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Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
#2 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.

Legion Release Party ()
#3 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 Dayton signing ()
#6 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."

Bands of Mourning release party ()
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Questioner

Could you use steel or iron to Push or Pull off Shardblades or Shardplate?

Brandon Sanderson

Anything that's Invested resists, the more Invested it is the more it resists.

Questioner

Okay, so you could technically--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

--if it was not charged?

Brandon Sanderson

Well-- Certain objects just have more Investiture and are more purely of the Investiture. A Shardblade's going to be really hard, but it's possible, it's just going to be really, really hard. Even more hard than an absolutely full Feruchemical metalmind because the Shardblade is being created directly out of the Investiture, it's basically all Investiture, it's not a metal that is Invested. It's going to be real hard.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
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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.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#10 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.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
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KiManiak

So, for Shardplate, when Kaladin killed the Shardbearer, which we know is Helaran, in Way of Kings, Amaram remarked that Amaram knew the Shardbearer was dead both because the Shardblade didn't disapper and also because the Shardplate began to fall off of him. And so my question is, is there some type of "lesser" bond between Shardplate and its wearer, like is it in sync with the wearer's lifeforce or--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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Argent

We know that you can't Lash people in Shardplate, but can you Lash the person inside the Plate? If they had their helm off, for example. At that point Plate should be just dead weight, right? 

Brandon Sanderson

There's a bit of an interference envelope. Wearing plate, the person has this big ball of investiture around them, and so pushing any through it--even by touching a person without a helm--is going to be tough. Easier than with the helm on though, I suppose.

Investiture acts (roughly) like a saturated solution in these cases. Sticking more power into something like a Feruchemical storage or a hyper-invested object like Plate is increasingly hard. The other part is that Investiture tends to interfere with other Investiture, unless there's a familiar resonance. (This is part of what philosophers call Identity.) Slapping your hand through a sand master's stream of sand will cause interference, and make them start to drop. It's not that the sand is supporting them, it's that the investiture holding them up gets scrambled for a moment because of your own investiture.

Investiture pushed toward someone inside a hyper-invested (supersaturated) system like a person in Shardplate is going to get hard push-back.

This is similar to the reason that it's harder to Push on invested coins. Depends on how invested they are, in that case. It's generally not as hard as doing something like Lashing a person in plate. (This is more about the interference than the saturation of investiture.) But the two principles are what I use to guide the physics in these areas.

quietandproud

Can we take that as a hint that the Investiture in the Plates and the Investiture that the Surge of [Adhesion] uses come from different Shards? Or do they interfere because they "belong" to different spren?

Brandon Sanderson

You know, I should have realized this one would bring out the follow up questions. Let's leave it at what I posted for now. This is a deep, deep rabbit hole, and I do need to try to get some more writing done tonight. So...RAFO. (Sorry.)

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#16 Copy

Blightsong

Would it be harder for Jasnah to Soulcast a Knight Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Would it be harder for her to Soulcast a Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Investiture resists Investiture. It's harder for her to even Soulcast a person than a rock, right?

Questioner

Is a Mistborn Invested?

Brandon Sanderson

The Mistborn, while they're burning the metal. They are not specifically Invested when they are not burning. When the Investiture becomes active, then yes. Before, no.

Blightsong

So Kelsier, he stayed around longer, not because he was Invested, but because he had the potential to use Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Over time using the magic will Invest you, on Scadrial. Most of the power is not coming from, on Roshar the power isn't coming from the person either [he cut himself off, so I assume this is how it works on Scadrial even though he didn't finish his thought] so I'm going to have to back up on that one and say, yes, the Mistborn are as Invested as a Knight Radiant, because in both cases the majority, bulk, of the power is coming from somewhere else, but there is the Spiritweb. Investing the wrong term, but you have all these connections in the Spiritual Realm, so yanking you away from them, or rewriting them is harder.

Questioner

Would they be harder with more Stormlight or metals burning?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes. That would increase the difficulty ratio. For instance, wearing Shardplate is gonna be a great barrier, right, and things like that so yeah. The problem is like, Invested is the wrong term for that, their Spiritweb is connected in different ways.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
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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?

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.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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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.)

YouTube Livestream 14 ()
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Cheyenne Sedai

What Order of Knights Radiant did Dalinar's plate come from?

Brandon Sanderson

I will RAFO that. Let's leave that alone for now. We're not talking a lot about Plate. You deserve a nice can of Read and Find Out. We'll start talking about...

We don't even really know where Shardplate comes from. It's all a mystery! Was Shardplate even from a Knight, ever piece of it? We don't know where it comes from!

(The cosmerenauts all know, they've figured it out. But we're just gonna pretend that they don't know.)

