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Warsaw signing ()
#151 Copy

Oversleep

Okay, so if we spiked a Listener with Feruchemical Nicrosil, could he store that spren and lose their form, and then bond another spren and then switch them?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna give you your third RAFO, because he's already got two. In part, because I don't wanna give spoilers for Oathbringer, and this answer could spoil some little bits of that.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#152 Copy

Iceblade44

So White Sand [then Elantris] is earlier... Then how the heck old is Khriss then? Will we ever get an answer as to why every worldhopper is flippin' immortal?

Brandon Sanderson

There is some time-dilation going on. I'll explain it eventually; we're almost to the point where I can start talking about that. Suffice it to say that there's a mix of both actual slowing of the aging process and relative time going on, depending on the individual. Very few are actually immortal.

Faera

Implying that some are actually immortal? :D

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on which definition of immortal you mean.

Doesn't age, but can be killed by conventional means. (You've seen some of these in the cosmere, but I'll leave you to discuss who.)

Heals from wounds, but still ages. (Knights Radiant with Stormlight are like this.)

Reborn when killed. (The Heralds.)

Doesn't age and can heal, but dependent upon magic to stay this way, and so have distinct weakness to be exploited. (The Lord Ruler, among others.)

Hive beings who are constantly losing individual members, but maintaining a persistent personality spread across all of them, immortal in that as long as too much of the hive isn't wiped out, the personality can persist. (The Sleepless.)

Bits of sapient magic, eternal and endless, though the personality can be "destroyed" in specific ways. (Seons. Spren. Nightblood. Cognitive Shadows, like a certain character from Scadrial.)

Shards (Really just a supercharged version of the previous category.)

And then, of course, there's Hoid. I'm not going to say which category, if any, he's in.

Some of these blend together--the Heralds, for example, are technically a variety of Cognitive Shadow. I'm not saying each of these categories above are distinct, intended to be the end-all definitions. They're off the cuff groupings I made to explain a point: immortality is a theme of the cosmere works--which, at their core, are experiments on what happens when men are given the power of deity.

Shagomir

Heals from wounds, but still ages.

Would Bloodmaker Ferrings exist in this category as well? If not, what about someone Compounding Gold?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you are correct.

Shagomir

As a Bloodmaker ages, what keeps them from healing the damage and carrying on as a very old, but very healthy person? Do they come to a point where they can't store enough health to stave off the aches, pains, diseases, and other things that come with old age?

This makes sense for traditional Feruchemy as it is end-neutral, so storing health becomes a zero sum game - eventually, you're going to get sick and you're not going to be able to overcome it with your natural healing ability no matter how much you manipulate it with a goldmind.

...Unless you've got a supply of Identity-less goldminds lying around. Would a Bloodmaker with a sufficient source of Identity-less goldminds (or the ability to compound, thus bypassing the end-neutral part of Feruchemy) eventually just die from being too old?

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, yes. They can heal their body to match their spiritual ideal, but some things (like some genetic diseases, and age-related illnesses) are seen as part of the ideal. Depends on several factors.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#153 Copy

kanuut

Why don't Feruchemists wear small metalminds like rings, toe-rings, earrings (Lot of rings it seems), as backups.

Brandon Sanderson

Most Feruchemists do just what you say. Look at the Lord Ruler and Sazed. Both have tons.

In the new era books, you have two Feruchemstis where it doesn't make sense. Wayne's healing stores are very difficult to build, and take a lot of time. He generally burns through them quickly, though sometimes mentions he's got a little stored away. Being Wayne, though, he tends to use these up and push himself right to the edge of running out.

Wax is somewhat similar. He can use iron, a very common metal, to store and make a metalmind. He's generally storing weight everywhere he goes, a little, as the books point out. He's got many metalminds, but he's not as possessive of them, as filling his metalmind is as much of a power as tapping it.

So...I'm not sure what gave you the impression that they don't have lots of metalminds. Also, keep in mind that in your example of someone getting knocked out, they're going to get searched well enough to find a toe ring. Generally, as Wayne has pointed out in the books, sticking a coin or something in your mouth is the preferred way to hide something.

