So why is bane an evil god?

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Reading through the DMG, and looking up his commands... well, you could actually be a Lawful Good character and follow Bane with no real issue.

Let's look them over:

- Hone your combat skills to perfection, whether you are a mighty general or a lone mercenary. Nothing evil there. In fact, that's pretty much the creed of any martial character.

- Punish insubordination and disorder. Again, not evil. That's being lawful. Most organization, from lowly business to the military, will punish this. There's no requirement to make the punishment humiliating or over the top either. Or are we to believe Drill Sergeants and anybody who ever fired someone for incompetence is evil?

- Never allow your fear to gain mastery over you, but drive it into the hearts of your foe. The first part is definitely not evil. The second part gets close... having your enemy fear you isn't evil in itself, but the mean used to instill this fear might be. Still, it doesn't mean you need to even come as a cruel... For example, a paladin of pelor who's known to hunt the Undead relentlessly will probably become feared once he get a couple level by most sentient undead, making him qualifty for this tenet while still being Good.

For an evil god, he seems to ask no real evil deed from his followers.

Granted, follower of banes are probably not going to be overly nice people nor will they be the type of people you want to invite to a party... but Good (and even more so, Lawful Good) doesn't need to be 'nice'... you can be a jerk and represent those alignments. And even so, if the follower of bane see you as an ally or a friend, he might be the nicest guy in the world to you, loyal unto death.

Now I understand that Bane is the god of war. That war is bad.

And on a view point of morals... how evil is war? Is the solder who serve his country evil? Is at country that goes to war evil? Do the reason matter or is the mere act of being at war constitute a switch to evil? How long after participating in such war does the country stop being evil?
He's evil because he's a god of war and tyranny. Tyrants are universally considered evil (at least as far as D&D is concerned) so being a god of tyrants basically makes him evil by default. When Bane says punish he usually means kill, or at least severely injure/imprison for years/maim etc etc.

I wouldn't say war is inherently evil. However the reason behind a war can be. Waging a war of conquest, domination, and destruction (the kind of war bane is concerned with) is something most people would say is evil. Defending ones homeland from that war most would say is however just.
Basically Bane is evil because he is the god of War for Conquest and Tyranny. Kord's followers go to war to prove their strength and might, Bane's followers go to war to conquer others.

As evil gods go, Bane isn't that bad, and as the recent article shows he does have Unaligned and even Good followers who focus on his militaristic aspects; he is Evil, but he's not "I eat babies" Evil, he's just not very nice.
A good character can have Bane in their personal pantheon without any moral dissonance whatsoever.
The ironic thing about Bane is that war for conquest is only 'evil' in modern terms, if you look back at people's attitudes during medieval times Bane would probably fit right in.
The ironic thing about Bane is that war for conquest is only 'evil' in modern terms, if you look back at people's attitudes during medieval times Bane would probably fit right in.

The catch is that D&D does not take place at any point in real world history, rendering such a comparison rather moot, IMNSHO.

Anyway, I agree with the OP that a good character could worship Bane. An evil character could worship Pelor, too. That's the nice thing about the 'gods are distant' and 'once the power is yours, it's yours to keep' aspects of 4e religion. Your character can (mis)interpret the god's teachings in the way you want him to, and not have to worry about a DM 'U haz no pwrs now, u sux, kthxbai' nonsense.
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The catch is that D&D does not take place at any point in real world history, rendering such a comparison rather moot, IMNSHO.

Oh i know, but i still find it ironic.
I agree with tyrandor (the OP). By downplaying the 'tyranny' aspect of Bane and focusing more on the Bane's influences on 'war' and 'conquest', he could work as an unaligned deity.

An unaligned Bane would be a bit more adaptable for me, more useful than a strictly evil deity. For one thing, as an unaligned deity, he becomes available for PC use. Also, as an unaligned god, Bane could easily be worshipped by a villain, who focuses mainly on the 'tyranny' aspects. In this specific case, Bane is much more sinister, even evil.

