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Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#201 Copy

Sandastron

I’m very curious about pewter. How much Feruchemical pewter, steel, and gold would you have to take in in order to be equal to burning pewter and flaring.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh…um, okay. So you wanna...ok, let’s back this up. So you wanna know feruchemically what would it take to match burning?

Sandastron

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay. So burning pewter, I kind of imagine...roughly doubling. Roughly.

Sandastron

Double your strength?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. But without the muscle mass change, it’s a magical boost. So because of that it has some pretty dramatic effects, like when Vin jumps and things like that.

Sandastron

So it’s only a double, so would flaring it bring it any higher?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Flaring would go higher.

Sandastron

Would it be like triple?

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe like triple.

Sandastron

Maybe like tripling...that’s fascinating. So I always thought normal burning would triple it and flaring would quadruple.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah I always felt kind of double. You won’t see people burning pewter and lifting a car.

Sandastron

Right, exactly.

Brandon Sanderson

You see people burning pewter and delivering a really solid punch.

Sandastron

Gotcha, thank you. That is fascinating…and would it be about doubling speed and healing ability?

Brandon Sanderson

I haven’t worked out the numbers on that exactly. I have an instinct that says thatburning pewter, healing goes a bit faster but I have to look in the books and see what we’ve done in the past and then kind of canonize it.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#202 Copy

wicktacular

At the end of the first Mistborn trilogy it's really significant that 1/16th of the soldiers who got really sick are now atium Mistings.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

wicktacular

But we know that there's more than sixteen metals. Wh--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Sixteen that he-- when Preservation set that all up. He, number one, was not all there. But he was trying to create sixteen as a symbol to say, "Hey, catch this. I've given you a clue-- uh-- help." And so it was devised specifically for that. "*inaudible* Something's going on here."

wicktacular

So were there-- were 1/16th of the rest of them just *inaudible* just not significant?

Brandon Sanderson

No, no, they would have been Mistings of other types as well.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

wicktacular

Did he bump one of the other types then to make it sixteen?

wicktacular

Okay. Do you have in your head *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

Chromium.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that's right. It would probably have been one of the metals that was difficult to get at that level of technology. It would have been chromium - chromium would be hard gather at that time. Actually, no, it would have been aluminum. *about a minute later, while signing someone else's book* Hold on, there's a caveat to that last answer. Let me finish signing this and expand on that. *pause* So, it would still have been aluminum, but not for the reason your thinking. It would have been aluminum, but there's an asterisk next to that answer.

wicktacular

Chromium?

wicktacular

Okay. Interesting.

Brandon Sanderson

Hard to get chromium.

wicktacular

I've been thinking about--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh no! He bumped aluminum. Yeah, he bumped aluminum. Sorry I had to-- I changed my mind.

wicktacular

Oh!

Brandon Sanderson

*a moment later*

Okay, Chad? I have a <qualification> for you. I'll do this and then we'll...

*a moment later*

So...

wicktacular

On the sixteen or the *inaudible*...

Brandon Sanderson

The sixteen. So the answer is "yes," but it's not something-- it's not what you're thinking it is. 

wicktacular

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

Alright, there's an asterisk on it, okay? There's an asterisk on it, it's not what you're thinking. Uh, you're making-- you're making assumptions. 

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#208 Copy

Questioner

Speed bubbles--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Ehhhh... these are the hardest ones.

Questioner

We've seen them work and move with trains, we've seen them not work with carriages: is there a size requirement, or is it how they view themselves?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a good question. So I build in this thing, right? I'm like "Oooh, speed bubbles! Speed bubbles are cool!" but the Delorean problem, right? You're like "I'm going to go back in time: to the middle of SPACE", because the planet is in the same position, right? This is stuff that science fiction writers have been having fun with since the silver age of science fiction. So I'm like "Alright, I need to deal with the Delorean problem". And so I'm like "Alright, we're going to have to say that frame of reference is a big part of it: so perception and frame of reference is a big part of it; and also size of the thing that you're on". So it would be possible to use kind of cosmere cognitive training to get that speed bubble moving with you-- And someone asked me a question about this on tour, I believe, so it would be in one of the reports-- Not this exact same thing, but "Could they learn to move their speed bubble with them?" And yes you can.

Questioner

So it is how the allomancer views it, not how the thing views itself?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a part of it. Partially how it view itself, *garbled* It's really also mass. Big thing-- The speed bubbles required all kinds of physics-gymnastics. I'm sorry physicists, but once you start playing with time the stuff you gotta do. It's just crazy stuff you gotta do.

