13 posts in this topic

I had a thought the other day and after looking around online I didn't find anything so I figured I'd ask here. Would it be possible to use hemalurgy in combat?
 
I don't mean stealing someones powers and fighting with those, I mean carrying around a belt of disposable spikes that you stab people with to tear off pieces of their soul mid-fight. It would essentially be a more messy version of a shardblade but with the upside that if you hit the right point, either through luck or training, your just created a viable hemalurgic spike. The other bit upside being that you can use literally any piece of metal you get your hands on since the main ingredients to make a spike are just the metal and the intent to make the spike.
 
I guess the real question up in the air on this is whether or not making a spike without hitting the right bind point will still tear a person's soul or if it will not work at all and simply stab them. If the former is the case then you essentially have disposable one use shard blades. If the latter is true then you could still potentially have a train hemalurgist martial artist who knows the bind points making spikes mid-battle and using them on themselves to power new stuff on the fly.
 
It seems like theres some untapped potential here. As a P.S. can you guys think of any other unorthodox uses for Cosmere magic?
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Sorana (paraphrased)

Would a spike charge if I threw it at someone with the intention to spike something out of him and hit the right bindpoint?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes.

Sorana (paraphrased)

So spike darts are a thing.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, and spike guns are a thing as well.

Stuttgart signing (May 17, 2019)

It is possible just impractical most of the time.  If you can hit someone with a jagged piece of metal then you really don't need to tear out their soul.  Also welcome to the shard.

Edited by Karger
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Just now, Karger said:

It is possible just impractical most of the time.  If you can hit someone with a jagged piece of metal then you really don't need to tear out their soul.  Also welcome to the shard.

Thanks for the welcome. Personally the dart thing hadn't really occurred to me. I was thinking more along the lines of making normally trivial wounds suddenly deadly by using the hemalurgy to suck out someones soul. Basically turning a ballpoint pen into a makeshift shardblade minus the armor penetration. I don't think it's ever been said that you need a fatal wound to make hemalurgy happen, just that you draw blood.

Like I said in the opening post though, it would depend on whether hitting the wrong bind point, or no bind point at all, would still result in Ruining the soul but a no good spike or if you actually need a bind point for anything to happen. Personally I feel like a magic system governed by the laws of Ruin would err on the side of destruction in almost everything, so it would make sense to me that spiking the wrong bind point would still kill the person, just not give you a spike.

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1 hour ago, Mage_914 said:

Thanks for the welcome. Personally the dart thing hadn't really occurred to me. I was thinking more along the lines of making normally trivial wounds suddenly deadly by using the hemalurgy to suck out someones soul. Basically turning a ballpoint pen into a makeshift shardblade minus the armor penetration. I don't think it's ever been said that you need a fatal wound to make hemalurgy happen, just that you draw blood.

Generally you need to be really precise with hemalurgy like hitting a nerve.  You can do it but again hitting a nerve accurately with metal generally indicates that you can incapacitate an opponent without magic happening.

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Chaos2651

Is there a rationale to how Hemalurgic powers are distributed? I tried to look for a system, but they seem rather randomly distributed. For example, the spike which steals Allomantic powers for a particular quadrant is not always in one particular spot.

Brandon Sanderson

That is correct, it's not always in one particular spot. None of them are. I used as my model on this magic system the concept of acupuncture and pressure points. Placing a Hemalurgic spike is a very delicate and specific art. Imagine there being a different overlay on a human body, like a new network of nerves, representing lines, points, and 'veins' of the soul's spiritual makeup.

What is happening with Hemalurgy, essentially, is that you're driving a spike through a specific point on a person's body and ripping off a piece of their soul. It sticks to the spike on the Spiritual Realm. Then, you place that spike on someone else in a specific place (not exactly the same place, but on the right spiritual pressure point) and 'hot wire' the spirit to give it Hemalurgy or Feruchemy. It's like you're fooling the spiritual DNA, creating a work-around. Or, in some cases, changing the spirit to look like something else, which has the immediate effect of distorting the body and transforming it into a new creature.

Hemalurgy is a very brutal way of making changes like this, though, so it often has monstrous effects. (Like with the koloss.) And in most cases, it leaves a kind of 'hole' in the spirit's natural defenses, which is how Ruin was able to touch the souls of Hemalurgists directly.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A (July 8, 2009)

 

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As mentioned, for general purposes it's kind of redundant because if you can hit a target accurately enough to get the spike into the right point, you're a good enough shot that you can kill them with a bullet instead and if you're not trying to kill someone you shouldn't be trying to perform hemalurgy on them in the first place. Now, for the specific situation of trying to fight someone with healing powers, a spike gun could be viable since if you hit the right point you've taken away their healing powers, while an ordinary bullet is something they could heal from... except that ordinary bullets can function as spikes as long as you're using the right metal and (of course) have the necessary knowledge and Intent. So dedicated 'spike guns' and the like are generally only going to be useful if you intend to actually use the spike afterwards.

5 hours ago, Mage_914 said:
I guess the real question up in the air on this is whether or not making a spike without hitting the right bind point will still tear a person's soul or if it will not work at all and simply stab them. If the former is the case then you essentially have disposable one use shard blades.

Hemalurgic spikes are nowhere near as heavily Invested as a Shardblade, being at the low end of the scale of Invested object-ness, while Shardblades are almost at the top second only to Nightblood, who's an order of magnitude higher. A charged spike isn't really going to be meaningfully different from an uninvested bit of metal of identical makeup except that it might take a fraction of a second longer for a Shardblade to cut through it, and it certainly won't have any of a Shardblade's supernatural cutting powers.

Oh, and welcome to the Shard as well!

