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Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#1 Copy

wicktacular

questioner's paraphrase, delete after transcription review: Based on the bit during the open Q&A about Odium splintering Dominion and Devotion and shoving their power into the Cognitive, and that blocking off the Spiritual, which makes Sel's magic so location (or Identity of location) based - if a Shardbearer traveled to Sel, could they still summon their Shardblade?

Transcription:

So from what you said about Odium sticking Devotion and Dominion in the Cognitive, if they *inaudible* Shardblade, well Shardbearer, and travelled to Sel would they *inaudible*?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh... what-- I'm going to RAFO that. I've never asked me that before. I guess I haven't really explained that whole thing before to people.

Ad Astra 2017 ()
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Questioner

I was wondering with Emperor's Soul-- it's in the same world as Elantris.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

But it's a completely different magic system.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah.

Questioner

Do you ever see The Emperor's Soul, like, that magic system in further Elantris books?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, you will see more of that. Elantris-- So what Elantris is very-- is interesting-- is Sel, the planet that is, that each region has basically a way of accessing the magic, and they're all, in my mind, programming languages. And you use different things to program, and call functions basically. And some people etch into bone, some people draw in runes, some people make the soulstamps. You can do it through a tai chi-like thing in one of world-- in one of the lands. So it's like a-- region-based for reasons that cosmere magic experts I think have figured out by now.

Questioner

Well it's like there were two deities, I think, Invested in that planet?

Brandon Sanderson

Yep... The reason is-- and we have announced it-- the reason it is is, so on Sel-- somebody killed the two deities there, right? And then stuffed their corpses, which are just huge magic reservoirs, just *inaudible*. So all their power stuffed up into what we call the Cognitive Realm, the realm of the mind, which is location dependent. So all the magic is getting filtered through that, it does weird things to it, it makes it region-locked. So yeah.

Questioner

Is it the only world that has many different ways that magic is--

Brandon Sanderson

Well a lot of them have different ways. For instance, for-- on Scadrial we've got Feruchemy, and Allomancy, and things like that. So most worlds have different interpretations, and things like that. Sel's the only one you've seen where it's region dependent.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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Questioner

Nightblood. He just showed up at the end of The Stormlight Archive--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

--the last one. So, is there a place that's a connection between all of the universes?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is.

Questioner

And it's been reached in The Stormlight Archive?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so I'm guessing you don't know about all of this but there are characters from Elantris that are in Mistborn--

Questioner

Yes. Like Hoid.

Brandon Sanderson

--and all of this stuff. I would say one of the things is that Roshar is a little bit easier to get to than some of the others, but it's not that it has been breached there so much as it's a little bit easier to get to.

Questioner

Yes, I'm assuming it has something to do with the Cognitive Realm but then objects going through the Cognitive Realm is kind of tripping me.

Brandon Sanderson

Hehe… *long pause* There are places in the Cognitive Realm that are somewhat nexus-like, like you're talking about. Yes there are places like that. ...So Roshar might actually be the easiest place to get to in the cosmere, like from planet to planet. Sel is probably the hardest, right now. For a long time Taldain was very hard, but not anymore.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
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Questioner

So I've got a question about the Selians in Secret History.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay.

Questioner

It seems... It seems pretty clear that they're Selians. Or people from...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

...the planet Sel. Is that the right term? Selian? I don't know...

Brandon Sanderson

Um... *sigh* I get this one mixed up. Peter knows. I know I've called them Selish before, but I think we went with Selian because it sounded too much like "selfish". But we did canonize it, and it probably is in the essays, I think. But Peter knows the canon term.

Questioner

Okay. What era are they from? Are they from like the... are they from the... the original...

Brandon Sanderson

They are old! [very drawn out "old"]

Questioner

Were they part of the society that built Elantris?

Brandon Sanderson

So, someone asked me this coming through the line, and I RAFO'd them. But they are old.

Questioner

They are old.