Questioner

We actually sat down and worked out what the metric would have to do to have a speed bubble-- Yeah, it was gnarly.

Brandon Sanderson

...We did run the math on these things, and stuff like that. And Peter, y'know, he rais-- "Redshift" and stuff like this we talked about. And all kinds of fun stuff about speed bubbles that I then had to--

Bystander

Khriss asked about that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. So this is-- This one and manipulating weight... Those are the math ones. So these are the ones where-- They create the fun things to talk about, but they are where this is fantasy and not science fiction. Like a lot of these questions I could answer and you'd be like "Alright, if there were this alternate power source, we could buy this" but in this case we're like exception-list-of-asterisks to make it work. But they're too fun to not do, right? And I knew I was doing gravity on Stormlight, so I'm like "I gotta do weight separately".

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#210 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

If the number sixteen seems obvious to you, please don't blame the characters for not figuring it out. Remember, for a thousand years they've had it reinforced over and over again to them that there are only ten Allomantic metals. Sure, you've got the handy illustration in the back of the book showing you all sixteen in a circle, but the characters don't have the benefit of being able to read the novel.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#212 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.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#213 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Preservation's Power

All right, so maybe I lied about there only being three magic systems in this book. It comes down to how you term the powers of Preservation and Ruin, who kind of blanket the entire system. There are a lot of things going on here, and—well, the truth is I don't want to mention all of them, for fear of spoiling future books. However, I'll give you a few rules to apply.

First, to these forces, energy and mass are the same thing. So, their power can take physical shape—as Preservation's did in the bead of metal Elend ate. Second, there is a bit of Preservation inside of all the people—and it's this that allows the people to perform Allomancy. It needs to be awakened and stirred to be of use, but when it is, a proper metal can draw forth more of Preservation's power. It's like the metal attunes the bit within the person, allowing it to act as a catalyst to grab more power.

Allomancy is not fueled by metal; it is fueled by Preservation. The metal is the means by which a person can access that fuel, however. If there were another way to access it, then the metal wouldn't be needed.

Preservation's touch on people differs. Some have more, some have less. This doesn't make them better or worse people—indeed, some most touched by Preservation have been among the worst people in the world. As Ruin later points out, there is a difference between being evil and being destructive.

Regardless, if a person can get more Preservation into them, they become better Allomancers. Hence Elend becoming a Mistborn. Like all people, he had the potential within him—it was just too small of a potential to be awakened through normal means. That little jolt of Preservation's body, however, expanded and awakened his Allomancy.

As a tidbit, that was a side effect of what that bead of metal did. It wasn't the main purpose of the bead, and if another Allomancer were to burn it, it would do something else.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#214 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

If you paid any sort of attention during the last book, you were probably expecting a new metal or two to show up in this book. I dropped a lot of hints that there were other metals.

It was a little bit of a stretch to let there be metals that, despite the thousand-year history of Allomancy, weren't known. However, I rely on the fact that the Lord Ruler had informational control over the society. There are A LOT of things that he knew that aren't known to a lot of people.

Duralumin is a real alloy from our world, commonly made from aluminum. Actually, a lot of things we call aluminum–particularly industrial aluminum–is actually duralumin. Aluminum, pre-electrolysis, was really tough to get. It's said that Napoleon had a set of aluminum plates that were more valuable than his gold or platinum ones.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#215 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Blessing of Stability

It's mentioned in this chapter, and in the preceding chapter's epigraph, where the epigraph author notes that it is "rarely used." There's a simple, rational reason why you never see this one getting used in the book.

I added the Blessing of Stability after the fact.

You see, I realized that I needed at least one more Blessing to fit with what I'd built for Hemalurgy. I needed another mental power to complete the set of four. Two are the basic physical powers from Allomancy and Feruchemy: strength and fortitude from one, increased power of the senses in another. However, for Allomancy and Feruchemy, the mental powers deviate from one another. So I wanted the same thing to happen here. Hence the Blessing of Presence—which makes the mind more stable.

But after writing the book, I realized I needed a forth. The Blessing of Stability was born, and I wrote it in in a few places just to make token note of it. I like the concept for the power—that of making one emotionally stable—and am kind of glad I don't show anyone using it. I can show it off better in a later book.

Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
#217 Copy

Questioner

So during the chase scene in Shadows of Self, it seems to imply that conservation of momentum is...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Allomancy follows the law of conservation of momentum, yes. 

Questioner

So that is intentional?

Brandon Sanderson

It is, it does follow the laws of conservation of momentum. That was very intentional.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
#220 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Metal vials. People may wonder why Allomancers use them. Why ingest only small bits of metal, which could run out on you? There are a couple of reasons for this.

