- For the Warcraft III unit, see Banshee (Warcraft III). For the specific mob, see .
Banshees are incorporeal undead elf women, known for their unholy screams and the unsettling ability to possess the bodies of their enemies. Highborne and night elf banshees have existed since the time of the War of the Ancients, but many were also created when the Scourge invaded Quel'Thalas and slaughtered the majority of the kingdom's high elf inhabitants during the Third War. Many banshees now serve the ruler of the Forsaken, the "Banshee Queen" .
Banshees were once beautiful female night elves who were brutally murdered by demons during the fall of Kalimdor. Their restless spirits were left to wander the world for many ages in silent, tortured lamentation. Over the years they became jealous of the living and seeded a deep hatred for all life. Yet when the , , became aware of them, he gathered them together and promised them vengeance upon the living. Ner'zhul gave them terrible voices so that the living would finally hear their timeless anguish. Thus, the banshees pledged themselves to the undead cause and began serving as valuable warriors in the Scourge.
A large amount of high elf banshees were raised by the Scourge during 's conquest of Quel'Thalas during the Third War. The most notable of these victims of the undead was the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, , who was killed and raised by Arthas himself, though she later managed to reclaim her physical body. When the Lich King's grasp of the Scourge began to weaken some time after the war's end, Sylvanas and several of her undead servants broke free from the Scourge and eventually managed to establish the Forsaken.
The spectral banshees can fly and are fond of hammering their enemies with tortured blasts of sonic force. Their unnerving, unholy screams can be heard from miles away.
- By channeling the powers of their unholy screams, banshees can cause their enemies to temporarily lose their honed combat skills. As a result of this terrible curse, the victims of this spell find themselves unable to hit their targets.
- By melding the powers of necromancy and the warped music of their screams, banshees can form protective shells around any creatures. The uncanny shell makes those creatures impervious to all magics for a short period of time.
- Banshees have an unsettling ability to force their way into the bodies of living creatures, thus replacing the creatures' spirits with their own. While this ability causes the banshees' bodies to dissipate, it does give them permanent control over their new forms. As shown by 's possession of , and then the Bone Witch again, banshees are able to shift back and forth from different bodies at will.
Warcraft IIIThis section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.
- Main article: Banshee (Warcraft III)
In the RPGThis section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.
When the Burning Legion and the kaldorei clashed in the War of the Ancients, 10,000 years ago, many night elf women fell. Their brutal murders returned them as banshees, and for millennia they wandered the world in lamentation, losing ever more of their dwindling sanity. Eventually, the , , learned of their existence and recruited them into the Scourge. Banshees fought in the Third War alongside other undead, and when Arthas attacked Quel'Thalas, he found that he could make banshees of high elves as well. After the Third War, the Lich King lost control of some of the banshees, including their queen . Not long after Arthas raised her as a banshee, she broke from his control, taking fellow banshees with her. She regained her physical body and established the Forsaken. This act gives many banshees hope, and a strong cadre of free banshees can now be seen serving with the Forsaken. Most banshees still remain enslaved to the Lich King's will though, and can be found throughout the Plaguelands. Many wild, unaffiliated banshees exist.
"Banshee" is an acquired template in the Warcraft RPG.
- The revamped banshee model in World of Warcraft: Legion is lacking elven ears.
One point for speculation is that they use the same models as the elven banshees, making them appear elven. However, it may simply be a matter of Blizzard not making special in-game models for these few and relatively insignificant characters, leaving them to use the elven models, and this in itself could be considered confirmation that they are indeed banshees. Alternatively, these NPCs may in fact just be ghosts, although most ghosts would use the model of a transparent form of their race, and Blizzard appear to have specifically chosen to depict these NPCs using the banshee model. In Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, the enemy known as "ghost", seen in places such as the Barrow Deeps, used the banshee model as well.
Strangely enough, the updated banshee model introduced in World of Warcraft: Legion has human ears. It is used for all banshees, new and old, even those that undoubtedly were elves in life.
The banshee is a female spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from another world. They are believed to herald the imminent death of a person with loud shrieks and wails.
- Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19): Banshee model updated.
- ^ a b c Warcraft III - Undead -> Units -> Banshee. Retrieved on 2016-05-27.
- ^ BlizzCon 2015: World and Content Overview Panel (around 37:15)
- ^ a b c Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual
- ^ a b Bennie, Scott; Richard Farrese, Bob Fitch. Horde Player's Guide, 206. ISBN 9781588467720.
- ^ Borgstrom, Rebecca; Eric Brennan, Genevieve Cogman, and Michael Goodwin. Manual of Monsters, 134. ISBN 978-1588-4607-07.
- ^ Sean Copeland on Twitter (dead link)