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The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

By the way, you probably remember form book one the way that Inquisitors see. They have such a subtle touch with Steel and Iron, and their lines, that they can see via the trace metals in everyone's bodies and in the objects around them.

The thing is, any Allomancer with access to iron or steel could learn to do this. Some have figured it out, in the past, but in current times, nobody–at least, nobody the heroes know–is aware of this. Except, of course, for Marsh.

And he chose not to share it.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
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Questioner

So do Inquisitors, when they use Allomancy, have to actually ingest the metals?

Brandon Sanderson

They actually do. So what is happening is Hemalurgy rips off a piece of one person's soul and spikes it somebody else and so it is basically taking off the piece of someone's soul that makes them an Allomancer and adding it to someone else instead and so then they act as an Allomancer just as it would happen.

Miscellaneous 2014 ()
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aeromancer (paraphrased)

So would it be possible to use Steelrunning + compounding to travel FTL?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, it would not. You could get close, though.

aeromancer (paraphrased)

Kind of like Zemo's Paradox, than? You keep halving the distance, never quite making it?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

*gleam in his eye* Trying to crack Allomatic FTL?

aeromancer (paraphrased)

*guilty* Maybe.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You can't.

aeromancer (paraphrased)

I don't know, there are alot of good theories out there.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It involves Allomantic abilities which we don't know about yet.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con FanX 2015 ()
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Sirce Luckwielder (paraphrased)

When Kelsier is teaching Vin about the basic eight Allomantic Metals, he talks about not flaring metals, especially tin and pewter, as it does strange things to people. Does this imply that there were other savants before Spook?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

His answer was that there were other savants before Spook.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
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Questioner

Why is there only one... I mean is there either one Allomantic power or all of them?

Brandon Sanderson

What do you mean? Oh, why is that? That was mostly for narrative reasons and for making it easy for the reader to track. And, so, why in world? Just ended up being the way the Investiture split but mostly it was for narrative reasons, it was for author reasons.

Questioner

I was thinking if it was related to Identity?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, no. It's mostly for my convenience as a writer.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

This fight is for the Allomancy junkies. I don't think there's another one quite as technical as it is in the entire rest of the series.

I try to give variety to how my fight scenes are handled. The spar between Ham and Vin was quick and visual. This fight is all about pushes, pulls, and weight. I fear that it's pretty hard to imagine, and unless you're really into Allomancy, I suspect that many of you skimmed most of it.

Yet, writing a book is about putting in lots of things for lots of different people, I think. Allomancy is fun because of its versatility–I can to all kinds of things with it. This was just one of them.

So, if you really like how Allomancy works–with the pushes and pulls, the vectors, mass, acceleration, and all that, this is a present for you. A chapter really showing off what two Mistborn can do when expertly manipulating their powers.

Steelheart Portland signing ()
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Questioner

So if you burn duralumin at the same time as the metal that speeds up time, meaning stuff flows faster outside, would you basically warp into the future a long ways?

Brandon Sanderson

That's an excellent question.

lunarubato

I'm so sure! I'm so sure…

Brandon Sanderson

And I am not going to answer that question yet, because I don't... Because you are asking questions that they are going to be trying to answer in like five more books. So telling you right now would give spoilers for books way too far ahead in the future.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Electrum

I held off on using this metal because while I knew what it had to do, I also knew that it would make atium far less important.

The way I built Allomancy, there is a logic to its framework. Atium shows other people's futures. Gold shows your own past. Each group of metals has internal and external powers. Therefore, one of the two alloys (either atium's or gold's) had to show other people's pasts—the Eleventh Metal from book one, an alloy of atium.

The final metal of that group, then, had to show your own future. I wanted this to be an alloy of atium. But the problem was that it couldn't be. There is always a pushing metal and a pulling metal to each set. The pull always comes first; the push is always the alloy. The two external metals (that do things to other people) have to be grouped together, and the two internal metals (that do things to yourself) have to be grouped together.

That means atium and gold are both pulling metals, and the ones that do things to you both had to be related to gold—and both metals that do things to other people had to be related to atium. Therefore, even though initial logic makes it seem that the alloy of atium should be the one that shows your own future, the way the magic is arranged means that it has to show other people's pasts. [Editor's note: Careful readers may intuit something else about this that Brandon is holding back.]

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

The Inquisitor's Speed

What the Inquisitor does here at the end is very important. If you've read book two recently, you may recognize this as what Sazed did when he tapped speed at the end of that book.

The Inquisitors are gaining Feruchemical powers, which makes them very, very dangerous. Mixing Feruchemy and Allomancy is what made the Lord Ruler so formidable. Fortunately, it took him a long time to figure out how to mix the powers correctly, and the Inquisitors haven't had the time to practice, regardless of the force controlling them.

