A crossbow is a mechanically assisted bow which is used when more power is required, either to launch heavier projectiles or to launch a more conventional one a longer distance. The bows are usually cocked with the assistance of a windlass or crank, but some use levers.
There is quite a variety of weapons labelled as simply "crossbow" with an equally wide range of statistics.
- Crossbow (common)
- Crossbow (master)
- Crossbow (relic)
- There are a number of Master variants which can have its Attack Power ranging between 103%-190% Attack power until the Crossbow falls into a Relic category.
- Can also be found being sold by Hattori
Crossbow has its own slot in the inventory and combat wheel but it only allows one type of ammunition to be equipped at a time; switching ammunition can be done on the inventory screen or the weapon wheel. The normal crossbow bolt is the weapon's default ammo when none is equipped, and while it lacks special properties it has an unlimited amount. Crossbows can be used during regular combat, underwater, on a horse, or at the helm of a boat. Note that while underwater, only the default bolt is available. However, crossbows are particularly effective underwater so this shouldn't be much of a hindrance.
Crossbow's damage is dependent on three major factors: Geralt's ability build, the crossbow's damage attribute, and the equipped munition. The crossbow's base damage is the most detrimental factor since the other two variable would multiply on its value. Unlike other equipment, crossbows do not have slots for runestones.
Also unlike other equipment, crossbows are not scaled normally in New Game +. Any crossbow and bolts found or crafted in the bonus playthrough will have similar attributes found in normal ones, their effectiveness remains as if played in a normal playthrough however. This "shadow scaling" also applies to crossbows brought from a normal playthrough to a New Game +.
One can fire crossbow in two ways.
- Quick shot, done by tapping the action button, will have Geralt automatically fire at targeted enemy for an almost guaranteed hit.
- Manual aim, done by holding the action button and have players aim the crossbows manually from shoulder-view. This way, players have the opportunity to aim for certain body part and yield Deadly Precision (ex. shooting humans in the head), which deal extra damage, but also leave players to rely entirely on their aiming skill. Aiming manually will slow in-game time.
Geralt will have to complete a reload animation after each one shot (two, with the Trick Shot ability) before being able to fire again. Using crossbows cost no Stamina.
Crossbows are mostly useful for hitting flying beasts, like ekhidnae or griffins, to bring them down to earth. However, their potential as combat tools can be expanded and applied into different strategies.
Blood and Wine expansion introduces the Cat Eyes mutation that increases crossbows's damage by a considerable amount, boosting their capacity to function as secondary or even primary weapons.