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Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#1 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 ()
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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.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#7 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 ()
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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.

Orem Signing ()
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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.

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.)

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
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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.

Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing ()
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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 ()
#19 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.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#23 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?

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 ()
#27 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*

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
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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.

General Reddit 2015 ()
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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 ()
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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."

DragonCon 2019 ()
#32 Copy

Rebeca

What would happen differently if a person found a Shardblade and Shardplate that belongs to the same Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

That is an excellent question. It happened way more in the past than it happens now, but certain Blades and Plates are historically kind of linked together. If you were knowing to look for a difference, you would notice a slight difference, mostly if you could speak to or sense the Sword, but it wouldn’t have a very big mechanical difference, if that makes sense.

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.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#35 Copy

Questioner

Is Shallan's truth, "I am hap-- It's okay that I can be happy?"

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to dig into that, but this is a big part of it. Let me RAFO that because I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to express it as it goes along, but that sentiment is a huge part of what's going on with Shallan.

Questioner

I was expecting her to manifest Shardplate in the middle of her wedding because she had spoken such a core truth of her identity.

Brandon Sanderson

Let's just say that I'm being very careful about how I show off the first manifestations of Shardplate for narrative reasons.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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Ray745

During the final fight between Szeth and Kaladin, Szeth seems far too surprised when Kaladin follows him out past the stormwall.

Kaladin exploded out of the stormwall, surrounded by windspren that spiraled away in a pattern of light. He shouted, driving his spear toward Szeth, who parried hastily, his eyes wide. "Impossible!"

And before that you make a point of mentioning all the windspren streaming around Kaladin as he's flying. A popular theory about Shardplate is that it's made up out of "cousin" spren. Obviously that is a RAFO question, but I wanted to ask if Szeth was surprised for any reason other than Kaladin just following him out of the storm? My theory is Szeth saw the beginnings of a vague suit of Shardplate forming around Kaladin. I know you won't answer that directly, but I was hoping to see your face when I asked it haha. Do you have any comment on that theory?

Brandon Sanderson

Szeth was surprised for more reasons than just Kaladin following him out. He is realizing that the Radiants are returning, and that his exile was unearned.

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.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#40 Copy

Overlord Jebus

Adolin is hit by Parshendi lightning, and then his Plate reacts and starts blocking out the light from the rest of the lightning strikes. Is he awakening his Shardplate as well as his Blade?

Brandon Sanderson

So Shardplate didn't have as much of a problem as the Blades did, so if someone else were wearing that they could have had the same effect.

Overlord Jebus

So it's more just a function of the Shardplate, really.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, but I mean the Shardplate needs to be a little more aware-- You know. It didn't have as much of an effect on Shardplate as the Blades.

Overlord Jebus

That being the Recreance?

Brandon Sanderson

The Recreance, yeah.

General Twitter 2012 ()
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SwiftxJustice

Quick question to help me settle a debate. Could Allomancy affect a Shardplate/blade?

Brandon Sanderson

No. Investiture interferes with most magics.

eridius

Wait, are Mistborn and Stormlight Archive somehow connected?

Brandon Sanderson

Multiple people from Mistborn appeared in The Way of Kings.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
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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.

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.

Salt Lake City signing ()
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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 Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

What happens if you put Shardplate in a highstorm? If you are in Shardplate and you go out into a highstorm...

Brandon Sanderson

You're pretty well protected, but a boulder flying through the air can still do some major damage to a person in Shardplate.

Questioner

What will happen to the gems in the Shardplate?

Brandon Sanderson

They will be recharged.