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Duxredux

Savantism Through Duralumin

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I was reading Trusk'our's thread on Allomantic Duralumin Savantism (https://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/106083-allomantic-duralumin-savantism/) and it got me thinking. Is there a scale of savantism or is there one or more plateaus to the changes caused by the power? Technically, once physiological changes begin to occur, they would be considered a Savant, regardless of how minor or extreme the change was.

So, hypothetically you have three people who ate equally sized bits of Lerasium and became Mistborn. All three burn a metric ton of Brass (or other large but reasonably sized amount that could be burned away through normal allomantic usage) over the course of a year, one burning at a normal rate, one constantly flaring, one burning their Brass as fast as they could with Duralumin.

What level of savantism would each allomancer obtain? I assume the normal burner would get very proficient at Soothing and overall benefits to the practice, but would get relatively little savantism effects because they aren't stressing the body or Spiritweb (considering Mistborn commonly leave their Copper and Tin running in the night but don't suffer as Spook did, even when they aren't using Pewter). The one flaring would certainly become a savant, their soul warped by the constant stretching. What of the Duralumin user? Would they get end up at the same level of savantism as the one flaring, or would they have more extreme effects of savantism? I would guess the second. Could the one flaring metals continue burning and eventually catch up to the Duralumin user, or would there be specific changes that only could be feasibly accomplished with Duralumin (unless you're TLR and have 1,000 years to burn? Maybe not even then? I'm not sure I see him going the Duralumin route either though)? 

A reduced rate of Duralumin burning allowing for abnormally high flares might explain TLR's insane Soothing, but we don't see him chugging down Brass constantly either. Breeze's estimate at the Skaa executions was that TLR was Soothing a number two orders of magnitude larger than what he could, probably with a greater Push on their emotions as well. That seems like an insane amount of Brass to be burning during a long, leisurely carriage ride from Kredik Shaw to the fountain square without refilling your metal reserves at some point. Maybe he is stealthily eating Brass, maybe he can choke down a huge amount to fill his stomach, but it seems rather inconvenient for TLR to constantly put up with.

Thoughts?

 

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Posted (edited)

My impression (I don't have a ton of evidence in mind for this) is that savantism comes from continuously burning a metal, especially flaring it, and not from the actual amount of power released by allomancy. We don't, for example, have much reason to think that stronger allomancers (like Elend compared to Vin, or Spook compared to Wax) were more likely to become savants despite the effects of their power being stronger per unit of metal burned.

Spook basically never stopped burning tin for a while, if not necessarily flaring it all the time. Wax frequently burned steel (lightly, certainly not flaring it) for extended periods, but he didn't do it anywhere near as often as Spook. Sazed, as Harmony, says that many Seekers become savants without knowing it. They may be constantly flaring it, but we don't know. We have very few examples of same-metal savants, so it's hard to judge the degree of savantism, and even fewer examples of people using duralumin with other metals (never mind becoming a savant with those metals!).

So I suspect that getting all the power out of metal at once, via duralumin, isn't the same as burning the metal, on its own, over time in terms of becoming a savant. It seems to me more likely that you get savant effects from engaging in the act of using allomancy more so than from the scale of the result of that allomancy.

As for the Lord Ruler, it doesn't seem like he was using duralumin for his mass soothings. The effects described in the book don't match what Vin accomplished with Straff when she duralumin-soothed him but instead seemed like a constant effect.

Besides that, I think that the Lord Ruler had several things going on: he had a great deal of experience using his powers in public settings and could probably cover ingesting metal if he wanted to; he had feruchemical options to help quickly and discreetly ingest metals if needed; he wears a lot of metal, so could easily have it available at any time; he was a maximum-strength allomancer, having gained the power directly from burning Lerasium; he was extremely practiced at using allomancy, and so very skilled (savantism aside); he probably was a savant with several metals (and brass would be a good one for him to have extra ability with, and clearly was a metal he used often); and he could compound pretty casually, potentially allowing for spectacular allomantic effects even given the above:

Quote

Chaos (paraphrased)

I continued to ask about the Lord Ruler and his Allomantic strength.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There's an upper bound to the amount of power you can get from being a savant. Brandon said that, obviously, the Lord Ruler wasn't using duralumin and Elend could only get that powerful in Soothing using duralumin. He implied that there was a way to Compound to enhance Allomancy.

Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A (Nov. 5, 2011)

 

EDIT: I dug up a couple more WoB quotes that suggest to me that becoming a savant is about using Investiture frequently, rather than in great quantities. It's not 100% clear, but in each quote he talks about becoming a savant as using Investiture a lot, rather than using a lot of Investiture.

Quote

Brandon Sanderson

Being a savant has to do with using Investiture a lot, and it's starting to permeate your soul. Like we've ta--

Argent

So he's more a savant with both of--

Brandon Sanderson

He's used them a lot, and they are changing his soul, and so the powers are morphing and changing. Just in slight, little ways.

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/36/#e1563

Quote

Brandon Sanderson

Evgeni,

So here's the problem. The more I dig into savants in the later outlines, the more I feel that I'm in a dangerous area--in that I'm disobeying their original intention. (Which is that using the power so much that it permeates your soul can be dangerous, a kind of uncontrolled version of a spren bond.)

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/309/#e8115

 

Edited by Returned
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Posted (edited)

TLR seems to be Soothing basically constantly, so I think he'd almost have to be a savant in it.

I think flaring tin very often, not just burning near-constantly, is a big part of what made Spook a savant in a *relatively* short time (about a year). But TLR has been doing it way longer.

EDIT: as for the amount of brass TLR needs, there's very little metal in a vial - just tiny flakes. Even if he's using far more than a normal Soother, it's still probably not that much actual volume - and TLR is going to get more Allomantic effect per gram of metal.

Edited by cometaryorbit
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@Returned Huh. I had a different impression on how savantism occurs, though my take may have come from Tin or Pewter. Using Tin or Pewter as an Allomancer creates an distinct physiological change within yourself for the duration of the burn, by Pushing or Pulling your body beyond it's normal abilities. It's related to the rate of Allomantic power being drawn but not directly; it's how far the body is being distorted by the power of the metal which I assume is affected by the rate of burn. I think Kelsier specifically warns Vin about frequently flaring when first training her: Push too hard too long or too often and the body doesn't have a chance to revert to its normal state and it begins to break down. If it it was simply about the quantity of metal burned with the accompanying power eventually permeating your soul, then I would expect all older Allomancers to eventually become savants. That doesn't seem supported on Scadrial, unless Straff Venture has burned less Tin in his life than the teenage Spook. Granted, if it is just about the sheer quantity of Investiture pouring through your soul, that explains the Soulcaster Savants who eventually die while inevitably becoming too much like their Soulcasting focus.

My assumption with the question about Duralumin influencing Savantism is that the body or soul would be stretched and stressed far beyond the normal limits, and that perhaps the changes in the soul would happen either faster or more extensively than without Duralumin. If that's not how it works, then the thought experiment is of course a dead end.

It's quite possible that we're looking at two different states of Savantism and that this is something that he's changed his mind on. Maybe Savantism worked by stretching the soul early on but now it works more in the way he had originally intended for it to be manifested in the Cosmere. If that is the case, then for theorizing reasons, looking at SA cases of Savantism will be more useful moving forward. I often doublecheck my conclusions based on his early stuff, particularly Mistborn.

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9 minutes ago, Duxredux said:

Huh. I had a different impression on how savantism occurs, though my take may have come from Tin or Pewter. Using Tin or Pewter as an Allomancer creates an distinct physiological change within yourself for the duration of the burn, by Pushing or Pulling your body beyond it's normal abilities. It's related to the rate of Allomantic power being drawn but not directly; it's how far the body is being distorted by the power of the metal which I assume is affected by the rate of burn. I think Kelsier specifically warns Vin about frequently flaring when first training her: Push too hard too long or too often and the body doesn't have a chance to revert to its normal state and it begins to break down. If it it was simply about the quantity of metal burned with the accompanying power eventually permeating your soul, then I would expect all older Allomancers to eventually become savants.

We don't really know, so it could be more like you describe. There are a couple of catches to the physical enhancement theory that I can think of, though. Spook, after becoming a savant, doesn't seem to have elevated senses without his tin-- instead, he can't feel anything. His normal senses aren't clearly enhanced but rather his capacity to enhance them with tin is increased (maybe; it's certainly possible that his body has enhanced senses also but the additional effect of tin is so strong that he can't perceive them). And mental metals don't have an obvious physical change that would correlate them, although that doesn't mean that such a change doesn't exist. I definitely think that you and @cometaryorbit are right that flaring is a big piece of the puzzle, and if that's the case then duralumin having an effect seems possible.