Brandon Sanderson

They are oldold people. Here's the thing. You give me the opportunity to wiggle around, because I could say, "No," if anyone has joined them since then.

Questioner

It's true.

Brandon Sanderson

Does that make sense? 

Questioner

Yeah.

Brandon Sanderson

Not canonizing anything right now, but that question is so wiggle-aroundable. And I took the opportunity not to wiggle around it and just tell you they are old

Questioner

They are old. Got it.

Brandon Sanderson

The organization is old. And some of the people that you meet there are very old.

Worldbuilders AMA ()
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zotsandcrambles

Have we seen any soul-stamped objects in any of the non-Sel books?

Brandon Sanderson

For you to have seen this, someone would have to have cracked the issue with Sel magics losing power greatly when taken from the planet.

zotsandcrambles

Is this a feasible task for someone like Shai or Hoid? We know the Moon Scepter is a Rosetta stone, so the task seems less daunting, right?

Brandon Sanderson

The task is less daunting for certain. I don't want to say more, however, as I think the clues are there about Sel's magic, and I want to avoid saying too much.

zotsandcrambles

Thanks for taking the time (again) to answer me!

Brandon Sanderson

So, here's the thing. The problem with magic on Sel is not one people are looking at the right way. And I'm really loathe to dig into it more, because I won't be able to write the books set on the world for a few more years yet.

Already, great moments in upcoming books aren't going to be as powerful to the hardcore fans, as they'll know the answers already.

But your theory, while very cool, wouldn't work--and stems from you attacking the problem in the wrong way.

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
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Titan Arum

If a Hoed goes to the shardpool in the mountains, what happens to them in the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

What do you think happens to them?

Titan Arum

I want to say that the IRE, but I know they’re not because they’re really, really, really, really old.

Brandon Sanderson

I have...

Questioner 2

I have a theory that that’s how you get seons.

Brandon Sanderson

Here’s the thing, here’s the thing, what have I said about the Cognitive Realm on Sel?

Titan Arum

That it’s really, really dangerous.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Any guesses why?

Titan Arum

Because the Shards are Splintered so all the power of the Dor is kind of sloshing around and it’s basically like a highstorm there.

Brandon Sanderson

So, what would happen if someone went into there through the shardpool?

Titan Arum

It’s probably not as good as they think it is?

Brandon Sanderson

No.

Titan Arum

Would they get splintered like that?

Brandon Sanderon

No they’d just...

Titan Arum

Would they get ripped apart?

Brandon Sanderon

Yeah. That’s why it’s really dangerous.

Titan Arum

Ouch.

Questioner

So the Elantrians are just dying when they go in...

Questioner

So when the Hoed or the Elantrians go in...

Brandon Sanderon

For the...let’s just say they’re cast into a very dangerous environment without any preparation for it.

Questioner

So how’d the Ire get there?

Questioner

They have gone before or they may have been properly prepared.

Brandon Sanderon

There’s some theories, that are theories that could totally be the case.  Or you could theorize others as well.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
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Questioner

With the AonDor seems to based on the geography of the place, could there be AonDor based on other geographical features, like Kholinar?

Brandon Sanderson

Um… *hesitantly* Yes, but it's-- There's something weird about Sel that is making that happen that way on Sel. So...

Questioner

But you could have it in other places on Sel?

Brandon Sanderson

You could-- Yes, it does exist in other places on Sel but yeah.

Firefight release party ()
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Questioner

So someone, I can't remember who it was, told me you said something about the pools in Elantris being related to worldhopping.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Is that right?

Brandon Sanderson

That is correct.

Questioner

So when the Elantrians go in the pool do they die or do they go to a different world?

Brandon Sanderson

Well you're making those mutually exclusive.

Questioner

Oh so it can do more than one thing--

Brandon Sanderson

One thing you gotta remember is in Elantris Shadesmar, the place that we call Shadesmar, is full of a raging, powerful source of energy called the Dor. It's very, very dangerous. Nobody goes there. So, just keep that in mind.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Brightlord Maelstrom

When a Dakhor monk leaves his homeland do his bones still give him his abilities? Is it only the creation that's location-dependent or is it also the ability that's location-dependent?

