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Firefight Seattle Public Library signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

Is Investiture universal? By that I mean, if an Allomancer got Stormlight somehow could they use that to fuel Allomancy?

Brandon Sanderson

That is always possible, so yes.  But in some case it requires some quote-unquote hacking, like an AC vs a DC current or we've got a 120 Volt and they've got 240. Does that make sense? It might require-- I guess hacking is the wrong term, adapters.

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

Questioner

So Stormlight and Breath are both just different manifestations of Investiture.

Brandon Sanderson

That's correct.

Questioner

So Nightblood and Shardblades are both kind of powered by Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, in fact you can call Nightblood kind of a miss-made, evil Shardblade... more miss-made than evil but yes.

Questioner

But a Shardblade wouldn't shear through Nightblood.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes a Shardblade would not shear through Nightblood. In fact I wrote Way of Kings first and then I wrote Warbreaker and Way of Kings came out after Warbreaker but in my mind Warbreaker is a prequel to Way of Kings, where I was telling Vasher's backstory.

Questioner

Oh really, so the Warbreaker we know takes place after Way of Kings?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it takes place before, it's a prequel meaning I wrote Way of Kings and then I went back in time and told Vasher's backstory but Warbreaker ended up coming out first because Way of Kings wasn't ready yet.

DragonCon 2012 ()
#4 Copy

Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

Why are Invested objects like metalminds and Hemalurgic spikes able to be Pushed and Pulled on, but Shardblades and Shardplate, which are also invested, are not susceptible to Pushing and Pulling?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There were a few concepts that he outlined in answering this question.

1.) The ability to Push/Pull an Invested object is predicated to the amount/power of the Investiture.

2.) Further, Invested objects also gain resistance to pulling/pushing based on proximity to soul possibly via the soul. An example given is that a Hemalurgic spike touches the blood of the person, and from there is now part of both the Spiritual Realm and the Physical Realm. This provides what Brandon termed a kind of "soul interference," based on its proximity to the soul.

This further explains why Vin required more than normal power to Push/Pull the metalminds from the Lord Ruler, because of their proximity to his soul, via the Spiritual Realm.

3.) The amount of Investiture is relatively low on Scadrial, whereas worlds like Sel and Roshar are pushing around "high power" according to Brandon. I interpreted this to mean that Hemalurgic spikes and metalminds have low amounts of Investiture compared to Shardplate and Shardblades.

Brandon said that theoretically you can Push/Pull Shardblades and Shardplates but you would need to wield an incredible amount of power. One example he gave that could so such as a thing is that if you were a Mistborn wielding the full power of the Well of Ascension, you could Push/Pull Shardblades/Plate.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#5 Copy

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

Alright, thanks. Last question for me tonight - so, when a Hemalurgic spike steals something, then it's storing Investiture in it, yeah? So could you - could you do something with that Investiture? Like... say I'm on Nalthis, and just theoretically, I use a Hemalurgic spike to steal a lot of Breath - can I use that Investiture to Awaken something? Could I Awaken the spike?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That... you'd need a lot of Investiture to Awaken a spike.

Lhyonnaes (paraphrased)

Because it's already charged up with something else?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yeah.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#6 Copy

Boogalyhu34

Do those two weather related phenomenons have something in common. They both seem to have investiture that people can draw on.

Brandon Sanderson

Weather is important to most cosmere magic.

Footnote: The weather being referred to are the mists of Scadrial and the highstorms of Roshar.
Sources: Reddit
Starsight Release Party ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

So, Sel: Investiture has been pushed into the Cognitive Realm. Threnody: Has it seen something similar?

Brandon Sanderson

It has not seen... Okay. Yes, something similar. It would count. Something similar, yes.

Questioner

If that's the case, what would happen if you were to push Investiture into the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

It generally manifests either as a solid, liquid, or gas

Questioner

I thought about that. I was like, "We've seen that," but it seemed like a concentrated form. What if you did for like a whole Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

That would probably have disastrous effects. 

Questioner

That's why I was thinking for Threnody, but if it hasn't been that, then something else happened.

Brandon Sanderson

It hasn't been that. Something else happened.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

So could somebody using maybe a duralumin Push or Pull, or just a strong Allomancer, take control of a Shardblade?

