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Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

Could Nightblood theoretically be turned into a Hemalurgic spike?

Brandon Sanderson

The problem with that is that Nightblood is already invested, so it depends on your version of ' Hemalurgic spikes'. Piercing someone's body with Invested metal can have weird effects all through the Cosmere, but ripping off a piece of a person's soul using an un-Invested spike to Invest it and create one is different... we're talking about two different things, right. So there's the.... so what is a Hemalurgic spike? For instance if you've got a spike that's Invested and you stick it into a Kandra on Scadrial it will still work as an Invested Hemalurgic spike. Making a new Invested spike by ripping off a person's soul, that's a different process and a little more difficult to accomplish and requires some specialized knowledge.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

In Elantris it talks about how the wood and stone in the city is rotten and crumbling. Why does this happen?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

This is because when objects become Invested for long periods of time their Spiritweb changes to accommodate the Investiture. When the Investiture was pulled up off the stuff in Elantris, its Spiritweb was severely damaged so it showed that in the Physical Realm. This happened with the Lord Ruler when the Bands of Mourning were ripped out of him.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
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yulerule

I actually had like a really-- theory I was developing the past couple of weeks about Regrowth, and healing, and the Cognitive Realm. Let's take a look at this...

*Written/Paraphrased:* In the cosmere, you have matter, mind, and soul. Obviously, the physical world is most well understood (same as ours) and the spiritual is most mysterious. When anybody dies (going off from info in Secret History) their soul, which was tied to their body, the Connection is broken and the soul/Cognitive Shadow appears in the Cognitive Realm then goes on to the Spiritual. If healing is applied at any moment while the soul/Cognitive Shadow is in the Cognitive Realm, the Connection can be reestablished and that is why Regrowth can heal recently dead. Type of wound Shardblade versus not may determine how fast the Shadow is sucked into the Spiritual Realm. Also amount of Investiture a soul contains. Souls = Investiture, or at least all of them contain some?

Brandon Sanderson

So that's a RAFO. We'll dig into that a little later.

yulerule

Oh, *inaudible*. Am I close?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you're on the right track.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

I have a question about Nightblood. What are all the powers the sword has and how much is he going to be involved in the next few books.

Brandon Sanderson

Those are total RAFOs. I mean, I could tell you the powers you have seen him have on screen so far, I'm not going to tell you he has others. What you have seen on-screen that he can do is he absorbs Investiture completely and he will rip it out of any object he touches, and everything has Investiture, leaving behind basically... how you see it is he turns everything he touches into black mist, it just disintegrates everything. He also has the power that people who see him, he has an emotional effect on them, one of several emotional effects depending on how they would want to use him. If you watch for when he is seeing people you will see how it is.

Questioner

All fighting over him.

Brandon Sanderson

That's not the only effect he has though, he has other effects.

Questioner

Does he bestow any effects on his wielder? Like Szeth's original Shardblade gave him the same powers as Kaladin.

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood... that's a RAFO but Nightblood was created on a different planet, so.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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Kurkistan

Would it be fair to describe the three realms as the Spiritual Realm providing motivation/general directives (gravity, desires, energy, etc.), the Cognitive Realm interpreting and applying those directives, and the Physical Realm as where these directives--as interpreted by the Cognitive Realm--are actually implemented? All of this with interactions/change flowing back and forth between the Realms as well (Physical phenomena affecting thought affecting the spirit, for example).

Brandon Sanderson

Ha! That's a very interesting way to look at it. The theory isn't all there, but it's thinking along the right lines.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
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KiManiak

Do some Surges have a stronger cognitive aspect--or cognitive influence, if aspect is too general--do some have a stronger cognitive aspect than others? For instance does Illumination tend to have more of a stronger cognitive--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah you could say that some do. I think that that is a legitimate-- Though I'd say it is the subject of debate.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Kurkistan

So you've said that healing is like the Spiritual wants to heal and then it filters through the Cognitive, but how's that work with healing wounds to the soul like Hemalurgy or Shardblades? What do you refer to to heal the soul at that point?

Brandon Sanderson

You need to make a patch on the soul with Investiture.

Kurkistan

So how's the Investiture know where to go, what to look like?

Brandon Sanderson

Well your soul is an ideal. So if you can get it up there, there are ways to do-- to recreate that with um... See I'm getting into stuff for later books.

Argent

No, that's okay.

Kurkistan

So when Hemalurgy rips something off the soul, is that the ideal soul or some sub-soul?

