This article was showcased on Mistborn Wiki's Main Page as a Featured Article.
Allomancy is one of the three magic systems in the Mistborn fantasy novel trilogy, and is the most prominent. People capable of Allomancy are known as Allomancers. Allomancers have the ability to "burn" (or use) metals, in order to fuel a variety of physical and mental enhancements and abilities. For an additional burst of power, they may flare, or burn their metal especially quickly, consuming it at an accelerated rate, but gaining greater benefits in return. A person who can only burn one metal is known as a Misting. If a person is born with the ability to burn more than one metal, they can burn all Allomantic metals, and are known as Mistborn.
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, including Malatium. All these metals must be pure when ingested, and the alloys must be mixed to specific proportions. If the metals are impure or mixed incorrectly the Allomancer could become very ill or possibly die.
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, a Push or a Pull effect.
It is speculated that during the time of Alendi, Allomancy was in its infancy. There were no known Mistborn, and Alendi was one of the few Mistings in existence. When Rashek took the power of the Well of Ascension however, he condensed some of its energy into the metal Lerasium which when ingested allowed him and several of his closest friends and allies to become Mistborn. The subsequent generations of these people were also Mistborn, and Allomancy slowly spread.
However, in time, Allomancers became less potent. People were no longer born capable of Allomancy, but had to be "snapped" into realizing their power. Usually this happened via an extremely traumatic event. Because of this, nobles developed a tradition of beating their children nearly to death in order to check for this ability. Also, Mistings who only had access to one Allomantic ability started being born. Even Mistborn were no longer as powerful as their ancestors.
Three hundred years after the rise of Harmony, Allomancy has diluted to the point where Mistborn no longer exist. However, Mistings are more common. A few Mistings are also capable of using one Feruchemical ability; these people are called Twinborn.
Individuals who flare their metals 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, and heightened dependence upon, whatever metal they are burning in such a manner. Without powerful external intervention, it is believed that this process is irreversible. One example of an Allomantic Savant is Spook.
The metals and alloys below are the 8 basic Allomantic metals. The metals here form two groups: external and internal. External metals allow a Misting or Mistborn to exert control over their environment. Internal metals allow a Misting or Mistborn to exert better control over their body.
Coinshots have the ability to burn Steel, which allows them 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 a Coinshot could not Push on metals that pierce or are otherwise contained in the body of another Allomancer (e.g., ingested metals), however it can be achieved by an exceedingly powerful Allomancer or Hemalurgist.
Aluminum and several of its alloys cannot not be "Pushed" or felt by a Coinshots; thus a Coinshot can be killed by an aluminum bullet.
Lurchers have the ability to burn Iron, which allows them 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 a Lurcher could not Pull on metals that pierce or are otherwise contained in the body of another Allomancer (e.g., ingested metals), however it can be achieved by an exceedingly powerful Allomancer, or a Hemalurgist.
Aluminum and several of its alloys cannot be "Pulled" or felt by a Lurcher.
Tineyes have the ability to burn Tin, which allows them to enhance all five of their senses. Tineyes are often used as lookouts and scouts because they can see in near-darkness. A major flaw of burning is that if a sudden loud noise or bright light appears it can render a Tineye stunned for a short time. Tin also gives mental "stability" allowing the person to utilize all of the information that it provides and allowing them to assess a battle situation quicker than a normal person. The increase given compares in no way to the mental increase given by atium.
Pewterarms, or Thugs, have the ability to burn Pewter, which allows them to greatly enhance their physical capabilities. While burning pewter, a Thug can fight or perform physical labor longer than any normal person, and is also many times stronger than his or her normal self. This enhanced strength also allows a Thug to shrug off wounds that would kill or incapacitate a normal person. Pewter-burning also provides a Thug with an increased sense of balance and vastly increased speed and dexterity. A Thug 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 a Thug is when the Thug carrying something that he or she normally could not carry and he or she runs out of pewter to burn, the object he or she is carrying will crush him or her, causing serious injury. Another danger is that a Thug who shrugged off earlier wounds could succumb to said wounds when he or she runs out of pewter to burn.
Seekers have the ability to burn Bronze, which allows them to determine if someone 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 extremely powerful Allomancer can penetrate the copperclouds of other weaker Allomancers, but only if they (the more powerful Allomancer) are given a Hemalurgic spike for Bronze and had natural Bronze Allomancy.
Copperclouds, or Smokers, have the ability to burn Copper, which allows them to hide themselves and others from "Seekers" by dampening Allomantic vibrations caused by burning metals. The area hidden by a Smoker is known as a coppercloud (hence the name). In strike teams, Smokers are extremely helpful to keep from being caught by a Seeker, or a Mistborn burning Bronze. Exceedingly powerful Mistborn or Seekers can pierce copperclouds and feel the dampened allomantic vibrations. The only known cases are Vin as she was pierced with a Bronze hemalurgic spike (in the shape of an earring) and the Steel Inquisitors, because they were usually Seekers and had a Bronze Hemalurgic spike.
