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While reading the Monster Manual, I came across

Ammunition

A monster carries enough ammunition to make its ranged attacks . You can assume that a monster has 2d4 pieces of ammunition for a thrown weapon attack, and 2d10 pieces of ammunition for a projectile weapon such as a bow or crossbow.

So, first and foremost, ammunition for thrown weapons are just... more weapons? E.g., carrying 5 daggers?

Does this imply that a monster is supposed to carry (on average) 5 hand-axes (or some other thrown weapon) to throw away at PCs? It seems to me that this makes battlefield scavenging much more lucrative than I was assuming, and it also seems kinda silly for some creatures. I don't imagine a host of bandits to each carry 5 javelins on their backs, a greatsword, and a longbow as they move around.

I know that I can adjust them and not make them carry such weapons when the occasion isn't appropriate. However, is my interpretation of the rule correct? Are monsters meant to carry around 5 of each thrown weapon they have?

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You're correct.

I think your quote is pretty clear on monsters carrying ammunition for the weapons that they carry, and carrying extra copies of thrown weapons.

It seems like your main concern is that it seems unreasonable for monsters to carry multiple copies of thrown weapons. However, based on the stat blocks (using the various humanoids at the end of the MM), most of the NPCs only have one or two weapons. Only the Veteran has 3, and none of those are thrown weapons. Also consider that the PCs themselves might be carrying a ton of thrown weapons as well. Moreover, if the bandit has a pack or something, they could easily fit a few daggers in there.

Finally, real-world soldiers often carry very large loads while on combat missions. A quick googling shows that modern US soldiers sometimes carry something like 60lbs in combat, and up to 127lbs of equipment on patrol.

As for battlefield scavenging, you can look at this question (Thanks SevenSidedDie) to see that "used" equipment isn't really salable. Additionally, I'd argue that even if it were salable, picking up weapons isn't even that useful, as they aren't worth very much, and other loot from encounters is likely to be much more valuable.

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