Dragon Encounters

Creative Combat Encounters, and other ways of using the monsters of dungeons and dragons


BANSHEE: Combining Fear with Incorporeal Movement

minions/allies

Combat rating 5

1 Banshee (CR 4)

1 Animated armor (CR 1)

1 Rug of Smothering (CR 2)

2 Shadows (CR 1/2)

Combat rating 6

1 Banshee (CR 4)

1 Ghost (CR 4)

Combat rating 7

1 Banshee (CR 4)

4 Giant spiders (CR 1)

2 Phase spiders (CR 3)

[Drow banshee]

Combat rating 8

1 Banshee (CR 4)

2 Gargoyles (CR 2)

1 Half-red dragon veteran * (CR 5)

* Loyal servitor, even after death

You can also have bandits, raiders, or the like be using her domain as a hideout. They will convice her with prodigious flattery and fancy “gifts”. When they no longer need her, they can always kill her and take the gifts back.

How to Use: Combat Encounter (Difficulty 4)

Suggested setting: A grand manor, with a white marble staircase leading up into it. Manor and staircase and now partially in ruins. When the party enters it is evening, and a storm is beginning outside. Winds are blowing, and light rain is coming down and being blown into the PCs’ faces by the wind. It’s only a matter of time until it starts to pour.

The banshee resides in a large room, not far from the entrance. She’ll probably have dragged out a large chair, now in poor condition, which she’ll use as her throne. She’ll be slouching in it, not sitting regally, and if you’re giving her treasure, it will be lying on the floor on her end of the room. Driven by her emotions, she doesn’t have the stability of thought to take care of it or to arrange it properly.

Assuming you don’t have a different role set up for her, she will try to act like the proud owner of the mansion, demanding to know what they’re doing here and ordering them to leave. She lacks any stability, and carrying out a conversation with her is near impossible. Roleplay her as a woman who shifts wildly between topics, between moods, is impossible to please, and is only one short step away from physically attacking them.

Flattery will work, but she’ll remain highly suspicious of them, and won’t hesitate to accuse them of planning to rob or otherwise take advantage of her. If they insist on trying, the DC for the CHA [deception or persuasion] skill check is 20.

[I’m assuming you don’t want them to befriend the banshee. If you like the idea, by all means lower the skill check and have her be at least somewhat receptive to their flattery. If you want to know how the people using her home [as suggested in the minions/allies tab] manage to persuade her, the answer is multiple visits, frequent bribes brought as gifts, and/or threats if they’re strong enough.]

During the conversation, you can mention the sounds of rain pouring down outside, which they can also see through the windows [or streaking the glass, depending on the windows’ condition,] the sound of the wind howling and blowing cold drafts into the room, and the distant boom of thunder. This is all mood sounds, so use it or not as you find best.

Battle:

Sooner than later, one side should attack and the fight can begin.

If you give the players something that they’re trying to accomplish, something that they need that the banshee isn’t letting them get, whether it’s an item or access to a door/passage on the other side of the room, the players will likely attack. If they don’t, have the banshee attack as soon as it’s clear that the conversation is going nowhere. Don’t ever let something drag on until it becomes boring.

If the banshee wins initiative, she has three options for her first turn: 1. Wail. I would only use this here if you can target all the PCs. If you can’t, it can be used better later on. 2. Attack and retreat. The banshee wants to lure the players further into the room, so if her movement lets her retreat far enough that they’ll have to move after her to attack, do this. If not, don’t. 3. If all else fails, she can advance on them slowly. Basically, she’s throwing away one turn while waiting for a better opportunity next turn, but being thematic/dramatic while doing so. I would have her advance 20 feet, no more. They’ll come after her on their turn.

On her second turn, or first turn if she loses initiative to the PC melee fighters, she’ll use her incorporeal movement to sink into the floor, and come back up between the melee fighters and the spellcasters*. For her action, she’ll use her horrifying visage to create fear, preventing the fighters from returning to rescue the spellcasters.

If she didn’t use her wail yet, she’ll use it when the fighters manage to break the fear effect and move back in. [Personally, I prefer using it this way, to add a further blow to the players after they’re already struggling thanks to the previous tactic. I’m not certain which is better, tactics wise. Obviously taking them out at the beginning, before they can inflict damage, would seem smarter, but it also makes it easier for the clerics to heal them, which negates that advantage.]

If most of the party are conscious and unfrightened, it might be time for a retreat, which she can do by going through the floor again or through the walls. [I can’t quite decide whether she’s smart enough to disengage. Her intelligence is straddling the border. If she doesn’t disengage, she’ll dodge.] If she does retreat, her vanity won’t let her play it safe. She knows she can’t follow them for more than five miles, so she’ll ambush them as soon as she gets the opportunity, possibly by coming out of the wall at the top of a narrow spiral staircase into the middle of them. The PCs won’t have room to pass each other, and if one of them falls unconscious he’ll fall to the bottom of the staircase, or onto another PC, possibly taking that person down with him.

If you want to make the encounter more tense, more difficult, add a time limit. Let the players now that the manor is beginning to collapse, possibly because of the storm, or because of a magic effect that they triggered when they removed the item they were coming to get, and they only have so long to get out.

* I’m assuming a room below this one, possibly a cellar. Without a room this strategy would only give her 10 feet of horizontal movement, as solid matter is difficult terrain and she needs 5 feet of movement to descend and the some to rise. With a room beneath you still only have 20 feet of horizontal movement. If this isn’t enough, she’ll have to go through the melee fighters instead (granting one of them an attack of opportunity. Choose at random, the banshee doesn’t have the wisdom to make an informed choice.)



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About Me

I have been a DM for several years, and I was designing home RPG games since my young childhood. I have been a fan of many different types of games (computer, board, RPG, and more) and have designed several for my own entertainment. This is my first attempt to produce game content for a wider audience.

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