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Allomancy

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Allomancy
Table of Allomantic Metals.jpeg
Related to Preservation
Focus Metal
Prerequisites Genetic ability, Snapping
Type End-Positive
World Scadrial
Universe Cosmere
Featured In Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive[1]
This page or section needs to be updated with new information for The Bands of Mourning!
Be aware that in its current state, it does not include this additional content yet.

Allomancy is brutal, raw, and powerful

Khriss in "On the Three Metallic Arts"[2]

Allomancy is the most widely used form of Investiture on Scadrial,[2] and is locally known as one of the three Metallic Arts. People who have one or more Allomantic abilities are called Allomancers with each Allomantic power being paired with a type of metal, which must be ingested and "burned" to activate.

Mechanics[edit]

Allomancy, obviously, is of Preservation. The rational mind will see this. For, in the case of Allomancy, net power is gained. It is provided by an external source--Preservation's own body.

Harmony on Allomancy[3]
Vin pushing on coins with the Allomantic power of steel

Allomancy is an End-Positive magic system, which draws on the power of Preservation, channeled through a metal when it is burned. This differs to how Feruchemy works, as Allomancy is not being powered by the body of the Allomancer, but instead by an external force.[2] Like the other Metallic Arts, Allomancy as a magic system formed through the natural interactions between the two Shards that inhabit Scadrial, Preservation and Ruin, and the planet itself, instead of being created by a specific Shard.[4] This magic system, however, is generally tailored and fuelled by Preservation,[3] although specific cases will involve an Allomancer drawing upon Ruin's essence instead.[5] Like other forms of Investiture, Allomancy does not necessarily reflect the intent of the Shard which it is associated with.[6]

Allomantic metals are the focus, but not the source, of Allomancy's power.[7] When an Allomancer burns a metal, that metal's specific molecular structure acts as a conduit to Preservation, and then the Allomancer is granted an ability corresponding to the metal, allowing the metal to "focus" Preservation's power to the user. Each metal is the only way a mortal can access Preservation and the power of creation,[8] after which it is vaporized.[9] However, this is only true for the base sixteen Allomantic metals and not god metals or their alloys.

Allomancers feel a reserve of power in their stomach when they have ingested a metal they can burn. The metals are usually ingested by drinking specifically prepared metal vials, which contain metal flakes suspended in an alcohol solution or other such liquid, e.g. cod oil. While swallowing metal is the most common way of getting metal into the body, other ways such as injecting or snorting will also work.[10] When using their powers, many Allomancers describe a warm feeling in the stomach, hence the term "burning metal". An Allomancer can also burn their metals at an accelerated rate, which is called "flaring." Flaring grants more power, but the reserve of metals depletes much faster, too.[11] Allomancers can burn metals from any Shardworld.[12]

Advanced Allomancy can be combined with Feruchemy to gain faster-than-light travel.[13] It is possible to use Allomancy in the Cognitive Realm.[14]

Burning metals containing Biochromatic Breath has no effect on the Allomancy, although if the Breath belongs to the Allomancer it will be regained.[15]

Gaining Allomantic Abilities[edit]

Allomancy is a spiritually hereditary trait, that does not follow the same principles of dominant and recessive physical genetics.[16] Scadrians with mixed skaa-noble heritage generally must have a noble in the previous five generations in order to be born an Allomancer.[17] The ability lays dormant until an Allomancer undergoes Snapping, which will activate their Allomantic abilities. The abilities can be used instinctually, including while unconscious,[18] once awakened if the user is to ingest the correct type of metal, though training is required to use these powers well. Snapping does not affect the chances of having an Allomancer child.[19] Twins are more likely to have the same metal, especially if they are identical instead of fraternal.[20]

It is possible to gain Allomancy through the use of Hemalurgic spikes where the spiritual DNA associated with Allomancy is transferred from one soul to another. If an Allomancer attempts to burn a Hemalurgic spike, the Allomancer's spiritual DNA will be spliced to that of the person's contained in the spike. The consequences of this are as of yet unknown.[21]

Additionally, consuming a bead of lerasium will hardcode Allomancy into a persons Spiritweb and grant them Allomantic abilities. The size of the bead that is consumed is proportional to the strength of their Allomancy.[22]

Snapping[edit]

In the Final Empire era of Scadrial, Snapping required immense trauma that was usually inflicted by an intense beating at a young age. It was possible for Allomancers to Snap from intense positive emotion, but this is much less common.[23] It is also possible to Snap from false emotions, caused by Soothing and Rioting.[24] It was said that the more powerful the Allomancer, the more intense the trauma had to be to Snap.[25] After the Final Ascension, Harmony changed the way Snapping operated, but it is unknown how it was altered.[26] After an Allomancer has Snapped, they will have access to their full power, and do not have to build to reach their full potential such as with Surgebinding.

