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Firefight release party ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

It seems like-- So the cosmere stuff keeps the physics in there, with the Coinshots, and things like that, it doesn't ignore mass an inertia.

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Questioner

I love that! And I love that about Jim Butcher's books too. 'Cause they keep the physics. It seems like, with the young adult stuff, it's more based on intent...

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, the young adult stuff, I do not keep physics. In Steelheart, or in Alcatraz... or in Rithmatist. I don't even worry about it.

Questioner

They didn't know what the line did until they knew what it was supposed to do.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, intent is important in-- Remember the magic system for Rithmatist started as cosmere. And then I made the decision with it that I was not going to have it be in the cosmere. But the magic system started as a cosmere magic system...

*audio lost*

...you can do a lot when you can break laws of conservation of matter and energy, when you can cheat them by using the Spiritual Realm. But things that we really cheated on is redshifting and things like this on the time dilation in Mistborn. I don't know if you noticed that, but there should be redshift, there should be weird radiation things, there should be-- And so we had to work around a lot of those things. And we've got our workarounds in the back of our heads. But the other weird one is when Wax is flying, and he reduces his mass, I have to remember that he speeds up, when his mass goes down because of centripetal force.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#3 Copy

KalynaAnne

So when you have multiple points, that are like a point where there are multiple things, could you bind multiple things to that point?

Brandon Sanderson

Um yes, and you can always bind multiple things to a point--

KalynaAnne

Oh you can always bind--

Ben McSweeney

So you can bind a chalkling and a circle to the same point?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, but it's going to make it weaker, so you don't usually want to do it. 'Cause you are better off to just stick circle on and get multiple points on of that...

KalynaAnne

But if it had multiple ones, would that make it less bad to join two?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

KalynaAnne

So it doesn't--

Brandon Sanderson

It doesn't. Good question!

JordanCon 2016 ()
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KalynaAnne

We've kind of circled around the issue, but Professor Layton has talked about conics in general. Are we going to see hyperbolic lines and parabolas *audio obscured*

Brandon Sanderson

So, there is discussion of that in my notes, we'll see if I can get to it. It's more-- The cultural stuff for book two is more important to me right now, I'm not sure how far I will advance Rithmatics in the next book or not, but we will do some kind of origin stuff and fundamentals in the next one.

Steelheart release party ()
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Questioner

In [Rithmatics], how can you tell that a circle is two-starred, four-starred, or nine-starred?

Brandon Sanderson

It’s by where you start crossing the lines. Where you cross the circle will determine what points it is.  For example, if you draw a line here, there are only a certain number of places where you can draw another line that'll fit. It’s just by where you start your first line intersecting it, the first line intersecting it determines where you can draw other lines and keep its stability.

Oathbringer release party ()
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AllomancerSam [PENDING REVIEW]

You actually mentioned at a signing I went to last year that the Rithmatist magic was going to be, like a cosmere thing, but you pulled it out. What about it wasn't working?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It wasn't the magic, it was the setting. I decided I didn't want Earth in the cosmere, even a alternate version of it. The magic still kind of works very cosmere-y.

The Book Smugglers Rithmatist Interview ()
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The Book Smugglers

You create some of the most elaborate magic systems in fantasy today; these systems function as intrinsic parts of your worlds and characters. Typically, how do you address the different types of magic systems in your different books? Do you define these systems before you start writing the books, or do they evolve and develop as you go along?

Brandon Sanderson

The answer to that is yes! It's different for every book. With my Cosmere books—which are the shared universe of my epic fantasies—I need to be a little more rigorous. There are fundamental underlying principles that guide the magic systems, and so there's a larger developmental phase before I start writing the book. Then I stick more strictly to the rules I've given myself.

All the way back in 2007, I was writing one of my epic fantasies, and it just wasn't working. I needed a break to something creative, different, and distinctive. So I jumped ship, abandoning that epic fantasy, and wrote The Rithmatist instead, which had a lot less planning than one of my epic fantasies.

With something like The Rithmatist—which is outside the cosmere—I'm allowed a little more freedom, which is one of the reasons I like writing books like this, where I allow myself to develop it as I write. The magic was the first thing that got me excited about The Rithmatist, so I based the book around it.

The first thing I wrote was the scene—now late in chapter one—where Joel watches Fitch get defeated by Nalizar in the classroom. It started out on a chalkboard, but I eventually moved it to the floor because that made more sense. As I was writing these chapters, I developed the Rithmatic lines and let the story feed the magic and the magic feed the story in a way that some writers call "discovery written."

