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Tel Aviv Signing ()
#151 Copy

Questioner

I have a question about Mistborn. Is it possible for a spike to steal powers from other worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible, yes.

Questioner

And, by extension, Feruchemical storage... in the metalmind...

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, in the metalmind, if they had the other power, could they store the power...

Questioner

If there is the Feruchemist, like the...

Brandon Sanderson

So that is theoretically possible, but it would take a lot of finagling. Yeah, theoretically possible.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#152 Copy

Chaos2651

Is there a rationale to how Hemalurgic powers are distributed? I tried to look for a system, but they seem rather randomly distributed. For example, the spike which steals Allomantic powers for a particular quadrant is not always in one particular spot.

Brandon Sanderson

That is correct, it's not always in one particular spot. None of them are. I used as my model on this magic system the concept of acupuncture and pressure points. Placing a Hemalurgic spike is a very delicate and specific art. Imagine there being a different overlay on a human body, like a new network of nerves, representing lines, points, and 'veins' of the soul's spiritual makeup.

What is happening with Hemalurgy, essentially, is that you're driving a spike through a specific point on a person's body and ripping off a piece of their soul. It sticks to the spike on the Spiritual Realm. Then, you place that spike on someone else in a specific place (not exactly the same place, but on the right spiritual pressure point) and 'hot wire' the spirit to give it Hemalurgy or Feruchemy. It's like you're fooling the spiritual DNA, creating a work-around. Or, in some cases, changing the spirit to look like something else, which has the immediate effect of distorting the body and transforming it into a new creature.

Hemalurgy is a very brutal way of making changes like this, though, so it often has monstrous effects. (Like with the koloss.) And in most cases, it leaves a kind of 'hole' in the spirit's natural defenses, which is how Ruin was able to touch the souls of Hemalurgists directly.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#153 Copy

Chaos2651

Hemalurgically, atium steals Allomantic Temporal Powers. But, that seems unlikely, since atium is a god metal. It wouldn't fit in with the rest of the magic system. Did Preservation, in addition to switching Cadmium and Bendalloy for Atium and Malatium, also switch atium's Feruchemical and Hemalurgic powers with Cadmium? Because it seems to me there's not a lot of atium Marsh can use to live for hundreds of years into the next Mistborn trilogy.

Brandon Sanderson

Preservation wanted Atium and Malatium to be of use to the people, as he recognized that it would be a very powerful tool—and that using it up could help defeat Ruin. But he also recognized that sixteen was a mythological important number, and felt it would make the best sign for his followers. So he took out the most unlikely (difficult to make and use) metals for his sign to his followers. But that doesn't have much to do with Hemalurgy's use here.

Remember that the tables—and the ars Arcanum—are 'in world' creations. (Or, at least, in-universe.) The knowledge represented in them is as people understand it, and can always have flaws. That was the case with having atium on the table in the first place, and that was the case with people (specifically the Inquisitors) trying to figure out what atium did Hemalurgically.

Their experiments (very expensive ones) are what determined that atium (which they thought was just one of the sixteen metals) granted the Allomantic Temporal powers. What they didn't realize is that atium (used correctly) could steal ANY of the powers. Think of it as a wild card. With the right knowledge, you could use it to mimic any other spike. It works far better than other spikes as well.

As for Marsh, he's got a whole bag of atium (taken off of the Kandra who was going to try to sell it.) So he's all right for quite a while. A small bead used right can reverse age someone back to their childhood.

But this was a little beyond their magical understanding at the time.

Holiday signing ()
#154 Copy

Questioner

Allomancy requires, you need to be either a Misting or a Mistborn to be able to do that. But Hemalurgy you just need to stab someone through the heart. So what would stop someone on Roshar from using Hemalurgy, because it's not Innate? Do you have to be in proximity to Ruin?

Brandon Sanderson

Intent is a big part of a lot of the magics, including Hemalurgy, meaning that you need to know what you're doing. Or somebody needs to-- There needs to be Intent involved in what's happening to you.

Questioner

So like with Spook when he got spiked, where was the Intent?

