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Teen Author Boot Camp ()
#1 Copy

Skaiiwalker (paraphrased)

What does Investiture look like in the Spiritual Realm?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Er, I haven't said anything about that yet.

Skaiiwalker (paraphrased)

But is it important?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, it's important.

Skaiiwalker (paraphrased)

Could you say that it looks anything like mist?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Well you could say that it looks anything like mist. *smiles teasingly*

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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focoma

Is there a quantum of Investiture? Just as how the photon (the quantum of light) is the force carrier particle of electromagnetism, is there a force carrier particle for Investiture, and do you have a name for it? (My follow up question would involve string theory, but I'll leave that one for later.)

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is a quantum of Investiture, though it acts very oddly in the cosmere.

True Investiture is a purely Spiritual Realm thing. In the cosmere, there are two alternate planes of existence, with their own specific laws. Some of them, as you've undoubtedly notice, behave similar to ideas in String Theory.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
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Questioner

How do states of matter affect how things look in the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms?

Brandon Sanderson

So, generally, how people perceive something is very important to the reflection in the Cognitive Realm, and so the physical state of matter is going to be involved in that, but generally, it flows the other direction from the Spiritual Realm.

Questioner

Do the forms of Investiture that we've seen, Stormlight, metals, Shardpools, do the fact that those happen in general the same types of states of matter, all physical, solid, is kinda going to be like metal for Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that is generally the way it will be.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Kurkistan

So you've said that healing is like the Spiritual wants to heal and then it filters through the Cognitive, but how's that work with healing wounds to the soul like Hemalurgy or Shardblades? What do you refer to to heal the soul at that point?

Brandon Sanderson

You need to make a patch on the soul with Investiture.

Kurkistan

So how's the Investiture know where to go, what to look like?

Brandon Sanderson

Well your soul is an ideal. So if you can get it up there, there are ways to do-- to recreate that with um... See I'm getting into stuff for later books.

Argent

No, that's okay.

Kurkistan

So when Hemalurgy rips something off the soul, is that the ideal soul or some sub-soul?

Brandon Sanderson

That is off of your soul, and it can be healed; but what it's going to be doing is creating a patch of new soul. So it will not be your original soul. Does that make sense?

Kurkistan

Okay, that- well, not completely, but I think that's your intention.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Bystander

If you do that, is that like Frankenstein's monster, or is it like a graft that's absorb--

Brandon Sanderson

Less horrifying- Less horrifying than Frankenstein's monster, but it is a graft that is like-- It is not your original soul.

Bystander

Yeah, but in modern medicine stuff like that is absorbed-

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, in this you will always have a scar on your soul that something else has patched over.

Kurkistan

So Kaladin shouldn't just keep getting his arm chopped?

Brandon Sanderson

*ignoring/not-hearing Kurkistan just now* But that is what happens with most forms of Investiture in the first place.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Blightsong

Would it be harder for Jasnah to Soulcast a Knight Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Would it be harder for her to Soulcast a Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Investiture resists Investiture. It's harder for her to even Soulcast a person than a rock, right?

Questioner

Is a Mistborn Invested?

Brandon Sanderson

The Mistborn, how they're burning the metal, you're right. They are not specifically Invested when they are not burning. When the Investiture becomes active, the yes. Before, no, you're right on that.

Blightsong

So Kelsier, he stayed around longer, not because he was Invested, but because he had the potential to use Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Over time using the magic will Invest you, on Scadrial. Most of the power is not coming from, on Roshar the power isn't coming from the person either [he cut himself off, so I assume this is how it works on Scadrial even though he didn't finish his thought] so I'm going to have to back up on that one and say, yes, the Mistborn are as Invested as a Knight Radiant, because in both cases the majority, bulk, of the power is coming from somewhere else, but there is the Spiritweb. Investing the wrong term, but you have all these connections in the Spiritual Realm, so yanking you away from them, or rewriting them is harder.

Questioner

Would they be harder with more Stormlight or metals burning?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes. That would increase the difficulty ratio. For instance, wearing Shardplate is gonna be a great barrier, right, and things like that so yeah. The problem is like, Invested is the wrong term for that, their Spiritweb is connected in different ways.

Idaho Falls signing 2014 ()
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PrncRny (paraphrased)

How and when is the type of Misting you become determined? Can you tell what type of Misting you are before you Snap?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It's determined at birth. The cosmere by combining 3 aspects of self. Your physical self, mental self, and spiritual self. The spiritual self is tied to the Investiture of the world that you come from. When an Allomancer snaps, a piece of their soul is broken and some of that power leaks into them, giving them their abilities.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
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yulerule

I actually had like a really-- theory I was developing the past couple of weeks about Regrowth, and healing, and the Cognitive Realm. Let's take a look at this...

*Written/Paraphrased:* In the cosmere, you have matter, mind, and soul. Obviously, the physical world is most well understood (same as ours) and the spiritual is most mysterious. When anybody dies (going off from info in Secret History) their soul, which was tied to their body, the Connection is broken and the soul/Cognitive Shadow appears in the Cognitive Realm then goes on to the Spiritual. If healing is applied at any moment while the soul/Cognitive Shadow is in the Cognitive Realm, the Connection can be reestablished and that is why Regrowth can heal recently dead. Type of wound Shardblade versus not may determine how fast the Shadow is sucked into the Spiritual Realm. Also amount of Investiture a soul contains. Souls = Investiture, or at least all of them contain some?