Savantism[edit]

Allomancers who flare their metal intensely for extended periods of time may be physiologically altered by the constant influx of Allomantic power. These people are known as Allomantic savants.[27] These people experience heightened ability with, and heightened dependence upon, whatever metal they are burning in such a manner. Under most circumstances, this was considered irreversibly damaging.

Types of Allomancers[edit]

Never try to burn a metal that isn't one of the ten. I warned you that impure metals and alloys can make you sick. Well, if you try to burn a metal that isn't Allomantically sound at all, it could be deadly.

Allomancers are categorized based on if they can burn a single metal, Misting, or if they can burn all metals, Mistborn, with Hemalurgy being the only known way to access a combination powers that falls outside of this categorizations structure. Each type of Misting was given a particular name depending on their ability, such as Lurcher, Coinshot, or Soother. An Allomancer's lineage does not usually play a factor in which kind of Misting they are.[28]

Throughout the ages, the strength of an Allomancer has slowly decreased, weakening a bit with each generation.[29][30] This dilution of power eventually caps and cannot decrease any further, and has reached that point by Era 3.[31] People who use lerasium can gain the strength of ancient, powerful Allomancers.[22]

Twinborn and Compounders[edit]

After the Final Empire, Terris and nobles began to interbreed, so it became possible for their descendants to have one Allomantic ability and one Feruchemical ability. People with such powers were called Twinborn. Like Mistings, Twinborn were each given a name depending on their specific combination of abilities.[32] The interaction between the two abilities creates a new, secondary effect, known as a Resonance.[33]

A special type of Twinborn is a Compounder -- a Twinborn who has the same metal for both their Allomantic and Feruchemical abilities. A Compounder can Allomantically burn their Feruchemically charged metalmind, gaining a massive burst of the stored Feruchemical attribute. Compounders were considered immensely powerful. Though the term "Compounding" first appeared in Scadrian vocabulary after the Final Empire, perhaps the most famous Compounder was the Lord Ruler himself -- Compounding was one reason he was so strong.

Allomantic Metals[edit]

The following is the modern Table of Allomantic Metals, from some point after the Catacendre.

Table of Allomantic Metals
PHYSICAL Pushing Pulling Pulling Pushing MENTAL
External Steel Steel (Coinshot)
Pushes on Nearby Metals
Iron Iron (Lurcher)
Pulls on Nearby Metals
Zinc Zinc (Rioter)
Enflames (riots) Emotions
Brass Brass (Soother)
Dampens (soothes) Emotions
External
Internal Pewter Pewter (Thug)
Increases Physical Abilities
Tin Tin (Tineye)
Increases Senses
Copper Copper (Smoker)
Hide Allomantic Pulses
Bronze Bronze (Seeker)
Can Hear Allomantic Pulses
Internal
Internal Duralumin Duralumin (Duralumin Gnat)
Enhances Current Metal Burned
Aluminum Aluminum (Aluminum Gnat)
Wipes Internal Allomantic Reserves
Gold Gold (Augur)
Reveals Your Past Self
Electrum Electrum (Oracle)
Reveals Your Future
Internal
External Nicrosil Nicrosil (Nicroburst)
Enhances Allomantic Burn of Target
Chromium Chromium (Leecher)
Wipes Allomantic Reserves of Target
Cadmium Cadmium (Pulser)
Slows Down Time
Bendalloy Bendalloy (Slider)
Speeds Up Time
External
ENHANCEMENT Pushing Pulling Pulling Pushing TEMPORAL

There are two metals for every power. One Pushes, one Pulls--the second is usually an alloy of the first. For emotions--the external mental powers--you Pull with zinc and Push with brass. You just used pewter to Push your body. That's one of the internal physical powers.

Vin as Preservation fuelling Elend's Allomancy

There are sixteen basic Allomantic metals. The metals come in pairs: one metal is a periodic element, while the other is the alloy of that base metal. These pairs have complementary effects. Iron Pulls on nearby metals, while its alloy, steel, Pushes on metals. Similarly, each elemental metal is classified as a "Pulling" ability, whereas each alloy is classified as a "Pushing" ability.[34] The purity of the metal corresponds to its effectiveness and alloys require precise compound percentages for maximum power. Burning an impure alloy may cause sickness,[11] while metals that are not Allomantically viable cannot be burned after being ingested.[35]

In addition to Pulling and Pushing classifications, there are external and internal metals. External powers influence things outside an Allomancer's body, while internal powers influence the Allomancer. This naturally divides the sixteen Allomantic metals into four groups of four metals each: physical, mental, temporal, and enhancement powers. Each quadrant has a metal and alloy pair of an external power, and another pair of internal powers.

God metals do not fit in the modern Allomantic Table, and Scadrians appear to only know of the metals that correspond to the Scadrian Shards; lerasium, atium, and ettmetal. Unlike the standard Allomantic metals, which are regular metal elements and compounds, god metals are a condensed, solid form of pure Investiture. Alloys of god metals can lead to additional abilities.[2]

Mistborn cannot burn a god metal they are not tied to its Investiture.[36] It is likely they can only burn lerasium, atium, and, theoretically, harmonium.

