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When Worlds Collide 2014 ()
#4 Copy

Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Are there Surges that could be considered as God Surges, like the God metals on Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes.

Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Progression and Adhesion, perhaps?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, but they could be considered as such.

Words of Radiance Seattle signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

So far all the spren that have bonded to humans appear to be emotion-based as opposed to nature-based. Is that true for all the Knights Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Well it depends. For instance: how would you define Wyndle?

Questioner

I struggled with that one.

Brandon Sanderson

Uh hm. So I would say that you are on the right track, that there is a definite inclination that direction.

Questioner

Towards Honor?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. There is.

Questioner

Is there other surges then, that are more Cultivation-exclusive or other Knights Radiant that are...?

Brandon Sanderson

We'll RAFO that, but the original Knights Radiant are more focused on Honor and his spren.

Stormlight Three Update #5 ()
#6 Copy

BlackEyedInterloper

So, I've been wondering for a while, which does Surgebinding classify as? Surgebinders don't use their own native investiture to power magic so I suppose that's the case for being classified end-positive, but they do have to go get some investiture and once they use it it's gone and they have to go get more, so that almost seems end-negative. Thanks in advance for any answer even if it's a quick RAFO!

Brandon Sanderson

The more picky scholars would argue it is end neutral, because the power must be in the system before the Magic can initiate. But others would admit that the spheres are a delaying response for an end-positive system. You're looking too much past the mark with your read. Look at the work done as part of what is in the system. Investiture is not leaving the system in surgebinding, it is doing work, creating potential energy in most cases.

Oathbringer Portland signing ()
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Questioner

A friend of mine wanted me to ask: Was the cataclysm that rocked Ashyn and forced its inhabitants into the flying cities Investiture-based, and if it was was it Shardic in nature?

Brandon Sanderson

The same cataclysm that the-- did you finish [Oathbringer]?

Questioner

Yes.

Brandon Sanderson

The same cataclysm that they were fleeing, that they caused, is the one that forced people into the skies...

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
#15 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

For a Windrunner, if he had enough heating fabrials and enough Stormlight, how high up could he get?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You could exit orbit. Windrunners, remember they're gravitation and pressure. So if he knew what he was doing, we have actually factored how long it would take to get to the various moons.

RoW Release Party ()
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Questioner

Can a Radiant join multiple Orders?

Brandon Sanderson

This was not done in the past.

Questioner

Or become a squire of a different Order?

Brandon Sanderson

It is actually not impossible for this to happen; it simply was not done.

Questioner

If Dalinar became a Lighweaver squire or had the Lightweaver Honorblade, could he create the Roshar map himself?

Brandon Sanderson

This is going to depend on factors. It is possible, but highly implausible, following another highly implausible set of circumstances that would actually allow him to actually do that. (Though getting the Honorblade would not be as difficult.)

Skyward Chicago signing ()
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Argent

My understanding of the... spren is that they grant powers based on what they understand to be fundamental? Ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Ish. I wouldn't 100% go with that. I would say these are the fundamental forces-- They aren't as scientific as our fundamental forces, but I would say it's more than just what the spren view and what the humans view in that case. But they are more philosophical than scientific, in cases.

Argent

Other cognitive beings, could they-- A spren on Earth. Would it grant electromagnetism surge, for example?

Brandon Sanderson

That, I would say yes.

Holiday signing ()
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zas678

When Kaladin is Invested Stormlight specifically rises from his skin. When he is Lashed to a wall, what direction does it travel? Up to him, or to the world?

Brandon Sanderson

When he is Lashed to a wall where does the Stormlight go. So when it's puffing off him, and he's Lashed to a wall it will asc-- I think it will puff-- It will escape and go up.

zas678

Typical up.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, typical up.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#20 Copy

Overlord Jebus

The Knights Radiants have access to two Surges each, are the two Surges completely seperate or can they be combined together? Something like maybe allowing a Lightweaver to create a solid illusion by combining their Illumination Surge and their Soulcasting?

