king of nowhere

powers and limitations of an elantrian

52 posts in this topic

I got into an argument with a friend who found elantrians to be too overpowered. the keystone of his argument is that an elantrian with aon dao can fry virtually any opponent, and not much can be done to defend against it.

I am sure elantrians have more limitations than that. I think aon dao needs to be aimed, at least. And I think there are some limitations on how often you can use it. but I could not find anything specific. No hard data on how powerful is the explosion, at least. It can kill a man, but what if the man had a bulletproof vest? what if it had shardplate? how much damage would it do to a modern tank? how realistic would be to dodge it?

I'm looking for anything we have on the argument. Thanks.

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Elantrian's power is dependent on their proximity to Elantris. The strength of their blasts normally without the powerup from Elantris is closer to when Raoden was in Teod. All magic systems on Sel are dependent on location because of where the power of the shards being in the cognitive realm. In addition to this, an elantrian still has to calculate the modifiers and draw them in order to get the effect (Raoden is especially natural/good at this). If the Elantrian's hands are damaged (as what happened in Teod), or prevented from finishing the aon, the effect does not occur. Does that help?

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To be fair, Elantrians are very powerful, with their whole "programming language of reality" thing. Their main limitation is the number of Aons and modifiers that they can memorize, along with the distance thing from Elantris. They can also get crippled in the hands, which is a major drawback.

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thank you, but that stuff i already knew. doesn't really help to figure out how effective is an elantrian in combat

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3 hours ago, king of nowhere said:

I got into an argument with a friend who found elantrians to be too overpowered. the keystone of his argument is that an elantrian with aon dao can fry virtually any opponent, and not much can be done to defend against it.

I am sure elantrians have more limitations than that. I think aon dao needs to be aimed, at least. And I think there are some limitations on how often you can use it. but I could not find anything specific. No hard data on how powerful is the explosion, at least. It can kill a man, but what if the man had a bulletproof vest? what if it had shardplate? how much damage would it do to a modern tank? how realistic would be to dodge it?

I'm looking for anything we have on the argument. Thanks.

Questioner

If all the Elantrians combined their efforts and made a massive Aon, an Aon Daa, would it be like a Death Star?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs* To do Death Star? This would be a lot of Investiture and a lot of work. This is theoretically possible.

Orem signing (March 10, 2018)

 

VindicationKnight

I know Invested objects and people are harder to effect with magic, but does that also apply to indirect magic, like using Aon Daa to strike someone in Shardplate?

Brandon Sanderson

It all depends on how the magics are trying to interact. In the case you mention, there would be little interference.

/r/books AMA 2015 (June 24, 2015)

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, king of nowhere said:

thank you, but that stuff i already knew. doesn't really help to figure out how effective is an elantrian in combat

Could you elaborate then what you are looking for? Because the reason I mentioned what I did was if you are near elantris, you can crack out the modifiers and get an almost unlimited output of power (though the big first blast was from the Dor finally having an outlet). If however the combat takes place away from Elantris, then the elantrian would shoot out a certain number/level of power blasts before they ran out. I mentioned cutting the hands because if the foe knew about it, it would be a tactic employed to counter an Elantrian. Same thing with the time it takes to draw and denote the complexity of modifiers in an aon. The aon was used to blast dakhor monks that had no innate protection against it and it blasted them off their feet at the very least knocking them out, possibly killing them. Their bodies were reinforced to be stronger, faster and armored/more durable. Only Dilaf was resistant because his gift was specific to resisting the Dor. Extending from that is all assumptions. I believe shardplate gives greater strength and resistance than what a dakhor can bring to bear but other than the WoB that nathranking posted, we just don't know. The strength of aons is their versatility. As long as you get your aons off, you can accomplish theoretically anything. Blasting lazers is the least you can do with it. Try matter transformation, teleportation, and all the other potentials that could flow from the other aons (cold, wind, punishment, etc)

Edited by Pathfinder
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Well another thing you got to take into account is the time factor. In the book, Raoden seemed naturally gifted at being accurate with his hands. However if an enemy manages to get in a shot when Raoden is still drawing, Raoden would be in danger. Elantrians are powerful yes. But the fact that it takes them time to power up and there is a need to be precise with their drawings, could be easily used against them in battle.

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14 hours ago, Pathfinder said:

Could you elaborate then what you are looking for? Because the reason I mentioned what I did was if you are near elantris, you can crack out the modifiers and get an almost unlimited output of power (though the big first blast was from the Dor finally having an outlet). If however the combat takes place away from Elantris, then the elantrian would shoot out a certain number/level of power blasts before they ran out.

what I'm looking for is hard data, as I highlighted.

23 hours ago, king of nowhere said:

I am sure elantrians have more limitations than that. I think aon dao needs to be aimed, at least. And I think there are some limitations on how often you can use it. but I could not find anything specific. No hard data on how powerful is the explosion, at least. It can kill a man, but what if the man had a bulletproof vest? what if it had shardplate? how much damage would it do to a modern tank? how realistic would be to dodge it?

