I asked whether the Teoish and Duladen could get their own magic systems.
Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)
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I asked whether the Teoish and Duladen could get their own magic systems.
Is the conduit that seems to be powering the Ire fortress, can that act as a safe passage through the Cognitive Realm of Sel?
Yes. Maybe not the way that you're implying, but yes.
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?
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*?
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.
I was wondering with Emperor's Soul-- it's in the same world as Elantris.
But it's a completely different magic system.
Do you ever see The Emperor's Soul, like, that magic system in further Elantris books?
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.
Well it's like there were two deities, I think, Invested in that planet?
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.
Is it the only world that has many different ways that magic is--
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.
Can you be Connected to two locations at once?
Will that help with doing Sel magic off-world?
Is there anything you'd be willing to tell us about the third empire Khriss mentioned in Arcanum Unbounded?
Umm, yeah, I have not decided on some canon answers for that yet, I've debated back and forth on what I'm going to do with it so I just won't tell you yet.
Do the glyphs on Roshar have any fundamental connection to [the geography? Some confusion about if they’re connected to Sel
I’m not going to answer that yet, since I’m going to dig into what’s happening on Sel later.
Nightblood. He just showed up at the end of The Stormlight Archive--
--the last one. So, is there a place that's a connection between all of the universes?
Yes, there is.
And it's been reached in The Stormlight Archive?
Okay, so I'm guessing you don't know about all of this but there are characters from Elantris that are in Mistborn--
Yes. Like Hoid.
--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.
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.
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.
So I've got a question about the Selians in Secret History.
It seems... It seems pretty clear that they're Selians. Or people from...
...the planet Sel. Is that the right term? Selian? I don't know...
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.
Okay. What era are they from? Are they from like the... are they from the... the original...
They are old! [very drawn out "old"]
Were they part of the society that built Elantris?
So, someone asked me this coming through the line, and I RAFO'd them. But they are old.
They are old.
They are old, old 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.
Does that make sense?
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.
They are old. Got it.
The organization is old. And some of the people that you meet there are very old.
Is the programming-esque nature of the Dor a product of the power being in the Cognitive Realm or is it for some other reason?
A mixture of the Vessels' personalities, the fact that the power's in the Cognitive Realm, and the nature of Sel's focus.
Also, I overheard Brandon saying to another fan that all magic on Sel is essentially programming, and building up a complex Aonic effect or an intricate Forgery works just like writing code.
Have we seen any soul-stamped objects in any of the non-Sel books?
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.
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?
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.
Thanks for taking the time (again) to answer me!
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.
Shai mocks the Rose Empire's belief that a new sun rises every day for a set number of days. Is the reason Sel is difficult to travel to related to the religious notion that Sel has many MANY suns in their Shadesmaar equivalent?
Good guess! But no. (Sorry.)
If a Hoed goes to the shardpool in the mountains, what happens to them in the Cognitive Realm?
What do you think happens to them?
I want to say that the IRE, but I know they’re not because they’re really, really, really, really old.
I have a theory that that’s how you get seons.
Here’s the thing, here’s the thing, what have I said about the Cognitive Realm on Sel?
That it’s really, really dangerous.
Yes. Any guesses why?
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.
So, what would happen if someone went into there through the shardpool?
It’s probably not as good as they think it is?
Would they get splintered like that?
No they’d just...
Would they get ripped apart?
Yeah. That’s why it’s really dangerous.
So the Elantrians are just dying when they go in...
So when the Hoed or the Elantrians go in...
For the...let’s just say they’re cast into a very dangerous environment without any preparation for it.
So how’d the Ire get there?
They have gone before or they may have been properly prepared.
There’s some theories, that are theories that could totally be the case. Or you could theorize others as well.
With the AonDor seems to based on the geography of the place, could there be AonDor based on other geographical features, like Kholinar?
Um… *hesitantly* Yes, but it's-- There's something weird about Sel that is making that happen that way on Sel. So...
But you could have it in other places on Sel?
You could-- Yes, it does exist in other places on Sel but yeah.
Is Sel realmatically knowledgeable by this point, or is it specific to Forgery?