Brandon Sanderson

The more heavily Invested something is, the most-- the more <release?> other forms of Investiture? But as we have proof in Mistborn you can Push and Pull on metalminds, you can Push and Pull on even a spike that’s inside of somebody. If you have the strength. So it's kind of pushing against the strength of the Investiture.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#11 Copy

Questioner 1

What would happen if you used lerasium as a spike for Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh lerasium as a spike for Hemalurgy? Um lerasium as a spike for Hemalurgy--

Questioner 1

Would it work or would it just not work?

Brandon Sanderson

No I mean it would work--

Questioner 1

If you were to place a lerasium spike would you transform into a full Mistborn as opposed to--

Questioner 2

Well it can also steal powers, not just grant them, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, right. The thing about it is you're trying to Invest something that is already very Invested, which always has weird effects. So while you could do it, it would be a gross waste of the potential. It's like using a nuclear bomb as a paperweight. It is functional but--

Questioner 1

Does that mean it would be hard, for example, to make Nightblood stick something? Because--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes it would be very hard to make Nightblood stick to something. The amount of Investiture in Nightblood is--

Bystander

Astronomical?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Larger than most things you've seen. So Pushing on Nightblood, really hard.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#12 Copy

Questioner

So, kind of a support question... The nature of Investiture and metals, is it just solid Investiture that's metal or is all Investiture some kind of state of metal?

Brandon Sanderson

So this gets back into your idea of metal. Do they all represent metal? Well, I'm fascinated by states of matter, if you can't tell, and I'm fascinated by groupings on the periodic table in our world. I am fascinated by how certain things share... properties with one another but not other properties. When I was building the cosmere, I loved this idea of this pure Investiture, this solid state Investiture which looks like metal, but its not a metal that would be on our periodic table, and none of them are, but they share some properties with metals. You look at it and you're like "That's a metal!" But is it? Well it wouldn't go on the periodic table in our world. It's its own thing. 

So yes and no. 

Billy Todd

Is that similar to the way that a Rosharan calls all birds "Chickens"?

Brandon Sanderson

No, the way that Rosharans call all birds "chickens" or all alcohols "wines" is actually me maybe feeling more clever than I am, putting in seeds from book one that-- This just happens in linguistics, where certain words sometimes narrow in definitions, other times they broaden in definition. Just how we call Googling something, searching for it. There are people who are joking that movies are just going to be called Disneys in the future. I love the linguistics of this, and I wanted to indicate that the word for "bird" just spread through Roshar as "chicken" because those were the birds that they knew about. And wine was a pretty good one. There aren't grapes on Roshar, right. They call them "wine"; none of it's wine. You wouldn't call any of it wine. Because they don't have grapes. But this is a word from a planet from when they used to have grapes, that they used for this thing, that eventually replaced the word and became the generic. You see it more often in our languages the other way, Peter can talk more about this. Words will become more and more narrow over time.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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mooglefrooglian

You've said previously that the molecular structure of metals serve to act sort of like the Aons in AonDor. Why, then, can mists power Allomancy? Shouldn't the metals themselves be the things causing the powers? And if metals don't cause the effect, how can a non-Feruchemist burn a metalmind that has been 'unlocked' through identity tricks and get a boost of an attribute without Feruchemist sDNA?

Brandon Sanderson

I was trying to figure out how to answer this, and then I realized while driving to get a hair cut that you were regarding this wrong in a fundamental way. Remember, the source of power for Allomancy is EXTERNAL while the source for Feruchemy is INTERNAL. This is a fundamental difference discussed in the series.

When you burn metals, you're drawing power from another place. When you tap a metalmind, you are drawing power that the person has created--a battery developed by themselves, so to speak.

So I think that's going to answer the source of your confusion.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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yurisses

You once said that Investiture follows its own version of the laws of thermodynamics. The first one is that Investiture is neither created nor destroyed.

Is the second law of Investodynamics that the amount of corrupted Investiture in the Cosmere cannot decrease?

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, the idea is that there is a third item in the equations--matter, energy, and investiture. That's the basis of how they work.

