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Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#1 Copy

Lurcher

Can you burn a metal wrapped in another metal, if both are Allomantic? Like, the inner metal, could you just burn that before?

Brandon Sanderson

No, you're gonna have to work your way through the outer one.

Lurcher

And what if it was a non-Allomantic metal? The same?

Brandon Sanderson

It's gonna depend on how thick it is, and stuff. But I would say, if you wrap it in a non-Allomantic metal, that's not good for getting to the metal. It's viable, but it just depends on how thick it is, and things like that. Like, sometimes things have been plated to keep the access to the metal off, but usually you would want to do that in aluminum, to make sure.

Firefight Seattle Public Library signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

Do Allomantic Pushes and Pulls generate friction?

Brandon Sanderson

Do they generate friction. So... *sighs* I've had to ask myself this because if they didn't generate friction certain things that I do in the books wouldn't happen. I assume if you've seen the physics of it you've noticed. I have to go with yes. But the physics of it I'm a little wishy-washy on. I mean it's pretty obvious from the way I do things that they do.

Questioner

Yes! I have won the argument on the 17th Shard.

Brandon Sanderson

I mean, you've seen the science of it, right? You Push things up and they stay there. And so if they didn't generate friction, two people couldn't both Push on a coin to hold it in place, but it does get held in place.

Questioner

I just won a 17 page argument.

Brandon Sanderson

But I have to tell you... Peter is going to have to break his brain making the physics of that work. But I mean, it's canon. I put it in the books so it’s not like we can just ignore the fact.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

One interesting aspect of the book that I haven't mentioned yet comes with the metal of tin. Originally, tin wasn't one of the Allomantic metals—I used silver instead. You see, I originally paired silver and pewter together, thinking that pewter had a significant amount of silver in it. Well, turns out that isn't the case. (Remember, each set of paired metals is a metal and an alloy made from it.)

My false impression on the belief that pewter is a silver/lead alloy goes back to my childhood. I remember when I used to paint lead fantasy figures that I bought at the local hobby store. One of the employees told me that they would be going up in price because the manufacturers wanted the figures to be safer. They were going to cast them out of pewter instead of lead, because pewter is much less toxic. I asked what the difference between pewter and lead was, and the employee told me that pewter is lead PLUS silver, and that's why the figures cost more.

He meant tin, I guess. Either way, that's stayed with me for quite a long time. I soundly resisted changing silver to tin during the first drafts of the book, even when I found out the truth. The problem is, I really liked the name "Silvereye" for those who burn silver/tin. It sounds far slicker than "Tineye."

I eventually came around, however. Consistency in the magic system is more important than a single cool-sounding name. I blame Hobby Town in Lincoln Nebraska for my pains.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

In terms of character development, I've noticed you you tend to be concentrated on Twinborns and Mistings, in your new series. Are you going to be exploring the full Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Am I going to be exploring full Mistborn in other books. That's kind of a RAFO, which means Read And Find Out. I will-- I am very interested in telling these intimate stories in the Mistborn world right now and Mistborn have kind of fallen out of the world. There aren't many, if any, of them left, but who knows what will happen in the future. So that's what we call a RAFO.

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

Seonid

Is the level of burning a continuous distribution, can I burn 0.1 level of steel all the way up to flaring? Or is it just I burn or I flare?

Brandon Sanderson

The more skilled you are, the more you have the ability to moderate that. For most people it is burn or flare. But you can kind of burn up to a flare, does that make sense? Going below is really hard.

Seonid

Can you push a flare?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

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

Questioner

What's lerasium?

Brandon Sanderson

That is the bead of metal that Elend finds at the end of Book 2, that Vin finds and gives to Elend.

Questioner

Oh so there were only two and the Lord Ruler kind of left it there?

Brandon Sanderson

There actually were a bunch of them, and the first Mistborn came from people who ate that. The Lord Ruler took one for himself and he left others there to use if he needed them.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#9 Copy

zas678

Are twins more likely to be Allomancers?

Brandon Sanderson

They are more likely to share--

zas678

--to share Allomantic attributes.

Brandon Sanderson

--to share Allomantic attributes.

zas678

Does it make a difference if they’re identical or fraternal?