Brandon Sanderson

That is off of your soul, and it can be healed; but what it's going to be doing is creating a patch of new soul. So it will not be your original soul. Does that make sense?

Kurkistan

Okay, that- well, not completely, but I think that's your intention.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Bystander

If you do that, is that like Frankenstein's monster, or is it like a graft that's absorb--

Brandon Sanderson

Less horrifying- Less horrifying than Frankenstein's monster, but it is a graft that is like-- It is not your original soul.

Bystander

Yeah, but in modern medicine stuff like that is absorbed-

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, in this you will always have a scar on your soul that something else has patched over.

Kurkistan

So Kaladin shouldn't just keep getting his arm chopped?

Brandon Sanderson

*ignoring/not-hearing Kurkistan just now* But that is what happens with most forms of Investiture in the first place.

Prague Signing ()
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Questioner

Lightweaving on Roshar, is it more of a Physical thing or Cognitive Realm thing?

Brandon Sanderson

Lightweaving? I would say it's a hybrid between the two.

Questioner

So there's a Physical effect, but also a Cognitive component to that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, and then even a little bit of a Spiritual component. Lightweaving tends to involve, I'd say it's mostly Physical. Mostly you're not changing what someone's mind is, but you're actually changing light. Mostly Physical, but Lightweaving in particular has a lot like- you'll see weird things happening with Lightweaving on occasion, that are kind of a little bit of Cognitive and Spiritual influence that's happening. So keep your eyes on that. Yeah, I would say, if you're asking is light actually being changed yes, it is.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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yulerule

Can you Forge liquids, like-- Does that go into Bloodsealing, can you change their blood type?

Brandon Sanderson

OK, can you use Forgery to, say, change someone's blood type? Yes. Can you Forge liquids? A little harder to stamp liquids, so this kind of comes down to, can you--

yulerule

Like, if you have a glass of water and you put salt in the water can you Forge it or make it and make it--

Brandon Sanderson

This is possible, but it requires a few little workarounds. Obviously you can do it because you Forge somebody, and they're mostly liquid.

yulerule

But you're putting in on a hard surface.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, in the same way that you would with thr liquid you would probably--

yulerule

Touch some ice?

Brandon Sanderson

No, you would probably take the cup, and make it part of the whole, and if you can-- Remember in the cosmere, it depends on how you view a thing. Is it a whole? Do you view this as a cup of water, or do you view it as a cup and the water? Do you view a person as a vessel and the blood inside them, or together as a person? And that perception really affects your magic. So it's possible, for instance, to Forge a cup of water, Forging just the cup is easier than Forging just the water.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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faragorn

Hey Brandon, you mentioned you like A Fire Upon the Deep. So if we could get an artifact, what would happen to a resident Shard if we could create a local Slow Zone? Or better yet, an Unthinking Deeps (although that might be bad for the mortals nearby).

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. You know, I'd never considered this? I guess it depends. I'd say these zones change Cognitive Realm issues--so wouldn't stop the Shards themselves, as they exist in a place of perfect thought and speed. (Spiritual Realm.) It might change how things get between Spiritual and Physical, though.

Starsight Release Party ()
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Questioner

If you take a coppermind that has stores and you take a zincmind that has stores and you melt them together to form brass, what happens?

Brandon Sanderson

It's mostly going to destroy your ability to recover any of it, unfortunately. 

Questioner

Are you going to be able to store any more?

Brandon Sanderson

You're probably going to end up, if it was already full, with it being full but you not being able to access it. So it would not be very handy to do. Not be very useful for you.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Kurkistan

So, could you give us some examples of how the ideals that spren represent work in other magic systems, like we have Forging where you get plausibility, or Returned how they're beautiful or any other systems?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, one more time on that.

Kurkistan

Okay, so you know the ideals the spren are manifestations--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Kurkistan

How-- Do those have impacts on other magic systems?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes, in the same way the Returned- that's the exact same system at work there.

Kurkistan

Is it the same reason why the Lord Ruler has to die of old age, and why you can't heal yourself into being an octopus or something?

Brandon Sanderson

Um... Yes, that is all connected in the exact same way.

Kurkistan

Okay, so it's all like these highfalutin Spiritual ideals?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Kurkistan

And are there like, median Cognitive ideals that gradually kind of influence these, or--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, they transcend between the three. I mean the original concept for the Three Realms is Platonic philosophy.

