Karger

Each Shard's Future Sight Skills and How to Overcome Them.

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Posted (edited)

@Dreamer recently posted this on an unrelated thread and it got me thinking. 

On 3/20/2020 at 2:45 AM, Dreamer said:

His futuresight shouldn't be any worse than Preservation's, I don't think. Currently, I think of Shardic futuresight rankings like this: Cultivation > Ambition > Odium > Preservation > Ruin > Dominion / Autonomy > Endowment > Honor / Devotion

Why is it that any shard is considered to have "better" future sight then any other?  Especially considering the different ways in which each shard's future sight seems to manifest.  It is kind of like measuring intelligence via IQ.  Intelligence does not manifest that simply.  For example people with eidetic memories generally have a really hard time summarizing and neither skill has any bearing on social capabilities or abstract thinking.  Similarly since future sight is probably accomplished differently by different shards they probably all have different strengths and weaknesses.

Theorizing time.  Let us start with what all shards can do.  We know that simply by holding a lot of raw investiture you get massively expanded connection and processing power.  As such I think that when it comes to predicting events that can be determined mathematically such as astronomical motions, weather patterns, or breeding cycles all shards are equally good.  Basically in this case each shard is an almost infinite super computer with easy access to all the data needed to make a determination.  However when we introduce individual humans into a model things get unpredictable pretty quickly.  For this shards probably need to use the spiritual realm and when using it they probably make determinations based on their individual intents.

In this each shard is different.

Ambition.  Ambition's intent is to work toward goals.  As such she could probably see what people want and how they try and get there as well as the conditions under which her own goals could come to fruition.  Problem is that most people don't make decisions based exclusively on what they want.  What they fear, hate, and love are often more important factors.  As such Ambition might have pretty good long term future sight with terrible mid to short range.  That is she might be able to see the circumstances under which her goals are being realized but her "peripheral vision" sucks.  To overcome her future sight all you really need to do is bring in some elements that make it look like she is wining and you can trap her pretty easily.  Basically just play along and then slam her at the right moment(yeah she was a shard and that would be way more difficult then it sounds but if you are trying to outwit a shard then you are already taking some serious risks).  As a side note I am willing to bet this is how Odium splintered her.  We know that she damaged him during her fight but I think Odium let her get in a few good hits so that he could get her into position for a KO(this would be very like him).

Dominion.  We don't know much about him but Dominion's intent seems to have been to control things.  As such he can probably see people who are controlling or easily controlled as well as the different effects that events have on each other.  To him the future is probably most like the shattering window that Honor mentions which gives him decent mid range future sight.  This person or change will likely cause a, b, or c eventfully after the short range randomness cancels out.  A good way to outwit him might be to bring in some fairly random element(like another more emotionally inclined shard or just Hoid).  Odium may have had an easier time splintering him because of the close proximity of Devotion who introduced more emotionally charged elements into their fighting.

Devotion.  We also don't know that much about Devotion but her intent seems to have been based on some kind of loyalty or even love.  This indicates that her future sight could be much better when situations are fluid as people and events naturally move to where they feel most comfortable.  To get around her you might need to introduce some kind of betrayal or treasonous behavior into the mix.  Both behaviors tend to beget more of themselves because when you witness treasonous behavior you tend to get less trusting and Devotion might have a hard time anticipating this.  By acting so unpredictably and aggressively Odium could have completely blindsided Devotion during his assault on Sel.

The Dor.  I see no reason Dor could not be used for future sight(it has been indicated that this has already been done).  It seems possible that either or both shard's intents could be used.  For example Wyrm probably knew about the possibility of Elantris being reestablished and tried to head them off but once events started getting more uncontrolled, emotional and random he lost any ideal of what was going on.  If you use both on the other hand I don't think you get much future sight at all but rather a statement about the now kind of like how Sel is becoming sort of self aware. 

Endowment.  Surprisingly little is known about the shard Endowment when you considering how long we have known her.  From what we have learned of the vessel they seem to be a no nonsense sort but at the same time.  Willingly to look at the good side of things.  Her magic also increases the ability of people to see beauty.  Returned also seem to return based on the optimistic hope of doing good rather then desire or strength of will.  The possibility to create or see beauty now and at a latter date is quite central to her.  As such I think Endowment has a good ability to see mid ranged futures.  To defeat her simply motivate yourself based on the baser more destructive impulses.  Thanks to her lack of opposition she probably has a very good ability to see the future and plan for more contingencies against mortals(same as any other shard).  However both the manywar and her letter indicate that she underestimates how selfish and evil people can be.