Essentially, do each of the Orders have a special talent only they can do that isn't available to any other Order?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, they do, but it's not always directly obvious in a straightforward way, such as your example.

Overlord Jebus

Would the lashing system be an example of this? Full lashings apppear to be mostly Adhesion and and the basic lashing seems to be mostly Gravitational, does this mean Bondsmiths will be able do full lashings and Skybreakers can use partial and basic lashings?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
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Questioner

You're also famous for your magic systems, do you start with the effect you want to achieve or the mechanic you want to use?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on each magic system, they're all different. Sometimes there's just a really interesting-- Mistborn's a good example of this. I built Mistborn because I wanted a different power for each thieving crew member and I had in the back of my mind a few cool powers to use, but others I just developed. I'd be like, alright, we need something for the fast-talker. So therefore you get the thieving-crew and the classic thieving-crew elements, and I wanted something to improve every one of them. So while I had the Pushing and Pulling already, because that was really interesting and I'd been working it out in my head, I didn't have all these powers set out for the team, so I developed those.

In other cases it's just, you know The Stormlight Archive started with the fundamental forces in physics and extrapolating outwards from them until I had ten fundamental forces because I wanted to do fantastical fundamental forces. So that one started in physics.

The magic for Warbreaker started because my editor called me, true story, and said "ah, after Mistborn and Elantris you've done some very dreary settings, very nice but very dreary, let's do something with more color in it". More color it is!

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
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Questioner

We know, especially in Oathbringer, that Surges can work differently for different Orders, but we've also seen the Skybreakers and [Windrunners] with flight, and the Truthwatchers and [Edgedancers], they both can do Regrowth, so is there some way that those actually work differently?

Brandon Sanderson

Each of them works a little differently for each Order. There are slight variations, but they are each drawing upon the same source concept.

FanX 2021 ()
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Steeldancer

This is hypothetical, it probably wouldn't actually happen. If a Knight Radiant goes to Nalthis, dies, gets Returned...

Brandon Sanderson

It could happen.

Steeldancer

Would they retain their spren bond?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably not, would be my guess. I've never had that question before, but I'm gonna say no.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

So, Jasnah has the same shape appear around her as when she first appears out of Shadesmar at the end of that-- At the end of the second book, when she appears out of Shadesmar, she has the same shape appear around her as she does in the last battle, but we never see her do anything (this is about Transportation) And we saw people flying away beforehand. Can you-- Does Transportation allow you to push other people. Similar to Lashings, but kinda differently. I'm just wondering if you can use it on other people, basically? 

Brandon Sanderson

You can, but it's not what you’re thinking. 

Orem signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

So far there hasn't been a lot of the Stonewards in the books. Are they going to come forward in the next few?

Brandon Sanderson

...Yes. One of the reasons I built the structure of The Stormlight Archive the way that I did is because I knew it would be easy to overwhelm with the number of magical abilities, and to let myself get distracted by some of them and not do them justice. So I've been very careful, perhaps more careful than I need to be, and when I show like a Fused using a power, I focus more on the ones you know about and things like this, intentionally to keep the reader's attention on what they know as I expand. 

Questioner

Can they shape stone? In one of the flashbacks they kind of melt it and it becomes sand.

Brandon Sanderson

Basically, my original pitch to myself on Stonewards, one of their main powers--I mean, everybody has two--but this power you're talking about was the ability to grab matter and just kind of-- like what if the whole world were clay to you. Not just stone, not just rock, but if you could just pick something up and stretch it, whatever it was, that was my original pitch for that order.

Questioner

So architects or combat engineers fill that order?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, stuff like that, but also, just kind of like you need to get out of a room? Well, let's mash ourselves a doorway here and step through, or just all kinds of stuff. 

Questioner 2

Can they do that to living flesh?

