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Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#1 Copy

FirstSelector [PENDING REVIEW]

So, do you have a name, like an in-world name for a large magical construction, like the things that picks Elantrians?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That was why I invented the term "fabrial." It will become widespread eventually, as the term for meaning, kind of, magic-type devices in the cosmere. That's not what you call it right now, but you can start calling them all fabrials.

FirstSelector [PENDING REVIEW]

But what about something that isn't, like-- I always imagined that Aona left, like, a device, a magical device running--

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I will have to RAFO that.

Oathbringer Leeds signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner 1 [PENDING REVIEW]

Do all Soulcasters risk turning into the element or is it only those using the device?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

All Soulcasters have an affinity but the ones using the device are locked down much more than the Soulcasters who are Knights Radiant.

Questioner 1 [PENDING REVIEW]

So they are protected from being turned into--

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Oh no they-- I wouldn't say protected... *clarificaiton* Protected is the wrong term but that event, the savanthood and how it affects them and things like that is much less pronounced if you are a [Knight].

Questioner 1 [PENDING REVIEW]

Or is that counteracted by the healing as well?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Healing doesn't have to do with it because-- in cosmere terms there's nothing wrong with your body, your spirit is actually drifting, and so it's not hurting you physically by what's happening with the magics. So it's not the healing but if you have an active bond with a spren it takes a little different path. Let's just say, in simple terms--

Questioner 1 [PENDING REVIEW]

You are not losing body parts to smoke.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, you are not using body parts to smoke. 

Questioner 1 [PENDING REVIEW]

What timeframe does it happen for the normal Soulcasters then?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

For normal Soulcasters? It takes-- I mean, you've seen it happening in the books. We are talking [about] a process of years even decades, depending on the person. It happens to some--

Questioner 2 [PENDING REVIEW]

Depending on how often they Soulcast?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It depends on how often they Soulcast, and it depends on the person. 

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#4 Copy

RobotAztec

can spren go thru walls like ghosts too?

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on the spren, and how strongly they've been pulled into the physical realm.

RobotAztec

so the ones that cant are the ones people can trap in gems for fabriels?

do they catch them with big butterfly nets and thrwo a gem into the netting? or is it like poekmon where they just throw gems and hope they hit??

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. No, neither one. This is a RAFO, I'm afraid.

Steelheart Portland signing ()
#5 Copy

Joshstormblessed (paraphrased)

What is the stone that Gavilar gave to Szeth before he died?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Good question, there are clues to what it is. (I'm going to try to get this answer right) if you decode [Navani's notebook] in the beginning of The Way of Kings you will find some significant clues to what the stone is. The [notebook] has already been decoded over at the 17th shard but I've never confirmed that those clues are in fact there. So go tell the 17th shard I confirmed that and they will love you for it. 

FAQFriday 2017 ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

How did you come up with The Stormlight Archive's gem magic/technology?

Brandon Sanderson

One of the things to keep in mind is I that developed this book before Mistborn was published. I do wonder if sometimes people are going to say, "Oh, he did metals before, and now he's doing crystals." But the thoughts arose quite independently in my head. You may know that there is a unifying theory of magic for all of my worlds--a behind-the-scenes rationale. Like a lot of people believe there's unifying theory of physics, I have a unifying theory of magic that I try to work within in order to build my worlds. As an armchair scientist, believing in a unifying theory helps me. I'm always looking for interesting ways that magic can be transferred, and interesting ways that people can become users of magic. I don't want just to fall into expected methodologies. If you look at a lot of fantasy--and this is what I did in Mistborn so it's certainly not bad; or if it is, I'm part of the problem--a lot of magic is just something you're born with. You're born with this special power that is either genetic or placed upon you by fate, or something like that. In my books I want interesting and different ways of doing that. That's why in Warbreaker the magic is simply the ability to accumulate life force from other people, and anyone who does that becomes a practitioner of magic. 