Kurkistan

So it goes up *makes absurd reverse-waterfall hand gesture*

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it goes up and it comes back down. A lot of the Cognitive is-- So like, the Cognitive has a bigger effect on how you can heal and things like that. Does that make sense?

Kurkistan

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

But the power to heal is a actually a Spiritual thing.

Kurkistan

So it's like the Spiritual says "I want to be like this" and the Cognitive is like "Okay I'll try really hard to be like that, but I have a limit."

Brandon Sanderson

Right. Right. Filtered through how you see yourself, yeah.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Assuming that it's possible-- There are alternate Physical Realms, is Shadesmar common between them?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes... They don't always call it Shadesmar.

Questioner

Sure, but there is one Cognitive?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There's one Physical too if you think about it.

Questioner

Well... Between the books...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah but there's one Physical-- There's one universe, it's all the Physical Realm, just like there is one Cognitive Realm.

Starsight Release Party ()
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LittleMas42

Does Intent reflect on the Spiritual or Cognitive aspects of Intent?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. Intent can influence that, but it's going to be very much based on the specific instances. I'm not sure exactly what specific instance you're talking about but it can.

LittleMas42

Like the Elantrians, when they're drawing Aons and their Intent to draw an Aon.

Brandon Sanderson

Their Intent to draw an Aon is really important and in the same way your Intent to Awaken is really important, and in the same way there are some things in Roshar where your Intent is really important to what you're doing also.

LittleMas42

And does that reflect like how Shallan can see, "I am a stick" by touching the bead in the Cognitive?

Brandon Sanderson

Is that by Intent? Not exactly the same mechanism going on right there.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Did the Physical, Spiritual, and Cognitive Realms exist before Adonalsium split?

Brandon Sanderson

They did. In fact, if you can ever get a hold of Dragonsteel, (Which I don't let a lot of people read because it's got big spoilers and it doesn't really work anymore. It was one of the early books I wrote. It is the prelude to the Cosmere.) the opening chapters are in a classroom where someone is learning about the three aspects. So, yeah.

Boskone 54 ()
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Questioner

[Can’t hear the actual question]

Brandon Sanderson

Elantris’s magic is location based because the primary source of the magic is located in the Cognitive Realm. Most of the worlds, the primary source of the magic is the Spiritual Realm, where all places are one. So for instance, Mistborn, you can go anywhere in the Cosmere and use the magic. Elantris, you can’t, because Devotion and Dominion were killed and their bodies were stuffed into the Cognitive Realm and the magic is being powered that way.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
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Questioner

You’ve spoken before how DNA exists on multiple different levels in your magic systems. I was curious about something else that I think I read that that the Hemalurgy system actually splices something into the DNA - so what does that imply for heritability of those?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it is not inheritable when it's Hemalurgic because it's splicing. It's basically ripping off a piece of the soul and spiking it on someone else's. So, it would not transfer.

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.

Firefight release party ()
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Questioner

Have you ever justified the law of conservation of mass in the regeneration of shardplate?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, law of conservation of mass and the regeneration of shardplate. So conservation of energy and mass in the cosmere, you have to understand we are working on the Three Realms, Spiritual, Cognitive, and Physical and there is a lot of dense energy on the Spiritual plane. Most of the magics are working and creating a conduit to the Spiritual plane, pulling something through or sticking it back in. And so everything's conserved, but we have a dump of energy up there that we are kind of using as a dump of energy that we are pulling things back and forth with.

White Sand vol.1 Orem signing ()
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Jasonioan

If one were to have an unlocked metalmind, nicrosil, and held it while wielding Nightblood what would happen? Would he be taking Investiture from the--

Brandon Sanderson

That is a RAFO... you will start to find answers to these sorts of things as more people are involved with Nightblood.

Jasonioan

...So, if it was like a coppermind would the information be destroyed?

Brandon Sanderson

That is an excellent question, what I've said before is that Nightblood will feed on whatever Investiture he can gain access to. He will start with the easiest Investiture to reach. He will eventually turn to converting matter into Investiture and eating that.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
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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.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
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Questioner

So, Metalminds: if you store weight, how does that work, do you decrease your mass or...?