Ruin.  Ruin has probably an unparalleled ability to predict the immediate future best scene through how atium works.  Ruin's intent is basically to cause entropy in other words randomness in the immediate future.  However Ruin is probably the easiest shard to blindside because as long as things are getting more random he can't actually see the overall pattern.  This is how Preservation was able to put one over on him so many times.

Preservation.  Preservation remains the shard with one of the most interesting future sight portfolios that we have seen.   He clearly has mastered the long game and deeply understands both the capabilities and limitations of his powers.  However Vin was not able to anticipate actions while she held the power and Kelseir mostly used his own abilities as a former thief to predict events so the use of it to predict the immediate future appears to be limited.  Blindsiding Preservation appears to be nearly impossible as the way he works his plans make it so that chance encounters or random events don't alter the outcome.  For example the wars that consumed the entirety of Mistborn 3 did not matter one wit as long as the key players remained alive but how much of this was the vessel and how much was the shard seems difficult to say.  To actually defeat Preservation at the future sight game I think your only option might be to just nuke the whole future.  An asymmetric, random, and irrational attack on what is could probably break the stasis.

Harmony.  I think Harmony's future sight is actually underrated by a lot of people.  Harmony's intent seems to be equilibrium.  Saze wants things to be like the human body.  Constantly changing on the micro scale yet contained within a structure that remains largely unchanged.  Equilibrium is actually well understood by physical scientists particularly chemists and physicists.  Both are introduced to the concept at the high school or undergraduate level(Simple harmonic motion and RICE tables).  From his intent Harmony easily grasps both the "force" any occurrence has and the backlash against it.  This means that any time a new variable is introduced Harmony can study it figure out what it will do and what the counteraction against it will be.  This gives him a huge advantage on the immediate to mid range future sight predictions perhaps the best in the cosmere.  To defeat him in this area you would probably have to introduce a large element he can't easily understand(I think this is what Trell is trying to do).

Odium.  Well known to be excellent at future sight Odium is the shard with the intent of hatred and the related emotions of fear and disgust.  These emotions often do dominate a persons life although they can also fade over time.  As such Odium is an impressive mid range predictor with some short range capabilities as well.  Interestingly his actual relative strength at future sight might be overblown by the native Rosharans.  While he clearly is a gifted strategic thinker Odium's track record has actually been rather poor of late.  Collective hatred by one group for another makes them predictable even to humans.  Hatred or fear from a single individual is dangerous to rely on although Odium has had more luck then might be expected with this. To defeat him "all" you have to do is find the people he is trying to corrupt and counter him with emotions that he is less experienced with (love, desire for growth, devotion to a set of ideals, loyalty to a cause or person).

Cultivation.  Cultivation is an interesting case.  Her intent deals with how things grow and her future sight abilities seem to stem from there.  This may have been how she out future sighted Odium during OB.  She knew how Dalinar wanted to grow and change and what he could become if he did.  Odium only really understood how Dalinar wanted to avoid the pain of the suffering he had caused.  To put one past Cultivation you seem to need to not grow as a person but that makes you easily predictable for obvious reasons.  This paradox might be the key to her success.  You instead might have to allow some very emotional or random elements that she can't understand to dictate the planing or execution of any attempt to get around her.  She also can through her intent see how one desires to grow and the steps that someone will take along that journey giving her perhaps the best all round future sight of any shard.  

Honor.  Honor has personally claimed to be pretty bad at seeing the future.  He is the shard of connection and bonds which do not immediately show any real aptitude for future sight prediction.  However the visions that he shows Dalinar seem to imply some kind of conditions for victory.  These may be connected to what a given individual would have to do to win(essentally he is trying to pull a Preservation).  As such I think Honor actually might have some decent long distance future sight capabilities(although probably not at Preservation's level). 

Autonomy.  Very little is known about this shard or her capabilities.  She clearly has some future sight(all shards do) but we don't really know how it works.  We also don't know much about her intent.  I could see it manifesting as sort of the opposite of Honor IE these conditions make this situation impossible(which is why she hates outside shards so much) but we don't really know.

Well that is all the shards(I hope).  If anyone has any comments, disagreements or constructive criticism please post(even if it is just grammar or wording I would appreciate it as you will be making it easier for the next person who has to read the wall of text).

Edited by Karger
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Posted (edited)

Your thoughts on Ruin are very interesting!

Regarding Devotion, I think, much like Honor, she wouldn't have had much skill with futuresight. She's about being devoted, like Honor's about keeping oaths, regardless of what may come

Edited by Dreamer
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17 hours ago, Dreamer said:

Regarding Devotion, I think, much like Honor, she wouldn't have had much skill with futuresight. She's about being devoted, like Honor's about keeping oaths, regardless of what may come

But couldn't she anticipate events leading to our steaming from devotion(kind of like an old aunt claims to be able to predict marriage compatibility)?

