When Jasnah Soulcasts stuff from a distance, is that something she can only do because she's a Radiant? And if so, how does that work?
RAFO. Here's a RAFO card.
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When Jasnah Soulcasts stuff from a distance, is that something she can only do because she's a Radiant? And if so, how does that work?
RAFO. Here's a RAFO card.
How does a bridge crew set a bridge down across a chasm in front of them?
So... I may have to act this out.
*Proceeds to act it out, no video available*
I am Kaladin, running at the front of the bridge, right? Now there's a chasm there. I'm going to step out to the side and grab the poles to the side, and lower the front bridge down. Then these guys are going to lower theirs down while I run around to the back and grab the poles on the side, which extend out. And we're going to get several ranks and then we're going to shove together.
We're waited on this side, remember, we've got the weights that roll to one side or the other. So it's weighted on this side, so we get it over and then plot it down. We're looking for a place where we're a little bit above-- with the paths, alright? And then we go to the other side, your reposition the weights or the poles or whatever it is on the thing so that it's heavier on this side and then get everyone and then you pull it back across and then you can lift it.
Okay, great, thank you very much.
Now also keep in mind a couple of things: 0.7 Earth gravity, a very important aspect for actually making this bridge weight work for carrying it; and it is a soulcast wood. The only way to get the numbers to work if you've got engineers, the weight-- you actually have to realize that we've got a wood that is slightly stronger, yet lighter, than what-- it's like a-- Peter came up, it's like a balsa, there's a soulcast wood that is really a great wood for this sort of thing.
That doesn't mean it's light, it's still a really heavy book
A really heavy bridge.
Can you Soulcast hair?
Yes, if you can cut it with a Shardb...You can Soulcast even the body. Hair is much easier. While it's attached, it's going to be harder. Easier than Soulcasting a body, if you have the skill to just soulcast the hair.
While it's attached, treat it more like a body than you would not a body, but easier than a body.
She wanted me to ask you if Soulcasters end up in Shadesmar when they *inaudible*?
Do all Soulcasters risk turning into the element or is it only those using the device?
All Soulcasters have an affinity but the ones using the device are locked down much more than the Soulcasters who are Knights Radiant.
So they are protected from being turned into--
Oh no they-- I wouldn't say protected... *clarificaiton* Protected is the wrong term but that event, the savanthood and how it affects them and things like that is much less pronounced if you are a [Knight].
Or is that counteracted by the healing as well?
Healing doesn't have to do with it because-- in cosmere terms there's nothing wrong with your body, your spirit is actually drifting, and so it's not hurting you physically by what's happening with the magics. So it's not the healing but if you have an active bond with a spren it takes a little different path. Let's just say, in simple terms--
You are not losing body parts to smoke.
Yes, you are not using body parts to smoke.
What timeframe does it happen for the normal Soulcasters then?
For normal Soulcasters? It takes-- I mean, you've seen it happening in the books. We are talking [about] a process of years even decades, depending on the person. It happens to some--
Depending on how often they Soulcast?
It depends on how often they Soulcast, and it depends on the person.
Will The Way of Kings series be based on one of the worlds and magic systems you have already created or are you inventing a totally new one for this series?
It will be new. There are going to be a lot of different types of magic in the world (I see there's a question below asking about that, so I'll answer more there.) But there will be two main magic systems for the first book. The first will deal with the manipulation of fundamental forces. (Gravity, Strong/weak atomic forces, Electromagnetic force, that sort of thing.) The second will be a transformation based magic system, whereby people can transform objects into one of the world's ten elements.
Can you Soulcast an Invested object?
Yes, but it's much harder. But humans are Invested, and you can soulcast humans.
So, suppose you had a goldmind that was filled. And you tried to Soulcast into iron. What would happen to the Investiture inside it?
