It Started With a Kidnapped Pig...
If the Forgotten Realms has an iconic evil deity, Bane would probably be it. He gets this status by being the patron deity of the Zhentarim, and by being the God of Tyranny, basically one of the most dependable of traits for evil you can think of. If Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine had a deity, Bane would be it.
Bane is the patron of those who want to rule or dominate, whether that be a community or the world. His alignment is Lawful Evil, and his followers basically think that the world would be a lot better if it everyone lived in one big empire, with one person on top. (Exactly who is on top depends on the individual… and yes, it’s normally that individual!) This isn’t a chaotic view of world dominance, but one that is well-organised and has everyone in their proper place. Mostly as slaves.
Banite customs were often quite spartan in nature and the god’s followers celebrated no holidays in honor of their god, instead showing their gratitude to him through service and the ritual torture and sacrifice of sentient beings offensive to the god. Priests of Bane prayed 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 was death.
Unfortunately for Bane, the Zhentarim are no longer the force they once were. Once ruled by Manshoon the Mage and Fzoul Chembryl, High Priest of Bane, the Zhentarim have suffered many reverses, including the destruction of their major stronghold, Zhentil Keep. The current Zhentarim are trying to use more underhanded methods of gaining power than before, and seem unable to muster the mercenary armies that once threatened the peace of the Realms.
Bane is the chief god in Mulmaster, and for a while was the only god worshipped in Thay.
He is worshipped by a few members of the Lord’s Alliance and (of course) the Zhentarim.
Places of worship
Although the worship of Bane is prevalent all over Faerûn, its presence was strongest in the Moonsea region, where, as of 1479 DR, the Church of Bane had its headquarters: the House of the Black Lord in Mulmaster. During the same time, his Church was the only one allowed in Thay. Other known temples include Lyceum of the Black Lord – the main temple in Phlan.
“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.”