Warsaw signing ()
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Oversleep (paraphrased)

Allomantic strength. There are stronger Allomancers, they can burn metals faster, right?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, they can also squeeze more power out of it. They can use it more efficiently.

Oversleep (paraphrased)

So there is some loss of power along the way? How do savants work into that?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Savants can use it way more efficiently. They are more Connected to the Shard. Closer to Spiritual Realm.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
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Questioner

So, pre-collapse Final Empire. The random Allomancer house guards. Were-- are they house members, or--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah usually it's uh-- So if you've got an Allomancer it's because the family's gotten large and there are lots of cousins, and distant cousins, and things like that. And the Allomancy shows up in some of them, and they kind of get brought up in getting a retainer. They're kind of like knights, right? Like, you get money from the house and things like that, but in return you have to protect the -- use your Allomancy for them.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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Chaos

Allomancy provides many very dramatic effects, which some have noted is not very much like Preservation. Could you walk me through how Allomancy is of Preservation, though it does dramatic, dynamic things?

Brandon Sanderson

One of the 'basics' of the magic in all of the worlds is that the energy of Shards can fuel all kinds of interactions, not just interactions based on their personality/role. I did this because otherwise, the Magics would all be extremely limited.

The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do. So, in Preservation's case, the magic is a gift--allowing a person to preserve their own strength, and rely upon the strength granted by the magic. While Hemalurgy has a huge cost, ending in net entropy.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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alanthiana

Allomancy is such a unique form of magic, in the fantasy realm of books. What was your inspiration in forming it?

Brandon Sanderson

A mix of many things inspired Allomancy. The 'feel' of a magic that was really just a new branch of physics, as I spoke about in another post. Alchemy, which is fascinating to me from the standpoint of its place on the border, is another. Real scientists believed in Alchemy, but had to sort out that it was not scientific. It was a time of great thought, and a time when science and 'magic' were mixed in what now seems like strange ways.

Dune was an inspiration (having a limited resource, though I didn't limit it nearly as much, to give an economic side to the magic.) Vector physics was a big influence, as was the fact that I wanted to write a heist story. I therefore designed powers that worked for thieves. The 'burning' of metals was chosen because it resonated with science--the basic way we gain energy is by ingesting things and breaking them down for chemical energy. I wanted something that felt like it had one foot in science, but was also very magical.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
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Questioner

When you compound copper? What does that do?

Brandon Sanderson

That is-- *hands RAFO card* --the first one tonight. The first one I brought. I'm leaving a lot of the compounding questions for me to explore in later books and show you. And part of the reason is because I like the-- I like letting the readers discover new things and saving things back. And partially it's because I do change it as I go. Once in a while I'll write the book and be like, "No, this thing just doesn't work." Or, "Oh this other thing worked way better." So... That's kind of a double RAFO for those reasons.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Truthwatcher_17.5

Are we ever gonna see more names for specific types of Twinborns?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I intend to do more of those as the Eras progress. There are so many to name that I don't know that I'll ever release a chart of all of them, and partially I don't want to canonize names because I might decide something sounds cooler for when I actually use that person's powers in a book.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Truthwatcher_17.5

Are we ever gonna see a Twinborn who has Feruchemical iron and Allomantic pewter, and he's pretty much-- sort of like how Ham was training Vin about how to use her body, and we just gonna see this amazing martial artist on a massive scale?

Brandon Sanderson

It is totally possible. I'm not gonna promise any given combination, 'cause the-- I've changed several times the powersets of characters while I'm planning, so.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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Arkadious4028

I've heard that you're a fan of Magic: The Gathering and I recently heard about the collaboration you did with Steve Argyle a while back and that got me wondering; in your opinion, what color of magic would the powers of Allomancy fit under?

Brandon Sanderson

When I built my custom magic set, I made it primarily red, blue, and black. But you could make arguments for a lot of things.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Kyrroti

If I were burning iron, where would the line point to on a steel hula-hoop?

Brandon Sanderson

For something like that, it would depend on the Steelpusher's power. For some, it would just be pointing generally toward the center of the hoop--but for skilled Steelpushers, they'd be able to see softer lines pointing in all directions around the hoop.

The Well of Ascension Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Marsh Vs. Sazed

But first we have the Marsh Sazed battle. I really like this scene, since I get to do something very new with it. Do you remember when I promised you that you'd see some cool interactions between Allomancy and Feruchemy?