So, the Investiture would remain in there, but it's keyed to the wrong thing, so you wouldn't be able to get it. It'd be much harder to Soulcast that, by the way. The more Invested, the harder it is. But Soulcasters are used to it, because everything has Investiture, and most of what they're Soulcasting. They deal with this, so it's something they're kind of expert at. So, this is not outside reason, that it could happen. You could give it to your average Soulcaster on Roshar, and they could make it happen. You just wouldn't be able to get the Investiture out of it anymore.
Can Shardplate be Soulcast?
Shardplate could be Soulcast, but anything Invested is very difficult to Soulcast and it would essentially destroy it. Which would be one of the few ways to destroy Shardplate.
Are the Ten Essences from Stormlight inspired from the ancient Chinese theory of the Five Elements, which is often used to explain various physiological and patological phenomena in traditional Chinese medicine?
Yes. Part came from there. Part came from Jewish mysticism. Part came from the idea of fundamental forces.
I want to know if there is a toxic level for Stormlight? If you're in the storm, can you get to the point where you have too much?
No, it doesn't quite work that way. Good question, though.
You said there was one person, I guess it was the Soulcasters, who were starting to change because of that?
That's more the magic changing their soul over time. It's not necessarily a function of the storms.
If Soulcast blood is human blood, does that mean Soulcast meat is people meat?
But that doesn't necessarily mean that, like-- when it has a blood type, and things like that-- I don't know enough about blood. I didn't mean to imply it's human blood. I'm just saying, it has all the attributes of blood, and it could be ascribed to something specific. That's where my mind was going. If they were asking, "Is this human blood?" No, that's not necessarily-- some of it is. Soulcast meat is definitely not. Soulcast blood, probably is most of the time. But it is-- there are, like, certain derivations of it that happen. It's more complicated, in other words, than what I-- than a simple answer can give. So, is Soulcast blood human blood? You could use it for blood transfusions, most if it, unless, in certain instances, you couldn't. Like, it's more-- Those sorts of questions, I have to circumlocute them so much.
Let's just put it this way. You can eat-- The meat is not human meat, but the blood can be used for blood transfusions. Is that enough? Yeah, we'll go with that.
If I were to impulsively Soulcast pewter, the way Shallan does with the blood in The Way of Kings, would it come out that an Allomancer be able to use it?
You could create Allomantically viable metals, yes.
But is it automatic?
I would say that the pure metals are, but the alloys are not.
So Allomantic Savants. So I was curious-- That system-- When that happens, is it purely physiological, or is there something else happening in terms of--
Uhh, it's physiological in a cosmere sense, but that can involve your Cognitive and Spiritual aspects.
I guess the question there is, are there other similar processes to savantism with other--
Yeah, yeah you've seen it. So, Soulcasters.
Where their skin turns--
Where they're slowly being-- their spirit is slowly being merged and infused with Investiture that is having Physical ramifications. It's the same thing.
I would have a question about Soulcasting : is Soulcasting an invested object harder ? And if it is a human (lets say, an Allomancer) but he is not burning any metal, would he be as easy as Soulcast as any "normal" person ?
It is harder to Soulcast an invested object, but Soulcasters--by their nature--are used to dealing with this.
When Allomancers aren't burning metal, they are not considered highly-invested.
How does the whole DNA and blood type thing work?
There is a sort of universal donor.
When a Radiant is in the Cognitive Realm, does their mind exist individually, like separately from their body?
So you physically travel to the Cognitive Realm?
You can kind of step in between both but you do not separate from your body.
So when Shallan is only partly in...she's in both at the same time?
Yeah. She's transitioning. It's not astral projection. But no that's a legit question.
So Shallan, and Lightweavers, are capable of physically stepping into Shadesmar?
RAFO. But the implication is yes.
Would an Awakener be able to awaken a corpse that was soulcast into stone more easily because it used to be living, thereby being able to create lifeless similar to Kalad's Phantoms without having bones in the framework?
Yes. That would definitely work.
Soulcast blood? Does it have Rh factor? Or, does it match anyone's DNA?
