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Stuttgart signing ()
#201 Copy

Krios (paraphrased)

At the end of Oathbringer, Kaladin says that the Oaths are about perception. So, what would happen when a crazy person bonds a crazy spren? Is there a hard limit to what the Oaths allow or could they just go on a John Wick style rampage?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Perception will get you a very long way, like Nightblood proves. So you can go beyond the Oaths, but there will be a hard limit. Although it will be hard to find a such fitting pair of human and spren.

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

Questioner

I have a question about Nightblood. What are all the powers the sword has and how much is he going to be involved in the next few books.

Brandon Sanderson

Those are total RAFOs. I mean, I could tell you the powers you have seen him have on screen so far, I'm not going to tell you he has others. What you have seen on-screen that he can do is he absorbs Investiture completely and he will rip it out of any object he touches, and everything has Investiture, leaving behind basically... how you see it is he turns everything he touches into black mist, it just disintegrates everything. He also has the power that people who see him, he has an emotional effect on them, one of several emotional effects depending on how they would want to use him. If you watch for when he is seeing people you will see how it is.

Questioner

All fighting over him.

Brandon Sanderson

That's not the only effect he has though, he has other effects.

Questioner

Does he bestow any effects on his wielder? Like Szeth's original Shardblade gave him the same powers as Kaladin.

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood... that's a RAFO but Nightblood was created on a different planet, so.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#203 Copy

Questioner

So, if Nightblood, unsheathed, killed someone, would their soul still go to the Beyond?

Brandon Sanderson

So, that's gonna be a matter of-- There's gonna be disagreement in the cosmere about that. Nobody has been able to actively test it, because there are certain things you can see, but there are people who are actively discussing this concept.

Questioner

So, no one knows for sure?

Brandon Sanderson

Nobody knows for sure. And I'll just leave it at that. It's an astute question that even Vasher has-- Vasher has his thoughts, but he does not have a definitive answer, and others disagree with him.

Oathbringer London signing ()
#205 Copy

Questioner

What is the most Invested item so far revealed?

Brandon Sanderson

What counts as an item?

Questioner

Inanimate object. Sentient swords, stuff like that.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, inanimate objects, would be Nightblood. Well-- is he inanimate?

Questioner

Well, he's a sentient sword, but he's an inanimate object.

Brandon Sanderson

So, yeah, he would count.

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
#206 Copy

Questioner

So that bit at the end [of Words of Radiance] with Szeth. Getting that black sword...

Brandon Sanderson

That's setting up for book 3, which is going to be crazy.

Questioner

There's another book with a black sword...

Brandon Sanderson

It's the same sword, yes. In fact I wrote the original version of the Way of Kings involving the character who has that sword. He's in the first draft from 2002, then I wrote Warbreaker about him, then I wrote this.

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

Jasonioan

If one were to have an unlocked metalmind, nicrosil, and held it while wielding Nightblood what would happen? Would he be taking Investiture from the--

Brandon Sanderson

That is a RAFO... you will start to find answers to these sorts of things as more people are involved with Nightblood.

Jasonioan

...So, if it was like a coppermind would the information be destroyed?

Brandon Sanderson

That is an excellent question, what I've said before is that Nightblood will feed on whatever Investiture he can gain access to. He will start with the easiest Investiture to reach. He will eventually turn to converting matter into Investiture and eating that.

Firefight release party ()
#211 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.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#214 Copy

yulerule

*Written:* How much compounding would a nicrosil Twinborn would need to do to get a metalmind that is as Invested as Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

*Reading question:* How much compounding would... *mumbling*

Wow, so much.

*Writes:* Wow so much. 

yulerule

*Written:* A thousand breaths doesn't seem to be that much--the God King has tens of thousands. Would a piece of stone, wood, cloth, or plain metal that has a thousand breaths be as Invested as Nightblood, or is there something more? 

Brandon Sanderson

No, it needs more. Needs more.

*Writes:* Needs more.

yulerule

More?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

yulerule

Does that-- is it taking stuff from people it kills?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, good question.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#215 Copy

yulerule

*Written:* So somewhere it says that the number of Breaths doesn't determine the power of the object. But are the number of Breaths directly tied to how much Investiture is in an object? You're repeatedly said that Nightblood is ridiculously heavily Invested, more so than Shardblades, Honorblades, or the Bands of Mourning. But it only has a thousand Breaths, which doesn't seem all that much from the point of view of the God King--Tenth Heightening, over 50,000.

Brandon Sanderson

So this is a RAFO, but you're starting to ask the right questions there. Okay?

