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    ConQuest 46 ()
    #12702 Copy

    Vaidd (paraphrased)

    What's the approximate ratio of Epics to "normals?" Is that number increasing, decreasing, or staying roughly the same?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    The ratio of Epics to normal folks is about 1 in 10,000. Brandon then clarified, without prompting, that was pre-Calamity population and the ratio is much higher now because so many normal people died. He then gave an example of Newcago, which has about 1000 Epics in a population of 250,000, so in that particular case the ratio is 1:250.

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    #12704 Copy

    Phantine

    So... CS question here, I'm seeing identity as essentially a 'encryption' on the metalmind - the spike has the decryption key to existing metalminds, but when you encrypt a new one you use your personal encryption key with the spike's hardware, so you still have compounding access to the metalminds even after removing the spike.

    Is it possible for there to be a 'key collision' with Identity? Two people just randomly end up making compatible metalminds, because the pieces of their Identities that the magic looks like happen to be the same.

    Brandon Sanderson

    This would be about as likely as two unrelated people ending up with the exact same genetic sequence.

    But, so far as I understand, that WOULD be possible.

    Lucadaw

    So identical twins could share metalminds ?

    Brandon Sanderson

    :) RAFO.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12705 Copy

    katkov

    How important is Intent to Hemalurgy? If two people who didn't know about Hemalurgy were running and tripped, falling perfectly onto a spike, would Hemalurgy occur? What about if it was a sick psychopath who liked stabbing people with spikes instead of an accident?

    Would the planet these events occurred on matter?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Location is not relevant to most of the magics.

    As for those specifics of Hemalurgy, I will RAFO for now.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12706 Copy

    Lucadaw

    If someone used Hemalurgy to take someones Feruchemical abilities would they be able to use that persons personal metalminds? Most relevantly perhaps to take that person's knowledge from their copperminds?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Lucadaw

    If someone stored their identity in an aluminium metalmind, then had their powers and metalminds stolen via Hemalurgy, then the person who took the powers used the aluminium metalmind to draw out the first persons identity would it permanently overwrite their personality with the original persons ? ( would kind of be a long winded way of stealing someone else's body and becoming immortal )

    Brandon Sanderson

    All Identity questions are a RAFO until I deal with it more in the books. (Sorry.)

    WeiryWriter (in response to the first answer)

    If the spike granting Feruchemy were to be reforged/split into two distinct spikes which are then implanted into two different people, could those two people "share" a metalmind (as in actually be able to tap something the other stored and vice versa?).

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's complicated, but no.

    There would be too much of the other person mixed in. Both could use the metalminds of the person the Feruchemy was stolen from, but when they made their own, their own Identity would "muddy" the creation.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12707 Copy

    Xluxaeternax

    Is the chronology through the whole cosmere fairly linear, or are there some Interstellar-relativity timey-wimey stuff at play?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Relativity is in play for sure, but I am not allowing time travel into the past in the cosmere. So while you might find places that move at slower/faster speeds, and while foreseeing future timelines is in play for sure, nobody will not be pulling serious time travel shenanigans.

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    #12708 Copy

    Phantine

    A friend of mine was thinking Harmony's two-power combination 'perk' was the ability to use them together to create instead of just to destroy or preserve.

    Was that 'chemical reaction' rule in the plan from the beginning, or was having Harmony more a precedent to develop a rule from it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was pretty early. (The idea that the two together can create was mentioned very early in the series, long before Harmony came to be.)

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    #12709 Copy

    Phantine

    Dumb personal-obsession question - mistwraiths are people with "a blockage between the Physical and the Cognitive Realms" - does that mean if they set foot on Threnody they turn into actual undead-type-wraiths?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a very cool theory. I don't think I can shoot it down.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12710 Copy

    zotsandcrambles

    Have we seen any soul-stamped objects in any of the non-Sel books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For you to have seen this, someone would have to have cracked the issue with Sel magics losing power greatly when taken from the planet.

    zotsandcrambles

    Is this a feasible task for someone like Shai or Hoid? We know the Moon Scepter is a Rosetta stone, so the task seems less daunting, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The task is less daunting for certain. I don't want to say more, however, as I think the clues are there about Sel's magic, and I want to avoid saying too much.

    zotsandcrambles

    Thanks for taking the time (again) to answer me!

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, here's the thing. The problem with magic on Sel is not one people are looking at the right way. And I'm really loathe to dig into it more, because I won't be able to write the books set on the world for a few more years yet.

    Already, great moments in upcoming books aren't going to be as powerful to the hardcore fans, as they'll know the answers already.

    But your theory, while very cool, wouldn't work--and stems from you attacking the problem in the wrong way.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12711 Copy

    Bat_Mannington

    If a Windrunner lashed Wax upwards, could he dump all of his weight into his metalminds and be unaffected or would the lashing affect his clothes and whatever else he had on him too?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wax could mitigate the effect (unless he was in a vacuum) but not eliminate it completely.

    faragorn

    Vacuum or freefall?