Brandon Sanderson

No. That's the general, the more Invested something is the more it resists, and Stoneward powers are highly resisted by things... Even a small amount of extra Investiture is gonna prevent them. Like if you stuck Stormlight in [an object], say a Windrunner did, a Stoneward wouldn't be able to change that.

The Way of Kings Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Lashings

I'll be referencing the original draft of The Way of Kings (AKA Way of Kings Prime), written in 2002, as I feel it will probably be fun for readers to see how the book evolved over time. Every other book of mine you've read was conceived and executed over a relatively short period. The Way of Kings is different—it had a lot of evolving to do before hitting the state it's in now.

One of those evolutions was the magic. Mistborn had one of my best magic systems to date. In Way of Kings Prime (written before Mistborn) we only had two types of magic: Shardblades and Soulcasting. Shardblades were great, but not really magic. Soulcasting didn't work so well. [Assistant Peter's note: There was also something called Windrunning, but it was completely different from the version we know now.]

Mistborn really upped the ante in terms of magic in my books, and I wanted The Way of Kings to have a more dynamic, interesting magic system. That is one factor in why I waited so long to release it.

I finally worked out Lashings while on tour for The Well of Ascension. (That was the tour I went on following the call from Harriet, asking if I was interested in finishing The Wheel of Time.) What I liked about the Lashings system was the visual power and the means of manipulating gravity and pressure in interesting visual and creative ways. I had already built into the sensibilities of the world the idea that there were ten fundamental forces I had based on the idea of fundamental forces in our world's physics. It all fit together nicely.

Anyway, Szeth (named Jek in the first version of the book) was a more ordinary assassin in the original. He didn't have powers beyond being a really, really good killer.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
#28 Copy

Questioner

How come on Sel and Scadrial the people get their powers like in a rush either overnight or by snapping, while on Roshar it's very slow and subtle.

Brandon Sanderson

On Roshar there is another participant involved, since you're making a bond with a spren, and that has a big effect on it. You also have some very odd things happening on Sel that are causing a lot of oddity in the way that the magic works. I would call it mostly just a flavor of the different styles of magic and what's going on, but the way that flavor works involves the spren and involves how the Dor is on Sel.

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
#29 Copy

Leinton (paraphrased)

Can Breath be used to power Surgebinding?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

They are very similar Investitures, and most of the magics can be powered with the other magics if you are capable of making that happen.

Questioner (paraphrased)

What would happen to the Breath?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The Breath would be consumed in the same way that Stormlight is. A renewing resource, much like atium is.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

You have like tons of spren, right? And the the ones like rotspren, and you have your characters and some point will be able to harness those spren and be completely evil with them?

Brandon Sanderson

And be completely evil with them? *pause* There are-- There is an order of Knights Radiant that has to do with the breaking down of matter into smaller pieces.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#32 Copy

mooglefrooglian

You've previously mentioned that someone bonded to a Seon would get some benefits if they went to Roshar , basically that it would be treated sort of like a Nahel bond. This implies to me that something about Roshar likes to give powers from bonds. (Hi there, Honor...)

Should this be taken to mean that spren-bond based Surgebinding won't work off-world, as it's a benefit Roshar gives from having a bond? Or would it be more specific, and mean that some of the passive benefits Radiants get (visions, Windrunner squire strengths) would be lost, but Surgebinding retained?

Mainly I'm interested in whether or not we can reach maximum Jasnah levels and have the possibility of her appearing in non-SA books. I don't think she'd be much into worldhopping if she couldn't get back with the Travel Surge...

Brandon Sanderson

Surgebinding will work off-world.

Tor.com The Way of Kings Re-Read Interview ()
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Jasuni

When Szeth walked through an area he had lashed in Interlude-9, could he have decided to let himself be affected by his own full lashing? How does this extend to other surgebinders?