Entropy is not corrupted Investiture. The second law stands as is. However, there is a fourth law that relates to Adonalsium, which I'm not going to talk about at the moment.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#15 Copy

mathota123

Is the creation of skaze end-negative?

Brandon Sanderson

So, you're not quite using the term right.

The terms "end-negative" and "end-positive" refer to a specific system--in most cases, we're talking about the individual(s) using the magic. Do you draw more magic out, or is it powered by your own native Investiture?

Awakening is what we call end-neutral, despite the fact that (obviously) the Breaths came from someone else in the first place. That's not the point in contention here--do the same number of Breaths (the same amount of Investiture) continue to exist in the system as you're manipulating the magic.

In something like AonDor, you are drawing out much more power than you put in--end-positive. That power is put to work doing something, such as healing a body, or creating a blast of power.

The skaze, like the seons, were created when a Shard was Splintered. The terminology doesn't quite work there, at least not in the way that scholars in the cosmere would use it.

The question from the physicist in this thread about where Investiture goes, and what it means for a Shard to have access to certain amounts of power, is related to all of this. I'm hoping to be able to find some time to craft a response there, as there are some fundamental understandings of the magic that are relevant to the discussion that I should point out.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Skyler Cecil

Is there an Investiture cycle on Roshar? Cycling through the crem rain and flora and fauna back into the storm, or something like that. Like the water cycle. If Investiture is finite, is it recycled back into the Cosmere when Investiture like Breath or Stormlight is expended? Otherwise, wouldn't Investiture run out?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is such a cycle. It is renewed and changed time and time again. It gets in and out of the Spiritual Realm, often with the birth of new individuals.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#20 Copy

yulerule

So if you were in the cosmere, and you know how it works, or how it all should work. Would you hack it like all ridiculously and like what would you-- Do you have a plan of action.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah I would. I would have two choices. I would go hide on the planet I know is safe, and ride it all out. I have those two options.

yulerule

What was the second option?

Brandon Sanderson

Well the second option is try to take over, right? 'Cause I know all the secrets. I don't know which one I would do.

yulerule

Would you be able to hack it all?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, would I be able to? It depends on where I am in the cosmere, and how easy it is to get a hold of some Investiture.

yulerule

But once you get some initial Investiture then you go out.

Brandon Sanderson

Then things start rolling. As soon as you can get one of the easy ones, it's easy to use, transfer. 

Argent

Like Breath.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah like Breath, or uh...

yulerule

Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, well Mistborn's harder, but you know Breath is the easiest I've approached so far. Unless you kind distill it, then you've got the... Anyway. We won't go there. You saw that in Secret History

Argent

Oh, oh that.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. When you strip off all kinds of identity and stuff.

Argent

Connection Juice...not Connection Juice.

Brandon Sanderson

Connection Juice?

Argent

Yeah, that's what we're calling it.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, okay I suppose.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
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DrogaKrolow

Sentient machines, artificial intelligence. Would they be able to use Investiture? Or not? How would that work?

Brandon Sanderson

So, define "use Investiture". Like, there's a lot of different ways to quote-unquote use Investiture.

DrogaKrolow

OK, I don't mean the medallions but like if I go and peek into the Spiritual Realm and I look at the machine, do I see Investiture inside it? The Connections to the Shards and so on?

Brandon Sanderson

Chances are good that you will. But I have to add a big asterisk to that, it's gonna depend on so many factors. But consciousness in the cosmere is directly tied to  Investiture. And creating a machine in many ways cosmerelogically is not that different from creating a child.

DrogaKrolow

Okay... Interesting.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I'll just leave it there.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#24 Copy

Tellingdwar

Regarding the classification of magics as end-positive/neutral/negative, is it correct that:

End-positive Investiture requires extreme emotional, physical, or cognitive distress to manifest. For example, snapping into an Allomancer or the process of becoming a Surgebinder.

End-neutral Investiture is inherent: gained by heredity, Connection with a particular region, or through mechanical means.

End-negative Investiture requires sacrifice. For example, Hemalurgy or Dakhor teleportation.