Brandon Sanderson

So that's a RAFO. We'll dig into that a little later.

yulerule

Oh, *inaudible*. Am I close?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you're on the right track.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
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zotsandcrambles

In a way I felt that The Emperor's Soul was a bit post-singularity - in the sense that humans were capable of downloading new identities and histories. I know you've planned on doing FTL cosmere work, but have you any interest in doing post-singularity cosmere work? I'd be fascinated to see 'multiple-consciousness beings' using breath or soul stamps. Seeing human development push the boundaries of the shards would be quite intense, and I'm tickled pink at the notion of humans bamboozling the rules of [Shardic] Investiture - how far can Spiritual or Cognitive Identity stretch?

tl;dr - do you have any plans to bring post-singularity stories to the cosmere

Brandon Sanderson

I have plans for some of this, but the main-line cosmere stories I'm planning seem to adapt better to grand space opera than true post-singularity stories. That said, I've certainly got some short story ideas that will play with this. (And you'll see more hints like this even in the mainline books that I think you'll like.)

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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Argent

You've said that Investiture tends to develop sapience on its own. Is this a function of the amount of Investiture alone (i.e. any pile of Investiture large enough will develop sapience eventually), or does the process require extra effort (e.g. a Command from an Awakener, an action by a Shard, etc.)?

Brandon Sanderson

Under the right circumstances, a pile of investiture will eventually become self-aware. But there is no specific timing. The more investiture clumped together, the more likely--and the closer to human-level intelligence it is likely to obtain.

Of course, if you leave matter alone long enough (on a galactic scale) it will eventually end up becoming sapient too. So this isn't that different. (Well, okay, it is.)

Boogalyhu34

Are humans already sapient and intelligent because their Spiritual DNA tell their innate investiture what connections to make or what weird soul pattern to go into.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's RAFO that for now.

DragonCon 2012 ()
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Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

Why are Invested objects like metalminds and Hemalurgic spikes able to be Pushed and Pulled on, but Shardblades and Shardplate, which are also invested, are not susceptible to Pushing and Pulling?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There were a few concepts that he outlined in answering this question.

1.) The ability to Push/Pull an Invested object is predicated to the amount/power of the Investiture.

2.) Further, Invested objects also gain resistance to pulling/pushing based on proximity to soul possibly via the soul. An example given is that a Hemalurgic spike touches the blood of the person, and from there is now part of both the Spiritual Realm and the Physical Realm. This provides what Brandon termed a kind of "soul interference," based on its proximity to the soul.

This further explains why Vin required more than normal power to Push/Pull the metalminds from the Lord Ruler, because of their proximity to his soul, via the Spiritual Realm.

3.) The amount of Investiture is relatively low on Scadrial, whereas worlds like Sel and Roshar are pushing around "high power" according to Brandon. I interpreted this to mean that Hemalurgic spikes and metalminds have low amounts of Investiture compared to Shardplate and Shardblades.

Brandon said that theoretically you can Push/Pull Shardblades and Shardplates but you would need to wield an incredible amount of power. One example he gave that could so such as a thing is that if you were a Mistborn wielding the full power of the Well of Ascension, you could Push/Pull Shardblades/Plate.

ICon 2019 ()
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Questioner

Your magic systems are very structured, and specific rules that dominate them. But are there any universal laws that apply to all of the magic systems in the cosmere together?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there's several of them. Basically, the most important one and relevant to people who enjoy real physics is that I consider something called Investiture to be a third state of matter and energy. So, instead of e=mc^2, we have a third thing, Investiture, in there. And you can change Investiture to matter or to energy. And so, because of that, that law that you can do this, is where we see a lot of the cosmere magics living.

We also have a kind of rule that beings all exist, everything exists on three different levels. The Physical, the Spiritual, and the Cognitive. And, like we have DNA for our Physical self, we also have Mental DNA and Spiritual DNA, and all three influence one another. For instance, you couldn't test an Allomancer's blood and find the Allomancy gene, because it is in a different set of their DNA. You just have three sets. You could compose a test that could test it on the Spiritual Realm, but you're gonna have to use a different branch of physics to do that and determine who was an Allomancer. And so they all work on this kind of fundamental rules of: your Identity, your Connection, and being part of your soul, and the magics working through those things.

So there's some fundamental rules about this, about changing forms from energy to matter, and you having this Identity, Investiture, and Connection stored in your Spiritual DNA that are really relevant to everything.

Legion Release Party ()
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R'Shara

Would Stormlight healing, Progression, or Feruchemical gold healing count as some of the ways that a transgender person could change their body to match their identity?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Those would work. In fact, that's kind of the main way that you would make that happen. Injections of Investiture making the body match the Spiritual and Cognitive.

Oathbringer London signing ()
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Aurimus

As the two Realms, the Cognitive and the Spiritual, are, well, fictional... Are they all comprised of Investiture, completely?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. No, completely? Well, here's the thing. Investiture, matter, and energy are all the same thing in the cosmere. So, just like energy and matter are the same thing here. So, yes, everything's made of Investiture, in the same way that everything's made of energy in our world. Does that make sense?

