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Found 12 results

  1. A Forum “well-established theory” (WET) states a User powers magic with Fuel and shapes the magical effect through a Focus. I agree with WET, with some tweaks. I believe there are different types of magic systems that share different WET components. IMO, all magic systems have Focus and Fuel. All “people with magic” systems additionally have a User. “Catalytic people with magic” systems add what Khriss calls a “Catalyst.” I detail each magical component in related posts to isolate those topics for separate discussion. In this post, I’ll first summarize the differences among magic systems. I then state how I think the components relate to one another and how they apply to specific magic systems. I call “revised” WET, “Re-WET.” Types of Magic Systems I theorize there are two main types of magic systems: "Interaction with nature” systems and “people with magic” systems. IMO, the “people with magic” systems – systems where sapient beings can direct the magical effect – are subdivided into those that use “Catalysts” and those that don’t. I think Catalysts are substances Users consume to Invest themselves with Shard “power” (Spiritual Realm Investiture not part of a Spiritweb – IMO the cosmere’s Spiritual energy). Shards created “people with magic” systems post-Shattering, and they are found only on Major Shardworlds. In summary: “Catalytic people with magic” systems – Sapient beings (“people”) can direct Shard power. Examples: Allomancy, Surgebinding, and Awakening. “Non-Catalytic people with magic” systems – People can direct local Shardworld Investiture, but not Shard power. Examples: Feruchemy, the Returned, and non-Awakening Breath Transfers. “Interaction with nature” systems – People can interact with local Shardworld Investiture, but cannot direct magic of any kind. Examples: Threnody’s shades, the Patji’s Eye ecosystem on First of the Sun, and Roshar’s pre-Shattering magical ecosystem. Preliminary Thought IMO, Adonalsium created the “interaction with nature” systems when he formed the cosmere. The first WoB above states, “There is inherent Investiture on every world created.” Shards later added their Investiture to some of these systems, but these systems are still “natural” in the sense they are built into their planets, part of their planets’ Spiritwebs. “People with magic” systems OTOH are IMO artificial constructs the Shards created to approximate how the Shards themselves make magic. Shards think, and magic happens. “People’s” minds are too weak to direct large amounts of power by themselves. Magic system components IMO are “work-arounds” to fill this gap. For this reason, some components don’t fit neatly into a model. Focus, for example, overlaps other components like a User’s commands and Catalysts. WET Here’s @Spoolofwhool’s succinct and representative expression of WET: Re-WET Here’s my suggestion to revise WET’s components. I discuss each Re-WET component in the linked posts. User: A person whose mind directs the Fuel. Focus: A component that determines which power is available for magic. Fuel: The power or local Investiture that causes a magical effect. Catalyst: A substance Users consume to Invest themselves with Shard power. Note on “User”: I think a User must be a sapient being, a “person.” I also think the User component includes magical “Identity,” “innate Investiture,” and “Initiation.” Identity IMO is the relationship between the User and their native Shardworld’s Investiture. Innate Investiture is the Investiture grafted onto a User’s soul that makes them a User. Initiation is the process by which a potential User becomes an actual User. I discuss these in the “User” post. Note on “Focus”: I believe a Focus determines the power available for magic. IMO, local Shardworld Investiture cannot be further Focused. It already embodies the “essence” of the power that created it. Note on “Fuel”: I follow WET’s convention of naming magic-causing Investiture “Fuel.” As so defined, upper case “Fuel” seems more of a magical engine than that engine’s “fuel.” Lower case “fuel” is a substance consumed to provide energy to a process, like gasoline energizes a car’s motion. I believe all magic does have such “fuel,” which I discuss in the “Fuel” post. Please bear in mind, though, that both WET and Re-WET identify “Fuel” as the substance that causes magic to happen, not the substance consumed to add energy to the magical process. Note on “Catalyst”: I believe each Catalyst is made from a Shard’s “essence,” the Shard’s converted power. On Scadrial, metal is Preservation’s “concentrated essence” (BoM, Chapter 28, Kindle p. 359). On the other Major Shardworlds, I believe that “essence” is a form of the Shardworld’s local Investiture. I theorize this Investiture is found in Roshar’s highstorms, Taldain’s irradiated oceans, Nalthis’ electromagnetic radiation (EMR), and Sel’s ground. Catalysts add energy to the magical process (and hence are “fuel”); but unlike chemical catalysts, the process consumes them. Note on “magic systems”: WET equates the term “manifestation of Investiture” with “magic system.” While I don’t think it matters much, I’m unconvinced the terms mean the same thing. In the Mistborn Ars Arcana, Khriss describes the Metallic Arts as “manifestations of Investiture.” She doesn’t describe magic systems in other books that way, which suggests the term isn’t definitional. I interpret the term literally – a “manifestation of Investiture” is how Investiture manifests in a planet’s Physical Realm. Thus, I see Stormlight and Radiantspren as Rosharan “manifestations of Investiture.” Neither is a “magic system.” IMO, they are components of the Surgebinding “magic system,” its Catalyst and Focus, respectively. I believe the “interaction with nature” systems have only the Fuel and Focus components, and non-Catalytic “people with magic” systems add a User. IMO, the Catalytic systems have all four magical components and work as follows: A. The User consumes a Catalyst, like metals, Stormlight or body water. B. The Catalyst causes a Shard’s power to “begin [and ‘keep running’] an Investiture” of the User (BoM Ars Arcanum – “On the Three Metallic Arts – Allomancy.”) The Investiture ends when the User fully consumes the Catalyst. C. The Focus determines which power Invests the User. D. The User’s mind then directs the Invested power to “shape” the desired magical effect. Specific Systems @SpoolofWhool’s post includes examples of how WET applies to some magic systems. After quoting Spool’s WET examples, I suggest how Re-WET would apply to the same systems. Allomancy: The User is the Allomancer. I think the metal they burn is both a Catalyst and a Focus. Any Allomantic metal will act as a Catalyst to enable the Allomancer to Invest himself with Preservation’s power. The specific metal chosen will act as a Focus to determine the specific power the Allomancer Invests himself with – rioting, soothing, leeching, etc. IMO, the Allomancer himself shapes the power’s specific effect – how and when to use that power to riot, soothe or leech. While metal Catalysts are consumed in Allomancy, its Fuel is Preservation’s power. Feruchemy: The User is the Feruchemist. He directs Feruchemy’s magical effect when he chooses to time-shift an attribute. IOW, I think the conversion of “some of themselves into investiture” is Feruchemy’s magical effect, not its Fuel. I think the Fuel that causes this magical effect is the Feruchemical gene, the Feruchemist’s “end-neutral” internal Investiture. I believe even “end-neutral” Feruchemy consumes a “fuel” to make the magic. IMO, Brandon confirms this when he says “end-neutral” systems rely on a “facilitating power.” I believe this “facilitating power” keeps the Feruchemist’s internal Investiture “end-neutral” and thermodynamically sound. I think each Feruchemical metal is a Focus for the specific power that “facilitates” time-shifting the corresponding attribute. (I discuss this more in my Fuel post.) Awakening: The User is the Awakener. Brandon says Awakening’s Focus is the visualized command. The User’s command both selects the power to Invest the User and directs that power to Awaken the object for the visualized