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General Reddit 2018 ()
#152 Copy

Aurora_Fatalis

Would [Kaladin using a Shardblade to pick his teeth] work, or would it burn out your eyes immediately?

Assuming Syl doesn't just became a Shard-toothpick, but remains a sword.

Brandon Sanderson

I suppose I'll go with the other responders--yes, you could make this work, in a perfect world.

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

Zenith

Szeth mentions that Lashings don't work with shardplate (on?). Is there any way to get around this (As in, lashing with Shardplate on, or lashing people with Shardplate on), and, if so, does it have anything to do with the Knights Radiant and/or their Ideals?

Brandon Sanderson

This has to do with the nature of the magics in the cosmere. They interfere with one another. Something that contains a lot of power--we call it Investiture--resists the efforts of magic to influence it. A strong spirit can interfere as well.

Holiday signing ()
#156 Copy

little wilson

Can a Shardblade-killed body be turned into a Lifeless?

Brandon Sanderson

Can a Shardblade-killed body be turned into a Lifeless.  Yeees, it can be re-Invested. Yes.

little wilson

Are there any side-effects to doing so?

Brandon Sanderson

Uhhh, there would be side-effects. I won't tell you what they are. They would be minor, minor, mostly inconsequential side-effects.

/r/fantasy AMA 2017 ()
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Adontis

I've always wondered, how do you determine where the line between "Word of Brandon" and "Read and Find Out" is? Has it ever caused issues where you've said something, but later that thing changed when it went into a book making your first statement now false?

Thanks so much for writing as much as you do, I'm looking forward to all your upcoming books, keep up the great work!

Brandon Sanderson

Boy, this one is an art, not a science.

I've several times said something that I later decided to change in a book. I've always got this idea in the back of my head that the books are canon, and things I say at signing aren't 100% canon. This is part because of a habit I have of falling back on things I decided years ago, then revised in notes after I realized they didn't work. My off-the-cuff instinct is still to go with what I had in my head for years, even when it's no longer canon.

An example of this are Shardblades. In the first draft of TWoK in 2002, I had the mechanics of the weapons work in a specific way. (If you wanted to steal one from someone, you knock off the bonding gemstone, and it breaks the bond.) I later decided it was more dramatic if you couldn't steal a Shardblade that way--you had to kill the person or force them to relinquish the bond. It worked far better.

But in Oathbringer, Peter had to remind me of that change, as I just kind of nonchalantly wrote into a scene a comment about knocking off a gemstone to steal a Shardblade. These things leak back in, as you might expect for a series I've been working on for some twenty years now--with lore being revised all along.

So...short answer...yes, I've contradicted myself a number of times. I try very, very hard to let the books be the canon however. So you can default to them.

As for what I answer and what I RAFO...it depends on how much I want to reveal at the moment, if I'm trying to preserve specific surprises, or if I just want people to focus on other things at the moment. Like I said, art and not science.

damenleeturks

In WoR, Navani muses to Dalinar about how the gemstones in the Blades could be the focus that allows the bond with the Blade to exist. If this theory is correct, it would follow that someone could damage that gemstone and thus be able to steal the Blade with it then having no intact bonding mechanism, right?

I guess I'm having trouble seeing how the example you describe isn't possible.

Peter Ahlstrom

The gemstone is needed to create the bond and operate the bond's functions. If you remove the gemstone, the person the sword is bonded to can't summon it or dismiss it to mist. But neither can anyone else. If they eventually pop another gemstone in and try to bond it themselves, they will fail, and the original person can then resummon their Blade. The bond is with the dead spren of the Blade, not with the gemstone. The stone facilitates the bond.

So, you can haul around a de-gemstoned Blade with you all the time and successfully steal it that way. But this makes it very easy to steal back. You'd have to kill the holder of the bond in order to rebond it. Which is no different from usual.

And in general, if you can get close enough to a Shardbearer to steal their Blade, you are also close enough to kill them anyway.

Phantine

So that scene where Dalinar crushes the gemstone and hands the Shardblade over, he's also doing some sort of mystical de-bonding?

Or is it just 'if you WANT to give it up, you gave it up'?

