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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 Japanese ranged weapon, designed for throwing. It appears as a throwing star when unidentified. Shuriken have damage exceeding that of daggers while having a weight equal to that of darts, but are quite rare. Like darts, shuriken can break when thrown, but this risk can be minimized by blessing them and having very high luck. Positive enchantment also helps. Samurai start with shuriken identified.

Shuriken skill

Max Role

Shuriken are the only weapons to use shuriken skill, and there are no artifact shuriken.


Shuriken cause solid damage, give a to-hit bonus, don't need a launcher and can be poisoned. If you find some it is usually a good idea to take them and use them to soften up tough monsters or against mind flayers. Their +2 to-hit bonus helps to reduce the unskilled to-hit penalty, which is useful since they are so rare that you probably won't get a chance to raise your skill level (and probably wouldn't want to spend the skill slot anyway). Extensive use of shuriken may require polypiling or wishing.

Monks are in a special situation. They can reach basic skill in only 3 ranged weapons: shuriken, spear and crossbow. As spears are heavy and a crossbow must be wielded to be used, it may be worth enchanting and blessing shuriken if you find them, especially because monks have little other use for scrolls of enchant weapon. Even at unskilled, monks will get a +1 multishot bonus when throwing shuriken, offsetting their low skill cap. If you don't mind polypiling stacks of useless weapons, this is a good way to get shuriken.

Samurai can reach expert in shuriken. Advancing the skill to expert becomes trivial after reaching the quest, thanks to the multitude of shuriken-wielding ninja.

Rangers and Rogues can reach skilled in shuriken, but do more damage with arrows and daggers because of their role-based bonuses, so they are usually not a good choice.

Healers can reach skilled in shuriken. They can also reach skilled in the weaker daggers and sling, and expert in the weaker darts, so shuriken are interesting. Healers are restricted in matter spells, and even with a robe and high enough level they won't be able to reach much better than 90% failure rate with the polymorph spell, so the PYEC and wands are usually a better way to get large numbers of shuriken.


In SLASH'EM and Slash'EM Extended there are not that strict role restrictions for learning shuriken, so that you could become expert if using it frequently. As this weapon is quite rare and having some loss like bolts/arrows you won't try it normally. The slots for advancements are limited anyhow.

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 ]

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