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Firefight Chicago signing ()
#3 Copy

Kurkistan

Could a Feruchemist manipulate their identity such that they could make a metalmind that anyone could tap?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah... RAFO.

Kurkistan

Okay; could they manipulate their identity such that they could pull Breaths out of something that somebody else Awakened?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah... ahahah, Awakened, oh yeah... That one's going to be harder, but you're thinking along-- You're thinking with portals. *smiles* Do you know what that means.

Kurkistan

Yes, I know what it means--

Brandon Sanderson

You're starting to think with portals.

Kurkistan

I'm thinking with portals, okay, thank you.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. In other words you're wrapping your head around the way that the magic system is working, so.

Argent

That's so excellent.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

I've got a Mistborn question for you. So, Identity? Can you store, like-- is your physical appearance part of your Identity?

Brandon Sanderson

It is to some people. To most people, it's a part of it, yes.... I don't know the answer-- don't take that as "You can store that." and things like that. It's involved. There are certain things you can do. But it's not as simple as it might have sounded, what I just implied.

Questioner

So, does that apply to your Identity, if you're in the Cognitive Realm? Or the Physical Realm? Can you store that?

Brandon Sanderson

The reason you look like you do in the Cognitive Realm is because it's Identity, things like that. I'm not gonna talk about specifically how storing that works really. Although there is the idea that your soul is the key to Investiture and stuff like that.

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

dyring

A Coinshot able to store weight can, as you showed us with Wax Push in a ridiculously powerful manner, as the weight/mass is the largest factor which controls the Push strength.

I'm wondering if the same can be done with soothing(or rioting). If you where to increase your identity, that may/should increase your emotional imprint(or whatever you might call it), would your soothings/riotings become vastly more powerful in a similar way as weight makes steelpushing more powerful?

And if it does, is this how the Lord Ruler improved his Soothing in such a spectacular fashion?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, the Lord Ruler--don't forget--could compound any Allomancy he wanted. That creates some crazy effects. As for what you discuss in your first question, I don't want to touch too much on Identity yet as I am saving it for later books. Talking too much here might undermine my ability to reveal interesting and cool things in books when the time is right. I like your theory, and it has merit, but I'm not going to give you a yes or a no as it delves too much into what Identity, as an attribute, can do.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#7 Copy

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.

JordanCon 2014 ()
#8 Copy

Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

If a Feruchemist using an aluminum metalmind stored their Identity to zero, then filled a coppermind with all of their knowledge, would another Feruchemist with an identity set to zero be able to access the first Feruchemist's coppermind?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I'm not going to tell you a definite yes or no, this is something that needs to be saved for future books, but you are thinking along the correct lines about how Identity works regarding Feruchemists.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#9 Copy

Yata

If a Ferring creates a metalmind and then loses his power (for example through Hemalurgy), could he still use his previous-made metalmind ?

Brandon Sanderson

No, he could not. And, unfortunately, the person who stole a bit of his soul would probably be keyed with enough Identity to use his metalmind. :( (This is uncertain, though, based on how much of the soul got ripped off, and how much the spike has decayed.)

Orem signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

In terms of discussing Identity, I know that in Emperor's Soul, they talk about Identity, and the Parshendi talk about losing their Identity, and then I was just rereading Bands of Mourning, and one of the kandra talks about how the spikes are their Identity. Are all of those things connected somehow or are they different forms of Identity?

Brandon Sanderson

They are connected, although the Parshendi losing their identity is a little more metaphorical. But yeah, the idea of these things-- Identity is an innate attribute in the cosmere that is related to your soul, your spirit, and it is one of the things that Hemalurgy can fiddle with and Feruchemy can fiddle with. It's kind of important to how the [Metallic] Arts play out, but it's important to all the magics...

Identity is involved in why you can't use another person's metalminds, right, that kind of thing. And those are all related. The Parshendi is more metaphorical. 

Questioner

I wondered because it's always capitalized, in the book.

Brandon Sanderson

Yep, and it's done intentionally. Peter always asks, "Are you sure this one is capitalized?" "Yeah."

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

So one of the things people have been asking about a lot the nature of Identity and its uses for accessing other people's metalminds, and things like this right. And I hedged a little bit when somebody asked me... *inaudible*...send people into spirals of confusion, so I'm gonna clarify it for now. So, someone comes in and says, we need a blank metalmind, anybody can use that. I'm like, yes but, the reason that it's a hedge is that you need to actually be a feruchemist to access it, right, you can't just hold the blank metalmind not being a feruchemist, even though it's somebody else's investiture that's been blanked, right. So people keep kind of missing this thing. I'm hedging in the sort of, you don't quite have it, I've kind of dodged it, but I worry that it's just going to be confusing.