Peter Ahlstrom

Yes, if you want to give it up, you gave it up.

Phantine

If nobody is currently bonded to it, does the attuning still take a week?

Otherwise it seems weird people would figure out putting a gemstone in hilt lets you summon it, since nothing would happen without a week of bonding time.

ricree

Not that weird. One of the books (WoK, I think) mentions that many years passed before the gemstone bonding was discovered. Shardblades were still really valuable, though, and even more vulnerable to theft, so it makes sense that people would have kept them close at hand long enough for the bonding process.

Other than that, all you need is someone to accidentally decorate the blade correctly, which is something that took a long time to happen, but was probably bound to happen eventually considering how key infused gemstones are to the world.

Peter Ahlstrom

Well said.

General Twitter 2012 ()
#161 Copy

SwiftxJustice

Quick question to help me settle a debate. Could Allomancy affect a Shardplate/blade?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Investiture interferes with most magics.

eridius

Wait, are Mistborn and Stormlight Archive somehow connected?

Brandon Sanderson

Multiple people from Mistborn appeared in The Way of Kings.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
#162 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...

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#164 Copy

AndrewHB

Is the rapier a weapon that somebody who doesn't have a Shardblade would use on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Why do you ask that?

AndrewHB

You know why. Because of the last scene in Words of Radiance. The weapon was an unusual weapon that, well, she needed. *inaudible* odd form *inaudible* If it's common then you can understand why someone would have a Shardblade of that type.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, so... you are on to something.

AndrewHB

So that's a read and find out?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep, read and find out. You know how to read and find out. I'm not going to answer it, but *inaudible*.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

When spren die, they kind of become part of everything, so why did, when the Knights broke their oaths, why did they stay as Shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

They had been bound into that form by those oaths. The oaths are broken, but it's like they’re cracked. Does that make sense? Like, there's still something holding those spren and that's what made them *inaudible* It would have been better if they had actually died, does that make sense? But they couldn't-- they're bound in that form.

Questioner (paraphrased)

But their consciousness is still, like, gone?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

They still have a consciousness, some of them. To an extent.

Questioner (paraphrased)

That's why the screaming happens.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes.

Footnote: The first part of this was transcribed from a separate recording, so it should be close to verbatim. However, the audio file has been taken down, so it cannot be verified exactly.
Firefight release party ()
#166 Copy

Herowannabe

I noticed that shardblades are unnaturally light but Nightblood is unnaturally heavy.

Brandon Sanderson

That is correct.

Herowannabe

Care to expound on that?

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood is built around the same principles as shardblades, if shardblades were... broken?  I mean he is-- You'll notice dark smoke that goes down rather than light smoke that goes up, and things like this. So, yeah, they are built on the same principles but in some ways opposites.

Steelheart Chicago signing ()
#167 Copy

Argent (paraphrased)

Is there any other canonical way to refer to a set of Shardplate and a Shardblade other than Shards, so as to not confuse them with the Shards of Adonalsium?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

They call them just Shard(s). It is a little confusing, because there are other Shards, but they don't know about them. I call them a set, but there is no canonical way to refer to them.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#168 Copy

VindicationKnight

If a person in the Cosmere built a fully sentient and sapient robot would that robot have a soul? How would it interact with Shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. It would interact with Shardblades the same way that Spren do.

VindicationKnight

How does a Shardblade interact with a Spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardblades cut on all three realms. I'm not going to say too much here, though I might note that it's possible a robot like you say would act more like nightblood than anything else--depends on what is involved in the creation, and how you determine the difference between a robot and a golem for these purposes.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#169 Copy

Questioner 1

So, it's been established when Syl transformed for Kaladin that a living Blade can become any weapon, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, based on the perception of the wielder.

Questioner 1

Right. So, why is it that there are only dead swords?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a good question that will be answered in the future.

Questioner 2

Could they make a lightsaber?

Brandon Sanderson

Could they make a lightsaber? W-- They could make metal weapons of a similar style to that, so no, we're not talking lightsabers because… Creating plasma is not something that we're looking at.

Moderator

But like a bow, for example?

