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Salt Lake City signing ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

I've got a list of various Cosmere bits of metal and I was wondering if you would rank them from like one to ten or just easy to difficult on how hard it would be to steelpush on them. So with one being just a regular coin, ten being like when the Lord Ruler was moving bits of glass on the floor, so like metal inside a person's body.

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on how strong the Investiture in them is.

Questioner

Is that gonna be the answer for all of these?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably!

Questioner

How about a spike charged with Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

A spike charged with Hemalurgy... that depends on...

Questioner

Not in a person.

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on how strong, yeah, a spike is moderately, (in the realm of these kinds of things) moderately easy to push on because a spike does not rip off very much Investiture. Only enough to short circuit the soul, and less it over time. I would put that at the bottom, with the top being very hard, to be one of the easier things.

Questioner

How about a metalmind that is full?

Brandon Sanderson

That is full? That is going to be middle of the realm of the, yeah. Generally easier than, for instance, a Shardblade which is going to be very hard.

Questioner #2

A Shardblade is [inaudible] actually metal? [metal]-ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Ish. Is Lerasium a metal? Yeah.

Questioner

So that'd be the same for Shardplate too?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardplate and Blade are very hard. Blade is probably gonna be a little harder.

Questioner

A Half-shard?

Brandon Sanderson

A Half-shard shield? That's gonna be moderate.

Questioner

Nightblood? I imagine that being hard.

Brandon Sanderson

Hard, of all the things you've listed, that is going to be the hardest. Far beyond even a Sharblade.

Questioner

Far beyond metal inside a person? 

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, yes. Depending on how invested the person is.

Questioner

If somebody was invested as much as Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, for instance the God King, right. At the end with all those Breaths. Pushing something inside of him, getting through all of that? Gonna be real hard. Average person on Scadrial? You've seen how hard that is. A drab? Much easier.

Questioner

That was my next one, or no, sorry not a drab. A lifeless?

Brandon Sanderson

A Lifeless, yeah. Even... yeah. Lifeless are kind of weird because they've had their soul leave but then they've had a replacement stuck in in the form of Breath which leaves them in a very weird position compared to a drab which has had part of their Investiture ripped away but a majority remains, so, anyways. I'm going to give you one more. Pick your favorite.

Questioner

A soulstamped piece of metal?

Brandon Sanderson

A soulstamped piece of metal is going to be on the lower, easier side. Not a lot of Investiture going on in a soulstamp.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

Supposing that a skilled Hemalurgist got hold of some a Shardblade or some Shardplate, how would he best use it assuming that the best way isn't to put it on and kill people with it.

Brandon Sanderson

That's probably the best way, to put it on and kill people with it. I'm not sure why a Hemalurgist would want one more than anyone else would because the metal is already Invested which means its not useful to him.

Questioner

So there is no way that he could use a Hemalurgic spike to take some power from the Spren that's crafting it.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, that's what you're saying. You want to grab something off the Spren? That's gonna be way harder than grabbing one that's not already made into something. So I don't see why he would want the Blade, just go grab it from them. Even then its going to be worse then, probably in most cases, a person. Maybe its possible that spiking yourself with a Spren would be valid, but you don't want to take it out of the Shardblade. That's gonna be harder, but you would probably have to go to the Cognitive either way to make it work, so yeah.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

Would Allomancy affect Shardplate or Shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

It cannot affected Shardblades. Well, "cannot" is a strong word. Things with innate investiture are much more difficult to affect with any of the magics at all. Which is why it's very hard, for instance-- Szeth is not able to bind people, or Lash people wearing Shardplate to the ceiling. In the same Allomancy would not be able to Push on it without some help. Duralumin and a really strong [Steel]Push could probably do it. 

Questioner

I was just wondering if it's actually metal.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yes. It is metal-ish... it is metal enough for Allomancy to work on it.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

In the end of Words of Radiance, Syl is turning into a Shardblade as well as other different weapons, and Kaladin has a whole bunch of windspren around him. I am wondering if that is a precursor to Shardplate?

