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) Shuriken.png
Name shuriken
Appearance throwing star
Damage vs. small 1d8
Damage vs. large 1d6
To-hit bonus +2
Weapon skill shuriken
Size one-handed
Base price 5 zm
Weight 1
Material iron

A shuriken is a type of weapon that appears in NetHack. The shuriken is a hand-thrown stackable projectile that is made of iron, and appears as a throwing star when unidentified.


Shuriken are quite rare, making up 3.5% of randomly-generated weapons - this amounts to 0.35% of all randomly found objects in the main dungeon, 0.42% of all items on the Rogue level, and 0.7% of all items in Gehennom.

Monks and melee roles (Barbarians, Knights, Samurai, and Valkyries) start the game with knowledge of the shuriken's appearance.[1]

Ninja have a 34 chance of generating with a stack of shuriken, and will otherwise receive a stack of darts.[2] Monk player monsters, including those generated on the Astral Plane have a 13 chance of a stack of shuriken replacing the melee weapon they are generated with, and will otherwise generate with no melee weapon.[3]

Shuriken skill

Max Role

Shuriken are the only weapons to use the shuriken skill, and there are no artifact shuriken. The skill can only be trained by throwing the shuriken.

Monks, ninja and player monster monks gain a +1 multishot bonus when throwing shuriken.[4][5][6]


Shuriken gain a +2 to-hit bonus when thrown. They can mulch upon hitting monsters like some other projectiles, and can be poisoned by dipping them in a potion of sickness.


Each shuriken weighs only 1 aum similar to darts, and their damage when thrown eclipses that of daggers - they are stellar weapons to enchant and poison (especially if you are not lawful), and are best employed against dangerous melee-range threats such as mind flayers. Their to-hit bonus can also help offset the penalty for throwing them at Unskilled.

In practice, the shuriken's rarity makes it difficult to train the skill or make long-term use of them without polypiling; a wish can be used to either procure a stack of shuriken directly, or more commonly to obtain something for polypiling them with (e.g. a wand of polymorph). Samurai are the primary exception to this "rule", as ninja generate exclusively in the Samurai quest and often carry shuriken - this makes it easier for Samurai characters to assemble and enchant a stockpile and train the skill to Expert, especially with high luck.

Skill levels

Of the other three roles that can attain Skilled in shuriken, Healers can also reach Skilled in daggers and sling, as well as Expert in darts - all three are far more common, but generally deal less damage and are overall heavier to carry; darts are the only option of those three that can be poisoned and multishot, and are just as light as shuriken. Rangers gain multishot bonuses with arrows and many other projectiles, as do Rogues using daggers, and will often prefer the more accessible ranged options.

Monks are in a unique situation compared to the other roles: they can only reach Basic in shuriken, but their role-specific multishot bonus makes it their best non-melee weapon by far - of the other options available, spears are generally heavy, and crossbow bolts require that the character keep a crossbow wielded. Weaponless Monks may consider enchanting and blessing any shuriken they find or even polypiling for them, which provides one of the conduct's few uses for the scroll of enchant weapon.


The shuriken is first introduced in NetHack 1.3d alongside the Samurai and the now-defunct Ninja role. Samurai from NetHack 1.3d to NetHack 3.0.10 start the game with a stack of up to 9 shuriken that may be blessed;[7][8] Ninja from NetHack 1.3d to NetHack 2.3e start the game with up to 25 shuriken.[9][10]


A shuriken (手裏剣, literally "hidden hand blade") is a Japanese concealed weapon used to distract or misdirect enemies. Though they are also known in Western cultures as throwing stars, or ninja stars, they were originally designed in many different shapes - there are a few major varieties of shuriken such as the dart-like bō shuriken (棒手裏剣, "stick shuriken"), with the star-shaped ones being known as hira shuriken (平手裏剣, "flat shuriken") or shaken (車剣, "wheel shuriken"). The curriculum of many famous swordsmanship and martial arts schools taught the art of wielding shuriken, and they were often seen as important tactical supplements to the sword or various other weapons in a samurai's arsenal.


Some variants adjust the skill caps for shuriken and/or make them easier to obtain through certain methods.


In SLASH'EM, gnoll shamans always generate with a stack of roughly a dozen shuriken.[11]


dNetHack and notdNetHack add shuriken to the expanded list of Japanese item names, and they will appear as "hira-shuriken" to Samurai; of note is that darts are called "bo-shuriken" for Samurai.

The Earth Crystal increases a character's skill cap for shuriken by 1 while carried. Astaroth is a spirit that grants skill in shuriken while bound, and one of his active powers can fire a barrage of shuriken in random directions at the cost of some health.

If a character has morgul shards embedded in them, they can pay a non-hostile nurse 4000 zm to extract the shards from them: each shard removed creates a metal shuriken with the "lesser morgul" object property.

Some monsters can be generated with shuriken:

  • Garo may be generated with a stack of shuriken, and the unique garo master always generates carrying shuriken.
  • Maids may generate with a stack of shuriken for non-Samurai characters.
  • Master Kaen will generate with a stack of up to 48 golden shuriken.

The Fuma-itto no Ken is an artifact can be invoked to create shuriken.

NetHack Fourk

In NetHack Fourk, Monks can reach expert in shuriken.


In SpliceHack, shuriken appear as razor cards for Cartomancers.


In EvilHack, Wizards no longer have the shuriken skill.

Stacks of shuriken can be given to a player as a "minor" gift from their god via sacrifice, and gifted shuriken will be erodeproofed and often enchanted - Monks that maintain weaponless conduct will almost always receive shuriken when given a gift this way as opposed to standard armor and weapons, with the exception of artifacts.

3-4 shuriken can be created at a forge by combining 2 darts and a dagger.

Most roles have fairly early access to forging components for shuriken, and characters that are played patiently can create stockpiles of shuriken made of specific materials and/or possessing specific object properties.


In SlashTHEM, shuriken are known by different names to Samurai and Ninja, similar to dNetHack: "standard" shuriken appear as "hira-shuriken", while darts are called "bo-shuriken".

SlashTHEM also adds the Fuma-itto no Ken from dNetHack, which retains its invoke ability and acts as the quest artifact for the revived Ninja role.


In Hack'EM, in addition to EvilHack forging recipes, 2 shuriken can be combined with an iron chain at a forge to create a spiked chain.

Encyclopedia entry

You know, that's what I hate most about fighting against magic:
you never know what they're trying to do to you until it hits.
The sorceress knew what hit her, however. Two of the shuriken
got past whatever defenses she had. One caught her just below
the throat, the other in the middle of her chest. It wouldn't
kill her, but she wouldn't be fighting anyone for a while.

[ Jhereg, by Steven Brust ]