Emperordmb

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Darth Bane's Power

This is a companion piece to my upcoming Darth Bane respect thread, and it is a response to the frequent assumption that POD Bane on Lehon>ROT Bane>DOE Bane in Force power, which is a point of view I heavily disagree with.

The most common feat of Bane's that is completely disregarded and looked over by people as being beyond any of his incarnations is his feat of collapsing the Temple of the Ancients on Lehon, because many believe he was immensely amped by the nexus on Lehon. Ultimately, I believe this is overplayed as there no mention in the entirety of POD of Bane's powers being augmented by Lehon. However, whether or not Bane was amped on Lehon and to what extent is quite honestly irrelevant to the ability of his later incarnations to replicate that feat. This is due to the extent of the superiority of Bane's later incarnations over POD Bane on Lehon, even if he was amped.

In Rule of Two, when Bane is first affixed with two orbalisks, he learns that he can tap into their ability to feed on dark side energy to greatly increase his command of the Force, and upon first drawing upon them for power, he becomes more powerful than he had ever been before, which very importantly includes when he was on Lehon when he collapsed the temple.

Through the gatekeeper, Bane learned of the Dark Master's experiments with the orbalisks, and his only partly successful efforts to control their power. He discovered not only what they were called, but also all the details of their ecology. Some of the information merely confirmed what he already knew: once attached to a host the orbalisks could not be removed. But he also learned that, in addition to boosting a host's physical abilities, it was possible to tap into the parasites' ability to feed on the dark side to greatly increase one's own command of the Force.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

Storing the Holocron safely away, he ventured forth from the crypt to find a way to escape the surface of Dxun. The specters of Kaan and Qordis were waiting for him outside.

"You are trapped here " Qordis said, falling immediately into his litany of failure and despair. "What good is the Holocron if you can never leave this moon?"

Bane reached inward to call upon the dark side, drawing it not only from himself but also from the orbalisks fastened to his chest and back. Feeling an incredible surge of power beyond any he had known before, he released it in a burst of energy. The hallucinations that had plagued his wounded mind ever since the detonation of the thought bomb vanished, instantly and utterly annihilated by his newfound power. He was stronger now than he ever had been, and he knew the visions of the dead Sith would haunt him no more.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

Thus, as of the beginning of Bane's orbalisk infestation, he should be more than capable of performing any force feats he accomplished prior to that point of time, most notably collapsing the Temple of the Ancients on Lehon. Now obviously ROT Bane ten years into the infestation is more powerful and has a greater command of the Force than he did at the beginning of his infestation. First of all, ten years later Bane has an additional decade of experience wielding the dark side under his belt. That's just common sense.

Secondly, at the tail end of Bane's orbalisk infestation, he has far more orbalisks affixed to his body, which grants him far more of them to draw power from.

Should one of the organisms somehow be killed, it would release rapidly increasing levels of toxins, killing its host in a matter of days. The orbalisks would also grow over time, slowly spreading until they covered his entire body from head to toe. Fortunately, along with this disturbing revelation, Bane discovered blueprints for a special helmet and face guard designed to keep the parasites from growing over his eyes, nose, and mouth while he slept.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

Bane was sitting by the blaze waiting for her, stirring at a bubbling pot of bland-smelling stew. He had taken off his shirt in the summer night's heat. In the flickering glow of the flames, his apprentice could see that the orbalisks were beginning to spread. The one on the back of his shoulder had traced its way across his bicep to the elbow of his heavily muscled arm, while the organism on his chest now extended halfway down his abdominal muscles and partway up his throat. Several narrow, dark bands of softer-looking flesh bisected each shell vertically, and the girl realized that in addition to growing, the creatures were about to split apart and multiply.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

Over the past decade, the orbalisks that had attached themselves to Bane's torso had spread until they covered virtually his entire body. Only his feet, hands, and face remained free of the infestation, and only because he took extreme precautions: He wore special gloves and boots at all times, and when he slept he donned a special helmet that resembled a cage, meant to keep the parasites from growing over his face.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

And thirdly, Bane is more knowledgeable on the ways of the Dark Side, given his continued study of Freedon Nadd's holocron over that time frame, as well as his study of other Sith lore.