Steelheart Seattle signing ()
#154 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

The change in how the magic (on Scadrial) interact with each other, was that done by Sazed?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes it was. You will find a theme. The snapping in Mistborn is actually a repeated theme through a lot of the different magics. Um, but what I felt at the end of the day Sazed would do something about it. So, even though that is part of the magic system, he changed that. The change to Feruchemy is more a matter of other factors such as the large amount of interbreeding that happened following...and things like that. And so a lot of people with Feruchemy sDNA mixing with people with people with Allomantic sDNA has affected the way the magics blend, so to speak. That's not done by Sazed. That's just kind of an effect.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#155 Copy

Douglas

1) What benefit does Compounding copper get? Exceptionally clear and detailed memories? Memories that can be split into a new coppermind while still remaining in the Feruchemist's mind? Something else?

2) How does Feruchemical luck work? If a chromium Compounder tried his hand at day trading on the stock market, what would happen? Would it make him choose stocks that were coincidentally going to go up anyway? Would it change stock prices by altering the world around him? Would it fail because the required scale of action is too large? Something else?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I've said before that I want to hold off on talking about different forms of compounding and types of twinborn until I can address them in the series. So I'll have to RAFO the first two.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#159 Copy

Seonid

I noticed that you-- Was that a retcon on the way iron Feruchemy works?

Brandon Sanderson

What do you mean?

Seonid

There's a researcher who talks to Wax, asking him about whether he's changing his mass of whether he's changing whether the planet perceives him-- affecting his gravity.

Brandon Sanderson

Right. It's more a re-- Defining something I didn't pin down strongly enough. I wouldn't call it a retcon because it's something that nobody really did until Wax, really, in the series. The only one really capable of doing that in the original trilogy would have been the Lord Ruler, maybe some of the Inquisitors, but we don't have viewpoints from them. So I wouldn't call it a retcon I would just say it’s something that didn't come up in the first series that now I have to make sure is clear.

Seonid

So is it Higgs field stuff going on?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Mmhmm.

Seonid

My idea was right.

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#160 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twenty-Two - Part One

Feruchemy. Some like the word, others aren't as happy with it. It used to be called Hemalurgy, but I decided that would be a better word for the third magic system in the series. (You'll see it eventually.)

Feruchemy (not called that, however) was a magic system I lifted from Final Empire Prime, a book I wrote some years before I wrote this book. I had a person who could store up attributes, such as strength, then use them when he needed them. The thing is, the magic wasn't really that well formed, and this character never got any viewpoints, so I didn't get to use the magic as often as I wanted.

When I was developing this world, I knew I wanted the Keepers to have the fantastic memories. I realized that Feruchemy would make the perfect magic system for Sazed and his people. When I decided that I could use metals as a focus for this magic system (something that made it much more interesting, because it put a definable limit on what could be stored and how much of it could be stored) I knew I had something really good.

I like to use multiple magic systems in books, but I like it when they all have common elements. Feruchemy and Allomancy are like different aspects of the same concept. They both do some similar–yet different–things. There will be a lot more about this in the text.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#161 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Marsh Vs. Sazed

But first we have the Marsh Sazed battle. I really like this scene, since I get to do something very new with it. Do you remember when I promised you that you'd see some cool interactions between Allomancy and Feruchemy?

I realized almost immediately, when designing Feruchemy, that I could do some very fun things with it mixing with Allomancy. With how much that Mistborn depend on their Steelpushes and Ironpulls, a person who can change his weight would have an enormous advantage. Everyone always says that Allomancy is the better combat skill, but that's just because the resource it uses–metal–is far more plentiful than the resource Feruchemy uses. Put the two into a battle together with enough power to spare, and the Feruchemist will almost always win.

At the end of this, Ham gets to do something. Makes me glad that I wrote him back into the story after forgetting about him. . . .