task. “Draining color” (as I describe it below) Catalyzes Awakening and Invests the Awakener with Endowment’s power. I don’t believe Awakening’s Fuel is Breath (though maybe I missed a WoB that clearly says that). I think Breath is Endowment’s Invested “life-force,” the target of the Awakener’s command, not its Fuel. Breath held by the Invested object just gets old and loses potency like Breath does in humans. IMO Breath decay is not consumption. Color loss from simple Breath Transfers (an end-neutral magic) comes from the transferor’s reduced Breaths, lowering his Heightening. IOW, color loss from simple Breath Transfers does not act as a Catalyst that summons power. I think Awakening’s Catalyst is the Invested electromagnetic radiation (EMR) colored objects absorb. Awakening’s Fuel is the Endowment power that Catalyst summons through the Focus of the Awakener’s command. “Draining color” withdraws the absorbed Investiture from the colored object. Awakeners can easily “drain” black (fully absorbed EMR), but cannot drain white (fully reflected EMR). This Investiture withdrawal causes colored objects to turn gray, just like a Shardblade-severed limb that’s lost its connection to the soul. I theorize Endowment Invested the Tears of Edgli with vivid color because that narrows the reflected light EMR spectrum (and is more noticeable). The broader absorbed EMR spectrum remains, leaving more Investiture for an Awakener to withdraw. The “sticky” dyes the Tears create mark where an Awakener can find Investiture. Surgebinding: The User is the Surgebinder. I agree with @SpoolofWhool that it probably doesn’t matter whether the Focus is the spren or the bond, but IMO spren are Roshar’s Focus. Each “natural” (pre-Shattering) spren personifies a different power, like life, fire, or gravity. These “natural” spren can Focus “anti-gravity” power, for example, into sky eels and greatshells. I believe Radiantspren’s mixed Investitures make them dual Focuses. (I haven’t thought through whether gems are soulcasting’s additional Focus and don’t address that.) IMO Surgebinders consume Stormlight to Catalyze Honor and/or Cultivation’s Investiture of them. The Radiantspren determines which power Invests the Surgebinder. I think the Surgebinder “binds” the Surges by cognitively directing the Invested power to create some magical effect – choosing gravity’s vector or drawing a new persona. Conclusion I analyze each Re-WET component in detail in my posts on Fuel, Focus, Users and Catalysts. Those are the threads to post your comments about the components themselves. Here I try to address how I think these components fit together. In summary, All systems have Fuel and are Focused. Shards added a User and Catalyst. Mortals now can direct Their own magic effect, Like becoming a soul-forging analyst. [Da-dum… The first of several such summaries. Blame @Calderis, the Adonalsium of cosmere limericks. He inspired me to summarize theory in verse and even write an English sonnet about my three favorite fantasy writers. I enjoy writing theory, but @Calderis has added some entertaining challenges. He’s also the source of the phrase “well-established theory” I use to describe the “User-Focus-Fuel” model.] Regards!
  2. I suggest you read “Magic System Components – General Theory” before reading this post. Introduction I believe a Focus is the magic system component that determines which power is available for magic. Shards and ascended mortals Focus power through their minds alone. Magic systems must rely on approximations and constructs to Focus power. I theorize the Spiritual Realm Investiture that constitutes Shard power is “raw” and undifferentiated. I believe power – “true Investiture” – is Brandon’s “one substance” that’s convertible into all other substances. When power is Invested, it becomes specialized into some unique form of Investiture (or matter or energy). IMO, magic system “Focusing” is the Realmic transition of undifferentiated raw power into some specialized form of power. I think Khriss calls the process of Focusing power “an Investiture” of the User. (BoM Ars Arcanum, “On the Three Metallic Arts – Allomancy.”) IOW, I think “Investiture” is the word for both a process and the magical substance that participates in that process. Thus, through brass, Vin Focuses Preservation’s undifferentiated power into the “soothing” power she dampens emotions with. Through Pattern (IMO), Shallan Focuses Honor/Cultivation’s undifferentiated power into the “soul-transformation” power she draws with. I think Khriss would describe each of these as “an Investiture” of Vin and Shallan by the Focused power. Forum Theories Brandon says, “the powers granted by all of the metals—even the two divine ones—are not themselves of either Shard. They are simply tools.” IMO, a Focus selects the magical “tool.” Some posters express this idea by saying a Focus “shapes” the magic. They call Focus an “interface,” the “man in the middle.” They say a Focus “determines the outcome of the magic.” I think all these formulations agree that a Focus distills power to achieve the User’s aim. I favor the “power selection” formulation because I think Users’ minds “shape the outcome of the magic,” not the Focus. IMO, Users Invest themselves with the Focused power before shaping it. Vin burns brass to Invest herself with the “soothing power” before soothing who, how, and when she chooses. Shallan consumes Stormlight to Invest herself with Lightweaving’s soul-transformation power before her drawings transform her subjects. Relationship to Other Components Focuses sometimes coincide with other magic system components. Metals are both Allomancy’s Catalyst and Focus. On Nalthis and Sel, Focuses seem identical to the User’s cognitive direction of power, their commands. Brandon says Awakening’s Focus is its visualized commands. These commands both tell the object what the Awakener wants it to do and summon the right power to implement the command. This makes me wonder: do Awakeners use a single power – the ability to animate objects – and the visualized command directs that power to “protect” or “climb” or “destroy evil”? I know this is contrary to Brandon’s words, but it is a functionally identical model. The Selish magics also seem to combine Focus with command. These magics use visual representations of local landscapes both to summon the chosen power and to tell the power what to do. I think Focus and other components may coincide because Focus substitutes for the mortal mind’s inability to command power directly and without limits, the way Shards can. Focus limits the amount of power a mortal can use, to prevent the mortal’s vaporization. Even the “mostly Spiritual” Elantrians are limited by the amount of power the Focus Aon Rao pumps into Elantris. IMO, such magic system “work-arounds” don’t always fit within the four-component model. One Focus per Power I agree with Forum consensus that each Focus corresponds to one power. Mistborn, Awakeners (maybe), and Elantrians use multiple Focuses to access multiple powers. Mistings access only one power through one Focus. Radiantspren IMO combine Investitures and are dual Focuses, giving access to two powers. Focuses and Shardworld Investiture I think local Shardworld Investiture cannot be further Focused into something else. It already embodies the “essence” of the Focused power that Invested it. IOW, local Investiture already does what it was created (“Focused”) to do. Thus, I believe each type of pre-Shattering spren is the personified “essence” of a separately Focused power like life, gravity, or fire. IMO, spren in turn act as the Focus for the powers they’re the essence of. Gravityspren, for example, Focus the gravity power so skyeels can fly and greatshells can walk. IOW, local Investiture like spren can Focus the power they’re the essence of, but spren and other local Investiture cannot themselves be further Focused into some other power. Conclusion A Focus determines which power Is available and in what manner. Each Focus is linked To one power, I think, And Khriss calls this process “an Investiture.” [Drat you, @Calderis!] You can read the other magic component posts at General Theory, Fuel, User, and Catalyst. Regards!