    It can be easy to confuse them in the context of surface to orbit.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was talking about a Vacuum, but it's good to clarify. What I'm saying is that without wind resistance, his mass doesn't matter--and the books have established that what Wax does is a freakish transformation of his mass, not just his weight.

    Kaladin changes how much gravity pulls on someone, and in what direction. Wax (basically, it's more complex than this) changes how much mass he has. The two, then, have some very distinctive effects.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12712 Copy

    zotsandcrambles

    In a way I felt that The Emperor's Soul was a bit post-singularity - in the sense that humans were capable of downloading new identities and histories. I know you've planned on doing FTL cosmere work, but have you any interest in doing post-singularity cosmere work? I'd be fascinated to see 'multiple-consciousness beings' using breath or soul stamps. Seeing human development push the boundaries of the shards would be quite intense, and I'm tickled pink at the notion of humans bamboozling the rules of [Shardic] Investiture - how far can Spiritual or Cognitive Identity stretch?

    tl;dr - do you have any plans to bring post-singularity stories to the cosmere

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have plans for some of this, but the main-line cosmere stories I'm planning seem to adapt better to grand space opera than true post-singularity stories. That said, I've certainly got some short story ideas that will play with this. (And you'll see more hints like this even in the mainline books that I think you'll like.)

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12713 Copy

    AmbiguousPuzuma

    In Chapter 19 of The Way of Kings, when Dalinar has a vision of fighting Voidbringers (maybe something else?) as a farmer, he says that he felt the Thrill in the vision. Does this mean that Nergaoul was active there, at the time that vision was "recorded" or was it Dalinar's viewing of the vision that was affected by the Thrill? Would the actual person whose perspective he was seeing have felt the Thrill if he had fought?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a great question, and one I've never been asked before. The answer is going to be a little vague.

    First, Dalinar could have felt the Thrill from Nergaoul, and imported it into the vision.

    Second, Nergaoul could have been active then, and the farmer could have felt it when he fought.

    So both theories are valid. Which is it? I am going to hang back from answering this for now, as I am digging more into the Unmade in a future book.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12714 Copy

    bmanny

    At what point in your writing did the ending of [Shadows of Self] become a thing in your mind? Was is there from the beginning? Did it unfold naturally? Or was it something you saw before even writing [The Alloy of Law]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wrote Alloy of Law as kind of a free write. Once I finished it, and liked it a lot, I sat down and said, "Okay, if this is going to be Mistborn, it needs to have a tighter series outline." So I outlined three sequels, so I knew where Wax and the characters were going. Then I wrote the prologue of Alloy of Law. (It originally didn't include that scene with him and Lessie meeting Bloody Tan.) That scene was the first I wrote knowing the entire three book sequence, including the ending of SofS.

    From there, I did a revision of Alloy of Law to match what was to come. The biggest change was adding in the trauma to Wax, which wasn't a piece of the initial story. (It was also something the book needed. Wax didn't have an arc in the original draft; he was kind of just "stoic sheriff." Building into him this longing to escape responsibility, and an underlying worry that his failures would break him, made it possible to create for him a four book arc.)

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    #12715 Copy

    jmass12

    Quick question on genetics and investiture on Scadrial. Is it weird that Wax would have a different Allomantic power than his predecessors, or does it only matter that you have the ability in the first place, and then it takes different forms generation to generation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Great question! I don't think anyone has asked it.

    It is the second of your two theories. The power manifests differently in different people; specific powers are not hereditary.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12718 Copy

    yurisses

    If Miles stored a very tiny bit of health into a gold bead and then burned it, what would happen? Would he see goldshadows for a time and then obtain Compounded health when reaching the charged part of the bead? Would the bead be evenly charged and deliver only health, no gold shadows, but at a very low rate since only little health was loaded in it? Would the bead be evenly charged and deliver only health, but at a standard rate the user would always get when compounding?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He'd hack the system to deliver health for a short time instead of doing what it was supposed to do, but only until the small portion of gold Invested with his Investiture ran out.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12719 Copy

    JamesCRNA

    There seem to be several black trinkets in your books (Vin's obsidian chunk, the polished-to-a-metallic-look pendant Roadan receives as a wedding present, & the sphere Gavilar gives to Szeth) My question is...are these things related?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. Unfortunately, you've seen a coincidental connection. Several of these things are important, but for different reasons.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12720 Copy

    JamesCRNA

    Is there any substance that reflects Allomantic power? (For example, such that a Coinshot could appear to be a Lurcher if this substance were behind the piece of metal being Pushed, or perhaps said Coinshot could Push things around a corner if this substance were angled properly?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nothing like this is known right now.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12721 Copy

    danimalod

    I just read Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell and loved it. How did the first shade come to be? Are there shades in other worlds? Do shades have bones?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Shades are what we call "Cognitive Shadows" in the cosmere. They're basically "spren" or "[seons]" created from human souls. (Where Investiture--or magical power--keeps a consciousness alive after it has lost its Physical connection.) Yes, shades all once had bodies.