Brandon Sanderson

The further you get away, the weaker the power the bones will give you will get. It's way better than Elantris at bringing the power with you. That's where it is in the notes right now, I have not written the second book, I could totally change that.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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zotsandcrambles

I've always wondered why Hoid stole the Moon Scepter from The Rose Empire. He is collecting investiture, so it must be pivotal.

Is it possible that the Moon Scepter is connected directly to Dominion and Devotion's investiture (maybe via the moon-rocks?). If you have the Moon Scepter, you can get around the pesky proximity problem of the magic system(s)?

Brandon Sanderson

I'll talk about this eventually, but it IS related to the proximity problem--just not in the way you're assuming.

DragonCon 2012 ()
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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.

Elantris Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventeen

Of all the books I've written, I think this one hearkens most closely to our own world. Usually, when I develop cultures and languages, I try to stay away form basing them too closely on any one Earth society or race. I'm not certain what made me do things differently in Elantris. It's not just fencing–JinDo, with its obvious links to Asian cultures, is a good example too. And Fjorden's language has some obvious references to Scandinavia. (Dilaf's name comes from Beowulf, actually. I named him after Beowulf's heir, Wilaf.)

Anyway, in this chapter we find two very obvious "borrows" from our world. I've always been fascinated by fencing, though I've never participated myself. The idea of turning swordfighting into a sport intrigues me. In addition, I found the light, formalized dueling appropriate to the tone of this book, so I took the opportunity to write it in. (I do realize, by the way, that Hollywood has done some interesting things to fencing. Most real fencing bouts are much shorter, and far less showy, than what we see depicted. This is pretty much true for any kind of fighting, however. Think what you will, but combat is usually brutal, quick, and really not that exciting to watch.

This kind of fighting is very appropriate in some books. However, I allowed myself the indulgence of doing my fencing scenes a bit more flourish than one would find in real life. It felt right in the context to have the participants spar, parry, and jump about for far longer a time than is realistic. If you need justification, you can assume that in Teod, the rules for fencing are very strict–and so it's very hard to actually score a point on your opponent, forcing the battles to be prolonged.)

The other item of interest in that scene is, of course, Shuden's ChayShan dance. As mentioned above, his culture is pretty obviously borrowed from Asia. In fact, the link is so strong that some readers have trouble imagining his features as anything but Asian. (Note, once again, that this is not the case. The JinDo have dark brown skin. Though, I guess you'll imagine Shuden however you wish.) The ChayShan is a martial art I devised to feel just a bit like Tai Chi–though ChayShan focuses on speeding up the motions and gaining power from them. I've always kind of thought that Tai Chi would look more interesting if it slowly sped up.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Most of the magics are unaffected by being taken off world, though still subject to their own inherent flaws. Stormlight seeps out. Sand loses its glow. Metal can only be used by one with the right genetic code. Note that the magic from Sel is different, and is location dependent for reasons I don't think fandom has quite teased out.

zotsandcrambles

I assumed the shard Dominion was the reason why magic's are geographically and/or geopolitically based. Is there a different, essentially unrelated reason?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is a different reason.

Shadows of Self release party ()
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Chaos

How accurate would you say the northern continent on the Sycla map is? Is it horribly inaccurate?

Isaac Stewart

This map has severe deficiencies, especially in the northwest.

Chaos

Is there any reason why the cities seem to be on the borders?

Isaac Stewart

Seem to be where?

Chaos

On the borders, or coastline, like literally all of them.

Isaac Stewart

So Brandon can tell me if I'm wrong on this, but normally at the level of technology we're at in this world you've got to have cities near water. That's really what it is. Early cities are almost always near a source of water.

Chaos

And so the rivers are just the borders?

