1

In The Hero of Ages, it is revealed that

The mists, which seemed to want to kill people, where actually just trying to make them Snap.

So, if they were trying to do this, were they only affecting Allomancers, or were they indiscriminately doing this to random people?

3

Everyone affected by the mists’ snapping had allomantic potential.

In the annotations for The Hero of Ages Chapter 49 Part 2, Brandon Sanderson says:

Noblemen, despite what Spook says in this chapter, are not immune to the mistsickness. The rumor Spook is referencing does have merit, however. You see, since the mists are Snapping people and awakening the Allomantic potential within them, it will affect far fewer noblemen than skaa. Why? Because a lot of the noblemen have already Snapped. They were beaten as children to bring out the powers.

However, that won’t stop all of them from being affected by the mistsickness, because the mistsickness is also awakening Allomantic potential that would otherwise be too subtle to be brought out. Pretend there’s a sliding scale of Allomantic potential. 100% means you’re an Allomancer—in this series, only two people have hit 100%—Vin and Elend. Buried within a lot of people, however, is enough of a touch of Preservation’s power to hit, say, 50% on the relative scale of Allomantic power. These people, when beaten and made to pass through something traumatic, awaken to their Allomantic abilities.

There are a lot of people out there, however, with something more like 20% to 30%. These are the people the mists are Snapping—since the mists are, themselves, partially the power of Preservation, they can touch people and increase their Allomantic potential slightly and then bring it to the forefront.

Emphasis mine. source (you will probably have to click the "show spoilers" button to see the relevant quotes)

Basically, it was able to snap people who otherwise would not have been able to snap through regular circumstance, awakening the weak allomantic powers in their bloodlines.

You can note that unlike the other answer, this suggests that nobles are not immune to the snapping; but are just statistically less likely to benefit. They have attempted snappings at youth, and the bloodlines are generally strong enough that such a snapping unlocks their power, so it is much less likely for them to have a hidden potential that the mists can tap.

  • In the thing about percentages, is he saying that Zane is somehow weaker than Vin? – Stormblessed May 21 at 17:55
  • It was specifically to snap Mistings would could burn Atium, since there would be no way to find those, given how rare and valuable Atium was. Also, the inquisitors have been hunting Atium Mistings in secret. mistborn.fandom.com/wiki/Atium – Amarth May 21 at 18:03
  • @Stormblessed I don’t quite remember anything suggesting otherwise (Vin was a pretty strong Mistborn). I’m not sure if I fully understand Sanderson on that point either though, since AFAIK Elend was really “100%” due to Lerasium and Vin wasn’t quite that strong. – JMac May 21 at 18:10
  • @Amarth That link seems to imply that only some of the people snapped by the mist are seers. – JMac May 21 at 18:18
  • Iirc those who were particularly ill like Demoux were potentially the Mistborn, wheras Seer refers to someone who can only burn Atium, like Yomen. – Amarth May 21 at 18:21
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Both, kind of? Anyone who got sick became an Allomancer. But the thing was that the Mists only affected 16% of those exposed to it, and it didn't affect nobles at all - because all the nobles already Snapped. Thing is, it turned 16% of the skaa into Allomancers, and given that Kelsier mentions that Allomancers in skaa can only be found in about 10,000 mixed breeds. (Going back five generations is considered mixed breed, here. Ham, I think, is second generation.) So everyone who got affected became an Allomancer (or died, but they possibly might have also been Allomancers too). 16% of that 16% became Seers (I think? Memories a bit hazy on that point) by getting sick for a few weeks. So, the Mists were indiscriminately targeting people, just not people who were already Snapped, and anyone they targeted turned into Allomancers.

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