Brandon Sanderson

So, storing weight actually plays with your mass, because if you look at how we do the physics of it… This one is really screwy, because we are changing mass and playing with it. You watch, like with Wax decreases his weight while he's in motion he'll speed up, and if he increases it, he'll slow down. The conservation of momentum and things like that, but we'll doing really weird stuff. It's like, how can you store your mass… Well, in the magic system it works, but it’s one of the weirdest things we do. *pauses to sign book* We kind of play loose and free with the physics sometimes. Like the example that I often use is Wayne doing a speed bubble, the light that is trapped in the speed bubble...like if he turns on a flashlight would actually radiate because of the redshift, and you could just kill everybody by flashing that. So, we make the speed bubbles not cause a redshift for that reason. We kind of work with what is good storytelling first, and then work the physics around it, but we have to put in all these little breaks and things like that in there regularity in order to actually have the story.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Zas678

What is the X in Aon Mea? Is it one of the Shard-pools?

Brandon Sanderson

Afraid not. Aon Mea references the expanded region within which the "Elantris Effect" will create Elantrians. The X is fertile valley with a high density of life, a place with a lot of cognitive activity. (Cognitive as defined by Realmatic Theory includes the 'thoughts' of all things that exist, not just human beings. The more complex the life form, the stronger its presence on the Cognitive Realm.)

Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
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Brandon Sanderson

The thing people have been dancing around—they haven't been asking the right questions—is they need to be asking more questions about the Dor, specifically trying to figure out why the Dor works differently. It's only a little thing, it's not like it's going to be mind blowing, but it is important for them understanding how the cosmere magics work.

Orem signing ()
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Questioner

In [Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell], when silver turns to dust, is that a Spiritual transformation or a chemical reaction?

Brandon Sanderson

Both, as I have it right now. That one's not canon, but I say not canon because I haven't written it into the books yet and I still have another book to write, there. But I would say both right now.

YouTube Livestream 27 ()
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Benji

Are the three realms of Realmatic Theory are based or inspired by Viktor Frankl's dimensional ontology?

Brandon Sanderson

No. I was reaching more toward Platonic theory when I came up with those, and the idea of a place where everything exists in a perfect version of itself, and that was where my mind was going when I was developing this.

Boskone 54 ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

Could a Soother prevent a listener from attuning a given rhythm?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. A coppercloud could, but I hadn't thought about emotional allomancy interacting. See, the rhythm isn't your emotion and doesn't determine your mood. It is a direct connection to the spiritual realm. So I guess soothing could make it harder just like it makes anything harder, in the same way that driving a car would be harder. [recording starts here] And so, for the same reasons that you can, um, it is possible that a coppercloud can play with it. Not a normal power of a coppercloud, but you’ve seen them do stuff similar.

Firefight release party ()
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Lady Radagu

Does being the donor of a Hemalurgic spike have any implications for your afterlife? Or how about the recipient?

Brandon Sanderson

That is actually going to depend on-- Okay. Yes it has implications for the afterlife. Yes.

Lady Radagu

Okay so are there a bunch of Scadrian souls wandering the afterlife with holes in their personalities or memory or identity? Or some with extra parts tacked on?

Brandon Sanderson

So it has implications, but they are not exactly ones that you are assuming. So in the cosmere there is "dead" and "mostly dead". Okay? And this has been shown several times so once someone dies there is a period before they transition. Sazed talks about this in Mistborn 3. And so most of the implications are for before transition. Does that make sense? Post-transition you are going to have to ask the philosophers and the theologians who are the ones that talk about that. So there is an afterlife and an after-afterlife. Not as many implications for after-afterlife. Middle? Yes. Okay?

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner

Why is Kaladin so proficient-- Like naturally born to wield a spear. Is that a weapon he likes or is it a destiny for him?

Brandon Sanderson

So destiny is a strong term... I would say he has natural aptitude, but no more so than a normal person who has a natural aptitude for something. But the way the Spiritual Realm works in the cosmere and the way Connection works, there were certain things that were happening to Kaladin before they happened...

It's like Syl says in one of the books. "You didn't know me then, but I knew you then. Even though we hadn't met yet, I still knew you." You see some weird Connection things too. And these are mostly just for fun sort of cosmere connections. Like when you see Syl take on the look of Shallan standing on the beach. There's gonna be a connection there. It's forming, it doesn't exist yet, but all things are one in the Spiritual Realm, and we're just kinda seeing echoes of that. It's not meant to be destiny, it's more meant to be, "Hey there's little connections happening".

I would not say Kaladin is any more naturally gifted in that than your average professional sports player is naturally gifted in what they do.

Starsight Release Party ()
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Questioner

If a Mistborn were to burn a metal that's been Forged by a Soulstamp, is there a different effect from another, or?

Brandon Sanderson

So they Forged it from one metal into another metal?