Oh, and that blow to the head was no slight blow–Sazed's actually wrong. That strike will lay Marsh out for some time. Remember what Ham said about two pewter burners canceling each other out? Well, you just had a very strong soldier flaring pewter hit a man who was simply burning it in the back of the head with a stick hard enough to break it. Marsh is out cold.

JordanCon 2014 ()
#162 Copy

Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

If a Feruchemist using an aluminum metalmind stored their Identity to zero, then filled a coppermind with all of their knowledge, would another Feruchemist with an identity set to zero be able to access the first Feruchemist's coppermind?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I'm not going to tell you a definite yes or no, this is something that needs to be saved for future books, but you are thinking along the correct lines about how Identity works regarding Feruchemists.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#163 Copy

Argent

Do Feruchemical metalminds experience physical change such as wear and tear, due to just being used as Feruchemical metalminds

Brandon Sanderson

Never thought of it.

Argent

Do you want to make up canon?

Brandon Sanderson

Sure...

Argent

Half-canon?

Brandon Sanderson

Let's say half-canon. Wear and tear being used as metalminds, not counting clasping them on and things like that. Simply tapping or taking out? I would say no, but I would really have to think about that. Are we losing any particles to the transfer, the change? I don't think you are, but I don't know. I'd have to really dig into the physics of that. I had not even considered of that. There are ramifications of things-- So I'm going to say no, half-canon.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#164 Copy

djscrub

Since burning Feruchemically charged metal seems to require a choice between getting the Allomantic or Feruchemical property (e.g., Miles only sees gold ghosts when he wants to, not as a side effect of compounded healing), is there any special advantage to compounding pewter and tin, where the Allomantic and Feruchemical use is the same? Is their compounding even stronger than normal compounding because you can tap both power sources simultaneously, or maybe because Preservation is particularly attuned to providing those powers through those metals?

Brandon Sanderson

Remember that compounding is a "hack" of the magic. You're looking to fool the magics, and use one to power the other. The value in it is that you can use Allomantic power to fuel Feruchemy. It's like hooking a power cord up to a device that, up to that point, you'd powered by using a hand crank.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#165 Copy

Questioner

Is it possible to Compound your Spiritual Connection to a location on a planet while storing your Spiritual Connection to all other locations on the planet to kind of pull yourself through the Spiritual Realm to that location?

Brandon Sanderson

That's not how that would work. Parts of what you say are possible, but the teleportation aspect wouldn't actually do anything.

Questioner

Was Hoid trying to Compound his Spiritual location in the scene you added in the 10th Anniversary [Elantris]? Was he trying to Compound Connection to that location to try to become Elantrian?  

Brandon Sanderson

...So at that point chronologically he was not an Allomancer.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#166 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Lord Ruler died because he had filled his bracers with a large amount of youthfulness, and had to keep drawing it out to stay young--as his soul knew how hold it was, and his body kept trying to 'bounce back' to its perceived age. Compounding is how he gained enough extra youthfulness to pull this off.

Phantine

Actually, I have a question about the 'bouncing-back'.

Is the 'bounce back force' actually what's stored in a metalmind?

For instance, when storing atium a feruchemist ruins his body to make himself old, and then his metalmind 'catches' the force the soul puts out as it tries to restore his true, younger age?

So you create metalminds by seesawing a ruining and a preserving impulse together.

Brandon Sanderson

The bounce back is caused by the relationship between the three realms of the cosmere. What you're saying isn't terribly far off, but at the same time, ignores some underpinning fundamentals of how it all works.

In the cosmere, your soul is basically an idealized version of yourself--and is a constant force pushing your body to match it. Your perceptions are the filter through which this happens, however, and many of the magics can facilitate in interesting ways.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#167 Copy

mooglefrooglian

If metals shape the Investiture in Allomancy, causing a Steelpush or whatever, how is it that the mists can be used to perform the same feat? What is 'shaping' the inhaled mists into a Steelpush, if there's no metal "nozzle" to do so?

