Two questions about the mechanics--well, actually, a bunch of questions--would a Shard's magic change if they moved to a different world?
That's a RAFO.
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Two questions about the mechanics--well, actually, a bunch of questions--would a Shard's magic change if they moved to a different world?
That's a RAFO.
Is there going to be a magic system for every Shard?
Uh, yes, whether there'll be books? We get into a problem here... is... what is a magic system, right?
So for instance like, would you count all of Surgebinding as one magic system, or is it ten magic systems, right? Is Windrunning a separate magic system from Skybreaking. Right, and is it the Surges? Is it that? What do you call a magic system? Is the system of fabrials a magic system, or is it a subset of what's happening on Roshar? And in that case, it's like I delineated it pretty strongly in Mistborn, but in Stormlight, it's like... kind of Surgebinding is kind of Honor and Cultivation, right? And so is there a magic system for each of them or not?
So the answer is yes and no, in that every one of the Shards will inspire really interesting magic systems. But is there a one to one? What do you call a magic system? And beyond that, will I have time to write books about all of these, I don't know. You could even look at Sel. Sel has how many magic systems, is it one? Is it lots? Is Forging a different magic system from AonDor, or is it two aspects of the same magic system and so... It's tricky.
Would magic from one world work on another and if so, how?
Generally, magics in the cosmere work on different planets. But it depends on the magic. Things like the Dor on Sel are locked to the geography, so it gets difficult. The Metallic Arts work pretty much universally though. Making Surgebinding work on another planet would require Stormlight and the spren are bound to Roshar, so getting them off planet is quite hard.
So the magics kind of work differently depending on whether a sentient being is involved, how the magic works and how it's powered. It would be very easy to take some Breaths off of Nalthis, which is a problem for them. It gets very complicated.
Can there be a mixing of magic?
Yes, there can be.
In your magic systems, they all require the character to go over a great stress before they obtain that-- Do you use the concept of the price that comes with magic in a plausible magic system when you came up with that idea, or was it more about the idea of flawed characters are awesome?
In the cosmere magics, a lot of times in order to get the magic, there needs to be-- the internal logic argument is: Souls, once they have gaps in them, those gaps can be filled with other things, which often give you access to magical powers. Great trauma or stress--this is an age old fantasy idea, goes back many many years in the genre--will let you attain some of these powers, kind of as a balancing thing and mostly this is for narrative reasons.
Flawed characters are just way more interesting to write, and I gravitated to it pretty naturally as I was building the magic of the cosmere. And I would say it was mostly narrative reasons, as opposed to, when I was building the magic, some rule that felt like it needed to be there. But it's also a little of a balancing factor. It's trying to build into--whoever asked the question about the god--having god-like powers, but their flaws making it hard for them to use it.
It's a check on giving the powers to my characters, if I make sure to establish, this character has some holes in their-- some gaps and flaws in who they are, that might make them use their powers wrong once they get them, and that is in some way a narrative check on that, if that makes sense.
Would all the different powers, or magic. Would they all work on the other--
Almost all of them will. AonDor, and the ones from Sel, are very hard to get to work elsewhere, because of certain things, but others are much easier. For instance, if you can get Breaths to another world, you can just use them, you don't need to do anything special.
We have been introduced to two ways to refer to a magic system up until RoW. Khriss has referred to manifestations of Investiture (in the context of the Metallic Arts) and elsewhere has used the term Invested Arts, which seemed to be the in-world term for a magic system. However, RoW has now introduced the term "arcana". Is this a synonym for Invested Art or a term for a specific sort of "power set" like Stoneshaping or Lightweaving that might be present in different forms in multiple Invested Arts throughout the cosmere?
For the first question, arcana isn't really either of those things. Invested Arts would still be the official title. Where is arcana is more of a simple, more colloquial catch all. It's like maybe the difference between saying Olympic Categories and just sports.
Do people in The Way of Kings have Biochromatic breath and if not, how will Nightblood function?
Spoilers! No they don't, but Investitures from the various magics can power magics from other systems.
Are foci a cosmere-wide phenomenon, or are they kinda just a construction of people?
A lot of people think that every magic system has foci? Is that true?
Yes. But, I think people are finding structure in-worlds that-- how should I say this. So, in some ways, some of these questions (this isn't just this one, but in general), you can ask something like "Do alien species fit into phylum and families and things like this." Well, yes, because we come up with the definitions. Right? So, a lot of these questions, like "Do they all have?" Well, yes, because human beings have come up with definitions to define these things and lump them together under definitions... There's a lot of things with the cosmere magic... is yes, because human beings have put that weight on it. It doesn't make it less true, but, at the same time it's not like, 1+1=2 is gonna exist whether or not humankind is there to define it, whether or not something fits into a genus or a species, whether these magic systems are related. Those are human constructions that are noticing real things.
