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/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#1 Copy

unknown

  1. Is the Aon that Raoden misinterpreted Rao?
  2. If yes, does it mean "gateway" or something similar?

Brandon Sanderson

Which one are you talking about specifically?

WeiryWriter

If I'm understanding them correctly they are refering to the "Big Hint" you've said there is about Worldhopping in Elantris, which you later explained as being an Aon that Raoden misinterprets. They are proposing that the Aon is Aon Rao (I think?). At least that's my current guess (though my guess is that Rao actually translates to "Investiture").

Brandon Sanderson

Ah... They're on the wrong track.

I'll cut this one off right here, as I see they're misinterpreting what I said. It's more simple than that, and is something I think they have probably already figured out. The "Big Hint" I put back in Elantris are the murals Raoden and company discover. I believe this is what we're talking about, not the Aon being misinterpreted.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

Why did Hoid in Secret History have to ride on another person to get to the Well, when that person could float on--

Brandon Sanderson

Sooo, what he's floating on is a Cognitive Shadow. It's a spirit, it's not an actual person. He is floating on someone who is--

Questioner

Do we know them?

Brandon Sanderson

You did not know them, don't worry about them. But see, he's using that as a boat because it's easy to sink through the mist. And if you notice, he has to coat his oar with Investiture in order to move him. So yeah, he's floating on a person's soul... It was so much easier with the Pits, but that's because there were boats and things.

Minicon 2015 ()
#6 Copy

Ruro272 (paraphrased)

On a similar note, since Elsecallers can physically go to Shadesmar and have access to Transportation surge, can all Elsecallers worldhop?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, that is one of the Elsecaller powers.

Ruro272 (paraphrased)

In hindsight this seems like a really obvious question now *laugh*, but I think it's really interesting that Elsecallers can travel to other planets too--we didn't know that before.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There are hints in the names on the map of Shadesmar.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

Someone had asked you a question about Marsh being a worldhopper, and you mentioned that there was nothing about his Investiture that would prevent him from going off-world. Which implies that there are other people who their Investiture would prevent?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier. I don't count him as going off-world, despite him getting very close.

Questioner

Is there anyone living on Scadrial who that would also apply to?

Brandon Sanderson

As a default, no. I can't say 100% whether there's nobody. But as a default, that wouldn't prevent people. Not in the same way that you would have trouble getting off-world with a spren bond.

Holiday signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

How do world travelers travel?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, there are various different methods.  The main one that people have figured out involves pools of energy on the various planets.

Questioner

So like we saw in Elantris? Okay...

Brandon Sanderson

If you read mostly in Words of Radiance you will see--

Boskone 54 ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

You have two characters, Hoid and Vasher, who really stand out even if you don’t know anything about the cosmere. Are people who aren’t cosmere-aware going to be left wondering what the heck is up with them?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, probably. But it’s okay to have some mystery, I figure, as long as I don’t let the cosmere stories really distract. If there are occasionally things where you think, “That was weird, I don’t get that” or “That guy’s kind of different.” That’s fine. It’s when you start to feel like everyone else is laughing at a joke you don’t know, when you’re not part of something and you can’t understand the piece of fiction because of it, then we’re in trouble. Unless it’s a side story. Like Mistborn: Secret History, you’ve got to know the cosmere to get most of that, and that’s okay. But the main line books I will write in such a way that… So the Stormlight Archive is the story of Roshar. It’s not necessarily the story of all the different elements influencing Roshar. Maybe someday I’ll do one that has that, but I’ll be very up-front about it.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#14 Copy

Tellingdwar

How did Hoid get to Scadrial? He didn't seem to know the location of Preservation's Shardpool until book 2, and I feel like him crawling out of the Pits of Hathsin would have created a bit of a stir... Unless he slipped out during the confusion caused by Kelsier...

Brandon Sanderson

In answer to your question, that IS a RAFO, but it's one I am planning to answer before too long.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#15 Copy

Questioner

We started out in the earlier books knowing that there's this Hoid guy, he's a worldhopper. Hey, worldhoppers exist. And then we've kind of been given more and more. In Secret History it said you'd be surprised about the economy you've upended by destroying the perpedicularity. what amount of people are travelling between worlds? Hundreds? Thousands? Billions?

Brandon Sanderson

...Thousands.

Questioner

Is it like vacation? Or is it like...

Brandon Sanderson

Well, I wouldn't call it--

Questioner

Is it the frontier? Or is it from where you could go?

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on the roadway. Let's say you look at frontier era America. How hard was it to get to England? It was really far away, but it was actually relatively safe and common to do this. How difficult was it to get to Boise, Idaho? That's harder, but you know how to do it. How easy was it to get to, let's say, the Hawaiian Islands? You're starting to get into like, the question comes here, certain pathways are more traveled. There are going to be caravans, there are going to be guides. There are going to be safe travels between certain places that are done commonly enough that if you are in the know and are in the right place you can be like "I wanna buy passage here." And you go there, and you can have a reasonable expectation that you're going to make it to where you're going. 