So, the answers are to that, "Yes."
Is Soulcasting more efficient if the item you're Soulcasting resembles the item you're trying to make?
Good, no one's asked me that yet. RAFO.
Can you Soulcast things into plastic? Like, from the oil Essence?
Yeah, you could. You could Soulcast things to plastic. You'd need to work with the magic, but you could.
Can Soulforged bones be Awakened?
Can Soulforged bones be Awakened? So, Soulcast bones be awakened? Once the Soulcasting is done, it is no longer Invested, and it would act as the normal item. A Forged item will act as Invested, and will resist any manipulation. Differences between the magics.
Why can Kaladin Surgebind with any gem type but Jasnah and Shallan need specific types?
A lot of that will be explained as the series comes along. It is really the difference between Soulcasting and the other forms of Surgebinding. It's more a quirk of Soulcasting than it is something that is different about about Kaladin. So you've kind of got it reversed a little bit though; Soulcasting has this additional restriction that the other ones don't.
What is happening from the point of view of an observer in the physical realm when an object is soulcast? Are the constituent electrons, protons, and neutrons being rearranged into new forms? And from a 3 realms stand point, is the history of the material being rewritten? Instead of when that star went nova to create heavy metals, was it silicon instead of iron (for instance)?
I'll go ahead and RAFO this, but with a promise that answers will actually come some day.
So the lighteyes that get Soulcast into stone, can they be Awakened?
*pause* So… Yes, but their soul is gone. When they get Soulcast into stone it is only the corpse, so yes they could.
Would it be a lifeless or a-- Would it be like Awakening something inorganic or would them once being alive help?
The fact that they were once alive will help. There's a Spiritual Connection that still exists on the Spiritual Realm and that is going to help. But you're not going to get the person back. The fact that it is the exact form of a person is going to be really helpful. It would be a lot easier to Awaken that than it would be to Awaken other stone.
Where did you get the idea for the gemhearts.
So, I wanted-- in the books, I wanted there to be an economic component to the magic, like, something that was based on the money in the world. And I knew I wanted to use the gemstones, but I also knew they would be used up really quickly by the magic, with Soulcasting. So, I built something into the creatures of the world, so that we could renew the gemstones, so they wouldn't all just be gone after a few hundred years.
At the risk of getting too technical, is there anything besides lack of knowledge preventing a soulcaster from turning some rocks into a bunch of plutonium and exploding?
I know you've got some rules attached to time bubbles to avoid those going nuclear so I wouldn't be surprised if there was something or another.
Well, Soulcasting isn't fission or fusion. It's a spiritual transformation process, not a physical one, and so you don't have to worry about some of these issues. There IS historical precedent of accidentally setting off fission reactions in the cosmere using the magic, but that was a different process. Soulcasting is actually pretty safe. (Well, on a grand scale.)
You could end up irradiating yourself, though, which wouldn't be very fun.
If you know what you were doing, making plutonium or uranium on Roshar wouldn't be difficult. The problem is more a matter of knowledge, and room for scientific exploration. They're unlikely to make atom bombs for the same reason they haven't made gunpowder. Once they figure out that some substances are important, they can learn to make them with Soulcasting (assuming they have Radiants) but some substances just don't occur naturally--so discovering them in the first place is difficult, and would require more modern scientific process.
Okay, just to clarify here (since I'm not sure how up you are on early nuke designs)
A big enough chunk of uranium or plutonium will explode regardless of whether it's in a bomb or not. Early bomb designs just slammed two smaller chunks together so they'd be one big chunk.
For plutonium 'big enough' is about 35 pounds in one place - a chunk somewhere between the size of baseball and volleyball.
If I understand properly, people can soulcast from the cognitive realm into the physical, which implies once we get into a more modern stormlight setting soulcasters will make nuclear submarines look like small potatoes.