But the orbalisk research was only the beginning. Freedon Nadd had been a Jedi who turned to the dark side as the apprentice of Naga Sadow, the former ruler of the ancient Sith Empire. Sadow's power had been so great, it had allowed him to survive for six centuries, fueled by the energies of the dark side. As his apprentice, Nadd had absorbed all his knowledge and teachings, transferring them into the Holocron before murdering Sadow and taking his place.

Not surprisingly, most of the information inside the Holocron was hidden, locked away in the depths of its crystalline structure where it could be accessed only through time, meditation, and careful study. It would take many months, maybe even years, before Bane could lay claim to its greatest secrets. And right now there were more immediate concerns he needed to deal with.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

The twelve-year-old Zannah nodded. Several months before, Bane had unlocked a new data bank of information in Freedon Nadd's Holocron.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two
He continued his research, seeking out rare tomes, hidden documents, and forbidden works of lore.Darth Bane: Rule of Two

So clearly, Bane at the tail end of his orbalisk infestation is substantially more powerful than he was at the beginning of his orbalisk infestation. And obviously any Force feats Bane accomplished before his infestation should without a shadow of a doubt be within his grasp at this point in time, again, most notably the Temple of the Ancients feat.

Darth Bane as of Dynasty of Evil however is bereft of the orbalisks, and thus many assume he lacks the power he wielded when encrusted with orbalisks, and many even assume his power doesn't measure up to the power he wielded on Lehon in Path of Destruction. I have come to the conclusion however that Dynasty of Evil is at the very least equal to his orbalisk encrusted self in Force power, and the avenue by which I have come to that conclusion is a comparison of their physical capabilities, namely in their respective fights with Darth Zannah.

First off, the ROT fight:

She fell into a defensive posture as she so often had during their training sessions. But this was no drill, and her Master came at her with a speed and ferocity she had never faced before. Giving in to his orbalisk-fueled bloodrage, he was like a wild animal, raining savage blows down on her from all angles, the strikes coming so fast it seemed as if he wielded a dozen blades at the same time.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

She scrambled to her feet and twirled her lightsaber before her, creating what she hoped would be an impenetrable wall of defense. Instead of trying to pierce her guard, Bane leapt high in the air and came down almost right on top of her. She deftly parried his blade, redirecting it to the side as she spun away to keep his body from slamming into her.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

Now the DOE fight:

He opened with a series of two-handed overhead chops, using his great height to bring his blade hacking down at her from above. She easily blocked each blow, but the momentum of the crushing impact caused her to stagger back, throwing her off balance.

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

He was faster than she could ever have imagined, and he was using new sequences and unfamiliar moves he had never revealed during their practice sessions.

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

It is apparent from the text that Bane is quite blatantly faster in Dynasty of Evil than he was in Rule of Two, as is confirmed by Bane being "faster than [Zannah] could've ever imagined" in their final duel, despite her having faced him while he was in an orbalisk fueled bloodlust, and having witnessed him face the Shadow Assassins and the Jedi strike team on Tython while he was encrusted with the orbalisks. Bane's physical strength also appears more impressive in his final duel with Zannah than in their bout in Rule of Two, as in Rule of Two Zannah blocked a strike in which Bane leapt into the air and brought his blade upon her without staggering, yet in Dynasty of Evil, Bane's less extensive overhand chops send Zannah staggering despite Zannah having easily blocked them. What's especially important to remember in regards to these two showings of strength is the ten year disparity between ROT Zannah and DOE Zannah. DOE Zannah is far more experienced, knowledgeable and skilled, which makes her a more talented lightsaber duelist as of DOE, and she is far more powerful in Dynasty of Evil as well, which grants her superior Force-based physical augmentation. This is all illustrated by how far beneath Bane Zannah is in Rule of Two in both skill and power, even when Bane is wounded and without his orbalisks.

You cant die yet, Zannah thought bitterly, chewing on her lip. There's so much more you have to teach me!

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

She could feel Bane's power-whole once more-coursing through his veins. She could feel the heat of his anger, and she knew one wrong word and he'd snap her neck in two with the Force.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

Over the years Bane had tracked her progress carefully, and he could no longer say with certainty which one of them would survive a confrontation between them.

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

Thus it is apparent that DOE Bane is more physically impressive than ROT Bane. This is important because without Force-based physical augmentation, ROT Bane would definitely be superior physically, as the orbalisks increase his physical capabilities, even when there were only two of them affixed to his body.