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not ready to answer this--though you should know that connection with a particular region is happening on Sel for reasons unrelated to this line of inquiry.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
#25 Copy

Questioner

If a thing that is Invested under one Shard, you transfer it to another. Does the method of continuing empowerment of  the Investiture change to the source of that other Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Naturally, no. It may do so.

Questioner

The only reason I ask is because Nightblood doesn't seem to behave different.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Nightblood does not require, but will instead accept gleefully anything you give it. But for instance, if you took a Soulstamp to another planet and somehow made it work, it wouldn't necessarily draw on the power of that Shard to work. Granted, it's really hard to make a Soulstamp work. Here's another example. You go on another planet. Hoid is using Allomancy on Roshar. That is not using the power of Honor or Cultivation. It is still drawing on the power of, in that case, Harmony.

Firefight release party ()
#26 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--

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
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Khyrindor

You've said that Returned count as Cognitive shadows "stapled" back into their bodies, and that the Heralds are at least similar. Would I be right in assuming that Elantrians could be considered as Cognitive Shadows as well, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Brandon Sanderson

Elantrians are something different. They don't actually "die" to be created.

Recognize that the term cognitive shadow is an in-cosmere theory, which I'm not going to comment on as the creator of the setting. The theory is this:

Investiture seeks sapience. It looks for someone to control it or, in some instances, spontaneously adopts personality.

A mind (cognitive aspect of a person) can become infused with Investiture. This acts a little like minerals with petrified wood, replacing the mind and personality with investiture.

When the actual person dies, this investiture imprint remains behind. A copy of the soul, but not the actual soul.

Others disagree with this, and think the soul itself persists. Still others reject the theory in its entirety.

linkhyrule5

Huh.

... Kandra are almost literally stapled to their bodies with Hemalurgy - would they count as such, to the in-setting scholars?

Brandon Sanderson

No, they wouldn't. They are beings who have had their souls twisted by Hemalurgy--the soul never left, it's just been messed up. Someone else who has a soul stapled to a body with Hemalurgy would count though.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#28 Copy

Zantis

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. Can that nutrition be turned into Stormlight?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.  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-ish? It's a complicated thing, but that's basically what happens, just really crazy.

Zantis

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

Brandon Sanderson

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

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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Adrienne

Can the various forms of Investiture on other worlds in the cosmere be classified as "end positive" or "end negative" like they are on Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

Some can. Not all.

Footnote: This question excludes "end-neutral" and Brandon has previously established that all magics do fall into one of these three classifications.
Tel Aviv Signing ()
#30 Copy

Questioner

So my question is this: So, Investiture is a different [type?] of existence separate from matter and energy, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

So, does entropy apply to Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes... It does, with some caveats, but yes. It works a little differently, but it does apply. You should be able to apply all three laws of thermodynamics with... accounting for a third state of matter, energy.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#32 Copy

Argent

Awakening and Surgebinding, Stormlight and Breath seem really similar in some aspects--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

--except Breaths seem to stick to things better--

Brandon Sanderson

They do.

Argent

--than Stormlight. So when you are holding the Breath it doesn't expire when you put it in something it doesn't go away. Can you tell me something about why that's happening?

Brandon Sanderson

Part of this is kind of inherent to the Shard and the power it's coming from. I mean the power of Endowment is just going to stick, that's part of the nature of its magic. Does that make sense? But it also kind of has to do with how the ecosystems are working. For instance the Stormlight is essential to the ecosystem of Roshar, it needs to be expended, it needs to get out and-- It's like evaporation, does that make sense?

Argent

Recycling? Not the recycling but the cycle of--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah like the cycle of water. And so just part of the way the nature of it works, it has to get out, it has to leak out, it has to run out. I mean it leaks even from spheres, right?

Argent

And when you lash things it's temporary--

Brandon Sanderson

Yep. And even though Szeth says that he thought Voidbringers could hold it they can't. Like it is just not the way that it works.

Argent

Can they just hold it better?

Brandon Sanderson

They can hold it better. It's not permanent. Now there are things that can do it permanently but--

Argent

Like the black sphere for example?

Brandon Sanderson

Well we are not going to... The black sphere is something different. You guys have guessed what the black sphere is, right?

Argent

Well we have some ideas. I support that it holds an Unmade. Am I wrong?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not going to answer that.

