Allomancer

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An Allomancer is one of a fictional group of people from Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn fantasy novel series. They have an ability called Allomancy that allows them to "burn" (metabolize metals in the body for magical powers) ingested metals, thereby enhancing various physical and mental capacities. For an additional burst of power, an Allomancer may burn their metal(s) especially quickly, consuming them at an accelerated rate, but gaining greater benefits from them; this is referred to as "flaring" metals. A person who is only able to burn one of the metals listed below is known as a Misting. Anyone capable of burning more than one metal is capable of burning all of them; these people are known as Mistborn.

Majority of Allomantic (metal) pairs are opposites, yet complements, one to another:

  • Iron pulled on metals, Steel pushed
  • Copper hid Allomancers, Bronze revealed
  • Zinc enflamed emotions, Brass depressed them
  • Tin enhanced senses, Pewter enhanced body and dulled senses
  • Aluminum dampens other metal powers, Duralumin enhances them

The primary Mistborn, Vin and Elend, are opposites and complements. As reflected in the three metallic arts symbolizing the three Realms of Existence, Cognitive, Spiritual and Physical, Vin and Elend are opposites in mental, emotional and physical aspects, with Vin's skill paired with Elend's strength; hers from years of subconscious and conscious usage and training, his from the bead of pure god metal at the Well of Ascension.

Allomantic origins[edit]

After the Lord Ruler took the power at the Well of Ascension, he recreated the world until the power in the Well of Ascension was depleted. In the Chamber of Ascension the Lord Ruler obtained the remnants of the Well's power, the god metals, which he shared with his original supporters, altering the cellular structure of the nine ancient Allomancers[1] with power pure and unadulterated by time and breeding.[2] The first group of Mistborn possessed the pure primal Allomantic power of the god force Preservation, which was then passed down through the lines of the nobility, weakening a bit with each generation. Although forbidden by the Lord Ruler, mixed race children of Skaa and noble survived, with a few eventually becoming Mistings or full Mistborn. One of the Lord Ruler's seemingly "divine" powers through his thousand year reign was his essential Allomantic strength, but it was also part of every one of the Original Ancient Nine. This was why his powers were much stronger compared to other later Mistborn, although his ability to mix Feruchemy and Allomancy was what produced many of his secret abilities.

Allomancers were much stronger during the Early Days of the Final Empire. In the days of formation, an Allomancer didn't need duralumin to take control of a kandra or koloss. A simple Push or Pull on the emotions was enough. In fact, this ability was one of the main reasons that the kandra devised their Contracts with the humans—for, at that time, not only Mistborn, but Soothers and Rioters could take control of them at the merest of whims.

The three Metal Arts symbolize the three Realms of Existence; Cognitive Realm, Physical Realm, Spiritual Realm.[3]

Allomancy is of Preservation. In the rational case of Allomancy, net power is gained. It is provided by an external source, Preservation's own energy.

Hemalurgy is of Ruin. It destroys. By taking abilities from one person and giving them to another—in reduced amounts—power is actually lost. In line with Ruin's own appointed purpose—breaking down the universe into smaller and smaller pieces—Hemalurgy gives great gifts, but at a high cost.

Feruchemy is the power of balance. Of the three powers of the metal arts, only it was known to men before the conflict between Preservation and Ruin came to a head. In Feruchemy, power is stored up, then later drawn upon. There is no loss of energy—just a changing of the time and rate of its use.

Preservation wanted to create life on Scadrial, but he needed Ruin's help to do so. In exchange for Ruin's help, Preservation promised that Ruin would be allowed to destroy everything one day. However, after they had succeeded in creating the world, Preservation reneged on its bargain and sacrificed a significant portion of its power forever to create the Well of Ascension as a prison for Ruin to prevent the destruction of the world. To keep the prison strong, Preservation wrote prophecies for the Terris people that showed them how to renew Ruin's imprisonment by diverting the power, in the form of a metallic liquid, from the Well.

During the night the world is covered in Mist. It is revealed, late in the series, that the Mist is a form of the body of Preservation and that the mistsickness is another, more violent way of activating one's allomantic powers, similar to the noble families' practice of beating children to near-death.

The Mists awaken Allomantic potential inside of people. Preservation designed this before he gave his consciousness to imprison Ruin and is not a perfect system. The catalyst is the return of the power to the Well of Ascension. When the Well becomes full, it sets the mists to begin Snapping those who have the potential for Allomancy buried within them. Many won't be strong Allomancers as the abilities were buried too deeply to have come out without the mists' intervention. Others will have a more typical level of power and might have Snapped earlier, had they gone through enough anguish to bring the power out. Either can cause death. A reaction like physical anguish triggers it and brings it out because the Allomantic power comes from the extra bit of Preservation inside of humans, that same extra bit that gives us free will. This bit is trapped between the opposing forces of Preservation and Ruin, and to come out and allow it the power to access metals and draw forth energy, it needs to fight its way through the piece of Ruin that is also there inside. There are people who have Snapped because of intense joy or other emotions but less frequently and is more difficult to control.

