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Firefight release party ()
#152 Copy

Lady Radagu

Does being the donor of a Hemalurgic spike have any implications for your afterlife? Or how about the recipient?

Brandon Sanderson

That is actually going to depend on-- Okay. Yes it has implications for the afterlife. Yes.

Lady Radagu

Okay so are there a bunch of Scadrian souls wandering the afterlife with holes in their personalities or memory or identity? Or some with extra parts tacked on?

Brandon Sanderson

So it has implications, but they are not exactly ones that you are assuming. So in the cosmere there is "dead" and "mostly dead". Okay? And this has been shown several times so once someone dies there is a period before they transition. Sazed talks about this in Mistborn 3. And so most of the implications are for before transition. Does that make sense? Post-transition you are going to have to ask the philosophers and the theologians who are the ones that talk about that. So there is an afterlife and an after-afterlife. Not as many implications for after-afterlife. Middle? Yes. Okay?

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#155 Copy

Questioner

Has a Hemalurgic Feruchemist ever used a Hemalurgic spike to tap power into it? Have they ever done that yet?

Brandon Sanderson

So a Hemalurgic spike is already Invested, so it's going to resist sticking anything else in it, particularly a magic like that.

Questioner

So if there's a pewter spike then a Feruchemist couldn't store strength in it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. It would be difficult.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#156 Copy

Yata

If a Ferring creates a metalmind and then loses his power (for example through Hemalurgy), could he still use his previous-made metalmind ?

Brandon Sanderson

No, he could not. And, unfortunately, the person who stole a bit of his soul would probably be keyed with enough Identity to use his metalmind. :( (This is uncertain, though, based on how much of the soul got ripped off, and how much the spike has decayed.)

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#158 Copy

Kythis

When you spike somebody, say a full Mistborn, with a steel spike, it could end up with four different charges.  Does it get all four of them it just depends on where you place it?  

Brandon Sanderson

Where you place it it can get all four.  Spiking a full Mistborn wastes a lot of power and the way that it's known, I mean, it doesn't have to, but the way that it's known to do it right now.

Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
#159 Copy

Cadmium (paraphrased)

We've seen someone with a Hemalurgic spike communicate or under the control of Ruin or Harmony... Can other Shards communicate or control those individuals?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes. Good Question. Yes...  They can certainly communicate...

Cadmium (paraphrased)

To what extent?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Not to the extent that Ruin did. The others could communicate but it'd be vague or faint, not as direct as Ruin was. He connects to us, well, them through the little bit of Preservation that he had or could touch. Because the spike pierces the soul.

Cadmium (paraphrased)

What about on other planets than Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It'd work the same way. but again probably vaguer or fainter. Might go unnoticed.

FAQFriday 2017 ()
#162 Copy

Questioner

Are Hemalurgic spikes fabrials? Is a body that has been spiked a fabrial? Are koloss and kandra also something similar?

Brandon Sanderson

No, actually.

Fabrial means specifically a bit of Investiture that has been trapped by a gemstone and then modified to do something else. Hemalurgy is its own thing--though there is a slight similarity. In most Hemalurgy, Investiture keyed to the Identity of someone (a bit of a soul) is ripped off, and then magically grafted onto someone else's soul. Not the same, though I can see the confusion.

Koloss and kandra are similar, though in this case, the soul is mostly just being distorted by using an Invested spike. In the cosmere, the body will attempt to match the soul, and so a twisted soul (Spiritual aspect of a person) can have profound effects on both mind and body.

Miscellaneous 2013 ()
#164 Copy

Herowannabe (paraphrased)

We asked if a shardblade or Nightblood could be used as a hemallurgic spike (ie: two different investitures of magic).

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Brandon said that yes, in theory you could do that, but objects have a limit to how much investiture they can hold, and that it could be argued that things like Nightblood and Shardblades are already "full."

FanX Spring 2019 ()
#166 Copy

Questioner

Can you make a Hemalurgic spike and get two people at the same time?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it's going to Invest from the first one and then potentially spike it into the second one, what it is stealing from the first, generally is what's going to happen.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
#169 Copy

Kurkistan

Could Miles heal back his Allomancy if it was spiked out of him?

Brandon Sanderson

No, he could not. He would no longer be an Allomancer. Also, he'd probably be dead. :)

Kurkistan

Thanks!

I'd thought maybe he could just do some super-tapping from his existing Health in his goldminds (since he'd still have his Feruchemy)...

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I see what you're asking. Using Feruchemy to heal the removed portion of soul. That's actually plausible, not so different from healing other kinds of soul-wounds. If he survived, then yes, this actually might work. (That's why I get for reading the questions so quickly.)

Berlin signing ()
#171 Copy

rxience (paraphrased)

Would a single spike be sufficient to staple a Cognitive Shadow to a mistwraith?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, that could happen.

rxience (paraphrased)

Did that happen in the past?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That's a RAFO, I'm afraid. Who are you thinking about?

rxience (paraphrased)

Kelsier of course!

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well, he is somehow in the Physical Realm. And he does look like himself, doesn't he?

