Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I am a gigantic nerd

Who would win in a fight between Yoda, Rand al'Thor, and Marc Remillard?

One bonus point if you know who Rand al'Thor is. Two more bonus points if you've read all eleven books in the Wheel of Time, including Knife of Dreams (I haven't finished it yet; no spoilers, please). Five bonus points if you know who Marc Remillard is. Five more bonus points if you've read all four books in the Saga of Pliocene Exile and the entire Galactic Milieu trilogy, including Intervention (or its component books, Surveillance and Metaconcert). Negative three billion points if you don't know who Yoda is.

I'm not going to explain who any of those characters are, so if you don't know, tough luck. There are many ** SPOILERS ** herein, so if you haven't read the books in question, you may want to skip this post.

Ignoring dramatic necessity, my first impulse is that Marc would win. Metapsychics can engage and use their powers on the order of milliseconds, and the total individual capacity of the most powerful metapsychics allows them to direct energies sufficient to destroy an entire planet (granted, it took a metaconcert of, I recall, about 20? extremely powerful metapsychics to do this). Metaconcert allows magnification of metapsychic power, far beyond individual capacity; nonetheless, Marc, by himself, is still extremely powerful.

Rand's power seems far less, in terms of raw physical force. Channelers can begin using the One Power almost instantly, just as metapsychics. Even without augmentation of angreal or sa'angreal, Rand can still unleash a lot of power at once, but on the scale of global magnitude, it's tiny. Killing ten thousand Trollocs in the course of a few minutes, via the constant application of vast amounts of saidin, is impressive, but it's nothing compared to blowing up a planet. With sa'angreal like Callandor or the Choedan Kal, Rand would be able to cause continental shifts; mountains uprising, the land broken and torn, vast cataclysms. But anecdotally, that's about as much power as any channeler can wield; and the Breaking of the World merely (merely! ha!) rearranged the surface of the world. It didn't destroy the entire planet.

Yoda, by comparison to either man, is puny. The largest thing we ever see him move with the Force is Luke's X-Wing; the second-largest are the huge conduit in Dooku's lair, and the hoverpods in the Senate chamber. All those things took him a great deal of effort to move. By comparison, Marc or Rand could easily channel ten times as much energy with virtually no effort, and a thousand or ten thousand times as much if they put their (ahem) minds to it.

But Jedi have one ability that neither channelers nor metapsychics have: Jedi can see a short distance into the future. Some metapsychics have a similar ability, which allows them to sense the impulses and intentions of another sentient, thus predicting what they will do. However, this only gives them the jump on other sentients, and Jedi could use the Force to cloak their thoughts, thus rendering the metapsychic ability useless. At the same time, what the Jedi sees is the future, not from reading a person's mind, but from reading the Force. The metapsychic can do nothing about that.

How fast could each man kill the others at range? A Jedi could, in theory, use the Force to sever your spinal column where it meets the cerebellum. This would kill you almost instantly. (We never see Jedi do this, because they're too goody-two-shoes to kill people that way; we never see Sith do it, because they like to torture people via lengthy choking or electrocution.) Channelers like can weave flows of Air to slice you in half, almost instantly as well. Metapsychics can essentially vaporize you with a thought, also on the order of a fraction of a second.

What about melee combat? Yoda is a lightsaber duelist of the highest order; Rand is a blademaster. Marc, as I recall, doesn't have any particularly special physical abilities, so he's basically dead instantly.

So it's Rand vs. Yoda. If both men are without supernatural abilities, Yoda still wins, because his lightsaber will just slice through Rand's sword, and then Rand has no defense, and he's dead. So let's say Rand's sword can block a lightsaber. Now who wins? Well, without the Force, Yoda can't leap around, can't predict Rand's next move by looking a few seconds into the future... Rand would win, because he's a blademaster even without using the One Power.

Okay, that's enough nerdiness for today. Class dismissed.