So the issue is, you need two things from one of these. You need something that makes you a feruchemist, and then you need a metalmind that somebody else has filled with blank investiture, ok. Now if you can get pure investiture, that can be used by anybody, regardless, ok, you need it in pure form though. But, so there are some other tricks with this as well that don't make it...so anyway, you've got a couple of things that can go on. So you've got a blank metalmind, right, with nothing. You need either investiture, to be able...like you need to be the right type. There are ways to access that if you are completely blank also, if you were a blank slate, but that is still...kind of hard. It's even harder if you are blank, and the metalmind is not blank, but that's not what they're doing in Mistborn right now. You are tapping investiture, gaining the ability of feruchemy and then you are drawing out a blank metalmind, ok. That's the one you need to be...and everything else I'm hedging on intentionally, and I'm worried I hedged in a way that made it sound confusing, ok. So you know now what they're doing. You know that there are other things possible. But I don't want you to think that you have the explanations for how all those things happen, ok.

Orem signing ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

So, Miles Hundredlives. If you were to spike his Allomantic gold out of him, would that change his Identity such that he could no longer access his metalminds?

Brandon Sanderson

That would not necessarily change his Identity, but it would change his Investiture. So if you took off the piece of his soul that could do Allomancy, and then gave him his metalminds. Well, no... No, this is more complicated than I was assuming. So you're saying if someone took away his ability to do Allomancy, could he still access his Feruchemy metalminds. Yes he could. He could still do that. That should work just fine. 

Questioner

Do the metalminds kind of have a pointer to his Identity, they don't have a copy of his Identity that they're keyed to? 

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah... he is still him unless you spike him and do something with the Identity specifically. 

Questioner

So you could potentially steal his Identity.

Brandon Sanderson

That strays into RAFO territory, so we'll go ahead and give you a RAFO card. But simply taking it away would not change his Identity to the point that it would prevent-- Good question. Very detailed.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#14 Copy

sebarial

Would a Feruchemist actively storing Identity be more susceptible to Forgery? Would more outlandish changes be able to take effect? Thanks for your time, and have a wonderful day.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, if you store Identity, it makes you susceptible to ALL KINDS of things in the Cosmere. Forgery would be on the short list.

bubblebooy

Does the difficulty of affecting metals in a body with Allomancy have to do with Identity?

Brandon Sanderson

No, more to do with the fact that most people are innately Invested in the Cosmere--and certain planets have extra Investiture. Something Invested is more difficult to transform/move/etc with another form of Investiture.

bubblebooy

That is what I had originally thought before you capitalized "ALL KINDS." Is Soulcasting people like Jasnah Kholin did doubly hard since people a have a strong sense of Identity and have innate Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

We're getting a bit far on this course, so it's time to pull out the RAFOs. I don't want to overplay my hand and leave the books without anything to talk about. :)

Phantine

Does that 'inside a body' thing work on most magics?

For instance, if Han stuck Luke into a Mistborn Tauntaun (a distant and unlucky relative of the mistborn llama), would Luke be protected from both the cold and emotional allomancy?

Brandon Sanderson

He'd have to get him inside a living one.

It does work on most magics, though the interactions can be odd unless you know a lot about the workings. Emotional Allomancy, for example, works by lapping against the outsides of someone's cognitive self, influencing you the way music might stir your soul. So being inside a living body wouldn't necessarily stop it--you'd just have more interference. Kind of like how you can still hear music outside if it's loud enough.

Actual mind control in the cosmere requires you to get INSIDE the soul, which you've seen happen frequently enough. There has to be a gap or an opening.

Or, conversely, you just have to be so powerful that you can push through the interference.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#16 Copy

Ravi

If Odium were lured to Scadrial, would his physical body turn into a burnable metal?

If so, could Harmony create an Odium-metal legion of Mistings to consume and burn it?

Would that weaken him sufficiently enough to be killed or destroyed?

Brandon Sanderson

The difficulty here is, again, one of Identity. People born on Scadrial have an Identity tied to it and its magic. Odium would have to do certain things to make them able to use a magic he fuels. He has done these things on Roshar, so it's not impossible for him to manage it on Scadrial.

Stuttgart signing ()
#17 Copy

The Forumlurker (paraphrased)

Can a Windrunner use a Basic Lashing on a specific body part?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, but it works the same way a Steelpusher could push on a specific part of metal. Usually, you'd just affect the whole body, because of its Identity and cosmere magic not working as well on parts of something that considers itself a unit. When you're very skilled, you can isolate a hand, like Kelsier could push on specific sections of metal.

Orem signing ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

If you were to Feruchemically drain your Identity, would you just be able to be soulstamped by any--  Would any soulstamp work on you?

Brandon Sanderson

Not the way I have it now. Because-- You're getting into stuff that I really would like to have my notes next to me for. So don't take this as too gospel. But the way I have this worked out right now, is if you drain your Identity, you still can't use Feruchemical metalminds that themselves have not been drained of Identity, right?