The alien fluids burned like acid as they were absorbed into his circulatory system; it felt as if every drop of blood were boiling ... but the benefits were too powerful to be ignored. In addition to his miraculous healing abilities, he felt stronger than he ever had. His senses were keener, his reflexes quicker.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

But he also learned that, in addition to boosting a host's physical abilities, it was possible to tap into the parasites' ability to feed on the dark side to greatly increase one's own command of the Force.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

He hit the ground and rolled several times before springing back to his feet, uninjured thanks to his newfound physical prowess.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

This is a very important detail because it means that for Bane to be physically superior in Dynasty of Evil, DOE Bane's Force-based physical augmentation would have to outstrip ROT Bane's Force-based physical augmentation and the physical augmentation ROT Bane received from the orbalisks combined. Since ROT Bane's focus in combat was overpowering his enemy with his sheer physical might, DOE Bane would need to be more powerful in the Force to achieve such a level of Force-based physical augmentation to surpass him. At the very very least, and this is being generous in regards to ROT Bane and conservative in regards to DOE Bane, DOE Bane would have to be on par with ROT Bane in his command of the Force to achieve this.

Some may ask how it's possible for Bane to be more powerful in Dynasty of Evil without the power boost provided by the orbalisks. Again, he first off has the advantage of another decade of experience wielding the Dark Side, as is common sense.

Secondly, he has the advantage of more knowledge regarding the dark side of the Force. In the decade between Rule of Two and Dynasty of Evil, Bane has both amassed a library of Sith knowledge, and uncovered the holocron of the legendary Sorzus Syn.

Punching in the digits, he gently pushed the door open and stepped into the building that served as his private library. The interior consisted of a single square room, five meters on each side, lit only by a single soft light hanging from the ceiling. The walls were lined by shelves overflowing with the scrolls, tomes, and manuscripts he had assembled over the years: the teachings of the ancient Sith.

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil
Book of Sith: The Chronicle of Sorzus Syn (Sidious and Windu's sidenotes)
Book of Sith: The Chronicle of Sorzus Syn (Sidious and Windu's sidenotes)

And thirdly, because of the vastly greater willpower DOE Bane possesses in comparison to ROT Bane, as shown by his examples of pain tolerance.

Bane had stayed conscious through the torture of the electricity cooking him alive and the agony of the teeth burrowing into his flesh. But the indescribable pain from the chemicals released by the exploding orbalisks dissolving his body on a cellular level finally caused him to black out... only to wake up here.

Darth Bane: Rule of Two

Suddenly the tendrils flew at him. He slashed out with his lightsaber to chop the closest one in half, but the blade simply passed through the black mist with no effect. Bane threw himself to the side, but the tip of the tentacle still brushed against his left shoulder. The material of his clothes melted away as if it had been splashed with acid. A chunk of flesh beneath simply dissolved, and Bane screamed in agony. Once, orbalisks had fused themselves to his body with a burning chemical compound so intense it had nearly driven him mad. Ten years ago they had been removed when Bane's flesh had been literally cooked by a concentrated blast of his own violet lightning. During her interrogation, Serra had pumped him full of a drug that had felt like it was eating him alive from the inside. But the excruciating pain he felt from the mere touch of the dark side tendril was unlike anything Bane had ever experienced before. The damage was far from life threatening, but it nearly sent Bane into shock. He fell hard to the ground, his jaw slack and his eyes rolling back into his head. His mind was reeling from the brief contact. The pain radiated through every nerve in his body, but what he felt went far beyond any mere physical sensation. It was not the raw heat of the dark side but rather the empty chill of the void itself spreading through him. It touched every synapse in his mind, it clawed at the core of his spirit. In that instant he tasted utter annihilation, and felt the true horror of absolute nothingness.

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

With his foe unarmed and helpless at his feet Bane brought his arm down for the coup de grace, only to have it intercepted mid-swing by one of the dark side tendrils. It wrapped itself around the elbow. Skin, muscle, sinew and bone dissolved instantaneously, severing the limb. His disembodied forearm and fist tumbled harmlessly to the ground, his lightsaber flicking off as the hilt slid from his suddenly nerveless fingers. The Dark Lord didn't scream this time; the pain was so intense it left him mute as he collapsed to the ground. Everything went black. Blind and alone, he felt the void closing in. In desperation he reached out with his left hand, clutching Zannah's wrist as she lay on the ground beside him. With his last act, he summoned all his remaining power and invoked the ritual of essence transfer.