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As for your question about other unorthodox uses of magic, I like the idea of Skybreaker sandstorms/smokescreens (decay the surrounding rock into dust or sand, then use gravitation to fly them wherever you want).

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6 hours ago, Weltall said:

Hemalurgic spikes are nowhere near as heavily Invested as a Shardblade

Thanks for the welcome. I didn't mean that a charged hemalurgic spike would act as a shardblade. What I meant was, could you take an ordinary sword, or really any piece of metal (looking at you ballpoint pen), and use it to tear off someones soul, thus killing them. I was thinking either as a way of taking care of people with healing factors or as a way of making normally non-lethal weapons suddenly lethal. My reference to shardblades was more that shardblades cut the soul and any piece of metal, with the right intent can rip and tear a soul.

Basically the thought was could hemalurgy turn any random metal object into a soul ripping magic weapon with only a little bit of mental gymnastics to justify your intent to make a spike. Like say you're in the middle of a battle and the other guy won't go down. You decide that he needs to die now so you use your spear to cut a small nick on his arm and while you do that you concentrate on making a spike. As you cut the spear absorbs part of his soul, killing him. I wouldn't expect it to make a viable spike but I assume given Ruin's intent that it wouldn't be good for the victim.

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This could work as stated in WoB's but you can't just use any old metal. It has to be the metals that are Allomanticly/Feruchemicly viable. That includes the right purity for the base metals as well as the right percetage mixture for the alloys. It wount work if these requirements aren't met. This is probably why there has not been to many instancies of Hemalurgy outside of Scadrial. The intent to harm or steal something when stabing someone would be pretty common but hitting the bind points as well as stabing with the right metal means Hemalurgy happening by acident is very unlikely. 

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4 hours ago, Mage_914 said:

My reference to shardblades was more that shardblades cut the soul and any piece of metal, with the right intent can rip and tear a soul.

so to get to your original concept: I don't think the spiritual damage from spiking someone is nearly as great as what a shardblade does.  We haven't necessarily seen the full extent of what hemalurgy can do, but so far most metals are taking specific traits, not like, an entire spritweb or even like the entire use of a limb like a shardblade sort of does.  the spritweb damage is a lot more precise than that, and on its own is probably not likely to kill someone the way teh spritual damage from a shardblade does.

now having said that, you could imagine darts or knives or whatever of the right metals being used in ways that help in a fight.  someone upthread mentioned using a dart to steal someone's healing powers, which could potentially negate a huge advantage they would otherwise have.  and obviously similar logic would apply to pretty much any magic based powers.  We know it works on allomancy and ferruchemy, and I think we have WOBs confirming that you could steal a spren bond (goodbye surgebinding) and it stands to reason that you could steal someone's connection to Elantris (or wherever on Sel) and render them unable to use Selish magics that way, etc.  you could also imagine someone using weapons of the right metals to disable an opponent during combat.  like an iron knife sapping their strength if you hit the right spot, or a tin knife blinding them by stealing their sense of sight, which could be useful because it could turn what otherwise might be a flesh wound into a debilitating condition.  these all require a certain amount of precision, but, per Brandon, there are hundreds of bindpoints, so it seems likely that most actual hits might be close enough to one of them to do something; though again, we don't necessarily have all the details on how the bindpoints work to say that for sure.

Edited by Dunkum
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9 hours ago, Dancer said:

The intent to harm or steal something when stabing someone would be pretty common but hitting the bind points as well as stabing with the right metal means Hemalurgy happening by acident is very unlikely. 

It's not just the intent to harm someone though, it's the capital-I Intent to make a hemalurgic spike. Unless Ruin is actively directing you and can provide that Intent (as happened in the original Mistborn trilogy) you have to consciously know that your action will create a spike and desire for it to happen. 'Accidental hemalurgy' isn't just unlikely, it's basically a contradiction in terms. We see similar examples of powers not working like they're supposed to due to a lack of Intent with the Bands of Mourning and Brandon's confirmed that it can theoretically happen with Honorblades too.

10 hours ago, Mage_914 said:

Basically the thought was could hemalurgy turn any random metal object into a soul ripping magic weapon with only a little bit of mental gymnastics to justify your intent to make a spike. Like say you're in the middle of a battle and the other guy won't go down. You decide that he needs to die now so you use your spear to cut a small nick on his arm and while you do that you concentrate on making a spike. As you cut the spear absorbs part of his soul, killing him. I wouldn't expect it to make a viable spike but I assume given Ruin's intent that it wouldn't be good for the victim.

If you aren't using the right kind of metal it won't work at all so realistically you'd need to be using a spear whose tip is sufficiently pure iron, or bronze/steel of the proper composition. Also, you have to hit a valid point from which the right trait can be stolen. The reason hemalurgists so frequently target the heart is because there are so many bindpoints there that as long as you're not using an atium spike (which needs great precision if you want to get the right power) there's a pretty good chance you'll hit one of the right spots and take the power you want even if your aim is a bit off  The way Brandon has described how the bindpoints work and the way we see Shardblades work when they cut the soul, it's extremely unlikely that a surface wound is going to actually 'hit' the person's spiritweb in the first place and even less likely that in the heat of battle your random scratch will hit just the right location. Again, hemalurgists target the heart for a reason.

Edited by Weltall
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I have always thought that using hemalurgy in combat might be helpful in certain circumstances. As has already been pointed out, it might be useful against somebody who has a healing ability. I think that it might also be helpful against the Fused. You could take something away from them that would make them less effective even if they were to return.

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5 hours ago, LiquidBlue said:

 I think that it might also be helpful against the Fused. You could take something away from them that would make them less effective even if they were to return.

Oh I didn't even think about that! You could try and rip out something specific from them too... maybe spike them with Duralumin, to rip out Connection and Identity?

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