Aurimus

So, what about what spren are made of in the Cognitive Realm? Is that just Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

So, yeah, I'll dig more into that. I'm gonna go with Investiture for now, but I could change that as I move along. What I'm kind of debating is, is there a separate Cognitive state, and I don't think so. So I'm gonna go with Investiture for now.

Aurimus

How about Connection?

Brandon Sanderson

Connection is, like, the equivalent of a quantum connection in our world, so it's more like a force than something comprised of something. The question is like, "What is gravity comprised of?" And then you start asking weird questions.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Questioner #1

So we know how some people can enter Shadesmar, or the cognitive realm, how do other places, like- we haven't seen anything for the Mistborn series. Do we know how they can enter.

Brandon Sanderson

Read Secret History.

Questioner #1

I did read that, but it didn't really say much besides that one special case.

Brandon Sanderson

Right, Hoid talks about Perpendicularities on Scadrial, if you go look at that there are certain places he talks about that. Let's just say that large concentrations of Investiture will cause a puncture through the spiritual realm straight to the physical realm, that if you know how to use it, you may transition. That's not the only way but is the primary way.

Questioner #1

And of course you can Soulcast [Elsecall?] to get there.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner #2

Now that's a very interesting analogy you just made, you said "punctured" almost as though it were a spike.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes, that was intentional.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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wiresegal

In OB, you explained that the Singers have four sexes. I was wondering... Can the Singers have genders other than those four, like humans? Even as simple as just not going with male, female, or malen/femalen. Could a transgender Singer use their ability to shift forms to change their biological reality? And, finally, could a Spren be non-binary, if it wasn't personified in a typical male/female way?

Brandon Sanderson

In the cosmere as a whole, a person's perception of themselves has a lot of power over both their Spiritual and Physical forms. It is possible, with Investiture, to change their biology to match Cognitive perceptions--and while this could be easier for some races (like the Singers) it's not outside plausibility for any race.

There are non-binary spren, actually--and you should be meeting one important one quite soon in the books.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

In order to use magic from one world on another world, do they need a bit of [the first world's] Shard with you?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It helps a lot. But there are other ways to do it. What's going on in the Cosmere is people have 3 sets of DNA. They have Physical DNA, Spiritual DNA, and Cognitive DNA. Their Spiritual DNA is what encodes the magic system into them, their Investiture. So if you can find a way to rewrite your Spiritual DNA, you can do all kinds of funky things. That's what Hemalurgy does. It rips off a piece of someone else's soul, staples it to yours. So if you went with a Hemalurgic spike to the right place, ripped off a piece of someone's soul and stapled it to yourself, you could create short circuits that will let you do all kinds of goofy stuff.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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Doom-Slayer

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.)

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
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DrogaKrolow

Sentient machines, artificial intelligence. Would they be able to use Investiture? Or not? How would that work?

Brandon Sanderson

So, define "use Investiture". Like, there's a lot of different ways to quote-unquote use Investiture.

DrogaKrolow

OK, I don't mean the medallions but like if I go and peek into the Spiritual Realm and I look at the machine, do I see Investiture inside it? The Connections to the Shards and so on?

Brandon Sanderson

Chances are good that you will. But I have to add a big asterisk to that, it's gonna depend on so many factors. But consciousness in the cosmere is directly tied to  Investiture. And creating a machine in many ways cosmerelogically is not that different from creating a child.

DrogaKrolow

Okay... Interesting.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I'll just leave it there.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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heroofpages

I was going through the compiled WoB and came across two interesting pieces of information. So I guess a lead in question, you said that Hoid isn't quite human, so I was wondering if he wasn't quite human in the same way that inquisitors aren't quite human (i.e. alterations to spiritual DNA etc.)? And if so does he get his many investiture based powers in a similar way?

Brandon Sanderson

You are asking the right questions, and are thinking along correct lines.

LTUE 2020 ()
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Questioner

As far as the Lord Ruler goes, how did he use the Twinborn thing? Feruchemy and Allomancy?

Brandon Sanderson

What he had to figure out how to do is: Allomancy is powered by Spiritual power directly from the Shard of Adonalsium. Whereas Feruchemy is powered by your own Investiture and effort being transferred into the thing. What he needed to do was figure out a way to power Feruchemy with Allomantic power, right? You could have done the same thing by fueling it with the Dor, or with Stormlight, or another external. But he only had access to three magics. So what he had to do was figure out that.

So what he's doing is, he's basically taking metals, (since he's a Feruchemist and an allomancers), and he is burning metals that he has Invested himself, but then using... basically, switching it so he gets a burst of Allomantic power that is charged with a Feruchemical attribute. So it's powering Feruchemy with Allomancy by burning the metal that he himself has Invested.

Questioner

So he was essentially putting stuff into the metal?

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, priming the pump. He puts it in with Feruchemy. Then he burns it with Allomancy. But that fuels Feruchemy with Allomancy, which allows him to draw on the powers of the Shards, rather than himself. So it's not really a perpetual motion machine, because he's drawing the power from someone else. But it's external, which allows him to break the rules of Feruchemy.