I realized almost immediately, when designing Feruchemy, that I could do some very fun things with it mixing with Allomancy. With how much that Mistborn depend on their Steelpushes and Ironpulls, a person who can change his weight would have an enormous advantage. Everyone always says that Allomancy is the better combat skill, but that's just because the resource it uses–metal–is far more plentiful than the resource Feruchemy uses. Put the two into a battle together with enough power to spare, and the Feruchemist will almost always win.

At the end of this, Ham gets to do something. Makes me glad that I wrote him back into the story after forgetting about him. . . .

Oh, and that blow to the head was no slight blow–Sazed's actually wrong. That strike will lay Marsh out for some time. Remember what Ham said about two pewter burners canceling each other out? Well, you just had a very strong soldier flaring pewter hit a man who was simply burning it in the back of the head with a stick hard enough to break it. Marsh is out cold.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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WritesGeekyStuff

1) What is the name for a Tineye/Archivist Twinborn?

2) How would copper compounding work for a double copper Twinborn? Would you relive the memories stored in the burned copperminds extra vividly?

Brandon Sanderson

1) I'm not ready to open the floodgates for giving names to each twinborn combination yet. So RAFO.

2) Another RAFO here. I'll delve into these ideas when/if I do this combination in a book series.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
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Questioner

How do you see the metal, burning metals in corresponding to film?

Brandon Sanderson

So I've always thought that they would make the metal glow blue once you start burning it rather than the lines. The lines I don't think will look as good on film as they work in the books so that is what I've always kind of thought it would do. You start burning it, all sources of metal start turning blue and then you can you know shove on them and things.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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Kurkistan

Could Miles heal back his Allomancy if it was spiked out of him?

Brandon Sanderson

No, he could not. He would no longer be an Allomancer. Also, he'd probably be dead. :)

Kurkistan

Thanks!

I'd thought maybe he could just do some super-tapping from his existing Health in his goldminds (since he'd still have his Feruchemy)...

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I see what you're asking. Using Feruchemy to heal the removed portion of soul. That's actually plausible, not so different from healing other kinds of soul-wounds. If he survived, then yes, this actually might work. (That's why I get for reading the questions so quickly.)

A Memory of Light Chicago signing ()
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Ted Pick (paraphrased)

In Mistborn, why is it that an Allomancer either has just one metal, or is Mistborn and has all? Why aren't there any that have just two, or three?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Originally he had planned so that people would only have one metal, period. No Mistborns. And then as he went along with the writing he liked this idea, but he really wanted to make some more powerful Allomancers, which is why he created the Mistborn. He did say though that if you are playing the RPG, you are more than welcome to have an Allomancer that can burn two metals without Hemalurgy.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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AltF4WillHelp

Sorry if this has been asked before; I haven't been able to find a direct answer anywhere. It came up while playing the Mistborn Adventure Game (which has been very fun, btw!).

A Feruchemist can easily determine whether any metal is a metalmind, regardless of whether it's theirs, simply by touching it. And a Ferring can definitely determine the same, but for their own metal.

But, a question came up: can a Ferring also—perhaps with practice—tell whether any piece of metal has been stored in/is a metalmind? Would this be easier for certain kinds of Ferrings? (Ones that are more directly in tune with Investiture, perhaps?) And, if they can determine that a piece of metal is Invested, would they feel something similar to what Vin did when she was examining Sazed's metalmind? Would they be able to tell what the metal it is based on how that power feels? (That last bit might be infringing on what skilled/savant bronze Mistings might be able to do).

Brandon Sanderson

So, bronze Mistings are really good at reading investiture that is being used--it's harder to simply "detect investiture" as all things are made out of investiture in the cosmere. That said, I could see your game allowing this, as it's a natural extrapolation of the magic--and it could make for some good gameplay. Don't be afraid to extrapolate the magic for your own uses, even if it doesn't fall right in line with the way I do things.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Questioner

You know how Wax has control of his Steelpushes? Well, if someone has an Ironpull ability, can get practiced enough to, in the Wax & Wayne era, swing through downtown Elendel Spiderman-like with controlled Ironpulls?

Brandon Sanderson

I've actually thought about that, and I went away from it, just because of Spiderman. I have to be really careful that I just don't go Spiderman-y. But I would say it's an in-world possibility that someone could do that, and it wouldn't be that hard if you've got the buildings. The trick is, most downtowns are not tall enough, and I would say in Elendel even now, there aren't enough skyscrapers that you could really go full-on Spiderman. But if you could, if you were, like, downtown Manhattan, you could do it.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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zas678

Can you detect Feruchemy with bronze Allomancy?