An unaligned Bane could 'swing both ways'. I knew Steve Argyle (the artist) was onto something with that pic in the Bane article (Dragon #372) :P.
/\ Art
The Bane article from Dragon actually suggests rather heavily that even though most percieve Bane as an Evil god; this is not neccesarily true.
Yeah, I agree with OP that it's sometimes hard to percieve him as a truely evil god, since the domination and tyranny aspect can't be always percieved as "truly evil".

Another thing, is it coincidence that he looks like he's been taken straight out of The 300?
Yeah, I agree with OP that it's sometimes hard to percieve him as a truely evil god, since the domination and tyranny aspect can't be always percieved as "truly evil".

Could you give an example of "good" Domination and Tyranny?
Could you give an example of "good" Domination and Tyranny?

FDR?

johnii : naw, he's wearing too much armor for that.

He definitely has a Spartan look to him though. Which is cool. Cause that's how all gods of war look in my mind.
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Could you give an example of "good" Domination and Tyranny?

I didn't mean as a "good" trait, but not an inherently evil trait either, if you consider some real world history.

But since DnD isn't the real world, I think it won't matter

johnii : naw, he's wearing too much armor for that.

He definitely has a Spartan look to him though. Which is cool. Cause that's how all gods of war look in my mind.

Bane has that "Ares-look" definetily. Somehow I picture Kord as "Thor" as a comparison
Bane has that "Ares-look" definetily. Somehow I picture Kord as "Thor" as a comparison

Most certainly. I've always thought of Kord that way. Glad I'm not the only one I've always seen Bane as more of a Spartan/Greek uber badass type with Kord being well like Thor.
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Is this the same Bane from forgotten realms?
In the Points of Light setting, civilization is almost gone. It remains in tiny pockets, struggling to hold on. My reading of Bane is that he is evil because his continued promotion of war in these circumstances can only continue to snuff out the few remaining bastions of hope and goodness. Wars have contributed to the sorry state the setting is in now--like the war between the Tiefling and Dragonborn empires. War is unlikely to put things right in the foreseeable future.

In another setting where the good guys have a more even footing, a god of war might be more unaligned. War is less likely to pull everything down into a dark age. Some settings may have a place for a good god of war.
In the Points of Light setting, civilization is almost gone. It remains in tiny pockets, struggling to hold on. My reading of Bane is that he is evil because his continued promotion of war in these circumstances can only continue to snuff out the few remaining bastions of hope and goodness. Wars have contributed to the sorry state the setting is in now--like the war between the Tiefling and Dragonborn empires. War is unlikely to put things right in the foreseeable future.

In another setting where the good guys have a more even footing, a god of war might be more unaligned. War is less likely to pull everything down into a dark age. Some settings may have a place for a good god of war.

Unless its a city like Rome which is conquering to bring civilization. I can easily see Bane being a god of such a bastion of civilization that then tries to conquer as much as they can and then bring civilization to the tribes they take and such.
Unless its a city like Rome which is conquering to bring civilization. I can easily see Bane being a god of such a bastion of civilization that then tries to conquer as much as they can and then bring civilization to the tribes they take and such.

That's what I mean when I say another setting. In my reading of the Points of Lighty setting, anything that looks like Rome has fallen.
Reading through the DMG, and looking up his commands... well, you could actually be a Lawful Good character and follow Bane with no real issue.

Let's look them over:

- Hone your combat skills to perfection, whether you are a mighty general or a lone mercenary. Nothing evil there. In fact, that's pretty much the creed of any martial character.

- Punish insubordination and disorder. Again, not evil. That's being lawful. Most organization, from lowly business to the military, will punish this. There's no requirement to make the punishment humiliating or over the top either. Or are we to believe Drill Sergeants and anybody who ever fired someone for incompetence is evil?

- Never allow your fear to gain mastery over you, but drive it into the hearts of your foe. The first part is definitely not evil. The second part gets close... having your enemy fear you isn't evil in itself, but the mean used to instill this fear might be. Still, it doesn't mean you need to even come as a cruel... For example, a paladin of pelor who's known to hunt the Undead relentlessly will probably become feared once he get a couple level by most sentient undead, making him qualifty for this tenet while still being Good.