Other places, you say, "I wanna go here", and they're like, "Yeah, I've known someone who tried that and they never came back. I'm not taking you." So, where you're going, where you're trafficking, Khriss gives you some indications of which ones are easy to get to and which ones are commonly visited. I would recommend that if you want to go on vacation in the cosmere, like, "I want to go somewhere different," go to Nalthis. Go to Nalthis. Nalthis is great to go to, right? They even have customs that you can go through. You can like, arrive, and things like this. Don't go to Sel. Sel is not good to go to. Sel is really dangerous to go to. There's a dead Shard--two of them--in the Cognitive Realm that will destroy you. Other places, Scadrial, used to be a lot easier to get to. Roshar, depends on which era you're talking about. Sometimes it's pretty easy to go to. Those nice Horneaters will treat you like a god and feed you food. However, right now, it might not be a good time to try to visit Roshar.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#18 Copy

Questioner

Are there any detrimental side effects to worldhopping, and if so, have we seen/read it in any of your books?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, it depends on what method you're using to worldhop.

Moderator

And the second half of that question?

Brandon Sanderson

And the second part of that is RAFO. *laughter*

General Reddit 2013 ()
#20 Copy

Nepene

I suppose one thing to wonder is how do you enter Shadesmar? We know of a number of people who are jumping from world to world through Shadesmar. Grump Thinker and Blunt, Hoid too. How are they accessing the cognitive plane to transport themselves across the lands?

Presumably Shallan's bond with the truthspren let her get in. How does this work? If she had only a dim sphere then does it not require any stormlight, any spiritual power? Is it a purely cognitive change? I could see some advantages to that. You could hop into this alternative dimension at will if you were being attacked, even with little power.

The scholars earlier talk of whether there is food in Shadesmar, so presumably others have visited it. Can non soulcasters visit it? Is there some fabrial that grants you access? Are they only referring to the distant past, when KR had the power to access it? Is it purely a thing of the mind that anyone can learn? Is it only possible if you have access to a splinter of a shard?

Brandon Sanderson

There are many ways to enter Shadesmar. You'll see more of this in the future. One thing to keep in mind about Shadesmar is that space where things are thinking is expanded, while space where there is nothing to think is contracted. In other words, in an empty void, you get almost no Shadesmar. This makes distances as we think of them very different there.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
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Questioner

Can worldhoppers travel forwards and backwards in time or are they stuck going forward?

Brandon Sanderson

They are stuck going forward. Good question.

Questioner

So Hoid has to move in a straight line?

Brandon Sanderson

He has to move in a straight line. It can squish-- stretch or squish that line but he can't go back along the line.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

I have a question about the cosmere, and Hoid specifically. The way that he is worldhopping, is he using Cognitive and *inaudible* Realms?

Brandon Sanderson

The times you have seen him worldhop, it has involved shardpools, or perpendicularities, as we call them. He is using primarily the Cognitive Realm.

Questioner

Because, from what I understood from Secret History, that he's going through the shardpool, from the Cognitive to the normal Realm.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, he's traveling through the Cognitive Realm, and then jumping back to the Physical one, once he's where he wants to go.

Questioner

So, I'm guessing what's going on, though, is that he's travelling between planets using the Cognitive and coming out from the shardpool to the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, that is exactly right.

Oathbringer Chicago signing ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

Can I ask you real quick: Where Warbreaker falls in Stormlight Achive?

Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker is before Stormlight Archive. Vasher, before Warbreaker, had been to Roshar.

Questioner

Okay, that's what I needed to know. Nightblood.

Brandon Sanderson

Nightblood was patterned off of things that Vasher and the others saw on Roshar.

Words of Radiance Chicago signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

The prevailing theory on the 17th Shard is that [Hoid] worldhops using Shadesmar. I was wondering if you were willing to confirm or deny that?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has indeed gotten between worlds before through Shadesmar.

Questioner

And would you be willing to give us a hint as to how he does that?

Brandon Sanderson

There are hints in the books. There is a hint in the very first cosmere book I released [Elantris]. [...] Which I thought was a huge hint, but so far I haven't seen anyone talking about it.

Argent

Really?

Brandon Sanderson

Mmhmm. [...] I thought that once people started figuring the Cosmere, they would see the massive in-your-face hint I put in that book, but so far, as far as I know, no one has. *brief conversation about Brandon's tendency to drop sneaky hints and how he likes doing that* Now, the one [hint] about the map [of Roshar], that one I don't think is obvious. I know people have been trying to figure it out. It's something fun once you figure it out, but it's not something huge and obvious. The Elantris once was, like, enormously "HIIINT!"

Stuttgart signing ()
#27 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

How do you choose worldhoppers to depict in your books?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There's couple of ways I choose worldhoppers. The background story plays a big part, but some worldhoppers just want to be immigrants. Some people you meet, you'll notice they're from a different planet but aren't involved in any schemes. They just wanted to get to another planet.

