Monsterpedia – Banshee

Monsterpedia – Banshee

It’s been a few weeks and do to a house inspection, didn’t end up doing Tower of the Gods session last night, so I wanted to come back to the base rules evil monsters. I have skipped over a few alphabetically because they were various types of dragons, so I’ll come back to them when we get to Dragon, same with a Demon.

Banshees are spirits, in D&D of dead elves, always female. They are created at death when they lament something that have not completed, generally this is some sort of guilt or vengeance, but it drives their spirit to remain. Known for their cries or wailing, a Banshees cry can cause the strongest of adventurers to grow faint.

In D&D terms they are a fair challenging creature to deal with but not that high a challenge rating. For a group of four third level characters, this is a hard encounter just as a solo monster. Now, if it isn’t able to use it’s wail effectively, it won’t be nearly as difficult. The ability isn’t the toughest to avoid, but it’s a good one for hitting the whole part, the banshee wails and everyone who can hear it makes a constitution saving throw, of 13, so not that high. But if they fail, they immediately drop to 0 health, otherwise 3D6 damage. At third level, there’s a chance that a banshee could take down a whole party if they roll poorly.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

But let’s talk about how to use them in a game and if they could be a BBEG (Big Bad Evil Guy).

For me, they are probably the catalyst for characters becoming adventurers at the start of a campaign, at least one of the ways. You have the players face off against a Banshee that is haunting their town and defeat it and that’s how they start getting jobs. This works especially well since it’s third level and that’s when players generally get their specialization for their class. So simplest would be they are all from the same town, they team up to save the town.

But, I think a more interesting thing to do would be to create a coven of banshee. Like it was a coven of hags who were killed and now have become a coven of banshee. I’m not giving them magical powers, but four banshee for a group of level 10 is considered a hard encounter. And a wail can be used by each of the banshee once per day. That’s 4 chances for failed saving throws and if they do that all in round one, you got a slight chance of a party wipe, but it’s also possible, if the party is fast enough they can get out ahead of it.

Now, finally, I think you could homebrew banshee’s some if you wanted to build off of my coven idea above. Have the players first take down a group of hags, seems like that solves the problem, and while the hags were a problem, they also were warning of a potential larger disaster. That’d be the main BBEG or event for the story that you’re playing. Then, because they can’t be at rest, the hags are back as banshee, and you give them some innate casting abilities. Grab some spells, not all, but maybe one higher level spell from the hags as another once per day ability. Now, not only is there the banshee wail that the players need to worry about and the flaws that do necrotic damage, but there can be some impressive spells being flung around, or at least something else that the players might not be prepared for.

Those are just some ways that I think you could use a banshee to make it interesting, and the first one is a good way to kick off a game, and the last one can really heavily tie into a story.

Have you used a Banshee in your game? How have you used them if you have?

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