Brandon Sanderson

Consistently through the cosmere, once you have the power in hand and it has permeated you, will becomes your nozzle. This can be seen in Warbreaker, where the power has been distributed and inhabits the people. The nozzle idea is important for Magics that are drawing power externally, as it keeps the power from overwhelming and destroying you. (Which, basically, happened to Vin at the end of the Trilogy--she got consumed by the magic. She became something new, now, so it didn't KILL her. It destroyed what she was, transformed her into something else.)

So you see magics like on Sel and Scadrial where a specific nozzle is needed--as the power source is external, at least with Allomancy. Will and intent take a backseat, though still pop up on occasion. On Nalthis (and in a lesser way, Roshar) will and intent are more important, and what you are trying to do shapes the magic more directly.

A little direct manifestation in this is found in the subtle differences between Allomancy and Feruchemy. In Allomancy, when you enhance the senses, you just get a blast of power--and all senses are enhanced, whether you want them all or not. In Feruchemy, you can be more precise, and pick a specific sense to store. The power is internal here, and therefore more limited in how much you can draw--but you can also be more precise with its manipulation.

Note that Roshar Surgebinding is a special case, as the magical symbiosis there is stronger than it is on other worlds, as much of the magic involves bits of power who have become sapient.

uchoo786

How much crossover is there in use? Like if one "breathes" in the mists they can use it to power their allomancy. Could an Allomancer utilize stormlight to power his allomancy as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of the magics can be hacked together in one way or another, but some are easier to interchange than others.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#168 Copy

tay95

A theme throughout a lot of the Cosmere novels is that form, of one sort or another (patterns, aons, etc.) has a crucial role to play in unlocking or using Investiture.

As a chemist, I'm curious about the role of form in Allomancy and Feruchemy. Does the underlying molecular or crystalline structure of the metal or alloy play a roll? Different processes, doping ratios, and metal mixtures result in different molecular packing, lattices, and ultimately structure. It seems like that kind of very defined, orderly matrix would be right in line with other forms of unlocking Investiture.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes! I've actually mentioned to people before that the chemistry of the various metals acts, for Allomancy, in the same way that the Aons work for AonDor. It's more a key than it is a source of power itself.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#169 Copy

drughat

Is the reason why Allomancy creates allomantic pulses visible to Seekers because it is an external magic drawing upon Preservation's power? In other words, is the reason why Feruchemy is much, much harder to detect by burning bronze because it is an internal magic?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#171 Copy

Phantine

Irich had that degenerative disease. If the Set still had Miles available, could he have cured Irich's disease by giving him Compounded health with a primer cube?

Brandon Sanderson

This requires more steps than it would appear, but this is the sort of thing people will trying very hard to figure out in coming novels.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#172 Copy

yurisses

If Miles stored a very tiny bit of health into a gold bead and then burned it, what would happen? Would he see goldshadows for a time and then obtain Compounded health when reaching the charged part of the bead? Would the bead be evenly charged and deliver only health, no gold shadows, but at a very low rate since only little health was loaded in it? Would the bead be evenly charged and deliver only health, but at a standard rate the user would always get when compounding?

Brandon Sanderson

He'd hack the system to deliver health for a short time instead of doing what it was supposed to do, but only until the small portion of gold Invested with his Investiture ran out.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#173 Copy

Questioner

I had a question about [steel] Ferrings. So, I saw that you had mentioned in a previous talk that you could only move so fast with air resistance, like eventually you'd start burning up. If you were to become an Edgedancer as well?

Brandon Sanderson

If you can combine those two powers, Edgedancing and [steel] Ferring, then you are able to do things that would circumvent that restriction. Yes, indeed.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#174 Copy

vorpal_username

In mistborn you can't access someone else's feruchemical stores. However, what if feruchemist A stores something, and then hemalurgy is used to take A's ability and put into person B. Can person B use A's stores?

Also, what happens when someone burns metal with a hemalurgic charge? Or stores/retrieves something in a spike using feruchemy?