Brandon Sanderson

They could create, probably--Well, let's RAFO that one, I'll show you what's going to be happening.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Deathbyfire222

Hi Brandon! My friend and I are putting together a Dungeons and Dragons campaign based in Roshar, and were toying with the idea of players being Shardbearers. Unfortunately, only a few of the stances (i.e. Windstance, Smokestance) are mentioned in the books.

Have you given thought to what the rest of the stances are, and the qualities they emulate in combat? What are they?

Brandon Sanderson

Going into the Stances in depth is going to be tough for me as I am answering on mobile. But yes, I have thought about them all. They should all appear in the books eventually.

Holiday signing ()
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Questioner

So we know that Shardblades can't cut through other Shardblades because they are Invested objects, right?

Brandon Sanderson

That is definitely-- Yes, that's part of it.

Questioner

So could a Shardblade cut through other kinds of Invested objects like--

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on how Invested it is.

Questioner

--like a Hemalurgic spike?

Brandon Sanderson

A Hemalurgic spike would resist being cut.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

So the shape of the Shardblades of the spren that pretty much die and leave them afterwards, are they specific because of something? Or just because that's how the Radiant used them, in that shape? 

Brandon Sanderson

It is a mixture of how the Radiant views them, and how-- Their nature. It's a mixture of their nature and how the Radiant views them.

Questioner

Were they still able to shape them however they want? ...The Shardblades. 

Brandon Sanderson

Originally? Yes.

San Diego [email protected] 2020 ()
#176 Copy

Argent

Shardblades burn out the eyes of the victims, and deadeyes have their eyes scratched out in Shadesmar. Is the connection here purely thematic? Or are there actual Realmatic mechanics behind it?

Brandon Sanderson

There are, but they're pretty slight. I would lean more on the idea of the thematic, this more being a Roshar thing, with the eye color, the eyes being scratched out, Shardblades burning out the eyes. There are some Realmatic things behind this, but mostly it's me trying to connect a theme in this magic system.

As you might know (maybe, maybe not), Shardblades originally did cut flesh. I wrote the entire prologue with Szeth and them cutting flesh and... ooh, boy, was that bloody! These are books about war, but man, it was just so gory that I'm like, "I'm gonna back off on this. Let's have it burn out the eyes instead." And I liked it way better that way.

Calamity release party ()
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Questioner

Could a Forger, like, reforge a Shardplate to look differently?

Brandon Sanderson

So here's the thing... Um, yes, *but*... Anything that is Invested is-- resists all of the forms of Investiture. And the level of Investiture in it determines how hard it is. Forging is one of these things that-- It's very hard to reforge things that are Invested. Not impossible though. So yes, *but*... Do you see what I'm saying? There's that-- there's a pretty significant "but" on that one.

DragonCon 2012 ()
#183 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.

Skyward release party ()
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Questioner

At the last signing event, I was asking about a Shard[blade] and paint, if it disappears, comes back, what happens? You said the paint never disappeared with it. But you seemed intrigued by other possibilities, and then I thought of some too. One of them would be a foundry, showing people how to make weapons, you put your Shard in the sand, make a sword in there, dismiss it, fill it with your molten metal, stuff like that sounded like...interesting ideas.

Brandon Sanderson

I like that, I like that a lot.

Boskone 54 ()
#186 Copy

Questioner

Why does Stormlight make things cold?

Brandon Sanderson

It’s not the Stormlight, it’s condensation because something is going directly from a gas into a solid. The coldness is caused by that, it’s not necessarily that the Stormlight is making things cold, but that the Shardblade is condensing.

GenCon 2017 ()
#188 Copy

AugustDream

If you made a sword-shaped nicrosil metalmind, and dumped a lot of unkeyed Investiture into it, could you make a Nightblood-esque Shardblade? And if you actually didn't go to the trouble and just dumped a lot of keyed Investiture into it, would that change the outcome?

Brandon Sanderson

You're getting close to how this type of thing works but you're missing a few things. Keep working on it.

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
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Snipexe

Is there one true Shardblade form for a spren?