Brandon Sanderson

It does… Yeah, it does. Fraternals are still more likely. But identical are even more likely.

zas678

Okay so fraternal are more likely than siblings--

Brandon Sanderson

Than siblings, yes.

zas678

And identical are more likely than--

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

When either Rashek or a Twinborn like Miles, how does he fuel his metalminds? Does he have to actually burn the gold in order to fuel them? Because, I feel like there's a paragraph in here where you kind of explained it, but I feel like you didn't actually say that you had to burn more gold in order to fill a metalmind. Is that how that works?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. You can cross the streams and use one to power the other. But you are using the metal to power your Feruchemy instead of your own-- You're using, basically, the power that's coming through the metal...

Questioner

So you do have to be burning one the whole time? Sounds good, good to know. So you could just infinitely fill it, basically? As you burn, you just use it to fill it and it just gets-- and that's where that comes from?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep. You are burning a metalmind that you've already filled, right? That's the key there. You fill a metalmind, then you burn that, and what that does is it keys the metalmind to the Feruchemy instead. Which normally no one can do because you could-

Questioner

You can't do both.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. But if you can do both, you fill a metalmind, you burn that metalmind. What comes out of it is Feruchemical power instead, and you then are filling the metalmind with more.

So Allomancy is fueled by the power of the Shard. So what you're doing is you're powering your Feruchemy with the power of the Shard, instead of your own body. Using their Investiture instead of yours. Which is very dangerous.

Oathbringer release party ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

So, if we switch to Scadrial, and I had lined the inside of my hat with aluminum, I'm protecting myself from emotional Allomancy. What if I was able to use emotional Allomancy? Would that block me?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it's going to interfere a little bit. But the issue with that is, a lot of Allomancy is coming from center and going to head. So, you're probably still gonna be okay with the helmet... So, I'm gonna say, you don't want a lot of aluminum around you, but you could probably still make it work.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Atium's Mechanism

Atium is, indeed, different from the other metals. When you burn most Allomantic metals, it opens a conduit through which you can draw upon Preservation's power and use it in very specific ways.

Atium doesn't do that. Atium is, itself, a fuel. When you burn it, the metal itself provides the power. A subtle distinction, I know, but it has to do with where the power is coming from. Most Allomancy is fueled by Preservation, but atium and malatium are fueled by Ruin.

This metal doesn't quite belong on the table where it has been placed.

/r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
#14 Copy

Ace_of_Face

Not really a question, but the one thing that disappointed me was that you didn't come up with new slang names for Allomancers! After three hundred years, do you really think they would still be calling steel Mistings "Coinshots"?

Brandon Sanderson

I toyed with this one, but decided that I would keep them the same for a few reasons. First off, I felt that certain things in-world would hamper some linguistic diversity. (Having the books Sazed left behind as a guide to Allomanc and history, everyone living in a small geographic area, the semi-religious nature of Allomancy making people look at it in traditional ways.) So, while I advanced the slang of the world, some of the terms I decided to leave the same.

Another reason for this came when I was writing the book. At first, I experimented with greater linguistic diversity--I even tried a vowel shift, as I figured three hundred years might be enough for that. In the end, I pulled back. I was already worried that this book not feel "Mistborn" enough, and so I wanted some direct ties back to the original series. Fiddling too much with the language while changing the setting and characters so drastically felt like a mistake to me.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#17 Copy

KChan

How does Snapping work after Sazed changed it? If you don't want to reveal it all right now, are there any hints you can give us?

Brandon Sanderson

He couldn't get rid of this entirely. I don't want to spoil things, but Snapping was built into Allomancy primarily because of larger-scale magical issues. This is getting deep into the issue, but it has to do with a person's spiritual makeup and a 'wounded' spirit being easier to fill with something else, kind of like a cut would let something into the bloodstream. Sazed made this threshold on Scadrial much easier to obtain.

Firefight release party ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

So I have heard that it is harder to Push a Shardblade with Allomancy than it is a normal sword.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is that true of both living and dead Shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Equally?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, no.

Questioner

Okay, so it's even more difficult to Push one alive.

Brandon Sanderson

The thing-- An Invested object is more difficult with any of the magics. So, for instance, even a Feruchemical metalmind is going to be harder. Depends on how much it is Invested, and things like that. But, y'know, it can range from you barely notice it or don't even notice it to "Wow, that's hard to Push on". Same for a Hemalurgical spike, depending on how much Investiture is left over, how long has it been outside of a body, and things like that. Same thing Pushing on something inside a person's body, their Investiture is going to interfere with it.

