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JordanCon 2018 ()
#201 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.

Superstars Writing Seminar 2018 ()
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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."

JordanCon 2016 ()
#203 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering if the size of a piece of metal determines the amount of Feruchemical charge that can be stored in it.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

So how does that scale, like, in terms of the volume or mass of the metal or...

Brandon Sanderson

It-- So I've talked about this before, I'm trying to remember exactly what I've told people-- It does not scale as logically as you think it does. How about that? It's more like certain thresholds. You can have a-- You can store a Hemalurgic or Feruchemical charge even in very small pieces of metal, but larger pieces of metal will let you get more.

Questioner

So it's kind of like there are different classes of sizes?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, kind of like that.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#204 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.

Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson ()
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Maru Nui

What happens when you break a Hemalurgic spike or metalmind? What happens to that power?

Brandon Sanderson

Hemalurgic power can be split among multiple spikes and reforged, but remember that the longer a spike is outside of a person, the more the power is going to decay. Things like splitting it will decay it even further. Metalminds can also be broken and still be accessed

Legion Release Party ()
#207 Copy

Steeldancer

Given a situation where they have perfect knowledge of Hemalurgy--everything is known. Is it possible they could use a Shard-scalpel and spike to carefully...

Brandon Sanderson

To excise without killing somebody? The real damage is to the soul...

Steeldancer

I'm imagining taking out toxic sort of things.

Brandon Sanderson

You've seen Vasher do something similar, so it's not off books that that's possible.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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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.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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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.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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Herowannabe

Can an infused Hemalurgy spike be affected by Allomancy- steel pushes and iron pulls? Or does the charge interfere with the Allomancy much like a person's body would?

Brandon Sanderson

Anything infused (regardless of the world or magic that infused it) is resistant to magic. So you'd have a lot of trouble pushing or pulling on a spike, unless you had access to a boost of some sort to overcome the resistance.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#211 Copy

The_Vikachu

Another hemalurgy question: Is it possible to steal more than just spiritual DNA with hemalurgy? If you, say, infused someone with a hundred hemalurgic spikes charged from people who liked chicken, would the spike person enjoy chicken as well?

Brandon Sanderson

You can steal quite a lot with Hemalurgy. Anything encoded on a person's soul, really. Not sure if chicken liking counts, though...

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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learhpa

If someone (with the appropriate knowledge of where to place the spikes to be successful) were to spike Rysn and try to steal the power of the Dawnshard, what would happen?

Brandon Sanderson

A very bad time, for the person attempting it. Dawnshards self-protect.

Bennet Alterman

If Dawnshards self-protect, what's the need for larkins and Sleepless?

Brandon Sanderson

They do self-protect. The larkins and Sleepless are there! You're assuming the larkins and Sleepless aren't there because of Dawnshard influence. Which is a false assumption.

JordanCon 2021 ()
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Pagerunner

The Hemalurgy table, you wrote down "atium steals any power, lerasium is all abilities, nicrosil is Investiture"; what's the difference between those three?

Hemalurgic atium, lerasium, and nicrosil. What's powers, abilities, and Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

People are Invested in ways that do not give them active powers. So for instance, everyone on Nalthis is Invested. Everyone in the cosmere is, really. You want to steal their Investiture, but they don't have a power. You're still ripping off a piece of their soul. So there is a distinction between the actual Investiture that's in a human being and a specific power that they have.

So that distinction is pretty easy. You can also, with Hemalurgy, steal specific things. You can steal just general Investiture. You can steal, if you want--this is where the kandra Blessings come from. You can instead steal specific things that are not like stealing Allomancy. Stealing, for instance, someone's mental acuity.

Pagerunner

So abilities is like the half that's all the strength, speed, all that kind of stuff? Those are abilities, versus the Metallic Arts are all powers?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Pagerunner

Then Investiture, is that offworld magics?

Brandon Sanderson

No, no, it's the raw power.

Pagerunner

Nicrosil is their soul?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. A piece of their soul, essentially.

Pagerunner

So how would you go about stealing an offworld power?

