5E Horde Breaker and Heavy Crossbow Loading Property Question

Sidmandoo

Visitor
The basic question I have is: does the loading property on a heavy crossbow, prevent a player from utilizing the Horde Breaker ability of a ranger to make a second attack against another creature?

RAW it says, for Horde Breaker "Once on each of your turns when you make a weapon attack, you can make another attack with the same weapon against a different creature that is within 5 feet of the original target and within range of your weapon."

RAW for loading property it says "Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only once piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make."

My take is that it does, but the Horde Breaker does not make mention of properties related to the weapon, it just says you make another attack.

Has big implications for one of the players in my group, as I think we have been running Horde Breaker wrong for like awhile. lol
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
The basic question I have is: does the loading property on a heavy crossbow, prevent a player from utilizing the Horde Breaker ability of a ranger to make a second attack against another creature?

RAW it says, for Horde Breaker "Once on each of your turns when you make a weapon attack, you can make another attack with the same weapon against a different creature that is within 5 feet of the original target and within range of your weapon."

RAW for loading property it says "Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only once piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make."

My take is that it does, but the Horde Breaker does not make mention of properties related to the weapon, it just says you make another attack.

Has big implications for one of the players in my group, as I think we have been running Horde Breaker wrong for like awhile. lol
Yes it seems to block the feature although the crossbow expert feat can solve that i think.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
It means that when you shoot a target with your heavy crossbow, you can then throw your crossbow at the other target within 5ft of the first.


In all seriousness, I would originally rule the loading property means it overrrides the horde breaker ability. However, if a player wanted to make a ranger with a heavy crossbow as their theme, I would totally allow horde breaker to overrule the loading property because a) I don't think it would break anything and b) I don't see many rangers specializing in archery using the heavy crossbow, so I would totally support a theme the player wants.
 

Yunru

Visitor
Only one attack as part of an action, but Horde Breaker isn't part of an action, so loading doesn't apply.
 

Sidmandoo

Visitor
Only one attack as part of an action, but Horde Breaker isn't part of an action, so loading doesn't apply.
I see what you are getting at, but the Hoarde Breaker ability is an extension of an action, the attack action. In a way, its a variant of a multiattack.
 

Kurotowa

Adventurer
Yes it seems to block the feature although the crossbow expert feat can solve that i think.
This. The trade off with a Heavy Crossbow versus a Longbow is that the Crossbow has a one step larger damage die but can only shoot once per round. That trumps anything that allows multiple attacks on one turn, be it Horde Breaker or Dread Ambusher or plain old Extra Attack. But the Crossbow Expert feat exists specifically to lift that limitation for the PCs who really want to stick with one.
 
This. The trade off with a Heavy Crossbow versus a Longbow is that the Crossbow has a one step larger damage die but can only shoot once per round.
Once per action or bonus action, not once per round. A War Cleric can use his War Priest ability to make a second crossbow attack as a bonus action in the same round, no feats required.
 

Yunru

Visitor
I see what you are getting at, but the Hoarde Breaker ability is an extension of an action, the attack action. In a way, its a variant of a multiattack.
No it's not. In fact it's specifically worded such that it can trigger off of any action.
 

Kurotowa

Adventurer
Once per action or bonus action, not once per round. A War Cleric can use his War Priest ability to make a second crossbow attack as a bonus action in the same round, no feats required.
You are, in fact, correct. Teach me to ever go off memory for a special rule I've only see other players interact with.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Hmm. There's an argument to be made that you could do this, but I'm inclined to read it as you do: If Horde Breaker is triggered by an action, bonus action, or reaction, then the Loading property will prevent you from getting the extra attack. (Though if you can somehow figure out a way to make an attack without using an action, bonus action, or reaction to do it, you can trigger Horde Breaker and you won't be blocked by Loading.)

Even with the more generous reading, though, you can only get away with this trick for a couple of levels. You definitely can't use Extra Attack with a crossbow, so the ranger is going to have to switch up for a longbow pretty soon anyway, or take the Crossbow Expert feat.
 

Sidmandoo

Visitor
No it's not. In fact it's specifically worded such that it can trigger off of any action.
I am confused now. Horde Breaker cannot trigger off ANY action. It can only trigger off a "weapon attack," and a weapon attack is part of either an attack action, bonus action, or reaction. The loading property is applied to any attack action, bonus action, or reaction according to the rules. So how would it not apply to Horde Breaker? Genuinely asking here.
 

Yunru

Visitor
I am confused now. Horde Breaker cannot trigger off ANY action. It can only trigger off a "weapon attack," and a weapon attack is part of either an attack action, bonus action, or reaction. The loading property is applied to any attack action, bonus action, or reaction.
Yes, but triggering off of an attack does not make it part of the action that attack belongs to.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Yes, but triggering off of an attack does not make it part of the action that attack belongs to.
If we were talking about a reaction, like a retaliation strike from Sentinel, this would be indisputably true: The reaction is its own thing, distinct from the action that triggered it. Same for an action triggering a bonus action. The bonus action is not part of the triggering action, it stands by itself.

But this isn't a reaction or a bonus action. It's just an attack, outside of any action, floating naked in the ether. That isn't a thing that normally ever happens in D&D, and the rules are not designed to consider such a thing (witness the way the Loading property is written). I think it makes more sense to treat the Horde Breaker attack as part of whatever action triggered it. Either reading is plausible according to the rules, and this way is consistent with similar abilities like Extra Attack.
 

Sidmandoo

Visitor
But this isn't a reaction or a bonus action. It's just an attack, outside of any action, floating naked in the ether. That isn't a thing that normally ever happens in D&D, and the rules are not designed to consider such a thing (witness the way the Loading property is written).
This really sums it up the dilemma. It's not clear because Horde Breaker is never given an actual definition of what it is in its description. It isn't an action, bonus action, or reaction. It just 'is' in and of itself, so what to do with it?

I promise you I am not a rules lawyer, this just came up at my table and I found this gap. I am probably going to go with not allowing the second attack with the heavy crossbow, mostly because it makes sense from a real world perspective. If it can't be done in a multiattack situation, it does not make sense for it to be allowed in this pseudo-reactionary-bonus actioney-whatever-it-is situation with Horde Breaker. (yes, I know, "actioney" is not a word).

Appreciate the conversation from everyone. I pinged Jeremy Crawford on twitter to see if I could get a bite. Perhaps the master will chime in.
 
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Sidmandoo

Visitor
In all seriousness, I would originally rule the loading property means it overrrides the horde breaker ability. However, if a player wanted to make a ranger with a heavy crossbow as their theme, I would totally allow horde breaker to overrule the loading property because a) I don't think it would break anything and b) I don't see many rangers specializing in archery using the heavy crossbow, so I would totally support a theme the player wants.
I like your take on it. It probably doesn't break things (though it IS 2d10 if you get both hits). Would maybe reduce the Horde Breaker attack to 1d8 without modifier damage, though even that is just a couple of points. Just seems weird to be able to attack like this with a weapon that you practically have to get on your back and brace your legs against to load the string or use a crank, in the real world. lol.
 

guachi

Visitor
I am confused now. Horde Breaker cannot trigger off ANY action. It can only trigger off a "weapon attack," and a weapon attack is part of either an attack action, bonus action, or reaction. The loading property is applied to any attack action, bonus action, or reaction according to the rules. So how would it not apply to Horde Breaker? Genuinely asking here.
You can trigger Horde Breaker off of Green Flame Blade or Booming Blade and those use the Cast a Spell action. Though you can't, of course, use either of those with a ranged weapon attack like shooting a crossbow.
 

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