Rioters have the ability to burn Zinc, which allows them to inflame the emotions of those nearby. This can be used to incite riots(hence the name) or to enhance any emotion of the target. A Rioter can affect a single person or all the individuals in a particular area.
In Alloy of Law, it has been revealed that when one's head is being protected by aluminum or its alloy, he or she cannot be affected by the riot effect of zinc.
An Allomancer burning Cadmium can subtly pull on time in a bubble around them, stretching it and making time pass more slowly. A Misting who can only burn Cadmium is known as a "Pulser". Once a time bubble is set by a Pulser, it cannot be relocated once the metal is continuiously being burnt. Any human located within the bubble when it is set could feel the effect, and can see a "blur" of movement outside the bubble as time is seemed to be compressed. No one can either enter or leave the bubble until the metal is extinguished, while any object (e.g. bullet) tries to pass through the "boundary" would find the moving path unpredictable. When both Slider and Pulser burn their metal at the same time and set their bubble at the same location, their effects cancel with each other and nothing happens.
This metal made an appearance in The Alloy of Law.
An Allomancer burning Bendalloy can subtly push on time in a bubble around them, compressing it and making it pass more quickly. A Misting who can only burn Bendalloy is known as a "Slider". Apart from that Bendalloy can compress time instead of stretching it, it obeys laws as Cadmium, e.g. not being able to be relocated, any object passing through the "boundaries" would have a unpredictable moving path, etc. People outside the bubble can see a "blur" of movement inside if they watch carefully as time is being compressed. When both Slider and Pulser burn their metal at the same time and set their bubble at the same location, their effects cancel with each other and nothing happens.
This metal made an appearance in The Alloy of Law.
Drains all other metal reserves of a Mistborn, leaving them powerless. This metal was known to the Lord Ruler and his Inquisitors, evidenced by the fact that Vin was forced to swallow it during her imprisonment in Kredik Shaw in book one. The Inquisitors kept the metal secret however, because of its potentially powerful application.
A misting who can burn aluminum is called an aluminum gnat because nothing happens when they burn their metal.
An Allomancer burning Nicrosil causes the target Allomancer's currently burning metals to be burned in a brief, intense flash. Similar to Duralumin, differing only because Duralumin is an internal metal (target is the Allomancer burning it), and Nicrosil is an external metal (target is other Allomancers). There must be physical contact.
A misting who can burn Nicrosil is called a nicroburst (Nicro)
The body of Preservation. A greenish bead that allows the burner (which can be anyone) to become a Mistborn, allowing you access to all of the Allomantic metals. These beads are the source of Mistborn, and this trait ends up being genetic.
Lerasium is not actually one of the 16 Allomantic metals, though it is clearly related. In Hero of Ages it is revealed that these beads are actually parts of the god Preservation's "body". When alloyed with other Allomantic metals it can be used to create a Misting of the metal used to alloy.
Previously thought to be a higher metal, it has been revealed to be the body of Ruin.
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 was Atium itself, showing what the attacker will do. However, this in turn changes what the defender will do, which changes what the attacker will do, creating a confusing "vortex" of Atium shadows. Later, it is discovered that one could also burn Electrum, which shows the user the same shadows the Atium attacker sees, though does not allow the burner to see the similar shadows around their opponent.
In the second book 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 Atium is the physical form of Ruin that Preservation locked away when he placed Ruin in the Well of Ascension. Burning Atium in combination with Duralumin allows a Mistborn to see the ultimate effects of their immediate actions, and act accordingly.
A Misting who can only burn Atium is called a "Seer".
Malatium is an alloy of Atium and Gold which allows an Allomancer to see the past of someone else, like an external version of Gold's power. This metal is referred to in legend as the Eleventh Metal. This is the metal that Kelsier said would defeat the Lord Ruler when burned in his presence, although it did not directly defeat him. It showed Vin the Lord Ruler's possible life as a mountain guide. She knew from the vision that he was not Alendi, and figured out that he was Rashek. This indirectly enabled her to defeat him.
All information for this page is derived from the five books, Mistborn: The Final Empire, Mistborn: The Well of Ascension, Mistborn: The Hero of Ages, Mistborn: The Alloy of Law However, Mistborn: Shadows of Self. You may have noticed that some information listed is not in the book (Most Notably, Chromium and Nicrosil). This information, and much of the others, was derived from the Allomancy Table of Metal, found at Brandon Sanderson's website