Brandon Sanderson

All RAFOs here, I'm afraid.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#176 Copy

Bat_Mannington

If a Windrunner lashed Wax upwards, could he dump all of his weight into his metalminds and be unaffected or would the lashing affect his clothes and whatever else he had on him too?

Brandon Sanderson

Wax could mitigate the effect (unless he was in a vacuum) but not eliminate it completely.

faragorn

Vacuum or freefall?

It can be easy to confuse them in the context of surface to orbit.

Brandon Sanderson

I was talking about a Vacuum, but it's good to clarify. What I'm saying is that without wind resistance, his mass doesn't matter--and the books have established that what Wax does is a freakish transformation of his mass, not just his weight.

Kaladin changes how much gravity pulls on someone, and in what direction. Wax (basically, it's more complex than this) changes how much mass he has. The two, then, have some very distinctive effects.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#178 Copy

Phantine

So... CS question here, I'm seeing identity as essentially a 'encryption' on the metalmind - the spike has the decryption key to existing metalminds, but when you encrypt a new one you use your personal encryption key with the spike's hardware, so you still have compounding access to the metalminds even after removing the spike.

Is it possible for there to be a 'key collision' with Identity? Two people just randomly end up making compatible metalminds, because the pieces of their Identities that the magic looks like happen to be the same.

Brandon Sanderson

This would be about as likely as two unrelated people ending up with the exact same genetic sequence.

But, so far as I understand, that WOULD be possible.

Lucadaw

So identical twins could share metalminds ?

Brandon Sanderson

:) RAFO.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#180 Copy

Phantine

I actually asked Peter Ahlstrom (who tends to handle math and magic system interactions with physics for Team Sanderson) about this a little while ago

A couple of friends and I are discussing if the iron feruchemy causing changes in speed is a retcon (since there's a mention in AoL that "increasing his weight manyfold would not affect his motion"), or if the effect is just more complicated (like only causing an instant change in speed if Wax changes weight while actively pushing on something).

Are you willing to weigh in on that, or is it just something we shouldn't be thinking too hard about?

Thanks :)

And his response was

I just don't know the answer to this question. :)

So I personally think the explanation is either 'Brandon thought it would be cooler for shifting your weight to change your velocity, and forgot he had mentioned it a couple times' or 'this is Wax's twinborn perk'. I'm leaning towards the latter, since the person who writes the magic system summaries at the end of the book specifically interrogated Wax about the effects, and mentioned she specifically was interested in his very unusual power combination.

As for the density thing, there is an explicit mention that you appear to get stronger when tapping, but only to the extent that you can still stand up and walk around - you still have more difficulty moving around overall. So (to pull out random numbers), if you're at 200% normal mass, you have 180% normal strength, and at 50% mass you have 60% normal strength. That means Wax habitually going around at 75% weight so he's 'light on his feet' makes sense - even if he's weaker overall, he's proportionally stronger.

The way I personally think about things for bullets or whatever, anything 'inside' the body (where 'inside' is defined in the same way that pushing/pulling metal 'inside' the body uses it) interacts with your body as if it were normal. So tapping iron doesn't cause your ultra-massive blood to be impossible for your heart to pump, but it also doesn't prevent a bullet from passing through your flesh. That seems to be consistent with how it's portrayed in the books.

Brandon Sanderson

Just a note: in the quote of mine above, I was trying (I believe) to find a way for Wax to indicate that weight doesn't influence the rate at which he falls. IE, acceleration in regards to gravity. It's tough, and I made the call (perhaps incorrectly) not to use modern physics terminology in the W&W books. It has been very hard then to explain:

1). Wax changing his weight doesn't change the pull of gravity on him, or the rate at which he falls. 2) He DOES follow the laws of conservation of momentum.

My talking around these things has let me to tie a few paragraphs in knots.

ConQuest 46 ()
#183 Copy

Kaymyth (parapharased) (paraphrased)

I asked another question about the population levels of Mistings, Ferrings, and Twinborn.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The numbers in the [Alloy of Law Mistborn Adventure Game] supplement are off. (It states the occurrence of Mistings/Ferrings is 1 in 50 people.) He said that they're not terrible, but they definitely are shown as somewhat more common than they really are. But he also said that they're not nearly as rare as people seem to think; for example, he stated that virtually everyone would know at least one Coinshot. So there are definitely a lot of Allomancers around.