DragonCon 2019 ()
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Questioner

The concept of bridge warfare and the life of a bridgeman was one of the most horrific things I've ever heard of. Was that inspired by something specific or...? 

Brandon Sanderson

So, there's a couple of inspirations. One is some of the first-hand accounts of World War One I read, where tactics changed so dramatically that people were being thrown into battle not understanding that this was just terrible tactics, you know, charging machine guns, that's, turns out, bad idea in a lot of situations. And the other half of it is being inspired by actual siege warfare.

One of the things I like to do in my books is, I like to have fantastical versions of things that happen in our world, right? And this gives me a way I can look at history. I can read the accounts of, you know, what it's like to run a ladder, change it to suit my own desires and kind of have a bit more expertise where I can say, "In this situation, this is what they're doing." It allows people who know their medieval history to say, "Oh, that's cool," but also, at the same time, suspend their disbelief, right. Like, if you're a medieval historian and you're reading about actual siege warfare, I have to get it really right, or I'm gonna kick you out of the story. But if, instead, they're running bridges, it allows a lot of the mystique for medieval historians to say, "Oh, this is a different tactic, so we can't say one hundred percent what people would've done in that situation. I can enjoy the story too." And as long as I get enough right, that does that.

So you see me doing that sort of thing quite a bit. Otherwise, I do try to get the things that I do right--as right as I can--but I was just visiting some nice fellows who were showing me their sword fighting in Plate. And you'll see, Shardplate is another thing like this. Actual historical plate combat... I wanted to have Shardplate divorced from that a little bit for the same sort of reasons, right? Number one, it allows me to have the kind of epic fights the way I want to have them, it allows me to draw out the fights. And you'll notice if you watch a lot of historical people reenacting fights, the Shardplate fights will look a lot more like people sparring nowadays and not actually trying to kill each other. And that's intentional, because I can watch a lot of those online, right. I can go to conventions like this and see people doing that. You can't see first-hand two people in plate actually trying to kill each other. And if I can make the fight realistically have a good reason why it would feel like a bout, you know, with Shardplate and things like that, instead of what you'd try to do in a normal plate battle is shove a dagger under someone's armpit, right? Well, that doesn't work in Shardplate, so what do you want to do? You wanna hit them in the same place a couple times. Feels a lot more like a sparring duel in our world, and it just allows me to have this line between realism and theatricality that I really like, and allows people who know a little bit about it to be able to like, "Oh, that feels real, but I can also enjoy it." You see me doing that sort of thing a lot.

That's more than you asked, but that's occupational hazard, going on and on and on and on.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

When you paint a shardplate, how do you change the paint job? Do you have to break the pieces to get it off?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You would use a paint thinner and it would come off alright. Actually, you have to reapply the paint pretty often as it would naturally wear off on its own and it would have trouble sticking to the plate.

YouTube Livestream 23 ()
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Kevin Andres

In the vision Dalinar had in Way of Kings where he was flying with another Radiant, he asks how to summon his armor, and the Radiant he's with acts confused and tells him to talk to the quartermaster, or something along those lines. Did Radiants lend out their armor to lower rank Radiants?

Brandon Sanderson

This did happen in the past.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#33 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.

YouTube Livestream 21 ()
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Questioner

Where did the idea of pooping in Shardplate come from?

Brandon Sanderson

Because I wondered how it happened with knights on the battlefield and thought, "This is the sort of thing that just doesn't show up very often in fantasy books."

Adam Horne

Or in history books, probably.

Brandon Sanderson

It's there in history books. The historians are very interested in this sort of thing.

One of the ways that I wanted to ground some of the conversations in Stormlight was to talk about some of these things. And it turns out that Shallan and Adolin's conversations tend to be very good places to talk about this sort of thing.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#36 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.

Salt Lake City signing ()
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Questioner

So, just curious about Shardplate.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

Um... In one of the books she said that it was seamless. Like there weren't any chinks in it anywhere.

Brandon Sanderson

There are chinks, but there's no direct line to the skin. So if there-- if you see a slit, there's another little plate behind it, or something like this.

Questioner

Okay, okay. 'Cause I've seen them and out of artist renditions and it <looked> accordion. And I'm like, if I wanted to recreate it for my kids...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

...it would not be accordion, would it?

Brandon Sanderson

Um... It just depends on your own interpretation. The official interpretation of Shardplate is Ben McSweeny's interpretation, which we used for Shallan's sketchbook in book 2, showing her sketches of Shardplate. So that's our official-- official interpretation. But you can interpret it yourself how you would want.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#40 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.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
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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.

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
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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.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#48 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*

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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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.