As established, Ruin's control over creatures, and an Allomancer's control over them, grows weaker when that creature is going through some extreme emotions, like the koloss blood frenzy, due to the relationship between the Cognitive Realm, the Physical Realm, and the Spiritual Realm.[3]

Allomantic savants[edit]

Mistings who flare their metal intensely for extended periods of time may be physiologically altered by the constant influx of Allomantic power. These Allomancers are known as Allomantic Savants. These people experience heightened ability with, and heightened dependence upon, whatever metal they are burning in such a manner. Under most circumstances, this is considered damaging and, without powerful external intervention, it is believed that this process is irreversible.

Allomantic metals[edit]

There are 16 metals that Allomancers are able to use: 8 basic metals (4 base metals and 4 alloys) and 8 Higher metals (4 base metals and 4 alloys). There are also 2 additional metals referred to as 'God metals' that sit outside of the main 16, which have as many as 16 alloys each.

Each metal has a different ability, which are used by Allomancers as listed below. These metals must be pure when ingested, and the alloys must be mixed to the correct proportions. For example, brass can contain anywhere from 20% to 50% zinc (with the rest mostly copper), but only one of those mixtures would be safe for an Allomancer. If the metals are impure or mixed wrong, the Allomancer could become very ill or possibly die. The same severe effects will happen if an Allomancer burns metals other than those listed below (e.g. silver, lead, or platinum).

The Allomantic metals come in four groupings of four metals: Physical, Mental, Temporal, and Enhancement. Each of these four groupings has two base metals and their corresponding alloys, which in turn have a related ability. Each metal produces an Internal or an External effect.

The eight basic metals are organized into two groups of four: Physical metals (Iron, Steel, Tin, Pewter) and Mental metals (Zinc, Brass, Copper, Bronze). The eight higher Allomantic metals are also organized into two groups of four: Temporal metals (Cadmium, Bendalloy, Gold, Electrum) and Enhancement metals (Chromium, Nicrosil, Aluminum, Duralumin).

The final group of metals are the God Metals: Atium and Lerasium. (These are the only two metals in the series that are purely fictional.) These metals are a physical manifestation of the power of their corresponding god. All but one of Atium's alloys (and their effects) are unknown. Lerasium and its alloys grant regular people Allomantic abilities. Pure Lerasium creates Mistborn and Lerasium alloys create specific Mistings, depending on with which of the other Allomantic metals the Lerasium is alloyed.

Basic metals[edit]

The metals and alloys below are the 8 basic Allomantic metals.

Physical metals[edit]

Iron (external)[edit]

Iron is a pure elemental metal.

An Allomancer burning Iron is able to Pull on nearby metals. This can allow them to make metallic objects that weigh less than they do to fly through the air toward them. For metallic objects which weigh more than they do, this can cause them to be pulled toward the object. It was generally assumed that an Allomancer could not Pull on metals that pierce or are otherwise contained in the body of another living being (e.g., ingested metals), however it can be achieved by an exceedingly powerful Allomancer.

A Misting who can only burn Iron is known as a "Lurcher".

Steel (external)[edit]

Steel is an alloy of iron, with trace amounts of carbon and other elements.

An Allomancer burning Steel is able to "Push" on nearby metals. This can allow them to make metallic objects that weigh less than they do to fly through the air away from them (using coins, for instance, as weapons). For metallic objects which weigh more than they do, this can cause them to be pushed away from the object. It was generally assumed that an Allomancer could not Push on metals that pierce or are otherwise contained in the body of another living being (e.g., ingested metals), however it can be achieved by an exceedingly powerful Allomancer.

A Misting who can only burn Steel is known as a "Coinshot".

Tin (internal)[edit]

Tin is a pure elemental metal.

An Allomancer burning Tin is able to enhance all five of their senses. A major flaw of burning Tin is that if a sudden loud noise or bright light appears it can render an Allomancer stunned for a short time. Mistings burning Tin are often used as lookouts and scouts because they can see in near-darkness. Tin also enables you to see through mists, not see them more clearly.

A Misting who can only burn Tin is known as a "Tineye".

Pewter (internal)[edit]

Pewter is an alloy of tin, with up to 15% a mixture of copper, lead, antimony, and bismuth. (It was revealed early in Mistborn: The Final Empire that the safe alloy of pewter for Allomancers contains 91% tin and 9% lead.)