Brandon Sanderson

It's going to depend. A Breath, you would steal with nicrosil. It's general Investiture, is what you would probably going call that. You could forcibly remove someone's Breath from them. The ability to be a Sand Master you would steal with the power ability.

Shardcast Interview ()
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Argent

The Lost Metal Ars Arcanum calls Hemalurgic decay a thing of the past. The term has been used to describe the loss of power in spikes outside of bodies, as well as the small amount of power that is lost at the moment a spike is created. Which one of those things no longer happens?

Brandon Sanderson

The first one, the decay of spikes outside of a body. They have figured out how to make that no longer a thing.

Argent

So it's still a thing that happens in the cosmere, they just know how to avoid that completely?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
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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.

Dark Talent release party ()
#220 Copy

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

So I could be wrong, but a Hemalurgic spike, when you use it and become a savant it does damage to your Spiritweb, right?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes Hemalurgy always hurts you.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

So say you go to Roshar and you give somebody a Hemalurgic spike for some Allomantic power, don't care what, and you use it to become a savant. Does that qualify them as 'broken' enough to become a Radiant? As long as they are also following the Ideals to attract a spren.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

So becoming a Radiant is a spectrum of terminologies. It... probably, but you would have to find a Radiant who would, or a spren who would be willing to touch that, okay? It's going to drive them back.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

So would it also affect your probability of becoming an Elantrian?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah it would affect your ability to become anything else, yes.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

Okay, so would it be a positive effect, negative effect...? Because I was like, it gives you cracks in your Spiritweb.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It does give you cracks in your Spiritweb.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

So it's easier for Investiture to get in. Does it make it easier for other Investitures to get in?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It would make it... yes. It's going to drive spren away. So what it's really going to make easier for, there, is spren and Investiture that doesn't care.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

Okay, so Investiture doesn't care but spren do.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Investiture might care depending on if it's part of a Shard-- if it has intent and things like this.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

So it might let Stormlight in easier than a Breath, type thing.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I'm saying it might let Odium in easier than Syl. Because Syl would care, and Odium would not care.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

Okay cool.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Alright, so it could be a really bad thing, is what I'm trying to say to you.

Djarskublar (paraphrased)

Yeah that's cool. I just want to know more about gold too. Gold Allomancy too. Because Miles was doing some funky stuff.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Miles was doing some funky stuff.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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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.

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
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Questioner

With spikes, would you be able to actually transfer Breaths, when they get to the other planets?

Brandon Sanderson

So spikes rip off pieces of the soul and so Breaths are not going to be part of the soul. You could maybe get a divine Breath but I haven't really decided on regular Breaths, they're kind of stuck there in the Physical Realm which is not a thing that spikes are dealing with. Divine Breath, potentially, because that's something that's actually melding onto your soul. But, you know, when you're using the Breaths they reach through to the Spiritual Realm so, maybe if you got it while the Breaths were kinetic, right, while you're using them, then you might be able to rip them off. I'm not a hundred percent certain on that one.

Bystander

There's still things to decide upon.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah there's still things, like I have to kind of see. My instinct says no right now. But, you know, how they interact is not something that I have-- Yeah.

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

Questioner

If a mistwraith eats a Koloss will it [?].

Brandon Sanderson

If a Mistwraith eats a Koloss, you're asking "will it become it", um, "will it gain sapience because it now has Feruchemical* spikes?" Any Feruchemical* spike is not necessarily enough to make the creature we call 'Kandra', but there may be very weird side effects to what you just described.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
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Questioner

You’ve spoken before how DNA exists on multiple different levels in your magic systems. I was curious about something else that I think I read that that the Hemalurgy system actually splices something into the DNA - so what does that imply for heritability of those?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it is not inheritable when it's Hemalurgic because it's splicing. It's basically ripping off a piece of the soul and spiking it on someone else's. So, it would not transfer.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

If you Stamp yourself, to have another, overwritten spiritweb, and you get Spiked-- *laughter* What would happen?

Brandon Sanderson

We actually worked this out. *laughter*

Questioner

Well, you'd die, or very close to it, but would it revert when the Stamp reverts?

