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Prague Signing ()
#253 Copy


Then we also talked about, theorized about unkeyed metalminds - that is Identity-less ones that anybody can that has the power can tap.

Brandon Sanderson



We also were wondering is it like, we compared it to cryptography and encryption, stuff like that. Is it just that like, your Identity is sort of this unique encryption key.

Brandon Sanderson

And you need a key to you getting it. That's a valid line of theorizing. It is not exactly but it's close enough to be a good model.


And would an unkeyed metalmind theoretically be capable of storing a little more than a keyed one.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, because of yeah.


Because it has to... Is it inherent to the Investiture or is it like an extra bit?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll RAFO that, mostly because I haven't considered that yet.

Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A ()
#255 Copy

Chaos (paraphrased)

We asked if it was possible to use bronze to Seek Feruchemy.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He said it could be possible. If it were to happen, it was very hard, because the Inquisitors would desperately like to be able to find Feruchemists that way, and it was implied they had not discovered this power. So, it is a freaking hard technique to learn, if possible at all.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#256 Copy


Since burning Feruchemically charged metal seems to require a choice between getting the Allomantic or Feruchemical property (e.g., Miles only sees gold ghosts when he wants to, not as a side effect of compounded healing), is there any special advantage to compounding pewter and tin, where the Allomantic and Feruchemical use is the same? Is their compounding even stronger than normal compounding because you can tap both power sources simultaneously, or maybe because Preservation is particularly attuned to providing those powers through those metals?

Brandon Sanderson

Remember that compounding is a "hack" of the magic. You're looking to fool the magics, and use one to power the other. The value in it is that you can use Allomantic power to fuel Feruchemy. It's like hooking a power cord up to a device that, up to that point, you'd powered by using a hand crank.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#257 Copy


In post-medallion-tech Scadrial, (i.e. Era 3) is there any cultural awareness of transgender people? Since for some, their biological state would be affected by Feruchemical gold healing, and that would probably be a documented effect.

Brandon Sanderson

The different cultures and subcultures are going to look at this differently, but I'd say yes, there is awareness. And the more they experiment with the metallic arts being available outside of genetic lines, the more this will be understood for reasons you point out.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#258 Copy


One thing when I was reading The Alloy of Law, in Mistborn, all the [Feruchemists] were the Mistborn version of [Feruchemy], and then it changed to the Misting version of [Feruchemy]. Is there...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, there's a reason for that, and I'll delve into it a bunch more later, but basically, there's two things going on. Number one, the bloodlines have thinned, and that's the reason they're talking about [here]. Also, full-blooded Feruchemists mixing, like the populations mixed, is really dangerous, and Sazed knew this. So, I'll just leave it at that.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#263 Copy


Is the reason why Allomancy creates allomantic pulses visible to Seekers because it is an external magic drawing upon Preservation's power? In other words, is the reason why Feruchemy is much, much harder to detect by burning bronze because it is an internal magic?

Brandon Sanderson


Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#264 Copy


In the prologue to the Hero Of Ages, Marsh is using a brass spike when spiking the Keeper.

Why brass? It would allow to steal only Feruchemical Mental powers (memories, wakefulness, mental speed... warmth or determination, that's unclear) and none of them seem particularly important to killing machines the Inquisitors are. Surely Feruchemical healing, or speed, or strength or even age would be more desirable power to steal?

Brandon Sanderson

You are underestimating mental speed. And, also, versatility.

Prague Signing ()
#265 Copy


When you store multiple memories in a coppermind is it still technically one large coppermind or could you say it's more like a ton of "virtual" metalminds, because you're technically tapping individual ones?

Brandon Sanderson

More like the second. I would say that's accurate. I mean I'm not sure that really aligns one to one but it is another good model, though.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#266 Copy


So how do the exact mechanics of Feruchemy in relation to Compounding work?

This confusion is primarily around how [the Lord Ruler] gets his near infinite age.

Okay. So first off, I understand the concept of how they work. Feruchemy is net zero, Allomancy is net positive, combine them and you end with a net positive Feruchemy ability.

So how Feruchemy normally works... you take say weight, store half your normal weight and then you can access it whenever you want. So you (originally X weight) are taking A weight, storing it, and then you are at (X-A) weight, with access to A. So we have a metalmind that store magnitude with the efficiency of how its received based on how quickly or slowly it is drawn upon.

All the metalminds except atium seem to act this way. Atium seems to work as storing magnitude/time rather than just magnitude. The way I understand it is that say a 30 year old person becomes 50 years old for 1 day, this would give access to 20 years difference for a 1 day period.

