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

Douglas

1) What benefit does Compounding copper get? Exceptionally clear and detailed memories? Memories that can be split into a new coppermind while still remaining in the Feruchemist's mind? Something else?

2) How does Feruchemical luck work? If a chromium Compounder tried his hand at day trading on the stock market, what would happen? Would it make him choose stocks that were coincidentally going to go up anyway? Would it change stock prices by altering the world around him? Would it fail because the required scale of action is too large? Something else?

Brandon Sanderson

So, I've said before that I want to hold off on talking about different forms of compounding and types of twinborn until I can address them in the series. So I'll have to RAFO the first two.

Open The Fridge Interview ()
#3 Copy

Lyndsey Luther

Ok, last question. It was really difficult coming up with three questions that haven’t been asked already...

Brandon Sanderson

OK... you’re not going to ask me the “what would you ask me” question?

Lyndsey Luther

Not quite...

Brandon Sanderson

OK good, because I hate that one! (laughs)

Lyndsey Luther

My question is if there’s anything that you’ve never been asked that you would like to talk about?

Brandon Sanderson

Oooooh, ok. Hm. That one is so hard! Every time people ask me something like this... What have I never been asked that people should be asking, is basically what the question is? Something that the fans have just missed... They pick up on so much, that it’s hard... I do wonder if, you know… all the magic systems [in my books] are connected and work on some basic fundamental principles, and a lot of people haven’t been asking questions about this. One thing I did get a question on today, and I’ll just talk about this one... they didn’t ask the right question, but I nudged them the right way, is understanding that tie between Aondor [the magic system from Elantris] and allomancy [Mistborn’s magic system].

People ask about getting the power from metals and things, but that’s not actually how it works. The power’s not coming from metal. I talked a little about this before, but you are drawing power from some source, and the metal is actually just a gateway. It’s actually the molecular structure of the metal… what’s going on there, the pattern, the resonance of that metal works in the same way as an Aon does in Elantris. It filters the power. So it is just a sign of “this is what power this energy is going to be shaped into and give you.” When you understand that, compounding [in Alloy of Law] makes much more sense.

Compounding is where you are able to kind of draw in more power than you should with feruchemy. What’s going on there is you’re actually charging a piece of metal, and then you are burning that metal as a feruchemical charge. What is happening is that the feruchemical charge overwrites the allomantic charge, and so you actually fuel feruchemy with allomancy, is what you are doing. Then if you just get out another piece of metal and store it in, since you’re not drawing the power from yourself, you’re cheating the system, you’re short-circuiting the system a little bit. So you can actually use the power that usually fuels allomancy, to fuel feruchemy, which you can then store in a metalmind, and basically build up these huge reservoirs of it. So what’s going on there is… imagine there’s like, an imprint, a wavelength, so to speak. A beat for an allomantic thing, that when you burn a metal, it says “ok, this is what power we give.” When it’s got that charge, it changes that beat and says, “now we get this power.” And you access a set of feruchemical power. That’s why compounding is so powerful.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#4 Copy

Kaymyth [PENDING REVIEW]

We know that compounding, if you do it too much, it has permanent effects on a person.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah.

Kaymyth [PENDING REVIEW]

Compounding for extending stretches, can it have some sort of effect similar to pewter drag, depending on the metal?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah. I could say, I would say yes to that.

Boskone 54 ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

What happens when you compound copper?

Brandon Sanderson

I’m going to RAFO that for now. I am dealing with the various interactions of the various magics slowly on purpose, to dole out information, so that I have cool stuff to talk about in future books.

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

Cheese_Ninja

One question, two parts: If a double nicrosil Twinborn started Compounding and storing Investiture in a nicrosilmind, could they do something cool by tapping a whole huge bunch at once? And since Scadrialians have both Ruin and Preservation in them, could they store both those qualities in a one nicrosilmind, or would it require two different ones?

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. All things regarding Investiture (particularly in regards to Feruchemy) are instant RAFOs at this point, I'm afraid. I've got to save SOME things for future books.

