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Why Banite Downscaling Doesn't Work

Why Banite Downscaling Doesn't Work

-Darth Sidious, the Last Banite Master
-Darth Sidious, the Last Banite Master

It is a commonly mentioned and used fact that Banite line grew in power with each successive generation, and this should indeed be used to afford the Banite Sith masters the respect they deserve. I have however also seen this argument terribly misused, most commonly by people claiming any of Sidious's apprearacters in the PT era would defeat Bane, that Sidious's apprentices are above several of the most powerful pre-Banite Sith, and that the PT era is massively superior to various previous eras given the Sith's "evolution" and a comparison between the Sith and Jedi of the era.

As far as Banite scaling goes and whether or not it applies to Sidious's apprentices, because this is the misuse of the Banite power progression argument from which every other misuse of the argument stems, it doesn't. The entire point of the scaling is a generation surpassing the one before it, which clearly doesn't apply to Sidious's apprentices since they never came close to surpassing or overthrowing him.

Another argument people try and use to apply this scaling is by arguing the scaling proves an extremely massive power gap between Bane and the end of his line, and try to scale Bane beneath Sidious's apprentices on that scaling, but that line of reasoning falls flat for two main reasons. First of all, one cannot prove the extent of the power difference between Bane and the end of his line by any way other than using the showings of power demonstrated by Bane and those at the end of the line, and pretty much every character in the Banite line is overpowered with really no defined upper limit other than that they're beneath Sidious. Furthermore there are indications that, while Bane obviously isn't on par with Sidious, the power gap may not be as massive as some assume, considering the fact that Bane's successors in the Banite line even respected his power and regarded it as legendary even during Tenebrous's and Plagueis's reigns, he was stated to be one of Sidious's most powerful predecessors regardless, and his spirit was used to test Yoda's fear and avarice.

“What more appropriate way for us to close the circle than by mimicking the Sith’ari’s seminal efforts,” Tenebrous continued. “We weave ourselves into the warp and weft of the tapestry he created.”

Plagueis kept his thoughts to himself. The aptly named Darth Bane, who had redefined the Sith by limiting their number and operating from concealment, had mined cortosis as a youth on Apatros long before embracing the tenets of the dark side. In the thousand years since his death, Bane had become deified; the powers attributed to him, legendary. And indeed what more appropriate place for his disciples to complete the circle, Plagueis told himself, than in profound obscurity, deep within an escarpment that walled an azure expanse of Bal’demnic’s Northern Sea.

Darth Plagueis
Book of Sith: Chronicle of Sorzus Syn
Book of Sith: Chronicle of Sorzus Syn

In his quest for domination, Darth Sidious tracked down what remained of five pivotal Sith texts written by his most powerful predecessors.

Book of Sith Synopsis

Then the other half of this argument that doesn't work is the implication that there is some parity between Sheev's apprentices and the end of the Banite line, which clearly isn't the case given how casually Sidious has handled all of them before and the mountain of evidence confirming the vast extent to which Sidious is beyond his apprentices:

Darth Maul

Star Wars Fact File
Star Wars Fact File
Star Wars Fact File
Star Wars Fact File
The Clone Wars: The Lawless
The Clone Wars: The Lawless

Darth Tyranus

Physically, the Count's age was rarely a handicap. Deft as he had become with the Force-unimaginably more subtle than the boy who had watched water-skeeters in the Jedi gardens all those years ago-he wore his eighty-three standard years better than most humans half his age. He was still in superb physical shape, senses keen, health undiminished by even the memory of a cold. Only in this situation, stooped before the image of his Master, did he feel his years. Even via hologram, the flickering figure of Darth Sidious, hideous in blue and shadows, seemed to strip his false youth away, leaving his bones brittle, his joints worn thin and knotted with tension.

Dark Rendezvous

There was always a risk, talking with Sidious. Sometimes the conversation would go badly, and Dooku would fail to please somehow. It was a terrible thing, failing to please his Master.

Dark Rendezvous

Not that he would ever question the power of Darth Sidious.

Dark Rendezvous

He imagined Yoda tumbling through the air, bloody and insensible, dashing his brains out on the flagstones far below. Then it would all be mercifully over and Dooku wouldn't have to feel this strange, jumbled confusion. His hands would stop shaking and he would be dry inside and tight: dry and tight and empty as a drum, just a drum for Darth Sidious to play.

Dark Rendezvous

Dooku could only shake his head in awe. And to think that only days earlier, the Jedi had seemed so close to uncovering, even destroying, all he and his Master had worked for. But he should never have feared. His Master never lost. He would never lose. He was the definition of unbeatable.