    Think of them like petrified souls, where instead of stone replacing the tissue of a corpse, magical power replaced the parts of a soul that connect that soul to the Three Realms.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12722 Copy

    tay95

    A theme throughout a lot of the Cosmere novels is that form, of one sort or another (patterns, aons, etc.) has a crucial role to play in unlocking or using Investiture.

    As a chemist, I'm curious about the role of form in Allomancy and Feruchemy. Does the underlying molecular or crystalline structure of the metal or alloy play a roll? Different processes, doping ratios, and metal mixtures result in different molecular packing, lattices, and ultimately structure. It seems like that kind of very defined, orderly matrix would be right in line with other forms of unlocking Investiture.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes! I've actually mentioned to people before that the chemistry of the various metals acts, for Allomancy, in the same way that the Aons work for AonDor. It's more a key than it is a source of power itself.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12725 Copy

    WeiryWriter

    Can a person who dies but somehow hasn't passed Beyond the Three Realms (a la Kelsier) serve in place of a spren for Radiant purposes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is theoretically possible, but it would require an unusual sequence of events.

    WeiryWriter

    We know that the Stormfather is a Cognitive Shadow and is also acting as a spren for Dalinar but is he able to do that because the "unusual sequence of events" took place or is there something else going on specific to the nature of the Stormfather?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. :)

    Carluun

    If Kelsier became a "spren" for a Radiant, would he grant Surgebinding or Allomancy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12726 Copy

    Argent

    The updated Elantris map (from the anniversary edition) includes a city map, and the interior of Elantris looks awfully like Aon Ela. Was it indeed designed so the streets for Ela, and if so - does this merely augment/support the giant Aon Rao, or does it have a separate effect?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This was designed this way! It is separate from the shape of the city itself.

    Argent

    But does it have an actual effect, or is it just aesthetic?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It doesn't have an effect at the moment. It might once have.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12727 Copy

    djscrub

    Since burning Feruchemically charged metal seems to require a choice between getting the Allomantic or Feruchemical property (e.g., Miles only sees gold ghosts when he wants to, not as a side effect of compounded healing), is there any special advantage to compounding pewter and tin, where the Allomantic and Feruchemical use is the same? Is their compounding even stronger than normal compounding because you can tap both power sources simultaneously, or maybe because Preservation is particularly attuned to providing those powers through those metals?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Remember that compounding is a "hack" of the magic. You're looking to fool the magics, and use one to power the other. The value in it is that you can use Allomantic power to fuel Feruchemy. It's like hooking a power cord up to a device that, up to that point, you'd powered by using a hand crank.

    Worldbuilders AMA ()
    #12728 Copy

    Moogle

    Compounding requires practice, according to The Hero of Age's annotations. And yet, it's apparently as easy as burning a metalmind. What was going on that meant the Inquisitors couldn't figure out how to do it (despite Ruin likely knowing how and undoubtedly wanting them to learn) for over a year? What skill did they need to practice doing, exactly?

    And what happened while they were practicing burning metalminds without successfully Compounding? Did they get an Allomantic effect?

    Brandon Sanderson

    What I think I was getting at in the annotations was a cosmere magic rule that, perhaps, I hadn't completely refined yet. This is the idea that INTENTION is vitally important to the workings of most cosmere magics.

    You can learn to burn metals instinctively over time, but it does take time--time for your body to figure out what it's doing. If you have instruction and guidance, you can pick it up in an evening, like Vin did. Same goes for most of the magics. This ties into Awakening, with the idea that you have to form a command.

    During Warbreaker was where I really refined this aspect of the magic. Logically, since the beginning of the cosmere, I've wanted all three Realms to be important to the way the magics worked. The "Practice" therefore for compounding is mental practice--a barrier to overcome in understanding what is happening, and what it will do to you.

    If you already know all of these things by having it explained to you, that barrier is far less high. I think that was what I was talking about in the Annotations, without really having the idea specified yet--though I'd have to look back at the annotation and re-read it to say for certain.

    General Twitter 2016 ()
    #12732 Copy

    TheQuentisentialYou

    Why does Marasi's memory of the voice of "Death" or Marsh, change? From Alloy of Law to Bands of Mourning chapter 15?

    Brandon Sanderson (Part 1/Part 2/Part 3)

    This is a thing that drives Peter crazy. My research tells me that people change memories based on expectations and environment.

    On occasion, you'll see me having characters miss-quote themselves, or remember events clearly wrong. I do this for realism.

    (Though on occasion, it's just a mistake or lapse on my part. Those we fix. The rest drive my editors crazy.)