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Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#3 Copy


*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.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#4 Copy


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.


Does the difficulty of effecting 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.


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. :)


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.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#5 Copy


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



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.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#6 Copy


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

Brandon Sanderson

Ah... RAFO.


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.


Yes, I know what it means--

Brandon Sanderson

You're starting to think with portals.


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.


That's so excellent.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#10 Copy


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.)

FanX 2018 ()
#11 Copy


I was wondering if an aluminum Feruchemist, if he stores up Spiritual Identity, could he survive a hit from a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I'll RAFO that. Identity is not the right place to go for that. Exact mechanics are RAFO, but that's kinda along the wrong path.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
#13 Copy


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.


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.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#14 Copy


If one Feruchemist Keeper, a full Feruchemist, spiked another Feruchemist and got 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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
#15 Copy


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.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
#16 Copy


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.


So identical twins could share metalminds ?

Brandon Sanderson

:) RAFO.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#17 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 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 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.

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


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.

JordanCon 2014 ()
#20 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.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
#22 Copy


How was Vin able to use the mists against the Lord Ruler even though they hadn't been keyed to her?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

That... you are making an assumption there, and so tell him he might be making the wrong assumption.

Footnote: "Him" refers to the questioner's brother, who originally came up with the question.