Revenge of the Sith novelization
The Clone Wars: The Lost One
The Clone Wars: The Lost One

Darth Vader

Boarding his shuttle, he ordered the pilot to lift off. A pity, my son, he thought. You could have joined me and together...we could have destroyed the Emperor and ruled the galaxy in his place. As he stared at the severed appendage in his hands, a sudden flash of insight struck the Dark Lord, realization dawning like the sunrise of Bespin. Perhaps, if you will not be turned, little Jedi, a suitable substitute may be arranged.

Suddenly, Vader was struck to his knees by the horribly powerful voice that rolled like fiery thunder through his brain. The pilots struggled vainly to ignore the Dark Lord's...discomfort."Yes, my servant," the voice boomed in his mind, dripping raw evil. "Come to Mount Tantiss, immediately. I shall meet you there, and we will discuss my new trophy."

"Yes...my Master," Vader gasped, feeling an icy stab of dread in his soul, as the Emperor's mocking chuckle still echoed in his mind. His Master had detected his rebellious thoughts. This discussion would be most unpleasant. Most unpleasant indeed.

The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook: Clone B-2332-54

Vader grabbed the energy-seething Palpatine and hurled him into the Death Star reactor shaft, where the evil leader was disintegrated. The shock waves of dark power mortally wounded Vader.

The New Essential Chronology

So to sum this section up, using a power comparison via Banite scaling to prove Sidious's apprentices superiority to Bane is entirely dependent on the gap between the end of the Banite line and Sidious's apprentices being smaller than the gap between Bane and the end of the Banite line, and quite frankly the evidence doesn't support this at all.

The Training Argument

Another slightly different argument for Banite power scaling is that Sidious's apprentices being privy to knowledge and training at the end of the Banite line plus them having potential high enough to be his apprentices ensures that with a similar amount of time training in the dark side, any of them would be superior to Bane, however this argument is fallacious and dependent on unsubstantiated claims.

While it is true that the Sith archives grew substantially over time, the claim that Sidious's apprentices have more knowledge than Bane is still entirely dependent on how much of that knowledge they were privy to under Sidious's training. And this is something I would call to question considering how even Plagueis withheld quite a bit of knowledge from Sidious even, as shown several times in the Darth Plagueis novel after Sidious starts to train him in 65 BBY.

“I am pleased to see how greatly you have changed—how powerful you have become, Lord Sidious. What happened on Coruscant was meant to happen, but I take consolation in the fact that the events have shaped you into a true Sith Lord. You are indeed ready to learn the secrets I have been safeguarding.”

Darth Plagueis (52 BBY)

Sidious knew that his own powers had increased tenfold over the decades, but he couldn’t be certain he had learned all of Plagueis’s secrets—“his sorcerer’s ways,” as the Sun Guards referred to them—including the ability to prevent beings from dying. He sometimes wondered: Was he a level behind? Two levels behind?

Darth Plagueis (33/32 BBY)

“It was Hego Damask as Darth Plagueis who came to Naboo, determined to suck the planet dry of plasma and set the Trade Federation up as its overseers. It was Hego Damask as Plagueis who then set his sights on a seemingly confused young man and, with meticulous skill, manipulated him into committing patricide, matricide, fratricide. Darth Plagueis who took him as an apprentice, sharing some of his knowledge but withholding his most powerful secrets, denying the apprentice his wishes as a means of controlling him, instilling in him a sense of murderous rage, and turning him to the dark side.” Sidious stood to his full height, glaring.

Darth Plagueis (32 BBY)

And this is very important considering the fact that Plagueis trained Sidious substantially longer than Sidious trained any of his apprentices, Sidious had advanced to a greater point than they had, and Sidious had taken part in greater manipulations of the Force and applications of knowledge and power than any of his apprentices in his time under Plagueis (shifting the balance of the Force with a ritual and whatnot), with even his early training at Plagueis's hands being just as brutal if not more so than Maul's training under him. This also confirms that Sidious himself didn't have access to all of the Banite knowledge when training Maul.

And with all this in mind, I think it's very important to take into account Sidious's mindset towards his apprentices expressed in his own words several times in the Book of Sith:

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Thus it is apparent that not only is Sidious not sharing a great wealth of the Banite knowledge with his apprentices possible, it is extremely plausible.

Then on top of this fact, despite the apparently insane amount of knowledge Dooku got from the Jedi order and after a decade of training under Sidious, Dooku still found the holocron of Andeddu to possess useful enough knowledge to make him notably more powerful, while aside from essence transfer Bane already knew everything in the holocron and considered it basic rudimentary knowledge.