Brandon Sanderson

The person who was driving that spike was being influenced by Ruin, and the Intent was there.

Questioner

So unless you knew what you were trying to do with a Hemalurgic spike, you couldn't do Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

You could not steal attributes no.

Questioner 2

Is it possible to steal Surgebindings.

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible to steal Surgebinding.

Questioner

Is there going to be crossover, like is someone going to have Feruchemical powers and also Surgebinding?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a Read And Find Out.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#155 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.

FanX Spring 2019 ()
#156 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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#157 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.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#159 Copy

yulerule

Are Inquisitor spikes, kandra Blessings and koloss spikes interchangeable?  Like if you it spiked in a different way--

Brandon Sanderson

*Hesitant* You could make that work and it wouldn't be that hard. But just as they are, no.

yulerule

Would nothing happen or would weird stuff happen?

Brandon Sanderson

Weird stuff would happen

*pause*

But that one's not very hard to make work.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#163 Copy

Lucadaw

If someone used Hemalurgy to take someones Feruchemical abilities would they be able to use that persons personal metalminds? Most relevantly perhaps to take that person's knowledge from their copperminds?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Lucadaw

If someone stored their identity in an aluminium metalmind, then had their powers and metalminds stolen via Hemalurgy, then the person who took the powers used the aluminium metalmind to draw out the first persons identity would it permanently overwrite their personality with the original persons ? ( would kind of be a long winded way of stealing someone else's body and becoming immortal )

Brandon Sanderson

All Identity questions are a RAFO until I deal with it more in the books. (Sorry.)

WeiryWriter (in response to the first answer)

If the spike granting Feruchemy were to be reforged/split into two distinct spikes which are then implanted into two different people, could those two people "share" a metalmind (as in actually be able to tap something the other stored and vice versa?).

Brandon Sanderson

It's complicated, but no.

There would be too much of the other person mixed in. Both could use the metalminds of the person the Feruchemy was stolen from, but when they made their own, their own Identity would "muddy" the creation.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#164 Copy

katkov

How important is Intent to Hemalurgy? If two people who didn't know about Hemalurgy were running and tripped, falling perfectly onto a spike, would Hemalurgy occur? What about if it was a sick psychopath who liked stabbing people with spikes instead of an accident?

Would the planet these events occurred on matter?

Brandon Sanderson

Location is not relevant to most of the magics.

As for those specifics of Hemalurgy, I will RAFO for now.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#166 Copy

Evilkill78

While rereading HoA I decided to do a bit of research on an informant. But I also found another interesting tidbit on Theoryland.

http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=727#35

This WoB. It implies TenSoon is eventually going to be able to reconnect with Vin, or at least, someone with Hemalurgic spikes is going to be able to communicate with someone that's departed to "The Beyond" (or the Spiritual Realm)...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, this looks like one where I was tired from answering a lot of questions, and was thinking about Kelsier--I was really excited to write Secret History back then. I realize that it wouldn't make sense for Kelsier to want to talk to TenSoon, but you'd be surprised the things that you say sometimes when you're trying to write in someone's book, keep yourself from giving too many spoilers, but also answer questions. You can go on auto-pilot sometimes for a minute or two, answering questions that my brain THINKS someone asks, when it's not one they actually asked. Or mashing together two questions, and having a kind of crossed-wires brain moment. You can see me do this on Reddit sometimes too, if you look back through my history. I often catch it and edit to explain myself, but not always This was during the era when I was heavily laying foreshadowing to fans for Kelsier's return, so it wouldn't feel like a cheat when I eventually got to Secret History. So I was looking for opportunities to talk about people with spikes communicating with the Cognitive Realm. I can't remember. There's also a possibility that I was still contemplating Vin staying, which she could have done, as someone who'd carried one of the powers. Either way, I made the call that even bringing Kelsier back was dangerous for undermining consequences, and having Vin hang around would be counter to her character arc and the arc of the stories. So Vin and TenSoon won't be talking any time soon. Sorry to shut down conversation on this one, and sorry to lead you on.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#167 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Resolution

TenSoon and the other kandra resist Ruin and are able to pull the spikes from their shoulders. There are a couple of reasons why they can do this.