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

It is very clear from these examples that DOE Bane far outstrips ROT Bane in terms of willpower, given that the pain of the orbalisks exploding inside of him in Rule of Two was enough to knock him out, while he was capable of evoking a very complex Sith ritual immediately after experiencing far far worse pain. This is important because willpower is one of the most vital components of Dark Side power, at least according to Darth Sidious, who happens to be the most powerful and knowledgeable Sith Lord in galactic history.

Book of Sith: Absolute Power: The Book of Anger (Darth Sidious)
Book of Sith: Absolute Power: The Book of Anger (Darth Sidious)

Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force: Dark Side Compendium: The Book of Anger (Darth Sidious)
Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force: Dark Side Compendium: The Book of Anger (Darth Sidious)

Thus DOE Bane became more powerful than he was in ROT, due to greater experience, greater knowledge, and greater willpower (which is a key component in dark side power).

In conclusion, aside from durability and regeneration, Bane as of Dynasty of Evil is more physically impressive than he was in Rule of Two, despite the physical enhancement provided to his orbalisk encrusted incarnation by the alien fluids they metabolized in his bloodstream. For this to be true, DOE Bane would have to possess a greater command of the Force than ROT Bane, and given his greater knowledge experience and willpower, it is possible for DOE Bane to the more powerful of the two, despite being bereft of the orbalisks his ROT self possessed. And it is for these reasons that I ultimately find Bane as of Dynasty of Evil to be more powerful in the Force than Bane as of Rule of Two, and find both of them to be easily more powerful than any previous incarnation of Bane, including Bane with the power he had on Lehon.

18 Comments

19 Comments

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WollfMyth209

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Absolutely splendid blog, and it indeed shows how powerful Bane really is.

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Brightsteel

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Have yet to read this, but if this involves mention to Wollf's wonky logic on how Bane is stronger than Exar Kun, I will fight you Emperor. :catprone

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Brightsteel

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Alright, so you didn't make mention of that wonky logic. Thank God. :catprone

Anyways, very well done.

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TheVivas

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and it is a response to the frequent assumption that POD Bane on Lehon>ROT Bane>DOE Bane in Force power

Wait what? I have never this spoken. Like ever.

Otherwise, good job.

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Emperordmb

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@thevivas: Well, I came here from a forum where at least half of the people there think Maul>ROT Bane>>DOE Bane, and that neither ROT or DOE Bane could collapse the temple of the ancients, so maybe things are different here and I just didn't notice? idk.

Thanks for the compliment though :D

@darthant66@brightsteel Thanks guys!

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deactivated-5c508820920c0

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Well constructed thread there.

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deactivated-5a4a9a7745a28

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Great thread about Bane! Many people also think that Bane isn't powerful because he was the first in the rule of two.

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ShootingNova

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@emperordmb: Here's some pretty solid confirmation of Bane's wisdom, knowledge and experience easily making up for his deteriorating physical condition in DoE:

The aging process was subtle, but inescapable. Bane accepted this; what he lost in strength and speed he could easily compensate for with his wisdom, knowledge and experience.

Source: Dynasty of Evil
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AmethystGravity

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Edited By AmethystGravity

I saw your link on the Tyranus vs Bane thread; nice work! I wonder if Disney is going to expand on the rule of two sith, but for now, I can settle with seeing Thrawn.

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Emperordmb

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@amethystgravity: Thanks!

LOL, I wish the Legends continuity had expanded more on the Rule of Two Sith.

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DarthRevan77

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Edited By DarthRevan77

It's an admirable piece, I suppose, but your entire argument falls apart at the assertion that Force-Augmentation is a sign of overall power in the Force. If that were the case, Darth Tyranus would share significant parity with Yoda due to the fact he can exchange blows with him without getting disarmed, and that would mean Anakin Skywalker is more powerful than Yoda due to him showcasing superior strength against Darth Tyranus in their duel aboard the Invisible Hand. Both of which are clearly false. There's also an example to consider present within the text itself, Darth Bane showcases a notable edge over Darth Zannah during their bout, both as a duelist and in Force Augmentation. But it's stated throughout the novel, and repeatedly heralded by you as well, that Zannah is near equal to Bane in mastery and power over the Force.