Brandon Sanderson

I think you are a very smart man and you are asking wise questions.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#15 Copy

FirstRyder

Could Aluminum be used to protect a Surgebinder from a larkin?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

havoc_mayhem

Would a larkin be able to steal Stormlight from a surgebinder wearing Shardplate? Any comments on whether Shardplate or aluminium would be more effective protection?

Brandon Sanderson

Getting through both would be relatively equal--with the problem being that Shardplate is powered by investiture, which the larkin could feed on. So aluminum is better in that specific case.

Orem Signing ()
#18 Copy

Questioner

With aluminum resisting Shardblades, could you plate Shardplate with aluminum and have extra resistance, or would that be too thin to really even do anything?

Brandon Sanderson

This would probably not be very effective. Maybe in modern times, you could, but honestly you'd be better off just building aluminum armor for someone else. It's not gonna add too much to the Shardplate and to what the Shardplate's already doing and it might just interfere too much with what you're trying to do anyway. It would be worth experimenting with, but I don't think it's gonna end up doing too much.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
#19 Copy

Questioner

I was thinking about the Shardplate in Dalinar's first vision and how it looks different than any other plate now.  Would that be like how Syl could only transform after he said that second round... or was it third round of oaths, so is the Shardplate just like the next set, or would that be a totally different set of...?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm totally going to RAFO you.  Look you've got a RAFO.  You are asking good questions.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#20 Copy

ascensionprops

I've been working on a Shardplate costume and had a couple questions. Firstly, when it comes to the armor/blades of the Knights Radiant (pre Recreance), was there a specific pattern layout to the glowing symbols? Like in lines around the armor, or just covering the whole thing? It wasn't described much (yet) in Dalinar's flashback in Way of Kings, though I understand if you're waiting to describe that as a reveal of sorts.

Brandon Sanderson

The patterns are individual, much as the Blades are, so you can't go wrong. They look more like lines around the armor, though, in most cases.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#22 Copy

Rit

So, my question is glowing Shardplate and retractable helmets. Is that a similar origin of the Shardblades—

Brandon Sanderson

There's a similarity, but they are also very different.

Rit

Yeah, I noticed they do seem like advanced fabrials, because Adolin just keeps going on and on about how they're all interchangeable and they all feel comfortable after a while, and it doesn't have the same kind of thing with the Shardblades.

Brandon Sanderson

No, it doesn't. Though a Shardblade, used for a long time, will change shape slightly.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

In the book [The Way of Kings] you discuss that if you were to lose a piece of Shardplate you have to regrow the part back, or else someone takes it and tries to regrow the entire plate. One thing that has been bugging me for a while now is if you were to take a small piece of the armor, such as a glove, and fuel it with Stormlight to regrow the whole armor, does it retain the original armor? Like does it retain how it looked before, the glove?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes

Questioner

So it just transfers over.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, and the original glove will disintegrate.

Firefight release party ()
#24 Copy

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.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#26 Copy

Starfishpr1me

Why do Szeth and Kaladin not suck all the stormlight out of the gems that power shardplate when they fight people wearing plate, thus rendering the plate useless? Is there something different about the gems that power plate that would make this impossible?

Brandon Sanderson

So, in the magic of Stormlight (and across several of my books) there's are some underlying principles. One is that the power of the magic (which we call investiture) is difficult to manipulate when it is claimed by someone, or something, else.

You can imagine that magic in the process of being used, like the energy powering plate, works like a kind of negative charge to your own magic. Trying to lash someone in Plate will be very difficult, as the stormlight in the plate is going to resist your attempts to push through it and get at the person. Likewise, that power in the plate is actively being used--draining it is difficult.