Sel is the most realmatically knowledgeable of any of the shardworlds, but much of the knowledge demonstrated in the book is directly related to Forgery - it's tied to the theological aspects of Forgery more than anything else.
So someone, I can't remember who it was, told me you said something about the pools in Elantris being related to worldhopping.
Is that right?
That is correct.
So when the Elantrians go in the pool do they die or do they go to a different world?
Well you're making those mutually exclusive.
Oh so it can do more than one thing--
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.
How do you pick names?
Each group is based on real world naming conventions, Alethi = near-palindromes + Semitic, Central Dominance = French, Emperor's Soul = Ancient Zoroastrian
How exactly, Realmatically, is it tracked- like [for example] Aon Aon with these swirls and lines means "Arelon"?
I'm not gonna' explain that yet; I can explain how the shape is, but the whole relationship between the Aons and the magic and the landscape-
*Draws out/describes AonAon like in the book*
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?
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.
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?
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.
We've seen five "sub-types" (for lack of a better term) of the overarching Selish magic system. Are you planning on adding any more/are there other sub-types we have yet to see?
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.
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.
I assumed the shard Dominion was the reason why magic's are geographically and/or geopolitically based. Is there a different, essentially unrelated reason?
Yes, there is a different reason.
Does the chasm on Sel have a counterpart in the Cognitive Realm?
Yes, it does. But moving around there is really tough…
How accurate would you say the northern continent on the Sycla map is? Is it horribly inaccurate?
This map has severe deficiencies, especially in the northwest.
Is there any reason why the cities seem to be on the borders?
Seem to be where?
On the borders, or coastline, like literally all of them.
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.
And so the rivers are just the borders?
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.
Is it really this enclosed though? Like it's pretty enclosed?
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.
Did the earthquake have anything to do with the grounds sentience?
Nothing specifically to do with the ground's sentience. Otherwise... RAFO!
I reread Elantris, and I was wondering why there wasn't any mention of the Empire from The Emperor's Soul in it.
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.
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?
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…
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.
You've mentioned several times that traveling to Shadesmar [the Cognitive Realm] on Sel is incredibly dangerous. Would reassembling Devotion and Dominion solve this problem?
Yes, I suppose that could work, yes.
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?
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.
You said to not travel to Shadesmar on Sel. Is this a consequence of Odium Splintering Aona and Skai?
It is indirectly related to the Splintering. There is a clue to why it is dangerous in Way of Kings.
Were any of the other magic systems of Sel affected by the fall of Elantris, such as soulforging?
The two Shards on Sel were kind of pressed into the Cognitive Realm. Is that what makes travel there so difficult?
Yes. Because you usually travel through the Cognitive Realm. WELL that's not exactly what you want to be doing on Sel.
The Dor: Is it gaseous Investiture or is it something else completely?
Oh that's a great question. People have not been asking enough about the Dor.
And if it is gaseous—or not gaseous—is it plasma?
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.
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?
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.
And the chasms?
What does the Cognitive Realm of Sel look like?
If you transform something using Aon Shao, would that be permanent, for taking off-world?
That would probably be permanent. That's where I stand right now on those ones.
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)?
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.
Are there going to be any more stories set in The Emperor’s Soul time?
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.
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.
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.
Is the reason why it is hard to get to Shadesmar on Sel because Devotion and Dominion being Splintered?
That is part of it (a little).
Has to do with the name of that expanse.
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?
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.
So is that tied into how you can get Investiture there?
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.
Of course their constellations form Aons. What else would you expect?
Is it very difficult to travel, to worldhop from Sel because most of the world in its Cognitive Realm version is ocean?
No, that is not the reason. Good question.
Is Threnody in the same planetary system as Sel?
[No, they are not]
Folks, I hate to be a killjoy, but I just asked Brandon about this, and he says that he answered that question with "No, they are not."
Brandon says he specifically remembers this question, and he remembers saying that Threnody and Sel were not in the same system.
In any case, Threnody and Sel do not revolve around the same star. (And they're not in a binary system system either, for those trying to salvage something out of this.)
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.