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Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#1 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.

Supanova 2017 - Sydney ()
#2 Copy

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.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#3 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.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#6 Copy

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.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#7 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.

Orem signing ()
#8 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. 

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#9 Copy

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 ()
#11 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.

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#14 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.

Steelheart Chicago signing ()
#17 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.

Words of Radiance Dayton signing ()
#18 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."

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#19 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.

General Reddit 2020 ()
#20 Copy

YaBoiAlex

I ask this in a vague manner intentionally, but can we expect to see the Shardplate spren of other Orders being able to do different things on command depending on the kind of spren? Kind of like how Kaladin commanded the windspren to form plate on others and hold back the storm?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO!

Salt Lake City signing ()
#21 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*

Chris King interview ()
#25 Copy

Chris King

Is it possible to use a Soulstamp to give Shardplate life or at least achieve a robotic status?

Brandon Sanderson

Wow, it is really, really hard to Invest things that have already been Invested. Regular-- Let's just say that, it is really hard to do that. Part of the reason why it is difficult for instance to Push or Pull on something that is inside of somebody because the Investiture is interfering and you would have that similar problem doing anything to Shardplate with any of the magics.

OdysseyCon 2016 ()
#26 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.

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#27 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.

Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing ()
#31 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.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
#32 Copy

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.)

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#34 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.

YouTube Live Fan Mail Opening 1 ()
#35 Copy

Robert

It is established in The Way of Kings that standard Shardplate forms to fit the wearer perfectly. Would this work if you put it on a dog or horse?

Brandon Sanderson

Within reasonable limits, how about that? Depends on the size of the dog or the horse. There are dogs that you could fit Shardplate with, there are probably horses that you could too.

Emily Sanderson

But they would be axehounds, right?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, yeah. If you brought a dog to Roshar.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#38 Copy

polaristar

So in Words of Radiance, at the end of the book, the singers in their Stormform can summon red lightning and it's revealed Shardplate can neutralize it. I was wondering, can Shardplate neutralize ALL electric discharges or just the "special" kind from Voidlight/voidspren powered from.

And if Shardplate can defend against lightning in general is their a maximum voltage/amperage before it loses effectiveness?

nagewaza

In my mind - the plate likely acts like a Faraday cage - essentially allowing the lightning to never have a path through the user's body (electricity moving through your body is how you get injured). This would assume that Shardplate is conductive.

If they jumped, then likely the lightning would again travel through the outside Shardplate metal and then to ground - again avoiding the human altogether..... That said, small aluminum airplanes have been known to have damage to wings from strikes. In the case of Shardplate, I doubt that thermal shock or melting temperature is an issue for the material.

Brandon Sanderson

This is along the lines of what I was thinking, though I'm not sure I have a maximum volt/amp answer handy.

polaristar

Was basically asking to find out if I can use Shardplate users against Electromaster characters on /r/whowouldwin

Brandon Sanderson

Then I give you an official, "Yes you can."

Orem Signing ()
#39 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.

Salt Lake City signing ()
#41 Copy

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.

Shadows of Self Chicago signing ()
#43 Copy

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.

DragonCon 2012 ()
#45 Copy

Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

Why are Invested objects like metalminds and Hemalurgic spikes able to be Pushed and Pulled on, but Shardblades and Shardplate, which are also invested, are not susceptible to Pushing and Pulling?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There were a few concepts that he outlined in answering this question.

1.) The ability to Push/Pull an Invested object is predicated to the amount/power of the Investiture.

2.) Further, Invested objects also gain resistance to pulling/pushing based on proximity to soul possibly via the soul. An example given is that a Hemalurgic spike touches the blood of the person, and from there is now part of both the Spiritual Realm and the Physical Realm. This provides what Brandon termed a kind of "soul interference," based on its proximity to the soul.

This further explains why Vin required more than normal power to Push/Pull the metalminds from the Lord Ruler, because of their proximity to his soul, via the Spiritual Realm.

3.) The amount of Investiture is relatively low on Scadrial, whereas worlds like Sel and Roshar are pushing around "high power" according to Brandon. I interpreted this to mean that Hemalurgic spikes and metalminds have low amounts of Investiture compared to Shardplate and Shardblades.

Brandon said that theoretically you can Push/Pull Shardblades and Shardplates but you would need to wield an incredible amount of power. One example he gave that could so such as a thing is that if you were a Mistborn wielding the full power of the Well of Ascension, you could Push/Pull Shardblades/Plate.

General Twitter 2012 ()
#46 Copy

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.

DragonCon 2019 ()
#48 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.

Legion Release Party ()
#49 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.

YouTube Livestream 23 ()
#50 Copy

Dominic Field

If Kaladin's Shardplate is made of windspren, would the other Orders also have Shardplate made of lesser spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes!

Dominic Field

Would Lightweavers have Plate made up of creationspren, for instance?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they would. You should be able to guess, for the major Orders that we've spent a lot of time with, what their Shardplate is made out of. There have been hints from book one what those are. Theoretically, you should be able to kind of put that together. You're not gonna be able to put it together for some of the Orders, 'cause we just haven't gotten into it as much; we haven't spent enough time with them. But you should be able to start putting this all together in relationship to the Shardplate. At least there's three or four of them that I think I've made very obvious.