the longbow, but more people can use it.

(If the crossbow isn't a simple weapon, then I got nothin'.)
The crossbow is a Simple weapon, and its lower performance reflects its lower training requirement.

This is, in fact, historically accurate.  Crossbows weren't popular because they were better than longbows, they were popular because they were easy to use, and therefore easy to equip lots of people with and still have them be moderately effective.  They were basically "Point toward enemy, pull trigger, reload" as opposed to the many ways you could screw up shooting a bow.

Doesn't matter if longbows have a slight edge if you have twice as many crossbowmen than you could longbowmen.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Historically, though, a crossbow was marginally more damaging than a longbow - not less. Longbows had range, that was true, and could be fired faster obviously.

As for simple vs. martial weapon - I don't see a logical reason to lower damage for that reason alone. It already takes longer to reload one.

I'll be house-ruling this one for my group. Thanks for the replies, folks!
The logical reason is that the weapons are divided into tiers:  simple, martial, superior.  Each tier is divided by a step in the damage die, all other things equal.  Some weapons trade on the damage die for other things:  reach, high crit, being two-handed, etc.

But, each of the weapons within a tier has the same budget, and that's intentional.

Houserule it if you want, but there are reasons for it. 
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
It's worth noting, too, that Crossbows as a group have several things going for them - a one-handed variant, which bows lack, and a +3 proficiency superior variant, which bows similarly lack.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Also the general superiority of crossbow expertise vs. bow expertise, ignoring cover vs. a minor damage bonus against isolated enemies.
This was something I found odd too when I first looked into it, but I guess if your class didnt bother to give you military ranged your just kinda stuck.

Although one advantage I did find beyond the ones already mentioned, is its one of the two weapon types that dont take a -2 penalty to attack in aquatic combat.

So I guess thats somthin....  
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