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The banshee is a common undead monster in many fantasy role-playing games.

A banshee is the spirit of an evil elven woman. They appear as a floating glowing parody of their former self, (usually appearing ancient and withered, much like the librarian ghost in the movie Ghostbusters). A very rare variant of the banshee will keep all of their former looks, but all of them have a terrible hatred burning in their eyes. The banshee glows brightly at night, but appears semi transparent during the daylight. They are usually clothed in a tattered rag of a dress, that moves as an extension of the banshee's emotions.

The banshee usually lives in abandoned ruins or caves, staying inside during the daytime, while leaving their lair at night to seek out the living. The banshee can sense the presence of living creatures within 5 miles, and she will seek them out and destroy them. The banshee is very methodical about her hunting, over time she will seek out every living creature within her range, killing them one by one (lesser creatures are killed by a mere touch). Intelligent creatures are stalked one by one, and are killed with the banshee's horrific wail. The banshee's wail carries for miles, it can inspire fear even at the outer reaches of its range, but at close range it can drop a person dead in a moment. The banshee's wail is either completely effective instantly, or doesn't work at all on a particular creature. The wail of the banshee also has a long term effect on any plants in the area, killing smaller plants, and causing larger ones to become twisted and diseased. The plant life and general life in the area is usually a tell tail sign that a banshee has a lair in the area.

A banshee can only be killed with an enchanted weapon, holy water, or by magical spells (which they are highly resistant to). A particularly powerful and pious priest can often destroy a banshee with his cross (or other holy symbol). But, any method of killing a banshee requires surviving its powerful death wail (which will slay most lesser men instantly). On a plus side, the lair of a banshee will often be littered with a fortune in gems, jewelry, and magical items taken from it's previous victims (this hoard may have been building up for hundreds of years).

A land-based unit available to the Undead in the hit 2002 game Warcraft III

Physical Description: Thin, beautiful female elves that have been struck down in life, they return for the Scourge with flowing purple hair and voluminous purple robes with piping in the team colours. Raising their tender arms to attack, they literally scream a green shockwave at their enemies.

Requirements: Built at: Temple of the Damned, requires: Halls of the Dead, allows: none

Spells and Abilities: Banshees start out at Novice rank with the autocast spell, Curse, which for one minute causes 1/4 of an affected unit's attacks to miss and have no effect at all. Banshees also gain the adept and master spells of Anti-magic shell and Possession respectively. The Anti-magic shell (Often written AMS) has a number of VERY useful effects: it a) dispels all spell effects on a unit, b) prevents further spells being cast on said unit and c) deals damage to summoned units. Beware: As of Patch 1.02, effect c) is currently not working, making Undead the only race without a native summoned unit dispel The Anti Magic Shell, as of Patch 1.03, now acts properly - yet slightly different to the othe dispels. It DOES dispel other effects, and DOES prevent re-casting - however, it DOES NOT damage summoned units, but now, because AMS is TOTALLY AND UTTERLY unable to be dispelled besides timing out, when cast on summoned units, means they can't be dispelled either - perfect protection for skeletons, Animate Dead units, etc.

Gameplay: The Banshee is often overlooked by Undead commanders for the instant army-creating Necromancer. However, they are a valuable if somewhat fragile addition to a mixed army. Their initial Curse is powerful in itself - throw in 2 banshees to a force and they will let even the most basic troop survive for a lot longer. However, things get really interesting once the further levels are obtained. AMS is the ultimate dispel, and the ultimate protection in the right circumstances. Normally, it is cast on ENEMY troops to dispel any effect (positive, like the infamous Bloodlust, or negative de-buffs like Faerie fire) and prevent further re-casting of buffs (beneficial spells). However, it can also be cast on your own troops to prevent spells like Blizzard, Starfall and Faerie fire being cast on valuable units. Then you get the uber spell. Possession. This spell itself is like heroin - once used properly, you never want to give it up. This spell makes the Banshee head uneeringly towards the unit, sacrificing the Banshee and taking FULL control of the unit. Unlike Animate Dead, the unit is neither summoned nor timed, and can be used as if the controlling player (gleefully) created it. Popular targets are tanks like Knights and Taurens, but also spellcasters, even creeps are popular. A sneaky version is to even grab a peon of the opposing player and build his own tech tree! My advice, throw a few Banhees in with your next non-hero force and micromanage them to good effect - it REALLY pisses opponents off.