The big question I have is: that works in the book, because you can dig into the technicalities of the book. But that's not gonna work in the movie, right? That explanation right there, that's so many levels over the heads of the audience. So I have to figure out a way to not break the cosmere magic, but make it simpler to understand in the movie. Which is the big headache in writing the screenplay. That's probably the biggest challenge in the screenplay is to figure out how to make that all work.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
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Questioner

If someone were to create a human shape, with full articulations, made out of the four Feruchemical Spiritual metals and copper and do like a full dump into them, would it be able to-- I mean, Investiture attains sapience on its own. And then with-- If those were mixed with the memories in the copper would it be able to effectively become an android of the person who created it?

Brandon Sanderson

So we got a couple of issues you have to overcome in creating this. Number one, the memories are not going to attune to the Investiture itself, they're going to be attuned to you. The Investiture as it attains sapience is gonna create its own Identity, which is then going to be a mismatch for those memories. So you would have to find a way to get those memories to work for that creation.

Questioner

It wouldn't tie with the Identity that was stored in the aluminum?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it would not... The other thing you were getting at there though, is that just Investing it alone, you would have to leave it alone for a long time, naturally, for it to start developing anything. And so we're looking at thousands of years, probably. There are ways to speed that process along, but just doing that and leaving it, it's gonna take a while.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
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Ward

When Harmony Ascends, he admits he doesn't have a good view of the Spiritual Realm. Does he develop a better one over time? And are there other Shards that already have a very good view of that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. But it is still something that is hard to grok, so to speak, in-canon, *inaudible*, hard to understand. But he has a much better understanding, and the other Shards, some of them have a very good understanding. The thing is, the difference between the Spiritual Realm and the Beyond is not something that is immediately obvious.

Ward

So, the Spiritual Realm is not the Beyond?

Brandon Sanderson

No, Spiritual Realm is not the Beyond. There are three Realms of existence. The Beyond, some would say... There are philosophers would would say, the Spiritual Realm and the Beyond are one, that the soul gets sucked into and joins the Investiture. That's the idea of the One. But, most people would say the Beyond is not...

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

On Sel, it seems like a lot of the magic is tied-in to the location on the planet. Could you take something like Soulforging and do it on another planet, or is it just tied into Sel?

Brandon Sanderson

It is tied into Sel, and there's this distinct reason for that, and it has to do with one of the big differences between the magic there and other places that people haven't picked out of me yet.

Questioner

So is that tied into how you can get Investiture there?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. It's all tied in. I’ve only made it vaguely - It's not obvious, but I think you could pick it out if you worked at it.

Footnote: We now know that the reason magic on Sel is tied to location is because the investiture there comes from the Cognitive Realm (where location is important), and not the Spiritual.
/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Argent

Are there non-Invested (or at least not heavily Invested) objects that cannot be cut by Shardblades, or that offer more resistance than what we see in The Stormlight Archive?

Brandon Sanderson

You're unlikely to find anything without high Investiture that can resist a Shardblade. By definition, to stop one, you're going to need something with a powerful spiritual component to it.

zotsandcrambles

Would [Ralkalest] (the unforgeable metal) be at all resistant to a Shardblade given its proven resistance to other forms of investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, but is a question you should be asking.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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VindicationKnight

If you cloned someone using real life technology (so not magic) would they have a normal Cognitive and Spiritual make up or be something like a Drab?

Brandon Sanderson

Cloning would most likely work like creating a twin--the body would pull Investiture for a soul, and you probably wouldn't have a drab. Though it would be possible to do it in such a way that you did create one, if you're simply working from our current cloning technology, you'd get a fully invested human being.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Calderis

I recently got the opportunity to ask you a question about Feruchemical steel and if it was a temporal effect and you told me to define that better. When tapping steel, the mind of the Feruchemist is sped up and physics affects their actions normally. When storing, their mind is not slowed and the effect seems tortuously difficult to amass. Storing generally seems to be the more dangerous/difficult option in Feruchemy, so does [Feruchemical steel] alter a person's personal relationship to the flow of time, with the disconnect between the Physical and Cognitive as a drawback of storing?

Brandon Sanderson

I see what you're asking. The mind-altering effects of [Feruchemical steel] are similar to the slight strength you gain from [Feruchemical iron]--it is your Spiritual nature adapting to the new influx of an attribute that it's not really expecting, and siphoning some of that investiture to make you capable of actually using it. So there is a slight temporal effect here, but nothing as big as I think you're looking for.

General Reddit 2019 ()
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Ilkhan2016

Breath and Stormlight are both forms of Investiture. AFAIK you can power any of the magic systems from any form of Investiture. Zahel is on Roshar, I believe, primarily due to how easy Investiture (Stormlight) is to come across.

AFAIK the form of Investiture doesn't change anything about the abilities. For example, Szeth was sucked out of Stormlight when he drew Nightblood; and Azure used Stormlight to Awaken in Shadesmar.

/u/mistborn is that right?

Brandon Sanderson

A lot of this depends on the Investiture and the magic in question. Azure was legit using Breaths, for example--ones she'd brought with her. But Szeth was able to feed Stormlight to Nightblood, much as Vasher uses Stormlight to keep himself alive.

To Awaken with Stormlight, the easiest thing to do would be to first change Stormlight into Breaths--something that Azure doesn't know how to do. (Admittedly, Hoid doesn't either, so it's not like it's a simple thing to achieve.) You could also theoretically use some magical (or mechanical) means to power your Awakening with a different form of Investiture.