For an evil god, he seems to ask no real evil deed from his followers.

Granted, follower of banes are probably not going to be overly nice people nor will they be the type of people you want to invite to a party... but Good (and even more so, Lawful Good) doesn't need to be 'nice'... you can be a jerk and represent those alignments. And even so, if the follower of bane see you as an ally or a friend, he might be the nicest guy in the world to you, loyal unto death.

Now I understand that Bane is the god of war. That war is bad.

And on a view point of morals... how evil is war? Is the solder who serve his country evil? Is at country that goes to war evil? Do the reason matter or is the mere act of being at war constitute a switch to evil? How long after participating in such war does the country stop being evil?

I have a point of disagreement here.

Take this quote:

- Punish insubordination and disorder. Again, not evil. That's being lawful.

The 'statement' is written in the form of a command.
Bane demands punishment for for insubordination and disorder. So, if the peasants are disorderly because an orc raiding party passed through, the peasants must be punished. If the peasants are rioting because they are starving, they must be punished. If a peasant 'gets in the way' of a passing noble, the peasant must be punished. There is no discretionary power there: punish the peasant if the offense is particularly aggregious or the peasant is a repeat offender. All incidents must be punished because all incidents of that nature are aggregious to those in power.

I believe the Lawful and not eveil thing should be reconsidered. There is no just plain lawful (lawful neutral) in fourth edition, only chaotic evil and lawful good. There is nothing lawful good about beating peasants when they are starving to death.

IMO, that is why 'tyranny' in the portfolio means evil.
It's entirely possible that he's evil simply because he is evil and not anything in his portfolio.

Sort of like how 3E featured an evil god of death and a neutral god of death. Death is not inherently evil, but it can be used for or brought about by evil.

Also, evil gods are more likely to find war or tyranny to be desirable traits in their portfolio. Though they may not necessarily be evil, they are very appealing to evil. In the Manual of the Planes, it actually goes on at length about how Gruumsh has been trying to usurp Bane and they've been fighting for milennia over the title of "God of War."
The ironic thing about Bane is that war for conquest is only 'evil' in modern terms, if you look back at people's attitudes during medieval times Bane would probably fit right in.

I think this is purely a case of history being written by the victors. No one getting conquered and pillaged thinks it's a non-evil thing. Even classic and medieval writers who might lionize an Alexander or Caesar, turn around and condemn the evils of war.

You can read any of the gods write-ups as evil or non-evil. It's all a matter of spin. Heck, look how many Germans cheered for Hitler! yeah, he laid his plans out like they were good as gold! There were even American science journals saying what great ideas he had until we went into WWII.

With Bane I think the evil comes from his push for perpetual war, which causes perpetual death and misery. I know you can spin death and misery as non-evil, just like you could Hitler, but I don't think you can do either one without being full of bull. Kord's take on war has more to do with protecting the innocent during wars, i.e. less death and misery. But there's certainly room to see him as neutral overall and evil in certain particulars.

I don't think any of this should necessarily bar a good character from worshipping Bane for what he sees as his positive aspects, though. Even if he works up a rationale that paints Bane as a lawful good diety, completely overlooking any contradictions, that just makes the character that much more complex. As a DM, I know I'd work that into the game somehow. It's really interesting to see what that character might do if confronted by truly sadistically evil worshippers of bane who were pillaging an innocent village or something. Does he have a crisis of faith? Does he try to purge those who "twist" Banes teaching form the world?
It's entirely possible that he's evil simply because he is evil and not anything in his portfolio.

This is also a really good point. D&D gods are beings with personalities. His portfolio doesn't have to be evil for the god himself to be evil and to encourage evil acts. they're not personifications of their portfolios so much as beings who have risen to a lordship over those things (if I understand it right).
Unless its a city like Rome which is conquering to bring civilization. I can easily see Bane being a god of such a bastion of civilization that then tries to conquer as much as they can and then bring civilization to the tribes they take and such.

