Vaulting Boots of Valtor

Mordo wears the Vaulting Boots of Valtor throughout the movie and first demonstrates their use to Dr. Strange when they are sparring. The Boots allow the user to walk, run, or jump on air as if it were solid ground.

Boots-of-Valtor-Vaulting.gif

When activated, the sole of each boot creates a circular field of force in anticipation of a footfall in midair, as if creating free-floating stepping stones.

How might this work as tech?

The main interaction design challenge is how the wearer indicates where he wants a stepping-stone to appear. The best solution is to let Mordo’s footfall location and motion inform the boots when and where he expects there to be a solid surface. (Anyone who has stumbled while misjudging the height or location of a step on a stairway knows how differently you treat a step where you expect there to be solid footing.)

If this were a technological device, sensors within the boots would retain a detailed history of the wearer’s stride for all possible speeds and distances of movement. The boots would detect muscle tension and flexion combined with the owner’s direction and velocity to accurately predict the placement of each step and then insert an appropriately elevated and angled stepping stone. The boots would know the difference between each of these styles of movement, walking, running, and sprinting and behave accordingly.

As a result, Mordo could always remain upright and stable regardless of his intended direction or how high he had climbed. And while Mordo may be a sorcerer with exceptional physical training, he isn’t superhuman. With the power of the boots he is only able to run and step as high as he could normally if for example he was taking a set of stairs two or three at a time.

As a magical device, the intelligence imbued in the boots is limited to the awareness of the intent of the sorcerer and knows where to place each force-field stepping-stone.

Vaulting-boots-of-valtor-07-levels.png

The glowing bits

As each step lands, the placement of the boot results in a brief energy discharge in the shape of a brilliant glowing gold circle. Is this a bug in combat, or a feature? The blog has before called out how glowing bits on a warrior make them an easier target, but it’s worth noting that Mordo’s feet are actually on individual stepping stones for less than a half a second. He leaves them behind as he goes. If someone targeted the circles themselves, they’d mostly be targeting where he was rather than where he is, so I’d count it as a distracting feature. As long as he wasn’t being targeted with a long-distance area-of-effect weapon.

Activation?

When describing them to Strange, Mordo demonstrates the effect with a subtle kick. It’s not clear if he’s activating the boots or just demonstrating that they have inherent magical powers.

BootTap.gif

These boots are awesome. They would require a lot of practice to get used to, but after some tumbles a user could always acquire the high ground on an opponent and they would never need a ladder to change a light bulb. What’s not known is what would happen if the user tried to do parkour style moves where a step would be perpendicular to the ground. Could Mordo walk on walls or the ceiling of a room?

More!

It would be cool to know more about these boots. Could Mordo climb to a given height and then just stand there or is each step is  a limited duration effect?  Could the boots be used offensively as a kind of boot sized force field? In a fight, Mordor could lash out with a sidekick/step that stops an onrushing attacker not unlike hitting a brick wall.

Since he’s heavily set up to the Big Bad in the sequel, we’ll likely see more of these relics, and get some more of the questions answered.

Named relics in Doctor Strange

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

You’ve no doubt opened up this review of Doctor Strange thinking “What sci-fi interfaces are in this movie? I don’t recall any.” And you’re right. There aren’t any. (Maybe the car, the hospital, but they’re not very sci-fi.) We’re going to take Clarke’s quote above and apply the same types of rigorous assessment to the magical interfaces and devices in the movie that we would for any sci-fi blockbuster.

Dr. Strange opens up a new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by introducing the concept of magic on Earth, that is both discoverable and learnable by humans. And here we thought it was just a something wielded by Loki and other Asgardians.

In Doctor Strange, Mordo informs Strange that magical relics exist and can be used by sorcerers. He explains that these relics have more power than people could possibly manage, and that many relics “choose their owner.” This is reminiscent of the wands in the Harry Potter books. Magical coincidence?

relics

Subsequently in the movie we are introduced to a few named relics, such as…

  • The Eye of Agamoto
  • The Staff of the Living Tribunal
  • The Vaulting Boots of Valtor
  • The Cloak of Levitation
  • The Crimson Bands of Cyttorak

…(this last one, while not named specifically in the movie, is named in supporting materials). There are definitely other relics that the sorcerers arm themselves with. For example, in the Hong Kong scene Wong wields the Wand of Watoomb but it is not mentioned by name and he never uses it. Since we don’t see these relics in use we won’t review them. Continue reading