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Where are the Nicrobursts in Era 2?


robardin

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I have long been puzzled by the complete lack of mention of even the existence of Nicroburst mistings in any Wax/Wayne story.

We find that since the Catacendre, they have filled out the chart of 16 metals for the Metallic Arts with cadmium, bendalloy, chromium, and nicrosil, and nicrosil proves to be very important as a Feruchemical metal in the functioning of the Southern "medallions"...

And in the first three Era 2 stories, we've seen Marasi (Pulser), Wayne (Slider), and multiple Leechers using their powers, but not only have we never seen a "Nicroburst" except in the Ars Arcana, we don't even see anybody mentioning them at all!

A Leecher was mentioned as being on the police force AoL, before we ever saw anybody actually Leech in a later book. So why didn't we at least have mention of so-and-so the Nicroburst who's like one of five in existence and constantly under off-screen contract?

I am assuming the real reason is that the Wax/Wayne stories were an afterthought, inserted in between Era 1 "epic fantasy" and what he originally intended as "Mistborn second trilogy", set in a 1980s-era urban/tech world and featuring a Nicroburst, and he wanted to keep all that showing off of "cool Nicroburst combos" for its original context.

But then they should have added at least references to how Nicrobursts were rare and in high demand or snatched up for military or government services as a reason we don't see them "on screen". Or, seen to be obnoxious in a way that Wax's crew didnt' want to work with.

I'm now officially mentally adding the following scenes to the Era 2 novels as headcanon. (You know where they'd go.)

 

The Alloy of Law

"Marasi, why would you be ashamed of your power?"

"Well, it's so useless, Wayne, not like yours. ... Plus, I was traumatized when I tried to use it in school to skip past some boring speeches we were required to attend."

"Why? Seems like the perfect way to skip an hour everybody else had to sit through!"

"It would, except there was this annoying kid named Nicolas in my class who found out I did that who could burn nicrosil. Once he manged to touch me lightly just as the assembly was about to start, and then my Pulse lasted for almost a week... Nobody could come into my bubble without also being trapped, so they just left me there in a dark auditorium with yellow tape in a circle around me. It was so embarrassing!"

"Wait, Nicolas? You mean, you knew Nicky Nicro growing up? He's FAMOUS! Isn't he --"

"Yes, he's like one of four Nicrobursts alive today, and unlike the others, he refused the usual on-call contract arrangement with the military despite the enormous prestige and retainer fees because he thought it was funnier to do what he does."

(Their conversation is interrupted before we find out what it is he does)

 

Shadows of Self

"If Bleeder is a kandra," mused Wax, "perhaps we could lure her into a pre-arranged location, then stun or even control her briefly with a hidden Soother or Rioter working with a Nicroburst?"

"We don't know where she is or who she's posing as at any given time, so this would be difficult to arrange," said Governor Innate. "I don't have enough pull with the military to call in one of their Nicrobursts for a what-if, maybe-here mission of unknown duration."

"Well, we don't have to use one of the miltary's Nicros," said Wayne, around a mouthful of nuts. "Marasi over here once told me she's got an in with Nicky Nicro!"

Steris raised an eyebrow at this. "Marasi? 'Got an in?' Have you --"

Marasi blushed furiously. "No! I haven't seen Nicolas since my school days, and I wouldn't even talk to him if I did!"

"To catch Bleeder --" began MeLaan, before Marasi cut her off. "No! Absolutely not!"

Wax looked befuddled. "Who is Nicky Nicro?"

"It is not clear this would work, anyway," said TenSoon. "Whatever she has done to cloud herself from Harmony may also make it impossible to incapacitate her with emotional Allomancy, however powerful. We should focus on what we can do about Bleeder now, with who and what we have."


The Bands of Mourning

Wax moved through Lady Kelesina's party, feeling even more on edge after that exchange with Gave. He burned steel, lightly, as he'd done on the train, to create a protective bubble around him that subtly rippled the necklaces and earrings on some women he passed with its Pushing as he did so.

"Lord Ladrian? Is that you?" a man behind him said excitedly. Wax turned to see a man in his mid-twenties walking up to him with a grin and a hand extended. "The Dawnshot himself!" Wax didn't recognize him, but took his hand and shook it, anyway. "Yes, and you are --?"

At that moment, his Steelsight nearly blinded him with a sudden flare of blue light pointing to every metal object in his vicinity. Stunned, Wax nearly fell to the floor as people and objects flew away from him - including the clothing from a woman who'd worn a stiff, metal-wired corset, which had torn free of its lacing and flown ten feet away into a man's face, taking a good portion of the top of her dress with it.

"BOOM! You just got NICRO'ED! -- Did you get that, Bel?"

"I sure did, Nicky!" called a smiling woman nearby, with no metal on her and with an evanotype machine that somehow hadn't been Pushed away. "This will be front-page stuff for sure!"

"What... Who...?" Sputtered Wax as Steris helped him to stand straight, while on the other side of the ballroom, people were howling with laughter.

"They're Nicolas Sauvage and Beldin Frandeu, a Nicroburst and Seeker pair who call themselves 'Nicky and Bel, The Prankomancers!'," said Steris. "You haven't heard of them? They became famous about five years ago."

"Well, out in the Roughs, keeping track of who's famous in Elendel is not really a very high priority."

"They attend high profile events where Beldin Seeks out people secretly using Allomancy, and then Nicolas outs them by touching them with a Nicroburst. It usually embarrasses them quite spectacularly."

The Prankomancers moved over to their cheering fans, signing autographs, while angry people nearby picked themselves up off the ground, glaring at Wax. The woman with the torn dress had fled in tears.

"What a terrible waste of Allomantic talent," groaned Wax. "Aren't Nicrobursts usually in military service?"

"Nicky, as he likes to be called, is something of an attention-seeker. He became jealous of his sister Nicelle becoming famous via those Allomancer Jak stories. And it turns out, it is quite profitable: Beldin's family had invested in developing a high-speed evanotype, and their photos of famous people getting 'Nicrobombed', as they call it, command extremely high prices from those same papers. Now they use a version made with entirely wooden and aluminum parts, to be immune to a massive Push or Pull."