First off, you don't want to eat too much metal because, simply put, it's poisonous. Kelsier talks a little bit about this in book one, and it's given token nods from characters throughout the series. I don't do a whole lot with it–dying from metal poisoning isn't the type of extended disease you tend to deal with in a novel that only covers a few months time, like this one.

The second reason for metal vials is more simple. Allomancers with the right powers can Push or Pull on sources of metal–the larger the metal source, the harder the Allomancer can Push on it. So, little flakes of metal make a terrible Anchor, and so if you're caught wearing your vials, you aren't giving much of an advantage to your enemies.

Boskone 54 ()
#222 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Could a Soother prevent a listener from attuning a given rhythm?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. A coppercloud could, but I hadn't thought about emotional allomancy interacting. See, the rhythm isn't your emotion and doesn't determine your mood. It is a direct connection to the spiritual realm. So I guess soothing could make it harder just like it makes anything harder, in the same way that driving a car would be harder. [recording starts here] And so, for the same reasons that you can, um, it is possible that a coppercloud can play with it. Not a normal power of a coppercloud, but you’ve seen them do stuff similar.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#223 Copy

Kaymyth (paraphrased)

I asked him about what the board refers to as "reverse" compounding - i.e., using Feruchemy to enhance Allomancy, rather than the other way around. I wanted to make sure that it was really a thing that exists.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said that it was.

Kaymyth (paraphrased)

Is this what the Southern Scadrians have been doing?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It's similar, but not exactly the same.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#225 Copy

SageOfTheWise

In Allomancy, normal metals are simply a tool that channels Allomancer's already existing Connection to the power of Preservation, which is why non-Allomancers don't get powers from digesting metal. But if I understand it correctly, god metals are an exception, since they are a form of a Shard's power, burning them directly uses the power stored within.

If I have this right, how come a normal person can burn lerasium, but not atium? Or could they, and no ones thought to try? But if that was true why are there atium Mistings?

Brandon Sanderson

Suffice it to say that what people both in the books and out think about the god metals has some holes in it.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#227 Copy

Titan_Arum

If a coinshot were to drop a gold coin of size X or an iron coin of the same size X, would the coin with more mass (the gold coin), under normal circumstances, allow the coinshot to vertically push themselves higher than they could with the coin with less mass (the iron coin)?

Brandon Sanderson

Mass is indeed a factor in anchors.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#230 Copy

Questioner

Is there one magic system that is, like, the one that would win all the battles?

Brandon Sanderson

So, the thing is, they have their strengths and weaknesses. All of the surgebinders are really hard to kill while they have access to Stormlight and that's a huge advantage. But a mistborn is way more versatile, they have access to more powers, and things like that. So it really depends how much of each do you have, how many times does the mistborn have to kill the Bondsmith; a Bondsmith's not going to do a great job in a fight because...I mean Dalinar would coz he's Dalinar, but the powers do not lend themselves to combat in the same way that windrunning does, and things like that, so...

Legion Release Party ()
#231 Copy

Podman36

So, in the scene where Kelsier has all the metal around him, and he's Pushing and Pulling on [parts of the metal that are] not center of mass, is that something more along the lines of savantism, or is it just Rule of Cool?

Brandon Sanderson

No no, that I was pushing toward... I wouldn't call Kelsier a savant, but I would say that there were certainly steps toward that, and it's something I actually wanted people who were really skilled with the magic to be able to do.

Podman36

So it's not Rule of Cool.

Brandon Sanderson

I would not call that one Rule of Cool, I would say that I want that to actually be part of the magic, that I wanted there to be some level, particularly in Pushing and Pulling, of skill that lets you deviate from the normal. And I've tried to show in other places that people who are really skilled can do some different things like that, particularly with Pushing and Pulling, both on emotions and on metals. So no, not Rule of Cool there, I do occasionally do Rule of Cool stuff, but I wouldn't call that one.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#232 Copy

Questioner

If you electrified metal would that have any impact on being able to Steelpush or Ironpull it?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not currently have that as an effect, that interfering with it requires Investiture, and electrifying is not Investiture. So no it would not. In fact, I'm absolutely sure it will not because the plans call for that to be a possibility they are doing in the future.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#234 Copy

Questioner

Is there any real difference between Steelrunners and Sliders? It seems like that could be sort of similar class--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. But different.