Brandon Sanderson

So what’s probably going to happen here is that you’re going to rip off the Investiture you’ve put on your soul, and your own soul will have less damage. Now, the spike is only gonna get the-- the spike, you're like "What will it do?" It will do what you've been overwritten with, but again remember, becoming an Allomancer takes so much energy, and things like-- But it is theoretically possible in the cosmere to rewrite yourself "You're an allomancer", someone spikes you to get this. The Investiture doesn't care that it was fake on you, you have managed to get that Investiture to work. Uhh, this is really tough. And really, like, you need Connection, and you need, like, the right kind of Investiture, but then it rips off and yes you have made a spike that makes you an Allomancer, even though the person was a Forger. So yes, okay? But this is the kind of stuff that is like the thought experiments for physicists in the cosmere as opposed to, y'know--

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
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Khyrindor

You've said that Returned count as Cognitive shadows "stapled" back into their bodies, and that the Heralds are at least similar. Would I be right in assuming that Elantrians could be considered as Cognitive Shadows as well, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Brandon Sanderson

Elantrians are something different. They don't actually "die" to be created.

Recognize that the term Cognitive Shadow is an in-cosmere theory, which I'm not going to comment on as the creator of the setting. The theory is this:

Investiture seeks sapience. It looks for someone to control it or, in some instances, spontaneously adopts personality.

A mind (Cognitive aspect of a person) can become infused with Investiture. This acts a little like minerals with petrified wood, replacing the mind and personality with investiture.

When the actual person dies, this investiture imprint remains behind. A copy of the soul, but not the actual soul.

Others disagree with this, and think the soul itself persists. Still others reject the theory in its entirety.

linkhyrule5

Huh.

... Kandra are almost literally stapled to their bodies with Hemalurgy - would they count as such, to the in-setting scholars?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they wouldn't. They are beings who have had their souls twisted by Hemalurgy--the soul never left, it's just been messed up. Someone else who has a soul stapled to a body with Hemalurgy would count though.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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focoma

We've seen Kandra True Bodies made of crystal, stone, or wood. Can a kandra use a True Body made of metal? If so, what happens if each metal "bone" had a Hemalurgic charge, and each one is touching an appropriate bind point?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. And that would work, better than you think, because Kandra have fluid bind points. But too many spikes can be dangerous to the psyche, even with Ati not messing things up.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

*reading a personalization request* Could a Rosharan be--

Melissa

Hemalurgically spiked with a gem or fabrial?

Brandon Sanderson

*presumably writes RAFO in book*

Questioner

*exasperated "ugh" sound*

Ben McSweeney

Haha.

Calamity release party ()
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Llwvyn

Hoid has said that what he does, when he heals or comes back to life or whatever, heals the soul

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Llwvyn

But Hemalurgy is like ripping off a piece of the soul. Could he heal that?

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible. Well, his particular brand of healing is very Spiritual Realm based. And so, it would-- he could. Not all brands of healing are capable. It depends on what's happening, and things like that. But yes, he would. Most Shardbearers [Surgebinders?] when they're in the throes of their powers would heal spiritually. *brief pause* Not all of them. Not all healing will do that, though.

Llwvyn

Yeah. Because I was thinking that maybe you could spike him multiple times and compound his power.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Spiking him could do some weird things though. But spiking can do weird things to anyone.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Dragon13

Are the Hemalurgic constructs in Shadows of Self as twisted as they are because... something was spiked out of them?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay the Hemalurgic...

Dragon13

Or something spiked into them?

Brandon Sanderson

We're talking about who?

Dragon13

The Hemalurgic constructs in the catacombs.

Brandon Sanderson

There's something spiked into them.

Dragon13

Is there anything spiked out of them? Making them more feral?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, but-- Let's just say this it's a RAFO with the star of "Nobody knows how spike someone without killing them right now." So it's a "Most likely, just spikes in."

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
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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.

Skyward Houston signing ()
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Questioner

What inspired Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

So Hemalurgy was probably-- It's hard for me to say, because it's been fifteen years, but I think I started with the image of the Inquisitors with spikes through their eyes. At the same time I was trying to work up a third magic system to go in the trilogy so I could have one magic, two magic, three magic, and I wanted one that was super creepy and evil. And I built it around those two ideas.