Extesian

This is very interesting. Is it possible then in the Cosmere for the 'intent' (spin or however described) of Investiture to be changed? And I mean within reasonable limits (not the powers of six shards or any of that). Can a Shard effectively grow in power in a place (e.g. toward an avatar) through another Shard's Investiture being changed (not just corrupted)? Or is it just making one type ('intent' - you should canonize a word for this :D) of Investiture mimic the properties of another?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of the ways of accomplishing what you're talking about would involve either 1) fooling/overwriting your spiritual makeup somehow. (This is what Hemalurgy does, for example.) 2) Refining the power somehow into a more pure form.

But there are a lot of variables. The way magic from Nalthis works, for example, the system is just looking for any available Investiture to power itself--and so basically anything will do, regardless of the source. This includes consuming your own soul, in some cases...

You'll see terminology coming along eventually that facilitates talking about all of this. I'm not yet decided on some of it.

Celestial_Blu3

How many Breaths does [Azure] have by her final appearance in OB?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, I'm afraid.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Skyler Cecil

Is there an Investiture cycle on Roshar? Cycling through the crem rain and flora and fauna back into the storm, or something like that. Like the water cycle. If Investiture is finite, is it recycled back into the Cosmere when Investiture like Breath or Stormlight is expended? Otherwise, wouldn't Investiture run out?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is such a cycle. It is renewed and changed time and time again. It gets in and out of the Spiritual Realm, often with the birth of new individuals.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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Oudeis16

If Bob the Awakener Awakened fifty straw men to dance around, then died, then Returned as FormerBob the Appropriately Named, would FormerBob be able to reclaim the Breath from the straw men in the normal fashion (once he learned the "Your Breath to Mine" Command)?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. He has enough of his original Identity, and the spiritual connection would remain.

sonofstannis

What if he instead were reincarnated as a lifeless? Is there a way he could reclaim it then?

Brandon Sanderson

Lifeless have someone else's investiture replacing their own. (As opposed to Returned, who are augmented.) Depends on how much of them is left, and if they can achieve sapience again, but I'd say this is unlikely.

WeiryWriter

What if the Lifeless is Awakened with their own Breath? (i.e. they gave it away right before they died and the person they gave it to then used it in the Awakening)

Brandon Sanderson

This has happened already in the world, and it does help.

-Nayrb

Did this happen "on screen"?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

LTUE 2020 ()
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Questioner

Quick question on aluminum. Why does it affect other forms of Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

When I was building the cosmere, I just had to build certain themes into it, and metal was one of those. And the metals have kind of a Spiritual integrity, and Spiritual component, that if I can get into Dragonsteel explaining why, you'll get your kind of origins.

Questioner

And that's why, in Warbreaker, metals are different with Awakening, and stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

And even in Roshar, the cages that you're building for fabrials, once you start to figure out how those metals affect it, you'll be like, "Oh wait, that makes sense!" And these are just across the cosmere.

And if you want an in-world answer, it has to do with stuff in Dragonsteel. But really, the answer is, I was building this and I'm like, "I just want this to be a theme. So I'm just going to give this Spiritual component to metals." So it works in Mistborn, and it works all across everything.

Kraków signing ()
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Oversleep

Is gravity a physical aspect of the spiritual bond Connecting objects to the planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Gravity, like all laws of physics in the cosmere, works like it does here with an additional aspect in that mass and energy can become Investiture. So while you are Connected to the planet gravity is not a manifestation of that. But Investiture can override it because Investiture, energy, mass are all the same thing.

Oversleep

So can Connectors alter it, store it?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. You know I’m going to RAFO all that stuff.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

In the cosmere we've seen Investiture manifest in different ways all across the systems. So I was wondering, when it comes to the powers of Dalinar, is it possible for that power to open a Perpendicularity anywhere, say on Scadrial or any different planet? In a different way, where you could potentially combine all the Realms, open the doors for the Realms.

Brandon Sanderson

Let me say this very carefully. I'm being recorded now... Any time where you gather the right amount of Investiture in the right way, you are going to have kind of a version of a cosmere singularity, right? Which is where you are pulling the different Realms together into a kind of-- you are piercing between them with a large amount of Investiture. So what's happening with Dalinar is both the bug and the feature at the same time. But it is not necessarily the only way. And once things are kind of, once the Spiritual Realm is being involved, time and space don't mean anything anymore on the Spiritual Realm. That's your answer.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner

Once upon a time I asked you about the magic system as described in Elantris and The Emperor's Soul, how in The Emperor's Soul [Shai] describes it as, she talks about the Spiritual Realm as the, like, the wall wanting to be beautiful. And how in Elantris they describe the Dor as what makes a river want to flow. And I assumed that meant that they were connected. But according to that [Arcanum Unbounded] it says that the Investiture is housed in the Cognitive Realm and how unlike most of the other magic systems its magic comes from the Cognitive. And so now I am confused.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, they are related but there's an overarching theory, er, kind of philosophy of what Investiture is and it imbuing things with desires that in our world may not actually have desires. And that is connected. The fact that the Dor is the Cognitive Realm is not the way it's supposed to be. That is a prob-- well, in some ways it's a feature, but it's also very much a bug.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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PallonianFire

As of Secret History, are the Ire aware of Feruchemical chromium?