Isaac Stewart

Yeah. I mean we have the rivers that come in through the border in some places but rivers also are just a great border between places. Especially when there is-- when you're not building bridges over all of them. I will tell you... I won't answer what's going on up here.

Chaos

Is it really this enclosed though? Like it's pretty enclosed?

Isaac Stewart

It's pretty enclosed. This right here is pretty distorted, I will tell you that. And I made it look bigger than it is...

Eric, we will eventually release a more correct map.

Firefight Houston signing ()
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Questioner

I reread Elantris, and I was wondering why there wasn't any mention of the Empire from The Emperor's Soul in it.

Brandon Sanderson

They mention it briefly, they mention countries from there, but they do not have a lot of contact at all. And they kind of view each other in the same way that Europe viewed the Far East, in that "we know there's something over there, but they're nowhere near as cool as we are." Even though the people over there were more populous, in places more advanced and larger than them, they just had no clue. And that's kinda, when I was building it, that's where I went. Like, the JinDo are transplants over, and we have references to MaiPon and we have some things like that, but there's a big mountain range in between, a very large space getting there, the only way you can get through is through some passes near Teod; they don't really even contact over there. Plus, the Empire thinks these people are a bunch of religious nutjobs, so they just stay away.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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Questioner

The Aons on Sel… they're all based on, I assume the Investiture in Elantris itself, all the sigils are based on the general shape of the landscape around Elantris. Could that magic work in other places based on the geography of the other places with high Investiture, or is that exclusive to Sel?

Brandon Sanderson

That is an aspect of the Selan magic system-- Did I say Selian or Selan? I can't remember which one we settled on, Peter knows…

Crowd

Selish.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, Selish, that's what we settled on, isn't it, yeah, Selish magic system. This is why we have copy editors *laughter* That's a feature of the Selish magic system that, so far as I know, no one has pulled out in any decent reason for. But there's a distinct reason that could be figured out, but it's one of these things that will make sense when I explain it, but I'm not sure if it's quote-unquote "intuitively obvious to the average reader". I don't think that it necessarily is that, but it will make perfect sense once it's explained.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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Nepene

In The Emperor's Soul and Elantris the magic systems have very different methods and powers, though both work through symbols. Assuming they adapted the symbols to their local geography could they use each other's methods? Could an Elantrian forge a soulstamp say?

Brandon Sanderson

Birth in a certain location on Sel gives a certain affinity for the local symbols, and their usage. To use the magic of another region, one would need to have a rewritten connection to that area instead.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
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Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

You said to not travel to Shadesmar on Sel. Is this a consequence of Odium Splintering Aona and Skai?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It is indirectly related to the Splintering. There is a clue to why it is dangerous in Way of Kings.

Footnote: The reason it is dangerous to travel in the Cognitive Realm near Sel is that the Dor, the Splintered remains of Devotion and Dominion, resides there and is a storm of uncontrolled Investiture (as the seons and skaze are not numerous enough to act as release valves like the spren of Roshar do for Honor).
Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
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Blaze1616

The Dor: Is it gaseous Investiture or is it something else completely?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh that's a great question. People have not been asking enough about the Dor.

Blaze1616

And if it is gaseous—or not gaseous—is it plasma?

Brandon Sanderson

*Long pause*

You got it. *said definitively*

It's super sup-- not plasm-- yeah, it's super-dense to the point that's it's liquefied and dense-- does that make sense? So it's plasma, basically. It's its own weird thing, so yeah. What you can write is that it's its own weird thing that's kind of plasma-like.

Steelheart Portland signing ()
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Joshstormblessed (paraphrased)

I've noticed that in both Elantris and Roshar there are specific shapes to the cities and in both instances there are chasms. Is there a connection between the two worlds?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Oooo:) Yes there is definitely a connection there. As you know all of these worlds are part of a universe and my magic systems share basic rules. So you'll see similarities.

Joshstormblessed (paraphrased)

And the chasms?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

*smiles mischievously*

Shadows of Self Lansing signing ()
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Questioner

Are there going to be any more stories set in The Emperor’s Soul time?

