Baneguards were animated skeletons with magical abilities originally created by clerics of Bane. The spell create baneguard eventually propagated to other evil- and neutral-aligned faiths that found these capable guardians acceptable. More powerful versions were known as direguards.
Baneguards looked like skeletons and could be created from the bones of most any medium-sized creature. Until they demonstrated magical ability or acted with intelligent forethought, they were indistinguishable from basic, undead skeletons.
Baneguards were of average intelligence and capable of creative, independent thought and actions that did not contradict the orders given to them by their creator. They were not able to speak and were wholly evil.
Baneguards could use any normal weapon or fight with bare claws. They could also use any magic item that did not require a verbal command or a body of flesh, blood, and organs. In combat, a baneguard could activate its blink ability, randomly shifting between the Ethereal plane and the Prime Material Plane for a short while, which helped with both offense and defense. After this effect wore off, it could not be activated again for ten minutes. A baneguard could also shoot two magic missiles, choosing the same target or different targets for each missile. This ability was never exhausted and had a significantly faster recharge time than its blink ability.
Because they were skeletons, piercing and slashing weapons were less effective against them than bludgeoning weapons. Because they were undead, they were immune to many forms of attack (cold, poison, disease, sleep, illusion, etc.) but could be turned by any priest that could turn a wight.
These undead creatures were created for a purpose and only did what they were commanded; there was no societal organization. They went where they were told, and followed orders without the need for food or water. Circa the 1370s DR, there were significant numbers of baneguards employed in Skull Gorge and the Battle of Bones areas of Faerûn, and they could be found guarding temples of Iyachtu Xvim in Thay.
The church of Bane developed the create baneguard ritual that created baneguards and, after the fall of Bane during the Time of Troubles, other evil- and neutral-aligned faiths acquired the technique, particularly followers of Iyachtu Xvim and Velsharoon. Sometime later, the spell was replaced by or subsumed into the create undead spell. The church of Cyric improved upon the original ritual and created direguards.
Following Bane's demise , many of the temples were led and maintained by wizard followers of the dead god, because the clerics losing their divine gifts. The baneite wizards continued creating baneguards. One temple of note filled with these powerful skeletons was located in depths of Undermountain. The baneguards that resided there were outfitted with ceremonial armor and weapons, left to guard the abandoned temple. Some of them were destroyed in mid-14th century DR by an adventurer on the mission from Khelben Arunsun.
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