[RPG] Is the banshee’s wail a death attack


The banshee is described on page 30 of the Monster Manual II:

Wail (Su): During the night, a banshee can loose a deadly wail. This attack can slay up to eighteen living creatures within a 30-foot spread centered on the banshee, or within a 60-foot cone extending from the banshee, at the creature’s option. A successful Fortitude save (DC 26) negates the effect. Once a banshee wails, it must wait 1d4 rounds before it can do so again, and it can wail no more than three times per day.

In 3.5 edition, the rules for a death effect are as follows:

The bodak’s abyssal eyes can kill with a glance. The dreaded power word kill spell can slay without even allowing the victim a saving throw. A single arrow of slaying can fell a dragon. Even a fighter with 100 hit points can be killed by a single death attack.
In most cases, a death attack allows the victim a Fortitude save to avoid the affect, but if the save fails, the character dies instantly.

  • Raise dead doesn’t work on someone killed by a death attack.
  • Death attacks slay instantly. A victim cannot be made stable and
    thereby kept alive.
  • In case it matters, a dead character, no matter how she died, has
    –10 hit points.
  • The spell death ward protects a character against these attacks

I've looked in the errata and the 3.5 update, but haven't found any mention of whether the banshee's wail is a death attack or not. It certainly fits the description. I'd be interested to hear other DM's opinions.

Best Answer

As a DM, I would say yes. Compare the spell Wail of the Banshee, which has the [Death, Sonic] descriptors. I don't know if there's an errata for it, though.

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