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?
Naturally, no. It may do so.
The only reason I ask is because Nightblood doesn't seem to behave different.
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.
Let's say hypothetically we get Ruin, Preservation, and Endowment to create a planet. Would there be *more* magic systems due to Endowment's involvement (think permutations), or would this specifically not work at all?
It could work. There is the potential for more magic systems.
Spren grant control over surges because surges are perceived as fundamental powers on Roshar. Would other Cognitive beings grant different powers based on what they perceive to be fundamental? Such as electromagnetism is on Earth?
It is plausible, although this was set up in a specific way.
By Honor or Adonalsium?
RAFO on that. Set up might be the wrong word. There were seeds that caused this to happen the way it did.
The Surgebinding thing?
Yes, specifically... Those influenced what people perceived as fundamental forces.
i have an 'all the shards' question. Is how they obtain the Shards the first time affect what kind of magic their investiture effects?
That's a RAFO.
Can a Shard just--like, say someone is using their magic system--can they stop the power from them being able to use it?
No, that's a bit like stopping the laws of physics. So, while they can circumvent laws of physics and things like that, but if you wanted to stop someone from using magic, smiting them would be the efficient way of making that happen, if you are capable of it in the system.
It seems to be more apparent that different abilities are granted depending on the design of one's Spiritweb. Is the design of a Spiritweb, and the abilities it grants, limited to a specific Shardworld or are the designs universal across the cosmere? For example could someone from Roshar go to Scadrial and have Hemalurgy done on them and have it work?
Yeah, yeah, some of the magics are more regionally-locked than others. Hemalurgy will work on any planet. But, for instance, you'll notice that Elantrians have trouble even going to the next nation over. There's a specific reason for that. Most of the magics transcend location.
My question, in regards to Dragonsteel, is: Is there a possibility that somebody with the ability of microkinesis can see the spiritweb and alter it according to their will?
This is, this is totally possible. But you have to remember this is pre-Shattering of Adonalsium. Dragonsteel is the story of the Shattering of Adonalsium... the whole book is before, the whole series... So there are lots of things going on there that are-- like you will-- yeah. But it’s not canon yet.
What's the difference between avatar and Splinter?
These are all very weird terms that I'm just using.
*mistakenly answering for Sliver* A Sliver is a person who has held the power of a Shard, and then let go of it. A briefly held time, holding the infinite power of a Shard, but no longer does. So what does that do? That changes your soul, and leaves markers on it. It's a real physiological thing.
An avatar is... a Shard manifesting a semi-autonomous piece of themselves that is still connected to who they are. An avatar, for instance, of Autonomy - depending on how Autonomy creates that avatar - might know, might not know, but they are still an aspect, they are still part of Autonomy. And when you get down to it a part of them knows that, and it's almost a god roleplaying, but in a way that only a Shard, or a lowercase-g god in the Cosmere, can do.
*realizes that he answered for Sliver earlier, and clarifies*
A Splinter is a piece of a Shard that is fully autonomous, where an avatar is not. So something that is Splintered does not consider itself - and would not be considered by the definitions - an actual piece of it [the Shard], and has free will. So once it has free will, and/or could develop free will (because some of the Splinters haven't gotten there yet), but is fully cut off from the direct control and self-identity of the Shard, then it is called a Splinter.
I was wondering if any of the magic systems that existed before the Shattering, did they get weaker because of it?
Weaker is the wrong term. They were affected.
*written* Could a Shard refuse to "fuel" a magic user? E.g. Could Preservation have refused to "fuel" Ham's pewter? (Please, for the question, assume Preservation is whole and undamaged.)
*written* No, but he could have interfered.
*spoken* So, the answer is "no, he couldn't." Like, if you just had the Allomancy going, like--
They can't shut you off?
They can't shut you off, but they can interfere with you using it. They could do other things. But, like, the magic, it would be like saying, "I refuse to let gravity work on this person."
But couldn't a Shard-- Technically, they can control forces--
No, they can't, but they can interfere with it, does that make sense? ...Gravity is not gone, but this person is being interfered with and their relationship to these sorts of things.
Kind of like if I throw your pen in the air, gravity's not gone, but I've interfered with something.
Yes, exactly. And you can, like, twist the gravity, so it's pointing... But the laws of natures, burning is, like, a law of nature, and things like that. And they can circumvent, and they can twist, and they can bend, but the laws of nature are still the laws of nature.
They can't just cut it off?
So, most of your magic systems are limited to only a slight portion of the population. Is that a conscious decision? Are there any that are open to anybody?