So, any old stamp still is going to be keyed to someone's past and Identity. So my instincts say no that would not work, but I have not worked out that specific interaction in the notes.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#21 Copy

Lucadaw

If someone used Hemalurgy to take someones Feruchemical abilities would they be able to use that persons personal metalminds? Most relevantly perhaps to take that person's knowledge from their copperminds?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Lucadaw

If someone stored their identity in an aluminium metalmind, then had their powers and metalminds stolen via Hemalurgy, then the person who took the powers used the aluminium metalmind to draw out the first persons identity would it permanently overwrite their personality with the original persons ? ( would kind of be a long winded way of stealing someone else's body and becoming immortal )

Brandon Sanderson

All Identity questions are a RAFO until I deal with it more in the books. (Sorry.)

WeiryWriter (in response to the first answer)

If the spike granting Feruchemy were to be reforged/split into two distinct spikes which are then implanted into two different people, could those two people "share" a metalmind (as in actually be able to tap something the other stored and vice versa?).

Brandon Sanderson

It's complicated, but no.

There would be too much of the other person mixed in. Both could use the metalminds of the person the Feruchemy was stolen from, but when they made their own, their own Identity would "muddy" the creation.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#22 Copy

Phantine

So... CS question here, I'm seeing identity as essentially a 'encryption' on the metalmind - the spike has the decryption key to existing metalminds, but when you encrypt a new one you use your personal encryption key with the spike's hardware, so you still have compounding access to the metalminds even after removing the spike.

Is it possible for there to be a 'key collision' with Identity? Two people just randomly end up making compatible metalminds, because the pieces of their Identities that the magic looks like happen to be the same.

Brandon Sanderson

This would be about as likely as two unrelated people ending up with the exact same genetic sequence.

But, so far as I understand, that WOULD be possible.

Lucadaw

So identical twins could share metalminds ?

Brandon Sanderson

:) RAFO.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#23 Copy

Djarskublar

*inaudible* [I asked if it would be possible to recall Breaths from an object that you had not placed there if the Awakener who did place them there had no Identity at the time.]

Brandon Sanderson

So, this is a very detailed, specific question, if you didn't hear it. It's dealing with the idea of Investiture and Identity, and things like this. If you can unkey the magic with Identity, for almost any case, it's going to make it much easier for other people to use. That's gonna be a blanket statement through the cosmere. If you can blank your Identity, it's at least gonna be able to be used by someone else with a blank Identity. Sometimes it's keyed, so the blank will not work with somebody who is themselves keyed. But if you can blank and they can blank, you can almost always guarantee the magic will be able to be used.

Stuttgart signing ()
#24 Copy

Krios (paraphrased)

If you have a form of manipulating your Identity and a form of healing, are you able to shapeshift or even evolve your body like growing wings?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You'd have to do some real work on your Spiritweb to make that work. It'd take more work than you're implying, but the [singers] for instance are doing this. It'll take a little more work, it's not just blanking your Identity. Hemalurgy would make it very easy, but also very evil. But what you want to achieve is possible.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#25 Copy

Mac

If one Feruchemist Keeper, a full Feruchemist, spiked another Feruchemist and got one Hemalurgic imbue from that person, would the first one now have enough of the second Keeper's Identity to use all of their metalminds? Or would it just be--

Brandon Sanderson

Ooh, that's a good one. I'm gonna say "yes," but it's a hesitant yes, because it's actually a question I haven't worked out yet. So you can have that as a yes, unless I hit it in the books and am looking at the notes and decide that it wouldn't work. I think that it would.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#27 Copy

Argent

We know that you can't Lash people in Shardplate, but can you Lash the person inside the Plate? If they had their helm off, for example. At that point Plate should be just dead weight, right? 

Brandon Sanderson

There's a bit of an interference envelope. Wearing plate, the person has this big ball of investiture around them, and so pushing any through it--even by touching a person without a helm--is going to be tough. Easier than with the helm on though, I suppose.

Investiture acts (roughly) like a saturated solution in these cases. Sticking more power into something like a Feruchemical storage or a hyper-invested object like Plate is increasingly hard. The other part is that Investiture tends to interfere with other Investiture, unless there's a familiar resonance. (This is part of what philosophers call Identity.) Slapping your hand through a sand master's stream of sand will cause interference, and make them start to drop. It's not that the sand is supporting them, it's that the investiture holding them up gets scrambled for a moment because of your own investiture.

Investiture pushed toward someone inside a hyper-invested (supersaturated) system like a person in Shardplate is going to get hard push-back.

This is similar to the reason that it's harder to Push on invested coins. Depends on how invested they are, in that case. It's generally not as hard as doing something like Lashing a person in plate. (This is more about the interference than the saturation of investiture.) But the two principles are what I use to guide the physics in these areas.

quietandproud

Can we take that as a hint that the Investiture in the Plates and the Investiture that the Surge of [Adhesion] uses come from different Shards? Or do they interfere because they "belong" to different spren?

Brandon Sanderson

You know, I should have realized this one would bring out the follow up questions. Let's leave it at what I posted for now. This is a deep, deep rabbit hole, and I do need to try to get some more writing done tonight. So...RAFO. (Sorry.)