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Is the "Shuriken(5)" entry in Players Handbook actually 5 weapons, i.e. the player can attack 5 times without pulling out more shurikens, or a single "notional" weapon and all 5 of the shurikens are thrown in a single attack ?

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It's five single weapons.

Because five shurikens cost one gold, you buy them in units of 5. But they are used singly.

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I believe this is also the number to which a single enchantment can be applied, much like how other ammunition is enchanted in batches of twenty. – dlras2 Apr 18 '12 at 16:45
@DanRasmussen - PHB220 - Some monsters, such as werewolves, are susceptible to attacks made by silvered weapons. A single weapon, 30 arrows, 10 crossbow bolts, 20 sling bullets, or 5 shuriken can be silvered at a cost of 500 gp. This cost represents not only the price of the silver, but the time and expertise needed to add silver to a weapon without making it less effective. – Hachibushu Apr 18 '12 at 16:57
Interesting ... my argument is the Shuriken(5) is in the weapons, like dagger, but the arrows, etc. are in ammunition. Also the silvering only indicates the "unit size", not they are individual items. My gut feeling because of the way WotC wanted to keep things simple, is it is a single "item" – SteveC Apr 18 '12 at 17:45
@DanRasmussen considering they are thrown weapons rather than ammo, and that this could have potentially interesting effects if you have implement prof light blades (you now have 5 same enchantment implements). I doubt this is the case – wax eagle Apr 19 '12 at 1:56
@SteveC Where is stated that enhancing a bunch of 5 shurikens costs as enhancing a single throwing axe? The silver coating cost is not the same as making them magical (and thus, returning). – Erik Burigo Apr 20 '12 at 8:54

You should treat them like you would throwing daggers or even arrows, they are basically like ammunition without a weapon to fire them (unless you count your hands). The only reason you buy them in fives, is because it comes to a round number of money, I believe they are usually 1gp. Similarly, you don't buy arrows individually. You use one per attack (unless the attack states differently) so you could count them each as individual weapons that get used up when they are fired, much like arrows. If you are DM you could possibly make them use a minor action to take out the shurikens initially, like you would a sword or a bow. But thats up to the DM. basically you wouldn't generally fire all 5 in one attack.

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