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9 minutes ago, Karger said:

But couldn't she anticipate events leading to our steaming from devotion(kind of like an old aunt claims to be able to predict marriage compatibility)?

You could argue the same about Honor and he doesn't have great future sight. You could say that Honor could future sight to see if people will honor their Oaths.

On 3/20/2020 at 4:20 PM, Karger said:

She clearly has some future sight(all shard do)

I believe you want to say shards but whatever you want. Also wouldn't that be in Autonomy's intent to be autonomous from the other shards and be different. The one shard who doesn't have future sight.

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Posted (edited)

53 minutes ago, spren of destruction said:

You could argue the same about Honor and he doesn't have great future sight. You could say that Honor could future sight to see if people will honor their Oaths.

Honor "not having great future sight" is like declaring someone to be "not very smart."  The premise of my theory is that these are related and comparable.  However I do agree that Devotion's future sight works best under the circumstances that her intent dominates people's decision making process.

52 minutes ago, spren of destruction said:

I believe you want to say shards but whatever you want. Also wouldn't that be in Autonomy's intent to be autonomous from the other shards and be different. The one shard who doesn't have future sight.

We don't actually know what Autonomy's intent is.  Thanks for spotting that error though. 

Edited by Karger
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Posted (edited)

Well isn't autonomy's intent well autonomy. If so she might have more than average to amazing Futuresight based on the fact that she wants to maintain autonomy and that takes long term planning right ? 

Like how countries make long term investments in military tech and spend a lot on it and have thinktanks to discuss all sorts of scenarios , analyse intelligence from a variety of sources ( cia, mossad, raw, nsa ). All in a effort to guarantee thier autonomy in the future

Except in autonomy's case , she doesn't have to deal with shortsighted , ignorent politicians ,etc. 

Her avatars Futuresight might be different tho. 

 

Maybe that's why she's so confident about odium. She knows she has far better Futuresight and she can't any where odium breaks out of roshar. 

I mean sure I know the theory that she is allied with rayse . But I have my doubts, maybe she was allied before but not now with her Intent pushing her away from alliancing. 

Edited by PrinceGenocide
Some polishing
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5 minutes ago, PrinceGenocide said:

Well isn't autonomy's intent well autonomy.

?  We don't really know.  Autonomy can mean a lot of things. 

6 minutes ago, PrinceGenocide said:

If so she might have more than average to amazing Futuresight based on the fact that she wants to maintain autonomy and that takes long term planning right ? 

She might have amazing long term future sight because of that or really good long term future sight for specific people because of that.  Or she could be on a really terrible short range future sight because individual actors don't think things through the same way a collective does.  Also the future sight she wants is not nessesarily the same as what she gets. 

8 minutes ago, PrinceGenocide said:

Except in autonomy's case , she doesn't have to deal with shortsighted , ignorent politicians ,etc. 

Except Autonomy is shortsighted ignorant politicians.  They are made up of her investiture assuming that is what her intent is.

9 minutes ago, PrinceGenocide said:

Her avatars Futuresight might be different tho. 

Oh snap!.  Yeah that is definitely a possibility.  In which case she might have future sight that is like a security guard's room with a lot of different windows giving her a lot of conflicting data.  In this case her decisions making or priority recognition policy would matter way more then her actual capabilities.

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On 3/24/2020 at 9:10 AM, Karger said:

?  We don't really know.  Autonomy can mean a lot of things. .

Ok. I don't understand. I always thought autonomy meant self-sufficiency and in extreme cases isolationism .

 

What other interpretations are there ? 

Hmm I wonder if there are multiple interpretations,  then could her Avatars manifest all of them ? 

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23 minutes ago, PrinceGenocide said:

Ok. I don't understand. I always thought autonomy meant self-sufficiency and in extreme cases isolationism .

The best example I think of her intent is this WoB.

Quote

Nashan'Elin (paraphrased)

Could Honor and Autonomy be considered opposites, like, Autonomy freeing from Honor's oaths?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, you could definitely think of it that way. Those two are more likely to be opposed than some others.

Calamity Denver signing (Feb. 19, 2016)

but what does isolationism mean?  The only way to be truly autonomous is to control everything so is that her intent?  Or if you have an understanding with another person that allows you to do what you want are you self sufficient?

25 minutes ago, PrinceGenocide said:

Hmm I wonder if there are multiple interpretations,  then could her Avatars manifest all of them ? 