Brandon Sanderson

As of Secret History, are the Ire aware of chromium. Not as fully aware-- They don't know everything.

PallonianFire

…The Spiritual Feruchemical metals, where we obviously have Invesiture, Identity, Connection and Fortune. Are all four of those cosmere-wide things?

Brandon Sanderson

So a lot of things-- The short answer is yes. The long answer is, there are certain things such as Investiture or whatnot, that when we write the books we translate different words as the same word because they're the same meaning, right? So what you're getting it is when they use the word "fortune", do they mean exactly what the Feruchemical-- and the answer is no. But it is a very similar concept.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

My question is not really a question, it's more of a theory. How Odium keeps the Fused around is more if he has them tied to his essence, so it's like he's essentially fishing them out of the Spiritual Realm and since their minds are left behind in the Cognitive Realm and their minds are *inaudible* damaged, because their spirits are separated and it just pulls them back.

I'm 100% convinced Nightblood did kill the thunderclast, because Nightblood consumes all investiture, that's something I asked you back at Barnes and Noble a couple years ago, during Christmas and you said your soul is investiture. So my thought is, that thunderclast isn't coming back any time soon.

Brandon Sanderson

You are correct on that one.

Questioner

When I saw that, my thought was, "Yep, It's dead." Other people were like, "I don't know, will it come back?" Nope.

Brandon Sanderson

I'll tell you this. They have not run into something like this before, and there will be ramifications of what happened there.

Questioner

That is fun to know.

Brandon Sanderson

If you are used to death having no consequence, and suddenly your friend vanishes forever...

Questioner

Yeah I, know I already thought of that. They're going to fight over Nightblood.

Brandon Sanderson

Mmm.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Argent

Which is a nice segue to Shards Investing into Shardworlds, that I've been meaning to ask. So is it kind of a passive-- The more a Shard stays on a world--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

--the Investiture kind of seeps--

Brandon Sanderson

It does. Once you've got a Perpendicularity, you are starting-- That's trouble for going other places. But you've gotta remember, going other places means multiple things to someone actually holding a Shard. They can exist in the Spiritual Realm, where all things are one. And they can even kind of comprehend it...

Argent

Can a Shard choose to just instantly invest in a place?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, they just need to start making some stuff.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

So Allomantic Savants. So I was curious-- That system-- When that happens, is it purely physiological, or is there something else happening in terms of--

Brandon Sanderson

Uhh, it's physiological in a cosmere sense, but that can involve your Cognitive and Spiritual aspects.

Questioner

I guess the question there is, are there other similar processes to savantism with other--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah you've seen it. So, Soulcasters.

Argent

Where their skin turns--

Brandon Sanderson

Where they're slowly being-- their spirit is slowly being merged and infused with Investiture that is having Physical ramifications. It's the same thing.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
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Darkness (paraphrased)

Further on in that… do different gemstones hold a different flavor, or different "frequency" of Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Umm…. Nnnnnnnnooooooo… But kind of? Here's the thing: So with the gemstones on Roshar… scientifically some of these gemstones are just really close to one another. Like chemical formula and whatever. But, their cognitive selves and their spiritual selves are gonna be very different because of human perception, right? (sure) And so, the answer is both a no and a yes because of that. So people's perception has sort of changed how the magic works, to an extent… but it's the same amount of investiture, just with slightly different flavorings.

Darkness (paraphrased)

Right, so… is it easier for a Soulcaster to turn rock into smoke with a smokestone as opposed to a ruby?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

So… Soulcasting… is gonna really depend on whether you're using a soulcaster.

Darkness (paraphrased)

First is for a Soulcaster, second is for a Surgebinder.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

A Surgebinder is far less constrained than someone using a device accessing surges, right? A Knight Radiant is far less constrained than somebody using a mechanical means of accessing magic, and I would include Honorblades as a mechanical means of accessing a surge.

Darkness (paraphrased)

Cool! So with the whole Jasnah scene, she inhales Stormlight, for using Soulcasting. So how is it the Soulcaster appears to glow more fiercely instead of growing dimmer in that scene?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Um… heh heh heh… So… this is perception on Shallan's part, watching and kind of resonating with the Soulcasting, and some weird things are happening that she sees, and not necessarily anyone else is seeing.

Darkness (paraphrased)

I love that! Alright… Also, did Taravangian recognize that Jasnah was not Soulcasting traditionally? Like was it the hand sinking into the rock that gave it away?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Taravangian knew and already suspected.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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ReadAndFindOut

In 2014, Brandon said First of the Sun - the planet in Sixth of the Dusk - is a minor Shardworld, in that it does not have a Shard present (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/103-salt-lake-city-comic-con-2014/#e1010). However, we've now gotten a WoB saying that Patji - the Father island - IS a Shard (https://wob.coppermind.net/events/256-oathbringer-london-signing/#e8606). Patji was a Shard, but isn't during SotD? Or did we finally get confirmation on that elusive "Survival Shard"? What do you guys think?

Brandon Sanderson

I stand by them. Though, as always, quotes and WoBs at signings aren't always as deliberately thought out as I'd like them to be. Answering questions on the fly can be challenging, and my phrasing can be bad in retrospect.