A Memory of Light Raleigh Signing ()
#14 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

Why did the Lord Ruler have to stay aged at times?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That's when he was doing his rebuild. He didn't really have to, but he let himself. He has to recharge periodically, and then stays on a higher and higher burn over the thousand years. It gets harder and harder. The way the magic works—he doesn't have to stay aged.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Is he burning or tapping?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He's tapping.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#15 Copy

Questioner

*inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

So, zinc increases the speed of your thought. So, if he did that, he would spend eternity in a moment. And that would be, actually, a bad thing. That would basically make him look brain-dead to everyone else. So, he did occasionally speed up his thought, but that only gets you so far. It doesn't actually... like, speed of thought... you're still the same person. It feels like everything else is slowing down around you, but you don't move any faster. So, anyway. Zinc is not capable of doing that, at least, not in the way that you're hoping for it to be.

Legion Release Party ()
#18 Copy

Steeldancer [PENDING REVIEW]

So if a steel compounder became an Edgedancer... 

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Oh, here we go. [Audience laughs]

Steeldancer [PENDING REVIEW]

If a steel compounder became an Edgedancer, how fast could they go?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

[Dramatic sigh] They could go quite fast. They are not going to ever reach superhero levels of bending reality for speed. So, I will say quick, but not that quick. We aren't outracing an atom bomb, as the Flash periodically does. 

General Reddit 2015 ()
#19 Copy

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? Im 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 of 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.)

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#20 Copy

djscrub

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

We saw with Miles what it was like if you Compounded gold. I was wondering what it would be like if you tried Compounding tin.

Brandon Sanderson

So Compounding with tin?

Questioner

Just what it would be like the experience...

Brandon Sanderson

Ehhh…  I’ll go ahead and I'm going to RAFO that.  Because I want to write it out and see how it looks on the page.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#25 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

My friend wants to know how fast steel Compounders could possibly go, can they run up walls or over water like the Flash?

Blightsong (paraphrased)

*jokingly* Can they run through time?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Steelrunners can resist a lot things due to the power, like they can withstand the Gs they are out through, but they can't ignore wind resistance and friction. They will burn up if they start running too quickly.

Calamity Seattle signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

When you are burning a Compounded metal are you getting the metal’s effect and the stored power? Can you explain, I’m unclear on the Compounding.

Brandon Sanderson

Compounding is a way to hack the magic system so you can get a Feruchemical attribute out of-- basically powering Feruchemy with Allomancy.  If that makes sense.

Questioner

So you’re not actually burning the metalmind?

Brandon Sanderson

Kind of? There’s a big explanation on Reddit, if you send me an email I can link you to it, that steps you through exactly, easier than explaining it here

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#28 Copy

yulerule

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

Wow, so much.

*Writes:* Wow so much. 

yulerule

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

Brandon Sanderson

No, it needs more. Needs more.

*Writes:* Needs more.

yulerule

More?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

yulerule

Does that-- is it *inaudible* nicrosil? *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, good question.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#30 Copy

Questioner

Can you compound like a, can you compund metalminds to the point where you become like a savant?

Brandon Sanderson

A savant happens because persistent use of the power has an effect on your soul, warping it. Compounding is a very different thing, so while you could draw some very powerful effects, I would not call them the same thing, even if they are imitating one another at certain points.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#33 Copy

yurisses

If Miles stored a very tiny bit of health into a gold bead and then burned it, what would happen? Would he see goldshadows for a time and then obtain Compounded health when reaching the charged part of the bead? Would the bead be evenly charged and deliver only health, no gold shadows, but at a very low rate since only little health was loaded in it? Would the bead be evenly charged and deliver only health, but at a standard rate the user would always get when compounding?

Brandon Sanderson

He'd hack the system to deliver health for a short time instead of doing what it was supposed to do, but only until the small portion of gold Invested with his Investiture ran out.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#34 Copy

Zantis [PENDING REVIEW]

Let's say Lift received two Hemalurgic spikes: one for Allomantic bendalloy and one for Feruchemical bendalloy. Then she eats a bunch of pancakes, stores the nutrition in a piece of bendalloy, burns it to compound nutrition...