Same thing, when you read White Sand, why a person slapping their hand through someone's stream of sand can throw off the entire creation of the sand mastery. It's just-- There's interference patterns, and things like that.

Questioner

And is that true of a Drab as well? Does the body affect--

Brandon Sanderson

The Drab is going to have less.

Questioner

So they just have less Investiture, but they still have some natural Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

They do still have some. They've lost their Breath but that isn't the entirety of the Investiture inside of them.

Almost all of the times we see Vin--in fact I think every time--we see Vin, or someone in the Mistborn books, Pushing or Pulling on an Invested metal they are either drawing on the mist or they're Elend or the Lord Ruler who have the enhanced power, or something like that. Or it's a duralumin Push, or its one of the Inquisitors who's had a spike-- y'know, and things like that, that've-- And so it's not something that you see done very often in the Mistborn books.

Rubix

I can actually confirm that's correct.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh you guys looked it up?

Rubix

I checked.

Brandon Sanderson

I mean it can be done. And depending on Investiture it can be not even that hard to do but--

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#20 Copy

Questioner

Aluminum, when you burn aluminum, does it actually destroy the metals or just take away their power?

Brandon Sanderson

It destroys the metals.

Questioner

Same with chromium?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner

So it actually gets rid of the metals?

Brandon Sanderson

It actually trans--  It does a--  matter, energy, investiture are the same things in the cosmere.  You have some sort of transfer happening relating to those things.

Questioner

The question sort of relates to metal poisoning--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you would not get metal poisoning after that.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#22 Copy

Phantine

Is there more to metallurgy in mistborn than just trying to aim for the 'perfect' ratio for alloys? Like, can you make pewter that gives more strength but less endurance, or brass that soothes anger better, but doesn't work as well for other emotions?

Brandon Sanderson

No, unfortunately that isn't the way Allomancy works.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#24 Copy

Miss_Silver

Is there a maximum number of spikes a person can have? Would having more spikes eventually cause issues, be it mental or physical limitations?

Also do the benefits from spikes have some form of diminishing returns, or could some one have like, 200 bronze spikes and be able to sense a person burning metal through copper from 50 miles away?

Brandon Sanderson

1) Yes, it would cause big issues.

2) #1 interferes greatly with what you would like to do here, but there are other ways of magnifying the powers to the extent you postulate.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#25 Copy

Questioner

As a physicist I appreciate you being so consistent with your magic systems.

Brandon Sanderson

It is something I try very hard to do, though I do recognize that we do bend a lot of rules. When we were doing the time-based one in this [The Alloy of Law], I'm like, "Oh, boy, redshifts. Oh, no, conservation of energy." We had to do some bending to make it so that the radiation from the light passing out of the time bubble wasn't deadly.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#33 Copy

ccstat

Can a Seeker, standing outside a Coppercloud, that is between them and another Allomancer, can he sense the person standing on the other side of the Coppercloud?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, but he might get some interference.

Ben McSweeney

Would you sense the cloud itself, like "Hey, there's a cloud between me and what I'm looking at"?

Brandon Sanderson

If you know what you're doing, you might be able to say something is interfering, but you wouldn't be able to determine what. There are multiple things that could cause that, for instance-- Most of them are only-- That they would be able to-- Yeah, there are multiple things that could cause that. Like, for instance--

Ben McSweeney

Big buildings?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, aluminum.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#35 Copy

Questioner

I noticed in a lot of your cosmere books, like for example Elantris or Mistborn, they have something to do with some sort of subject matter or school or something. For example the Steelpush and Ironpulling in Mistborn is based on physics.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

If you push too hard it's based on...

Brandon Sanderson

Vector physics, yes.

Questioner

And then like Warbreaker is just like math, adding Breaths together. Did you intend that?

Brandon Sanderson

Not necessarily. I read a lot and I like science and I like philosophy and I like and things like this. And those spark most of my ideas. So yes in a term but I'm not like "Let's do this subject".

I would say Warbreaker, the big part of Warbreaker is the idea of sympathetic magic. Which is the idea that like affects like, which is a very common type of magic throughout all cultures on the planet, on our planet. When people believe in magic they believe in sympathetic magic. A voodoo doll is sympathetic magic. And that's where the idea came from.

