The Church of Bane was the organization dedicated to worshiping, as well as furthering the influence of the deity, Bane. generally speaking, they were a cruel and power-hungry group of individuals who worshiped their deity under a strict hierarchy.
The church of Bane believed in subservience and submission within their hierarchy, with junior members bowing, kneeling, or even kissing the feet of their superior, depending on their rank. Superior members were to be followed and obeyed at all times. The rules in the church were of the utmost importance, but those from any other lands or faith were entirely meaningless.
Bane's authority and divinity were revered above all else. According to his priests, Bane was to be feared by his faithful and even more feared by the unfaithful. It was the duty of every member of the church of Bane to "spread (his) fear".
Banite priests took great pride in their ability to control their actions and avoid succumbing to emotional outbursts. Their outward demeanor was cold and thoughtful, they thought carefully before they spoke, often preferring sarcasm and "witty banter" rather than overt hostility.
The overarching goal of Bane's clergy was the charge of seizing or manipulating their way into power in every nation, city-state or freehold in all of Faerûn, to bring them under his influence. Using emotionally manipulative tools such as fear, hatred or greed to sow conflict, war and chaos would allow the Black Hand to maintain control over lands too distressed to maintain stability. To this end, priests and followers were encouraged to commit acts such as torture, political infiltration or inciting mayhem with subtlety, cruelty and overall, fear.
- High Imperceptor: Serving as the apex in the hierarchy of Bane's church, this leader was the supreme servant of the Black Lord.
- Deep Mystery: A general rank for the higher-tier clergy members including (in descending order) High Inquisitor, Grand Bloodletter, Dark Imperceptor, Imperceptor, Lord/Lady of the Hand, Lord/Lady of Mysteries and Vigilator.
- Dreadmaster: A title granted to certain priests of Bane that mostly kept low-level positions within the church.
Lower tiered ranks within the church of Bane were:
- Knightly orders
- Knights of the Black Gauntlet: An order of black knights and helmed horrors from the city of Mintar led by Lord Knight Imperceptor Teldorn Darkhope.
Rituals of Bane were to be performed whenever ordered by senior clergy members and held no correlation to any seasonal shifts, marks on the calendar or specific holy days. They were held either outdoors at night, or in a space of darkness, such as darkened chambers, caves or ruins with only dim lighting. A Black Alter was prepared; consisting of a plain stone block which, if obsidian was unavailable, would be painted black or draped in black fabric. To accompany the altar was either a floating, stone Hand of Bane or, failing that, an empty black throne facing its direction.
Services included rhythmic chanting, the rolling beating of drums and the sacrifice of an intelligent creature's life. To prepare for this life to be given to Bane, the oblatory life was to be demeaned and tortured until they showed him due fear.
The largest temple of Bane in the time between his death, and subsequent return, was the Black Lord's Cloak in the city of Mourktar in the land of Threskel. It was led by the self-appointed Dread Imperceptor Kabbarath Telthaug, who separated himself and his clergy from the greater church of Bane some time before the Time of Troubles. The temple was served by over 700 ranked Banite priests, posessed a clergy of over 1000 and even had a loyal and disciplined army, who had enjoyed numerous victories in Chessenta.
Equipment, spells and relicsEdit
DressEditClergy of the church of Bane dressed in black and were sure to always remained armed. For ceremonial purposes, the priests adorned black armor draped in blood-red capes while mages donned ceremonial black robes that had been affixed with illusion spells to present shimmering black stars or blood spilling out. The prestige and rank of the individual Banite was evident by the craftsmanship of their armor or robes.
When on a mission outside their temples, the priests kept in their armor and mages wore more appropriate, although similarly themed, traveling robes. No member of the church would adorn vestments that would hamper their attempts of subterfuge or infiltration, if it was so needed in their service of Bane. Unfortunately, the popularity of facial tattoos among Bane's faithful often made them stand out regardless of what they wore.
- Create baneguard
- Death symbol of Bane
- Doom of Bane
- Dark promise
- Mystic lash
- Spirit annihilation
- Stone walk
- Undeath after death
- Black Lord's Cloak: This animated cloak, once worn by Bane himself, became the namesake for the temple in Mourktar.
Long before the beginning of the Era of Upheaval, due in part to the ambitions of one Fzoul Chembryl, there was a great schism within the church of Bane. A fierce rivalry emerged between the orthodox and Transformed sects of his worship.
After Bane's death during the Time of Troubles, his church underwent significant changes and the rift between his warring sects intensified. Even more troubling, The Mad God Cyric assumed his portfolio, granted spells to his priests and attempted to convert them to his direct worship. The Orthodox members of the faith saw Cyric as Bane's new form and, along with former faithful of Bhaal and Myrkul, were adamant followers of the Prince of Lies. The group of Baneites that followed the Transformation saw Bane as truly dead, insisting that Cyric assumed his portfolio of strife. They maintained a reverence of that office of power and Cyric as its holder.
Some more smaller sects of Bane-worship emerged in this time such as the ultra-orthodox Risen Cult of Bane in the Moonshae Isles. They maintained that Bane was still alive following the Avatar Crisis and that Cyric, whom they referred to as "the Pretender", usurped his power and would face a divine punishment upon Bane's return.
By 1361 DR almost all of Bane's clergy had converted to the worship of Cyric, with few holdouts in the Moonsea and more specifically Zhentil Keep. By this time Cyric had grown impatient and frustrated and his followers carried out an inquest against the remaining Baneites in Zhentil Keep that would come to be known as the Banedeath. Over the period of a tenday, all remaining temples, shrines or other evidence of Bane's worship were purged from the city. The last remnants of the true church of Bane went underground while a small group began reverence to Iyachtu Xvim, Bane's divine son. The High Imperceptor of Bane went in hiding during these years
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 238. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kevin Melka and John Terra (April 1995). Ruins of Zhentil Keep (Campaign Book). (TSR, Inc), p. 65. ISBN 0-7869-0109-8.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 239. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 39. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- ↑ Sean K. Reynolds, Jason Carl (November 2001). Lords of Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 180. ISBN 0-7869-1989-2.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 40. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 41. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- ↑ Kevin Melka and John Terra (April 1995). Ruins of Zhentil Keep (Campaign Book). (TSR, Inc), p. 27. ISBN 0-7869-0109-8.