The power that Allomancers have to take control of them is the same power Ruin has. That control is exerted in the form of mental pressure through emotional Allomancy. As can be seen from Marsh's viewpoint, it is more than simply forcing the body to act as Ruin wishes. The extreme pressure on emotions changes the very way the mind thinks, tricking it into doing exactly what Ruin wants. The flaw in Hemalurgists leaves them open to this kind of manipulation.

Kandra, who only have two spikes, are far more difficult to control than koloss or Inquisitors. Vin is able to control TenSoon with ease in book two, but that's partially because he wanted her to do so. He would have been able to resist her. If she'd continued to push, she could have broken him, but it would have taken time.

Even Ruin's pressure wasn't enough to take control immediately. The kandra had a few moments during which they could overcome him and maintain their free will. Beyond that, they were in a cavern surrounded by metal ore in the walls, making it very difficult for Ruin to see what was going on and interfering with his ability to control them.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#168 Copy

Questioner

*inaudible question relating to Hemalurgy*

Brandon Sanderson

So Hemalurgy... Yes, to an extent. The koloss are an example of this. Koloss are made, but then they can be passed on a little bit. You get koloss *inaudible* koloss. So it doesn't quite work exactly, but some things can be passed on.

Questioner

Do the *inaudible* get passed on?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh... Not necessarily. They're not still pierced by metal.

Questioner

Apparently they use Hemalurgic *inaudible* bloodline to the point where there's Mistborn again?

Brandon Sanderson

This is something that people in-world are wondering.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#169 Copy

Mac

If one Feruchemist Keeper, a full Feruchemist, spiked another Feruchemist and got one Hemalurgic imbue from that person, would the first one now have enough of the second Keeper's Identity to use all of their metalminds? Or would it just be--

Brandon Sanderson

Ooh, that's a good one. I'm gonna say "yes," but it's a hesitant yes, because it's actually a question I haven't worked out yet. So you can have that as a yes, unless I hit it in the books and am looking at the notes and decide that it wouldn't work. I think that it would.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#171 Copy

Oversleep

What does count for Hemalurgic control? The total Hemalurgic charge or number of the spikes? If we let four spikes decay for a few years and then pierce a human with it, would that person be controllable? Does that work the same for all Hemalurgic constructs?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question to be asking, as there are spikes that come in sets that only count as a single one... I'd say you're getting close, but not quite there.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#174 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

When I was designing the Three Metallurgic Arts for these books, I knew that I wanted Hemalurgy to have a built in flaw. A flaw that, as a deconstructionalist might say, was created intentionally and relied upon by the very force hoping it won't exploit it.

It was important to me that Ruin eventually be brought down, in part, because of things he did or flaws in his power. Preservation could simply build into the humans he created an innate goodness, then expect them to do as he hoped that they would. Ruin had to be able to directly corrupt and influence people. He felt himself stronger because he could MAKE them do exactly as he wanted.

The problem is, for his magic to work–for him to exercise control over someone–he had to leave a hole, so to speak, that other people could wiggle through and use. And so the entire "control the koloss" plot sequence in Book Two was intended to set up Hemalurgy, and in a way predict Ruin's fall.

Now, the only problem in all of this (for the heroes, at least) is that when Ruin actually got free, he was so strong that it was all but impossible for anyone else to "get through" the holes that he had left in his Hemalurgists. But it wasn't impossible. In a way, the foreshadowing in this book was meant to lay the seed that Ruin's control of his minions is not absolute. And an individual who wanted to resist him had that potential.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#175 Copy

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

Alright, thanks. Last question for me tonight - so, when a Hemalurgic spike steals something, then it's storing Investiture in it, yeah? So could you - could you do something with that Investiture? Like... say I'm on Nalthis, and just theoretically, I use a Hemalurgic spike to steal a lot of Breath - can I use that Investiture to Awaken something? Could I Awaken the spike?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That... you'd need a lot of Investiture to Awaken a spike.