  3. For some months now, I’ve been working on creating a framework for all of the magic systems of Roshar that combines everything we know about them and makes predictions for that which we don’t know. This topic is the end result. Since I’m aiming for completeness, there will be things here that are already well understood, as well as things that I haven’t seen proposed before. So, with apologies for the sheer length that it has become, allow me to present my framework. Magics by Shardic Composition Let's start by listing the various Rosharan powers and classifying them by the Shards which power them. Magic Shardic Composition Surgebinding Honour & Cultivation Ancient Fabrials Honour & Cultivation Modern Fabrials Cultivation Old Magic Cultivation Voidbinding Honour & Odium Voidbringer Powers Cultivation & Odium Surgebinding My classification of Surgebinding shouldn't be raising any eyebrows since it is well understood that each type of Radiant spren is some mix of both Honour and Cultivation. However, let's take a moment to consider how the two powers manifest in Surgebinding as this will provide insight into how I've classified the other magics. While there are many different interpretations of honour, they ultimately all come down to the interaction between two or more people: in a universe with only one person, it would be impossible for them to act honourably (nor to act dishonourably), for there would be no one for them to act honourably towards. This duality is reflected, I believe, in Honour's magic. The most obvious example of this would be the necessity to bond spren in order to perform it. Now, you could argue that since the listeners were bonding spren long before the Shards came to Roshar, this would mean that bonding spren is not related to Honour specifically. However, the listener bond is, by its very nature, very different to the Nahel bond; seemingly less a mutually beneficial partnership, and more a natural process. I would contend, therefore, that this is an example of Honour incorporating this aspect of the Rosharan environment into his magic out of necessity. I do not think that this idea of duality is limited only to the bonding of spren, however; I think that it extends even to the way that the powers form. You likely noticed that in my listing of the various magics that there is no system that is entirely of Honour. I think that Honour's nature means that he requires a second Shard to mix his power with in order to form a magic system. In other words, it would not be in his nature to form a magic that is purely his own. Another example of Honour's effect on Surgebinding is in its structure: the way that Surgebinders are divided up precisely into distinct predetermined Radiant Orders based off of their interpretation of honour, and their determination to emulate that ideal. And also, the way that the powers are divided up between the different orders. This is a rigid and inflexible framework, much like the Radiant’s Ideals can be. In short, this is where the "binding" in Surgebinding comes from: Honour is bound to another Shard and the Radiants to their spren, their Orders, and their Ideals. So if Honour provides a structure to Surgebinding, what does Cultivation provide? I think that it is through Cultivation that Surgebinders get to manipulate the Surges. If we look at the spren associated with each of the Shards, Honour's spren are those of emotion, again linking back to human interaction. Cultivation's spren, however, are the spren of nature, so it makes sense that it is Cultivation's power that gives access to the natural Surges. Now, I can imagine it being argued that since on Scadrial, all the magic systems revolve around metals, surely all the magic systems of Roshar should likewise revolve around the Surges, not simply the ones associated with Cultivation. However, I would argue that this is a false analogy: the metals on Scadrial act as a focus, the Surges on Roshar do not. The powers produced by the Metallic Arts (with the exceptions of Allomantic iron, steel, aluminium, and chromium) are not related to metal themselves. Therefore, whilst all of the Rosharan magic systems should share a common focus, it should not necessarily be the case that they all share the Surges. Modern Fabrials Now with that established, it should be obvious why I think that Fabrials are a magic system purely of Cultivation. They lack the rigid structure that I have associated with Honour, and while the spren are still part of the magic, they are trapped inside the gemstones rather than working with the user as you would expect in Honour’s magic. This leaves Cultivation as the only reasonable candidate, which in turn means that they must be utilising the surges in some way. Although, without the rigidity of Honour’s framework, the way they manifest is apparently quite different. Ancient Fabrials The first thing to note here is that these fabrials do not seem to have much in common with modern fabrials, to the point that I suspect that calling them fabrials at all is a misnomer. Modern fabrials all function by trapping a spren in a gemstone, ancient fabrials do not appear to do this. Spren are clearly involved in some way, just as they are in every other magic; we in fact see this in the operation of the Oathgates. In order to activate them, you need a Shardblade, i.e. the physical manifestation of a spren that is part Cultivation and part Honour. Moreover, the spren needs to be alive. This implies that the person operating the Oathgate needs to be working together with the spren, which sounds just like an Honour based magic. This would mean that the ancient fabrials are far more closely related to the Surgebindings than they are to modern fabrials. Which makes sense given that the effects we have seen (Soulcasting, Regrowth, Transportation) appear to be the same as various Surgebindings. In fact, when Nale heals Szeth with one of these ancient fabrials, he actually refers to it as a Surgebinding. Ideally I would compare the operation of the Oathgates to that of other ancient fabrials, unfortunately though, we haven’t really seen enough of these yet to be able to draw anything meaningful from them. The Old Magic This isn’t a magic like others on this list: it's not something that people can perform; instead, it seems to be practised solely by the Nightwatcher, about whom the only things we can really say with confidence are that she is some kind of “mega-spren”, closely related to Cultivation. This would suggest then that the Old Magic can be described as similar to a sapient, self-operating fabrial. I don’t think that there’s much more that can be said at this point without additional information about the Old Magic or the Nightwatcher. Voidbinding This brings us to the only magic system on the list which I believe to be unrelated to Cultivation. If we look at the Voidbinding chart from the back of The Way of Kings, it is immediately obvious that the structure of the magic is the same as Surgebinding. It even has "binding" in its name, hence why I think that it is of Honour. However, if we look at the symbols where, on the Surgebinding chart, the Surges are placed, we see not the symbols for the Surges, but a twisted version of them. Hence I do not think that Voidbinding will be related to the Surges at all, and hence Cultivation has no part in Voidbinding. Voidbringer Powers And finally, we come to the powers that were demonstrated at the end of Words of Radiance by the Voidbringers. Why do I think that this isn't Voidbinding? We have a WoB that we haven't seen Voidbinding yet, but we have seen these powers, therefore they must be something different. Additionally we have the following WoBs: Since the Voidbringers are forms of the Parshendi, and the Parshendi are not of Honour, if my classification of Voidbinding as being of Honour is correct, then the Voidbringers cannot be Voidbinders. So, why do I think that the Voidbringers are related to Cultivation rather than purely of Odium? If we have a look at Dalinar’s vision of the Purelake, we see him looking for a voidspren, which ultimately ends up animating a thunderclast. The voidspren is described to him as: “A spren that doesn’t act like it should”, not as a new type of spren. And apparently this is a result of the spren interacting with Sja-anat, an Unmade. What’s more, the spren they end up chasing has a resemblance to a riverspren, a type of nature spren, which is therefore related to Cultivation. I would propose, therefore, that the Unmade corrupt spren to make voidspren. When the spren was originally of Cultivation they go on to form Voidbringers and thunderclasts and the like. And when the spren was originally of Honour, they will bond to form Voidbinders. On Initiation The first thing to note here is that not all magics require an Initiation in order to be used. Some, such as Haemalurgy, are universal and can be used by anyone. Modern fabrials also seem to fall under this category. In order to use a magic, you need three things: intent, Investiture, and a focus. In the case of fabrials, the Investiture and the focus are both incorporated into the device itself. In other words, the user only needs to provide the intent to use the fabrial in order for it to work. The crucial part here is that the user does not need to access an external source of Investiture themselves: the fabrial does that for them. The Old Magic is not relevant to this discussion since it is restricted to the domain of the Nightwatcher. Also, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of the ancient fabrials yet in order to determine whether they would also be universal or not, so, for the time being, I’ll pass over these two magics. The