Brandon Sanderson

"True" in this sense is mutable and it can change, based on perception. I would say yes, but it is not a kind of platonic truth, it is a momentary truth.

Snipexe

Will dead Shardblades change, when an owner has them for a long time will they slowly change or will they stay the same?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardblades have changed before that were considered dead.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
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Questioner

How did you come up with Shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

Here's the thing, I've seen a lot of fantasy art-- I love fantasy books, right-- and people often depict these enormous swords, which are completely impractical. So one of my pitches for Stormlight was "I want a world where they had to have weapons like they depict in this fantasy art" and I retrofitted it, what would they need these to actually fight? So that was the pitch for myself on Shardblades. And I was also annoyed that the coolest magic swords were in a science fiction story, Star Wars, I want cool magic swords that are not in a science fiction story.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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astalduath

After reading The Way of Kings, I couldn't help but to wonder this: hypothetically if there were two equally skilled combatants in every way, one armed with a Shardblade and the other with a Lightsaber, and take magic and the Force out of the equation (except for the weapons themselves), who would win? And yes, the Shardblade would have already been summoned and the two are just squaring off in a dual. Have fun with it.

Brandon Sanderson

A lightsaber is actually a little more easy to wield than a Shardblade, I would guess. Shardblades were designed to fight something larger than another person; you don't actually need all of that size when fighting someone. So that gives a slight edge to you average Jedi. If it's someone like Szeth, who has a more modestly sized Blade, then I don't honestly know.

When Worlds Collide 2014 ()
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Jeremy (paraphrased)

Syl gives Kaladin the choice to have any number of weapons or a shield. Pattern can be equally a sword or a small knife. Are spren limited to being items of war or could they be put to other uses? Could the surge binders less geared toward battle use their spren to make ladders, rope, etc?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, this is not restricted to articles of war.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#196 Copy

Questioner

Supposing that a skilled Hemalurgist got hold of some a Shardblade or some Shardplate, how would he best use it assuming that the best way isn't to put it on and kill people with it.

Brandon Sanderson

That's probably the best way, to put it on and kill people with it. I'm not sure why a Hemalurgist would want one more than anyone else would because the metal is already Invested which means its not useful to him.

Questioner

So there is no way that he could use a Hemalurgic spike to take some power from the Spren that's crafting it.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, that's what you're saying. You want to grab something off the Spren? That's gonna be way harder than grabbing one that's not already made into something. So I don't see why he would want the Blade, just go grab it from them. Even then its going to be worse then, probably in most cases, a person. Maybe its possible that spiking yourself with a Spren would be valid, but you don't want to take it out of the Shardblade. That's gonna be harder, but you would probably have to go to the Cognitive either way to make it work, so yeah.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#198 Copy

airsicklowlanders

If someone shaves with a shardrazor is that shave their last shave?

Brandon Sanderson

No, not unless you cut down beneath the skin--so nicks maybe would be a problem...

Jimbyl

Would a living spren be able to choose whether or not they cut something? Like could Syl make herself cut nonliving objects without also harming living things? If that's possible, could that go even farther and make it so a radiant's blade could only harm specific targets?

I'm starting to think up a ridiculous scenario where a radiant cuts through an ally without harming them to get to an enemy.

Brandon Sanderson

As it stands, no, this is not possible. (Sorry.) It's possible the spren could dismiss in time, then reappear on the other side, and FAKE that they'd done this--but couldn't simply choose not to do damage while cutting someone.

Prague Signing ()
#199 Copy

Snoxcatko

At the end of Words of Radiance, when Hoid met Jasnah, he said he wasn't scared of the Shardblade at all. Is that just because he has enough Investiture to heal himself or is there something else going on?

Brandon Sanderson

There's multiple reasons but you're theorizing along the right terms.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner

So, the Shardfork. A very versatile, Shard-whatever. Would it be possible to do, like, a Shardrock, or something, that would go in a catapult?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it has more variety than people would think, but it isn't limitless, what they can become. But that would totally be possible.

Questioner

And what would a Shardrock do if it hits you?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, bean them on the head and be really strong. If you can get into the spirit, if you can start getting past the skin and stuff, you can do some serious damage.