Argent

But you said--

Brandon Sanderson

I'm just curious what the theories are. Book 3 the black sphere is-- Everyone who reads the books will know what the black sphere is by the end of Book 3.

Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016 ()
#34 Copy

Questioner

This is about certain people from Nalthis... living on Roshar and how they are living on Roshar. Could they also do that on Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

Scadrial would be a lot harder because getting the Investiture out of things on Scadrial is tough, there are ways you could do it but it would be much more difficult.

Questioner

Does that have to do with the Investiture being more directed?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's more the genetic component is a big part of it. The directed component-- In Roshar its just flowing around all over the place. For instance, if he could get to a Shardpool he could feed off that, but then he's at the Shardpool and that's kind of dangerous and things. Roshar is really the easiest place in the cosmere for him to consistently get this sort of stuff. Taldain would not be bad either, that's the White Sand world but it is inaccessible currently in the cosmere

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#35 Copy

Argent

Can a Returned like Lightsong go to Roshar and form a bond with a spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Investiture interferes with other Investiture.

Argent

And they have a lot of it.

Brandon Sanderson

And they have a lot of it. That is not-- It's not completely-- For instance you can Push on Invested metal, but it's hard. There's a resistance, the more Invested the harder-- So a bond for instance-- forming a bond-- It's, yeah-- It can be done--

I mean Sazed took two of the powers up, right? But I kind of imagine what he did as a nuclear reaction. Where breaking an atom is hard, unless you are in the middle of a sun. And he was in the middle of the sun. At that point--

Argent

There was a lot of stuff going on around him that facilitated.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, definitely. But when you've got that much power you'll-- In other words if there is a lot of power going around, these things become easier.

Argent

So, possible but difficult is--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Idaho Falls signing 2014 ()
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PrncRny (paraphrased)

Why is Breath not consumed in Awakening, unlike most all other uses of Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Not all Investitures are "used up." Much like energy, it isn't typically created or destroyed, just changes for. With Breath, in what it's used for, it is just more easily and readily recovered than in other forms.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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zas678

Can you detect Feruchemy with bronze Allomancy?

Brandon Sanderson

It is actually possible but it's very difficult. There's a tweak that you need to do to make it work and I haven't talked about that yet. They do not know how to do it… on Scadrial. But you can theoretically detect all kinds of active Investiture. Investiture that's being used. Kinetic Investiture would be the way to call it.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Overlord Jebus

All the physical manifestations--solid physical manifestations we've seen of Investiture has been metallic. It's been atium, lerasium, Shardblades. Is that just a coincidence?

Brandon Sanderson

No, it's intentional.

Overlord Jebus

It's intentional so we're not going to see Investiture wood or Investiture plastic?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, I mean technically, like, what do you call the Aethers? Those are not metal. But I do it as metal intentionally.

Questioner

They could be a metal with very low boiling point.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, the vine ones are--

Overlord Jebus

Well we've had liquid, we've had gas, the solids all seem to be metallic, so.

Brandon Sanderson

That is intentional, it's just one of those little laws of the cosmere, that's not meant to mean anything

/r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A ()
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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.

Starsight Release Party ()
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Shqueeves

Similar to how holding Stormlight and Voidlight causes an emotional reaction, does holding a lot of Breath create an appreciation for beauty?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I would say that it does

Shqueeves

Does every form of Investiture create an emotional reaction?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say yes. 

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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PrinceofMagnets

What is Cosmere sentience? By this I mean what does it require and what does it entail?

Brandon Sanderson

In the cosmere, most things are sentient on some level. Basically, anything with even the smallest amount of investiture. (Which is all matter, and most cognitive creations.) Sapience is something different, of course.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner

Once upon a time I asked you about the magic system as described in Elantris and The Emperor's Soul, how in The Emperor's Soul [Shai] describes it as, she talks about the Spiritual Realm as the, like, the wall wanting to be beautiful. And how in Elantris they describe the Dor as what makes a river want to flow. And I assumed that meant that they were connected. But according to that [Arcanum Unbounded] it says that the Investiture is housed in the Cognitive Realm and how unlike most of the other magic systems its magic comes from the Cognitive. And so now I am confused.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, they are related but there's an overarching theory, er, kind of philosophy of what Investiture is and it imbuing things with desires that in our world may not actually have desires. And that is connected. The fact that the Dor is the Cognitive Realm is not the way it's supposed to be. That is a prob-- well, in some ways it's a feature, but it's also very much a bug.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
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Questioner

How many diamond chips does Zahel require to survive?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO. We will actually be releasing this pretty soon. But I actually have used my prerogative as a famous author to force some others to actually do the number crunching and the math of it. And so we will have a straight up unit measurement for you of various things coming up pretty soon. Once the number crunchers are done, you will know.