An Allomancer burning Pewter is able to greatly enhance their physical capabilities. While burning pewter, an Allomancer can fight or perform physical labor longer than any normal person, and is also many times stronger than his or her normal self; this applies not only to their muscle strength, but to the strength of their bones, skin, etc. This enhanced strength also allows an Allomancer to shrug off wounds that would kill or incapacitate a normal person. Pewter-burning also provides an Allomancer with an increased sense of balance and vastly increased speed and dexterity. An Allomancer performing a "pewter drag" can run for many hours at speeds up to approximately that of a galloping horse. This is extremely draining on the Allomancer's body and will require the Allomancer to burn pewter after completing the pewter drag itself, just to keep the person's body from collapsing in near-death exhaustion.

One danger for someone burning Pewter is when carrying something that they normally couldn't carry and they run out of the metal, the object they are carrying will crush them, causing serious injury. Another danger is that an Allomancer who shrugged off earlier wounds could succumb to said wounds when they run out of Pewter to burn.

A Misting who can only burn Pewter is known as a "Pewterarm" or "Thug".

Mental metals[edit]

Zinc (external)[edit]

Zinc is a pure elemental metal.

An Allomancer burning Zinc is able to inflame the emotions of those nearby. This can be used to incite riots (hence the name zinc Mistings go by) or to enhance any emotion of the target. An Allomancer can affect a single person or all the individuals in a particular area.

A Misting who can only burn Zinc is known as a "Rioter".

Brass (external)[edit]

Brass is an alloy primarily of zinc and copper, with traces of other elements.

An Allomancer burning Brass is able to soothe or guide emotions in a particular direction. An Allomancer can affect a single person or all the individuals in a particular area.

A Misting who can only burn Brass is known as a "Soother".

Copper (internal)[edit]

Copper is a pure elemental metal.

An Allomancer burning copper is able to hide themselves and others from "Seekers" by hiding Allomantic vibrations caused by burning metals. The radius of effect around an Allomancer burning copper is known as a "coppercloud" (Hence the name copper Mistings go by). In strike teams copper-burning Allomancers are extremely helpful to keep from being caught by a Seeker, or a Mistborn burning bronze, though a Mistborn or Seeker who is strong enough ( perhaps by being enhanced with a bronze Hemalurgic spike) can pierce copperclouds and feel the dampened Allomantic vibrations. In addition, by burning copper, one is immune to emotional Allomancy (though this immunity is not shared by others within the coppercloud). When using Allomancy, Mistborn will usually burn this metal first before using other metals in order to hide their Allomantic powers from Steel Inquisitors or other Allomancers. Copper burns slowly, so many Mistborn continue to burn copper most if not all of the time.

A Misting who can only burn Copper is known as a "Coppercloud" or "Smoker".

Bronze (internal)[edit]

Bronze is an alloy of copper and (most commonly) tin.

An Allomancer burning Bronze is able to determine if someone else is using Allomancy in the immediate area. With practice, an Allomancer can determine the location of the other Allomancer, which metal the other Allomancer is burning, and to what extent the other Allomancer is burning his or her metal. An exceedingly powerful Allomancer is able to pierce the "invisibility" of copperclouds. An alternative to being an Allomancer is having a bronze hemalurgic spike placed through oneself.

A Misting who can only burn Bronze is known as a "Seeker".

Higher metals[edit]

These metals are known as the higher Allomantic metals. Previously thought to be exclusive to Mistborn, it has been revealed that Mistings of the higher metals are possible.

Temporal metals[edit]

Cadmium (external)[edit]

Cadmium is a pure elemental metal.

An Allomancer burning cadmium can subtly pull on time in a bubble around them, stretching it and making time pass more slowly.[4]

A Misting who can only burn cadmium is known as a "Pulser".[4]

This metal is revealed in Mistborn: The Alloy of Law

Bendalloy (external)[edit]

Bendalloy is an alloy of cadmium consisting mostly of bismuth and lead, also containing tin.

An Allomancer burning bendalloy can subtly push on time in a bubble around them, compressing it and making it pass more quickly.[5]

A Misting who can only burn bendalloy is known as a "Slider".[4]

This metal is revealed in Mistborn: The Alloy of Law

Gold (internal)[edit]

Gold is a pure elemental metal.

Gold allows an Allomancer to see what they might have been if they had made different choices in the past. It is rarely used due to possible severe emotional trauma.

A Misting who can only burn gold is known as an "Augur".[4]

Electrum (internal)[edit]

Electrum is an alloy of gold and silver.

An Allomancer burning electrum is able to see into their own future.[6] Burning Electrum is also an effective means of countering an Allomancer burning Atium.

A Misting who can only burn electrum is known as an "Oracle".[4]

Enhancement metals[edit]

Chromium (external)[edit]

Chromium is a pure elemental metal.

An Allomancer while burning chromium is able to destroy another Allomancer's metals, just like Aluminum does to one's self.[7]

A Misting who can only burn chromium is known as a "Leecher".[4]

This metal is still unknown by the end of Mistborn: The Alloy of Law.