If you can rip off a piece of the plate, disconnecting it from the system, then you can get at those gemstones and drain them much more easily. But tucked away inside, they're both shielded and being actively used by the armor. They would be virtually impossible to drain.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
#28 Copy

Tirithna

Does Shardplate have one general style as a pattern, or do different types exist (like European armour vs. Japanese armour), as the different kingdoms have different cultures?

Brandon Sanderson

Different types exist, but it's more along order lines than cultural ones. (That said, a person's culture could certainly influence their armor.)

Legion Release Party ()
#29 Copy

Questioner

In Stormlight with the way the Radiant's armor works, is it going to be similar to in Aether of Night where it grows? Or do they summon it like the Shardblades?

Brandon Sanderson

Mmmm, someone's read Aether of Night! RAFO! You should find out before too much longer. I've been working very hard to keep that mechanism hidden until we can have some things like this happen on screen. But it's getting increasingly hard.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#30 Copy

Questioner

Dalinar. A lot of people have theorized that his armor has glowed because he's channeling stormlight. I don't believe that's accurate. Is that right?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not going to answer much about the armor. The armor, you will have to find out about.

Questioner

Alright, because my theory is that he's actually fulfilling the actual role of the Radiants—that's protecting people—therefore that's why his armor is glowing.

Brandon Sanderson

Interesting. Now which armor are you speaking about specifically?

Questioner

The Shardplate.

Brandon Sanderson

The Shardplate but which one?

Questioner

Dalinar's armor.

Brandon Sanderson

Dalinar's Shardplate. In which scene?

Questioner

In The Way of Kings. Several times.

Brandon Sanderson

*Disingenuously* I know nothing about what you're talking about.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#31 Copy

Questioner 1

I'm building Plate. I would like it to be Radiant. What's the finish? Is it different from standard Plate or is it--

Brandon Sanderson

If you-- like, they often paint theirs. But say it's going to be straight unpainted it's like dull slate grey steel--

Questioner 2

And it doesn't vary order to order?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Well, I mean, if it's actual Radiant Plate it does-- But what you've got is-- Yeah, it glows and it has things, too.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#32 Copy

Questioner

So, if a person claims a new set of Shardplate, and there's a difference in size between the new wielder and the previous wielder, does it adjust to the size of the new wielder?

Brandon Sanderson

It does... And there are things they can do to size it and things like that. But it slowly changes over time, like a Blade sometimes does under certain circumstances.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#36 Copy

Questioner

In The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, you covered the relationship between Shardblades and spren...you never get around to Shardplate.

Brandon Sanderson

I’m saving that one on purpose, it’s a gun on the mantle, or armor on the mantle. So, you will eventually find out what’s going on there, okay?

Orem signing ()
#37 Copy

Questioner

Shardplate, I know that you need to put Stormlight into it to regenerate it from a piece. Why can enemies not do that? Is it a thing that only the owner can do? 

Brandon Sanderson

We haven't dug into this in the books, but if you've got a piece... If you've got pieces you can regenerate it, and if multiple people are trying to regenerate different pieces there is kind of a sort of tug-of-war that goes on there. And certain things are involved in whoever ends up regenerating it. One thing is how much of it you have, but another is how much Stormlight, and things like this. It is possible to steal a piece of someone's Shardplate and start a little war over it that way. 

Salt Lake City signing ()
#41 Copy

Questioner 1

Shardplate thus far has been powered by Stormlight in the spheres. But after-- now that we've got Radiants, is it powered by themselves?

*adds something about "spren" but is spoken over by Brandon*

Brandon Sanderson

Well so far we have not seen Radiants wearing Shardplate.

Questioner 2

Yeah, I was kind of wondering that myself, 'cause-- 'cause they're not spren, because the spren were the... Shards [Shardblades]. So what <are> they?

