In case you haven’t seen them, this is part of a series where I go through monsters in 5E Monster Manual and write adventure ideas inspired by them. I normally start with the idea right away but this is a milestone: 10th entry in the series and also, celebrating that a letter (A) is finished! I decided today that I’ll add a bit more structure both for future stories and retroactively at some point, adding some info like suggested level, adventure type etc. I mean to do it “soon” but no definite date, IRL is quite chaos at the moment. So, without further ado, Banshee!
There is an old mansion in the Foreboding Hill that is said to be haunted. Once it was where the Lord of the land lived. Now, the surrounding earth is dry, covered with withered plants. Large, dire insects are said to scurry in the tunnels below, while monsterous or even undead animals live above. No one goes there. No one wants the mansion.
In other news, someone’s lost and the party is asked to find them. A young person, possibly a teenager, haven’t shown up since last night. Research shows that it’s not just that person but a friend group that’s missing. A person will say that they saw the the young people talking to an incredibly beatiful elven woman and leaving with her. The old man watching everyone saw them leaving toward the Foreboding Hill. Tried to warn them, he did, but that elf woman gave him such a dreadful look that the old man just shut up and hid.
Indeed, it was Shaela the Banshee. In life, she was exceptionally vain and selfish and according to rumors, a daughter of the old Lord. Every 6 years, she would snatch someone from the village or a traveler passing by and sacrifice them to an evil entity with whom she struck a dark bargain with.
Shaela loves terrorizing others. She locks the doors in the large mansion to ensure no one runs out. She warns them that trying to leave ends in a wail of death but if they play by the rules, they will be rewarded and freed. She will use all her tricks to scare her prey, casually passing by between walls from afar or doing “jump scares” by suddenly appearing from inside a wall or a mirror, along with carefully placed corpses and skeletons in the eerily decorated house. If someone doesn’t seem afraid, she won’t hesitate to use her horrifying visage ability.
The chase lasts days and if anyone in the group manages to find the few “supplies” (semi rotten food and drinks), weeks. It usually ends when the victims finally are incapable of running, which the banshee becomes furious about and kills them. If someone proves such a good sport that it satisfies Shaela, they’re provided with decent food and water and a new round starts. That’s the reward: The chance to spend more time with the most beatiful women in the word. Should the person choose not to spend their time that way, of course, that also enrages Shaela.
Will the party make it in time? Will they make a run for it with the person they came to rescue or look for others? Will they fight the banshee?
This adventure could be a fun stealth adventure with a horror twist. You could even be cheeky and provide some kind of sanity or horror level, devise some tools to help them detect the banshee or the person they’re looking for and almost turn it into a Phasmophobia-in-Dnd game.
Shaela might be conversable. She might be treated just as a banshee in 5E MM. She might also be an unbeatable obstacle that the players need to be careful about. You could have a three-time rule: First encounter, she just casually scares and warns them. Second time, she uses horrifying visage. Third time, it’s the death wail.
Shaela’s “dark bargain” can be adapted to fit your campaign. Maybe she struck a deal with your big baddie or an evil entity that’s very present in your game. Maybe she herself isn’t happy about the deal. I decided to cut the detailed story, but my initial intention for her was to be tricked into a deal of eternal beauty but beauty requires sacrifice and it turns out the deal is that she becomes a beatiful looking banshee who needs to sacrifice humanoids every 6 years to keep her beauty. So if you take that route, maybe she’s able to overcome her anger of the living because vengeance against the one who tricked her is greater — at least until this is resolved.