And the occurrence of Twinborn would not be a normal statistical spread (alas).  As folks opined before in this thread, the Terris folk do tend to keep somewhat to themselves, so there's not a huge amount of population mix.  So Twinborn will be rarer.

I did point out that there had to be some mix, else we'd be seeing full Feruchemists around, and to that he mostly just smiled and looked mysterious.  As he does.

Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A ()
#185 Copy

Chaos (paraphrased)

We asked if it was possible to use bronze to Seek Feruchemy.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said it could be possible. If it were to happen, it was very hard, because the Inquisitors would desperately like to be able to find Feruchemists that way, and it was implied they had not discovered this power. So, it is a freaking hard technique to learn, if possible at all.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#186 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Inquisitor's Speed

What the Inquisitor does here at the end is very important. If you've read book two recently, you may recognize this as what Sazed did when he tapped speed at the end of that book.

The Inquisitors are gaining Feruchemical powers, which makes them very, very dangerous. Mixing Feruchemy and Allomancy is what made the Lord Ruler so formidable. Fortunately, it took him a long time to figure out how to mix the powers correctly, and the Inquisitors haven't had the time to practice, regardless of the force controlling them.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#187 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Twelve

This chapter is meant to be our "pay off" chapter for the time we've invested into Sazed over the last few chapters. I, personally, think it's the coolest chapter in this section of the book.

Feruchemy really turned out well as a magic system, and I'm glad I found a place for it in this book. It connects with Allomancy perfectly; I'm actually surprised at how well they go together. (As you may recall, I originally tried out Feruchemy in a book I now call Final Empire Prime.)

Here, you finally get to see some REAL Feruchemical tricks. Sazed can do so much more than just make himself strong (like he did in book one) or memorize things. If you think about it, there are an awful lot of things that can be done to intertwine Allomancy–with its Pushes and Pulls–and Feruchemy, where a person can increase or decrease their weight.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#188 Copy

Neagor

What would happen if a Feruchemist fills, for example, a tin metalmind then mixes it to make a pewter metalmind? Does the stored attribute change? Is the Investiture gone when you melt the metal? What if he just makes it into a tin metalmind again?

Brandon Sanderson

If you make it impure, you'll keep the investiture, but won't be able to get it out. If you make it back into the same thing, you'll be fine, and can access it normally. If you try to fill it, after changing the composition to make another viable metal, it will act a little like a computer hard drive with corrupted sectors. Some of it will work for the new investiture, but you won't be able to fill it nearly as full. (Depending on how full it was before you melted down.)

This holds for basic uses of the metallurgic arts. Once you start playing with some of the more advanced parts of the magic, you can achieve different results, which are currently RAFO.

eSPiaLx

Similarly, if you were to soulcast a metal would it have similar effects of corrupting the investiture and making it inaccessible? Like if you turned a steel metalmind into pewter.

Brandon Sanderson

I've stayed away from soulcasting and forging in these types of discussions, as I feel my answers will dig too deeply and prompt more questions that, eventually, will lead to lots of RAFO type questions. I don't really want to go there--but I will say this. Changing invested objects with other magics is hard, and often requires such a force of investiture yourself, that it becomes very power-inefficient. Just like we can technically turn lead into gold right now--by spending way more money than the gold is worth.

BipedSnowman

So you could, for example, use electrolysis to dissolve a metalmind in water, then reverse the reaction later to get the investiture?

OR, better question, if you store investiture in one allotrope of iron, can your retrieve it off you change to a different allotrope?