Just point out that this lecture of history come fro the fact that most of the soruce we have regarding this periods are roman. Ask a carthaginian, the greek or a jew about the civilisation of the roman. the most likely answer will be that the roman are a barbarian war machine who brutally slaughter everything in his way. And really if those tribe are good with their own culture and way of life, why coming here and imposing a new set of cultural value called civilisation will help them?

And well, we the occident colonize to spread civilisation. What are the result? Traditionnal americans culture get a genocide along with "civilisation", south america didn't recover from the traumatist in the XIXe century. Africa is totally screw-up and back to the tribal war era. The muslim world is divide and a fertile land for every kind of radicalism. Asia is revengeful against the occident, and well this particularly because it was too big for us to impose our "civilisationnal culture" that they aren't that screw up. Really I fail to see how this can qualifie as a "good war".

Personnally I'm from the school of thought that there is no good war, only necessary one. But while doing war, you must always remember that you use violence to impose your idea, and that violence, even when you are victorious, let indelebile mark on the identity of a people. Ironically, the best way to avoid those problems is to wipe out the ennemy population, and then I doubt this can be qualifie as a good act.

So in my opinion, a god of conquest is evil.
IMO, that is why 'tyranny' in the portfolio means evil.

Ya see that's what I thought as well and with a name like Bane, kind of the icing on the cake.
This kinds reminds me of when I first saw the Aspect of Loviatar minis piece, so I looked her up on the Internet Brain Extension*. She was supposedly Evil, but none of what I read said "MUST BE EVIL TO APPLY!". It's mainly just eye-for-an-eye type stuff, unless I read it wrong.


*Wikipedia.
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The Bane article returns Lawful Evil to D&D -- not officially, since the designers don't want to acknowledge that evil people can be lawful, but at least in spirit. And given Bane's strongly lawful bent, it seems reasonable that a certain fraction of strongly lawful LGers might end up worshipping him even while wishing he were more compassionate than he is.

That said, however, the PH makes clear that LG and G are always considered to be on the same team and that both flavors of goodness always oppose any flavor of evil. So there really isn't any room in a by-the-book 4e campaign for good-aligned PCs to worship Bane. But there probably should be, and the Bane article represents a welcome attempt to break through the simplistic good-guys-versus-bad-guys paradigm toward something more conducive to role-playing, in my view at least.
The Bane article returns Lawful Evil to D&D -- not officially, since the designers don't want to acknowledge that evil people can be lawful, but at least in spirit. And given Bane's strongly lawful bent, it seems reasonable that a certain fraction of strongly lawful LGers might end up worshipping him even while wishing he were more compassionate than he is.

That said, however, the PH makes clear that LG and G are always considered to be on the same team and that both flavors of goodness always oppose any flavor of evil. So there really isn't any room in a by-the-book 4e campaign for good-aligned PCs to worship Bane. But there probably should be, and the Bane article represents a welcome attempt to break through the simplistic good-guys-versus-bad-guys paradigm toward something more conducive to role-playing, in my view at least.

Unless you just toss alignment out the window, like ive done. Then it doesnt matter only if they follow the tennets of their chosen diety.
Bane's evil because the ugly races like him and the ugly races are evil because we need flimsy justification to launch genocide campaigns against them.
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Is this the same Bane from forgotten realms?

Obviously not, as Bane was murderous and evil to the core.
Bane's evil because the ugly races like him and the ugly races are evil because we need flimsy justification to launch genocide campaigns against them.

Notice how they never make the pretty races genocidal? At least not in the game.
This kinds reminds me of when I first saw the Aspect of Loviatar minis piece, so I looked her up on the Internet Brain Extension*. She was supposedly Evil, but none of what I read said "MUST BE EVIL TO APPLY!". It's mainly just eye-for-an-eye type stuff, unless I read it wrong.


*Wikipedia.



She is a cold-hearted bully, calculating and despotic; she is the master of inflicting physical and psychological pain and torture. Bringing pain and suffering is the aim of all Loviatans, either through physical torture or sometimes more subtly and psychologically.