I'm looking for anything we have on the argument. Thanks.

so far, I think aons and fabrials do pretty much the same things. we have seen aons do more, but fabrials is a younger science.

 

but I seem to understand there is no hard data to come by

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On 6/7/2019 at 2:31 PM, king of nowhere said:

No hard data on how powerful is the explosion, at least. It can kill a man, but what if the man had a bulletproof vest? what if it had shardplate? how much damage would it do to a modern tank? how realistic would be to dodge it?

I don't think we have this level of detail for any of the magic systems.  

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Defeating Elantris is easy if you have good lintel.  Send in a small team and have them detonate an explosive that damages one of the giant Aon's that makes the city.  After that all of them will be at minimal power.

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On 6/8/2019 at 7:34 AM, Kaladin-Stormblessed said:

Well another thing you got to take into account is the time factor. In the book, Raoden seemed naturally gifted at being accurate with his hands. However if an enemy manages to get in a shot when Raoden is still drawing, Raoden would be in danger. Elantrians are powerful yes. But the fact that it takes them time to power up and there is a need to be precise with their drawings, could be easily used against them in battle.

Only if the Elantrian is unprepared or foolish. Remember that Aons don't have to be drawn into the air. They do work if carved into materials, too. An Elantrian with a few days to prepare for combat would think this through, build armor with Aons on it, he would stitch Aons into his clothing and apply body paint. He would build Aonic weapons even.

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11 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

Only if the Elantrian is unprepared or foolish. Remember that Aons don't have to be drawn into the air. They do work if carved into materials, too. An Elantrian with a few days to prepare for combat would think this through, build armor with Aons on it, he would stitch Aons into his clothing and apply body paint. He would build Aonic weapons even.

Elantris magic is only as useful as the user is intelligent.  Any idiot can breath in stormlight and do some fairly impressive things with it(although more complicated stuff does require a degree of competence).  To make real use of Aons you have to be smart and careful as well as be willing to spend hours debugging your spells.

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36 minutes ago, Karger said:

Elantris magic is only as useful as the user is intelligent.  Any idiot can breath in stormlight and do some fairly impressive things with it(although more complicated stuff does require a degree of competence).  To make real use of Aons you have to be smart and careful as well as be willing to spend hours debugging your spells.

Why would the user as opposed to a specialised developer need to do that? I can see no reason Elantrians could not have spell libraries and be trained in them.

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1 hour ago, Oltux72 said:

Why would the user as opposed to a specialised developer need to do that? I can see no reason Elantrians could not have spell libraries and be trained in them.

Sure.  But that requires that Elantrains (after being treated like royalty all their lives and never needing anything) are willing to go to the library and read.  How much of your time would you spend in the library learning skills that will help you aid society if you were basically a millionaire?

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, Karger said:

Elantris magic is only as useful as the user is intelligent.  Any idiot can breath in stormlight and do some fairly impressive things with it(although more complicated stuff does require a degree of competence).  To make real use of Aons you have to be smart and careful as well as be willing to spend hours debugging your spells.

Any idiot cannot breath in Stormlight. It requires you to have fulfilled one of its forms of initiation.

 

2 hours ago, Karger said:

Sure.  But that requires that Elantrains (after being treated like royalty all their lives and never needing anything) are willing to go to the library and read.  How much of your time would you spend in the library learning skills that will help you aid society if you were basically a millionaire?

This is pure supposition with zero evidence. Everything we learned in the books about pre-Reod Elantrians points to them being benevolent beings who kept the people of Arelon fed, healthy and happy.

On 6/7/2019 at 2:31 PM, king of nowhere said:

I got into an argument with a friend who found elantrians to be too overpowered. the keystone of his argument is that an elantrian with aon dao can fry virtually any opponent, and not much can be done to defend against it.

I am sure elantrians have more limitations than that. I think aon dao needs to be aimed, at least. And I think there are some limitations on how often you can use it. but I could not find anything specific. No hard data on how powerful is the explosion, at least. It can kill a man, but what if the man had a bulletproof vest? what if it had shardplate? how much damage would it do to a modern tank? how realistic would be to dodge it?

I'm looking for anything we have on the argument. Thanks.

I'm assuming that you mean Aon Daa. If you did mean Aon Dao, then I have no idea. We never saw that Aon used in the book. Aon Daa when used in Elantris was able to vaporize a Dakhor monk, which is probably similar to doing the same thing to someone in Shardplate. A bulletproof vest would likely not do anything to mitigate Aon Daa. I don't have a frame of reference for a tank, but Aon Daa probably wouldn't be the right Aon for destroying a tank anyway. You would probably be better off with Aon Shao (Transformation), which could turn the metal of the tank into pretty much anything else. Alternatively you could probably use Aon Sheo (Death) to kill the tank's crew without damaging the tank. You could also use Aon Ashe (Light) to make yourself invisible (assuming that Aon Ashe can do all of the things that standard Lightweaving can) and avoid the tank all together.