remaining magics all seem to require Initiation. Khriss’ comments on Initiation in Elantris’ Ars Arcanum suggest that the method of Initiation across all of the magics on any given world is consistent. I think it should be fairly obvious, therefore, that the method of Initiation here is the spren bond. All of the remaining magics utilise a spren bond in some form, and Syl has openly admitted to Kaladin that she is the reason that he is able to Surgebind. On the Rosharan Focus So far I’ve seen theories on the focus claim that it’s either the gemstones, or the spren, or the spren bond. Firstly, I don’t think that it can be the spren bond: I have already demonstrated that it is the method of Initiation and I don’t see how it can be both. Also, as previously noted, not all magics require a spren bond, but all magics require a focus which is consistent across all Rosharan magics, therefore if the spren bond were the focus, this would be a contradiction. Things get interesting when we start to examine the spren and the gemstones as candidates for the focus, however. When examining Soulcasting, the gemstones act exactly as you would expect the focus to, the type of gemstone used determines the result of the transformation. However, this does not appear to be the case with any other magic that we have seen, which should mean that the gemstones can’t be the focus. The spren seem like an ideal candidate for the focus since they are, like the gemstones, present in some capacity in all Rosharan magics. Moreover, as they are capable of changing their form at will, if they are the focus then they should be able to direct the form that the power takes by themselves. And, we saw in the climax to Words of Radiance, Syl was able to accurately determine the weapon that Kalaldin wished her to form without him having to actively communicate it to her, it would follow then, that the Radiant spren could do the same thing to provide their Radiant with the power that they wished to use. And since in modern fabrials, the spren would presumably be trapped in a single form, it would account for why fabrials each have only a single function. There is, however, a problem with using spren as the Rosharan focus, and it is essentially the same problem that we ran into when we tried considering the gemstones as the focus: when considering Soulcasting, it is clearly the gemstones, not the spren that is determining the result of the transformation. So both the spren and the gemstones must be the focus, but neither the spren nor the gemstones can be the focus! To resolve this, I think we’re going to need to take a closer look at what a focus actually is. To start off with, I don’t think that a focus is actually physical. Everything in the Cosmere exists to some extent across all three Realms, so that we might be able to see or interact with it in the Physical Realm does not mean that this is where the magical interaction is happening. If we look at AonDor, the focus like in all Selish magics is shapes, however, an Aon will continue to function even if you were to destroy its physical representation. Indeed Elantrians can draw Aons in the air, which shouldn’t have a physical body at all. And of course, on Nalthis, they use Commands as a focus which, being auditory, likewise shouldn’t have a physical body. I suspect that it is in the Cognitive Realm that these gain a more concrete, not to mention, permanent, form. So, Investiture flows from the Spiritual Realm to the Cognitive Realm where it interacts with the focus and is filtered down into the Physical Realm in the form determined by that focus. But, if the focus is cognitive, then shouldn’t it be possible for it to be something more abstract in nature, such as a function? We know that gemstones and spren have some kind of relationship with each other. Just consider Navani’s notebook: Could it be the case that spren and gemstones are bound together as variables in a cognitive function that is acting as the focus on Roshar? When spren are imprisoned in gemstones, is that what’s really happening, or are they instead being constrained to the same space as part of such a function? This is what I think is happening here: neither the spren nor the gemstone is the focus, but they are both components in a kind of complex focus. How the Honourblades Work So, I’ve been repeatedly coming back to the idea that the spren are involved in some way in every magic on Roshar, yet you might have noticed that the Honourblades are an exception to this. They allow their wielder to Surgebind, but they are not themselves spren. In fact, originally, the Honourblades would power Surgebinding by opening a direct conduit to Honour, similar to how Allomancy opens a conduit to Preservation, meaning that even gemstones wouldn’t be needed to provide Stormlight. Thus, the Heralds might not have needed either part of the focus that I specified above. Does this not contradict my argument for the focus? I don’t think so; I think that the way Honour hacked the magic in the Honourblades means that this isn’t an issue. When Preservation hacked Allomancy so that Vin was able to burn the mists, she no longer needed the metals for Allomancy. And similarly, when Vin became Preservation, she was able to power Allomancy for Elend without him having access to the metals. Based off of this, I think it’s clear that a focus is not required when a Shard directly intervenes like this. One final point: it could perhaps be argued that the Honourblades represent the true form of Surgebinding and that the Nahel bond is the true hack since the spren copied the Honourblades. I disagree with this interpretation, though. I think that the Radiant spren have always been able to form the Nahel bond and create Surgebinders since Honour first Invested in Roshar, they simply didn’t know that they could do this. When Honour hacked the system by creating the Honourblades though, the spren were able to figure out that they had this ability from seeing what the Honourblades could do. TL;DR Given the size and scope of this treatise, it is impossible to easily summarise the entire piece, however, a few key points are as follows: Honour’s influence causes a magic to take on a predefined, rigid structure. Voidbinding does not manipulate the Surges at all. Spren Bonds are the basis for Initiation. Roshar has a complex focus which utilises both spren and gemstones as components. The Honourblades negate the need for a focus.
  4. Why do we get 2 effects from a Nahel bond? Building off the theory that the focus for surgebinding is the Nahel-Bond itself, or more precisely, the puzzle-piece-filling of a Spren into a broken human to form a new reforged/"whole" entity. I posit that it is because the bond works in 2 directions: The spren completing the person's brokenness while the person completes the Spren's sentience. This then implies that each type of bond-forming Spren requires a different aspect of sentience to become whole. So, can we line this up on the Ars Arcanum chart for Divine Attributes and Surges? Let's try! 1st Theory of Combination: Each participant in the bond provides a single row from the Divine Attributes table. - Kaladin provides Protecting/Leading/Adhesion; Syl Provides Just/Confident/Gravitation. - Lift provides Loving/Healing/Abrasion; Wyndle provides Learned/Giving/Progression. - Shallan provides Creative/Honest/Illumination; Pattern provides Wise/Careful/Transformation. Ok this one just looks wrong. Shallan is *not* the honest one in this relationship. But she is the creative one... So on to our... 2nd Theory of Combination: Each Participant provides one of the 2 Divine Attributes from each of the applicable rows in the table. It is then the combination of these 2 attributes that results in the specific surge that is expressed. Furthermore I posit that the two participants in the bond will form an 'X' on the chart between the attributes. Let's see if it holds up: - Kaladin Protecting + Syl Leading = Adhesion; Kaladin Confident + Syl Just = Gravitation. - Lift Loving + Wyndle Healing = Abrasion; Lift Giving + Wyndle Learned = Progression. - Shallan Creative + Pattern Honest = Illumination; Shallan Careful + Pattern Wise = Transformation. - Dalinar Pious + Stormfather Guiding = Tension; Dalinar Leading + Stormfather Protecting = Adhesion OK so far those are looking spot on! Yeah! Now on to more speculative pairings: - Renarin Learned + ____spren Giving = Progression; Renarin Honest + ____spren Creative = Illumination - Jasnah Wise + Ivory Careful = Transformation; Jasnah Builder + Ivory Resolute = Transportation - Skybreaker/Szeth Just + Highspren/Nightblood Confident = Gravitation; Skybreaker/Szeth Obedient + Highspren/Nightblood Brave = Division - Stump (Edgedancer vs. Truthwatcher): I must say I'm stumped by Stump either way. Followup Questions: Can we use this theory to posit the types of spren that will bond the other surgebinders? (E.g. Renarin's spren would in some way bring Giving and Creative to the relationship, so what might that spren be?) Are the Honorspren always Leading & Just and the Windrunner always Protecting and Confident? Could you gain access to the same 2 surges via a different bond with a being who was Leading and Just and a spren who was Protecting and Confident? Could it be that Szeth's pairing with Nightblood is actually a swap/subversion of the traditional Highspren bond? Meaning a normal Skybreaker provides Confident and Brave while the Highspren provides Just and Obedient. Even further - are there 4 types of bonds which could theoretically grant access to the same 2 surges?? (Add Protecting/Just being + Leading Confident spren as well as Leading confident being + Protecting/Just spren.)