Notice how they never make the pretty races genocidal? At least not in the game.

And yet, a lot of the pretty gods were, at least in 3e, not so much in 4.

Bahamut and Pelor were prime examples of sociopaths. And don't get me started on Saint Cuthbert.
Sig to be rebuilt soon The Descendants-- the webserial that reads like a comic book! World of Ere-- A campaign setting that puts style to the fore.
And yet, a lot of the pretty gods were, at least in 3e, not so much in 4.

Bahamut and Pelor were prime examples of sociopaths. And don't get me started on Saint Cuthbert.

So you think they goodied up the pretty ones to simplify the alignments. Evil=Ugly?
Personally, I think both Bane and Kord should be Unaligned gods. Let's be fair here, if Bane is evil because he promotes war, then Kord should be just as evil. Sure Bane wants you to go to war for conquest, but Kord just wants you to do it for glory... I don't find "do it for territory" to be more or less evil than "do it for fame".
I don't find "do it for territory" to be more or less evil than "do it for fame".

Are you daring to suggest that greed and pride are BOTH mortal sins?
Bane is not evil simply because he promotes war or tyranny.. from the WotC description it seems a little more complex.

Excerpt from the PDF:

That Bane is a god of darkest ambition, tyrannical and cruel, none can doubt. In his name, thousands die, their blood spilt to nourish the earth, and the smoke of their burning homes thick enough to blot out Pelor’s sun.Bane envisions a world that trembles to the thunder of marching armies—a world that functions beneath a single order: his own. No other god is like Bane. Gruumsh might give in to his violent instincts, Asmodeus might revel in his growing might, Tiamat might be blinded by her greed, and Vecna
might be busy with his obsessions. Only Bane, of all the evil gods, believes that what he does is best not only for himself, but for the world— even if the world refuses to acknowledge it. And it is this belief that, just perhaps, makes Bane’s evil the most insidious of them all. etc....

Ok.. the first part I think says it best.. and another part I couldn't find.. He's evil not just because of the promotion of war and tyranny, but of the way he promotes it. By any means necessary. If it takes killing an entire village to further his means.. by all means you'd better do it. A good diety I can't see doing this, possibly an unaligned diety.. but its much more feasible for an evil diety to do this in my opinion..
Are you daring to suggest that greed and pride are BOTH mortal sins?

Actually, I dare to suggest they are part and parcel to human nature, and there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting more material goods, or wanting to be famous... but to enact war for either purpose... neither are a good justification.

But war is part of how the world works... and ironically it's part of how D&D works. You can't have D&D without killing trolls, so I don't see why we could quantify it as evil either. It's almost self-contradicting.
So you think they goodied up the pretty ones to simplify the alignments. Evil=Ugly?

I think they goodied up what are *supposed* to be the good gods to remove the moral dissonance and also because I believe that at one point in development, they really were going to to the right thing and dump alignment and wanted to draw a line between the civilized (pretty) god and savage (ugly) gods.

Of course, then you've got Lloth, who in drow mode is smokin' hot and who controls an entire race of pretty bad guys, so yeah...
Sig to be rebuilt soon The Descendants-- the webserial that reads like a comic book! World of Ere-- A campaign setting that puts style to the fore.
The Bane article returns Lawful Evil to D&D -- not officially, since the designers don't want to acknowledge that evil people can be lawful, but at least in spirit. And given Bane's strongly lawful bent, it seems reasonable that a certain fraction of strongly lawful LGers might end up worshipping him even while wishing he were more compassionate than he is.

I never really saw LE as gone, just meshed in with Evil.
Not that I saw this as a change as half the time I saw LE as the alignment of "Evil-with-Power-and-Brains" in the first place.
Not that many here are promoting the idea, but evil is not killing babies, eating their brains and then running out into the street to lop off some heads. Thats psychotic.
Not that many here are promoting the idea, but evil is not killing babies, eating their brains and then running out into the street to lop off some heads. Thats psychotic.

I'd say it's also evil: psychotic evil, the new alignment for serial killers!

But point taken.
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