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

So once they started to burn it, it would break the Forgery and it would turn back into its original metal. So you'd have just the briefest moment of getting what it said it was and then it would go back to the other and then if you were a Misting of the wrong type, you would get no more from it.

Questioner

What about Feruchemy or Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

So Feruchemy and Hemalurgy. You would have a lot of trouble Investing it because it's already Invested. So you would run into troubles right away trying to Invest it, because it's already got all the Investiture messing with it. You could theoretically make it happen, but it would take enough work and conniving that it just wouldn't be worth it.

Stormlight Three Update #6 ()
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Oversleep

I have a philosophy question that could actually be answered in cosmere:

Ship of Theseus in cosmere. If I went and replaced every part of the ship, would it still - Cognitively - be the same thing?

What if I replaced everything and made a second ship out of the parts from the first one? What could somebody watching all of that from Shadesmar tell me?

Brandon Sanderson

You're right, part of the design of the cosmere (which has some deep roots in classical philosophy) was an attempt to answer the Ship of Theseus question.

In the cosmere, part of the Cognitive--and even spiritual--aspect of a thing (particularly if it isn't sentient) is delineated by the way that thinking beings define it. Per the old joke about the axe, if you replace your axe head and think of the new axe as "Your Axe," then the cognitive and spiritual aspects of that thing will grow to reflect that.

If you replaced every part of your ship, and gave the sailors time to sail it, thinking of it as the same ship--it would become the same ship.

The Dusty Wheel Show ()
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Jeremy

If vast amounts of Investiture can distort time in a similar manner as a black hole, [...] does that include Shards? Would time dilation be greater on Roshar than on Nalthis?

Brandon Sanderson

No, because the Shard is contained almost entirely in the Spiritual Realm. In the Spiritual Realm, time and distance have no meaning. So, what this means is: Large piles of Investiture that somehow make it into the Cognitive Realm or the Physical Realm are going to cause time dilation, but the Spiritual Realm—where it belongs—it's not going to do that.

That's gonna make some exclamation points raise above the heads of some people.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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kdt05b

Can Megan manifest a Cosmere reality? The Reckoners is not part of the Cosmere, but one of they main character's power is reaching into alternate dimensions. I want to see some epics on Roshar!

Brandon Sanderson

I wanted to avoid multi-verse theory type things in the Cosmere, in part because the Wheel of Time delved into these concepts, and even before working on the WoT was looking for ways to keep the Cosmere distinctive from it.

Beyond that, multiverses (along with time travel) really play havoc with continuity. I felt the cosmere was stronger if I kept to the three Realms--that's complex enough. Assume that in the cosmere, while different possible futures/pasts do branch (and can be seen) things like Allomantic gold are NOT looking at other realities--and there is only one reality, once events actually occur.

This does mean that time travel into the past is not going to be a factor in the cosmere.

This separation does let me divide these concepts off and play with them in other realms (like the Reckoners) where they're 'quarantined' so to speak.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
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Djarskublar

So, say you have a gold/gold Twinborn and they worldhop to Roshar and they study the magic and do the whole Khriss and Nazh thing for a while so they know a lot about the magic, but they've also left themselves a lot of options with what they can do. So then they manage to pull up a gold shadow of them having actually become a Surgebinder and then kind of meld themselves with that shadow a bunch, could they change their Cognitive Identity enough so that they could, like, tap a lot of gold and grow the spren and actually be a Surgebinder?

Brandon Sanderson

Unfortunately, no. It's a good question, but no. That won't work for a couple of reasons. One of which is, simply creating Investiture is not something that can happen, right?

Djarskublar

They are a gold Twinborn, so they can tap a lot of gold...

Brandon Sanderson

They can tap a whole bunch, that's true, they can do that, but simply having it is not gonna create a spren because the spren is from a different god, right, a different Shard.

Djarskublar

So if they had Regrowth cast on them, would that do it?

Brandon Sanderson

*hems and haws for a second*

Djarskublar

A really, really big Regrowth, like in the middle of a Highstorm.

Brandon Sanderson

Hmmm, this, you are getting to the realm of plausibility at that point. I still don't think gold is the way to do it. I think you just get all that Investiture. It would become sapient by you sticking a whole bunch of Investiture in, and then you can bond to that. But it's not like people gain what you would have done. Does that make sense? That's just what's going to happen, is you're gonna, you can create a, potentially create a spren that way, but you are more likely to end up with something like Nightblood. But you could potentially create a spren, but I mean you're just gonna end up...