There's groups like the Ghostbloods, but there's also just trade between places like Roshar and Nalthis. I have to be careful to not make everyone an easter egg from other worlds. That would strain plausibility very easily.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#32 Copy

Questioner

I want to know how Hoid travels between worlds. Or, if you're not going to tell me right now, will we ever find out?

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid has travelled between the worlds by getting in one Shardpool in Shadesmar and coming out a different one. *pause* Okay? So that is one method he has used to travel between the worlds. The worlds are connected through Shadesmar. Um, things that people don't think about as much reflect very minorly in Shadesmar, so when you-- all the-- most of the space between planets is cut out, and there's some weird, twisted geography going on there. So that's basically how he does it, Cognitive Realm.

Shadows of Self San Francisco signing ()
#33 Copy

Questioner

Is it possible for spren to move from one planet to another?

Brandon Sanderson

It is possible for them to get to other planets. They are tied to certain realms… A lot of them reside in the cognitive realm and are pulled into the physical by their bonds--

Questioner

Would they bring the same magics?

Brandon Sanderson

That you will have to wait and see.

Idaho Falls signing 2014 ()
#34 Copy

leftinspace

I've picked up in bits in pieces that it's possible, for some people at least, to use the Shardpools to worldhop...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

leftinspace

Can non-Invested people do that, or do you have to have some form of Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

*hesitantly* Every individual is Invested to some extent...

leftinspace

Do you have to have any special Investiture above and beyond the normal spark of life?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm gonna go ahead and RAFO that.

Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017 ()
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Questioner

So, it's not a "why." But how in the world did Vasher get to Roshar. Because I know about Kelsier not being able to really travel too easily outside of his realm, so how did this happen?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, yeah, you're asking, because he's heavily Invested, with Investiture from uh-- yeah. So that's actually a RAFO. I thought you were going to ask a much easier question, this is a much harder question. It's a RAFO that I promise to answer. The books will dig into it, okay?

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#41 Copy

Questioner

...We saw in the [Arcanum Unbounded] that you can also travel without a perpendicularity to get to the different systems, but is that like an alien spaceship thing that we're going to find out?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. You could get between them all if you used conventional space travel. It would take a long time, but you could get between them all. All the other methods use the magics in some way.

Questioner

But does it always have to be the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

The ways that people know how to do it now are all related to the Cognitive Realm in some way. It doesn't have to be that way, but that's the way that everybody knows.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#42 Copy

Questioner

For the worldhopping that happens with Vasher and Vivenna. Does that happen... Are they the humans that came over--

Brandon Sanderson

No, they're not.

Questioner

They're just completely independent people who hopped--

Brandon Sanderson

They're moving more with the hidden cosmere economy that has grown up moving between planets. Between Nalthis and Roshar, you can actually catch a caravan. There's actual movement and travel between them. That's been in place on Roshar for quite a while at this point.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#44 Copy

Questioner

Did humans come to Roshar through Shadesmar?

Brandon Sanderson

It is technology or magic closer to how the Oathgates work. But it was like that. It's not canon but right now that's what I have. It's not canon because there are certain things I have to work out before that can work...

By the way I'll just say to the tape recording that I haven't canonized, like for instance if they traveled to Shadesmar to get to Shinovar from Ashyn. Right now I have that not being via Shadesmar, but the mechanics of that might not work out, and I might have to default to Shadesmar. So there's certain things, you'll see, where I say, "This isn't the canon answer, it's where I have things right now."

Overlord Jebus

So Urithiru might end up being a spaceship after all.

Brandon Sanderson

It's not that. Right now I have them using something closer to Oathgating, but it opens up a huge can of worms, when I'm not requiring direct-- When I'm sending through Spiritual Realm it opens up cans of worms, and I have to just make sure the mechanics on that are tight before I do it.

Sofia signing ()
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Questioner

Do any of the worldhoppers that we've met so far-- Do they all just use this sort of perpendicularity to travel?

Brandon Sanderson

Perpendicularity is the primary way to get between planets.

Questioner

But are we going to get a conventional inter-planetary travel, like based on Allomancy maybe?

Brandon Sanderson

You have seen conventional inter-planetary travel in Arcanum Unbounded, in the story Sixth of the Dusk, which takes place many hundreds of years after most of the stories in the cosmere. So yes. 

Questioner

Ok so that's where it's--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah there's actually space travel involved in that story but not from the main characters, they just reference them, but yes.

JordanCon 2016 ()
#50 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

*after reading a personalization request* Expansion of the soul, what do you mean by that?

Questioner

There was something in Secret History...it had to do with Kelsier expanding his soul. And then Hoid also says something about it.

Brandon Sanderson

So what do you mean by "Does worldhopping involve the expansion of a soul">?

Questioner

Well Hoid... kind of was like...

Brandon Sanderson

I'm just trying to get you to be a little more specific. But I'm going to say "Sometimes".

Ben McSweeney

That was the whole point. You get a "Maaaaybe".

Brandon Sanderson

You get a Sometimes.