Banshee 5e: Stats and Guide for Players and DMs

Last Updated on November 6, 2023


Medium, Undead, Chaotic Evil 

  • Size:  Medium
  • Creature Type: Undead
  • Alignment: Chaotic Evil
  • AC: 12
  • Hit Points: 58 (13d8)
  • Speed: 0 ft., fly 40 ft. (hover)
  • STR 1 (-5), DEX 14 (+2), CON 10 (+0), INT 12 (+1), WIS 11 (+0), CHA 17 (+3)
  • Saving Throws: WIS +2, CHA +5
  • Damage Resistances: Acid, Fire, Lightning, Thunder; Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks
  • Damage Immunities: Cold, Necrotic, Poison
  • Condition Immunities: Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Grappled, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned, Prone, Restrained
  • Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 10
  • Languages: Common, Elvish
  • CR: 4 (1,100 XP)
  • Proficiency Bonus: +2


Detect Life. A banshee can magically sense the presence of all creatures that aren’t undead or constructs up to 5 miles away, sensing the creature’s direction but not how far away it is.

Incorporeal Movement. Banshees can move through solid matter and other creatures as though they are difficult terrain, taking 1d10 force damage if they end their turn inside an object. 


Corrupting Touch. Melee Spell Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (3d6 + 2) necrotic damage.

Horrifying Visage. Every creature within 60 feet of the banshee that can see it (and isn’t undead or a construct) must successfully make a Wisdom saving throw (DC13) or be affected by the frightened condition for 1 minute.

If a creature is frightened of the banshee, it can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, although it makes the save with disadvantage if it can still see the banshee is within line of sight.

On a successful save, the effect on itself ends. If a target’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the target is immune to the banshee’s Horrifying Visage for the next 24 hours.

Wail (1/Day). The banshee unleashes an accursed scream, exposing those who hear it to the full extent of its foul curse. This ability doesn’t work if the banshee is in sunlight, and the wail has no effect on constructs and undead.

All creatures within 30 feet of the banshee that can hear the wail must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, a creature drops to 0 hit points. On a success, an affected creature takes 3d6 psychic damage.

What Is a Banshee in DnD 5e?

A banshee is a CR 4 undead —  the spectral form of a beautiful dead elf that has been cursed to remain in a particular place for the rest of time. They hate the living but adore beautiful things like art and jewelry, and their wail is so terrible that they can snuff out all life around them in an instant. 

Hate-fueled, screaming undead that herald the demise of all who hear them, banshees are a terrifying addition to any gothic, ghostly dungeon. 

Equipped with an array of nasty abilities — including a show-stopping wail that can drop an entire party of low-level adventurers — banshees can even prove to be a serious threat to a higher-level party.

Narratively, they also come with an interesting mythological connection (even if their lore in the Monster Manual itself leaves a lot to be desired) that places them squarely in between the fey and undead creature types.  

So, if you’re looking to provide a little variation to an endless parade of zombies and skeletons or even for a solo undead that can form the heart of a short adventure and comes complete with some interesting narrative implications, this guide should give you everything you need to know to bring your next Banshee encounter kicking and screaming into your campaign. 

How Dangerous Is a Banshee? 

For me, banshees evoke some of the sheer terror of powerful undead in older editions of D&D — back when a ghost, wraith, spectre, or wight drained away your levels when it touched you, not just hit points. 

While the banshee isn’t going to do anything quite so permanent to a party of 5e adventurers, there are a lot of reasons to fear them:

  • Many, many damage resistances and immunities
  • Frightful presence has a good chance to impose a hell of a lot of disadvantage on attacks against it
  • It might just down your entire party in one go — especially if the party healer fails their save

All that means this is in no way an enemy to be trifled with. 

Banshees are going to take half damage from just about everything unless your party has magic weapons, which means that this undead foe is especially scary at lower levels when a party may not have a single option at their disposal that can really hurt it. 

Of course, there are a few ways that a clever party, even without magic weapons, can make un-life difficult for a banshee. 

Three Ways To Defeat a Banshee

Radiant Damage: Any cleric or paladin probably has some way to deal radiant damage on hand.

Obviously, if your party doesn’t have any holy folk on the payroll, you’re going to need to either make your way to the nearest church to recruit some help or move on to plan B. 

Flattery will get you everywhere: Banshees — unlike skeletons and zombies — are not mindless undead, and while their personalities are nothing I’d invite over for dinner, they can at least be bargained with.

Banshees are the ghosts of elves who were eternally cursed for… narcissism. This does give you some great leverage. Think of a banshee like a great big spooky magpie; they love beauty and beautiful things.

As much as a banshee may detest the living, it may still agree to let you go on living in exchange for an especially beautiful trinket. 

Just leave: It can’t go farther than five miles from the spot where it died.

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather take my chances convincing a town full of peasants to relocate somewhere new than going up against a banshee with nothing but mortal weapons and foul language.

Failing that, just come back in the daytime, as you’ll be taking the banshee’s yell — arguably its most dangerous weapon — off the table.

Oh, and you should plug your ears with lumps of wool and beeswax, Odysseus style. You’ll probably still have to save against the wail.

A kind and benevolent DM (like me) would definitely give advantage on that saving throw. 

Banshee Lore in DnD 5e and History

In D&D 5e, banshees used to be elves, fey-touched humanoids who are bound to the world after their death.

These undead echoes of elves were supposedly blessed with great beauty but “failed to use their gift to bring joy to the world”. Instead, they used their beauty to corrupt and control others.

Elves affected by the curse cannot experience joy and feel only distress in the presence of the living. This is pretty great, and I love the idea that something about the banshee curse makes living things actively repulsive to them. 

Banshees originate in Irish folk tales and seem to fall somewhere between a demon, a fairy, and a ghost.

They are female spirits that were thought to haunt the vicinity of standing stones, bodies of water, and tumuli (mounds found throughout the Irish countryside believed to have a strong connection with the ethereal world of ghosts and fairies). 

Seeing or hearing a banshee often heralds the death of a family member or loved one. Their iconic wailing sound is thought to have been inspired by the keening of widows and daughters at their loved ones’ wakes. 

Though descriptions vary, banshees are often depicted as women with wild hair, dark green or gray clothes, and faces that are beautiful and lustrous one moment and frightfully ugly the next.

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