Hand crossbows could be operated with a single hand. The loaded bolts had a range of purposes, but most often to contain drow knockout poison, especially when wielded by the drow.. They were easily concealed, and favored by rogues and those who would prefer to use stealth, rather than power.
Cadderly Bonaduce owned a special hand crossbow that was crafted by Ivan and Pikel Bouldershoulder, at the Edificant Library. The young scholar mainly used this projectile weapon in combination with oil of impact to deal explosion damage to his enemies. He used the weapon to score his first ever kill on the evil cleric, Barjin.
Dorigen Kel Lamond acquired this crossbow while Cadderly's group escaped from Ragnor's imprisonment. He feared that she would replicate the weapon, and distribute it to her peers. Later, in Shilmista forest, the scholar spared Dorigen, but crushed her hands, severely damaging them. After this, Dorigen had mixed feelings towards Cadderly, and did not distribute the unique weapon. Cadderly kept the weapon with him at most times, and used it in a fight with giant toad in Fyrentennimar's lair. The toad first of all consumed the crossbow's bolt, but some time later, exploded in a giant mess.
- Grant Boucher, Troy Christensen, Jon Pickens, John Terra and Scott Davis (1991). Arms and Equipment Guide. (TSR, Inc.), p. 108. ISBN 1-56076-109-1.
- Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 81, 113, 115. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
- Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 219. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 149. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
- R.A. Salvatore (July 2005). Streams of Silver. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1606-0.
- R.A. Salvatore (February 2002). Canticle. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1604-4.
- R.A. Salvatore (March 2000). In Sylvan Shadows. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1605-2.
- R.A. Salvatore (May 2000). The Fallen Fortress. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1606-0.
- Grant Boucher, Troy Christensen, Jon Pickens, John Terra and Scott Davis (1991). Arms and Equipment Guide. (TSR, Inc.), p. 66. ISBN 1-56076-109-1.