Questioner

So in Elantris, which is different and then--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah that's basically fantasy programming, is where that one came from.

Questioner

And then there is The Stormlight Archive, which basically violates all the laws of physics by just saying everything comes from spren.

Brandon Sanderson

Well no they still have arguments on that, are spren attracted to these things or do they cause them.

Questioner

Yeah that's kind of weird...

Brandon Sanderson

Stormlight Archive was based on the fundamental forces, if you want go read on physics google fundamental forces.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#37 Copy

Silasary

If someone is a full Mistborn and is able to use Feruchemical gold... can they safely burn harmonium?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, okay. This is theoretically possible. 

Silasary

Would it have an effect?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. It would do something.

Silasary

And I'm going to hopefully ask what that is.

Brandon Sanderson

*gives a RAFO card* You've earned their card.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#38 Copy

Questioner

I was curious, what would happen if a full Mistborn burned lerasium? What would the Allomantic powers be?

Brandon Sanderson

Oohh, excellent, excellent question. So, I have not revealed what lerasium does if you already have Investiture. So, the answer to that is a RAFO. We've actually had like three people ask that tonight, so there must have been a discussion on the Sh-- the forums about it and I didn't answer them, so I can't answer you.

General Twitter 2012 ()
#40 Copy

SwiftxJustice

Quick question to help me settle a debate. Could Allomancy affect a Shardplate/blade?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Investiture interferes with most magics.

eridius

Wait, are Mistborn and Stormlight Archive somehow connected?

Brandon Sanderson

Multiple people from Mistborn appeared in The Way of Kings.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#41 Copy

Kurkistan

So time bubbles... How much control does a bubbler have over the bubble before and after it's cast? Can they just grow and shrink it or...

Brandon Sanderson

Not very much.

Kurkistan

So Wayne could flare his metals make time go faster--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Kurkistan

But if he'd stopped flaring--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, but-- they have a bit of control over the speed of it, but once it's up moving it or anything like that, not much. The flaring of it and things like that, yes they can-- it's mostly set when they start.

Kurkistan

But they have some discretion when they start it.

Brandon Sanderson

They do have some discretion, yes.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#42 Copy

Questioner

You're also famous for your magic systems, do you start with the effect you want to achieve or the mechanic you want to use?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on each magic system, they're all different. Sometimes there's just a really interesting-- Mistborn's a good example of this. I built Mistborn because I wanted a different power for each thieving crew member and I had in the back of my mind a few cool powers to use, but others I just developed. I'd be like, alright, we need something for the fast-talker. So therefore you get the thieving-crew and the classic thieving-crew elements, and I wanted something to improve every one of them. So while I had the Pushing and Pulling already, because that was really interesting and I'd been working it out in my head, I didn't have all these powers set out for the team, so I developed those.

In other cases it's just, you know The Stormlight Archive started with the fundamental forces in physics and extrapolating outwards from them until I had ten fundamental forces because I wanted to do fantastical fundamental forces. So that one started in physics.

The magic for Warbreaker started because my editor called me, true story, and said "ah, after Mistborn and Elantris you've done some very dreary settings, very nice but very dreary, let's do something with more color in it". More color it is!

Holiday signing ()
#44 Copy

Questioner

Could a Forger re-write their history to adjust the kind of metal they burn as an Allomancer?

Brandon Sanderson

They could, but it actually wouldn't do anything, because the magic would not be able to replicate the other magic.

Questioner

So they would not be able to re-write history in the necessary way?

Brandon Sanderson

They would not be able to. I mean they could, but it wouldn’t have an effect, does that make sense? It would do nothing, it would be like you can create the stamp, the stamp would look like it was working but you just wouldn't end up with Allomancy.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#45 Copy

Kurkistan

If you are standing inside of a time bubble, and throw a spear out of the bubble, what happens to that spear as it traverses the border of the bubble? Are different parts of the spear ever in different "time zones," going fundamentally different speeds?

On that line of reasoning, what would happen to a train and its occupants if Marasi stood next to railroad tracks holding up a Cadmium bubble while that train sped by?

Brandon Sanderson

In general, a large object going through a time bubble is not going to notice. An object is either in or out, and it depends in part on how the object views itself. People inside the train would be inside of its influence, and wouldn't notice the bubble. The spear would go from one to the other, but would never be in both.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#46 Copy

Kurkistan

Is there- have you come up with a Realmatic explanation for why light isn't affected by time bubbles besides handwavium "please don't burn people with microwaves"?

