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In Wheel of Time, an angreal is an object of the One Power that allows you to draw more power than you can when unaided. They include a built-in "buffer," so that you do not draw more power than you can handle.

My question is, do angreals have an additive or multiplicative effect on your power? For instance, where your power is Y and the power of the angreal is X, do you then draw X + Y power (additive), or X * Y power (multiplicative)?

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possible duplicate of What is the difference between an angreal and a sa'angreal? –  Beofett May 11 '12 at 19:57
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It's not a duplicate. –  OmnipotentEntity May 11 '12 at 20:02
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This question is not a duplicate. It requests more information about a topic that was briefly touched upon by the possible duplicate. They don't ask the same thing at all, and this one very specifically asks for more detail than the previous question did. –  Gabe Willard May 11 '12 at 20:35
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@Beofett, the question isn't between "how do they work" and "do they work this specific way" the questions were "what is the difference between (two types of thing)" and "how does (one type of thing) modify (ability)" –  OmnipotentEntity May 11 '12 at 21:04
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Do we actually know that? Sounds like an assumption to me. And how does that explain things like Lanfear's (and now Moiraine's) "nearly sa'angreal strength" angreal? –  OmnipotentEntity May 11 '12 at 23:03
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Brandon Sanderson says that they are essentially resevoirs of power. So I guess that would make them additive. That said, he did add the provision that it was from the top of his head.

INTERVIEW: Oct 27th, 2009

BYU: TGS Midnight Release, Stormleader Dinner - Matt Hatch (Verbatim)

MATT HATCH The Choedan Kal, does it amplify your power? Is it a limited, for example, if I have a certain amount of power does it give me 10x what I have, or is it a certain amount of power I can access?

BRANDON SANDERSON One of the things I’ve been doing when I answer questions is that I’ve been saying that this is my understanding and putting an asterisk at the bottom that is a—I am speaking from my understanding and not from specific knowledge from the notes, meaning yes I am probably right but these are the questions I could be wrong on...this one my understanding is that it is a reservoir of power. It is not necessarily a magnification. A very weak person with a very powerful sa’angreal is very powerful. I’m pretty sure on that one, but I will add the asterisk just in case. If you send me an email, I can go back and look to make sure. But I’m reasonably sure on that one, the reasons being things that are talked about in the notes mixed with the way angreal and sa’angreal worked previously in the books mixed with two specific things that he talked about in the notes when people using angreal and sa’angreal after they become very weak or after they are weak.

Source: http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=454 Question 4.

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I've just realised that technically this only answers the question for sa'angreal, but if sa'angreal are additive, I doubt that angreal would be different. –  Samuel Walker May 11 '12 at 21:56
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Also at that link: Footnote Brandon is presumably talking about Siuan and Moiraine, both of whom are weaker and supplemented by a sa'angreal and a strong angreal respectively. However, Brandon's explanation wouldn't explain why Elayne thought it prudent to give the angreal to the strongest women when the Bowl of the Winds was used. If it were simply a reservoir of power, then it wouldn't matter who used the angreal in a circle. Maybe it's both then? If your power in the OP is X then an angreal gives you to X*Y+Z ? –  OmnipotentEntity May 11 '12 at 23:10
    
I thought about adding that to the answer, but it's speculative from the fans, and also I'm not convinced there is a problem with the Bowl of The Winds. I think it likely that the safety buffers mean that some channelers can't draw as much through an angreal as others. –  Samuel Walker May 12 '12 at 12:30
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I think it's logically not possible that the effect is purely additive. My reasoning:

  • Power differences between channelers are frequently described as vast. My impression is that the difference in power between Rand and e.g. Androl is at least 100x if not 1000x or more.
  • Given this, a purely additive effect would mean that a weak angreal that could double a weaker user's power would be nearly useless to a strong channeler (adding less than a percent). Conversely, any angreal powerful enough to be useful to Rand, Elayne or Nynaeve would lift even the weakest channeler well above the average.
  • This would make angreal extremely coveted among weak channelers, eliminating their weakness. Yet there is nothing like this in the books, and I'd say that the White Tower's custom of deciding status among Aes Sedai according their strength in the One Power could never arise if that strength could vary so much through the use of tools.
  • It would make the strength of the user a supremely important factor in deciding who in a group gets to use an angreal - it would usually make most sense to give it to the weakest member. We have at least one example in the book (see comments to Samuel's answer) where the opposite is done.

While arbitrarily complex schemes are possible (combination of additive and multiplicative factors, something involving square roots, etc.), I'd say that a straightforward multiplicative effect best matches what the books portray.

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