Certainly, the Warbreaker magic is open to everybody, and that's part of what I was doing, was I wanted to contrast the other ones. And this is just because it makes for good storytelling, honestly. And when I do this, I'm doing it too much, I go the other way. That's why Sixth of the Dusk is open to everyone, that's why different things are done differently in the magics. But, really, when I'm working on the books, I'm like, "Well, we need something dramatic and cool." And I would argue that at least some of them, such as in Stormlight Archive, those are open to anybody if you can convince a spren. And you're sincere, right? And I like going that direction. Certainly, the kind of old standby of "you're born with it" is really easy. It's really, what we call in Sci-Fi/Fantasy "grokkable." You can instantly, kind of, get it. You're like, "All right, this is just like a talent. Some people are born with different talents. Makes sense." It doesn't take a lot of explanation, you don't have to worldbuild a ton up front. Where something like Stormlight, you gotta send a lot of worldbuilding words to explain how it happens, why it happens, things like that. But the trade-off is, it's in many ways more satisfying if you do it the other way. So, I do try to balance those. But sometimes those short-hands are very handy.
Forgery is a Selish magic system, so it is birth-based, tied to location.
Could you build Aons or something similar to Aons off of the natural landforms on Roshar, like the Dawncities and the other cities that are sort of symmetrical?
The Elantrian magic system, the Selish magic systems, are the ones that don't work very well-- don't interact very well with other worlds... Other ones are a lot more easy to interact between worlds.
So, filter that the Shard's power-- Investiture, I guess? Is it that-- So on Roshar, does it count as three Shards stacked on top of each other, next to each other, that's forming different magic systems.
It definitely is influencing it. But, not-- perhaps not as much as you might think. I mean, it is, though.
What is Feruchemy, is it tied to any Shard?
Feruchemy, is it tied to any Shard in specific? Yes, they talk about that in the books.
Ok, it's like, of Preservation?
Yes, you could say that.
Because it seems like one Shard, one magic system?
Here's the thing, it's more that-- They, in their philosophy, say that it's kind of a hybrid between the two, but you could kind of feel that it's more--
It seems more Preservation.
It seems more Preservation, but in-world they think it's kind of a hybrid. The philosophy says that one was kind of net-positive, one was kind of net-negative and one was a hybrid. That's their in-world philosophy. I personally would place it more with Preservation.
Ok so more than one magic system can be tied to one Shard?
Ok, that's what I wanted to know.
Here's the thing, the definition of magic system can be, is so fluid. Like you can look at this book and say "how many magic systems are there?". Is Surgebinding one or is it ten?
Is Allomancy 16 or one, and things like that. So yes multiple magic systems can be tied to a Shard.
Would he also be able to have powers from Warbreaker without using Breaths?
Yes that is-- It is possible to power the magics with one another. Breaths are one of the-- it's-- yeah, let's just say that.
How does Nightblood work on Roshar?
Well Nightblood feeds on Investiture, which is the general life-force/magic-force in the cosmere and so he can feed on basically any source of magical energy.
And do other magics work on other worlds?
I've been describing it lately more like you see DC current and AC current, where they're similar things but slightly different. It is possible to make magics work on other planets, some it's easier than others.
How did all the characters learn about the different magic systems?
So, it really depends on the character, and the situation, and things like that.
How did the first person discover, like--
Oh, Mistborn powers? Ruin and Preservation, in that case, were actively cultivating the society, particularly Preservation. Some of it comes through that. Some of it comes through, if you have the Investiture, part of you kinda knows about it. But it takes experience, so you have to know the right things, and stuff. I'll get into it more eventually.
From what I understand, Ruin and Preservation create the world together, and they created humanity as copies of the original humankind. So how did they give Allomancy to Scadrial?
Yes. So the magic systems are kind of built into the setting and the world. And there are certain natural pathways that exist, in the same way there are certain natural pathways for them to create life. Which is my explanation for why life is so similar on all the different planets, is that they're following natural pathways, and these magics are kind of the same way. For instance, Lightweaving predates the Shattering of Adonalsium. A lot of these other things are suggestive of magics that existed before that were built around Adonalsium. They weren't 100% created by the Shards, but they also do have the Shards' influence on them.
What differentiates a minor Shardworld like First of the Sun?
The amount of Investiture, and whether there is actually a Shard in presence.
I'm assuming there is not one there?
There is not one there.
So it's like a Splintered one from something else?
No what you'll find is that the worlds were all created with a level of-- a little bit of sort of ambient magic. What you'll find in worlds like that is things like, Shadows for Silence and things like this, the magic, it's not necessarily "people with magic" it's you can interact with nature...
So there is inherent Investiture...
There is inherent investiture in every world created but you are going to see-- You aren't going to find Mistborn on a world like that but what you might find is a way there are magic aspects to the setting. Spren could exist on a world like that but they would be like the minor spren, you wouldn't find Syl, but you would find something like lifespren.