Skyward San Diego signing ()
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Questioner

When magic Invested in an object-- Does the Investiture act like electrons when it reacts with the matter?

Brandon Sanderson

Not quite, but I could see that metaphor working to explain it. But it's not quite there. The Investiture kind of-- If you had a piece of Invested material from the cosmere here, you would not be able to measure the Investiture in any way. It occupies a space that doesn't exist in our universe, if that makes sense. But in the cosmere you could measure it scientifically with an instrument that wouldn't do anything here, like trying to measure a dimension that we can't perceive, something like that. The electron metaphor is a decent one, but it's not exactly how I'm imagining it.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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mooglefrooglian

If metals shape the Investiture in Allomancy, causing a Steelpush or whatever, how is it that the mists can be used to perform the same feat? What is 'shaping' the inhaled mists into a Steelpush, if there's no metal "nozzle" to do so?

Brandon Sanderson

Consistently through the cosmere, once you have the power in hand and it has permeated you, will becomes your nozzle. This can be seen in Warbreaker, where the power has been distributed and inhabits the people. The nozzle idea is important for Magics that are drawing power externally, as it keeps the power from overwhelming and destroying you. (Which, basically, happened to Vin at the end of the Trilogy--she got consumed by the magic. She became something new, now, so it didn't KILL her. It destroyed what she was, transformed her into something else.)

So you see magics like on Sel and Scadrial where a specific nozzle is needed--as the power source is external, at least with Allomancy. Will and intent take a backseat, though still pop up on occasion. On Nalthis (and in a lesser way, Roshar) will and intent are more important, and what you are trying to do shapes the magic more directly.

A little direct manifestation in this is found in the subtle differences between Allomancy and Feruchemy. In Allomancy, when you enhance the senses, you just get a blast of power--and all senses are enhanced, whether you want them all or not. In Feruchemy, you can be more precise, and pick a specific sense to store. The power is internal here, and therefore more limited in how much you can draw--but you can also be more precise with its manipulation.

Note that Roshar Surgebinding is a special case, as the magical symbiosis there is stronger than it is on other worlds, as much of the magic involves bits of power who have become sapient.

uchoo786

How much crossover is there in use? Like if one "breathes" in the mists they can use it to power their allomancy. Could an Allomancer utilize stormlight to power his allomancy as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of the magics can be hacked together in one way or another, but some are easier to interchange than others.

Calamity release party ()
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Questioner

So is it possible to Awaken a Shardblade? That's the question-- that's my question for you.

Brandon Sanderson

Um... With the magic system of Awakening, you mean?

Questioner

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

So, all forms of Investiture strongly resist other forms of Investiture.

Questioner

Makes sense.

Brandon Sanderson

*brief interruption* Nightblood is essentially an Awakened... Trying to do that.

Questioner

'Cause he shows up in Words of Radiance, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. So, it-- let's just say it'd be very, very hard. Because it's like saying, "Can-- I want to turn on a lightbulb that's been turned on." Yes, you can... maybe... I don't know what that even means. It's already Invested. It's already Awakened.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
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Questioner

I noticed during Oathbringer, is there a symbolism between the color red? Because I noticed that red is mentioned many times. Is it tied directly to the Thrill?

Brandon Sanderson

When I am using red specifically for spren and eye color, I'm doing it intentionally. It means something. I'm not gonna tell you what it means yet.

Questioner

Azure's cloth was red, and Adolin picked up a red glass sphere.

Brandon Sanderson

Some of that is going to be coincidence. But the color of the thing that is going to Scadrial is not coincidence.