I think so.

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I really like your breakdown of shardic futuresight, Karger. It’s apparent that each shard’s intent influences their ability to access fortune, but I appreciate your emphasis on not ranking the shards. That being said, I think ranking has merits as well. To use your analogy of IQ, while it’s a very flawed general measurement scale, it’s assessment of specific abilities (which admittedly are only a few aspects of “intelligence”) are reasonably accurate. As long as we keep in mind the limitations, it can be useful. 

So looking at shards, I view their future sight abilities to be a bit like expanded Rock Paper Scissors. They each have different strengths and weaknesses and match up favorably against some shards and unfavorably against others. However, some probably have almost solely favorable matchups, such as cultivation. Ranking systems will always be rough attempts to fit pieces into pockets, but I personally enjoy ranking the shards abilities, and think there’s merit to it. But I’m not trying to criticize your post, and I really enjoyed the analysis you did.

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Where does Endowment fit into this?  It seems like she has excellent short-range futuresight based on the Returned catching glimpses of the Iridescent Tones and Returning for a purpose.  Her affinity for color may also provide short-term futuresight in a conflict with another Shard, since each shard has their own "color" that is characteristic to them.  This would likely make it very hard to catch her in a short-term trap. 

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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, Brgst13 said:

Where does Endowment fit into this?  It seems like she has excellent short-range futuresight based on the Returned catching glimpses of the Iridescent Tones and Returning for a purpose.  Her affinity for color may also provide short-term futuresight in a conflict with another Shard, since each shard has their own "color" that is characteristic to them.  This would likely make it very hard to catch her in a short-term trap. 

Thank you for catching that I missed her.  I will add her immediately.

Done!

Edited by Karger
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Posted (edited)

Ooh, very interesting ideas here. I really like your take on Ruin.

One if the things that I'm more interested in is the orientation of the intent when it comes to self or others, and the impact of that on futuresight. So, Shards like Preservation are better at futuresight, because to best Preserve something, you need to see where and how external factors can break it. And that Preservation is long term - the whole point of keeping something as it is that you _don't_ want it to change, which gives Preservation such thorough futuresight capability.

Autonomy is somewhat like Preservation - to keep something Autonomous, you need to see potential "blocking events" which constrict choice or freedom, so Autonomy, imho, should be _really_ good at Futuresight too. But then, how much is her intent also about freeing people from the oppression of others?

Ruin isn't like that, to break something, you really don't need long term planning. You just need to look at what something is now, and figure out the cracks, and keep at them to break something.

Dominion is in a similar boat to Ruin, for me. It is Conquest, and to defeat something and stand over it, you really just need to get through its defenses now, which is the exact same thing as Ruin, just with a different end-goal. It would be interesting to see what happens then. Establishing Dominion is one thing, but keeping something in control - I'm uncertain if that would require ling-term or short term futuresight.

Endowment is a wildcard - we know so little about her. However, if you think about it, the way all the different Returned play into the narrative of Warbreaker, and are playing into the narrative of the Stormlight, points to a remarkable level of futuresight capability.

Basically, how much does Endowment know, how far does Endowment see, before she chooses to Return someone? Did she Return Blushweaver having seen a future where Blushweaver would be murdered (without expending her divine breath) and that her murder would inspire _another_ of the Returned to give up their Divine Breath? Because if she did, then that's a pretty incredible domino futuresight.

And this would have implications, when it comes to the The Five Scholars, who seem to have had a tremendous impact on the Cosmere. If she Returned them foreseeing their deaths, then you could argue that Shashara was Returned specifically to create Nightblood and then to die at Vasher's hands, and that the impact that had on Denth and Vasher and all the others was intentional and foreseen by Endowment. You could argue that she knew that Denth would die at Vasher's hands, and she really resurrected Denth not just because of what Denth could do himself, but because being who he was, how his life and eventual death would influence people around him was the actual purpose of his second life. 

If these were indeed intentional, then I would say that Endowment is so good because of her nature as this giver of potential, which naturally comes with the understanding of how this potential affects those endowed with it. So her futuresight is this intricate web of domino endowments, each event endowing others around it with a little bit of potential, and that going back and forth.

That makes her scary.

Edited by asmodeus
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22 hours ago, asmodeus said:

That makes her scary.

All great points!  I think personally that Endowment has it way easier then any shard we know of except maybe Harmony because of the whole on a planet where I can just take as many free shots as I want thing.  When you have all the time in the world to practice and an open field making a few bullseyes is not nearly as impressive.  Still this is really a wait and see situation.

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