They were interrupted by the approach of their host, Lady Kelesina, a statuesque woman with her hair in a bun and a ring on each finger. "Lord Waxillium," she said, "I see you have just met our most famous guests here tonight! But I was hoping for a chance to speak with you privately." ...

 

And then of course, at some point later, Wayne (who HAD known who "The Prakomancers" were) ribs Wax about it, and how he wished he been there to see a "real live Nicrobombing!"

Edited by robardin
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The Spiritual Metals are still more or less teh Cutting Edge tech of the world, so it's not going to come up in casual conversation any more than the most recent news about batteries or rail guns or whatnot; worthy news report, but not usually worthy gossip. They might be a secret weapon in some cases, but probably arent getting famous. Frankly Leeching is far more useful and probably more prestigious to society, since it's the closest thing to metalborn immunity. That's impressive all on it's own and as a single person.

Nicrosil, by contrast, is useless on it's own and only worth while if you have need the allomantic effect way above Flaring, and there arent all that many useful examples.  Even then you arent going to get famous for making other people temporarily better at whatever it is they do.  In era 2 they have a lot of laws regulating Emotional Allomancy so that's not going to be legal beyond entertainment.  Of the physicals Tin's too dangerous, and the strength increase to Pewter is nice but not supremely impressive with Koloss running about at requires you to have another person touching you the whole time, and Steel/iron is probably the best use but for construction and heavy load moving (which may not be economical depending on the market cost of Nicrosil vs just a 2nd Coinshot/Lurcher adding strength.  Nicrosil make the temporal difference of a time bubble bigger, but Pulsers are considered useless and Slider's already basically stop time so there's not much practical gain.  So holding hands with a Nicroburst will only make a Pewtewrarm, Pulser, or Lurcher/Coinshot better, and really only the Lurcher/Coinshot will get a significant practical boost within era2 society.

  

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43 minutes ago, Quantus said:

The Spiritual Metals are still more or less teh Cutting Edge tech of the world, so it's not going to come up in casual conversation any more than the most recent news about batteries or rail guns or whatnot; worthy news report, but not usually worthy gossip. They might be a secret weapon in some cases, but probably arent getting famous. Frankly Leeching is far more useful and probably more prestigious to society, since it's the closest thing to metalborn immunity. That's impressive all on it's own and as a single person.

Nicrosil, by contrast, is useless on it's own and only worth while if you have need the allomantic effect way above Flaring, and there arent all that many useful examples.  Even then you arent going to get famous for making other people temporarily better at whatever it is they do.  In era 2 they have a lot of laws regulating Emotional Allomancy so that's not going to be legal beyond entertainment.  Of the physicals Tin's too dangerous, and the strength increase to Pewter is nice but not supremely impressive with Koloss running about at requires you to have another person touching you the whole time, and Steel/iron is probably the best use but for construction and heavy load moving (which may not be economical depending on the market cost of Nicrosil vs just a 2nd Coinshot/Lurcher adding strength.  Nicrosil make the temporal difference of a time bubble bigger, but Pulsers are considered useless and Slider's already basically stop time so there's not much practical gain.  So holding hands with a Nicroburst will only make a Pewtewrarm, Pulser, or Lurcher/Coinshot better, and really only the Lurcher/Coinshot will get a significant practical boost within era2 society.

 

Yes, obviously the military application I was imagining would be in teaming them up with Coinshots and Lurchers.

However, I think Nicrobursts would be valuable in many other contexts... Basically, think about when duralumin was used to great effect by Vin or Elend.

A Nicroburst + Seeker could pierce Copperclouds, unless a Nicroburst aided the Smoker on the other end (though that would be hard to time as a countermeasure).

A Nicroburst + Soother or Rioter could do possibly TLR level effects, or what Vin did to Straff Venture with a mega-Soothing. We saw this in TLM, when the Dor-inna-Jar was so powerful that it effectively powered Armal's burst of Shame! Shame! Shame! into an incapacitating blast.

And used strategically, a Nicroburst could be just as disruptive if an unwelcome or surprise boost - same end effect as a Leecher (leaving the Allomancer with no metal reserves), except with a side effect of a burst of power that may not be directed properly.

I guess we'll eventually see what the Nicroburst on the Misting SWAT Team in Era 3 will end up being like!

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56 minutes ago, robardin said:

Yes, obviously the military application I was imagining would be in teaming them up with Coinshots and Lurchers.

However, I think Nicrobursts would be valuable in many other contexts... Basically, think about when duralumin was used to great effect by Vin or Elend.

A Nicroburst + Seeker could pierce Copperclouds, unless a Nicroburst aided the Smoker on the other end (though that would be hard to time as a countermeasure).

A Nicroburst + Soother or Rioter could do possibly TLR level effects, or what Vin did to Straff Venture with a mega-Soothing. We saw this in TLM, when the Dor-inna-Jar was so powerful that it effectively powered Armal's burst of Shame! Shame! Shame! into an incapacitating blast.

And used strategically, a Nicroburst could be just as disruptive if an unwelcome or surprise boost - same end effect as a Leecher (leaving the Allomancer with no metal reserves), except with a side effect of a burst of power that may not be directed properly.

I guess we'll eventually see what the Nicroburst on the Misting SWAT Team in Era 3 will end up being like!

We're not just talking tactical usefulness, we're talking paths that would make you Famous enough to come up in casual conversation, and I still think the era2's anti-Roothing/Rioting laws (and the prevalence of aluminum-lined hats) would make it unlikely to be a route to Fame or Notoriety.  At best it would make you the secret sauce behind the success of a more famous performance Rioter (assuming that's a thing?), or a famous criminal.  At the end of the day they will only ever be one half of a famous Duo.  

I didnt consider the Nicro/Seeker combination would pierce Copperclouds like with Hemalurgic doubling, that's a good one.  

 

Edited by Quantus
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Just now, Quantus said:

We're not just talking tactical usefulness, we're talking paths that would make you Famous enough to come up in casual conversation, and I still think the era2's anti-Roothing/Rioting laws (and the prevalence of aluminum-lined hats) would make it unlikely to be a route to Fame or Notoriety.  At best it would make you the secret sauce behind the success of a more famous performance Rioter (assuming that's a thing?), or a famous criminal.  

