Bane (Forgotten Realms)

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Template:Forgotten Realms Deity

Bane (/ˈbn/ BAYN),[1] also known as the Black Hand and the Black Lord, is the god of hatred, fear, and tyranny and one of the main evil gods in the fictional Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, Forgotten Realms.

Bane is a Lawful Evil Greater Power whose symbol is green rays squeezed forth from a black fist, and whose divine realm is the Black Bastion in the Barrens of Doom and Despair. His Third Edition D&D domains are Evil, Destruction, Hatred, Law, and Tyranny.

Publication history[edit]

Ed Greenwood created Bane for his home Dungeons & Dragons game for the Forgotten Realms, conceiving of him as "the big baddie", with powers "roughly equivalent to" the Babylonian deity Druaga.[2]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

Bane first appeared within Dungeons & Dragons as one of the deities featured in Ed Greenwood's article "Down-to-earth Divinity" in Dragon #54 (October 1981). Here Bane is introduced as Lord Bane, the Black Lord, god of strife, hatred, and tyranny, a lawful evil greater god from the plane of Acheron. The article notes that he is never seen, "although there are tales of a freezing black-taloned hand and eyes of blazing fire." Bane is described as one of “The Dark Gods” of evil alignment: "Loviatar, Talona, and Malar serve Bane through Bhaal (although Loviatar and Talona are rivals)." Bane is commonly worshipped by lawful evil fighters, magic-users, illusionists, assassins, thieves, monks, and clerics.[2]

Bane later officially appeared as one of the major deities for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set's "Cyclopedia of the Realms" booklet (1987).[1]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

Bane was destroyed in the novel Tantras (1989), and its accompanying adventure module of the same name. Despite his death, Bane was still described in the hardback Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990),[3] the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993) in the "Running the Realms" booklet,[4] and Faiths & Avatars (1996).[5]

His role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[6]

His relationships with the nonhuman deities in the Forgotten Realms was covered in Demihuman Deities (1998).[7]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

As of 3rd edition Bane returns to life, and becomes one of the major deities of the Forgotten Realms setting again, in Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (2001),[8] and is further detailed in Faiths and Pantheons (2002).[9]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-2014)[edit]

Bane appears as one of the deities described in the Dungeon Master's Guide for this edition (2008).[10] Bane's story and role in the default setting are expanded in the 4th edition Manual of the Planes and the Dragon article Deities and Demigods: Bane in Dragon #372.

A Forgotten Realms-specific version of Bane appears in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide for this edition. The Realms Bane was acknowledged as being a separate character from the core Bane in the aforementioned Dragon article.



In the indefinite past*, Bane was a member of the Dead Three, a triad of mortals sworn to achieve godhood.[11] Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul forged an unholy pact, agreeing that they would work together to seek ultimate power, or die in the attempt. Over the length and breadth of the Realms they strode, seeking powerful magic and spells and defying death at every turn. No matter what monster they confronted or what spells they braved, the three mortals emerged unscathed at every turn. Eventually the trio destroyed one of the Seven Lost Gods, Borem, of the Lake of Boiling Mud, and they each seized a portion of Borem's divine essence for themselves. The trio then journeyed into the Gray Waste and sought out the Castle of Bone to confront Jergal. The three approached the god Jergal and threatened him for the godly powers. Jergal, all powerful to the point that he had long ago wished to step down the throne, asked: "Who among you shall rule?", and the trio immediately fell to fighting amongst themselves. Jergal proposed that they solve this problem by bowling skulls of his liches. It turned out that Bane bowled the farthest, and was thus able to choose his domain. He said: As winner, I choose to rule for all eternity as the ultimate tyrant. I can induce hatred and strife at my whim, and all will bow down before me while in my kingdom., thus he claimed the portfolios of Tyranny, Hatred, and Strife, ascended as a greater deity.

*(source indicated that this occurred after the Fall of Netheril in -339 DR,[12] as Jergal was still listed as one of the ruling deities.)

Rise in power[edit]

In his first incarnation, Bane was a Lawful Evil greater power in Acheron.[13] He was never seen, although there are tales of a freezing black-taloned hand and eyes of blazing fire. With the rise of the Zhentarim network, the church of Bane began to gain power at around 800 DR,[14] his influence spread to Voonlar, Mulmaster, Hillsfar, eventually covered the Realms. His largest temple was the Black Lord's Altar in Mulmaster, then temple complex in Zhentil Keep.

1350 DR, Bane, in an attempt to increase his own power, tries to draw a group of Moonsea cities into the nether regions.[15][16] The Heroes of Phlan, who vanquished Tyranthraxus a decade earlier, foil the plot and the cities are returned. The Warhammer of Tyr is stolen by Bane.