Brandon Sanderson

Using a full lashing to stick yourself to something is inherently inferior to changing the gravitational pull and being able to move on that plane instead. So I see very rare instances where you would want to. But it is within the scope of the powers to be affected by it if he wanted to be. It will still affect other Surgebinders, and they will not be able to not be affected, unless there is a specific ability or item that is preventing it.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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Argent

The "God Surges" you mentioned recently, are they a part of the Way of Kings frontsheet?

Brandon Sanderson

All I said regarding this was to tell a fan that it was possible to make an analogy between the god metals on Scadrial and certain powers on Roshar. However, these are not a codified part of the magic system.

Brandon's Blog 2010 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

I started working on THE WAY OF KINGS fifteen years ago. I wrote the first version of the book in full back in 2003. It was always planned to be big. You don’t grow up reading Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, and Melanie Rawn without wanting to do your own big epic. When I showed it to my editor back in ’03, he thought it was too ambitious to be published, at least as my second novel.

There are thirty magic systems in this world, depending on how you count them, and around six thousand years of history I’ve mapped out. There are dozens of cultures, a continent of enormous scope, and a deep, rich mythology. However, when I say things like that, you have to realize that very little of it will end up in the first book. The best fantasy epics I’ve read begin with a personal look at the characters in the early books, then have a steady expansion into epic scope.

I’ve spent many years thinking about the epic fantasy genre, what makes it work, what I love about it, and how to deal with its inherent weaknesses. And so I’m trying to make use of the form of the novel (meaning how I place chapters and which viewpoints I put where) in order to convey the scope without distracting from the main stories I wish to tell.

Anyway, I don’t jump between dozens of characters in this novel. There are three central viewpoints, with two or so primary supporting viewpoints. I intend the first book to be its own story, focused and personal. I don’t want this to be the “Wow! Thirty Magic Systems!” series. I want it to be a series about a group of characters you care about, with a lush and real world that has solid and expansive depth.

In other words, I promise you a variety of magics, mythology, history, and cultures . . . but not all in the first book.

Skyward Atlanta signing ()
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Questioner

So you said earlier that color has a lot to do with things and in Warbreaker obviously color is like a big thing *inaudible*. Will that have a relation to anything else?

Brandon Sanderson

It will have relations to a lot of things, including the way The Way of King's magic plays out and works. 

Stuttgart signing ()
#42 Copy

The Forumlurker (paraphrased)

Can a Windrunner use a Basic Lashing on a specific body part?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, but it works the same way a Steelpusher could push on a specific part of metal. Usually, you'd just affect the whole body, because of its Identity and cosmere magic not working as well on parts of something that considers itself a unit. When you're very skilled, you can isolate a hand, like Kelsier could push on specific sections of metal.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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BenFoley

You have stated in your blog that Mistborn had three magic systems (Allomancy, Feruchemy and Hemalurgy) and also that The Way of Kings will have upwards of 20. For comparison, how many magic systems would you say the Wheel of Time series has? Two (One Power and the True Power)? How do you classify other abilities (not necessarily related to the One Power or True Power) such as Dreamwalking, viewing the Pattern, Wolfbrother-hoodness, and changing 'luck' or chance? Would you classify these abilities as a magic system in and of themselves? Has your chance to see the background material Robert Jordan left changed how you view these abilities?

Brandon Sanderson

This kind of gets sticky, as it's all up to semantics. Really, you could say that Mistborn had a different magic system for each type of Misting. But at the same time, you could argue that something like X-Men—with huge numbers of powers—all falls under the same blanked 'magic system.' And take Hemalurgy in Mistborn 3—is it a new magic system, or just a reinterpretation of Allomancy and Feruchemy?

So what do I mean by twenty or thirty magic systems in Kings? Hard to say, as I don't want to give spoilers. I have groupings of abilities that have to deal with a certain theme. Transformation, Travel, Pressure and Gravity, that sort of thing. By one way of counting, there are thirty of these—though by another way of grouping them together, there are closer to ten.

