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Hi all, so this is a spin-off of the Nicrosil Feruchemy and the Bands topic. But once I got writing and thinking I decided to flesh it out. I intend to flesh this out even more, so if you see me edit stuff in, be not surprised. 

In this thread I examine how allomantic power in the context of steelpushing is majorly dependent on two things; weight and allomantic power. Further, I give insight into the nature of power and sensitivity.  Weight determines who moves, as well as how much, and allomantic strength is almost a measure of how much this rule can be violated; it also provides an extra amount of power in addition to one's weight, but it also seems to determine sensitivity.   

Steelpushing: Weights and Anchors

Now, we all ought to know that weight is vital in steelpushing; it is weight manipulation that makes a lot of Wax's cooler feats possible and we see examples in pretty much every book.

However, it isn't just about the weight of the allomancer, but the size or weight of the anchor as well.

Now, if you're short on time, suffice it to say that a heavy anchor that's high in metal is better as it allows for a longer push.

Now, we see this as early as chapter 1, page 32 of the Alloy of Law where Wax notes, whilst cruising the city, 


...and the lamp was a good anchor -  lots of metal, firmly attached to the ground - capable of pushing him quite high. 

This also states more metal is better, which is also implied on chapter 1, page 34, of the Alloy of Law.


He shot outwards in a grand arc above the city, flying for a good half a minute on the Push off those enormous girders.

It is worth noting that this again notes it may not just be weight, but metal mass that is particularly important for an anchor. As we know, larger anchors have thicker lines. As one approaches a metal the line becomes brighter, and as one leaves it becomes fainter. The thicker the line, the more enduring the anchor the object tends to be. It is notable that Kelsier also uses an ingot to train Vin in jumping the city wall of Luthadel, in The Final Empire chapter 8 page 147, This would seem unnecessary if a mere coin was enough. Indeed, 


The ground disappeared below, and the line of blue pointing toward the ingot grew fainter and fainter. . . She began to slow. The fainter the line grew, the more her speed decreased. After just a few moment of flight, she crept to a halt- and was left hanging in the air above a nearly invisible blue line. 

So, weight determines who moves, and quality of anchor determines how far one can move, by determining the time extent of the push. A bigger, more metallic anchor is better and will allow longer sustained motion whilst a smaller anchor allows shorter flight.   

Allomantic Strength and Pushing

We're introduced to the notion of allomantic strength early on with Vin, who is abnormal in her high strength. But before we compare between people, it helps to consider burn rates with a single person.

Take Vin. She is capable of burning her metal and extracting a given amount of power. She may also flare it; flaring a metal allows her to draw more strength from her metal, but at the cost of a faster rate of consumption. So, all else equal, Vin is capable of drawing more strength from her metals at a cost of reduced burntime. 

Now take Kelsier and Vin. Both can burn the same metal, say steel, but they have different burn rates. This burn rate is a result of spiritual DNA and the more allomantic sDNA, the faster the burn, and consequently the more power at any given time. It is explicit as per WoB (thanks and full credit to Yata) that a stronger allomancer is one who burns their metals faster.



Q: Does a more powerful Mistborn burn their metals more quickly, or do they use what they get more efficiently?

A: Metal burning speed is proportional to power withdraw


But what does 'more powerful' mean? What is greater allomantic strength? Essentially, this means stronger (more force) pushes and pulls from a given anchor, as well as obvious consequences for the other metals. We see this in The Final Empire, chapter 9, page 174 and Kelsier comments on it on page 182. 


Today, when we were training, we got into a Steelpush shoving match. The kid has to weigh less than half as much as I do, but she gave me a decent pummeling anyway. 

 Particularly relevant is that Kelsier is bigger than Vin, and he does end up winning, but he still feels it -more than he otherwise should. Strength allows a degree of freedom. This is a relatively slight difference, it's less conclusive than we'd like but it is useful for demonstrating the point, so let's go with another more drastic example.  

 We further see this with Elend in Hero of Ages, chapter 3, page 32.  