Brandon Sanderson

I see no reason why these wouldn't work.

dce42

So would forging with the blood of a radiant(kaladin, dalinar,etc) work on a shard blade from a fallen radiant to say change who they had bonded, or how the bond was broken (to say death instead of giving up on the oath)?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#189 Copy

Questioner

[question about using Feruchemy in Dungeons and Dragons]

Brandon Sanderson

Why Feruchemy "works" in book terms is because it's about intrinsic trade off. We see the character pay something, so we accept when later on, they're able to do something dramatic. Narratively, their boost is "earned" in much the same way that a character "earns" their ending winning a duel by showing us through the story that they've been practicing with the sword.

You need to "earn" your boosts. If I were a GM, I'd suggest that you can store attributes during one day of gameplay, to use it during another day of gameplay. -2STR for one day, +2STR for the next day. I'd say no more than -/+2 at first--with feats or Feruchemist prestige class levels allowing you to do 4 or even 6. Storing senses could be covered with WIS, and health with CON.

Alternately, if you want to get into the specifics, you could try something where when you land a hit, you can use a smaller damage die (a d4 instead of d6) to "store up" strength. Then later, when you need it, you can trade in one of those stored moments (which would be capped with a maximum number that could be stored at once, to be raised by requiring you to find special metals) to raise a damage die during a climactic battle--maybe making your d6 into a d10. You could do the same thing with spot checks (take a penalty for specific rolls to be able to add to the later on.) HP could be done the same way--drop your HP for a battle to "store" then raise them for another battle.

This is more of a tweak to the way the books use the magic, but the idea is to make certain your cost is still a cost. You get ahead by choosing the times to - or +, making it fun--but you are always paying a price.

So the first question I'd ask myself is do I want this to be a time period thing or a specific instances thing--which would be more fun to play? Then ask is this about attributes or specific skills/hit points, etc? Define some rules, define how you get better, and then have fun within the system.

Personally, I'd avoid the will save as a cost to drawing out the attribute or ability. Perhaps make it require concentration checks if you want to make it tougher--but requiring a will save to magically gain strength doesn't feel very "feruchemist" to me and downplays the real fun you could have with the character. Role playing a day spent with very low spot checks, or a terrible constitution, could be really fun.

I'd also figure out if you can do some kind of "super move" with the abilities by storing up a whole lot. (Like ten units, however you decide upon them.)

My take on the attributes: Iron: To be used in a role playing way, making yourself lighter or heavier, with no battle implications. Steel: Increase/decrease movement speed in a fight. OR under the effects of a "slow" spell for a day, vs under the effects of a "haste" spell. Super move: Very limited time stop. Tin: Spot Checks or WIS. Pewter: STR checks, damage die, or +/- damage to each hit. Zinc: Bonus to hit (for thinking through the situation) or bonus to initiative. (With corresponding negatives.) Brass: Specific fortitude checks.Copper: Mostly role playing. Memorize a book, or an entire library, if given time. Blank things from your mind to prevent mind reading. Bronze: Mostly role playing, with (perhaps) being able to "rest" immediately and get back any abilities that come with it. (Haven't played 5e--these were big in 4e, but don't know if they kept them.)

These metals are going to be rare.

Cadmium: Not having to breathe for a time could have all kinds of applications, though I'd love to hear you role play hyperventilating all day for one session. Bendalloy: Not eating and storing calories. Great for role playing.Gold: CON bonus, hit points, or something like that. Sudden healing is great for gaming. Electrum: General bonus to all skills. Chromium: Bonus or minus to any roll.

The rest aren't even understood in-world, so I'd stop there. If you go all in on this, I'd say you need some kind of class built around it--perhaps a rogue or monk base, replacing their bonuses with feruchemical abilities that you gain over time.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#190 Copy

KingSloth

Does a Spinner Ferring have to be actively doing something to 'lose' fortune, while storing? Slightly worried that they'd end up giving themselves cancer or something if they were sat storing fortune, without doing something like playing cards to 'drain' the luck away from..