But no Shard was in residence on First of the Sun during the events of that story. The Investiture on that planet is residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium. Everything happening there could happen with or without a Shard present. Indeed, I would say that no Shard was ever "in residence" on First of the Sun.

The being called Patji still exists, and is a Shard of Adonalsium. Shards in the past have been interested in First of the Sun, and have meddled in small ways there. (Like they have on a lot of Shardworlds.)

Note that I might have been a little misleading in the first quote by bringing up Threnody, which is a real corner case in the cosmere because of uncommon events there.

That said, I'm sure that every story I write about a planet will bring up the quirks and unusual interactions of the magic there, because that's kind of what I do. (First of the Sun has its own oddities, as mentioned in Arcanum Unbounded.) Every planet is likely to end up as a corner case in some way, just like every person is distinctive in their own way, and never fully fits expectations.

I still consider one of the major dividing lines between "major" and "minor" Shardworlds (other than Shard residence) to be in strength of access to the magic, and control over it. I intend the minor Shardworlds to involve interactions with the magic as setting--coming back to spren, you could have a minor Shardworld with people who use, befriend, even bond spren. (Or the local equivalent--Seon, Aviar, etc.) But you'd never see power on the level of the city of Elantris, the actions of a Bondsmith, or even the broad power suite of a Mistborn.

But, as ever, the cosmere is a work in progress. The needs of telling a great story trump things I've said about what I'm planning. (I do try as much as I can to avoid having two texts contradict one another. And when they do, that's often a lapse on my part.)

Oversleep

Wait.

I'm confused.

So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium?

Cause the question was a follow up (on this) where you revealed that all Investiture in Cosmere got assigned to a Shard even if it wasn't part of a Shard.

And then you said that the one on First of the Sun is directly associated with one of the Shards (and since later you revealed Patji to be an avatar of Autonomy (also, what are avatars and how do they work?)) we took it to mean that at one point Autonomy Invested in First of the Sun.

But now you're saying it didn't?

If there was no Shard ever on First of the Sun but Patji is a Shard/avatar of a Shard then where is Patji, actually?

Could you please clarify all that?

Brandon Sanderson

So the Investiture on First of the Sun is associated with a Shard or is it residue, normal Investiture from Adonalsium?"

The reason I have so much trouble answering these questions (and you'll see me struggling to get an answer in the 10-15 seconds I have when someone asks me in a signing line) is because this isn't an either or. Is this computer I'm using matter associated with Earth, the Big Bang, or such-and-such star that went supernova long ago? Well, it's probably all three.

When people ask, "What Shard is this Investiture associated with" it gets very complicated. Shards influence and tweak certain Investiture, giving it a kind of spin or magnetism, but all Investiture ever predates the Shattering--and in the cosmere matter, energy, and Investiture are one thing.

I always imagine Investiture having certain states, certain magnetisms if you will, associated with certain aspects of Adonalsium. So it's all "assigned" to a Shard--because it's always been associated with that Shard. To Investiture, Adonalsium's Shattering meant everything and nothing at the same time.

We generally mean the term "Invested" to mean a Shard has taken permanent residence in a location, a kind of base of operations--but at the same time, this is meaningless, since distance has no meaning on the Spiritual Realm, where most Shards are. So imprisonment of a Shard like Ruin or Odium is a crude expression--but the best we have.

Autonomy never "Invested" on First of the Sun. But even answering (as someone else asked) if they created an avatar without visiting is a difficult thing to explain--because even explaining how a Shard travels (when motion is irrelevant) is difficult to manage. It's a subject that I intend to be up for debate, discussion, and argument by in-world philosophers and arcanists.

You can see why I have such troubles explaining these things at signings--and why I fail when I try to, considering the time limitations and (often) fatigue limitations placed upon me. These are concepts I intend to spend entire, lengthy epic volumes explaining and exploring.

Let's say you were Autonomy, and you have--through expanding and exploring your understanding--found a gathering of Investiture that has always been there, you always knew about, but still didn't actually recognize until the moment you considered and explored it. (Because even though your power is infinite, accessing and using that infinity is beyond your reach.) Were you "Invested" there? No, no more than you're Invested on Roshar, where parts of what were Adonalsium still exist that are associated with you (in the very fabric of mater and existence.) But suddenly, you have a chance to tweak, influence, and do things that were always possible, but which you never could do because you knew, but didn't know, at the same time.

And...I'm already into WAY more than I want to be typing this out right now. If it's confusing, it's because it's practically impossible for me to explain these things in a short span of time.

I'm going to leave it here, understanding that no, I haven't fully explained your question. (I didn't even get into what avatars are, what Patji was, and what happened to Patji the being--and how that relates to Patji the island.) But hopefully this kind of starts to point the right direction, though I probably should have just left this question alone because I bet this post is going to raise more questions than it answers...

Overlord Jebus

You've confused things so much now. We thought we had a pretty good grasp of this whole Patji situation (Autonomy visited the planet at some point, got themselves all Invested and created an avatar which is called Patji by the locals).

Now you're saying no Shard has ever visited there? And that the pool would have existed if no Shard had ever interfered? But that Patji still exists and is a Shard?

Does that mean Autonomy edited First of the Sun from afar without actually going there? And that the pool would have already existed without any intervention? Does this mean it was associated with Autonomy from the beginning? I'm really confused now.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't believe I said no Shard had visited. I said no Shard was there during the events of the story.