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For the past four days Bane had played the gatekeeper's games in an attempt to unlock the secrets of eternal life. He had delved deep into Andeddu's Holocron, accomplishing in less than a week what would have taken others months or even years. He had suffered through the tedious lessons; he had listened to the tiresome philosophical rants of the holographic image. He had learned nothing new about the Force, though the gatekeeper's words had revealed much about Darth Andeddu's personality and beliefs.

Like many of the ancient Sith, he was cruel, arrogant, self-centered, and shortsighted. His lessons mirrored those of Bane's instructors at the Sith Academy on Korriban; lessons Bane had rejected decades ago as flawed. He had moved beyond their teachings. His understanding of the dark side had evolved. In creating the Rule of Two, he had ushered in a new era for the Sith. He had transcended the limited understanding of men like Andeddu, and he was done listening to the gatekeeper's ignorant litany.

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

And lastly, there's the simply fact that learning curves/power growth rates in Star Wars don't make logical coherent sense when considering factors like quality of training and time spent training, and all one needs to do to realize this is take a look at a few of the characters in Star Wars. Here is a list for example:

OT Luke Skywalker

AOTC and prior Anakin Skywalker

TFA Rey

Child Vitiate

Empire's Wrath/Darth Nox

Of everyone here, Anakin Skywalker has the lowest rate of growth in regards to the development of his abilities, yet Anakin has the highest potential in the Force of anyone here (or the mythos for that matter), access to more knowledge (the Jedi Archives), higher quality training (formal Jedi instruction in the Golden Age of the Jedi Order, and advanced lightsaber classes from a better lightsaber instructor than Yoda), and an extremely competitive streak to actually drive him towards developing his combative abilities. Yet Luke Skywalker as of ROTJ after four years of informal training that to my knowledge consisted of a single training session with Obi-Wan, less than a month of training with Yoda, and some time reading an instructional book Obi-Wan left him is noticeably superior to AOTC Anakin, who had spent a full ten years of higher quality training developing his abilities. Then of course Rey outstrips Anakin even further, having a greater learning curve than Luke, developing quite a few abilities instinctively and on her own whereas Luke needed training to do so. Vitiate as well even at his peak doesn't have Chosen-One-esque potential, yet even before a ritual where he consumed power from 9,000 Sith Lords, Vitiate starting at the age of six with no training snapped his step father's neck with telekinesis and tortured his mother, four years later stripped a planet ruling Sith Lord of his power and drove him insane, and three years after that as a thirteen year old had the world under his complete subjugation and impressed Marka Ragnos enough with his power to make him a Sith Lord. Lastly the Empire's Wrath and Darth Nox both, after only a little bit of training and with only a training lightsaber, defeated the beast of Marka Ragnos and Khem Val respectively.

So why do Anakin's abilities progress slower than many others to whom he has superior potential, superior knowledge resources, superior training, and a lengthier period of time to progress in? Because learning curves and power growths in Star Wars don't really make much logical sense.

So all in all, there is no proof for the claim that Sidious bequeathed upon his apprentices more knowledge than Bane was privy to, all indications are that Sidious thought of his apprentices as expendable tools, what specific details we have of Bane's knowledge are quite frankly more impressive than the details of the knowledge Sidious's apprentices possessed, there is a pretty notable indication that Bane's knowledge of the Dark Side surpasses Dooku's quite noticeably, and power progressions don't make any sense to begin with.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Banite power scaling is something that should only be used in regards to the Sith Masters of Bane's Order and those who actually receive scaling from them (ie. people who have shown themselves to be on the level of a Banite master or higher, and not people who have been casually pounded into submission by a Banite master), and this was something I honestly thought would be common sense. Sidious's apprentices and those who get scaling from them are not themselves the recipient of Banite scaling as Sidious's apprentices never overthrew their master, the gap between them and the masters at the end of the Banite line has not been definitively proven smaller than the gap between Bane and the masters at the end of his line, and the more recent argument that Sidious's apprentices are better than Bane due to their training is dependent on a few conditions that have not been definitively substantiated with the line of logic itself having been proven to not follow logical sense in Star Wars regardless.

I am not saying that this blog proves that Bane is above all of Sidious's apprentices (though I believe that to be the case), but rather this blog proves that "Banite Scaling" is not a sufficient enough argument to prove the opposite since they do not receive Banite scaling. If such a claim is to be made either way, it should be made on the basis of a legitimate comparison between the abilities and merits of the two combatants themselves, rather than the cop-out of trying to apply power scaling with logic based upon unfounded conditions in order to avoid a more holistic and in depth comparison.

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