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#172 Copy

Questioner

What's the difference between a spike prepared for a Koloss and a spike prepared for a Mistwraith or Kandra? What side effects might occur from... [?]... Koloss spikes?

Brandon Sanderson

It's the pieces of the soul that are being ripped off and the amount of the soul that's being ripped off. That's a big part of it. What side effects would there be? You would probably not get something as intelligent.

Questioner

What's the difference in how you prepare those spikes?

Brandon Sanderson

The Koloss spikes, you've seen how they're done. The Kandra spikes were prepared by the Lord Ruler. He gave them to them, and so we don't know what he did, at least in canon.

Questioner 2

That means that we kind of screwed up the role playing.

Brandon Sanderson

You can totally do- I imagine all the role playing happening in a slightly different alternate universe, where there are slight variations and differences.

But yeah, there are no- Kandra spikes are prepared and given by the Lord Ruler, they didn't even know how to make them themselves. I mean they had an inkling of what went on, but they didn't know.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
#173 Copy

Questioner

If someone had a Hemalurgic spike and they burned aluminum, would the negation of-- am I going to get RAFO'd?

Brandon Sanderson

You're asking if it would destroy the Hemalurgic power? Burning aluminum at that point would not destroy the Hemalurgic power. It would pull the Investiture through whatever you're doing. It would blank your power, but it wouldn't destroy you being an Allomancer with the spike...

I actually considered this in building it and that would be too easy a way to remove Inquisitors, particularly if there were dissension between them.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#174 Copy

Questioner

With the hemalurgy, I was a bit confused on how it worked on people and how it worked for kandra, there was the blessings, and one brought them more stability of mind or something. So what is different for kandra than it is for other people?

Brandon Sanderson

The things that are building kandra have ripped off different pieces of souls. Rather than stealing someone else's Allomancy, most of those were just created with regular people. The same way that a koloss... you don't need an Allomancer to make a koloss. You just take a regular person, you rip off a piece of their soul, and you staple it to someone else's, and basically screw up their Spiritual DNA, and you have a koloss. But stapling on someone's Allomancy requires an Allomancer.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#176 Copy

yulerule

Have all the spikes been collected? You have a bunch of dead Inquisitors, you've got the koloss at the end of Mistborn.

Brandon Sanderson

Have they all been collected?

yulerule

Or are they just lying around, or did they--

Brandon Sanderson

There are some that have been lost.

/r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
#178 Copy

Ace_of_Face

How was Sazed/Harmony able to communicate with Waxillium near the end of the book? During the original trilogy, Ruin could occasionally implant thoughts into people's minds, but he couldn't just listen in whenever he felt like it. Is Harmony just way more powerful?

Brandon Sanderson

There is interesting discussion about this one below, which I like to see. I thought this might spark some discussion. Remember that human beings were given more of Preservation than Ruin during their creation, which led to Preservation eventually being overwhelmed by Ruin. That was the bargain; people would be of Preservation at their core, but in turn Ruin got to claim the world once Preservation wound down.

Another factor to consider here is that Wax was given a special earring designed for communication with a being that he actually worships.

Skyward Denver signing ()
#179 Copy

Questioner

Hemalurgic spikes degrade very quickly, but Feruchemical metals can hold on to their charge forever, apparently. Is that just because Hemalurgy is corruptive?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, though I may not say "forever."

Questioner

But it's much slower?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, way slower.

Yes, it's the nature of Feruchemy and Hemalurgy.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#180 Copy

The_Vikachu

I remember reading you answer earlier that a person being used to charge a hemalurgic spike does not necessarily have to die. Would that victim be similar to a Drab from Warbreaker?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, making a spike rips off a piece of someone's soul. So...yeah. I'd need to see my exact quote from before, but let's say it's not going to leave a person in good shape.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#181 Copy

Miss_Silver

Is there a maximum number of spikes a person can have? Would having more spikes eventually cause issues, be it mental or physical limitations?

Also do the benefits from spikes have some form of diminishing returns, or could some one have like, 200 bronze spikes and be able to sense a person burning metal through copper from 50 miles away?

Brandon Sanderson

1) Yes, it would cause big issues.

2) #1 interferes greatly with what you would like to do here, but there are other ways of magnifying the powers to the extent you postulate.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#184 Copy

Satsuoni

You said that every person on Scadrial has a bit of Preservation in them. It is possible, then, to accumulate enough Hemalurgic charge from killing normal people by, say, steel spike (at once, or in order), to make that spike grant Allomancy? Building on this, is it possible for the spike to accumulate charge while being imbedded in acceptor body, by killing people with the protruding end?

Brandon Sanderson

My, you're making the Scadrial magic systems sound a lot like the one from Nalthis.... Hm....

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#187 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Mechanism of Hemalurgy

The Blessings and the workings of Hemalurgy gave me some trouble as I designed the second and third books of this series. On one hand, I liked the way Hemalurgy worked by stealing powers from Allomancers or Feruchemists and giving them to other people. However, if I was going to limit myself to sixteen metals and be able to steal both Allomancy and Feruchemy, that meant I needed a mechanism to determine which power got stolen. If, for instance, you drove a pewter spike into a person who was both an Allomancer and a Feruchemist, then how would that spike know which power to suck out and grant to the one who would gain it?