Slamming two chunks together so they became one big chunk seems an understatement, from what I remember. I'm under the impression that you had to use a great deal of explosive force to ram them together in order to set off a viable fission reaction. Doesn't it have to be compressed somewhat in order to react with itself?
I'll admit, it's been a long time since I've looked at this, but I remember glancing it over, and deciding that you'd need more than just soulcasting to get it to happen. Though it's not outside of reason that a soulcaster could learn to create super-dense plutonium. The problem is one of understanding, however.
Just like it's totally possible that we, with our current technology, could figure out some huge breakthrough in science allowing FTL or other incredible discoveries. But we don't have the understanding to pull it off yet.
In a modern setting, however, a lot of these complaints go out the window. Let's just say that this isn't the only reason a modern society that can instantly transmute one substance to another is potentially a very interesting place.
You're totally right that everyone currently uses an 'implosion' style compression design. It's a lot more bang for your buck, and you need less radioactive material to work with. They're also a lot safer, because just sitting around they're well below critical mass - without the power-boosting tricks they basically can't go off.
The old "nobody uses these anymore" designs were 'Gun-Type'. Very simple - shoot a uranium bullet into the center of a uranium ring (or vice versa). Inefficient as heck (the Hiroshima bomb only fissioned 1.4% of its uranium), but also super simple to put together.
Despite being simple to build, gun-types were also super unsafe relative to modern implosion devices (among other worries, dropping a gun-type device into the ocean could potentially set it off because of how neutrons react with water). Also, getting the timing perfect on the fissile 'bullet' was a problem, so practically speaking it could only be done with uranium.
After WWII, the only use the US ever had for gun-types was in bunker busters and nuclear artillery (because of course that was a good idea).
Darn, that post turned out longer than I expected it to.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to see you make something really cool out of a post-scarcity transmutropolis setting (especially since the liespren would be in charge of nuclear treaties), and also my roommate just pointed out all the laying out of nuclear bomb details is pointless if they could just make antimatter instead. D'oh.
This is useful information for me, but my gut says that Rosharans couldn't get this working with their current tech level. That said, the REAL issue (as you mentioned in your original question) is knowledge, not feasibility. They'd have to know how to make the right kind of Uranium or Plutonium--and would need to be able to get this across to a soulcaster in a way that works, then THEY would need to get this across to spren. Cross that hurdle, and I suppose it's not at all implausible to imagine Alethi during Dalinar's era with nukes. I suspect the right kind of fabrial could make a trigger device to match ring and bullet at the right time. Depends on how quickly it needs to be going, though.
When Jasnah talks about soulcasting the 8 different types of blood, is she referring to transfusion typing within humans (e.g. ABO+/- on Earth) or to different kinds of blood between species (e.g. human vs axehound vs greatshell vs Aimian, etc)?
Both, though people on Roshar haven't hit upon the levels of complexity in blood types that we know.
Did these arise naturally on Roshar, or did Honor/Cultivation get lazy on templating humanity and copying existing?
How would food production be like without soulcasters? Has Alethkar, for example, grown far beyond what it could (population-wise) without them?
The food question is a great one. As far as the Alethi go, it's more a matter of concentration than raw food production. Shipping is SLOW in Alethkar. It's long, which makes getting between north and south difficult, and the rivers aren't as useful as they are on (say) Earth.
The warcamps, for example, would starve themselves out short order without soulcasters. Supply lines are just not an Alethi strength. Kholinar, while not as big as Scadrian population centers, is also large enough that it depends on soulcasters for some of its food. It could survive without them, though, with northern Alethi food production.
Really, warfare is where they've learned to extend themselves, and depend on the soulcasters. Remember, gemstones in them DO break, so you do still need a ready supply of emeralds. The larger, the better.
Very interesting on the food logistics of Alethkar - I never did quite imagine Kholinar was smaller than say, Elendel, but the technological progress there explains it.