Brandon Sanderson

So, that's a big ol' "what really is Shardplate?" *hands RAFO card*

Steelheart Chicago signing ()
#42 Copy

Argent (paraphrased)

Is there any other canonical way to refer to a set of Shardplate and a Shardblade other than Shards, so as to not confuse them with the Shards of Adonalsium?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

They call them just Shard(s). It is a little confusing, because there are other Shards, but they don't know about them. I call them a set, but there is no canonical way to refer to them.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#47 Copy

DeliberateConfusion

Who would win in a fight between a Full Shardbearer and a Space Marine?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know 40k well enough to say. But you will see Shardbearers in space some day.

Pariah_The_Pariah

...that's amazing. You've got high sci-fi fantasy coming? That'll be amazing.

Uh... Now I've got this image of Kaladin in modified shardplate(hell, can shardplate just serve as a spacesuit?) floating about in space and Syl appearing with a little bubble helmet.

Brandon Sanderson

The cosmere (the shared universe of my epic fantasy books) is interconnected, and eventually there will be space travel between them. Those books are quite a ways down the road, though.

Pariah_The_Pariah

I've known a long time of your cosmere! But I figured you'd take a "stargate" approach eventually -y'know, magical gates?

But actual Space travel?

I can imagine the various magical systems lending themselves well to that kind of stuff! I mean, gravity fabrials for artificial gravity, using some sort of cross-world steel pushing fabrial/biomechanical steel pushing device for a gauss rifle..

I mean, the last one is if you make this like space ship battles.

Windrunners and Skybreakers could just function as fighters themselves!

here's a question: how are cross world magics gonna work? Let's say a space freighter powered by fabrials enters Scadrial space. What happens to those fabrials?

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.

Pariah_The_Pariah

Isn't Sel the original planet where Adonalsium happened?

Brandon Sanderson

Yolen is the original.

Words of Radiance Dayton signing ()
#48 Copy

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

An invested object resists any attempt to put additional investment into it. Just like you can't pull metal that's inside a person's body. When the Shardplate cracks, the streams of Stormlight that you're seeing are actually the plate doing what it's supposed to: healing itself. So, theoretically, you could maybe pull a tiny fraction of that Stormlight out, but you can't just stick your hand up to the outside of the plate and retrieve it. However, if you have the plate open with the gem exposed and you were to touch the gem, then you could pull the Stormlight from it."

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#50 Copy

MarlonRand

Is there any information about Way of Kings that you can give us at this time?

Brandon Sanderson

I've wanted to do a long epic for a while. I guess that's what comes from reading Jordan and the others while growing up. And so, way back in the late 90's—when I was experimenting with my style—I started working on ideas for a longer form series. I knew the real trick for me would be to do it in a way that it didn't feel stale after just a few books; there needed to be enough to the world, the magic, and the plot arcs that I (and hopefully readers) would keep interested in the series for such a long time.

What it gives me (the thing that I want in doing a longer epic) is the chance to grow characters across a larger number of books. Dig into their pasts, explore what makes them think the way they do, in ways that even a trilogy cannot. In Kings, I don't want to do a longer 'saga' style series, with each book having a new set of characters. I want this to be one overarching story.

One of the things that has itched at me for long time in my fantasy reading is the sense of loss that so many fantasy series have. I'm not complaining, mind you—I love these books. But it seems like a theme in a large number of fantasy books is the disappearance of magic and wonder from the world. In Tolkien, the Elves are leaving. In Jordan, technology is growing and perhaps beginning an age where it will overshadow magic. It's very present in Brooks, where the fantasy world is becoming our world. Even Eddings seemed to have it, with a sense that sorcerers are less common, and with things like the only Dragons dying, the gods leaving.

I've wanted to do a series, then, where the magic isn't going away—it's coming back. Where the world is becoming a more wondrous place. Where new races aren't vanishing, they're being discovered.

Obviously, I'm not the first to approach a fantasy this way. Maybe I'm reading too much into the other books, seeing something that isn't there. But the return of magic is one of the main concepts that is driving me.

Well, that and enormous swords and magical power armor.