  5. I'm probably oversimplifying some pretty complex issues here, and retreading some old ground. But, as I understand it, all end-positive magic systems in the Cosmere are basically this thing: It's called the Fun Factory(tm). You put your Play-Doh(tm) underneath the red flap, then you push the flap down. The pressure forces the Play-Doh through a hole, extruding it into a funny shape. The blob of Play-Doh that goes into it? That's your investiture source. Preservation. Stormlight. The Dor. It's raw Shardic power. Formless and without specific function. The Fun Factory is you. The Allomancer, or Surgebinder, or Elantrian. You draw that raw, amorphous power into your body, and you turn it into something direct and specific. A force of repulsion against metal. 'Awesomeness' that reduces friction. A light source, or a deadly fireball. But what's that blue thing? That's the hole that your Play-Doh is extruded through. And you can swap it out for a different one. This is the piece that determines what shape your Play-Doh takes. In allomancy, this would be your metal. Each metal produces a different effect, channeling your Preservation-power into a different magical ability. In AonDor, it's the Aons themselves. Which Aon you draw determines the magic. It's the same in Forgery, Dakhor, and ChayShan. All across Sel, it's the shape you make that determines your magical action. On Nalthis, it's about the command. Every awakened object does something different, because each is given a different command. Metals. Shapes/forms. Commands. This blue thing... is the focus. So really, I think this is the definition of focus: It's the element of a magic system that determines the magical effect, or the precise action of investiture. It's the category whose internal variation corresponds to the versatility of the magic system as a whole. (Here's the WoB that backs this up: http://www.theoryland.com/intvsresults.php?kw=allomancy+aon) Which brings us, inevitably, to the question of Roshar. A common theory (endorsed by the Coppermind) is that gemstones are Roshar's focus, because Surgebinders and fabrials both rely on gemstones. But my definition disagrees. Kaladin can draw stormlight from any gemstone (or from a non-gem source), and his powers always remain the same. Whether he uses emerald broams or diamond chips, flying is still flying. Lift, notably, doesn't need gems at all. To find the focus, look for what distinguishes one type of magic from another. What distinguishes an Adhesion-binder from a Transformation-binder? I think there's only one logical answer. It's the spren. Each surgebinder-type bonds with a different spren. Sure, some spren offer overlapping surges, but the basic fact remains: the magic you can do is determined by the spren you bond. The metal you burn. The Aon you draw. The command you give. And fabrials? Fabrials use specific gemstones because specific gemstones trap specific spren. The real exception to this is the Honorblades, which provide surgebinder-bonds, but are not spren. Or are they? They look and behave exactly like ordinary shardblades. Bonding, summoning, cutting. They're not self-aware, like spren are, but they're clearly the same type of entity: splinters. Objects made of investiture. Honor's investiture, which seems to be inherently bond-forming, whether it's sentient or not. So the focus isn't spren, exactly. It's bond-forming splinters -- a category which consists almost entirely of spren, but also includes the Honorblades. This opens up some interesting speculations of Voidbinding. Is it done by bonding different spren, i.e. Voidspren? Or is it like on Scadrial, where different magic systems use the same foci? Maybe Voidbinding is just surgebinding, but with a different power source. Maybe Kaladin could intake the 'voidlight' from the mysterious black sphere, and access a new power-set.
  6. I can't remember if Focus is actually a canonical term or not, so just in case, by Focus I mean "the thing that determines the effect of the Investiture". Scadrial (Allomancy, Feruchemy, Hemalurgy) - Metal Sel (AonDor, Forgery, Bloodsealing, presumably ChayShan and Dakhor) - Symbols Nalthis (Awakening) - Commands Roshar's Focus is a much debated question. IMO, none of the answers quite fit. Spren is probably the best option, since all Rosharan magic we've seen so far involves them, but spren are Investiture so I'm not sure if they can really qualify as a Focus. Bonds is another common suggestion, but each Nahel bond (or bond to an Honorblade) grants two distinct Surges, so the bond by itself doesn't fully determine the effect of the Investiture, at least in Surgebinding (it may well do so in fabrial science and 'natural' spren bonds). In fabrial science and Soulcasting, the ten Polestones act very much like a Focus. And there's a WOB that suggests they are: The comparison with metals as a 'key' would seem conclusive. But the other nine types of Surgebinding aren't dependent on gem type. This would seem to kill any 'gems as Focus' theory. Except... Stormlight is the gaseous form of Investiture on Roshar. The mist is the gaseous form of Preservation's Investiture on Scadrial. When Vin was burning the mists, and when Vin-as-Preservation was feeding pure Investiture to Elend, they performed Allomancy without any actual metals. I think all Surgebinding except Soulcasting (which is probably distinct since it's so complex, and thus needs the extra "guidance") is the equivalent of "mist burning" - using raw Investiture directly and thus bypassing the need for a Focus.