Time of Trouble[edit]

During the Time of Troubles, however, when he was trapped in his vulnerable avatar form, Bane was slain by the demigod Torm outside of Tantras. For a time, it looked as if the world was rid of the Black Hand, as his portfolio was divided among the newly-ascendant god Cyric and Iyachtu Xvim, Bane's half-demonic son. Bane's priests either converted to one of the two new deities or were killed, and it seemed that all traces of the Dead Three were gone from the Faerûnian Pantheon.

Finder's Bane[edit]

Bane's essence survived by possessing one of his high priests, thereby transforming the priest into a banelich. With the help of his remaining high priestess Walinda, Bane cheated Finder of half of Finder's Stone,[17] where Finder had stored a large portion of his godly power. With the stone in hand, Bane forced Finder and his priest Joel into cooperation, demanding they escort him to Sigil and fetch the Hand of Bane, an artifact necessary for Bane's resurrection. Since no gods can enter Sigil, Bane arranged it so that Walinda accompanied and helped Finder's party in the finding of the Hand.

Finder and the banelich confronted atop Bane's huge dead body in the Astral Plane, where all dead gods lie. Bane's plan failed however, since the banelich banned Walinda from casting the final resurrection ritual, striking her to the ground, thinking a "mere" female was not worthy of such an honor. Finder informed him that the ritual would work only by a mortal, not a banelich. Thus, Bane again gave Walinda the Hand of Bane and commanded her to cast the ritual. Walinda smashed the hand to the ground, shattering it, utterly destroying the hand.


On Midwinter night, 1372 DR, all former priests of Bane received a vision of Iyachtu Xvim being consumed by a hellish fire, and of the Black Lord rising from the charred husk of his son.[8] Upon his return, Bane claimed the portfolio of fear and hatred, immediately becoming a greater power. Over the subsequent few months, Bane reorganized his forces and rebuilt his strength.

Bane's servants[edit]

Bane prefers to keep to the shadows, allowing his servants to carry out his intricate plans. He has no tolerance for failure and seldom thinks twice about submitting even a loyal servant to rigorous tortures to ensure complete obedience to his demanding, regimented doctrine.


Bane is a ruthless, calculating, power-hungry deity ever obsessed with expanding his power. Since the deaths of Bhaal and Myrkul, his only true allies among the gods, he has forged alliances with the less powerful Malar, Loviatar, Mask, and Talona. Bane holds a special enmity toward Torm, Mystra, and Cyric. This last Bane sees as a loathsome usurper, and his entire following is mobilizing for a holy war against Cyric, the Black Sun.

4th edition[edit]

In 4th Edition, the only open enemy Bane has is the orc God Gruumsh, who wants to be the only God of War so badly that he literally threw his entire realm of Nishrek against Bane's realm of Chernoggar. In order to keep his realm intact, Bane was forced to fuse the two dimensions together, and the two Gods have been openly at war ever since.

He also knew and worked with Asmodeus before he took over the Nine Hells. The two are said to have hated each other, but were both disciplined enough to work well together regardless. Bane is said to have sent help to Asmodeus in his rebellion; whether or not it made a difference in the rebellion is unknown, but it is said that Devils will deal (slightly) more honestly with followers of Bane than any other God, and Bane's followers are more likely to summon and employ devils than followers of other Gods.

External links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-88038-472-7. Search this book on Logo.png
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ed Greenwood, Dragon magazine #54 - "Down-to-earth divinity" (October 1981), p. 52.
  3. Grubb, Jeff and Ed Greenwood. Forgotten Realms Adventures (TSR, 1990)
  4. Ed Greenwood (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. ASIN B000K06S2E. Search this book on Logo.png
  5. Martin, Julia, and Eric L. Boyd. Faiths & Avatars (TSR, 1996)
  6. McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
  7. Boyd, Eric L. Demihuman Deities (TSR, 1998)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ed Greenwood; et al. (2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5. Search this book on Logo.png
  9. Boyd, Eric L, and Erik Mona. Faiths and Pantheons (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  10. James Wyatt. Dungeon Masters Guide (Wizards of the Coast, 2008).
  11. History of the Dead Three: Knucklebones, Skull bowling, and the Empty Throne. Interplay. 1998. Search this book on Logo.png , a reference book in the computer game Baldur's Gate
  12. slade with Jim Butler (1995). Netheril : Empire of Magic. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2. Search this book on Logo.png
  13. Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb and Karen S. Martin (1987). Cyclopedia of the Realms. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-88038-472-7. Search this book on Logo.png
  14. Ed Greenwood (1993). Running the Realms. ASIN B000K06S2E. Search this book on Logo.png
  15. John Terra (1995). The Moonsea Reference Guide. Wizard of the Coast. Search this book on Logo.png
  16. James M. Ward; et al. (1992). Pools of Darkness (Forgotten Realms Fantasy Adventure). Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 1-56076-318-3. Search this book on Logo.png
  17. Jeff Grubb; et al. (1997). Finder's Bane. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-0658-8. Search this book on Logo.png

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