Two things caught my eye after looking over Rule of Two and Dynasty of Evil.
We'll start with Freedon Nadd, his holocron and the orbalisks. Bane came into possession of Nadd's holocron. Nadd's holocron contains everything Nadd ever learned of the dark side, most notably, he had acquired all of Naga Sadow's own dark side knowledge, which by proxy is contained within. Naga Sadow's teachings were the basis for Exar Kun's own power, the only other notable artifact I can remember being the Dark Holocron, which he obtained while already DLOTS.
Bane, over the course of two decades, presumably harvested all there is to know about the holocron.
Anyway, more to the point, we see Nadd's spectre; he's looking in pretty bad shape, but most notably, we can see that he is human, we can see his skin and so on. We also know from the few images we have of him that his helmet-crown showed his face.
-Rule of Two
We also know that Nadd only had partial success in controlling the power of the Orbalisks. Nadd through his experiments also was able to ascertain that they are impossible to remove, they cause immense physical pain, and if one of the orbalisks is killed, it will release toxins into the host and kill them over the course of a few days. He also identified that they can grow over time until they cover the whole body, and had drawn up schematics for armour which will prevent them from covering vital areas of the body, like the face.
-Rule of Two
Judging by a comparison of Orbalisk Bane and Nadd's appearances, and the description of Nadd, indicates that Nadd never completed this armour blueprint for himself).
My thoughts? It's unclear to what degree Nadd experimented on himself and on other test subjects. For him to find out about the Orbalisks' lethal side effects, he would need to have observed them first hand in order to enter the findings into his holocron. He clearly had plans to one day don the Orbalisk armour himself, but it seems fairly clear that he failed in this endeavour, judging by his depiction in the holocron and his own withered, and Orbalisk-free, physique.
It's possible to conclude that he met his end trying to tame the Orbalisks, they were found inside of his tomb after all. But in any case, he failed to master them.
Bane, on the other hand, was able to master the Orbalisks for a decade, until they covered his entire body, forming a symbiotic bond with them. Therefore, it seems that he succeeded where Nadd failed.
Given that his success with the Orbalisks was purely attributed to his command of the Force, this seems like compelling evidence that Bane was more powerful than Nadd. Add in that he learned everything there is to know from Nadd's holocron, and, that he is demonstrably more powerful by Dynasty of Evil (due to his respective fights against Zannah in RoT and DoE, and his much heightened willpower between the two books), and it further cements the case.
The next observation is quite simple; Bane thought that Force-power boosting artifacts, such as the amulets Exar Kun and Ulic wore, were negligible compared to his own power. He compared them to "a single drop of rain" compared to the "ocean of power he already commanded."
-Dynasty of Evil
This is pertinent because, as we know, Bane has learned everything there is to be known about the Dark Side from Nadd and by proxy Naga Sadow, who formed the basis for Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma's own teachings. All four saw it pertinent to hoard and make use of Sith amulets and other trinkets, in fact, upon becoming Exar's apprentice, Ulic Qel-Droma fashions his own amulet into a gauntlet.
Bane would undoubtedly have read a treatise on how to build these amulets during the decades he spent learning from Nadd, and had come across many during his lifetime, and yet he found them negligible to his own power and infinitely less valuable than the Force-secrets offered by the ancient Sith.
-Dynasty of Evil
So in conclusion, Bane seems to have succeeded where the ancients failed in taming the power of the Orbalisks, and grew beyond the need for trinkets that they found incredibly important to their battle prowess.
Two possible counters I see to this are.
1. Bane struggled to create a holocron, indicating his weakness.
2. Bane thought the feats of the ancient Sith were hyperbolic and beyond his own capabilities.
Both concerns are cleared up quite easily. As far as the holocron is concerned:
1. Bane's struggle with creating the holocron was heightened due to the constant pain he suffered at the hands of the Orbalisks, which he had to suppress. By devoting energy to the creation of a holocron, he opened himself up to the unbearable pain and set himself back.
2. Bane's failing with the holocron owed not to a deficiency in power, but in knowledge of one particular secret. He didn't know the "Rite of Commencement," that is to say, he had yet to master a specific ritual which if not done, would lead to failure in every attempt to create a holocron. After learning this secret, he successfully made his holocron.
3. We don't even know how long it took the likes of Nadd to create a holocron, so using it as a benchmark for comparison seems fallacious. Nadd ruled for over a century as DLOTS, plenty of time to study up on holocron creation.
Regarding Bane's awe of the ancient Sith's feats:
-Rule of Two
So, as we can see, he is in awe of Naga Sadow's feat of wrenching out the cores of stars to cause cataclysmic damage. Bane may not be entirely cognisant of the fact that Naga owes nearly all of the credit of this feat to his Sith Corsair, which is the power source he uses to cause such destruction. Simply reading about the feat in historical accounts may have given him the wrong impression.
But despite that feat, Bane felt that based on what he had learned of those who had made holocrons before him, that his powers still measured up to theirs. His only doubts were 1. In his ability to cause supernovas and 2. In his ability to construct holocrons.
Both of his concerns are unnecessary, as neither feat is attributed to one's personal command of the Force independent of external power sources or secret knowledge. So it seems his estimation is otherwise correct, his abilities do measure up to those of the ancient Sith who came before him.
You would have to argue that Bane's PoV is deliberately deceptive if it frames the narrative with Nadd being only partially successful in controlling the orbalisks, providing blueprints for orbalisk armor he never completes, Bane completing it, and yet apparently this not clearly implying that Bane got more control than Nadd because Nadd actually thought it was a bad idea or something.
The "partly successful efforts to control their power is referring to the possibility to "tap into the parasites' ability to feed on the dark side to greatly increase one's own command of the Force." If it was referring to the negative side-effects, it would say, "the efforts to control their side effects." A further distinction is made after about the side effects.
Seeing as how Exar Kun got his amulet from Freedon Nadd, if Nadd's holocron did not contain instructions on amulet construction it certainly would've mentioned the power of his own, given that Nadd considered collecting such amulets crucial to a Sith Lord's power. This would suggest that Bane was aware of the power of amulets on the order of Exar Kun's, and yet he still showed no interest in finding or creating them.
Last edited by The Ellimist on Feb 8th, 2018 at 07:48 PM