  7. I've tagged this White Sand spoilers as the graphic novel is still pretty new, but it's critical to the pattern that I've observed that has convinced me my previous thoughts on how investiture worked were insufficient. (I had been thinking I was missing an element due to Nalthis' magic already, but I didn't have a second example that made me absolutely certain) We're probably all familiar with the term Focus. It's a necessary element for anyone to use Investiture to perform magic, and it's the part of the "spell" that determines how that power/magic manifests in the world. For Allomancy, that means metals determine which power you access. For AonDor, that's symbols. We also know that shards manifest their power in solid, liquid, and gaseous forms. I started thinking about this in detail after reading Secret History and noting that in the Cognitive Realm there, everything manifested as mists. There is sometimes some overlap between these manifestations and focuses, so it's not a clean delination. I call these Manifestations of Investiture, or just Manifestation for short, and they represent a Shard's power/body. I would argue, for instance, that Atium is both a Focus and Manifestation at the same time, wheras the Scadrian mists and Well of Eternity are simply Manifestations. I had convinced myself that one of these manifestations would determine the appearance of a planet's cognitive aspect, as we had an ocean of sphere in Shadesmar, and a sea of mists in cognitive Scadrial. On reflection, it seems to be more that one part of the equation is heavily reflected in the cognitive seas, but I don't have enough data yet to make a reasonable hypothesis as to which one. It's especially confusing that spheres are used on Roshar, as gems actually seem to be the relevant part of the equation that sphere would resemble. This could be due to the cognitive seas simply being composed of whatever people most clearly associate with magic- in which case, we would probably expect seas of symbols in Sel, seas of Colour in Nalthis, and maybe seas of Sand or Sunlight on Taldain. This system described Scadrial pretty well, and as it was the magic system we best understood, I was content with it, for a while. But it troubled me that while it arguably extended pretty well to Roshar, it has trouble decribing magic on Nalthis, which very clearly had three elements to it. A Command, which we knew via Word of Brandon is their focus, a variable number of Breaths, and of course, colour to drain. The Breaths seemed relatively obvious as a Manfestation of Endowment, as she literally grants Splinters of herself to the Returned that manifest as Divine Breaths. Arguably the colour could also be said to be a Manifestation if you believe that every bit of dye and paint in Hallandren was derived from Tears of Edgli, but I actually don't buy that argument, as we're explicitly told that those dyes are more effective for awakening, implying that mundane dyes and paints were often drained by Awakeners. I also felt skeptical that a magic system would require two manifestations at once, it seemed like I was missing a variable. I was stumped for a while, as I was convinced Manifestations were important, but that I was missing two crucial variables to the equation, one a third part that enabled magic, and one an element that determined where that third part of the equation was actually necessary, a multiplier of sorts to the constant of Colour on Nalthis. And then we had the newsletter confirming how Sand Mastery works. (this is where the spoilers come in) Apparently there is a barely-visible algae within Taldain's sand, which when depleted of magic, appears black. The sand master dehydrates himself to drain magic from the algae, mastering the sand, and then after four hours of exposure to sunlight, the algae is replenished and good to go again. At first, I wasn't particularly excited by reading this. Sure, the algae is their focus, and it's recharged by the Sun, the manifestation of Autonomy's power. But today I realised I was missing something, and went back and compared Taldain's and Nalthis' magic. So the drained colour, our final element of Awakening, was more of a catalyst than a necessary component of our magical equation. It can sometimes be done without, (as there is no obvious catalyst in Allomancy) but the stronger the catalyst, the stronger the magic, especially if your catalyst is also a Manifestation. In fact, this retroactively made sense of Atium being such a powerful metal too, as it was a focus and a manifestation of Ruin's power. Likewise, Water acted as a reserve of magic for Sand Mastery, although you also needed algae that had been charged with sunlight. Here we had a third element, and a consistent pattern of manifestation, focus, and catalyst that made sense. So... under this Focus/Manifestation/Catalyst system, Scadrial is missing one element but definitely has a Metal focus and the Mists and Godmetals are Manifestations. Arguably, feruchemical attributes could be considered a catalyst on Scadrial, but that might be stretching. Nalthis has a Command focus, a Breath manifestation, and a Colour catalyst. And Roshar is a bit more difficult to determine, but probably fits in some combination of gems, stormlight, and oaths to that structure. I would guess that it would be an Oath focus, with Stormlight as a gaseous manifestation of Honour, and a Gem catalyst. (This would explain nicely why Stormlight adheres to cut gems so well but gems aren't actually required for most Surges, as it seems like the necessity of the Catalyst part of the magic seems to vary by world) Selish magic has the form of various engravings, dances, Aons, or soulstamps as their focus, and obviously the Dor is their manifestation. This leaves Soulstone as either a solid manifestation of Aona or Skai, and/or as a catalyst that's required for Forgery, but presumably not for the other Selish magic. This pattern also seems to imply that more heavily invested worlds seem to have a more optional catalyst, as we know that the three worlds that don't have universally required catalysts (Sel, Roshar, and Scadrial) have a lot of loose investiture running around, or in the case of Scadrial, humans were artificially created by Shards investing themselves in the planet, saturating the whole thing with their power. So, in summary, magic requires a focus, and in less heavily invested environments, a catalyst. A manifestation can also be a focus or catalyst, which seems to enhance the power of the interaction. It also seems that a manifestation can stand in for a focus altogether, in the case that the magic user is highly attuned to the relevant Shard, as Vin demonstrated in Hero of Ages, but that might be a special case for those who are being attuned as Vessels. Any thoughts?
  8. theory

    New Year, new theory! Well, the idea isn't new, but I want to provide additional insight. I'll be drawing pararells with Scadrial here. So, on Scadrial metal is undoubtely the focus, right? And if we had another Shard come to Scadrial, it would get its own godmetal, probably. Now, let's take a look at Surgebinders. They get powers by bonding a Splinter (spren in Roshar's example). What would happen if somebody bonded to a Splinter came to Roshar? Like person from Sel bonded to a Seon? It would also grant him some abilities (there was a WoB, but I can't find it). So what's important is having a bond. Parshendi bond spren very tightly, to the point of somewhat merging with them. (Shame we don't know which spren are used in Listeners' forms) Spren are bound to gems in fabrials to make them work. Now, let's take a look at Returned. They don't 'bond' a Splinter, they are one with the Splinter. Just like Listeners. Both of them possess some shapeshifting ability as a result. Your thoughts?
  9. My goal in this post is to debunk the very idea of focuses as an analytical tool. I don't think it adds anything to our understanding of how Cosmere magic works. To me a “focus” is simply the Cognitive Realm means of accessing power on a given planet to achieve a desired Physical Realm magical effect. Period. Let’s look at the most relevant WoBs on this subject: “QUESTION My question is, what 'causes' an effect in the end for Allomancy? You've got Investiture being filtered through a metal, but does putting it through the metal turn the Investiture cause a Steelpush, or is it putting the Investiture through your soul that causes it? At what point do you turn Preservation's Investiture into a Steelpush, or is there no one 'point' where it happens? BRANDON SANDERSON Okay, imagine you've got one of those play-dough machines you can stuff with dough, then press a handle on the top to make a little snake-like tube of play-dough squirt out. Those have appendages you can affix to the front to change the shape of the tube that comes out. The metals are the appendage that determines the shape of the power released, but only certain souls can unlock those metals and use them.” (source) “QUESTION 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.” (source) Whether you call them "filters" or "nozzles" or “focuses,” they all do the same thing - give the magician access to power. They are gateways, conduits only. “Shaping” the power is just a metaphoric term to describe how the magician controls the magical effect he/she/it desires. The amount of investiture comprising the magician matters. Greater minds wield greater power. Nozzles are needed for us lesser mortals to avoid Icarus's fate, but greater minds like Shards can wield power through will alone. One doesn't need a special concept called "focuses" to explain any of this.