The best piece of evidence I've found that supports my interpretation is this WoB about the Lord Ruler. He's a Lerasium Mistborn, so Allomancy is as strong in him as it gets, and he's a compounder, and yet his savantism is described as a function of time and metal use rather than raw power. This is certainly not definitive, though; his long life may be referenced just to indicate that he's encountered enough situations to drive savantism even for unusual or niche metals.

Quote

theFinisher4Ever

Was the Lord Ruler using Feruchemy + Allomancy to Soothe all of the people around him? Or was he, as I like to think, flaring for so long that he became a Soother Savant?

Brandon Sanderson

He lived long enough and used his metals enough (particularly Soothing) to become nearly a savant in every area, if not a full savant.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 (April 15, 2013)

 

I don't think it's the quantity of metal burned that drives savantism, exactly, but rather the amount of time spent burning within a given period. Spending several days doing a pewter drag doesn't necessarily make someone a pewter savant, for example, despite constantly flaring the metal the whole time. And I don't think that it's along the lines of "once you've met the quota of one pound of metal burned over the course of your life, you are a savant in that metal", though again, we just don't know. Otherwise we might expect someone like, say, Straff Venture to be a savant given how often he used his tin and how good he was with it. But he wasn't anything like savant-Spook. And Wax is very likely to be a steel savant despite having Allomancy centuries weaker than anyone in era 1 (though he's also got a resonance with Feruchemy, which has not been described fully).

Brandon has definitely stated that he's considering backpedaling on what we know of savantism, especially with Allomancy, as he isn't happy with some of how it's played out with Wax, quoted in my post above. So you're right, what's out there, even officially, may not be as reliable as we'd prefer. Nonetheless, most of the references I see refer to using the power a lot, rather than channeling a lot of power, and so I think that the balance of current evidence very slightly favors my interpretation for now, at least on Scadrial. But we'll see, maybe as soon as November!

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I agree it can't be as simple as "total amount you've ever burned" or every older Tineye and Smoker would be savants.

And Kelsier's warning / Spook's case makes it sound like it's caused by flaring a lot + burning continuously so the body kind of comes to rely on it to function (at least for metals like tin and pewter, not sure how that works for e.g. bronze which is apparently much milder in side effects).

So burning bronze one hour a day for 32 years won't make you a savant, but burning every waking moment  16 hours a day for 2 years might - especially if you flare a lot.

But that TLR WoB does suggest there might be some cumulative effect over very long time spans, too.

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Posted (edited)

I need to read these WoBs further. I think we're arguing over the mechanism that someone becomes a savant, and at least here he said that there's multiple ways.

Quote

Questioner

So I have a question about Savants. Could you only get there by flaring, or if you burn it for a long period of time or like duralumin--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you can get there other ways.

Oathbringer Houston signing (Nov. 18, 2017

Which is pretty much exactly what our argument is. Burn, flare, or use Duralumin. Maybe the point is that they all work, and Brandon hasn't nailed down or shown specifics.

That WoB that @Returned found where Brandon specifically reaches out to Argent to let him know what he's changing his direction on Savantism, and his reasons for doing so, particularly in the consequences and effects on the body, is worth reading in its entirety for the discussion. This looks pivotal, so it may be worth checking specifically on the dates of WoBs and putting much more emphasis on anything after December 2016, since this is when he made the decision.

Quote

Brandon Sanderson

Warning, Evgeni. I'm really considering doing a backpedal on savants. The more i think about them, the less I'm not liking how my current course has them being treated in upcoming books. I think it deviates too far from my original vision.

Argent

Hey, I wouldn't normally contact you directly like this, but given that you thought it important enough to reach out and let me know you might change how savants work, I figured you probably wouldn't be too upset by this message. I replied to your Facebook comment, asking if you could clarify a little bit which aspects of savantism you are thinking of keeping and/or cutting. I don't need an essay on the topic (though you know I'd love one!), just some details on what we can consider canon for theories, and what we should be careful around.

Brandon Sanderson

Evgeni,

So here's the problem. The more I dig into savants in the later outlines, the more I feel that I'm in a dangerous area--in that I'm disobeying their original intention. (Which is that using the power so much that it permeates your soul can be dangerous, a kind of uncontrolled version of a spren bond.)

