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- See Weapon for a general overview of weapons and related information.
Crossbows can be made from wood, bone or metal. Wooden and bone crossbows are made at a bowyer's workshop using the crossbow-making skill; metal crossbows are made at a metalsmith's forge using the weaponsmithing skill. A dwarf will open fire at a range of 20 tiles, but the bolts may travel further and hit something by accident.
Crossbows in Ranged Combat
Crossbows in Melee
In melee combat, crossbows use the Hammer skill. Cross-training your marksdwarves so that they can hold their own in a melee is advisable. Choosing a better material will, of course, result in a more damaging butt-stroke - but crossbows make a poor melee weapon anyway.
Hunters and Crossbows
Hunters use crossbows to hunt with, and will automatically pick one up if they don't already have one. They'll also carry a quiver and bolts. You can modify their ammunition allotment using the Military screen.
Hunters will typically give up on hunting if they run out of ammunition, thus the material of their crossbows is unimportant.