  10. Magic Pictures Symbology and Patterns as Focal Filters Premise I've never really bought all the talk about the Focus of a magic. Every once and a while a Cosmere terms creeps in from a Brandon interview, and Focus is one of these. He uses the word focus a lot, but only rarely does he talk about it in a Cosmere sense. We've learned some things: metals are a Focus on Scadrial, Commands are a Focus on Nalthis, Aons or shapes on Sel are a Focus, and no one is sure what's going on on Roshar yet.[1] The more we learned, though, the more I felt our fundamental understanding of what was going on with a Focus was wrong. Especially with metals. First metal was a key, and the sDNA of the Allomancer was what you needed.[anno] Then metals weren't a focus after all, the molecular pattern of the metal was.[WoB][WoB] But the mists let you use Allomancy with no metals at all, so where was the necessary pattern? And people started talking about how a Focus was Physical or Cognitive, and no one seems to be able to find the source of that. I can't see any evidence supporting a single realm focus either - Investiture is known to transcend realms itself.[3] I've been gathering a lot of notes about everything, and I have a lot of theories on em'. I can't share my whole framework of Focuses - not only do I not have all the pieces I want yet, but it's super frickin' long, just for the overview. I'd like to share my notes here on one aspect that I've been talking about on IRC a bunch lately, that is very intriguing. Hypothesis The only necessary Focus for any given magic is a pattern. Assumptions Gonna lay down some assumptions here first, each one of these is a theory or two of their own, really. But we're gonna roll with it. Investiture is a waveform, that gets passed through a Focus to produce a magic effect.[Elantris] A Focus does not filter Investiture like a prism, or a piece of red glass. It modifies the frequency like an AC adapter.[WoB] A Focus exists on a scale of Explicit to Implicit, where implicit basically means more Cognitive visualization. This is not an intrinsic value, it's a descriptor. Investiture expands mental capacities, and scales by quantity.[Ars Arcanum] This is different from Mental Speed (zinc). Brandon is imprecise in his descriptions on occasion, because he doesn't want to reveal too much about the underlying system. Logic and Evidence I've long been interested in the role of symbols in the Cosmere, and my interest peaked when I found the Word of Brandon that says that symbols are built into his books to help make the magic systems of the Cosmere feel unified.[4] My theory starts at a bit of a strange place. When Kaladin speaks the third Ideal in Words of Radiance, a large symbol in frost appears around his feet.[WoR] The glyph is recognizable as the symbol for the Windrunners. That's pretty strange, and convenient, isn't it? That the use of magic should naturally produce readable language. How odd. Of course with a weather eye out for it, I looked for more instances of this. Of which there are plenty. According to one Word of Brandon, the first Aon to be discovered by the first Elantrian, Aon Ehe, apparently appeared on a coal in her fireplace when she was taken by the Shaod.[WoB] Aon Ehe brings flame. Aons, as we know, eventually became the basis for written language in Elantris. It's also been noted that the constellations are Aons as well.[Elantris] We're starting to see a link here - symbols appear naturally near magic, and those symbols are often used for language. What other instances do we have of this? The Dahkor monks use a strange magic where the develop bone growths, growths that simulate their alphabet. On Scadrial, the letters they use, the Steel Alphabet, are symbolically attached to each Allomantic metal. On Roshar, as we've seen, the general language of glyphs is associated with both Radiants, Surges, Heralds, it is seen on Shardplates and Shardblades, and burnt in effigy as prayers. In a much more tenuous connection, on Nalthis there is a language of colours. There is a clear link here between magic, symbols, and languages. The original Word of Brandon led me to believe that this link is causative - people are not developing words in language to describe magic, they are developing language to mirror the magic they see all around them. Indeed, we know that Aons exist independent of mankind.[WoB] So why do these symbols appear, though? What makes them show up, how are they important? For a long time, we believed that the Focus on Scadrial was metal, on Nalthis it was Commands, and on Sel it was the Aons (or generally form based). Then Brandon swooped in, and said "Sort of, guys, but not really." It turns out, the focus on Scadrial was not a metal - it was the molecular pattern of the metal. And the focus on Sel was really more about programming than form. And Nalthis? We don't need a Word of Brandon to see that if the Focus is Commands, and Commands require spoken words in your native language, that the Mental Command ability of the God King shouldn't work at all. And when Vin and Elend absorb the Mists, they don't need a focus at all, they've got power to spare and it naturally takes the form of the Allomantic powers, as if they already had the focus available. So what's going on? Deduction The metals, the Aons, the Focuses as we know them are distractions from the underlying foundation at play here. The true heart of a Focus is that it takes Investiture, and changes the frequency of it to a new one. And how it does that is by passing the Investiture through a pattern. These patterns are the true Focus, and are represented by the symbols and glyphs we see the magical effects in nature create. This doesn't mean that the symbols we have are all magical in nature, and putting some Investiture in a Surge glyph would make a fabrial. Instead I suggest what we're seeing is a shadow of the pattern. In the same way as a shadow puppet looks like a rabbit, but our hands do not, we get the appearance of a symbol when certain criteria are met during a manifestation of magic. These are the symbols we know. Now, the idea of a pattern being the focus is strongly supported by the Word of Brandon talking about the molecular pattern of metals. Do we have any other instances where a pattern is mentioned as being very clearly associated with magic? You know I wouldn't ask unless I had something to tell, and I do! In Navanni's notes, she talks extensively about the Stormlight generated pattern of Fabrials, a pattern which is apparently not normally visible.[link] Each pattern corresponds to a Fabrial usage. Of course as well, let's not forget Sel. All the visible Foci on Sel are drawn like a symbol or pattern. Commands are perhaps linguistic patterns too. Back up the truck! If Commands are linguistic patterns, then Mental Command should be even less possible. Hahah, your arguments are invalid! In every magic system, there are parts of magic that don't seem to require being explicitly focused. And there are parts that do. What's most interesting is that the explicit/implicit requirement seems to shift. Soulstamps must be painstakingly drawn in detail, precisely, to determine the effect. Aons are similar. Awakening doesn't seem to care much at all, as long as you have a strong picture in your head, one or two words will produce extremely complex effects. Allomancy is pretty rigid, each metal does one thing and one thing only. Yet how do Allomancers choose which metal to push on when burning Iron? Burning it doesn't push everything, it just shows some blue lines. And people don't have some kind of built-in sudo-magnetic orfice to use. The answer is that patterns do not require a specific manifestation. The pattern for metal is not required to be in metal - in fact, the entire pattern is not in the metal at all. The necessary patterns can be generated entirely by the mind. We know that Investiture gives expanded mental capacity - I'll write up the full theory about that sometime. It's this ability that allows people to substitute mental patterns to supplement the physical ones. It is these mental patterns that allow the illusion Aons to have so much detail compared to the symbol. It is these mental patterns that let a coinshot choose what to push. These are the patterns that let an Awakener use only a few words instead of the long paragraphs Brandon originally envisioned.