Brandon Sanderson

Peter's got one for us. 'Cause we were going to do redshift: like the actual original writing for it had redshifts; Peter's like "Dude, you will microwave everybody" I'm like "Oh man". So the handwavium of that: there is a real- there is an actual explanation, but it...

*they move to outside the store*

What's the middle of this question?

Kurkistan

Middle of the question was you were thinking about explaining the Realmatics behind light for time bubbles.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh right, right right right right. I can't because it spoils future books; like that's spoiler for Mistborn... 10?

Kurkistan/Argent

*laughter*

Brandon Sanderson

So... if you count the four Alloys, so really gotta stay away from stuff like that.

Kurkistan/Argent

That's fair/fine.

Holiday signing ()
#48 Copy

zas678's sister

So it said in the book that if Marasi and Wayne had it on at the same time-- Would it cancel it out all the way, or would it just cancel out where both of the bubbles were?

Brandon Sanderson

Where both of the bubbles were.

zas678's sister

So it would be like a--

Brandon Sanderson

You could make a bubble in a bubble, yes. Third book of...[Era 2]...will have a moment where they try to do a time bubble in motion.

zas678

A bubble in a bubble.

Brandon Sanderson

Not that one, the motion one, so you'll finally get some views on what's going on. You get some rules on that.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#49 Copy

Questioner

I've got a list of various Cosmere bits of metal and I was wondering if you would rank them from like one to ten or just easy to difficult on how hard it would be to steelpush on them. So with one being just a regular coin, ten being like when the Lord Ruler was moving bits of glass on the floor, so like metal inside a person's body.

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on how strong the Investiture in them is.

Questioner

Is that gonna be the answer for all of these?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably!

Questioner

How about a spike charged with Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

A spike charged with Hemalurgy... that depends on...

Questioner

Not in a person.

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on how strong, yeah, a spike is moderately, (in the realm of these kinds of things) moderately easy to push on because a spike does not rip off very much Investiture. Only enough to short circuit the soul, and less it over time. I would put that at the bottom, with the top being very hard, to be one of the easier things.

Questioner

How about a metalmind that is full?

Brandon Sanderson

That is full? That is going to be middle of the realm of the, yeah. Generally easier than, for instance, a Shardblade which is going to be very hard.

Questioner #2

A Shardblade is [inaudible] actually metal? [metal]-ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Ish. Is Lerasium a metal? Yeah.

Questioner

So that'd be the same for Shardplate too?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardplate and Blade are very hard. Blade is probably gonna be a little harder.

Questioner

A Half-shard?

Brandon Sanderson

A Half-shard shield? That's gonna be moderate.

Questioner

Nightblood? I imagine that being hard.

Brandon Sanderson

Hard, of all the things you've listed, that is going to be the hardest. Far beyond even a Sharblade.

Questioner

Far beyond metal inside a person? 

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, yes. Depending on how invested the person is.

Questioner

If somebody was invested as much as Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, for instance the God King, right. At the end with all those Breaths. Pushing something inside of him, getting through all of that? Gonna be real hard. Average person on Scadrial? You've seen how hard that is. A drab? Much easier.

Questioner

That was my next one, or no, sorry not a drab. A lifeless?

Brandon Sanderson

A Lifeless, yeah. Even... yeah. Lifeless are kind of weird because they've had their soul leave but then they've had a replacement stuck in in the form of Breath which leaves them in a very weird position compared to a drab which has had part of their Investiture ripped away but a majority remains, so, anyways. I'm going to give you one more. Pick your favorite.

Questioner

A soulstamped piece of metal?

Brandon Sanderson

A soulstamped piece of metal is going to be on the lower, easier side. Not a lot of Investiture going on in a soulstamp.

Holiday signing ()
#50 Copy

zas678

Why can a human be affected by Surgebinding but metals within their bodies cannot be Pushed or Pulled?

Brandon Sanderson

They can be Pushed or Pulled, if you're strong enough.

zas678

So is it just the Innate Investiture--

Brandon Sanderson

The Innate Investiture is interfering with things. Like if you look at it this way: So you're Surgebinding someone, I am touching him and sending the power straight into him. There's difference between there's something inside of him that I'm messing with and going through?