Contest of Wills
The Black Lord
Bane (pronounced bain) is the evil and malicious greater deity of fear, hatred and tyranny and ruler of Banehold. Preferring to plot and scheme, Bane rarely appears to act in a direct manner, instead acting through his worshipers and other various agents. His ultimate goal is to eventually control all of Faerûn. When summoned though, he has a dark, rather shadowy appearance with a resemblance of dark armor and his tell-tale jeweled dark gauntlet. He emanates an aura of vast power and cruel intelligence.
Like many of the younger gods, Bane was once a mortal human. Little is 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, 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.
Among the evil gods, Bane’s church is among the most stable and most powerful. While there was a time when the god encouraged sectarianism and violent disputes, that time has long since passed and today the god’s Faithful are as likely to solve their disputes through reasonable debate than through show of force. That being said, Bane’s church is no less ruthless than that of Cyric or Shar and it obeys a strict hierarchy extending from the god’s most powerful worshipers to his weakest ones, with the god himself the lord of everything they do and though worshipers of Bane come from every station in life, they all know to whom they owe their blessings, ready to turn it over to the Black Lord at any time.
Banite customs are often quite spartan in nature and the god’s followers celebrate no holidays in honor of their god, instead showing their gratitude to him through service and the ritual torture and sacrifice of sapients offending to the god. Priests of Bane pray 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 is death.
The church of Bane has increased greatly in recent history due to his return. With this he has 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 are fighters, monks, blackguards, or wizards
His clerics can be recognized by the black-enameled gauntlet put on one fist. They are able to enact spells against undead, such as a flare of greenish phosphorescence searing smaller undead or an even fiercer radiance searing ghouls and phantoms.
Places of worshipLyceum of the Black Lord – the main temple in Phlan.
While Bane believes himself the rightful ruler of all the planes and cannot tolerate being subservient to anyone, the god is willing, unlike many evil deities, to work with others if it serves his interests and the god has formed multiple alliances in the past. 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; when Bane returned to life in 1372 DR, he quickly went about reforging these alliances, primarily by reasserting their fears of him. Besides allies, Bane also had servants, such as Bhaal and his own son, Iyachtu Xvim during his first life as a god, and Abbathor, Maglubiyet, Hruggek, and Tiamat during his second. Malar was also known to work along with Bane at times.
But as numerable as his allies, Bane has many enemies as well. For a time, Bane’s most hated foe was the goddess of magic, Mystra, whose power he coveted. Since his return, however, Bane’s greatest foes have been Cyric, who stole from him many of his worshipers and the Zhentarim, and the Triad, particularly its formerly junior – now senior – member Torm, who is the being responsible for Bane’s first death. Bane is also enemies with the gods Amaunator and Oghma and called Helm and Midnight enemies as well when both gods yet lived. Considering that Sune represents a portfolio opposite of his, he does not take kindly to her
Serve no one but Bane. Fear him always and make others fear him even more than you do. The Black Hand always strikes down those who stand against it in the end. Defy Bane and die – or in death find loyalty to him, for he shall compel it. Submit to the word of Bane as uttered by his ranking clergy, since true power can only be gained through service to him. Spread the dark fear of Bane. It is the doom of those who do not follow him to let power slip through their hands. Those who cross the Black Hand meet their dooms earlier and more harshly than those who worship other deities.