Given how slow food transportation is, I would presume fresh food is a no-go. Are spices and preserved food selling well in Roshar, then? As for population centers, is Kholinar the largest around, or are other places a lot larger?
There's a reason that Herdazian food (which makes soulcast meat taste good) is popular these days.
Azimir is larger in population than Kholinar. Kholinar is big by Rosharan standards, but far smaller than an Earth population center (like London) at a comparable time. The warcamps had it beat by a lot--depending on how you view the warcamps. (As one city, or ten small ones.)
Does that just mean Herdazian food is incredibly spice-heavy, then? Also, why is Soulcast food bland? Is it due to the nature of the object (changing food to food makes it tastier than stone to food), or just because the Soulcaster lacks practice, like Jasnah did with strawberry jam?
Flavorful, rather than spicy. Most western food is already spicy. The Herdazians offer something a little different, and are pretty good with soulcast meat. The portability is also a bit of a revolution.
Soulcasting anything other than the basic Essence requires some innate knowledge and practice. People could learn to soulcast better food, but it would have to be a Radiant with control over the process. The soulcaster fabrials are far more rigid in what they can create.
As for soulcasting - now that is... interesting. So are Surgebinding fabrials more rigid in general? And what of an Honorblade when a non-Herald uses it?
A soulcaster is built to do a certain thing, and can do that certain thing well, but without as much flexibility. It is the difference between having a computer output a picture of a circle--following some inputs such as size and some changes to shape--and having an artist who can draw what you want.
Could you soulcast atium from god-metal into god-wood?
Soulcasting atium would take a heap-ton of Investiture. You'd need a huge source to power that.
I have a technical question here re: gemstones in The Stormlight Archive. How are the lines drawn between different types of gem? Emerald and Heliodor are both varieties of the mineral beryl. Emerald can get its color from trace amounts of chromium, vanadium and/or iron. Heliodor gets its color from iron combined with microscopic crystal defects. So, is the line between these two defined by color? If so, would a heliodor lose its usefulness if it were heated (which would turn it colorless or pale blue). Is it defined by trace elements--in which case, how do you deal with emeralds, or with aquamarine (the blue variety of beryl, which can also contain chromium or vanadium in small quantities and is mostly colored by iron). Sorry for getting so technical, but this gem nerd needs to know!
I actually spent a long time working on this while building the world. You'd probably be amused by how long I spent on it. Chemically, many of them are actually very similar, as you pointed out. I tried doing the book originally with them all being different, not using any that were basically the same crystal with different colors, but it didn't work out. There weren't enough, and so I had to stretch to make it all work.
So, I went back to the original, and decided that color was enough to differentiate them. Just as steel and iron are very similar in the mistborn world, Emerald and Heliodor can be very similar--but produce different effects. The idea here is that the physical items (like the metals or the crystals) provide a key by which magical interaction occurs.
So, in a long winded answer, a gemstone with an impure color would be considered like a bad alloy in the Mistborn magic--it either wouldn't work at all, or would work very poorly. The chemical and color signature needs to be of a specific variety to provide the proper key to accessing the power of transformation.
Further on in that… do different gemstones hold a different flavor, or different "frequency" of Stormlight?
Umm…. Nnnnnnnnooooooo… But kind of? Here's the thing: So with the gemstones on Roshar… scientifically some of these gemstones are just really close to one another. Like chemical formula and whatever. But, their cognitive selves and their spiritual selves are gonna be very different because of human perception, right? (sure) And so, the answer is both a no and a yes because of that. So people's perception has sort of changed how the magic works, to an extent… but it's the same amount of investiture, just with slightly different flavorings.
Right, so… is it easier for a Soulcaster to turn rock into smoke with a smokestone as opposed to a ruby?
So… Soulcasting… is gonna really depend on whether you're using a soulcaster.
First is for a Soulcaster, second is for a Surgebinder.
A Surgebinder is far less constrained than someone using a device accessing surges, right? A Knight Radiant is far less constrained than somebody using a mechanical means of accessing magic, and I would include Honorblades as a mechanical means of accessing a surge.
