For more information about Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, visit his website at brandonsanderson.com. For information about the Mistborn Adventure Game, visit mistbornrpg.com. For information about the Mistborn: House War board game, visit mistbornhousewar.com.
A Misting who can burn iron is known as a Lurcher. When burning iron they see blue lines stretching from their chest to nearby sources of metal. The closer and larger the source of metal is the thicker the line is. Lurchers can pull on these lines to pull metal objects towards them, or to pull themselves towards larger or secured metal objects. If the object is of a similar weight to the Lurcher then both will move.
A Misting who can burn steel is known as a Coinshot for their tendency to push coins towards their foes at lethal velocities. Like Lurchers, when burning steel an Allomancer sees blue lines pointing towards nearby sources of metal. A Coinshot can push on these lines to move the objects away from them, or to move themselves away from the objects if the objects in question are heavier. By pushing on dropped coins and other metal sources Coinshots can launch themselves through the air, a process that might fancifully be described as flying but is more a matter of jumping and falling. When doing this Coinshots need to be careful, as a hard landing could easily injure them. As they are able to burn iron and pewter (which enhances physical strength, balance, resilience, etc) Mistborn have a considerable advantage at this and are able to rapidly traverse city scapes and easily outpace any ordinary individual.
There are many techniques and tricks that can be performed using either iron or steel and many more that require one or the other. Some simple examples that can be done with either are:
- Pulling or pushing metal weapons and objects away from the people bearing them.
- Pulling or pushing a guard’s metal armour to put them off balance or knock them over.
- Moving quickly by pulling on one or more large metal sources in the direction you want to go or pushing on one or more behind you.
- Redirecting metal projectiles such as coins or arrows with metal heads (special arrows with flint heads are often used when fighting Allomancers because of this).
- Pulling or pushing on another Allomancer’s metal vials to prevent them from replenishing their metal.
This only scratches the surface of what the metals are capable of, some more creative examples include:
- Pulling or pushing metal objects to create distractions, such as pulling pots off shelves to draw the guards to the kitchen.
- Using iron or steel to hold yourself in a place that an ordinary human couldn’t stay and guards would be unlikely to look.
- Track the movements of guards and other characters wearing metal.
- Push or pull on metal objects carried or worn by a friendly character to help them reach a location they normally couldn’t jump to, slow their fall, or get them out of danger.
- Launching themselves around a room during a fight to keep away from less mobile enemies.
- Activate concealed levers, including special safety levers in custom built guns in the Alloy of Law era.
- Pulling a weapon towards you and catching it. This is easier for Mistborn burning pewter to enhance their strength and reflexes, but still possible for a Lurcher.
- Surprise characters using metal objects that are behind them.
- Retrieve a metal object from a distance.
- Use any metal object like a boomerang.
- A particularly skilled Coinshot can subtly push on all metal around them in a “bubble” that may push bullets off course and save them from shots that would otherwise have killed them.
- Spray a bunch of coins or other small metal objects at high velocity.
- Intimidate a character by pushing a coin next to their head.
- Pin a character that is wearing metal against a wall, though the Coinshot would need to brace themselves to maintain a push of that strength.
Often the most interesting and creative uses for Allomancy (and other magic systems) come from the combination of different powers, whether wielded by a single character or by multiple working together. As an example:
Some of my players once employed a particularly creative tactic when attacking a convoy of barges with a team including a Mistborn and a Feruchemist. Feruchemists can use iron to decrease or increase their weight. The feruchemist in the party made themselves as light as they could and the mistborn carried them in an arc over one of the barges, releasing them in the air above the barge. As the Feruchemist fell they tapped a large amount of weight and their impact near the edge of the barge caused the entire barge to flip, dumping its cargo and guards into the river. Naturally the Feruchemist took some damage from the impact but they were able to heal themselves using Feruchemical gold (health).
As a narrator, if one of your players wants to attempt something creative using iron or steel here are some suggestions about how to handle it.
- If it sounds at all feasible then let them attempt it if they choose, but do warn them if they are likely to seriously hurt themselves.
- Not everything needs a roll, if a player wants to do something as simple as pushing pots off a shelf don’t slow the game by making them roll for it.
- If there is a chance of failure and that failure could have interesting consequences then get them to roll a steel or iron check with any traits or circumstances that seem appropriate.
- If the roll is directly opposing another character, treat it as a contest. If it is during combat the target can use defence dice to resist whatever the attempt is. Otherwise if the Allomancer is trying to move them or anything they are wearing or carrying allow them to make a physique roll. Alternatively if it is an attempt to distract them let them make a wits roll.
- If the roll isn’t directly opposed by another character, choose a difficulty for the roll that makes sense given what they are trying to do.
- When determining difficulty also keep in mind how creative their idea is, if the player is being clever or trying to do something risky but potentially awesome, consider secretly lowering the difficulty to give them a better chance of success. Players taking interesting risks increases the quality of the game for everyone and you want to encourage that as much as possible.
- When considering the consequences of a failed push or pull remember that the character still took the action and unless they were only pulling or pushing lightly or both parties/objects were securely braced something will move. The character could easily be knocked off balance or moved unintentionally by their own push or pull. When choosing consequences try to find things that make the situation more interesting without discouraging the player from attempting to take similar actions in the future.