*Writes:* RAFO

FanX 2018 ()
#217 Copy

Questioner

I want to know if Nightblood can be killed in the same way as a spren.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, that's a RAFO. Nightblood does not have the same spren bond, and so the renouncing of Oaths is not going to affect him, but there are certain things that could.

Words of Radiance Houston signing ()
#223 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

How much more powerful is Nightblood than a regular Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I haven't actually quantified that in my own mind so can't give an accurate comparison at this point. I will say that when he is fully consuming Investiture he can do some really freaky things.

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

Questioner

So you said that different Investitures from different worlds can fuel different Investitures, right? Would that mean that you could potentially use Stormlight for Allomancy and/or Feruchemy?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, a little harder with the Metallic Arts than, for instance, Nightblood is the easiest example. He can just feed on whatever Investiture is around.

Questioner

Could he feed on the Dor from...

Brandon Sanderson

He could totally feed on the Dor.

Questioner

Would you need to have a special sheath to do that or?

Brandon Sanderson

No, what you would have to do for him on Elantris is you would have to open some conduit to the Dor that's persistent, like a light or something, and he will suck through that, he would probably end up sucking the whole aon.

Questioner

City of Elantris itself?

Brandon Sanderson

City of Elantris itself would work, yeah, but you're gonna be in trouble if he sucks up the whole thing and destroys it, which is totally possible.

Starsight Release Party ()
#227 Copy

Questioner

If Nightblood was to attack one [a Shard] and decided it was evil, could he destroy enough of that Shard to seriously weaken it compared to other Shards or not really?

Brandon Sanderson

I mean it would be such a drop in the bucket. To actually weaken the Shard. Like, there is so much out there. This would be hard to do. I won't completely nix it, but let's just say there's a lot that Nightblood would have to...

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

Questioner

My brother and I disagreed, at the very end of Words of Radiance, the sword that-- Is it the same as in Warbreaker?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes it is, in fact Vasher is in the book.

Questioner

Is that Vasher?!?

Brandon Sanderson

No, look for somebody making color metaphors and when they are waking up they feel like they can sense other people's presence and things like that. There is one character who is Vasher. He doesn't go by that name anymore.

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

Questioner

So Stormlight and Breath are both just different manifestations of Investiture.

Brandon Sanderson

That's correct.

Questioner

So Nightblood and Shardblades are both kind of powered by Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, in fact you can call Nightblood kind of a miss-made, evil Shardblade... more miss-made than evil but yes.

Questioner

But a Shardblade wouldn't shear through Nightblood.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes a Shardblade would not shear through Nightblood. In fact I wrote Way of Kings first and then I wrote Warbreaker and Way of Kings came out after Warbreaker but in my mind Warbreaker is a prequel to Way of Kings, where I was telling Vasher's backstory.

Questioner

Oh really, so the Warbreaker we know takes place after Way of Kings?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it takes place before, it's a prequel meaning I wrote Way of Kings and then I went back in time and told Vasher's backstory but Warbreaker ended up coming out first because Way of Kings wasn't ready yet.

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

Questioner

How does Nightblood work on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Well Nightblood feeds on Investiture, which is the general life-force/magic-force in the cosmere and so he can feed on basically any source of magical energy.

Questioner

And do other magics work on other worlds?

Brandon Sanderson

I've been describing it lately more like you see DC current and AC current, where they're similar things but slightly different. It is possible to make magics work on other planets, some it's easier than others.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#233 Copy

Questioner

Is the sword at the end of Words of Radiance, is it the actual Nightblood from Warbreaker?

Brandon Sanderson

It is, actually. It's fun because when I first wrote Way of Kings in 2002, Vasher was one of the main characters. And then when I wrote Warbreaker in 2006, I wrote a book about him to do his past. And then when I re-wrote Way of Kings it's like, "Well, time for Vasher to come back." So he's been in Roshar, in my head, since the beginning, for some 20 years. But he wasn't-- He didn't originate there, but... He was one of the worldhoppers that I hid in the very first version. Which was a lot of fun to then be able to go write a book about him and come back.

Warbreaker Annotations ()
#235 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Anyway, a lot of important things happen here. Note that Nightblood doesn't remember being drawn. When he was created, the Breaths gave him sentience as planned. (That was a big part of the goal in making him—to prove the existence of Type Four BioChromatic entities.) However, once he is drawn, his Command takes force and he acts much more like a regular Awakened object—but one with very strange abilities and powers. During this time, his Breath is diverted to creating the powers, and his mind goes fuzzy.