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

Because it's already charged up with something else?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#178 Copy

Questioner

So, the fan page wanted to know. Would it be possible for Hemalurgy to steal a living Shardblade? That was the top voted question.

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, so you're bonded to a Shardblade. You get spiked, then they spike off the bond so that the Shardblade is bonded to someone else.

Questioner

I assume so...

Brandon Sanderson

But can they do it with a living Shardblade? You can definitely do it with a dead Shardblade because its just stealing the Connection. With a living Shardblade, yes you could do that 'though the spren could break the bond at will.

Questioner

So the spren would survive? That was the second-- the corollary--

Brandon Sanderson

Ehhh. Would the spren survive? The spren would survive as long as the oaths were--

Questioner

Intact?

Brandon Sanderson

--the person didn't break the oaths. But you could theoretically steal the bond, break the oaths, and kill the spren. If you wanted to. Its a very convoluted to kill a spren, they are easier to kill than that, but yes. You could do that. That is a viable but twisted route that you can do. You would end up with a dead spren and a Shardblade, so there is that. But there are easier ways to accomplish that...

Prague Signing ()
#180 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.

Superstars Writing Seminar 2018 ()
#181 Copy

MiToRo94 (paraphrased)

This is a question about both The Stormlight Archive and the Mistborn series. Does The Thrill have anything to do with zinc, Rioters, or Allomancy in general?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

"They work on very similar principles." Their magic is based on similar ideas, and they do have a lot in common. A specific example would be that, "they both can affect different people to different extents and in slightly different ways. You can see that in how the Thrill affects Dalinar, and how burning zinc affects kandra differently than others on Scadrial. That is because kandra have pierced souls, so Allomancy affects them differently."

Boskone 54 ()
#182 Copy

Ironeyes

We know aluminum affects mental magic and emotional magic. Would it affect the hole in your soul that’s created by Hemalurgy? If you had an aluminum spike, would that make it easier, less easy, or no difference for Ruin to take control of you?

Brandon Sanderson

Aluminum resists Investiture generally, even when it’s not Invested itself.

Ironeyes

(Brandon hems and haws a little so Ironeyes clarifies the question) Would an aluminum spike make it harder for a Soother to take control of you?

Brandon Sanderson

An aluminum spike would have no effect on a Soother’s ability. They wouldn’t see it there.

yulerule

Did you make aluminum resistant to Allomancy so that you could do the tinfoil hats?

Brandon Sanderson

No, but once I did, I was like that’s a cool idea. I made aluminum resistant to it because I wanted something to be magically inert in the Cosmere. It was a happy accident.

DragonCon 2012 ()
#185 Copy

Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

Why are Invested objects like metalminds and Hemalurgic spikes able to be Pushed and Pulled on, but Shardblades and Shardplate, which are also invested, are not susceptible to Pushing and Pulling?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There were a few concepts that he outlined in answering this question.

1.) The ability to Push/Pull an Invested object is predicated to the amount/power of the Investiture.

2.) Further, Invested objects also gain resistance to pulling/pushing based on proximity to soul possibly via the soul. An example given is that a Hemalurgic spike touches the blood of the person, and from there is now part of both the Spiritual Realm and the Physical Realm. This provides what Brandon termed a kind of "soul interference," based on its proximity to the soul.

This further explains why Vin required more than normal power to Push/Pull the metalminds from the Lord Ruler, because of their proximity to his soul, via the Spiritual Realm.

3.) The amount of Investiture is relatively low on Scadrial, whereas worlds like Sel and Roshar are pushing around "high power" according to Brandon. I interpreted this to mean that Hemalurgic spikes and metalminds have low amounts of Investiture compared to Shardplate and Shardblades.

Brandon said that theoretically you can Push/Pull Shardblades and Shardplates but you would need to wield an incredible amount of power. One example he gave that could so such as a thing is that if you were a Mistborn wielding the full power of the Well of Ascension, you could Push/Pull Shardblades/Plate.

Calamity release party ()
#186 Copy

Zas678

About Bands of Mourning... Marasi finds ReLuur's missing spike, and she describes it as pewter... Which is not one of the four metals conventionally used in kandra blessings...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Zas678

...and is used to steal Feruchemical abilities. Was Marasi just mistaken, or is something going on there.