[anno] And it's this mental capacity increase that explains the Heightenings. As the Investiture increases, the mental capacity increases, and the ability to create mental patterns as a Focus increases. First they gain instinctive basic Awakening Commands. Then they discover other Commands easier. Then they gain instinctive understanding of other Commands, learn to Command newer and more complex things, Command from a distance, and finally they do not even need to speak, they can Command with their mental patterns alone. This exposes the true nature of the Focus as we seem them - metal, Commands, etc, they are naturally occurring instances of the pattern (or a portion of the pattern) needed to Focus the Investiture in a given way. They're crutches. The more mental capacity a magic user has, the easier it is for them to dispose of the crutch and use their mind instead. It's quite plausible that we've seen this in another instance from the God King. When Vin and Elend absorb the Mists, they gain a massive amount of Investiture, and no longer need metals to Focus the power they gain from Preservation. The facility of Surgebinders in using their powers in a variety of unique and odd methods may also be an instance of this - they ingest Stormlight, show expanded mental capacity when doing so, and have an extreme level of flexibility in the use of their Surges compared to other rigid systems such as Allomancy. It's notable that Fabrials are not nearly so flexible with their use of Surges. Conclusion For those who thought this theory was far too long to read, here's the tl:dr; A Focus is actually fundamentally a pattern The known Focus (metals, Aons, etc) are an already existing instance or partial instance of the needed pattern, and are simply ways to express that pattern easier With enough mental capacity, the pattern can be generated entirely mentally The natural symbols observed in magic are the shadows cast by the pattern of the Focus Extrapolations This theory is pretty interesting in that extrapolating it is cool. It suggests that, if you could make a person hold a lot of Investiture, such a person could use their magic mentally - an Elantrian could use an Aon without drawing it. In addition, it suggests that mental capacity is essential for using magic with more fine control and finding esoteric skills, such as the ability of a coppercloud to shield emotions. Furthermore, it suggests that people with Shardic levels of Investiture can create powers outside of the known and expressed Foci - thus why Preservation-level power has no problem moving a branch (or a planet) with magic, but the Lord Ruler is limited to pushing on metals. And for technology... Lots of fun stuff implied here, but I'll leave all that for another day! Quotes and References:
  11. As some of you might know, I previously espoused the "The Focus on Roshar is Waveforms" theory. I liked that theory because a number of magical things on Roshar have wave/wavefunction/quantum dynamic properties (Stormlight, spren, Shardblades, Parshendi song, etc.). Recently I discovered that the theory's leader, Isomere, has changed his mind, preferring the Sound theory instead. On my part, after thinking a lot about Investiture while writing my own Realmatic theory, I found that I've changed my mind as well. My reason is different from Isomere's, though. He says that Stormlight is like the Mists on Scadrial, a way to bypass the actual Focus, which he theorizes is Sound. It's a valid theory, and I agree that Stormlight is probably a manifestation of a Shard. But my own understanding of what a Focus is leads me to a different conclusion: I think the Focus on Roshar are the Essences. Let me try to explain why. What is a Focus? From what we've seen so far in previous Cosmere books, I believe that a Focus is a thing with certain properties that narrow down the specifics (what I call the Intent) of Investiture. Basically, a Focus focuses the Investiture's Intent. A Focus does not need to be magical in itself. As far as I can tell, metals (The Metallic Arts), words (Awakening), body movements (ChayShan), and symbols on stamps (Forgery) are all pretty non-magical things. Even Aons can be written on the ground, something everyone can do. What makes these non-magical things special is that they dictate what kind of magic happens. Part I: Roshar's Focus So, what about Roshar magic? Well, here are some manifestations of Investiture that have been explained to some extent so far (in Spoiler tags due to length): As you can see, when I talk of Essences as the Focus, I'm including the Gemstones and the Body Focuses associated with the Essences. In short, this is my argument: All Investitures on Roshar have Intents determined by various forms of the Essences. Therefore, the Essences are the Focus on Roshar. Part II: Parshendi Song Let's talk about Parshendi songs. I think they may have something to do with exhalation (Vapor) and blood-flow (Blood). We know from Dalinar that Shardbearers can distinctly hear the ten heartbeats that summon a Shardblade: I will speculate that the Parshendi who are bonded to spren can hear various kinds of rhythms in their heartbeats depending on the situation and the type of spren they are bonded to. (Edit: This was confirmed in WoR.) I further theorize that groups of Parshendi can synchronize their blood-flow, allowing them to chant in harmony. In this way, the Parshendi's hearts basically act as synchronized metronomes, producing beats that the whole group can hear. This could explain why they like using drums when performing music for non-Parshendi people: it is their way of showing to non-Parshendi the sounds that their blood makes. As for Vapor, I believe that as the Parshendi learn more about their own magic system, they will one day discover chants that actually have magical effects. (Edit: This was confirmed in WoR.) The Focus of those magical effects would be the Exhalation of air produced by their singing. Each chant would correspond to a different Intent. I suppose Dawnsingers could have a similar capability, though we don't really know much about them at this point. But this does tie in with my other theory about Dawnshards being musical instruments. If Dawnshards are wind instruments, then the Focus of their Investiture's Intent would, again, be Exhalation. Part III: The Knights Radiant and the Essences (2015-03-07 Note: I have abandoned this part of the theory. You may still read it for the lulz if you want. I've spoilered it so it would no longer clutter the post.) *** So, what about the waveforms that I've been almost obsessed about before? I still think that they are important. I believe that the Shards on Roshar manifest their power through special waveforms (e.g. Stormlight), just like how Harmony's power manifests as the Mists, and how Endowment's power manifests as pigments. But the point is that Shardic power is separate from the Focus, which may not even be magical at all. (Edit: After WoR, we now know that the Illumination Surge manipulates both light, sound, and various waveforms.) Well, that's all for now. Tell me what you guys think!
  12. This theory is based off the Shardic Lens Theory. Restated briefly, the Power of Creation is a source of Light. Each of the 16 Shards is viewed as a Lens that can access this light and allow it to enter the Cosmere. When the Power passes through a Shard, it is distorted based on the Intent, creating 16 "colors" of Light. A human must have a piece of a Shard and use a physical Focus to access the Powers of Creation. One of my questions deals with the Power of a Shard and the Power of Creation. Are they the same thing? Could they be related? I am not sure, but for this theory I make an assumption that they are two different things. (The theory could also be reworked assuming they are the same, but subtle differences arise as a result) So assuming the Power of Creation is separate from the Shard itself, each Shard acts sort of like a Sun, radiating the Power of Creation into the Cosmere, but altering the Power in the process. That Light can be harnessed and used by any of the other Shards to accomplish their goals. I believe the metals of Scadrial form a link to one of the 16 Shards and allow access to one "color" of Light. Alloys may allow you to blend and combine various colors. This Light is then used as fuel. Under typical use, Allomancy would not change the total amount of Power that Preservation controls since the source of energy is the Power of Creation, filtered through the various Shards, then accessed through a Focus. You can also fuel Allomancy directly with the body of any Shard. We have seen that happen with the Well of Ascension, the Mists and Lerasium. Using these as fuel will directly access the Power of Preservation, temporarily dispersing his power and weakening the shard. The end effect of allomancy will be related in some way to the Intent that shaped the Power's color. Many of us have been puzzled by the correlation between Atium and Electrum. Used allomantically, they both reveal shadows of the future and have virtually the same effect. But electrum shows your own shadow while atium shows the shadows of others. I suggest that they are both directly related to the Intent of Ruin. Electrum is a physical focus that forms a link to Ruin, allowing access to black colored Light. Atium allows you to access Ruin's Power directly. