Bane (pronounced: /ˈbnBAYN[2][7] about this audio file listen) was the Faerunian god of tyrannical oppression, terror, and hate, known across Faerûn as the face of pure evil through malevolent despotism. From his dread plane of Banehold, the Black Hand acted indirectly through worshipers and other agents to achieve his ultimate plan to achieve total domination of all Faerun.[6][22]

Description[edit | edit source]

When summoned, Bane had a dark and rather shadowy appearance with a resemblance of dark armor and his tell-tale jeweled, dark gauntlet. He emanated an aura of vast power and cruel intelligence.[23]

The Black Hand of Bane

Divine Realm[edit | edit source]

In the Great Wheel cosmology Bane's divine realm, the Black Bastion, could be found in Avalas, the first layer of Acheron.[3][18] In the World axis model, Bane's home plane was Banehold,[24] or as it was previously known, the Barrens of Doom and Despair.[25]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

While Bane believed himself the rightful ruler of all the planes and could not tolerate subservience to anyone,[3] the god was willing, unlike many evil deities, to work with others if it served his interests and the god formed multiple alliances. Most notable perhaps was his alliance with Myrkul, which stretched back to when both were mortals and which continued until both of their deaths during the Time of Troubles. Bane also had working relations with the gods Loviatar, Talona, and Mask;[26] when Bane returned to life in 1372 DR, he quickly went about reforging these alliances, primarily by reasserting their fears of him.[27] Besides allies, Bane also had servants, such as Bhaal and his own son, Iyachtu Xvim during his first life as a god,[26] and Abbathor, Maglubiyet, Hruggek, and Tiamat during his second.[28] Malar was also known to work along with Bane at times.[29]

But as numerable as his allies, Bane had many enemies as well. For a time, Bane's most hated foe was the goddess of magic, Mystra, whose power he coveted.[3] Since his return, however, Bane's greatest foes were Cyric who stole from him many of his worshipers and the Zhentarim, and the Triad, particularly its formerly junior but now senior member Torm, who was the being responsible for Bane's first death. Bane was also enemies with the gods Amaunator and Oghma and called Helm and Midnight enemies as well when both gods lived.[29]

Worshipers[edit | edit source]

Main article: Church of Bane

The holy symbol of Bane, during the Era of Upheaval.

A worshiper of Bane.

Among the evil gods, Bane's church was among the most stable and powerful. While there was a time when the god encouraged sectarianism and violent disputes,[27] that time has long since passed and today[as of when?] the god's Faithful were as likely to solve their disputes through reasonable debate as through show of force. That being said, Bane's church was no less ruthless than that of Cyric or Shar and it obeyed a strict hierarchy extending from the god's most powerful worshipers to his weakest ones, with the god himself the lord of everything they did and, though worshipers of Bane came from every station in life, they all knew to whom they owed their blessings, ready to turn it over to the Black Lord at any time.[6]

Banite customs were often quite spartan in nature and the god's followers celebrated no holidays in honor of their god, instead showing their gratitude to him through service and the ritual torture and sacrifice of sentient beings offensive to the god. Priests of Bane prayed for their spells at midnight, pledging their eternal loyalty and service to the Black Hand, knowing full well that the penalty for failure or disloyalty was death.[30]

Bane's talon symbol

The church of Bane increased greatly in recent history due to his return. With this he gained nearly all the worshipers of Iyachtu Xvim, his half-demon son, as well as some of Cyric. Many of those among the god's worshipers were fighters, monks or blackguards,[30] or wizards.[31]

His clerics could be recognized by the black-enameled gauntlet worn on one fist.[32] They were able to cast spells against undead, such as a flare of greenish phosphorescence which seared smaller undead or an even fiercer radiance that seared ghouls and phantoms.[33]

Places of worship[edit | edit source]

Category:Temples to Bane

Although Bane was worshiped all over Faerûn, his presence was strongest in the Moonsea region, where, as of 1479 DR, the Church of Bane had its headquarters: the House of the Black Lord in Mulmaster.[34] During the same time, his Church was the only one allowed in Thay.[35] Other known temples include:

History[edit | edit source]

Mortal Life[edit | edit source]

Like many of the younger gods, Bane was once a mortal human.[22] Little was known about the Black Hand's past, not even precisely when it was he lived, but the adventurer became known when he forged an alliance with two other mortal beings: Bhaal and Myrkul. Together, the three forged a pact of mutual aid and ambition: together they would conquer not just the world, but the heavens, becoming gods unto themselves. They targeted specifically the powerful god of death, Jergal, who was among the most powerful of Toril's deities at the time.[37]

Divine ascension[edit | edit source]

Main article: Dead Three
The group, known as the Dead Three,[38] soon became well-known to Jergal, surmounting every obstacle thrown their way, obtaining magical power and even, at one point, destroying one of the Seven Lost Gods, taking the fallen primordial's essence for themselves and dividing it up equally. Unbeknown to them, this was all Jergal's doing, for the god had grown tired of his crown,[37] even allowing powerful magic weapons such as the Jathiman Dagger, gifted to Bane, to fall into the hands of the party.[39]

When the time came to confront Jergal, the god of death tricked the Dead Three into turning on one another, each desiring the others' power. Jergal then intervened and proposed to divide up his portfolio for them, based upon a game of knucklebones, which Bane promptly won. Bane claimed for his prize governance over the sphere of strife, believing he would be able to rule over all of Toril in this way.[37] As it turned out, however, Bane would not only have to contend with Bhaal and Myrkul, who became powerful gods in of themselves, but with the rest of the divine, who would become his most hated foes.[3]

The Time of Troubles[edit | edit source]

Main article: Time of Troubles
Although Bane had many foes, he did find allies in a few gods and in particular continued a working relationship with the other members of the Dead Three, with whom he plotted against his enemies, such as the goddess Mystra. It was during this time that Bane sired a son, Iyachtu Xvim, some say by a tanar'ri, others by a fallen paladin of good. Xvim resented his father but nonetheless served compliantly as his servant during this period, along with other servants of the Black Hand such as Bhaal.[3] Iyachtu Xvim's true purpose, however, would not be revealed until many, many years later.[6]

Eventually, Bane's plots backfired against him and in one particularly overambitious gambit, he and Myrkul attempted to steal the Tablets of Fate from Ao the Overgod himself. For this, the two and every other god were banished from their astral dominions to traverse Toril's surface in an exercise of humility, precipitating the Time of Troubles. It was Ao's hope that through this, the gods would learn not only to be content with what power they had, but to respect the needs and wishes of their worshipers.[40]

However, not all the gods were so willing to learn and all of them tried to regain their divine power as quickly as possible. Bane was among these deities, but unfortunately for him he was slain by the young god Torm on Eleasias 13, 1358 DR near Tantras.[40] Subsequently the majority of Bane's power fell from him to the mortal Cyric, who temporarily claimed the powers of all the Dead Three - all of whom perished in the Time of Troubles. A smaller portion fell to his son, Iyachtu Xvim,[26] an eventuality that Bane had anticipated should he himself perish.[6]

When news of his destruction spread across the Realms, at least a score of Faerûnian nations marked the occasion with widespread festivals of thanks and celebration.[22]

Resurrection and return to power[edit | edit source]

Return of Bane

For Bane, it soon became apparent, death was but a temporary setback. Anticipating the possibility of his own death Bane, the god of tyranny had, like his companion Bhaal, created a scion for the purpose of his own regeneration. When the time was right Xvim, who was in fact little more than a cocoon to contain the essence of Bane, burst forth into the black and armored figure of Bane, destroying the younger god entirely. This event, which occurred on Midwinter in the Year of Wild Magic,[41] appears to have been in part the work of the lich Szass Tam as well, who performed a summoning the same night.[23] Overnight the Faithful of Xvim, led by the god's Chosen Fzoul Chembryl converted to the worship of their returned master,[41] as did many of Cyric's own worshipers.[6]

Since his miraculous resurrection, Bane has gone to the work of reestablishing his power base, a task which he has been largely successful in. Regaining nearly all of his followers from Xvim and Cyric,[6] Bane then went about reforming his church hierarchy, forcibly eliminating its tendencies towards in-fighting, which he previously had encouraged in order to separate the weak from the strong; he now realized this leadership style to be self-defeating and destructive. Bane installed as the head of this new church Fzoul Chembryl, whom he took as his own Chosen. Bane also reestablished his old alliances with Loviatar, Mask, and Talona,[27] who had previously worked alongside him before the Time of Troubles.[3]

Bane escaped the Spellplague largely unscathed and, in fact, the cataclysm largely benefited him, removing two of his chief rivals, Mystra[42] and Cyric all at once.[43] In the century that followed Bane's power increased only further and the god conquered the goblinoid pantheon, bringing Maglubiyet and Hruggek to heel before him. By the end of the Era of Upheaval Bane was as powerful—and as dangerous—as he had ever been.[8]

In the late 15th century DR, Bane's power had diminished so that he had been reduced to a quasi-deity. Though he was still able to influence events over Faerûn, he was essentially trapped in his mortal form.[1]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Further Reading[edit | edit source]


Notes[edit | edit source]

Bane vs. Bane[edit | edit source]