Elend flipped a coin into the air. a single, sparkling bit of copper spun through the flakes of ash. The Inquisitor saw this and smiled again, obviously anticipating Elend's Push. It assumed that its weight would transfer through the coin, then hit Elend's weight, since Elend would be pushing as well. Two allomancers of near-similar weight, shoving agaisnt each other. They would both be thrown back - the Inquisitor to attack Vin, Elend into a pile of Koloss.

Except, the Inquisitor didn't anticipate Elend's allomantic strength. How could it? Elend did stumble, but the Inquisitor was thrown away with a sudden, violent Push.


So right here we see that that Elend only stumbles -he's not thrown away- and the Inquisitor is tossed away. Essentially, this demonstrates that allomantic strength not only allows one to effect someone else more than it should, but in the case of a Pushing match it allows the stronger party to suffer less damage. 

It violates the weight determines what moves (and how much) rule. Or more accurately, the greater the difference in strength, the less the difference in weight matters.

But What About Sensitivity 

In the interests of being fair, I've heard this before, most recently by SpoolofWhool but in the interests of being honest, I'd also noted this myself. 

Basically, it is my thoughts that a stronger allomancer isn't just stronger, but is also more sensitive. This is implied with Vin's training with Marsh (she's not just strong, but hemalurgically gifted) where she can already feel the direction of the metals burn. But there's more, there's a scene in Shadows of Self, chapter 20, page 308 where Wax is alone in the dark with TenSoon and by flaring his metals he can only just see the lines. 

Better though, in the Bands of Mourning, page 258, Wax notes (of Wayne's new identity-less metalmind) 


I have to flare my metal to even get the faintest line pointing to it.

In Conclusion (or TLDR)

Weight of anchors matters for push length, and power in some cases.

Greater strength of a allomancer allows more Pushing force given the same anchor. Greater strength alos seems to grant greater sensitivity.  

Still to come; 


Anchor quality,


Nicrosil and stored allomancy,

Soul interference and allomantic power,

Wax and Vin at LORD RULER (+) power.

And more!

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While I don't agree with all your points, please notice that some of things that are "still to come" has been covered. I think these topics may either satisfy your curiosity or be a decent addition to your thoughts:


Edited by Oversleep
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7 hours ago, Oversleep said:

While I don't agree with all your points, please notice that some of things that are "still to come" has been covered. I think these topics may either satisfy your curiosity or be a decent addition to your thoughts:


Hey oversleep ^_^ 

You're allowed to disagree, although I'd like to see you rationale sooner or later. you're one of the hardest working Sharders I've seen so I might just have missed something. 

As for the rest, I think I've actually read those threads before. But thanks for the references. 

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5 minutes ago, Savanorn said:

You're allowed to disagree, although I'd like to see you rationale sooner or later.

I need to run my calculations or find somebody who can :) Physics, man :|

6 minutes ago, Savanorn said:

you're one of the hardest working Sharders I've seen so I might just have missed something.


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I agree with most of the ideas presented so far, but I do have some insight to add.

Savanorn, you kept mentioning weight, but what I think you mean is mass.  Not trying to be too technical here, but it may be important if Allomancers make it into space and gravity no longer has as much of an effect on them.  I think that they would still be able to Push with the same force in that scenario.

I don't have too much of a background in physics, but what I am thinking is that Pushing and Pulling exerts a force on the metal being affected, and thus by F=ma, the mass would affect the force of the push.  As for Allomancers with stronger steel, it helps me to visualize Pushes as a theoretical stream of particles impacting the metal being pushed, and therefore exerting a force on the object (Newtons of force per second).  Stronger Allomancers, because they burn at a faster rate, are releasing a higher number of these theoretical particles, and thus increasing the N/s that the Allomancer is pushing with.

This idea also kinda works for why stronger Allomancers can see the lines easier.  Let's say a different type of particle that does not exert a force is used (because the Allomancer is not pushing), and that particle has to bounce off of the metal and return to the Allomancer in order to see a blue Allomantic line.  Stronger allomancers then are releasing more particles, giving them a higher chance to hit smaller bits of metal and return.  And when metal is further away, the chance that the particles would find the metal and return is smaller as well.

By using this idea I might be bold enough to theorize that stronger Allomancers would also be able to see metals from further distances than weaker Allomancers.

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