The Lord Ruler then exploits this by gaining access to say 20 years difference over 10 days (magnification by Compounding) which he then slowly feeds into himself to lower his age.

Why this difference? I'm assuming its to maintain a neutral "body age" because with just magnitude a person could permanently make themselves younger by Compounding.

With just magnitude of "20 years of youth" being stored, if the Lord Ruler magnified it, he could turn it into "200 years of youth" and then he would never need the constant stream off youth (and wouldn't have died without the bracelets)

Hope this makes sense.

Brandon Sanderson

All right, so there are a few things you have to understand about cosmere magics to grok all of this.

First, is that magics can be hacked together. You'll see more of this in the future of the cosmere, but an early one is the hack here--where you're essentially powering Feruchemy with Allomancy. (A little more complex than that, but it seems like you get the idea.)

The piece you're missing is the nature of a person's Spiritual aspect. This is similar to a Platonic idea--the idea that there's a perfect version of everyone somewhere. It's a mix of their connections to places, people, and times with raw Investiture. The soul, you might say.

(Note that over time, a person's perception of themselves shapes their Cognitive aspect as well, and the Cognitive aspect can interfere with the Spiritual aspect trying to make the Physical aspect repair itself.) Healing in the cosmere often works by aligning your Physical self with your Spiritual self--making the Physical regrow. More powerful forms of Investiture can repair the soul as well.

However, your age is part of your Connection to places, people, and times. Your soul "knows" things, like where you were born, what Investiture you are aligned with, and--yes--how old you are. When you're healing yourself, you're restoring yourself to a perfect state--when you're done, everything is good. When you're changing your age, however, you are transforming yourself to something unnatural. Against what your soul understands to be true.

So the Spiritual aspect will push for a restoration to the way you should be. With this Compounding hack, you're not changing connection; it's a purely Physical Realm change.

This dichotomy cannot remain for long. And the greater the disparity, the more pressure the spirit will exert. Ten or twenty years won't matter much. A thousand will matter a lot. So the only way to use Compounding to change your age is to store up all this extra youth in a metalmind, then be constantly tapping it to counteract the soul's attempt to restore you to how you should be.

Yes, all of this means there are FAR more efficient means of counteracting aging than the one used by the Lord Ruler. It's a hack, and not meant to be terribly efficient. Eventually, he wouldn't have been able to maintain himself this way at all. Changing Connection (or even involving ones Cognitive Aspect a little more) would have been far more efficient, though actively more difficult.

Though this is the point where I ping [Peter Ahlstrom] and get him to double-check all this. Once in a while, my fingers still type the wrong term in places. (See silvereye vs tineye.)

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
#268 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Six

The fight in the ballroom

From the early days of the Mistborn books, I'd been planning how an Allomantic gunfight would go down. I felt it the next evolution in what has been stylistically a big part of these books.

There is a fine line to walk in a lot of these sequences. I've made something of a name for myself in the fantasy world by attempting to mix some scientific reasoning with my magic systems. At the same time, Allomancy was designed precisely with action sequences in mind. I wanted them to be powerful and cinematic—and a cinematic fight sequence is often at odds with realism. (Watch two people who really know what they're doing fight with swords sometime, then watch any fight sequence in a film. Most of the time, the film sequences stray far from what would really happen.)

So, as I said, I walk a line. Sometimes, there are things I just can't do because they violate what I've set up as the rules of the world. Other times, I design the setting and nature of the fight specifically to allow for certain types of cinematic sequences. One thing I like a lot about Wax’s abilities is the power he has to manipulate his weight. There's some realism to what he does—for example, increasing his weight doesn't make him fall more quickly, but it allows him to do some powerful things while falling. Destroying the chandeliers is an example.

At the same time, I acknowledge that the weight manipulation aspect of Feruchemy is one of its more baffling powers, scientifically. Is he changing his mass? If so, he should become more dense, which I don't actually make the case when it plays out in fights. (Otherwise, increasing his weight enough would make him impervious to bullets.) So, if it's not mass manipulation, is it gravity manipulation, like Szeth and Kaladin do? Well, again, not really—as when his weight increases, his strength and ability to uphold that weight increase as well. Beyond that, Wax can't make himself so light that he has no weight at all.

So . . . well, at this point, the ability to explain it scientifically breaks down. I do like what it does, but I have to set its boundaries and stick to them—and accept that some of what's going on is irrational. (And don't get me started on what should really be happening scientifically when Wayne speeds up time.)