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A ()
#191 Copy

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

As it turns out, there is an error in the Feruchemical table when Brandon put it in Mistborn 2. If you look closely, Determination (electrum) doesn't belong in its group. The group that it is in is obviously more physical powers. Determination was supposed to be a mental metal, and Warmth was supposed to be in that Physical group. He just made a mistake originally. But it turns out that Feruchemy obeys different rules than Allomancy, so Brandon isn't retconning it, but saying that Feruchemy works differently now. Apparently there was going to be a table of Feruchemy at the end of Alloy of Law, but it wasn't ready because Isaac kept thinking like an Allomancer. Feruchemy has its own rules (for example, Brandon confirmed that pewter does steal Feruchemical health, probably because that second group of physical Feruchemical powers are also "physical", so pewter can steal them.) Hemalurgy also obeys different rules.

Ancient 17S Q&A ()
#192 Copy

Chaos (paraphrased)

Since the dawn of Scadrial, why was Feruchemy isolated in a single distinct population in the world, namely the Terrismen? Allomancy, while rare within the population of Scadrial, at least was not isolated to one population, it was spread evenly, it seems. What is special about the Terrismen that only they get the power of Feruchemy? Does it have something to do with the previous Ascensions before Rashek, with the guardian keeping the power for a time?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It's all in the spiritual DNA, which is passed on like normal DNA. However, they are a separate people. They've kept themselves isolated, similar to the Jews in our world. When I asked he said there have been some Feruchemical-mistings [Ferrings] in the past, but they are very rare.

Skype Q&A ()
#193 Copy

Calderis

In Shadows of Self, in the scene where Paalm is speaking to Wax from a floor above, she rushes out the window and down past him. The window isn't damaged, the earth that she runs on isn't damaged, and she runs down a flight of stairs at speed. Being as "speed" affects gravity, and physics apply to Paalm as if she were moving at normal speed, is Feruchemical steel a temporal effect?

Brandon Sanderson

*laughs* Nice. I'm going to ask for more definition. What do you mean by temporal effect. What exactly do you mean by that? Are you reaching into magic system definitions, or are you trying to use our definitions? Give me more.

Skype Q&A ()
#194 Copy

Calderis

Feruchemical aluminum stores and taps a marker that seems to suffuse all Investiture within a person, removing or strengthening Identity. Does Feruchemical duralumin work similarly? Does tapping connection while storing in a metalmind increase the connection of the Investiture stored?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. Mostly because I've got a main character who's going to be doing this, I'm not going to spoil the fun or lock myself down yet.

Prague Signing ()
#196 Copy

Oversleep

So if you spiked a Soulbearer...

Brandon Sanderson

A what?

Oversleep

The nicrosil Ferring.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay.

Oversleep

And he stored the ability he got from the spike what happens to the charge in it.

Brandon Sanderson

In the spike if he stores the ability?

Oversleep

Yeah, in the spike.

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
#198 Copy

Questioner

Say you have a Feruchemist who pours Identity into a metalmind. Then subsequently loses that mind, and then is later Awakened? Would that mind retain the personality of--

*Everyone laughs, Scottish man says "it's 11 o'clock at night, give the man a break!"*

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so they store Identity—which I haven't told you what it does--

Questioner

Yep. We don't know.

Brandon Sanderson

And then you Awaken it, and then you want to know if it has the personality of the person?

Questioner

Yeah, or if it's able to communicate in any way.

Brandon Sanderson

Um, if-- how much Awakened is it? Is it Nightblood-level Awakened? Or is it just regular Awakened?

Questioner

Sure let's say Nightblood-level.

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood-level. So it's-- so the Investiture has been granted sapience. And it's got Investiture from somebody else stuffed in it. I can foresee a scenario where that has an influence, but it's not going to be the personality of the person who stuffed it in. I can see some circumstances where they can-- where the Investiture of the object can make use of that in some way, but...

Oh boy, that was a weird one.

Prague Signing ()
#200 Copy

Questioner

*translated* In Feruchemy, if someone's existence is being in--stored in it, is it as a whole?

Brandon Sanderson

It is little pieces of Investiture filtered through their mind and their soul. *waiting for translator* You could say it's a little piece of them, but it's not the whole them.