Warcraft III Undead Guide

<<< Skeleton -- Banshee -- Meat wagon >>>

Information gleaned from:
  • My own lovingly played copy of Warcraft III
Copyright information is the property of their respective owners.
A hero/villain published by Marvel Comics. Banshee first appeared in X-Men #28.

Sean Cassidy was born the heir to Cassidy Keep in Ireland where he was raised. His position with in his family along with his romance of a woman named Maeve Rourke earned Cassidy the emnity of his cousin, Thomas Cassidy. The two competed for Maeve's affection, which was won by Sean.

During his teens, Sean discovered that he was in fact a mutant with the ability to create special effects when he screamed. The sound waves that Sean produced allowed him to fly, to project them in a tight area as a weapon, and to knock people unconcious. Sean kept his abilities secret from all of his family and even his employers at Interpol.

Sean and Maeve were married, while Sean served as an inspector within the intelligence agency Interpol. While Sean was away on an extended mission that required him to not be in contact with his family, Maeve gave birth to their daughter. Soon after, Maeve was caught in a terrorist bombing and killed. Her relatives believed that Theresa, the daughter, had also been killed. In fact, she had been saved by Sean's cousin, Thomas, now known as Black Tom who raised the child. Sean returned to find that his wife was dead, and his relatives did not tell him of his daughter to save him further grief.

Sean continued to serve in Interpol for a while, eventually retiring. He worked as a freelance operative for a time, eventually findng himself on the wrong side of the law. He was never caught for his crimes though he did clash during this time with the mutant group, the X-Men. Sean had begun to use his abilities while calling himself Banshee after the legendary creature. Cassidy decided to go straight and quit being a criminal, but was forced for a time to work with the criminal group Factor Three, when they captured him and outfitted him with a headband containing explosives that they would use if he did not obey. Banshee was helped by the X-Men who help him get free of the headband and then he helped them defeat Factor Three.

Banshee dropped off the scene for many years until he was contacted by Charles Xavier after his students disappeared. Gathering with a new group of recruits, Banshee and the others rescued the original X-Men from the clutches of Krakoa, the Living Island. After this, the new recruits decided to continue on as X-Men.

During this time, Cassidy met and fell in love with Charles Xavier's friend, Moira MacTaggert. MacTaggert worked with the X-Men for a time, but later returned to her research station on Muir Island off the coast of Scotland.

A series of adventures brought X-Men to Japan and pitted them against the villain Moses Magnum. Magnum had constructed a sonic cannon and threatened to use it to sink a number of islands in the Japna chain if he was not paid a ransom. The X-Men engaged him in battle, but not before he could set off his device. Banshee used his mutant powers to match the cannon with opposing sonic waves cancelling out the destructive power of the cannon. In doing so, Banshee pressed his abilites beyond their limits and seemingly damaged his vocal cords. After they healed, Banshee was able to speak, but maintaining his sonic scream was beyond his abilities.

Banshee retired to Muir Island and spent time with MacTaggert. He did come out of retirement for a short time to lead a group of heroes to rescue relatives of the X-Men from the clutches of the assassin Arcade. During this time, Banshee also learned of the existance of his daughter Theresa who had gained powers similar to his and had adopted the name Syrin.