--Sliders have the bubble around them, but...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. They work similarly, the big difference is you're seeing the limitations of Allomancy versus Feruchemy. Where Feruchemy there upper limit is unbounded, but you have really much more distinct cost and that can be stored up. You see that these have a different kind of cost to them, but I would call them the same category of thing, it's just the Feruchemy can be way more powerful. Except its limited by how much you store up.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#235 Copy

Questioner

So could somebody using maybe a duralumin Push or Pull, or just a strong Allomancer, take control of a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

The more heavily Invested something is, the most-- the more <release?> other forms of Investiture? But as we have proof in Mistborn you can Push and Pull on metalminds, you can Push and Pull on even a spike that’s inside of somebody. If you have the strength. So it's kind of pushing against the strength of the Investiture.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#237 Copy

Kurkistan

What's it like inside a time bubble on a windy day?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I've had to play around a little bit with the air. Air moves in and out, you would still feel it windy, but as I have it you will not feel it from the direction the wind is coming, it will be deflected a little bit. So you might be a little bit in a wind tunnel or something, probably a swirl.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#239 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The Sliding Scale of Allomantic Potential

Noblemen, despite what Spook says in this chapter, are not immune to the mistsickness. The rumor Spook is referencing does have merit, however. You see, since the mists are Snapping people and awakening the Allomantic potential within them, it will affect far fewer noblemen than skaa. Why? Because a lot of the noblemen have already Snapped. They were beaten as children to bring out the powers.

However, that won't stop all of them from being affected by the mistsickness, because the mistsickness is also awakening Allomantic potential that would otherwise be too subtle to be brought out. Pretend there's a sliding scale of Allomantic potential. 100% means you're an Allomancer—in this series, only two people have hit 100%—Vin and Elend. Buried within a lot of people, however, is enough of a touch of Preservation's power to hit, say, 50% on the relative scale of Allomantic power. These people, when beaten and made to pass through something traumatic, awaken to their Allomantic abilities.

There are a lot of people out there, however, with something more like 20% to 30%. These are the people the mists are Snapping—since the mists are, themselves, partially the power of Preservation, they can touch people and increase their Allomantic potential slightly and then bring it to the forefront.

Kraków signing ()
#242 Copy

Oversleep

Could you write [sign] the Alcatraz like Alcatraz?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. He signs upside down.

Oversleep

Would tapping Connection increase the steelsight?

Brandon Sanderson

No, probably not, there are arrangements that could make that happen but just tapping it, no.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#243 Copy

H4rg

I would have a question about Soulcasting: is Soulcasting an Invested object harder ? And if it is a human (let's say, an Allomancer) but he is not burning any metal, would he be as easy as Soulcast as any "normal" person ?

Brandon Sanderson

It is harder to Soulcast an Invested object, but Soulcasters--by their nature--are used to dealing with this.

When Allomancers aren't burning metal, they are not considered highly-Invested.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#244 Copy

Questioner

The people on Scadrial have innate Investiture from Preservation. If someone from another planet, say Roshar, were to get Allomancy, from Hemalurgy or Feruchemy, would that person have to have Stormlight as well as the metal in order to do their--

Brandon Sanderson

No, good question. They would just need the metal if you were Hemalurgically getting the ability. Remember, Hemalurgy is basically ripping off a piece of someone else's soul and stapling it to yours. Short circuiting the soul, so to speak... All the pieces of the soul you would need, it is giving you. It has dangerous ramifications, but you wouldn't need Stormlight also.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#248 Copy

Questioner

Does bronze detect Investiture or only Allomancy?

Brandon Sanderson

Investiture. It can be used for other things. But like most detection methods, it doesn't look for wells of power, it looks for power that's being used, generally. You get enough power together, and bronze will be able to find it no matter what.

TWG Posts ()
#249 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The longest lasting of the Allomantic metals is actually copper, which is used by Smokers to hide Allomancy. Tin is second, however. Steel and Iron are actually rather quick, but since they're generally used in bursts, it's hard to notice. Both brass and zinc are medium, as is bronze. Pewter burns the fastest of the basic eight, though atium and gold both burn faster than it does.

In my mind, it's related to how much 'work' the metal has to do. That's why pewter, steel, and iron burn so quickly. A lot of weight and power is getting thrown around, while copper only has to do something simple. However, I never really set any of these things hard-fast.

And, only atium is really all that rare. Because of the value of the metals, the noble houses expended a lot of resources finding and exploiting mines to produce the metals. This resulted in a slightly higher value for most of them as opposed to our world, but not really noticeably so, because Allomancers really don't need that much metal. Even fast burning metals, like pewter, are generally only swallowed in very small amounts. (i.e. A small bit goes a long way.)