Investiture on First of the Sun predates any Shards fiddling with it.

Shards have fiddled with it by the time of the story.

I think fandom might be going down too far a rabbit hole on this one.

Chaos

Are you saying here that Patji is an avatar of Autonomy, or is it a separate Shard and not an avatar of Autonomy?

Brandon Sanderson

When I said Patji was a Shard, I was meaning Automony--but it is not quite that simple.

Take this post to mean "no, you should not be looking toward another Shard for Patji's origins. Autonomy is the one relevant." But Autonomy's relationships with entities like this (not sure entity is the right word, even) is complex. I'm not trying to confuse the issue, though.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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BipedSnowman

In theory, could you create weird structures or even alloys [with Forgery]?

Two scenarios: using Forging how you might use Soulcasting, such as turning something into wood, bending and carving it to make a new shape, then breaking the seal so it turns back into the original material without changing shape.

Second: Forging one metal into another, and forming an alloy to reduce operation costs. For example, tungsten has a melting point of about 3.5k C, but it's useful as part of a steel alloy for certain applications. Could you Forge it into, say, zinc, which has a melting point of about 500 C, create the steel, then turn it back into tungsten? Presumably the investiture would adjust the molecular structure so it acts as if it has been alloyed with tungsten originally too, otherwise the same process happening with food could be deadly.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this is in theory similar to Soulcasting. The difference is that a Forged object, upon "Forgetting" the rewriting to its spiritual nature is going to try to snap back and match what it "thinks" it should be like--which isn't going to lead to as much stability as Soulcasting, where the actual soul is changed. The object is going to try to get back to the way it "should" be, with varying results.

The reason the Lord Ruler aged hyper-quickly is related to this as well.

Skyward release party ()
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Steeldancer

When a Feruchemist stores their charge in a metal, where is that going? Is that going into molecules, is that going into the Spiritual essence of the metal, is that sort of a Cognitive - what is that?

Brandon Sanderson

It is charging it in...in cosmere terms, more on the Spiritual level, but there are connections to the Physical as well. It's not 100% on the Spiritual.

Steeldancer

It's not changing the molecular structure?

Brandon Sanderson

It is not going to change the molecular structure. If you brought that metal to Earth, somehow, and tested it, you wouldn't be able to tell any difference. Because we just don't have that element.

Steeldancer

You can't test for Investiture on Earth

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. In the cosmere, you can.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

So we know that you can't just have someone-- If someone were to do something similar to Hoid, he can't just pop and go "Oh look, I can now do Allomancy or I can now do Surgebinding". What about Breath? If someone could somebody get Breath-- Maybe not *audio obscured* Could they still get the benefits of--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, good question... Yes you can, actually. Breath is-- Once it is given to you, it is being keyed to you. Your Identity. So that transfer makes it yours to use however you want.

Questioner

So you could Awaken?

Brandon Sanderson

You could Awaken. If you-- If you were to somehow make it there, you would be able to Awaken. It's the easiest of magic systems to get the magic from, and then to manipulate. Because it has keyed into it Identity.

Questioner

*audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you can take Breath onto another world. In fact, you've seen characters do this.

Questioner

*audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

It would work, yes.

Questioner

*audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, it would work the same way.

The only magic that is location-dependent--  The ones who aren't interested in this, just hum to yourself, okay? *laughter* You don't need to know any of this stuff to enjoy the books, okay? I write them so that you could just-- each series can be read independently, and enjoyed. There is behind the scenes stuff, and if you want to dig, it goes pretty deep.

So on Sel, we have AonDor. AonDor is based on the fact that the Dor, which is an amalgamation of Dominion and Devotion, has been pressed together and stuffed into the Cognitive Realm by Odium who didn't want it to gain sentience, as Investiture will do if it is left alone. It will either seek someone to be its Vessel or it will gain sentience. He pressed it in there; he pressed it together, which creates the violent reaction, because those two intents are opposed. And that is the foundation of the magic. Because it's stuck in the Cognitive Realm rather than the Spiritual Realm (the Spiritual Realm is location-independent; Cognitive Realm is location-dependent), it makes the magic on Sel only work in close proximity to what is keyed through there to the location they're keyed to. This has to do with Identity and Connection. Mostly Connection. So that means you can't do AonDor on another planet, but you can do other magics works anywhere, because they're drawing the magics specifically through either the place, or they're end-neutral, like Breath is, and you don't need any extra power.

FAQFriday 2017 ()
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Questioner

Are Hemalurgic spikes fabrials? Is a body that has been spiked a fabrial? Are koloss and kandra also something similar?

Brandon Sanderson

No, actually.

Fabrial means specifically a bit of Investiture that has been trapped by a gemstone and then modified to do something else. Hemalurgy is its own thing--though there is a slight similarity. In most Hemalurgy, Investiture keyed to the Identity of someone (a bit of a soul) is ripped off, and then magically grafted onto someone else's soul. Not the same, though I can see the confusion.

Koloss and kandra are similar, though in this case, the soul is mostly just being distorted by using an Invested spike. In the cosmere, the body will attempt to match the soul, and so a twisted soul (Spiritual aspect of a person) can have profound effects on both mind and body.