Kaladin versus Helaran

For setting up duels and other Arena discussion.

Postby Mac » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:37 am

His first spear completely shattered. He got a new spear. This one had its head severed; the head is what Kaladin ended up snatching out of the air and stabbing into Helaran's helmet. His original spear had several knives strapped to the haft he could potentially have used instead. In fact, if memory serves, he throws a knife and barely misses the eye slit, which is why he realizes he has to stab to be as accurate as possible.
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Postby Herowannabe » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:48 am

It really wouldn't actually be that interesting of a fight to reenact, since (in game mechanic terms) Kaladin won by succeeding a called shot to the eye-slit- probably a called shot with 4+ nudges if you read the called shot rules. Kaladin may have had a couple free nudges, if it was considered to be a step towards fulfilling his Destiny, plus whatever his Windrunner combat bonus gives him (do we even have WoB confirmation that combat skill is the perk that Windrunners get? I seem to recall him dodging the question when asked). So basically the combat consisted of Kaladin surviving a couple swings from the shardblade (rolled a higher defense roll than Heloran's attack), followed up with a called shot, maybe with a few nudges, and Kaladin getting one heck of a lucky dice roll. End of combat. :|
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Postby Mac » Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:51 am

Herowannabe wrote:do we even have WoB confirmation that combat skill is the perk that Windrunners get?

Two big things.

His skill is supernatural. Yes, there is a phenomenon of people just "being good" at something by default, but what Kaladin does doesn't present as that. It would be a person with an incredibly steep learning curve, but you can't be born literally already trained in things the way Kaladin is.

The second is, Syl confirms it for us in Words of Radiance. He asks her, is my fighting skill because of our bond, and she says yes. Text being a higher level of canon than WoB, and this being a more blunt answer than we usually get in the book regarding mechanics outside of the ars arcanum, I personally take it at face value.

EDIT: As far as "is it the perk", I dunno. I assume you mean the Resonance. Kaladin seems to get new ancillary abilities like they're the fifth free Starbucks latte, so the notion that he only gets one "perk" is sorta out the window anyway. Windrunners, at least, clearly get many, many more powers, abilities and advantages than just "two surges, stormlight, and Blade and Plate, and Resonance." I don't know if they are unique among the Orders or if as other Radiants get more time on stage will we see them all develop an array of odd bonuses.

As far as the combat, I do think you're right, it was only three or four exchanges so a few lucky rounds on Kaladin's part could skew the data greatly. That said, Helaran presumably reserved no dice for defense, trusting in the fact of his Plate to make him totally beyond harm. Meantime Kaladin made a number of spirited attempts to kill Helaran, yet also always avoided the counter-strike. Meaning that Kaladin's dice pool was large enough to commit a bunch to attack while still having enough on defense that it was plausible Helaran never landed a single blow out of three or four strikes, despite Helaran committing 100% of his dice to attack. But, yes, then the final killing blow was a called shot, which suggests either Kaladin somehow got a large number of free Nudges, or just rolled one impossibly lucky attack. Would the stunt of "yes he disarmed me but I snatch the spearhead out of the air and brandish it" require even more Nudges?
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Postby Skullduggery » Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:52 am

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Postby Mac » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:24 am

If this WoB is correct, then it's a rare case of Brandon not doing enough research. A naturally gifted pianist could sit at a piano and after plunking a few keys for ten or fifteen minutes, she'd be able to produce a song she's heard before or just improvise an enchanting melody. It would still take her years of practice and dedication to be a world-class virtuoso.

Kaladin picking up that staff for the first time and giving a resounding defeat to an at-least partially trained, bigger older boy who is stronger with longer reach, is the equivalent of someone who has never seen a piano before or heard Beethoven's Fifth sitting down and playing it note-perfect the first time. That's not talent, that's a person born with training supernaturally programmed into their body. There's no other way of saying it, there's literally no way that "naturally good at combat" could present the way we see Kaladin perform. If Brandon is saying it is, then it's like his whole redshift thing, but no one on Dragonsteel knew enough about this phenomenon to catch him the way Peter caught redshift. Brandon and team Dragonsteel are great, but they aren't perfect.

In addition, whether Kaladin's power is supposed to be on par with natural skill or not, it's confirmed several times in the book that it isn't just something he would have even without the Bond. Other people are physically capable of drawing photorealistic pictures, though Shallan's Memory is stunningly accurate. Doesn't change the fact that she personally wouldn't be able to do it without the Bond. Even if Kaladin's skill were no more than someone who actually was born as a genius warrior, we have both Syl's confirmation in the text and his performance when he's lost the Bond to show us that without the bond, he loses his combat skill.

EDIT: For clarity, this isn't just something I feel or I'm thinking off the top of my head. I've been researching memory and training for years, which was why this first started to seem hinky to me. When I saw the way Kaladin was acting, I did more research specifically into things like this and the "genius" phenomenon. I've spoken with masters in martial arts who have trained a lot of kids of varying degrees of skill. They have seen geniuses, they have taught kids who just had a fantastic sense of their own bodies, people who pick things up like a sponge. And I described to them the way Kaladin is presented that first time as a child, and they universally confirm, yeah, no, that's literally impossible, that's not like "genius turned up to 11" that's not even the way geniuses act. So, if you disagree with me, that's fine, but please respond with something more than "well this makes sense to me", because I have put a lot of thought and research into this thing.
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