History[edit]

At some point, Preservation altered Allomancy to insert Ruin's god metal, atium, and an alloy of it, malatium, in lieu of cadmium and bendalloy,[37] in order to execute his plan to defeat Ruin using atium Mistings.[38] The Shard's plan eventually came to fruition during the Battle of Hathsin when Elend's army consumed a large proportion of the existing atium, preventing Ruin from accessing his full power.

Prior to the Ascension of the Lord Ruler, Allomancy was rarely found among the general population. The Lord Rulers Ascension, and his subsequent distribution of the lerasium beads, increased the strength of the Allomantic spiritual DNA in the Final Empire, which had long lasting effects through the subsequent generations. Rashek, and his Steel Ministry, also suppressed knowledge of several of the Allomantic metals, so that only the four physical, four mental, gold, and atium, were known of by the general populous. Malatium became known through legend as The Eleventh Metal, a rumor that may have been started by Ruin to help facilitate the downfall of the Lord Ruler. Prior to its destruction, atium and malatium were incorrectly classified as temporal metals instead of god metals by The Lord Ruler and his government.

Following the Final Ascension, Harmony altered Snapping to act differently.[39][26] The Allomantic Table also changed at this time to remove Ruin's metals, with advances in technology also making cadmium, bendalloy, chromium, and nicrosil more available.

Notable Allomancers[edit]

Development[edit]

Allomancy was present in the original version of Mistborn (now known as Mistborn Prime). In that version, Allomancy only had Mistborn and no Mistings.[40] Mistborn Prime was never published, and Brandon later repurposed its good ideas into Mistborn: The Final Empire. To give this new Mistborn book a heist novel feel, Brandon added Mistings, so that he could have a team of specialists with their own unique strengths.

The metals themselves changed over time. Brandon had been misled by employees of a hobby shop in his childhood that pewter was an alloy of silver, so in the original draft of Mistborn, silver and pewter were paired, and he named silver Mistings Silvereyes. When he realized the factual error, he was forced to change it to tin and Tineye.[41] Brandon always thought Silvereye sounded much "slicker" than Tineye. And so silver just happened to not have any Allomantic effect in the final form of Allomancy.

After the original trilogy and Brandon's reveal that atium and malatium did not belong on the true Table of Allomantic Metals, Brandon chose the true external temporal metal to be cadmium, as it was particularly dangerous and hard to acquire, so it made sense that only Scadrians with the technology after the Final Ascension could discover it.[42] Brandon originally had cadmium's alloy named cerrobend, but that name happened to be copyrighted, so Brandon was forced to change it to the generic word, bendalloy. The error was present on an early version of the Table of Allomantic Metals.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-20#
  2. a b c d The Alloy of Law Ars Arcanum #
  3. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 32 epigraph#
  4. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  5. The Hero of Ages chapter 78 epigraph#
  6. /r/fantasy AMA 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-08-31#
  7. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2009-11-12#
  8. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  9. West Jordan signing
    Arcanum - 2011-08-04#
  10. YouTube Livestream 10
    Arcanum - 2020-06-18#
  11. a b c d The Final Empire chapter 7 #
  12. Stuttgart signing
    Arcanum - 2019-05-17#
  13. Alloy of Law Seattle Signing
    Arcanum - 2011-11-11#
  14. Warsaw signing
    Arcanum - 2017-03-18#
  15. Warsaw signing
    Arcanum - 2017-03-18#
  16. Orem Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-03-16#
  17. The Final Empire chapter 21 #
  18. The Final Empire chapter 15 #
  19. Idaho Falls Signing
    Arcanum - 2015-11-28#
  20. Bands of Mourning release party
    Arcanum - 2016-01-25#
  21. Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
  22. a b 17th Shard Interview
    Arcanum - 2010-10-03#
  23. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-03-30#
  24. Stormlight Three Update #5
    Arcanum - 2016-11-21#
  25. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2009-08-18#
  26. a b West Jordan signing
    Arcanum - 2011-12-15#
  27. The Hero of Ages chapter 16 epigraph#
  28. Orem Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-03-16#
  29. The Hero of Ages chapter 21 epigraph#
  30. The Hero of Ages chapter 22 epigraph#
  31. Legion Release Party
    Arcanum - 2018-09-19#
  32. The Alloy of Law chapter 1 #
  33. Shadows of Self Ars Arcanum #
  34. Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations
    Arcanum - 2007-05-28#
  35. Starsight Release Party
    Arcanum - 2019-11-26#
  36. General Twitter 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-10-24#
  37. Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A
    Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
  38. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-06-10#
  39. General Twitter 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-11-14#
  40. Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations
    Arcanum - 2006-09-22#
  41. Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations
    Arcanum - 2007-02-12#
  42. Calamity Austin signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-25#
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