Cool! So with the whole Jasnah scene, she inhales Stormlight, for using Soulcasting. So how is it the Soulcaster appears to glow more fiercely instead of growing dimmer in that scene?
Um… heh heh heh… So… this is perception on Shallan's part, watching and kind of resonating with the Soulcasting, and some weird things are happening that she sees, and not necessarily anyone else is seeing.
I love that! Alright… Also, did Taravangian recognize that Jasnah was not Soulcasting traditionally? Like was it the hand sinking into the rock that gave it away?
Taravangian knew and already suspected.
When she [Shallan] Soulcasts, does she physically go? Or does she just think?
She transitions into the Cognitive Realm… Yeah she transitions but she’s not a hundred percent there…
Then does Jasnah’s… does she work the same way?
She goes completely over. That’s one of the differences between their magics. Shallan could get there if she wanted to, she hasn’t so far completely transitioned.
Even during regular Soulcasting, for both of them?
Oh for regular Soulcasting Jasnah doesn’t either.
‘Cause we were talking about the scene with the ship and Shallan. So would an outside observer see her shift over or—
The outside observer would see weirdness happening for sure.
Do the gemstones in fabrial Soulcasters contain spren?
Soulcasters are strange. And if you read closely, you might be able to figure it out.
If an Awakener were to go to Roshar and were to bleed the color from a gem would that gem still be able to store Stormlight?
Bleed the color from a gem… Um ye-ye-ye-yeah. This would interfere with its function on Roshar. It would probably still be able to hold Stormlight…
Might not be able to be used for Soulcasting?
Yea-- It's going to… You know what no it would just change it. It would just bleed the color from it and turn it into a dusty quartz or something like that. That's probably what it would end up with, a dusty quartz. Because the molecular structure doesn't matter as much as the color for Roshar. So yeah you would probably still be able to hold Stormlight because a diamond can but I don't know, quartz might cut it. You'd probably end up with something that's not going to work so well.
What about a fabrial that needs a specific--
Yeah a specific-- A ruby wouldn't work any more, and it would let go whatever is captured inside.
In Dalinar's vision, why did Nohadon make a distinction between Soulcasting and Surgebinding?
Because they are distinct in his [Nohadon's] mind.
Something that i've been wondering, you said before that Nightblood was modeled after Shardblades intentionally so my question is, did Vasher create his Phantoms with Shardplate in mind?
He was aware of Shardplate, but I wouldn't call them a conscious influence.
Any sort of influence from the Soulcasting-to-Stone burial customs?
(If Vasher were a little more sneaky I'd think he had created the custom in case he needed a ready supply of Phantom material)
Let's say that yes, Soulcasting was very interesting to Vasher.
Regarding soulcasting, I have a question - why do people continue to use it post-Recreance? Would it not have been seen as a betrayal, given that the Radiants abandoned them? Why this Surge but not others? Was it simply the only Surge available and people would have kept using the others anyway? I guess it's a matter of practicality but given how devout Vorinism can be it does seem odd.
Good question. You'll notice that soulcasters aren't the only fabrial that access a surge, however. They're just the one most commonly used.
There are plenty of rationalizations. But it comes down to this: they are too useful to give up.
Ah yes, now that I think of it Navani's conjoined-gem fabrials seem to utilize Gravitation and perhaps the heating one uses Abrasion(?) to produce heat. Or are there others I did miss?
I was referencing a regrowth fabrial, actually, which I believe has appeared several times.
Isn't the regrowth fabrial incredibly rare? I was under the impression it disappeared with the Recreance and only Nin's reappearance brought it back. AFAIK, only a Radiant in Dalinar's vision and a Herald have actually used it so far.
Their rarity depends on the time period in question. But yes, I'd list them as incredibly rare.
What would happen if somebody used the color from a Stormlight-infused gem to create a BioChromatic entity?