I didnt consider the Nicro/Seeker combination would pierce Copperclouds like with Hemalurgic doubling, that's a good one.  

Yes, the idea of a "famous" Nicroburst was supposed to be funny, as the first thing I thought of was someone being famous for being an obnoxious, attention-seeking prankster.

I could imagine that most people not being Alllomancers would mean a fair amount of latent discomfort at the idea of "who's using Allomancy around me that I don't know about, and for what reason" (especially emotional Allomancy), hence the "Allomantic Laws of '91" or whatever restricting Soothing/Rioting at whatnot, but "you just never know".

So someone gaining fame and riches by "outing" hidden Allomancers in an embarrassing way, yeah, I think that would actually happen. (If they didn't make too many powerful enemies along the way, anyway...)

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Nicroburst plus electrum might not do that. Electrum could theoretically get that kind of Spiritual Realm vision per WoB, but there's more interference to fight through... Elend got there with atium plus duralumin with lerasium-Mistborn strength. Era 2 Misting strength might not be enough, especially with the added interference for electrum vs. atium.

(I have no idea what nicrobursted gold would do...)

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  • 5 months later...
On 11/19/2022 at 7:40 AM, cometaryorbit said:

Nicroburst plus electrum might not do that. Electrum could theoretically get that kind of Spiritual Realm vision per WoB, but there's more interference to fight through... Elend got there with atium plus duralumin with lerasium-Mistborn strength. Era 2 Misting strength might not be enough, especially with the added interference for electrum vs. atium.

(I have no idea what nicrobursted gold would do...)

You could still do it by really stuffing yourself with Electrum before a Nicroburst uses Nicrosil on you (maybe combined with the Nicroburst being full of Nicrosil and a second Nicroburst using Nicrosil to hyper-flare the first Nicroburst's power, which is gonna make the Electrum Super-Hyper-flare), and Presumably Gold would work as well since you're looking into the past assumedly by way of Connections to your past, just the same way Atium or Electrum utilize Connections going into the future. Doesn't seem too hard, as long as you have at least 2 Mistings and a BUNCH of Electrum and Nicrosil. Not to mention the fact that the Oracle (and potentially an Augur as well, but those would be more expensive, since they would need more Gold per run, and aren't confirmed to be able to see the SR) would then be seeing the Spiritual Realm unfiltered, which gives you perfect and Shard-like future vision, at least for the near future, plus reasonably accurate versions of the future a little bit past that, continuing on until the far future, which is so uncertain its useless to see it. So very useful and worth trying, beyond just the Scholarly potential

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On 16 November 2022 at 8:47 PM, Quantus said:

  Nicrosil make the temporal difference of a time bubble bigger, but Pulsers are considered useless and Slider's already basically stop time so there's not much practical gain. 

Of course, it makes zero reason for Pulsers to be considered useless - on the contrary, being able to preserve things and people without complicated machinery and likely much better than their technology currently allows anyway, should have been extremely valuable. Perhaps Marasi/Lord Harms had a biased view of the matter because they are gently born rather than have to work for a living.

And of course Nicroburst enhancement should have made it even more so. Ditto Sliders - judging by TLM their time compression would have been nicely enhanced. Ditto electrum in certain situations, as has been mentioned above, etc.

But that's the problem with Era 2 books in general - there is far too little constructive  use of Metallic Arts by non-protagonists in general. Oh, we hear about it a bit, particularly in the Shadows of Self, but it isn't really part of the fabric of society  as shown and as it should have been. Rather, it is merely something for heroes and villains to employ. And yes, I believe that it is mainly to differentiate it from Era 3, where it will be integrated in everyday life.

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20 minutes ago, Isilel said:

Of course, it makes zero reason for Pulsers to be considered useless - on the contrary, being able to preserve things and people without complicated machinery and likely much better than their technology currently allows anyway, should have been extremely valuable. Perhaps Marasi/Lord Harms had a biased view of the matter because they are gently born rather than have to work for a living.

And of course Nicroburst enhancement should have made it even more so. Ditto Sliders - judging by TLM their time compression would have been nicely enhanced. Ditto electrum in certain situations, as has been mentioned above, etc.

But that's the problem with Era 2 books in general - there is far too little constructive  use of Metallic Arts by non-protagonists in general. Oh, we hear about it a bit, particularly in the Shadows of Self, but it isn't really part of the fabric of society  as shown and as it should have been. Rather, it is merely something for heroes and villains to employ. And yes, I believe that it is mainly to differentiate it from Era 3, where it will be integrated in everyday life.

Keep in mind that without the revolutionary Godmetal tech of the Southern Ettmetal grenades, Pulsers can only make a bubble centered on themselves.  They cant preserve anything unless they are willing to crawl inside the fridge and blink time away too.  

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18 minutes ago, Quantus said:

  They cant preserve anything unless they are willing to crawl inside the fridge and blink time away too.  

Which is significantly better than most other options that normal people had in similar iRL settings, provided good pay - which really should have been the case. Oh, well. 

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17 minutes ago, Isilel said:

Which is significantly better than most other options that normal people had in similar iRL settings, provided good pay - which really should have been the case. Oh, well. 

No more or less than any other relatively well paying but horrifically isolating job in the world.  And with the cost of Cadmium being as high as it was, it might not make economic sense to compensate the Pulser for that kind of time commitment for what would mostly be food preservation.  

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2 minutes ago, Quantus said:

 And with the cost of Cadmium being as high as it was, it might not make economic sense to compensate the Pulser for that kind of time commitment for what would mostly be food preservation.  

The most expensive and delicate kinds of food, medicine, unstable chemicals - maybe even mainly for transportation BTW, since Marasi could make a cadmium bubble on a moving train without otherwise interfering with it's function. Old and/or sick rich people who need to travel or have to wait for somebody to come to them.  Etc, etc. There are lots of lucrative possibilities. And they would have been even further enhanced by teaming up with a Nicroburst. 

