StarSplit

If allomancy's natural form is mistings, why do gnats exist

17 posts in this topic

I've been looking through but haven't found anything phrased in this way so I'll give it a try.

Allomancy's natural form creates mistings rather than mistborn. So if this form of investure was created assuming that anyone could only burn a single given allomantic metal (since mistborns came later), what is the point of Aluminium and Duralumin as allomantic metals? It doesn't seem sensible that a magic system created around the theory that anyone could only burn a single metal would include metals that could not be used on their own. 

The options I see are: 

a ) aluminum and duralumin DO have individual effects, the people of scadrial just haven't figured it out yet

b ) Feruchemy came first and all of the feruchemical metals were also allomantic metals (this could be reasonable although it still bothers me because the feruchemical metals have somewhat different effects anyways so on the transition, mistings could be created to do something useful with only one metal)

c ) the metals used in Scadrial's magic system are investure related on all of the cosmere worlds  (as we have seen aluminum used usefully on other worlds), and it just happens to be a bit of a dud in allomancy (have we seen any other allomantic/feruchemical metals being used significantly on other worlds other than aluminum?) 

Any other ideas? I'm sure something like this has been discussed before here. 

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Posted (edited)

Welcome to the Shard!

There's a flawed assumption in your question, that allomancy was created deliberately; it wasn't. The Shards have an influence on the magic, Preservation and Ruin possibly more than others because of how they permeate everything on Scadrial, but it's still a process they don't directly control.

Quote

Questioner

From what I understand, Ruin and Preservation create the world together, and they created humanity as copies of the original humankind. So how did they give Allomancy to Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So the magic systems are kind of built into the setting and the world. And there are certain natural pathways that exist, in the same way there are certain natural pathways for them to create life. Which is my explanation for why life is so similar on all the different planets, is that they're following natural pathways, and these magics are kind of the same way. For instance, Lightweaving predates the Shattering of Adonalsium. A lot of these other things are suggestive of magics that existed before that were built around Adonalsium. They weren't 100% created by the Shards, but they also do have the Shards' influence on them.

Skyward San Diego signing (Nov. 7, 2018)

So metals that don't have a use on their own or are so rare that the odds are minimal that anyone is going to figure out that they are viable in the Metallic Arts don't really break logic. The mechanisms by which magic systems arise sometimes result in funky things. Brandon even pokes fun at this in the (non-Cosmere) Reckoners, where some Epics have really useless powers.

That said, A-Aluminum does have uses on its own but not in any situation we've seen in the books as of yet. It can rid the spiritweb of unwanted Investiture, not just destroy an allomancer's metal reserves. A-Duralumin... not so much. But it's going to be a useful power again once medallions start becoming widespread since a Duralumin Gnat can take advantage of their own power to boost the ones the medallions grant.

Quote

c ) the metals used in Scadrial's magic system are investure related on all of the cosmere worlds  (as we have seen aluminum used usefully on other worlds), and it just happens to be a bit of a dud in allomancy (have we seen any other allomantic/feruchemical metals being used significantly on other worlds other than aluminum?) 

The use of metals in Rosharan fabrials is related, but aside from aluminum being a Cosmere-wide Investiture sink, the sixteen Scadrian metals don't have the same properties across the setting. Silver is useful in dealing with Cognitive Shadows but it doesn't work in the Metallic Arts for example, and none of the metals (aside from the godmetals) are themselves Invested.

Brandon has said that things like the metals that go into fabrials are somewhat like Scadrial's metals but what metal is used isn't nearly as important on Roshar. Apparently the upcoming book will go into this in some more detail.

Edited by Weltall
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Well, you're incorrect that Allomancy's "natural form" creates a misting rather than a mistborn. Remember the end of WoA where Elend burned Lerasium and became mistborn? That's how all the noble houses got their powers originally, and through the generations it got weaker and we saw more and more mistings. Even modern mistborns (with the exception of Elend, or course) are much less powerful than they were in the earlier days of the Final Empire.

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Posted (edited)

4 minutes ago, PiedPeterPiper said:

Well, you're incorrect that Allomancy's "natural form" creates a misting rather than a mistborn.

there were mistings that existed before that. Its natural form should be the form it first manifested in.

and with Allomancy, that was mistings.

Without Rashek's intervention(or even, Leras placing the lerasium there) there would be no Mistborn

Edited by Eternal Khol
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Oh thanks Weltall! That whole post was super helpful.

Yeah, I definitely considered putting 'created' in quotations because I wasn't sure how else to word that. The WoB talking about natural pathways seems helpful in terms of answers, but I guess it just seems like the odd metal out in Allomancy (and to some extent in the rest of the cosmere since Aluminum is one of the only metals we see as useful on other worlds) (other than silver as you noted which isn't an allomantic metal)

So I guess in that case, why are the natural pathways of this world different (since what he says in that quote seems to imply a set of somewhat cosmere-wide set of 'natural pathways' )

(Yeah medallions in Era 2 are definitely changing things - and it will absolutely be interesting to see that )

I suppose a more useful term would've been "evolve" in speaking about mistings which leads in a couple different directions: 

The first which was more along the lines of my previous assumptions was that each misting 'evolved' for a specific purpose (again, the language isn't quite right and useless traits absolutely can evolve sometimes in nature, and the specific type of misting doesn't seem to be inheritable (so how/when are people keyed to one specific metal?), but so many parts about the Scadrial Investure system follow a lot of rules of logic so sticking point in my brain).

The second which I guess I'm now leaning more towards after that WoB is that allomancy 'evolved' and just slid into the 'natural pathways' that existed for the power of those metals. (of course that then loops back to why do these natural pathways exist and why are only some consistent around the cosmere, but that's looping up to the previous part of this post) 

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I think the most possible is option a)

We know that A-Aluminum is usefull by himself, can remove unwanted Investiture from body. Can reverse Shade touch, for example. So it will be more usefull in Era 4.

A-Duralumin is more tricky and we dont know about stand-alone power of Duralumin. We know that can enhance not only Allomancy, but also other powers, like Surgebinding.

Option c) is very interesting, I was thinking something similar once - being more specific, I was searching throu Stormlight Archive and trying find connection between Allomantic metals and fabrial construction, but its not enough data.

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6 hours ago, Bzhydack said:

A-Duralumin is more tricky and we dont know about stand-alone power of Duralumin. We know that can enhance not only Allomancy, but also other powers, like Surgebinding.

There's a WoB that A-Duralumin can power Surgebinding alone, without the user holding Stormlight. It's a possible stand-in for stormlight entirely.

Does that mean it's as easy as "burn duralumin, bind surge"? Probably almost certainly... not that easy. Who knows what kind of hacking it would take.

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4. Leras knew of the possiility of Lerasium before he cocreated Scadrial. And he always intended to make Mistborn.

Apparently Allomancy was a mixture of deliberate design and natural, random tendencies. Leaving open the question how much of it came from Adonalsium.
But if you assume design, there is no need to assume that Leras only cared about natural manifestations (or indeed about them at all)

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Well I think  leras had always planned for lerasium to be created by a vessel. So he knew there would be  mistborn eventually.

But He needed a Seeker to find the well before he could create lerasium tho , so he created the only version  he could create then ,without gaining ati's suspicion , it in the form of Mistings.

I guess he really knew duralumin would be extremely useful for a mistborn so allowed it and it's paired metal aluminium to be wasted as a misting power. 

Another thing is that magic systems are born by the design of the shard and the spiritual influence of the planet itself which can be quite varied from sphere to sphere. So yeah shards don't have complete control over magic systems. I think I read a wob saying that somewhere

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Misting is not the "Natural" outcome of Allomancy. Mistborn can occur naturally with the proper breeding program. It's just that the sDNA needed to be an Allomancer strongly favor being a Misting then a Mistborn. Also you need a certain threshold connection with Preservation to even become a Mistborn. Feruchemy on the other hand tends to lean full Feruchemist. It's only due to the mixing of Allomancy and Feruchemy as well as the erradication of all the Full Feruchemist that Ferrings even exist. 

On 8/11/2020 at 2:25 PM, Halyo_Alex said:

There's a WoB that A-Duralumin can power Surgebinding alone, without the user holding Stormlight. It's a possible stand-in for stormlight entirely.

Does that mean it's as easy as "burn duralumin, bind surge"? Probably almost certainly... not that easy. Who knows what kind of hacking it would take.

This is the WoB I assume you are referring to 

 

Paladin Brewer

If a person had the power of Mistborn and other powers like Surges, could he use duralumin to power the Surges?

Brandon Sanderson

This is possible

This is probably due to poor word choices as we also have this WoB a year later.

 

Dwarven_Hydra

Would a Duralumin Gnat Surgebinder be able to use duralumin to do a super Surge?

Brandon Sanderson

This (Duralumin+Surgebinding) would work.

I don't see how from everything that we know about Duralumin that it could power anything. 

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Posted (edited)

38 minutes ago, Dancer said:

Misting is not the "Natural" outcome of Allomancy. Mistborn can occur naturally with the proper breeding program

Im fairly certain it’s not natural if it requires humans selectively breeding, in the hopes of getting enough of the right sDNA to have Mistborn children

Edited by Eternal Khol
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From what I've understood from various WoBs I've seen, before the lord ruler and lerasium, there were no mistborn, only mistings. And the further the bloodlines of those who consumed lerasium are diluted, the further the incidences of allomancy in the population reverts to its natural expression as mistings. 

Ferrings by contrast, are not the natural form of feruchemy - they began to exist due to mixing of the Terris population with allomantic bloodlines. WoBs have talked about how the mixing of these two metallic bloodlines caused feruchemy to take on that 'only one power' quality of allomancy. 

So while I think that in theory, through breeding, you could likely isolate the Terris bloodlines over time to see a return of full feruchemists, I dont think the same would be possible with allomancers without a new infusion of lerasium or something equivalent. I think at most you might see a higher proportion of mistings. 

 

Also thanks for engaging with this all, there's been some good suggestions. 

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1 hour ago, Eternal Khol said:

Im fairly certain it’s not natural if it requires humans selectively breeding, in the hopes of getting enough of the right sDNA to have Mistborn children

There is nothing "un-natural" about that. You are not adding anything new to the system to create a Mistborn. It's just controlled evolution. The likelihood of it occurring without the breeding program is astronomically small but is still a possibility. 

42 minutes ago, StarSplit said:

From what I've understood from various WoBs I've seen, before the lord ruler and lerasium, there were no mistborn, only mistings. And the further the bloodlines of those who consumed lerasium are diluted, the further the incidences of allomancy in the population reverts to its natural expression as mistings. 

Ferrings by contrast, are not the natural form of feruchemy - they began to exist due to mixing of the Terris population with allomantic bloodlines. WoBs have talked about how the mixing of these two metallic bloodlines caused feruchemy to take on that 'only one power' quality of allomancy. 

So while I think that in theory, through breeding, you could likely isolate the Terris bloodlines over time to see a return of full feruchemists, I dont think the same would be possible with allomancers without a new infusion of lerasium or something equivalent. I think at most you might see a higher proportion of mistings. 

 

Also thanks for engaging with this all, there's been some good suggestions. 

Brandon has said that a natural fullborn can occur but is statistically almost impossible. So a Mistborn occurring naturally is also possible. 

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6 hours ago, Eternal Khol said:

Im fairly certain it’s not natural if it requires humans selectively breeding, in the hopes of getting enough of the right sDNA to have Mistborn children

Rececive genes are natural, so why not a sDNA counter part.

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6 hours ago, Frustration said:

Rececive genes are natural

Im aware of that.

 

What im saying is that its not natural to selectively breed in the hopes of getting a mistborn.

look at the definition:

existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind”

 

”caused by humankind”

Im pretty sure a Mistborn created from Selective breeding was “caused by humankind”

and thats not natural

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Just now, Eternal Khol said:

Im aware of that.

 

What im saying is that its not natural to selectively breed in the hopes of getting a mistborn.

look at the definition:

existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind”

 

”caused by humankind”

Im pretty sure a Mistborn created from Selective breeding was “caused by humankind”

and thats not natural

Disclaimer: the following is a bit of a rambling rant about definitions and not an attack on you or your argument

You know, that's kind of a weird definition, Humans are natural, so anything they do should also be natural, but on one hand some people think we are above nature, while yet others think we are the bane of the natural order and are the cause of all problems in the world. But we are a part of nature just like anything else, admittedly one of the most powerful parts, but a part all the same, anything we do is natural, otherwise we wouldn't be able to do it.

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I'd go with c, here. We've seen in other books that metals are special.

Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell :

Spoiler

Silver and how it affects shades

Warbreaker:

Spoiler

Aluminum used as Nighblood's sheath

Stormlight Archive books 1-3:

Spoiler

Fabrials made out of various metals. Aluminum sheets protecting soulcasters from detection.

And theres even some common themes - Aluminum "resisting" investiture in some form or another keeps coming up.

So I think it's (c). What aluminum does when burned is related to what it is, and those properties are more fundamental than Preservation's meddling with the design of Allomancy.

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