Brandon Sanderson

You will probably see Shai again but I can’t promise that I will do another story just about her. That’s in part because The Emperor’s Soul turned out so well, that it feels like one of those things that feels like it should be left alone. It just-- Not everything needs a sequel. And in some ways it was so successful that it’s better not to do one, if that makes sense.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 ()
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Windrunner

Why does Scadrial, which has two Shards, only have three manifestations of investiture, (Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy) but Sel, also with two Shards, has five manifestations of investiture (AonDor, Dakhor, ChayShan, Forgery, and Bloodsealing)?

Brandon Sanderson

Sel's magics are much more regionalized than Scadrial's. Each area has its own manifestation, but they're all actually the same magic. So really there is one magic on Sel--much as Windrunning and Lightweaving on Roshar are kind of different magics, but also kind of the same.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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Jamester86

So something I've noticed in the fantasy genre that I love is that my 2 favorite authors (Sanderson and Rothfuss) don't use the traditional fantasy medieval setting (that I love) of castles, knights, feudalism etc. Now there are plenty of great authors that do (GRRMartin comes to mind as one that does it right), BUT the truth is, a good story eclipses all minor details like setting. An example I always give is that Patrick Rothfuss could write about brushing your teeth and it would make a fascinating read, and Sanderson would make an intriguing plot with amazing characterization throughout the dental hygiene experience. But I digress.

My question (If Brandon would be so kind as to show up, and if not, if anyone has any insight) is why; why doesn't the cosmere have any traditional medieval fantasy settings? Mistborn has keeps, but the society is not the traditional technology and setting of the medieval time period, nor do any of the other worlds given us.

Brandon Sanderson

There are both in-world reasons and writing reasons.

The writing reasons are obvious. I grew up on a steady diet of fantasy in a faux-medieval setting. I felt that some of these stories were really good, and enjoyed them--but at the same time, I felt the genre had been there and done that. In some ways, GRRM doing fantasy with the eye of a true medievalist provided a capstone to this era of fantasy.

When I sat down to write, didn't want to write what I was tired of reading. Dragonsteel (which never got published) was bronze age, White Sand was industrial, and Elantris was (kind of) Renaissance. (As you noticed, Mistborn is somewhere around 1820's. I modeled a lot of the society around the fascinating culture/industry of canals as shipping lanes that happened in England right before railroads took over.)

The other big reason, writing wise, is that I feel some of the magics that I enjoy dealing with in my settings need a certain near-industrial mindset to be interesting. The stories I want to tell are about people applying scientific principles to magic--and about the commodification and the economics of magic. Those are early-modern era stories.

The in-world reasoning I have is that on some of these planets, those eras existed--but the books are taking place when the stories of the worlds start smashing into one another. In addition, however, the Shards have an influence on this, because of things they saw happen on their own home planet.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

On Sel, it seems like a lot of the magic is tied-in to the location on the planet. Could you take something like Soulforging and do it on another planet, or is it just tied into Sel?

Brandon Sanderson

It is tied into Sel, and there's this distinct reason for that, and it has to do with one of the big differences between the magic there and other places that people haven't picked out of me yet.

Questioner

So is that tied into how you can get Investiture there?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. It's all tied in. I’ve only made it vaguely - It's not obvious, but I think you could pick it out if you worked at it.

Footnote: We now know that the reason magic on Sel is tied to location is because the investiture there comes from the Cognitive Realm (where location is important), and not the Spiritual.
Oathbringer release party ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

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.

Hal-Con 2012 ()
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Lance Alvein (paraphrased)

How was the Fjordell Empire not aware of the existence of the Rose Empire during the time of Elantris?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The connection between the two will be explained in future Elantris books, but a quick answer is this:

Fjorden was aware of the Rose Empire, but doesn't consider the location to be holy, so they didn't really care that much about it. There is also no easy natural way to travel between the two. If you remember, Shai did run into the Fjordell ambassador.