Djarskublar

So there are other, more optimal ways to do that?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, go bond a spren. (evil grin of course)

Djarskublar

But you can't easily bond multiple, and if you did this you could maybe get multiple.

Brandon Sanderson

Nyeaaahhh... The spren still has to choose. If you want to be a Surgebinder, the choice is being made. You can't fake your way into it. Decision and Honor are too much a part of Surgebinding for you to be able to fake your way into that. Other magics you might be able to do that. Other magics that don't require, like... Surgebinding works because a piece of Honor or Cultivation or a mix has chosen you specifically. There is will from the actual Investiture involved in it in Roshar. So it's not something you can cheat your way into, right. But cheating your way into Breath might be easier.

Boskone 54 ()
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Questioner

At what point in making the Rithmatist magic system did the concept of the beauty of the drawings come in?

Brandon Sanderson

The beauty of the drawings is related to the idea of your perception influencing magic, which is a Cosmere rule. Giving things a mental order, the Cognitive aspect of it, it’s the same way that in Warbreaker, when you give an order to something you’ve Awakened with the magic, the way you perceive that order directly influences how it plays it out. I built this in because, number one, it’s better for philosophy if the answers aren’t, in some of these things, [internal?] answers where the author has said, “Truth is capital T Truth”, where the characters’ perceptions of truth allows for different people to believe different things and both be arguably right. Also because I wanted all the magic in the Cosmere to have some root in the Cognitive Realm. The idea of the magic there is, there’s a Spiritual thing which is kind of unknowable, kind of eternal, kind of all-places-one, there’s a Cognitive aspect, which is how you perceive it influences it, and then there’s the Physical world. The chalklings were built that way, how beautiful you perceive it as being, or the beings involved in this perceive it as being, will influence how well it works.

Second Questioner

In the books, in Rithmatist, you state that the better drawn a shape is, or a creation is, that makes it more powerful. Would that mean that if you drew a cube, would that be more powerful than a square?

Brandon Sanderson

The complexity of it, and how people perceive, you could make an argument that there’s some people who would be like, “The perfect cube is so hard to draw that that is inspiring”, but the average people, if you said, ”Who’s going to win this battle: this cool knight that I drew, or this cube?”, they’d say the cool knight. So that sort of general perception plays a lot into how it works.

ICon 2019 ()
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Questioner

I want to ask how were the Realms created and does their creation have anything to do with Adonalsium and the Shattering?

Brandon Sanderson

So, good question. The Realms predate the Shattering of Adonalsium and are part of the fundamental physics of the cosmere. So they would have been created at the equivalent of the cosmere Big Bang when time was created and things like that.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

So you said that different Investitures from different worlds can fuel different Investitures, right? Would that mean that you could potentially use Stormlight for Allomancy and/or Feruchemy?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, a little harder with the Metallic Arts than, for instance, Nightblood is the easiest example. He can just feed on whatever Investiture is around.

Questioner

Could he feed on the Dor from...

Brandon Sanderson

He could totally feed on the Dor.

Questioner

Would you need to have a special sheath to do that or?

Brandon Sanderson

No, what you would have to do for him on Elantris is you would have to open some conduit to the Dor that's persistent, like a light or something, and he will suck through that, he would probably end up sucking the whole aon.

Questioner

City of Elantris itself?

Brandon Sanderson

City of Elantris itself would work, yeah, but you're gonna be in trouble if he sucks up the whole thing and destroys it, which is totally possible.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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Argent

Can Shards manifest a physical body that can actually interact with the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

If they wanted to, yes.

Argent

Was that the thing that Odium did at the end of Oathbringer or was that just a projection?

Brandon Sanderson

Umm, it starts to be really difficult to define when you're getting to these points because they generally are such massive wells of Investiture themselves that it's like, is this thing they're creating, like, they are kinda, y'know, then bending the three Realms around the like spacetime with lots of gravity so is that a projection? Is that a real thing? Does it matter? Does that definition--

Argent

Oh! At that point they are almost the same thing, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, exactly.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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Argent

If two Surgebinders are next to each other in the Physical Realm and their spren are with them, chatting or whatever. Would this proximity be reflected in Shadesmar somehow? For example if there's a third Surgebinder in the same physical location, but in Shadesmar. Would they be able to deduce that this is what the physical-

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, theoretically possible. 

Argent

Maybe difficult?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll dig into the mechanics. Not necessarily though.