Shadows of Self release party ()
#11 Copy

KalynaAnne

Chalklings, we know, can catch rides off of Nebrask. If Melody had chalklings on a slate and carried them around, could she give them verbal commands later, after she had made them?

Brandon Sanderson

You will have to find out how her magic works as we progress. Everyone would say "No, that's not possible" but she had done things that are supposedly-- that seem impossible. So what you are proposing is probably likely, probably possible, but it depends on her magic.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
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KalynaAnne

So, 9-point circles are important... You can get all the different point placements as special cases of the nine point circles.

Brandon Sanderson

Uh-huh.

KalynaAnne

You can also get 5 point; is that valid Rithmatically?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that would work.

KalynaAnne

And 8-point?

Brandon Sanderson

8-point they haven't done very much experimentation with.

Ben McSweeney

But you could!

Brandon Sanderson

But you could, yeah.

Ben McSweeney AMA ()
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Oudeis16

I'm going to be cheeky and ask another question.

Is there a defense you think you'd favor as a Rithmatist? Either in a duel, the Melee, or at Nebrask? Do you think you'd be more offensive, or defensive? Would you favor chalklings or Lines of Vigor for attacks?

What style chalklings do you think you'd have? Melody made fantasy creatures, Fitch tended towards people, Nalizar made monsters. Do you think you'd tend towards a type?

Ben McSweeney

OOooo, nobody ever asks me Rithmatist questions.

I think I'm reasonably good at eyeballing dimensions, but I got a bend towards symmetry, so I'd probably not be fast with a 9-point. The Eskridge and Matson defenses are 8-pointers though, with the Eskridge being more suited to a melee and the Matson for a duel. I'd probably favor the Matson in a pinch 'cause it's fast to draw.

I think I'd create a lot of fat octopus chalklings for defense, 'cause there's a strategic mobility advantage in those long tentacles, even if the body is anchored to a point. Not sure what I'd use for attack... probably something I can draw a lot of, very quickly, so I can try to Zerg Rush my opponent while using my octochalklings and Vigor lines to hold back their attacks. Millipedes, maybe, with lots of fast legs and pincers.

I've just realized my side of the field is all bugs and tentacles. I think I might be a thematic bad guy. Or worse, the bad guy's henchman.

Oudeis16

Now I wanna see you and Isaac Stewart in a Rithmatic duel... or maybe fighting with Aons.

Really? No one asks you Rithmatist questions? I just finished a re-read. I love that book. Did you have to learn a lot of math to draw it all? Or did you know the math already? Or did you just draw it with the explanation and forget all the math?

I'm pretty sure I've deduced that the Line of Silencing is based on the involute of a circle, the way a Line of Warding is based on a circle marked by the significant points of a triangle...

Ben McSweeney

I think the Rithmatist will be a lot more popular when we've got another book in the basket. Brandon has a very good idea for the second novel, but it involves getting into imaginary revisions of actual history and cultures with living descendants, and he's looking to be careful as he does that.

I'm actually not responsible for any of the mathy bits of the novel, Brandon designed every defense and wrote all the rules and descriptions himself. My job was to take his diagrams and drawings from MS Paint to finished renders.

Because I rendered the illustrations in Photoshop, it helped to ensure that the geometry was perfect. Flawless circles, razor-straight lines, symmetry and point-placement clocked and locked. I could have done the same thing with compass and ruler, but it was significantly easier to build geometric shapes in-system and then texture and revise.

I got to be nice and creative with chalklings, but that's my place on the team. When it comes to the rules and the math, that's 100% Brandon.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
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Questioner

What gave you the idea to use chalk in Rithmatist?

Brandon Sanderson

I cant even remember. I was just wanting to play magical Starcraft on the ground and chalk made the most sense.

Questioner

With the chalk *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

They do not believe right now, but the study of actual chalk composition is a relatively new science that they have not paid enough attention to.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
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KalynaAnne

Lines of Vigor, do they behave like light waves?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

KalynaAnne

So a higher frequency means it’s better at penetrating, lower frequency transfers energy and moves stuff?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Ben McSweeney

Nice, I didn't know that one.

KalynaAnne

So, when they bounce off Lines of Forbiddance, do they follow laws of reflection?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Ben McSweeney

They should always reflect at the same angle.  Think of, like, a pool table.

KalynaAnne

If a line of vigor is moving from concrete onto asphalt--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

KalynaAnne

--is it changing--

Brandon Sanderson

It's going to act like light transferring to a new medium.