And so, I don't want to let myself just start making people savants right and left. It needs to be a specific thing. Wax is the troubling one, as I have him burning so much steel that he's well on his way, but isn't showing any side effects. If I'm going to give him savant-like abilities, he needs savant-like consequences.

That's the danger, just falling back on savanthood to do some of the things I want, so often that it undermines the actual point and purpose of them in the cosmere lore.

So if I backpedal, it will be to contain this and point myself the right way, sharply curtailing my desire to make people savants without their savanthood being an intrinsic part of their story and conflict in life. (Like it was for Spook, and is for Soulcasting savants on Roshar.)

Feel free to share this.

Argent

Okay, so - if you do decide to go this route, I see the story implications (larger focus on consequences, less easy to get to the point where a character can be considered a savant). What I am not sure about is the potential for a mechanical change. Would a backpedal on your side cause a conflict with information you've shared with us, in or out of your books? Are you saying that it's possible that Wax won't be considered a savant (if you can't squeeze a good ramifications plot for him that doesn't contradict the apparent lack of consequences so far, for example)?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven't decided on anything yet. It's mostly consequences for the future--just a kind of, "be aware I'm not 100% pleased with how Wax turned out, re: savanthood and Allomantic resonance."

The idea of resonance is that two powers, combined, meld kind of into one single power. This is a manifestation of the way Shards combine. Wax was intended as a savant of the two melded powers. But without consequences in his plot, I'm not confident that I'll continue in the same vein for future books.

Footnote: The first message comes from Brandon reaching out to Argent (Evgeni) on Facebook with a follow-up regarding this entry. This rest is from a Reddit PM exchange between Argent and Brandon.
Miscellaneous 2016 (Dec. 15, 2016)

 

Edited by Duxredux
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Good find! That's a solid enough piece of evidence that the duralumin route can work, and I think it tips the balance the other way from how I'd thought about it before. Unless something changes, using duralumin is a route to becoming an Allomantic savant.

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9 hours ago, Duxredux said:

I need to read these WoBs further. I think we're arguing over the mechanism that someone becomes a savant, and at least here he said that there's multiple ways.

Which is pretty much exactly what our argument is. Burn, flare, or use Duralumin. Maybe the point is that they all work, and Brandon hasn't nailed down or shown specifics.

Yeah probably.

I totally think using lots of Duralumin would be a possible route to savantism for a Mistborn.

My only issue is that it probably isn't just a "cumulative total of metal burned" thing or all the older Mistings of metals that you tend to burn very often (like tin and copper) would be savants.

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I can't remember, but did Elend burn through metals faster than Vin?  

If the strength of your allomancy allows more power from the same amount of metal then the portions of metal wouldn't be that hard to believe.  If the power of allomancy is limited by the spec of metal being burned and your strength simply allows you to burn more faster then the question is more for how TLR did what he did.  If it is a mix of both then it opens up a ton of room to understand the way he did what he did.  

I would imagine that if the lord ruler had access to nicrosil and was just keeping it secret that even offers us the best explanation.  We don't know exactly how nicrosil compounding works but if he was able to augment the strength of an allomantic ability through compounding and your strength in allomancy allows you to pull more power out of each molecule of a metal then I could definately see a world where TLR were to burn a nicrosil mind filled with a portion of his strength for soothing.  This would certainly allow him access to 10x the stored strength pretty quickly and his burn rate wouldn't be that much higher.

He could also just have been tapping a nicrosil mind of some sort to augment his abilities by a lesser extent.

I think with savantism and patient practice you would also learn how to burn your metals really slowly.  And with compounding allomantic abilities to draw more power out of each molecule TLR could have been so powerful that he needed half of the metal to make twice the effect as well.  

Then again I also figure TLRs metalminds were pretty well examined after his death and I don't remember them finding any nicrosil there (could have been stored inside him as we see with miles).  

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I think greater allomantic strength both lets you burn faster and gives more power per gram of metal.

Nicrosil would explain TLR's power, but I don't think the Final Empire had the technology to make it. Maybe TLR made a Nicrosilmind at the Well or something, but yeah, they definitely checked TLR's metalminds after his death (at least to retrieve the atium, Vin mentions it in WoA).