Brandon Sanderson

That you will eventually find out.

Orem signing 2014 ()
#188 Copy

mail-mi (paraphrased)

Could you spike Elantrian-ness? Like, could you Hemalurgically spike Elantrian-ness?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Theoretically, yes.

mail-mi (paraphrased)

Could you out of a Reod Elantrian? The zombie ones?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Um, yes you could.

mail-mi (paraphrased)

You could?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

So what you would be spiking there is their Connection to...to the planet, first. That's gonna be the big important thing. So you're going to overwrite your Connection. Um, and then you're going to....it's going to be a complicated process because you're going to have to spike the actual ability to have been transformed, that's gonna be harder.

mail-mi (paraphrased)

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Does that make sense?

mail-mi (paraphrased)

Yeah, so it's gonna take two spikes.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It's gonna take two spikes.

mail-mi (paraphrased)

Alright.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

And you gonna have to get the right Connection to the right place. Let's say you spike somebody from MaiPon, and then you spike an Elantrian, you're not going to be able to use it, you're not connected to the right area.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#190 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.

Stuttgart signing ()
#191 Copy

Krios (paraphrased)

If you have a form of manipulating your Identity and a form of healing, are you able to shapeshift or even evolve your body like growing wings?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You'd have to do some real work on your Spiritweb to make that work. It'd take more work than you're implying, but the [singers] for instance are doing this. It'll take a little more work, it's not just blanking your Identity. Hemalurgy would make it very easy, but also very evil. But what you want to achieve is possible.

Miscellaneous 2012 ()
#193 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

"Spoilers," Kelsier said.

"We'll put a warning at the top," Moiraine replied, settling down on the ledge, sparing not a glance for the plunge. "And don't change the topic. I believe that I would win, as you're actually a corpse."

"You're dead too," Kelsier said.

"I got better."

"You did?" Kelsier said, surprised.

"Book Thirteen."

"Damn. I got stuck in Book Ten."

"It's not as bad as people say," Moiraine replied. "Mat's sections are wonderful."

"Well," Kelsier said, "I don't think it matters if you came back. We could just say this is me from the middle of the first Mistborn book. Besides, I think I eventually got better myself."

"Doesn't count. You became a disembodied voice that may or may not have actually been speaking into the mind of a young boy who was probably insane."

"Yes," Kelsier said, "but my series has a long way to go yet. Who knows what could happen? I've heard that some very remarkable things can happen with spikes . . ."

Firefight Phoenix signing ()
#194 Copy

the_archduke (paraphrased)

If the Lord Ruler captured Shai and gave her 100 days to craft a soulstamp that could turn an iron Hemalurgic spike into a steel Hemalurgic spike, could she do it?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, but she would need a boost of power to do it. Affecting an Invested object is hard.

the_archduke [Alternate wording from stormfather's report] (paraphrased)

Can Shai change Hemalurgic spikes?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, but it costs a lot of power and she wouldn't be able to do it alone.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
#197 Copy

Chaos

Allomancy provides many very dramatic effects, which some have noted is not very much like Preservation. Could you walk me through how Allomancy is of Preservation, though it does dramatic, dynamic things?

Brandon Sanderson

One of the 'basics' of the magic in all of the worlds is that the energy of Shards can fuel all kinds of interactions, not just interactions based on their personality/role. I did this because otherwise, the Magics would all be extremely limited.

The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do. So, in Preservation's case, the magic is a gift--allowing a person to preserve their own strength, and rely upon the strength granted by the magic. While Hemalurgy has a huge cost, ending in net entropy.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#198 Copy

Questioner

In Bands of Mourning, we learned that the Sovereign, who they confused as being the Lord Ruler, came after the Catacendre. [He] was their god, was their king and god. And then Kelsier looking for a string. Is the spike somehow connecting Kelsier's soul to Spook's body.

Brandon Sanderson

No, good question. It is connecting his soul with his body, his current body, but it is not Spook's body. That's a great theory.