In 4th edition, beginning with the Player's Handbook, a new deity named Bane was introduced, an evil god of war and conquest, for the Nentir Vale/Nerath setting. However, the "Deities & Demigods: Bane" article in Dragon #372 states in the "Bane vs. Bane" sidebar "The Bane of the core D&D® setting is not the same god as the Bane of the Forgotten Realms® setting!" and ends saying the article "shouldn't necessarily apply to the Bane of Faerûn." While it argues some similarities with the Forgotten Realms Bane, it misses key difference that the Nerath Bane is a god of war, while the Realms Bane is a god of tyranny. The article gives the Nerath Bane a very different backstory, as a brother to Kord named Achra, but still gives him a curiously familiar title: the Black Hand.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 231. ISBN 0786966769.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 36. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), Running the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 55. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 237. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 73. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 21, 26. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  10. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 63, 294. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  11. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014-11-03). D&D Basic Rules, Player's Basic Rules Version 0.2. TRPG Resources. Wizards of the Coast. p. 108. Retrieved on 2015-02-03.
  12.  (November 2018). Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica. Edited by . (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 25–26. ISBN 978-0-7869-6659-2.
  13.  (August, 2009). “Domains in Eberron and the Forgotten Realms”. In  ed. Dragon #378 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 32.
  14.  (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 62, 80. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  15. See FRCS Errata page 3; Bane does not have Strife, Cyric does. Please look at the discussion before hastily changing it back
  16.  (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  17.  (September 2004). “Seven Deadly Domains”. In  ed. Dragon #323 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 65.
  18. 18.0 18.1  (1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by . (TSR, Inc), pp. 168, 182. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  19.  (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), pp. 37–39. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  20.  (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), pp. 17, 92–93. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  21. Sean K. Reynolds (2002-05-04). Deity Do's and Don'ts (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 10. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-08.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2  (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 15. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  23. 23.0 23.1  (March 2008). Undead. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 201. ISBN 978-0-7869-4783-6.
  24.  (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 62. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  25.  (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2  (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), pp. 36–37. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2  (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 15–16. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  28.  (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 80–81. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  29. 29.0 29.1  (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 238. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  30. 30.0 30.1  (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 237–238. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  31. 31.0 31.1  (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  32.  (April 2007). Unclean. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 43. ISBN 978-0-7869-4258-9.
  33.  (April 2007). Unclean. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 978-0-7869-4258-9.
  34.  (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 238. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  35.  (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 181. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  36.  (September 2009). “Monument of the Ancients”. In  ed. Dungeon #170 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 54.
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2  (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  38.  (September 2009). “Monument of the Ancients”. In  ed. Dungeon #170 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 49.
  39.  (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 169. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  40. 40.0 40.1  (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 264. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  41. 41.0 41.1  (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 265. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  42. Brian R. James (2008-02-27). Spellplague: The Wailing Years. Dragon Features Archive. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2008-04-14. (Registration required to view.)
  43.  (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.

Connections[edit | edit source]

The Faerûnian Pantheon
Major Deities
AzuthBaneBhaalChaunteaCyricGondHelmIlmaterKelemvorKossuthLathanderLoviatarMaskMielikkiMyrkulMystra (Midnight) • OghmaSelûneSharShaundakulSilvanusSuneTalosTempusTormTymoraTyrUmberleeWaukeen
Other Members
AkadiAurilBeshabaDeneirEldathFinder WyvernspurGaragosGargauthGrumbarGwaeron WindstromHoarIstishiaIyachtu XvimJergalLliiraLurueMalarMililNobanionThe Red KnightSavrasSharessShialliaSiamorpheTalonaTiamatUbtaoUlutiuValkurVelsharoon

Deities of the Post–Second Sundering Era
Ao the Overgod
Faerûnian Pantheon
Akadi | Amaunator | Asmodeus | Auril | Azuth | Bane | Beshaba | Bhaal | Chauntea | Cyric | Deneir | Eldath | Gond | Grumbar | Gwaeron | Helm | Hoar | Ilmater | Istishia | Jergal | Kelemvor | Kossuth | Lathander | Leira | Lliira | Loviatar | Malar | Mask | Mielikki | Milil | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Red Knight | Savras | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talona | Talos | Tempus | Torm | Tymora | Tyr | Umberlee | Valkur | Waukeen
The Morndinsamman
Abbathor | Berronar Truesilver | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Deep Duerra | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Dumathoin | Gorm Gulthyn | Haela Brightaxe | Laduguer | Marthammor Duin | Moradin | Sharindlar | Vergadain
The Seldarine
Aerdrie Faenya | Angharradh | Corellon | Deep Sashelas | Erevan | Fenmarel Mestarine | Hanali Celanil | Labelas Enoreth | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Shevarash | Solonor Thelandira
The Dark Seldarine
Eilistraee | Kiaransalee | Lolth | Selvetarm | Vhaeraun
Yondalla's Children
Arvoreen | Brandobaris | Cyrrollalee | Sheela Peryroyl | Urogalan | Yondalla
Lords of the Golden Hills
Baervan Wildwanderer | Baravar Cloakshadow | Callarduran Smoothhands | Flandal Steelskin | Gaerdal Ironhand | Garl Glittergold | Nebelun | Segojan Earthcaller | Urdlen
Orc Pantheon
Bahgtru | Gruumsh | Ilneval | Luthic | Shargaas | Yurtrus
Mulhorandi pantheon
Anhur | Bast | Geb | Hathor | Horus | Isis | Nephthys | Osiris | Re | Sebek | Set | Thoth
Other gods of Faerûn
Bahamut | Enlil | Finder Wyvernspur | Ghaunadaur | Gilgeam | Lurue | Moander | Nobanion | Raven Queen | Tiamat

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