So I just had this question actually and what we came up with was that would leave behind something that is like a cloudy quartz and is going to make it work not as well for holding Stormlight. That's our answer right now, I'm going to talk to my scientists and see what they think because draining the color from something doesn't just leave it white, or clear, it kind of ruins it, it's gray-ish, it's dun. It clouds. So I think it would ruin things for Stormlight.
In fact, in the origin of The Stormlight Archive, the first Surgebinding things I did, every order of the Knights Radiant was going to be able to Soulcast. Be able to change things from one to another. It was just, you would be locked into the element that was associated with your order of Knight Radiant, you could turn that into anything else you wanted to. That was one of my original pitches. I eventually moved away from that, a lot of the Orders were just feeling too similar in what they did, but that core concept is still there in Stormlight, and Soulcasting as a concept is there because the series is about change.
Could a person Soulcast more atium and lerasium if they had a bead?
No. Investiture messes things like that up.
Someone told me that after the signing last night you said that Soulcast blood has DNA... The question is who?
That's a good question. That's a RAFO. So, here's... the premises I'm working on. Soulcast blood can be used for transfusion, alright? I'm not saying much more than that. At least I'm not canonizing much more than that right now. And as my understanding, it has blood type, it has-- things. When someone asked me tonight "does that mean it's human blood?" Well, that depends on the definition.
What is the range on Jasnah's Soulcasting like, and is [there] a hard limit on how much she can Soulcast at once?
So for Soulcasting—-I talked a lot about those ideals that a lot of things are based on—-is that also like there's an ideal of stone that when you Soulcast stone if you don't do anything special, it just defaults as that?
Yes, there will be a default of all of them.
And that's the same exact thing as spren and why the Lord Ruler dies of old age and all that stuff?
That is-- Yes, that's the same sort of concept. Yes.
With the soulcasting and the spren, is there maybe some quantum physics in there that you were thinking about?
There is. Yes, very intentionally.
Is that gonna come into play?
Soulcasters that use the fabrial. Do they visit Shadesmar? Or do we see more about them? Because they are hidden and there is something about them that they get the stone face.
Yes. The actual Soulcasters. The use of of the Soulcasters is affecting them on one of the realms other than physical.
Not to be too obvious about being a geology dork, but if you can make clear quartz easily with soulcasting as we've seen, and you can also make radioactive materials, wouldn't it be trivial to make smokestone since defects from irradiation are what make quartz black?
Making unstable plutonium or the like is theoretically possible, but not something that Rosharans are aware they could do.
Emerald and Heliodor are basically the same thing, chemically, but are very different substances on Roshar--with different soulcasting properties. Same goes for quartz and smokestone.
Is there any significance to some of the gems being forms of aluminum oxide?
Not really, I'm afraid. I tried to work it in, and decided I was stretching.
So, we know that things can be Soulcast into aluminum. But can aluminum itself be Soulcast into something else?
It resists all forms of Investiture trying to change it to things.
Can you soulcast aluminum into other materials?
Aluminum would strongly resist any sort of soulcasting.
Would that resistance be overcome? Could be overcome?
This is the question. Everything can be, right? Aluminum, in the cosmere, was created. And can be created. So, people ask me this, "Can? Cannot?" Like, with a powerful enough magnet in our world, what can you do? Like, is water magnetic? *stammers* But, could you make water respond to a magnet? Yes! You can make anything if you really try hard enough. It's, like, this idea, that when people are like, "Can you, yes or no?" Well... yes! Would it take the power of six Shards of Adonalsium working together? Maybe! Can you? Yes, you probably can. Like, we're talking about a fantasy universe where almost anything is possible, and the impossibilities are contradictions, it's "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" sort of questions when you get into "can you?"
Now, could you soulcast aluminum using a reasonable amount of energy that an individual could conceivably have in a normal setting and situation? No. If that's what you're looking for.