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Okay. *several times as Zantis speaks*

Zantis [PENDING REVIEW]

Can that nutrition be turned into Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

...Yeah. *Zantis laughs* Yeah, but remember she didn't have to be-- so basically what that-- is just a really complicated way for her to turn Allomantic Investiture <so that it can allocate Allomantic Investiture> into Stormlight. That would be a complex method of doing that. Just transferring one type of Investiture into another. It's just basically drawing from Ruin and she is then turning it into Stormlight *inaudible* -ish? It's a complicated thing, but that's basically what happens, just really crazy.

Zantis [PENDING REVIEW]

Okay, so-- but it is the same sort of thing, right? *hesitant nod from Brandon* And... *Brandon interrupts*

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I hope that eventually in the cosmere they will find easier ways than that...

Ad Astra 2017 ()
#35 Copy

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.

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

Chaos (paraphrased)

I continued to ask about the Lord Ruler and his Allomantic strength.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There's an upper bound to the amount of power you can get from being a savant. Brandon said that, obviously, the Lord Ruler wasn't using duralumin and Elend could only get that powerful in Soothing using duralumin. He implied that there was a way to Compound to enhance Allomancy.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#37 Copy

Moogle

Compounding requires practice, according to The Hero of Age's annotations. And yet, it's apparently as easy as burning a metalmind. What was going on that meant the Inquisitors couldn't figure out how to do it (despite Ruin likely knowing how and undoubtedly wanting them to learn) for over a year? What skill did they need to practice doing, exactly?

And what happened while they were practicing burning metalminds without successfully Compounding? Did they get an Allomantic effect?

Brandon Sanderson

What I think I was getting at in the annotations was a cosmere magic rule that, perhaps, I hadn't completely refined yet. This is the idea that INTENTION is vitally important to the workings of most cosmere magics.

You can learn to burn metals instinctively over time, but it does take time--time for your body to figure out what it's doing. If you have instruction and guidance, you can pick it up in an evening, like Vin did. Same goes for most of the magics. This ties into Awakening, with the idea that you have to form a command.

During Warbreaker was where I really refined this aspect of the magic. Logically, since the beginning of the cosmere, I've wanted all three Realms to be important to the way the magics worked. The "Practice" therefore for compounding is mental practice--a barrier to overcome in understanding what is happening, and what it will do to you.

If you already know all of these things by having it explained to you, that barrier is far less high. I think that was what I was talking about in the Annotations, without really having the idea specified yet--though I'd have to look back at the annotation and re-read it to say for certain.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#39 Copy

Questioner

What happens if you burn duralumin while Compounding?

Brandon Sanderson

Duralumin while Compounding. So, what duralumin does is it burns out of all of your metal in one burst. So it doesn't necessarily gain you power, it makes it all happen at the same time. The same thing would happen.

Questioner

Could you turn into a baby?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, you could totally turn into a baby. That is within the power of using that, doing <health wrong>, yeah you could totally... You'd be really dangerous.

Questioner

But it wouldn't really do much?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh it would have explosive... it does things really fast. That's what it does. Yes you could achieve very powerful sudden effects through that. It'd be scary. Controlling it can be dangerous, regardless of which metal you use.

Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations ()
#42 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Those of you who have read to the end might wonder where the Lord Ruler got his fantastic healing powers. Well, it has to do with Feruchemy. See, the ability to heal one's body is one of the things a Feruchemist can store up. And, the Lord Ruler's power–by being both Allomancer and Feruchemist–is to draw near-infinite power from his Feruchemical storages by burning them. He can be any age he wants. He can live as long as he wants. And, he can heal as quickly and much as he wants. More on this in book two.

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing ()
#45 Copy

Necarion

The compounding trick that the Lord Ruler performed. When you're storing Investiture, are you storing your "Mistborn-ness" or all the powers individually?

Brandon Sanderson

All of the powers individually.

Necarion

Oh okay!

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, the compounding trick. Really what's happening is you're fueling Feruchemy with the power of Allomancy, but you're filtering it through you, and then you're storing it.

Necarion

So it's not that you're a more powerful mistborn when you've tapped [investiture]

Brandon Sanderson

No, good question.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#46 Copy

mweaver9280

How fast could a steel/steel Twinborn move?

Brandon Sanderson

You'd hit physical limits eventually. While the Metallurgic arts generally enhanced the body to deal with the powers granted, things like air resistance would hold you back--perhaps even kill you--if you weren't careful.