With the help of the Morlock healer, Cassidy's ability to use his sonic scream was returned to him so that he could aid in the defense of Muir Island from an attack by a group of cyborg warriors known as the Reavers. Cassidy returned to X-Men for a time and later became the headmaster of the Massachusetts Academy, training a new generation of mutants who later became known as Generation X with the help of former White Queen of the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost.

Enter the Banshee...

In the Gaelic, "Ben Sid" or by either Boheentha or Bankeen-tha. She is described by some as very old, with white hair and black robes, by some as very yong, with light hair and blue eyes, and by some as a horrific haint, with hellish red hair and scathing green eyes. She is known to travel alone or with "The Headless Hearse, a mile high"*1 Whatever her (meta)physical description, her purpose is always the same; To fortell the impending passing of someone close, to the one she appears to.

The first tales surrounding her date back to A.D. 1014 and the Banshee belonging to the kingly house of O'Brien. Earliest legend has it that she was found only in the days before a battle, washing blood from the sheets, or limbs or in some cases, faces of the one to pass. Since then, however, the legend has evolved to depict her wailing and clapping her hands, or in some cases singing. The commonly used phrase "screaming like a Banshee" leads us to an incorrect image of the Banshee, however, for though she is fierce, most stories hold that she cries in true empathy for the family.

Upon her arrival, the Banshee will remain present, though not always visible, until the passing as occurred, at which time she escorts the deceased to the other-world. One tale tells the story of two brothers, waiting for an Uncle to die. As they sat in the kitchen outside his bedroom, an awful and chilling wail commenced, which both men recognized to be the cry of the Banshee. Suddenly, the back door was flung wide. Horrified, one of the young men jumped up and closed the door, fearing the enterance of Herself. He had only just regained his chair, when the door was flung open again. Three times this occurred, until finally, the his brother urged him not to close the door. When once more it was blown open, both brothers sat in silence until two minutes later when the attending doctor came out and told them their uncle had passed. This story signifies that the closed door was blocking the Banshee from retrieving the spirit of the uncle.

The Banshee is decidedly otherworldly, but there is much debate about whether or not she belongs among "The Good People", more commonly known as Faeries. Those that say she does would classify her, if you will, as Genus: Sidh Faerie, Species: Banshee. There are others who say she is related to Macha, the horse goddess, or Aine, goddess of the sea. She became associated with justice and revenge and is, according to this side the the argument, a "fallen goddess". Some stories allude to different families having their "own" Banshee, and many hold to the thought that the Banshees are a race. Several sroties even tell about a valley full of Banshees, singing their dirge in unison. This event, however, is only reputed to happen at the passing of someone very good and noble.

A common misconception about her is that the Banshee attends only to the old Irish and only in Ireland. This, according to lore, is not true. She has attened British, Dutch and Welsh, among others, and as far away as America. Herself will never appear to the one for whom she cries, so if you were to find yourself in a room full of people who see her, when you cannot... beware.

In some stories, the Banshee is percieved as vengeful, rebellious, and wild. A smattering of such legends consist of tales where a man mistakenly tapped her shoulders and she in turn slapped him. The man was left with her fingerprints upon is face until the day she wailed at his door. Another such story tells of a young expectant mother who mocked the Banshee. This angered the Banshee so much that while the mother gave birth, the Banshee wailed, and the child was born still.

The gravest warning given to those told about her is that when she travels the road with the Dullahan (The headless hearse's faerie coachman)do not open your door and look, or she will throw a bowl of blood in your face, an omen of your own sealed fate. Whether she be kind or cruel, fallen or faerie, she is not one you would like to see at your door...

Exit the Banshee

*1"Meeting the Other CrowdThe Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland" By Eddie Lenihan and Carolyn Eve Green.

Ban"shee, Ban"shie (?), n. [Gael. bean-shith fairy; Gael. & Ir. bean woman + Gael. sith fairy.]

A supernatural being supposed by the Irish and Scotch peasantry to warn a family of the speedy death of one of its members, by wailing or singing in a mournful voice under the windows of the house.


© Webster 1913.

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