Brandon Sanderson

It is actually possible but it's very difficult. There's a tweak that you need to do to make it work and I haven't talked about that yet. They do not know how to do it… on Scadrial. But you can theoretically detect all kinds of active Investiture. Investiture that's being used. Kinetic Investiture would be the way to call it.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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zas678's sister

In Alloy of Law there's the news-sheet, right? And advertisements for like the soothers--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

zas678's sister

Is this something that actually works-- could help with mental illnesses or is it more like snake oil. Because it seems like-- that advertisement seems a little more like snake oil.

Brandon Sanderson

It seems like snake oil, the problem is it will cover symptoms. It will not get at the core root--

zas678's sister

It won't solve the problem.

Brandon Sanderson

It will not solve the problem. And so it reads like that but it would actually do something.

zas678's sister

It would help you maybe get out of the funk.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, depending on the skill of the soother obviously, but yeah.

zas678's sister

And could you-- Are there people who fake soothe?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah. All the time.

zas678's sister

I figured there would be.

Brandon Sanderson

But I mean it's not too hard for someone with means to check, because they just need someone to come in and-- it'd be a seeker and oh yeah they're actually doing it.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 ()
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Questioner

What were the Allomantic metals based on?

Brandon Sanderson

The Allomantic metals were based on two main concepts, magic that feels one step science one step superstition so I was reading things like alchemy and I wanted something that was one half chemistry, one half alchemy. The idea of eating the metals and metabolizing them was really interesting to me because it's kind of almost scientific but not really. That mixed with me wanting to have a thieving crew have different powers that would help different members of a crew and I built the powers to match people like Ham and Breeze.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Questioner

Is Scadrial losing mass when people burn metals?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, technically it is, but Investiture is another dimension to matter.

Questioner

So it doesn't lose mass, it becomes Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

It becomes Investiture... Basically, when you go into the cosmere, we've got matter, we've got energy here. You've got matter, energy, and Investiture there, and you can get things out of Investiture back into matter, and stuff like that. There's always energy, there's entropy, there's always diffusement... it's basically, add to the laws of thermodynamics a third item, and that's how we word it.

Oathbringer release party ()
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CaptainRyan

*written* Could a Shard refuse to "fuel" a magic user? E.g. Could Preservation have refused to "fuel" Ham's pewter? (Please, for the question, assume Preservation is whole and undamaged.)

Brandon Sanderson

*written* No, but he could have interfered.

*spoken* So, the answer is "no, he couldn't." Like, if you just had the Allomancy going, like--

CaptainRyan

They can't shut you off?

Brandon Sanderson

They can't shut you off, but they can interfere with you using it. They could do other things. But, like, the magic, it would be like saying, "I refuse to let gravity work on this person."

CaptainRyan

But couldn't a Shard-- Technically, they can control forces--

Brandon Sanderson

No, they can't, but they can interfere with it, does that make sense? ...Gravity is not gone, but this person is being interfered with and their relationship to these sorts of things.

CaptainRyan

Kind of like if I throw your pen in the air, gravity's not gone, but I've interfered with something.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, exactly. And you can, like, twist the gravity, so it's pointing... But the laws of natures, burning is, like, a law of nature, and things like that. And they can circumvent, and they can twist, and they can bend, but the laws of nature are still the laws of nature.

CaptainRyan

They can't just cut it off?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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Herowannabe

I recently picked up the Mistborn Adventure game and am loving it. I made a character who is a blind Mistborn because hey, I thought it would make for some interesting possibilities. As I understand Allomancy, he can hear/sense well enough to get around with Tin, plus even though he's blind he can still "see" steel lines (like the inquisitors), and I assume Atium would work the same way- that is, he could still "see" Atium shadows. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Brandon Sanderson

No, you're right. That works. He'd have to burn metals a LOT though. It might warp him a little. :)

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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Herowannabe

What happens when a blind person burns Gold- especially of he "sees" a version of himself that isn't blind? Can he see the other version or just hear/feel/sense him? What about the other version, can it see things? Could a blind person use gold in this way to see the world around him?

Brandon Sanderson

A blind person would indeed sense these things, but not have the vision with the eyes. In the same way that a blind person still dreams, but doesn't "See" in them. (As I understand it.) I'd suggest talking to someone who is blind and getting their take on how this would work.

/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.

Miscellaneous 2016 ()
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Questioner

How does electrum work?

Brandon Sanderson

Electrum can see future shadows only as far in the future as is done with atium in the books. They use it to counter atium in that they see their own future shadow fighting, and if they see their shadow get hit by an attack, they know to avoid that attack, and they change their own future. This compounds the future shadows they see, which makes it practically as effective at countering atium as atium itself.

While the scope of an electrum shadow is very limited, it could be useful in many situations. Like if you were playing tennis, you’d be able to look at your shadow and tell if you managed to hit the ball or not, and adjust accordingly. That would still take a lot of practice to master, but it could be very effective.