Alongside this glaring flaw in your piece, even if greater knowledge of the Dark Side equated to greater power, it's not quantifiable by any means, meaning it is merely idle speculation to say that any supposed boost in power granted by greater knowledge is greater than the power granted by the enhancing properties of the Orbalisks. I would like to also bring up another one of Drew Karpyshyn's, Revan, where a human Sith's, Darth Xedrix, power sharply declined as he grew older due to his body not being able to take the toll the Dark Side exacted on it.

Xedrix is old and infirm. And he is human–they are a lesser species. Over the decades, the dark side has exacted too great a toll on his body. He is a hollow shell of what he once was. He holds on to his current position only because of his cunning. His followers obey him without question, too frightened of his reputation to see how age has ravaged his flesh and left him weak.

Revan

With this precedence established, the fact that Bane was forty by the time of Dynasty of Evil and the effects on his health that came with the Orbalisks, it's easier to assume that his body grew unable to handle the power of the Dark Side and it dwindled.

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Emperordmb

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@darthrevan77: It's hard to use to compare completely different characters, because physical capability is also influenced by factors such as baseline physicality, and emphasis on/natural talent with physical augmentation, which makes this a bad metric for comparing completely different characters. Fortunately, this holds for Bane, as his natural talent for physical augmentation remains the same between incarnations, ROT Bane has a massive edge in baseline physicality, and ROT Bane is stated to place a greater emphasis on physical combat than DOE Bane does, meaning the only explanation for DOE bane having superior physically augmented ability is greater power in the Force, ergo the comparison still stands. Bane has a greater emphasis on physical combat and a greater baseline physicality than Zannah so that's a different issue, and Anakin has a much greater baseline physicality and a greater relative emphasis on physical combat than Yoda, not to mention unlike ROT Bane and DOE Bane, Yoda and Anakin, and Zannah and Bane are completely different characters with different natural talents, so neither of them are remotely the same situation and do nothing to disprove my point.

The fact of the matter is DOE Bane having greater Force power is the only explanation that makes sense, as the greater physical performance can't be the result of a greater baseline physicality (which ROT Bane has a huge advantage in), it can't be the result of more emphasis on physical augmentation (since ROT Bane places more emphasis on physical combat than DOE Bane), and it can't be the result of DOE Bane having more natural talent for physical augmentation than ROT Bane (since they're the same person).

And the difference between DOE Bane and Darth Xedrix was that Xedrix's body had been completely ravaged by the dark side, whereas Dark Side degradation was stated to have only had a slight impact on Bane as of DOE. The fact that Bane received an amp from the orbalisks doesn't disprove the notion of him growing in power enough to surpass that previous amped incarnation of himself through greater knowledge, Force mastery, and willpower.

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DarthRevan77

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Edited By DarthRevan77

@emperordmb:

Or, using your argument of greater skill with Force Augmentation, we can say that Darth Bane as of Dynasty of Evil has greater skill with Force Augmentation than the relatively mindless Orbalisk Armor Darth Bane, who may have forgone Force Augmentation in general, in favor of the natural enhancements provided by the Orbalisk Armor.

I think that's the only way you can address the lack of mentions of Force Augmentation on Darth Bane's part in Rule of Two after donning the orbalisks.

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ordeith

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Emperordmb

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@darthrevan77: except ROT Bane has been mentioned as using Force Augmentation to transform himself into a physical embodiment of the Dark Side's power...

And if you're going to argue a difference in masterful application of the force, then this applies to Bane's ability to wield the force in every other area as well, if not moreso because ROT Bane is less focused on non-physical abilities than DOE Bane is, so if DOE Bane can wield augmentation to a greater extent he can certainly do the same if not more with other abilities such as telekinesis and lightning.

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DarthRevan77

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@emperordmb:

And if you're going to argue a difference in masterful application of the force, then this applies to Bane's ability to wield the force in every other area as well, if not moreso because ROT Bane is less focused on non-physical abilities than DOE Bane is, so if DOE Bane can wield augmentation to a greater extent he can certainly do the same if not more with other abilities such as telekinesis and lightning.

I'll need more than just your speculation my old friend.