Anyway, I'd say that the Wheel of Time has a fair number of Magic systems. The biggest one would be the One Power/True Power, which is more of a blanket "Large" magic system kind of like Allomancy being a blanket for sixteen powers—only the WoT magic system is far larger. I'd count what Perrin/Egwene do in Tel'aran'rhiod as a different magic system. What Mat does as something else, the Talents one can have with the Power something else. Though I'd group all of the Foretelling/Viewing powers into one.

Sounds like a topic for a paper, actually. Any of you academics out there feel like writing one?

Let's just say that The Wheel of Time has a smaller number of larger magic systems, and I tend to use a larger number of smaller magic systems. Confusing enough? ;)

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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mooglefrooglian

If metals shape the Investiture in Allomancy, causing a Steelpush or whatever, how is it that the mists can be used to perform the same feat? What is 'shaping' the inhaled mists into a Steelpush, if there's no metal "nozzle" to do so?

Brandon Sanderson

Consistently through the cosmere, once you have the power in hand and it has permeated you, will becomes your nozzle. This can be seen in Warbreaker, where the power has been distributed and inhabits the people. The nozzle idea is important for Magics that are drawing power externally, as it keeps the power from overwhelming and destroying you. (Which, basically, happened to Vin at the end of the Trilogy--she got consumed by the magic. She became something new, now, so it didn't KILL her. It destroyed what she was, transformed her into something else.)

So you see magics like on Sel and Scadrial where a specific nozzle is needed--as the power source is external, at least with Allomancy. Will and intent take a backseat, though still pop up on occasion. On Nalthis (and in a lesser way, Roshar) will and intent are more important, and what you are trying to do shapes the magic more directly.

A little direct manifestation in this is found in the subtle differences between Allomancy and Feruchemy. In Allomancy, when you enhance the senses, you just get a blast of power--and all senses are enhanced, whether you want them all or not. In Feruchemy, you can be more precise, and pick a specific sense to store. The power is internal here, and therefore more limited in how much you can draw--but you can also be more precise with its manipulation.

Note that Roshar Surgebinding is a special case, as the magical symbiosis there is stronger than it is on other worlds, as much of the magic involves bits of power who have become sapient.

uchoo786

How much crossover is there in use? Like if one "breathes" in the mists they can use it to power their allomancy. Could an Allomancer utilize stormlight to power his allomancy as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Most of the magics can be hacked together in one way or another, but some are easier to interchange than others.

Firefight Miami signing ()
#48 Copy

Questioner

In Words of Radiance, there's a fragment that says that the Bondsmiths have a power that none of the other Orders have.

Brandon Sanderson

That will be answered in a future book... *discussion on RAFOs* Basically, each of the Orders actually had their own quirks and individual things. Some of them were more dramatic than others. But if you watch through, you'll be seeing that they kind of have some different effects that aren't related necessarily to the Surges.

Questioner

So, then follow-up question, the reason that the Bondsmiths don't get Shards is because they have that extra power?

Brandon Sanderson

The reason is because the Stormfather is particularly-- how he is. And he's more cantankerous than he was, even in the past...

Each of the Orders, I wanted to have a lot of individuality. I didn't want them to all just be different copy-clones. You'll also find that they also have very different philosophies on even things like honor and what is good and things like that.

Leipzig Book Fair ()
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Questioner

Another “physics” question: We have the Surges of Cohesion and Tension. And I'm really not sure what the difference is in that.

Brandon Sanderson

You'll see when I do this. It's a RAFO. And I play with them anyway a little differently in each order anyway. So what they do... I'll let you figure it out.

Questioner

It's just like when you enhance the tension of a water surface... (..)

Brandon Sanderson

Surface tension is what you're talking about. I'm gonna RAFO. But you're theorizing in correct directions.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Nadine

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?

Brandon Sanderson

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.