KalynaAnne

So it refracts?

Brandon Sanderson

It's going to-- Yeah, it's going to refract.

KalynaAnne

So it changes speed as it moves?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep. So you get a different wavelength, or whatever, as it transfers onto a new medium.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you were to draw a Line of Forbiddance on a portable chalkboard, could you actually knock somebody overside the head?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

It wouldn't knock them over the head, because it kinda has the magnetic repulsion sort of thing, but we will get into moving things as we go further in the series.

SpoCon 2013 ()
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Questioner

Lines of Protection. Is the field generated once the line is completed? Or is it a progressive thing?

Almost everything that's going with this takes effect as the person's thinking of it taking effect. There is a mental connection. So, as you are drawing, until you are finished, there is nothing there;  unless, sometimes, you want it to be. There is a direct link. The Rithmatist does have a magic that is consistent with cosmere rules. I decided not to set it in the cosmere primarily because I did not want Earth to be in the cosmere.

Questioner

So how strongly consistent is it with <realmatic theory>?

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't keep myself completely to the rules. It could fit, but... don't take anything The Rithmatist does and apply it to the other books.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#21 Copy

KalynaAnne

So you have circles, or Lines of Warding. If you draw a semi-circle, like if a Rithmatist was backed up against a wall, can just a semi-circle act as a Line of Warding?

Brandon Sanderson

It can, but the sides are going to be so weak. I mean they can just go around it, but yes, the semi-circle would work.

KalynaAnne

So if you drew a semi-circle, and drew the other half up the wall--

Brandon Sanderson

That would be fine.

KalynaAnne

Would it be equally strong as if it was all flat on the ground?

Brandon Sanderson

It would probably-- It would be really hard to get that corner so it would be. In theoretical, magical Christmasland, yes. 'Cause chalklings are two-dimensional, so they don't even see that it's changed really. I mean it does but--

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
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KalynaAnne

If you use different circle centers rather than the orthocenter, you cando 9-point conic constructions and make 9-point ellipses?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

KalynaAnne

Is that valid?

Brandon Sanderson

I would say yes, that could be valid.

Ben McSweeney

Wasn't there a rule about ellipses being a little--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they are a little less strong.

Ben McSweeney

--they're weak because the long sides are weaker than the short sides.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, but this would work. There's not much reason to use it because the other is naturally-- has a stronger integrity than this, but you could theoretically do that. The defenses that make use of an ellipse make use of the strengths of an ellipse already. But yeah that would be possible.

Ben McSweeney

With an ellipse you are asking for your opponent to flank you and come at you from the sides. And then if he pushes your circle out you're in trouble.

Firefight release party ()
#28 Copy

Questioner

Where did the idea to use chalk come from?

Brandon Sanderson

Y'know, I have trouble pinpointing that one. I remember the idea of chalk circles, and things like that, and just seeing those in the lore of our world's sort of magical mythology and thinking about chalk circles. I remember thinking about how I want to do a book some day about people who play a game with magic, and things like that. At the end it is just one of things that I'm like "Hey, magical Starcraft with chalk. Go!" and I just started working on it, and it happened.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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ccstat

You confirmed at the Atlanta signing that 9-point constructions could be applied to ellipses to generate valid Rithmatic defenses. Could the same be done using open conics such as hyperbolas and parabolas? (Or do open conics become lines of Forbiddance instead of lines of Warding?) Also, the disparity in strength between the sides and points of an ellipse is attributed to their difference in curvature. Does this mean that a large circle is inherently weaker than a small circle since its local curvature is less?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes to all questions, though with a circle, there is an innate structural strength that does weaken with larger sizes, but it isn't as fast as the curvature would indicate.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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KalynaAnne

In The Rithmatist you previously confirmed that lines of vigor behave a lot like light waves.

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm.

KalynaAnne

So if two lines of vigor collide do we have wave interference patterns? Does it matter if--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I am planning some wave interference patterns and things like that, definitely.

KalynaAnne

Does it matter if they come from the same Rithmatist?

Brandon Sanderson

Eh... It should not, no.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#35 Copy

KalynaAnne

If you drew a Line of Forbiddance on, like, a slate and then you can hold the slate--

Brandon Sanderson

Moving stuff around starts playing with things. So I'm going to say, I will deal with that in the next book but it doesn't work how you want it to work.

KalynaAnne

Okay, I'll accept that answer.

Brandon Sanderson

For logistical reasons, when I was building the magic, I was "Ehhh, we've got to not have this be possible."