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On 5/4/2022 at 3:51 PM, Tamriel Wolfsbaine said:

I can't remember, but did Elend burn through metals faster than Vin?  

If the strength of your allomancy allows more power from the same amount of metal then the portions of metal wouldn't be that hard to believe.

Elend doesn't burn through his metals faster than Vin unless he's flaring more. Having greater Allomantic Strength means you get more Investiture out of every gram of metal burned.

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11 hours ago, Wandering Shade said:

Elend doesn't burn through his metals faster than Vin unless he's flaring more. Having greater Allomantic Strength means you get more Investiture out of every gram of metal burned.

So it is easily within reason that TLR could have obtained enough strength to double breezes ability to sooth a crowd just from the power of the well alone. Lerasium mistborns are a pretty decent magnitude stronger than mistings 1000 years down the line and I doubt TLR would have ever handed out a piece of lerasium that was big enough to give one of his "friends" even half the raw alomantic strength that he had from the well.   If he let a friend eat a chunk of lerasium I am sure he himself ate 2. (Not that he would have needed to post the well)   

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Posted (edited)

On 5/9/2022 at 7:19 AM, Tamriel Wolfsbaine said:

So it is easily within reason that TLR could have obtained enough strength to double breezes ability to sooth a crowd just from the power of the well alone. Lerasium mistborns are a pretty decent magnitude stronger than mistings 1000 years down the line and I doubt TLR would have ever handed out a piece of lerasium that was big enough to give one of his "friends" even half the raw alomantic strength

True, but TLRs Soothing power was way more than double Breeze's. He was probably affecting hundreds of thousands in that execution scene (I think at least all the adult men of Luthadel, presumably excluding the very elderly or infirm, were required to be there) and Breeze is I think generally hundreds. There is a reference in HoA to Soothing Station Soothers affecting 'hundreds, even thousands' so Breeze might be able to manage a few thousand.

OTOH some of the Soothing Station ones might have been Savants.

So I think we are looking at *at least* 100x number of people affected, & likely more like 500x.

But ....

-Allomantic strength may not be linear with number of people affected

- Elend controls tens of thousands of koloss in HoA, and Vin probably controls at least 10k at the end of WoA (originally there were 20k in the attacking force, minus however many died in the battle). But since they stay controlled, I don't think this scales the same way as Soothing humans - they seem to take control piece by piece.

 

Edited by cometaryorbit
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18 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

True, but TLRs Soothing power was way more than double Breeze's. He was probably affecting hundreds of thousands in that execution scene (I think at least all the adult men of Luthadel, presumably excluding the very elderly or infirm, were required to be there) and Breeze is I think generally hundreds. There is a reference in HoA to Soothing Station Soothers affecting 'hundreds, even thousands' so Breeze might be able to manage a few thousand.

OTOH some of the Soothing Station ones might have been Savants.

So I think we are looking at *at least* 100x number of people affected, & likely more like 500x.

But ....

-Allomantic strength may not be linear with number of people affected

- Elend controls tens of thousands of koloss in HoA, and Vin probably controls at least 10k at the end of WoA (originally there were 20k in the attacking force, minus however many died in the battle). But since they stay controlled, I don't think this scales the same way as Soothing humans - they seem to take control piece by piece.

 

I also would imagine it is more based on the space filled by the peoples.  I would propose that if you look at the area of a circle when you double the radius don't you end up with a much larger area?   If breeze could effect 100 yards out in all directions and the lord ruler could effect 200 yards in all directions with just a blanket of soothing your potential for soothing the masses goes soooo much higher. Plus if it is a bubble you also include folks higher in elevation as well. 

I am working on my garden lately and a cubit foot is tiny... but a cubic yard is 27x that much.  All you do is go out is 2 more feet in each direction and you have 27x as much soil... I sort of picture soothing and copper clouds like that.  The larger area you cover exponentially increases the amount of potential people effected.  No doubt breeze could effect far more people soothing in a congested area than he could on a farm... likewise TLR will seem far more powerful in a city park with mandatory attendance and standing room only than if he were to be on the moon alone trying to sooth folks. Soothing 100x as many people as Breeze can has a lot of variables... 

I could be wrong and it could be limited by count size alone but I imagine HoA being a crammed battle ground where people are standing on their dead and walking on top of their living... I imagine the kolos were a good and tight group.   If duralumin enhances both your area of effect and your strength in that area it all makes perfect sense.  

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