Location CoC around D: 23
Monster type Undead
Alignment Chaotic
Unique? Yes, but wishable
Sees invisible? Yes
Sees in the dark? Yes
Magic resistance High
Picks up items? Yes
1.1.1 KPL Unknown

The banshee resides in the center of the banshee level, which is located around D: 23 (possibly D:22-24). The level can be immediately recognized by a message referring to sorrow and death, and a great amount of corpses located all over the dungeon floor.

Unearthly wail

This undead creature has a special attack, an 'unearthly wail' which instantly kills unprepared adventurers and monsters alike. As is logical, the wail works in darkness and on invisible characters. The banshee also happens to be located on the down stairs of the level so the character must deal with her to advance.

Ways of surviving the wail

  1. Deafening the character: the wail does not have any effect as long as the character is deaf and can not hear it.
    • Beeswax: 'U'se it to plug the character's ears. The character becomes deaf. The only ways this deafness can be involuntarily removed is by being hit by the glowing balls attack of some monsters, and possibly fireball traps (the wax melts in these cases, opening the ears). Use the 'E' command to clean your ears afterwards—this happens to be the only situation this command was designed for, as it does not have a use otherwise.
    • Potion of deafness: temporarily makes character deaf, available through Alchemy. This is not the preferred method, as the duration might end before the banshee is killed. If the character consumes one directly before opening the central room (which is always enclosed fully in doors) and does not waste time, it is reasonably safe.
    • Exploding door runes—might temporarily deafen character. Not recommended due to HP loss, possible item destruction, and the rather short duration of this deafening.
  2. A wedding ring (male characters only). Wielding it in either hand changes wail into message: "My beloooovvveed huuuusbaaaaaaaaaaannnd!". This works only if the banshee is in line of sight, so turning a corner might be fatal. Although in a straight line, deaths do not happen, a character on one side of Dwarftown can hear 'distant' 'beloved husband' from the banshee on the other side. Of course this does not prevent a head-on attack (it is possible to dual-wield a weapon and ring without penalties). Keep in mind that a ring will work in darkness. The Banshee will stay hostile and attack in melee.
  3. Amulet of protection from undead: changes instant death into high damage (around 200 HP). Character can of course die from this damage.
  4. Distance: the wail has an effective radius of three tiles. Unluckily the banshee can walk and wail in the same turn, so to stay safe you need to have four tiles between her and you. The radius grows with the Banshee's level, so if you see her becoming more powerful - beware. Walls don't protect from the wail. She can be shot, bolted from a distance or lured away allowing to teleport onto stair location.

Using the wail

Lots of monsters are instantly killed by the banshee wail. In versions prior to 1.2.0, this is sometimes abused in scumming by bringing the banshee to the Animated Forest, killing trees by the hundreds and scoring their loot.

Monsters immune to banshee wail:

Luring her to Dwarftown causes immediate alarm; the whole city will be hostile.

She is also one of the monsters who prefer to move diagonally if possible.

Special abilities[]

  • Unearthly wail
  • Often shrugs off bolts and other resistible magic
  • Diagonal movement
  • Undead abilities
    • Cannot be sacrificed
    • Immune to death rays, stunning, blindness, confusion, paralysis, and poison
    • Immune to telepathic mindcraft

Common stats[]

From the monster memory (since the undead can't be examined): DV: 40, PV: 2, Hits: 194, Speed: 100

She seems to be considered humanoid for slaying purposes. Of course, she is also undead.

Corpse effects[]

Ghosts don't leave corpses.

Monster memory[]

The banshee, a luminous spirit, manages to appear sad and angry at the same time, obviously a being in an enraged lamentation. Her wail is renowned as it is filled with such sorrow and hopelessness that most who hear it abandon life instantly, passing beyond their current pains.

Alternative: This ghostly apparition of a woman forever mourns the loss of her beloved husband, untimely torn from her side. So deep is her grief that even listening to her song will instill a heartbreaking sorrow in those that hear her.


She is usually believed to have transformed into her current form after death of her husband, although according to Thrundarr she is an evil elven witch once slain by dwarves who has now returned from hell.

Wishing for a banshee is often referred as wishing for "sheep"; this is a reference to the fact that the parser that tries to interpret the wishes of the player will actually understand "sheep" to mean banshee. It is of course possible to simply wish for "banshee" to get one.