In The Way of Kings, I was looking for some sort of reservoir. Essentially, I wanted magical batteries, because I wanted to take this series toward developing a magical technology. The first book only hints at this, in some of the art and some of the things that are happening. There's a point where one character's fireplace gets replaced with a magical device that creates heat. And he's kind of sad, thinking something like, "I liked my hearth, but now I can touch this and it creates heat, which is still a good thing." But we're seeing the advent of this age, and therefore I wanted something that would work with a more mystical magic inside of a person and that could also form the basis for a mechanical magic. That was one aspect of it. Another big aspect is that I always like to have a visual representation, something in my magic to show that it's not all just happening abstractly but that you can see happen. I loved the imagery of glowing gemstones. When I wrote Mistborn I used Burning metals--metabolizing metals--because it's a natural process and it's an easy connection to make. Even though it's odd in some ways, it's natural in other ways; metabolizing food is how we all get our energy. The idea of a glowing object, illuminated and full of light, is a natural connection for the mind to make: This is a power source; this is a source of natural energy. And since I was working with the highstorms, I wanted some way that you could trap the energy of the storm and use it. The gemstones were an outgrowth of that.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#9 Copy

sonofstannis

At the end of Words of Radiance, does Nale resurrect Szeth using the stormlight obtained from Lift earlier in the novel or does he have another method?

Brandon Sanderson

Nale uses the same power, but has a specific hack that lets him accomplish it, when he otherwise would not be able to.

Brandon's Blog 2010 ()
#10 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I started working on THE WAY OF KINGS fifteen years ago. I wrote the first version of the book in full back in 2003. It was always planned to be big. You don’t grow up reading Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, and Melanie Rawn without wanting to do your own big epic. When I showed it to my editor back in ’03, he thought it was too ambitious to be published, at least as my second novel.

There are thirty magic systems in this world, depending on how you count them, and around six thousand years of history I’ve mapped out. There are dozens of cultures, a continent of enormous scope, and a deep, rich mythology. However, when I say things like that, you have to realize that very little of it will end up in the first book. The best fantasy epics I’ve read begin with a personal look at the characters in the early books, then have a steady expansion into epic scope.

I’ve spent many years thinking about the epic fantasy genre, what makes it work, what I love about it, and how to deal with its inherent weaknesses. And so I’m trying to make use of the form of the novel (meaning how I place chapters and which viewpoints I put where) in order to convey the scope without distracting from the main stories I wish to tell.

Anyway, I don’t jump between dozens of characters in this novel. There are three central viewpoints, with two or so primary supporting viewpoints. I intend the first book to be its own story, focused and personal. I don’t want this to be the “Wow! Thirty Magic Systems!” series. I want it to be a series about a group of characters you care about, with a lush and real world that has solid and expansive depth.

In other words, I promise you a variety of magics, mythology, history, and cultures . . . but not all in the first book.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
#15 Copy

Calderis [PENDING REVIEW]

Fabrials. With the spren, when they're trapped in the gemstones, can each individual spren type only do one Surge, or is the way that they're bound in the gemstone, like, gem type and color, does that have an effect on how it works?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Mmhmm. It does.

FAQFriday 2017 ()
#16 Copy

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.

Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
#18 Copy

Blaze1616

Fabrials and AonDor. In Elantris you mention there’s Tia plates that let people teleport around the city. Could an Elantrian essentially make portable fabrials using a similar method as the Aon Tia plates?

Brandon Sanderson

*hesitantly* Yes, that is within the possibility of what it can do. The problem is the further you get from Elantris, the weaker the magic, so they’re going to be really limited in distance. But yes, totally could. And you could probably get them working through most of that region.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

I'm guessing it's a RAFO, but why do Honorblades work the way they do?

Brandon Sanderson

Honorblades were crafted before Shardblades existed...

Questioner

So they were crafted.

Brandon Sanderson

They were crafted before Shardblades existed, and all Shardblades that exist came about as certain individuals trying to find out how to copy Honorblades.

Questioner

So would it be fair to say that Honorblades are analagous to fabrials in some sense? Trap spren in a crystal yada yada Stormlight power?

Brandon Sanderson

There is an analogy there, that I think would pass the SAT's rigor for analogies.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#21 Copy

BenFoley

One common theme in magic systems across fantasy is the use of artifacts to focus, increase or do something specific with the magic. Inclusion of artifacts is something you have avoided in your magic systems (although I will say I haven't missed them). Is there a reason for this? How has your writing changed with the 'forced' introduction of artifacts (i.e. finishing the Wheel of Time)? Do you plan on using artifacts in your own works after you finish the Wheel of Time?