As I was toying with how this would work, I realized that I needed to work the kandra and the koloss into this as well. Only, it was ridiculous to assume that the Lord Ruler would kill Allomancers to make koloss. There weren't enough Allomancers, for one thing—plus it would be foolish to lose the power of an Allomancer to gain an inferior tool in a koloss.

So that meant koloss had to be made out of regular people, not Allomancers or Feruchemists. Suddenly I had another set of abilities that Hemalurgy had to be able to steal—the basic pieces of Preservation inside the souls of all men.

Hence the decision that where the spike was placed in the receiver, and how it was used to kill a person, influenced how the power was shaped. Now a pewter spike could steal any of a number of powers, based on how it was used. And regular people could be used instead of Allomancers—however, when that happened, the receiver was twisted much more than if an Allomantically charged spike or a Feruchemically charged spike was used.

My rationale for this is that if the spike is pulling out the pure power of Preservation—part of the power of all creation—and twisting it, it would change the body of the recipient greatly. Twisting them through use of the twisted power.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
#189 Copy

Questioner

Hemalurgy, does the person having the metal shoved through them have to die?

Brandon Sanderson

It has to rip off a piece of their soul. That normally results in death.

Questioner

Because I'm thinking you're going a bit into the future, surgery, precise things like that...

Brandon Sanderson

It's plausible but-- I mean it would leave the person like-- it's ripping off a piece of their soul. But the same thing happens when you give up your Breath. So you're giving up a piece of your soul. There are-- It's plausible you could take off pieces of a soul without killing the person.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#190 Copy

Questioner

In Arcanum Unbounded, it said that a Hemalurgic spike could work in any world. So if I were to take a Hemalurgic spike and spike someone like Kaladin, would he die and then I have a Windrunner's power?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but there's a big asterisk on that. Because, with the spren being a third party in this sort of arrangement, weird things would happen.

DragonCon 2019 ()
#192 Copy

Questioner

Can Hemalurgy be used to steal [Surgebinding]?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, technically, but since there are spren involved it's not gonna work the same way. It is possible but not gonna be nearly as effective, how about that? Basically since the spren can break the bond in certain instances, you can get it and then immediately lose it.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#194 Copy

Kurkistan

So you've said that healing is like the Spiritual wants to heal and then it filters through the Cognitive, but how's that work with healing wounds to the soul like Hemalurgy or Shardblades? What do you refer to to heal the soul at that point?

Brandon Sanderson

You need to make a patch on the soul with Investiture.

Kurkistan

So how's the Investiture know where to go, what to look like?

Brandon Sanderson

Well your soul is an ideal. So if you can get it up there, there are ways to do-- to recreate that with um... See I'm getting into stuff for later books.

Argent

No, that's okay.

Kurkistan

So when Hemalurgy rips something off the soul, is that the ideal soul or some sub-soul?

Brandon Sanderson

That is off of your soul, and it can be healed; but what it's going to be doing is creating a patch of new soul. So it will not be your original soul. Does that make sense?

Kurkistan

Okay, that- well, not completely, but I think that's your intention.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Bystander

If you do that, is that like Frankenstein's monster, or is it like a graft that's absorb--

Brandon Sanderson

Less horrifying- Less horrifying than Frankenstein's monster, but it is a graft that is like-- It is not your original soul.

Bystander

Yeah, but in modern medicine stuff like that is absorbed-

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, in this you will always have a scar on your soul that something else has patched over.

Kurkistan

So Kaladin shouldn't just keep getting his arm chopped?

Brandon Sanderson

*ignoring/not-hearing Kurkistan just now* But that is what happens with most forms of Investiture in the first place.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#195 Copy

Phantine

If I stab someone with a steel spike to steal their physical Allomancy, what determines which power I steal? Where the spike is stabbed into, my Intent, or some other factor?

Brandon Sanderson

Intent is at play once you get to the finer points of Hemalurgy, but that can get wonky, as evidenced by some certain events with Spook and even Vin.

Legion Release Party ()
#198 Copy

Questioner

I notice that the two most complicated Investiture systems that we know of, those being Hemalurgy and Forging, are both the Investitures of Shards whose names have a generally negative connotation. Is there any correlation?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that is not an intentional correlation.

Questioner

That is just a coincidence?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#200 Copy

Wigginns

What would a Hemalurgic spike granting atium do for an Allomancer already able to burn atium? Does it function similarly to bronze, granting enhanced atium-ing? Along this line of thought, would enhancing electrum burning via spike be of any advantage?

Brandon Sanderson

A spike of something you have would enhance your ability, giving your more strength. With atium, more strength makes for a minimal edge--the length you can push out the atium shadows. However, there's a certain breaking point where you kind of crack the whole system, peer straight into the [Spiritual Realm], and kind of have a "It's full of stars" moment.

Electrum could reach this same moment, potentially, though there's more interference to fight through. Extra strength in electrum isn't going to be terribly useful up to that point.

Alsadius

Is that what happened when atium was burned with duralumin?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.