As far as dodging Aon Daa, we see Dilaf move out of the way to the large attack by the Elantrians when they first arrive in Teod. I don't know if he ducked before the Aons flew, or if he did so while they were in flight.

There are a lot of posts that mention damaging the hands to stop an Elantrian from drawing. These come from the scene where Dilaf does exactly that. It is worth noting that an Elantrian does not need to draw Aons with their hands or any other part of their body and can make use of Aons that are already in place without drawing anything. They also heal extremely quickly while in Elantris and the surrounding area. The only reason Dilaf's attack works is that Raoden was not prepared for such an attack, and he was not in Elantris. Had they been in Elantris the fight would have been extremely one sided.

Someone else mentioned destroying part of the city to break the Aon Rao that make Elantris work, but this assumes that the structures that form the Aon are not themselves protected by Aons. If they were not protected, the Elantrian's would fall to the Reod every time a piece of the wall needed maintenance.

 

Edited by SwordNimiForPresident
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On 6/14/2019 at 9:27 PM, SwordNimiForPresident said:

This is pure supposition with zero evidence. Everything we learned in the books about pre-Reod Elantrians points to them being benevolent beings who kept the people of Arelon fed, healthy and happy.

They were also treated like gods and this is from the perspective of beings who used to depend on these guys for food and worshiped them.  I think they would be willing to overlook quite a bit.

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On 6/15/2019 at 0:53 AM, Karger said:

Sure.  But that requires that Elantrains (after being treated like royalty all their lives and never needing anything) are willing to go to the library and read.

Why ? Is there a reason you couldn't run a buisiness stamping Aons into metal and selling them?

On 6/15/2019 at 0:53 AM, Karger said:

  How much of your time would you spend in the library learning skills that will help you aid society if you were basically a millionaire?

That is a connection that is not necessary. You may spend time in a library and learn for entirely different reasons.

That leads us to the question what would motivate an Elantrian in general. For some people boredom would be a factor driving them to research Aons. Fame is another thing that they cannot create by AonDor. Sure they would also go for sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, but for decades? Especially as I don't think Elantrians can do drugs.

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1 hour ago, Oltux72 said:

That leads us to the question what would motivate an Elantrian in general. For some people boredom would be a factor driving them to research Aons. Fame is another thing that they cannot create by AonDor. Sure they would also go for sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, but for decades? Especially as I don't think Elantrians can do drugs.

I just wanted to note that it requires a rigorous course of study to use Aons at there full effectiveness and that Elantrains are removed from many of the economic pressures that force people to work.

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On 6/16/2019 at 0:06 AM, Karger said:

They were also treated like gods and this is from the perspective of beings who used to depend on these guys for food and worshiped them.  I think they would be willing to overlook quite a bit.

I'm not sure how this addresses my point. You agree that they were the source of free food for Arelon, but still seem to be trying to say that they were lazy and spoiled without providing any evidence. They provided food, healing and freedom to the people they oversaw. There is nothing supporting your assertion that they were all spoiled rich kids.

As to the second part, many of the people of Arelon resented and distrusted the Elantrians like Iadon did. As soon as the Reod happened they took the opportunity to kill as many of the Elantrians as they could find, and locked the rest up in the dead city.

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2 hours ago, SwordNimiForPresident said:

I'm not sure how this addresses my point. You agree that they were the source of free food for Arelon, but still seem to be trying to say that they were lazy and spoiled without providing any evidence. They provided food, healing and freedom to the people they oversaw. There is nothing supporting your assertion that they were all spoiled rich kids.

I am questioning the incentive processes I am not implying anything.

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On 14.6.2019 at 6:29 AM, Karger said:

Defeating Elantris is easy if you have good lintel.  Send in a small team and have them detonate an explosive that damages one of the giant Aon's that makes the city.  After that all of them will be at minimal power.

No, it wouldn't work - changes in the land itself cause the Reod, blowing up a wall in Elantris would acomplish nothing since the Aon Rao would still be active, even without the wall. I guess if you drained the central lake so it no longer exists the Aons would stop working...

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15 minutes ago, Omikii said:

No, it wouldn't work - changes in the land itself cause the Reod, blowing up a wall in Elantris would acomplish nothing since the Aon Rao would still be active

Why would an incomplete aon work?  We have seen that you have to draw them carefully if you want them to have the desired result.

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1 hour ago, Karger said:

Why would an incomplete aon work?  We have seen that you have to draw them carefully if you want them to have the desired result.

but the book also says that once they are complete, they keep working evven if disturbed

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20 minutes ago, king of nowhere said:

but the book also says that once they are complete, they keep working evven if disturbed

Where is this?

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47 minutes ago, Karger said:

Where is this?

Well Raoden drew a line with a stick in dirt, and Elantris started working. Pretty sure that dirt didn't stay perfectly drawn for very long. Also:

Quote

Galladon still wore his mask. The Aon illusions were good as long as Raoden left them alone. Whether they were drawn in air or in mud, Aons could be destroyed only by another Elantrian. The books claimed that an Aon inscribed in dust would continue to function even if the pattern was scuffed or erased.

 

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