Brandon Sanderson

I've not done artifacts for the same reason I've not yet done a lot of things—not because I don't want to, but because I like to keep the focus in a given book or books. There wasn't room for yet another extrapolation in that direction when writing the Mistborn books, and the magic system didn't really allow for it.

However, I think there is a lot of room to explore magic artifacts. I've long been wanting to do something that refines magic and uses technology based on it, in kind of a magic-punk sort of way. Kings, for instance, does use artifacts and magical items—very specific kinds, mind you, that are built into the framework of the magic system. But they're there. One of the big elements of this world will be the existence of Shardplate (magically enhanced, powered plate armor) and Shardblades (large, summonable swords designed to cut through steel and stone.)

This isn't really because of the WoT—I wrote the original draft of this book long before I was published, let alone working on the WoT—but I have always lilked the use of artifacts in the WoT world, and it has been fun to use some of them in that setting.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#25 Copy

Questioner

If an Awakener were to go to Roshar and were to bleed the color from a gem would that gem still be able to store Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Bleed the color from a gem… Um ye-ye-ye-yeah. This would interfere with its function on Roshar. It would probably still be able to hold Stormlight…

Questioner

Might not be able to be used for Soulcasting?

Brandon Sanderson

Yea-- It's going to… You know what no it would just change it. It would just bleed the color from it and turn it into a dusty quartz or something like that. That's probably what it would end up with, a dusty quartz. Because the molecular structure doesn't matter as much as the color for Roshar. So yeah you would probably still be able to hold Stormlight because a diamond can but I don't know, quartz might cut it. You'd probably end up with something that's not going to work so well.

Questioner

What about a fabrial that needs a specific--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah a specific-- A ruby wouldn't work any more, and it would let go whatever is captured inside.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#28 Copy

ebilutionist

Regarding soulcasting, I have a question - why do people continue to use it post-Recreance? Would it not have been seen as a betrayal, given that the Radiants abandoned them? Why this Surge but not others? Was it simply the only Surge available and people would have kept using the others anyway? I guess it's a matter of practicality but given how devout Vorinism can be it does seem odd.

Brandon Sanderson

Good question. You'll notice that soulcasters aren't the only fabrial that access a surge, however. They're just the one most commonly used.

There are plenty of rationalizations. But it comes down to this: they are too useful to give up.

ebilutionist

Ah yes, now that I think of it Navani's conjoined-gem fabrials seem to utilize Gravitation and perhaps the heating one uses Abrasion(?) to produce heat. Or are there others I did miss?

Brandon Sanderson

I was referencing a regrowth fabrial, actually, which I believe has appeared several times.

ebilutionist

Isn't the regrowth fabrial incredibly rare? I was under the impression it disappeared with the Recreance and only Nin's reappearance brought it back. AFAIK, only a Radiant in Dalinar's vision and a Herald have actually used it so far.

Brandon Sanderson

Their rarity depends on the time period in question. But yes, I'd list them as incredibly rare.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#29 Copy

Questioner

What would happen if somebody used the color from a Stormlight-infused gem to create a BioChromatic entity?

Brandon Sanderson

So I just had this question actually and what we came up with was that would leave behind something that is like a cloudy quartz and is going to make it work not as well for holding Stormlight. That's our answer right now, I'm going to talk to my scientists and see what they think because draining the color from something doesn't just leave it white, or clear, it kind of ruins it, it's gray-ish, it's dun. It clouds. So I think it would ruin things for Stormlight.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#30 Copy

gossypiboma

When communicating over spanreed, do you have to compensate for the curvature of the planet? For example, would communicating with someone on the other side of the planet result in upside down writing?

Brandon Sanderson

Spanreeds auto-compensate when you activate them. Meaning, once you tap them on, they will follow the same pattern in relation to the writing board as the other one.

Paris signing ()
#31 Copy

Demiandre (paraphrased)

I wondered about Shallan's eidetic memory, and about the possibility of trapping a spren. Could a bonded spren be trapped inside a gemstone and trapped in a safe? If so, would something else - not Investiture related - fill the "crack in the soul"? Could that be linked to her memory or her need to draw before Lightweaving?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

In and about, he answered that what Shallan does isn't out of the ordinary, and it is possible to trap a bonded spren inside a gemstone.