Saavy spellcasters in 5th Edition D&D would often take the Crossbow Expert (XBE) feat for a niche benefit. While most of the XBE bullet points are useless to a spellcaster, the middle one can be incredibly useful.
Normally, spellcasters suffer disadvantage against targets within 5 feet. But, XBE’s loose wording allows you to avoid disadvantage with ranged spell attacks made against adjacent targets.
This feature opens options to spellcasters who like to mix it up in melee. But it can also be a boon for spellcasters who don’t like to fight in close quarters. Targeted blasting spells scale in damage faster than AoEs (see Dungeon Master’s Guide p. 283-4). This makes them better for addressing an accosting threat.
But, Crossbow Expert has been dethroned as the prime choice for martial spellcasters.
Enter the Gunner feat, courtesy of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything:
Not only does Gunner erase the same martial disadvantage as Crossbow Expert, it gives you a half-ASI in Dexterity, which is useful for spellcasters trying to round out their Armor Class (AC) and initiative bonus.
Whether or not guns exist in your campaign world, Gunner is still a strict upgrade over Crossbow Expert for spellcasters. Plus, there’s no telling when learning to fire off an anti-matter rifle might come in handy!
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