Nicrosil (external)[edit]

Nicrosil is an alloy of chromium containing mostly nickel, with traces of silicon and magnesium.

An Allomancer while burning nicrosil can cause a target Allomancer currently burning metals to burn them in a brief, intense flash.[7] This is similar to duralumin, which targets the Allomancer's internal metals, while nicrosil is an external metal (targeting other Allomancers).

A Misting who can only burn nicrosil is known as a "Nicroburst" (Nicro).[4]

This metal is still unknown by the end of Mistborn: The Alloy of Law.

Aluminum (internal)[edit]

Aluminum is a pure elemental metal.

A Mistborn that burns aluminum causes all of their other metal reserves to be drained instantly, leaving them powerless.[8]

A Misting who can only burn aluminum is known as an "Aluminum Gnat"[4] as they gain no discernible effect from burning their metal.

Duralumin (internal)[edit]

Duralumin is an alloy of aluminum containing traces of copper, magnesium, and/or manganese. (It was revealed early in Mistborn: The Well of Ascension that the safe alloy of duralumin for Mistborns contains 96% aluminum and 4% copper.)

A Mistborn that burns duralumin causes a reaction with any of the other metals they are currently burning to create an exceptionally large flare of the metal, consuming the remaining supply. The exact degree to which duralumin enhances the next metal burned is unknown but appears to be massive: burning duralumin-enhanced pewter, Vin has exploded an assassin's skull with a hard head butt and later, with a single sword stroke, cut Straff Venture in half along with the horse he was sitting on at the time.

A Misting who can only burn duralumin is known as a "Duralumin Gnat"[4] as they gain no discernible effect from burning their metal.

God metals[edit]

Atium (external)[edit]

Previously thought to only be a higher metal, it is also revealed in the third book, Mistborn: The Hero of Ages, that Atium is actually the physical form of the god Ruin that Preservation locked away when he placed Ruin in the Well of Ascension.[9]

Atium is the most valuable metal in the world, and it is slowly mined from the "Pits of Hathsin". The metal is mined by prisoners of the Lord Ruler, as using Allomancy near the Atium-producing crystals shatters them. This metal allows the Mistborn to see a few seconds into the future, thereby allowing them to anticipate the moves of an opponent. It also enhances the mind to cope with and understand these new insights, effectively turning a Mistborn invincible for a short time. Atium burns very quickly.

Initially, the only known counter to Atium is to burn it yourself, showing you what the other person will do. This in turn changes what you will do, which changes what the other person will do, creating a confusing "vortex" of Atium shadows. One could also burn Electrum, which creates multiple Atium shadows, though does not allow the burner to see the similar shadows around their opponent.

In the second book, Mistborn: The Well of Ascension, it is revealed that if someone burning Atium attacks someone not burning the metal there is a way to combat the Atium-burner. The person being attacked can allow their attacker to begin intercepting their future move before they make it allowing the victim to change what they are doing, and as the attacker is aware that the victim has no atium to burn they will see their victim's Atium shadow "split" into two separate attacks causing a presumably fatal outcome. In the third book it is revealed that Electrum will also provide protection from Atium.

Burning Atium in combination with Duralumin allows a Mistborn to see the ultimate effects of their immediate actions, and act accordingly.[citation needed]

It may be possible to alloy Atium with one of the other 16 Allomantic metals to create another alloy with a different Allomantic ability, such as Malatium which is Atium alloyed with Gold.[4]

A Misting who can only burn Atium is known as a "Seer".

Malatium (external)[edit]

Malatium is an alloy of Atium and gold, when burned it allows an Allomancer to see a vision of possible other lives someone else could have led, and different paths they could have taken. In Mistborn: The Final Empire, this metal was referred to as the legendary Eleventh Metal.

Lerasium (internal)[edit]

A greenish metallic bead that allows the burner (which can be anyone) to become a Mistborn, allowing them access to all of the Allomantic metals. These beads are the source of all Mistborn, and this trait ends up being genetic, whereby the descendants of a Mistborn have a chance of becoming either a Mistborn or a Misting without the need of burning Lerasium. These descendants are not born with the ability of Allomancy, and will show no signs until some traumatic event causes them to 'snap' there by allowing them the ability to burn allomantic metals.[9]

Pure Lerasium when ingested will turn the user into a Mistborn, whereas Lerasium that is alloyed with one of the other 16 Allomantic metals will turn the user into a Misting of the metal used to alloy. Sanderson has stated in the annotations to the novels that this is not the 'primary' use of Lerasium, and that it would have an entirely different effect if burned by a Mistborn.[10]

Lerasium is not actually one of the 16 Allomantic metals, though it is clearly related. In Mistborn: The Hero of Ages it is revealed that these beads are actually parts of the god Preservation's "body".

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References[edit]

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