Yes, it would have been isolating, but if the other alternatives are 19th century-style poverty and back-breaking labor ditto? Vast majority, given the chance, would have jumped at such an opportunity - at least for a time. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Isilel said:

The most expensive and delicate kinds of food, medicine, unstable chemicals - maybe even mainly for transportation BTW, since Marasi could make a cadmium bubble on a moving train without otherwise interfering with it's function. Old and/or sick rich people who need to travel or have to wait for somebody to come to them.  Etc, etc. There are lots of lucrative possibilities. And they would have been even further enhanced by teaming up with a Nicroburst. 

Yes, it would have been isolating, but if the other alternatives are 19th century-style poverty and back-breaking labor ditto? Vast majority, given the chance, would have jumped at such an opportunity - at least for a time. 

 

That's fair, particularly with the rich elderly who fear death.  But while those might be Lucrative, are any of those Glamorous

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17 hours ago, Quantus said:

  But while those might be Lucrative, are any of those Glamorous

 

Heh, I never claimed that  Pulser applications in era 2 prior to allomantic grenades had to be glamorous, just that they should have been very useful and profitable. Unlike the OP,  I also don't think that Nicrobursts would have been glamourous at the time, despite their rarity, nor do I see them working with the military, except in  some very specific circumstances, possibly. Required touch contact is a huge limitation in any kind of  dynamic situation.  The most logical team-ups for them in that period would have been Seekers, which are also implausibly absent from AoL series*, when they really should have been all over corporate security and police, Pulsers, Sliders and people with A-electrum. In fact, nicrobursting steel-burning Coinshots would more likely kill or injure them than help them, since they don't have pewter to strengthen them through it, IMHO.

Now, allomantic grenades and further developments on them that allow even better ranged delivery would indeed be a game-changer for the Nicrobursts combat potential.

*Yes, Innate Jr. employed one. Which goes back to how Metalborn tend to be either Our Heroes (and their Q Ranette) or criminals, with practically nobody in-between apart from a couple of people seen very briefly in A Shadow of Self. Which I consider to be a considerable weakness of the tetralogy and hopefully a choice intended to diffferentiate it from Era 3.

 

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I think there are probably a lot of Metalborn just doing jobs, but Era 2 books are more narrow focused and pulp style than other Cosmere novels. There are references to things like Soothing parlors and a Coppercloud politician who ran on his immunity to emotional allomancy - and, iirc, Coinshot couriers. They exist in the world but aren't relevant to the plot.

However, there probably aren't that many Metalborn at risk of extreme poverty or ending up in very low end jobs either. The Allomantic bloodlines are still linked to nobility, and thus wealth, and the Terris enclaves probably take care of their own. There'd be some - orphans like younger Wayne - but probably not a lot.

(If we're to believe Khriss' estimates, there should be about 10,000 Mistings total and somewhat fewer Ferrings.)

Edited by cometaryorbit
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On 14.5.2023 at 3:37 AM, cometaryorbit said:

. There are references to things like Soothing parlors and a Coppercloud politician who ran on his immunity to emotional allomancy - and, iirc, Coinshot couriers. They exist in the world but aren't relevant to the plot.

That's my point though - they should have been more relevant to the plot. It makes no sense that they are magically absent from the spaces where they should have been present,  so that the protagonists would come across more like super-heroes, because they just so happen to always be the only non-criminal Metalborn on the scene. It makes zero sense that even during existential crises corporations and political entities rely exclusively on the unpowered security and investigators, while the law-abiding Metalborn apparently  use their powers mainly for private amusement. It is not focused, it it is very artificial and contrived. For that matter, we hear about the couriers, we even meet one, but not once during his jaunts across the city in the books did Wax actually see one in the process of couriering, nor did their presence come up as a complication when he pursued that Coinshot bankrobber. The guy could have just disguised himself as one, for instance.

It is like if there were  cars,  but the only people using them on page were heroes and criminals, while everybody else was restricted to horses for some reason.

 

On 14.5.2023 at 3:37 AM, cometaryorbit said:

However, there probably aren't that many Metalborn at risk of extreme poverty or ending up in very low end jobs either. The Allomantic bloodlines are still linked to nobility, and thus wealth, and the Terris enclaves probably take care of their own.

Their prevalence among the criminals indicates that there are quite a few, though. Or, for that matter, the fact that the Set could kidnap and/or murder so many for spikes, with it going mostly unnoticed for years. The only reason it even came to anyone's attention was that they did go for those 5 noblewomen, as opposed to the hundreds (thousands?) of other victims.

And let's not forget those absurd advertisments concerning Metalborn  in low-level jobs in TLM. Which  I, for one, am happy to disregard, because Slider cooks and Steelrunner delivery people make no sense, given rarity of both abilities, cost of bendalloy, and the fact that it should take a looong time to save enough speed to make it actually feasible.

 

On 14.5.2023 at 3:37 AM, cometaryorbit said:

(If we're to believe Khriss' estimates, there should be about 10,000 Mistings total and somewhat fewer Ferrings.)

I have always thought Khriss was speaking about Scadrial population in general, rather than just the Basin, in her estimations. Because aren't there WoBs that about 1% in Northern Scadrial are Metalborn or maybe even just allomancers? And she, of all people, would have been aware of the whole planetary population.

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1 hour ago, Isilel said:

And let's not forget those absurd advertisments concerning Metalborn  in low-level jobs in TLM. Which  I, for one, am happy to disregard, because Slider cooks and Steelrunner delivery people make no sense, given rarity of both abilities, cost of bendalloy, and the fact that it should take a looong time to save enough speed to make it actually feasible.

I just want to point out that you can give a steelrunner a bike, and just by tapping 2x speed, he would be the fastest delivery man in the city, boosting the image of a company and attracting more customers. Good strategy, not requiring lots of attributes.

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I don't think there is any WoB that 1% of Basin people are Allomancers or Metalborn. Kelsier says that 1% of nobles in his time are Allomancers, but that's Era 1 & not the whole population.

BoM specifically says that the Spiritual Feruchemy powers are exceptionally rare (and implies that Physical / Mental are the more common powers); it's likely that the same is true of Allomancy. So there may only be a few Nicrobursts alive.

3 hours ago, Isilel said:

That's my point though - they should have been more relevant to the plot. It makes no sense that they are magically absent from the spaces where they should have been present,  so that the protagonists would come across more like super-heroes, because they just so happen to always be the only non-criminal Metalborn on the scene. It makes zero sense that even during existential crises corporations and political entities rely exclusively on the unpowered security and investigators, while the law-abiding Metalborn apparently  use their powers mainly for private amusement.

[...]

Their prevalence among the criminals indicates that there are quite a few, though. Or, for that matter, the fact that the Set could kidnap and/or murder so many for spikes, with it going mostly unnoticed for years. The only reason it even came to anyone's attention was that they did go for those 5 noblewomen, as opposed to the hundreds (thousands?) of other victims

I think there are a few Metalborn constables and security guards (like Innate's Seeker), but its being rare isn't surprising. Allomancers are still nobility-leaning, because of the genetics, and look how other nobles look at Wax... the powers aren't being used in an "economically efficient" way, no, but I don't think that's at all implausible in a society that - up until TLM - has basically faced no real threats for 300+ years. Inefficient customs among an upper class, even obviously and blatantly inefficient ones, aren't exactly rare in our history. The Basin nobility can afford to be inefficient.

Also, Wax and Wayne are pretty much always going to be the most powerful people around. They're both powerful Twinborn combinations - Twinborn in general are very rare, and not all combinations are nearly as good as Iron/Steel or Bendalloy/Gold.

As for the Metalborn criminals, I think basically all the ones we see in main timeline (as opposed to Wax's prologues) are Set-affiliated. Sure, the ones in Wax's past were "random", but it's totally plausible that having powers which set them "above everyone else" would push a certain kind of personality into ignoring the law and going out to the Roughs. And Wax was out there for something like 20 years, and was one of the most famous and successful lawkeepers - they don't generally have records like his. Also, Metalborn criminals are just way more blatant and famous than mundane criminals. We just don't hear about all the regular criminals Wax caught.

I don't think the Set was kidnapping and murdering for ages before Wax found out. TLM makes it sound like the Community was founded around the time of AoL (seven years before TLM) so I think Wax was hunting them pretty much from day one.

1 hour ago, alder24 said:

I just want to point out that you can give a steelrunner a bike, and just by tapping 2x speed, he would be the fastest delivery man in the city, boosting the image of a company and attracting more customers. Good strategy, not requiring lots of attributes.

Yeah. Getting extreme bursts out of Feruchemy is super expensive, but x2 isn't bad.

SoS does say that Steelrunners are comparatively rare, but given BoM that likely means compared to the other common (Physical/Mental) metals, not ultra rare like the Spirituals.

I agree using Bendalloy for cooks is bizarrely inefficient ... but if the clientele is rich enough, that may not matter.

Edited by cometaryorbit
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21 hours ago, alder24 said:

I just want to point out that you can give a steelrunner a bike, and just by tapping 2x speed, he would be the fastest delivery man in the city, boosting the image of a company and attracting more customers. Good strategy, not requiring lots of attributes.

I would love to see bicycles on Scadrial - though I fear that Sanderson, as a US writer may not be aware of how important a means of transport they used to be for much of the 20-ieth century elsewhere in the world and still are in some places. Huge distances and cheapness of gas prevented proliferation of bicycle use among adults in the States, though. The Basin is much more like a small European country, but certain cultural assumptions are hard to shed.

Anyway, Shadows of Self made it very clear that Steelrunners are very rare - didn't Wax's grandma, who was an expert on Terris community and their feruchemical gifts, know of just a handful in Elendel, which is the biggest city and also has the Village? And what is more, even if they could store 100% of speed, which they probably can't, it would mean spending huge amount of time in immobility. Not practical for anybody concerned. However, the bicycle delivery would work very well with Peweterarms. You'd get the same speed enhancement via increased strength and endurance without any of the drawbacks. Should still be expensive, but for an exclusive establishement it might work. For that matter, bicycles could be modified so that Coinshots and maybe even Lurchers could use their allomancy to duse around on them at speed too.

 

19 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

Kelsier says that 1% of nobles in his time are Allomancers, but that's Era 1 & not the whole population.

Kelsier didn't say that and IMHO it would have been too low for the nobles of the Final Empire anyway. I got this impression for the Elendel Basin from certain WoBs, but looking at them again, they seem pretty jumbled and self-contradictory. But even if we take Kriss's estimation of 1 in 1000 as applying to the Basin, that's still a lot of people.

 

19 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

I think there are a few Metalborn constables and security guards (like Innate's Seeker), but its being rare isn't surprising. Allomancers are still nobility-leaning, because of the genetics,

No, there are apparently no Metalborn constables during the AoL series, except for Our Heroes. They had a couple of Coinshot messengers and a single Leecher working for them as contractors. They don't seem to have any Tineyes or Seekers working for the police or corporate security in any capacity, which is patently absurd. How do they even police the criminal use of emotional allomancy in advertising without Seekers? Etc. Innate Jr. was a criminal, so of course he was both an allomancer himself and employed one :D. This goes back to how the books artificially restrict the use of Metal Arts to heroes and criminals, apart from an extremely brief glimpse in SoS. And while allomancers may appear more frequently among the nobility, the vast majority of them are commoners in Era 2. It is just that they are  talked about rather than seen, unless they are criminals.

It also doesn't seem plausible to me that criminal Metalborn had been no threat previously - they literally have laws on the books against criminal use of emotional allomancy. Not to mention that Metalborn are handy against normal threats too. And the Basin does have capitalist economic competition with all it entails, and Metalborn would  provide an edge there.

 

19 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

Also, Wax and Wayne are pretty much always going to be the most powerful people around. They're both powerful Twinborn combinations - Twinborn in general are very rare, and not all combinations are nearly as good as Iron/Steel or Bendalloy/Gold.

Well, sure. Between being Twinborn and their experience they were bound to be the most powerful. Which is why there was no need to dumb down everybody else to make them shine. The police and the corporate security should have used Metalborn and had methods for normals to deal with them, rather then being completely clueless and helpless... it just shouldn't have been enough for this new threat.

 

19 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

As for the Metalborn criminals, I think basically all the ones we see in main timeline (as opposed to Wax's prologues) are Set-affiliated.

IIRC, the Set recruited among the criminals and the disaffected and took control of the underworld.

 

19 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

 

Sure, the ones in Wax's past were "random", but it's totally plausible that having powers which set them "above everyone else" would push a certain kind of personality into ignoring the law

 

All the more reason for corporations and law enforcement to have their own methods to deal with them. Not all would be so considerate as to go to the Roughs - and there are corporate interests there anyway.

 

19 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

I don't think the Set was kidnapping and murdering for ages before Wax found out. TLM makes it sound like the Community was founded around the time of AoL (seven years before TLM) so I think Wax was hunting them pretty much from day one.

Wax was only aware of the kidnapping of the 5 noblewomen. He was completely oblivious about the kidnappings and murders of hundreds or low thousands of Metalborn who were used for spikes and for founding  the Community. And, BTW, all the kidnappings for the latter purpose had to happen on a pretty tight schedule - they couldn't bring in new people after they had shown the inmates "the end of the world".   Which means that there were lots and lots of commoner Metalborn who could vanish without a  trace within a short period of time without causing a splash.

 

19 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

I agree using Bendalloy for cooks is bizarrely inefficient ... but if the clientele is rich enough, that may not matter.

I could maybe see using a Slider to speed up food preparation time in the kitchen of a very, very expensive restaurant. But to expect them to also be a cook is ludicrous. Given how rare Sliders are, what are the odds of one of them also being a gourmet chef?!

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On 5/16/2023 at 5:53 AM, Isilel said:

1) Kelsier didn't say that

2) and IMHO it would have been too low for the nobles of the Final Empire anyway.

3) But even if we take Kriss's estimation of 1 in 1000 as applying to the Basin, that's still a lot of people.

4) No, there are apparently no Metalborn constables during the AoL series, except for Our Heroes. They had a couple of Coinshot messengers and a single Leecher working for them as contractors.

5) And while allomancers may appear more frequently among the nobility, the vast majority of them are commoners in Era 2.

6) He was completely oblivious about the kidnappings and murders of hundreds or low thousands of Metalborn who were used for spikes and for founding  the Community.

(Numbers added by me)

1) ok, looks like I was wrong about that. I do see 1 Misting to every 10,000 skaa with noble blood, but no number about the nobility, only "modestly rare" (Ch 3 TFE)

2) I dont think the total number is really that high. The Allomantic lineages are very much stronger in the Great Houses (Kelsier says nearly all Mistborn are from the Great Houses in Ch. 7 TFE). So Luthadel would have a huge proportion of the total Allomancers. The rest of the Empire, where we don't spend as much time, would have far less except for specific Great House seats (like Urteau and Straff's illegitimate children).

3) it would be about 10,000. Which sounds like a lot, but it's split among 16 different powers, which aren't equally common (so it's not as simple as "~625 Mistings of each type"). Ferrings seem somewhat rarer, and Twinborn are exceptionally rare.

4) hmm, I was sure there were references,  but maybe I am thinking of the contractors. Are you sure the "First Octant precinct's Leecher" mentioned in SoS isn't a constable though? That phrasing sounds like she's actually part of the organization.

The police in New Seran also used an Allomancer to check for metal, according to Marasi in BoM ch 14 (presumably a Coinshot or Lurcher).

5) wait, is that stated?

6) I don't think that's how it went. The people kidnapped for the Community weren't all Allomancers. They all had Allomancy in their families, but weren't all Allomancers themselves. And Wax suggests that some who were Allomancers might have been secret Allomancers (like Marasi was).

I think their number of spikes was actually pretty limited, especially pre-AoL.

Even in TLM, Marasi says only the most important members of the Set have spikes - and things have been kicked into much higher gear at the end of BoM. In BoM we only see Edwarn and Telsin with it, who are super important. I'm sure they're not the only ones, but it could easily be like five or ten people with Hemalurgy at this point.

I don't think we know when the Set started using Hemalurgy; we don't see human members with it in AoL or SoS (Paalm's chimeras in SoS might have attributes spiked out of an animal; they seem absurdly warped for one spike, more so than even koloss).

So I don't think hundreds of Metalborn disappeared without notice before the Set was politically established close to the degree we see in TLM.

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20 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

2) I dont think the total number is really that high. The Allomantic lineages are very much stronger in the Great Houses (Kelsier says nearly all Mistborn are from the Great Houses in Ch. 7 TFE). So Luthadel would have a huge proportion of the total Allomancers.

Maybe? We saw far too little of provincial or lesser nobility to judge the ratio of Allomancers among them. Cetts were unusual for producing very few.

 

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3) it would be about 10,000. Which sounds like a lot, but it's split among 16 different powers, which aren't equally common (so it's not as simple as "~625 Mistings of each type"). Ferrings seem somewhat rarer, and Twinborn are exceptionally rare.

Is the population of the Basin around 10 Million? But yea, the fact that Sliders, for instance, are supposed to be rare - according to your calculation maybe a couple of hundreds all told, makes the advertisment for a Slider cook particularly weird.

 

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 Are you sure the "First Octant precinct's Leecher" mentioned in SoS isn't a constable though? That phrasing sounds like she's actually part of the organization.

No, I cannot be sure. However Marasi did mention in TLM that Elendel police considers Our Heroes to be the unit responsible for policing Metalborn criminals(!) and doesn't have anybody else for that, which suggests that the Leecher wasn't a field operative, whether technically a constable or a contractor. There is also no indication that the Allomancer who inspected graves in New Seran on behalf of the police was a constable. Nor did we see or hear of any among the police in Bilming.

In any case, doesn't it strike you as jarring that the _only_ Metalborn involved in dealing with the Vanisher crisis were the protagonists? That House Tekiel didn't bother to hire Metalborn investigators and guards in AoL despite what was at stake for them? That the police doesn't have Seekers either in it's ranks or as contractors, despite being tasked with preventing criminal uses of emotional allomancy? That they don't use Tineyes ditto? That nobody, who is not associated with the Set, has Pewterarm/Brute bodyguards? Etc. If so, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

 

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5) wait, is that stated?

 

It is not. However, Coinshot messengers and Soothing Parlors exist and they aren't staffed by nobles. Ditto the numerous thugs working for the Set. Of the 4(5?) natural Twinborn who appear in the tetralogy, only one of them is a noble. They are also all men, but that's a separate issue.

 

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6) I don't think that's how it went. The people kidnapped for the Community weren't all Allomancers. They all had Allomancy in their families, but weren't all Allomancers themselves. And Wax suggests that some who were Allomancers might have been secret Allomancers (like Marasi was).

They were either Allomancers themselves or children of 2 Allomancers like that one guy - just having it somewhere in the family was not enough, as the Set refused to take his daughters. The  kidnapped noblewomen, who would have included Marasi and Steris if things had fallen out differently,  were an exception and had been specifically targeted due to their descent from the last Mistborn, but there were only 5 of them. IIRC at least one of them was indeed a secret misting.

 

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I think their number of spikes was actually pretty limited, especially pre-AoL.

Don't forget that they had to experiment _a lot_  to figure out hemalurgy before they learned how to use it:

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/509/#e15952

We also don't know how many of the Metalborn we saw fighting for the Set were actually born that way. If they only had one power, would the protagonists have even suspected that they were hemalurgists? Was the Set really that good at recruiting Metalborn, or did they give powers to  loyal adherents who "earned" them instead? And to important people whose support they wanted to buy? For instance, I am quite sure that Lady Kelesina wasn't a natural Bloodmaker. Oh, and let's not forget whoever fills their unkeyed metalminds. Etc. Not to mention that Edwarn, Telsin, the dude Marasi dealt with, the copycats and Entrone probably accounted for a couple dozen spikes between them, and likely weren't the only Suits, Sequences and Cycles in existence. That's a lot of spikes and consequently dead Metalborn.

P.S. : I really hope that we see Metallic Arts believably integrated into society in Era 3, rather than being mostly treated like comic-book superpowers. That would  allow Nicrobursts to shine.

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1 hour ago, Isilel said:

1)Is the population of the Basin around 10 Million?

2) But yea, the fact that Sliders, for instance, are supposed to be rare - according to your calculation maybe a couple of hundreds all told, makes the advertisment for a Slider cook particularly weird.

3) No, I cannot be sure. However Marasi did mention in TLM that Elendel police considers Our Heroes to be the unit responsible for policing Metalborn criminals(!) and doesn't have anybody else for that, which suggests that the Leecher wasn't a field operative, whether technically a constable or a contractor. There is also no indication that the Allomancer who inspected graves in New Seran on behalf of the police was a constable. Nor did we see or hear of any among the police in Bilming.

4) In any case, doesn't it strike you as jarring that the _only_ Metalborn involved in dealing with the Vanisher crisis were the protagonists? That House Tekiel didn't bother to hire Metalborn investigators and guards in AoL despite what was at stake for them? That the police doesn't have Seekers either in it's ranks or as contractors, despite being tasked with preventing criminal uses of emotional allomancy? That they don't use Tineyes ditto? That nobody, who is not associated with the Set, has Pewterarm/Brute bodyguards? Etc. If so, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

 

5) It is not. However, Coinshot messengers and Soothing Parlors exist and they aren't staffed by nobles. Ditto the numerous thugs working for the Set.

 

6) The  kidnapped noblewomen, who would have included Marasi and Steris if things had fallen out differently,  were an exception and had been specifically targeted due to their descent from the last Mistborn, but there were only 5 of them. IIRC at least one of them was indeed a secret misting.

 

7) Was the Set really that good at recruiting Metalborn, or did they give powers to  loyal adherents who "earned" them instead? And to important people whose support they wanted to buy? For instance, I am quite sure that Lady Kelesina wasn't a natural Bloodmaker. Oh, and let's not forget whoever fills their unkeyed metalminds. Etc. Not to mention that Edwarn, Telsin, the dude Marasi dealt with, the copycats and Entrone probably accounted for a couple dozen spikes between them, and likely weren't the only Suits, Sequences and Cycles in existence. That's a lot of spikes and consequently dead Metalborn.

P.S. : I really hope that we see Metallic Arts believably integrated into society in Era 3, rather than being mostly treated like comic-book superpowers. That would  allow Nicrobursts to shine.

1) yes

2) I agree

3) well, it kind of does make sense that they’d rely on Wax/Wayne/Marasi while they can. They're exceptionally powerful (Twinborn are insanely rare and a set of two combat-useful Twinborn who are experienced in working together could genuinely be unique in the world), very skilled (Marasi is very exceptional in her field completely separately from her power, and while Wax probably gets some help from steel-lines his gun skills are absurdly good & he's a much better detective than he admits; Wayne's impersonation/acting abilities are also exceptional), get help from kandra when needed, and most importantly have a super impressive record. Wax was a legend way before AoL.

I doubt they're literally the only Metalborn involved in policing Metalborn, though. I think what Marasi means is that they're the people the city calls when destructive combat Metalborn show up. I'd think the Leecher* would more often be used to wipe the metals of Metalborn already arrested, including (maybe usually) subtler things like Soothing/Rioting which could be a big problem in a prison.

*and to me the phrasing of "First Octant's" suggests there's probably more than one, though not one for every Octant since they have to call her in

4) see, I would be surprised, but I think some of those things are happening  - just not on page. The Seekers and Tineyes, specifically, I'd imagine do happen. But there's not a lot of reason for our main characters to see that during their on-page adventures.  The only time we hear about the laws against emotional Allomancy use for advertising, Wax specifically isn't focusing on that. The police probably do have Seekers that do that... I don't think that's the same kind of combat Metalborn crisis that Marasi is saying the protagonists are the people to call for.

We don't see commercial uses of Tin, Pewter, or Iron (unless Ranette counts? She apparently does use iron lines in her work), but it does look like Mental Allomancy is out there - not just the illegal advertising thing, but Soothing parlors exist, and it's socially significant enough for a Coppercloud politician to get elected on that alone IIRC (or am I wrong on that reference?)

So I don't really see any reason to doubt that Seekers (and Tineyes too) are out there. Those are rather subtle powers; they don't attract comment like Coinshot couriers. Our PoV characters, and the public, might never know that someone is burning Copper or Tin or Bronze or even Electrum (though you probably wouldn't do that except in a fight). About a third of the useful metals are totally invisible.

It's also worth noting that Wax specifically says in SoS that unlike Allomancers, Feruchemists aren't usually for hire because of the Terris view of their powers. That kind of does suggest that there are more Allomancers for hire in the world than we actually see.

5) True! But those are going to be among the more common powers (Wax specifically tells Khriss that Coinshots are more common, in fact). So their existence doesn't require a majority, much less a vast majority.

If there are ~10000 Mistings total... well, if they were equally distributed there'd be 625 of each type. But we know they're not equally distributed. I'd think it's likelier something like 1000 Coinshots, but very few Nicrobursts. So even if 60% are nobles, and another 10% are criminals or adventurers or otherwise not available for hire, there'd still be 300 or so using their powers to make money.

Edited by cometaryorbit
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19 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

well, it kind of does make sense that they’d rely on Wax/Wayne/Marasi while they can.

 

3 people, 1 of whom is only doing it part-time? And what did they do _before_ the protagonists showed up out of the blue? It appears that they had been completely helpless against Metalborn criminals. It is Batman/Spiderman all over again. What is more, impressive as they are, Our Heroes can't be everywhere and they aren't equippped to police for and deal with crimes  committed via emotional allomancy. The scope of which should extend far beyond unfair competition - murder/assassination via emotional manipulation of a target and/or heightening rage and hostility of people around them, racketeering and blackmailing ditto, swindling, stock fraud, distraction of bystanders during comission of other crimes, etc.

Now  Era 3 when aluminum will be cheap, is going to substantially de-fang emotional allomancy, but it should have been exceptionally dangerous in Era 2. Oh, as an aside, I do hope that on Scadrial  hats would never go out of fashion because of it. Hats are awesome.

 

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 I'd think the Leecher* would more often be used to wipe the metals of Metalborn already arrested,

Agreed.

 

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The Seekers and Tineyes, specifically, I'd imagine do happen. But there's not a lot of reason for our main characters to see that during their on-page adventures.

 

Hard disagree. They should have been present, or at the very least mentioned in SoS. When public disturbances happen in and around the the Basin, both common sense and their own history should immediately suggest that illegal emotional Allomancy might be involved. Seekers should have been out in force in that book - if the police had them. And shouldn't Tineye crime-scene investigators and/or interrogators have been involved too, given the high profile of the crimes? But nada.

As an aside, and as a nod to the thread title:P, Seekers should have worked in pairs in order to detect if Copperclouds are smoking the area (or do they hear their own bronze?) and resorted to the help of Nicrobursts if they are unable to punch through via flaring.

 

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 We don't see commercial uses of Tin, Pewter, or Iron (unless Ranette counts? She apparently does use iron lines in her work), but it does look like Mental Allomancy is out there - not just the illegal advertising thing, but Soothing parlors exist, and it's socially significant enough for a Coppercloud politician to get elected on that alone IIRC (or am I wrong on that reference?)

 

But we should have seen them where it made sense, or at least heard about them. In fact, we didn't even see any Coinshot couriers actually doing their deliveries, just that one girl when she ducked into the carriage company's office. The only glimpse of commercial Allomancers doing their jobs was in the Soothing parlor. And yes, a politician was at least running on the basis of being a Coppercloud - I don't remember if he won.

IMHO, one of the more interesting things about the Era 2 setting and what should have distinguished it from Era 1 (and countless other stories about superpowered people) is that Metal Arts are used constructively in everyday and professional life, rather than just for battle and espionage, but this aspect came very short. I have to hope that it is because this premise was intially conceived for what is now Era 3 and is being largely reserved for it. Which I think is a pity and  largely unnecessary, since Era 3 is presumably going to be very different yet again anyway, whith abundance of aluminum and the existence of mechanical means of access to the Metallic Arts.

 

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If there are ~10000 Mistings total... well, if they were equally distributed there'd be 625 of each type. But we know they're not equally distributed. I'd think it's likelier something like 1000 Coinshots, but very few Nicrobursts. So even if 60% are nobles, and another 10% are criminals or adventurers or otherwise not available for hire, there'd still be 300 or so using their powers to make money.

 

Nothing in the Era 2 series books provided any evidence for there being thousands of Allomancers among the nobility. You'd think that there would have been some attempt to fight back on the part of other guests at the wedding in AoL, if noble Allomancers had been so common.  In fact, we  have no idea about the general number of nobles, how long it takes for their off-shoots to become commoners, whether commoners can become nobles, their ratio to general population, etc., etc. 

In the Final Empire all free people were "nobles", even if they had to work for a living. This is no longer the case post-Catacendre. There may be fewer nobles around than there are Allomancers. We know that they can marry commoners and still transmit their nobility to their children, because Wax's and Telsin's mother was a Terriswoman.  There must have been a lot of interbreeding of people with  allomantic heritage with the Terris early on too, which resulted in the splitting of Feruchemy into Ferrings, etc.

And BTW - a quarter of Coinshots with commoner background becoming criminals?! Because their powers made them too "uppity", I guess? What and oddly classicist and antiquitated idea....

Edited by Isilel
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There do seem to be a high number of Metalborn criminals, but that might have more to do with the Set's influence than anything else - which seems strong among the upper class in TLM. I was including Set people as criminals, even if they're not publicly wanted.

Anyway, I said criminals or adventurers or otherwise not available for hire. Adventurers being people like Allomancer Jak. Not available for hire could include people keeping their powers secret (like Marasi did before AoL) or those with other obligations (family, school, whatever).

Otherwise ... I don't think it's as bad as you suggest, but you do have a point. There are mentions that suggest these things exist, but they "reasonably" should be seen more. I do think that's somewhat a feature of Era 2's more pulp-inspired style & narrower focus, but it can totally be a verisimilitude break as well.

Edited by cometaryorbit
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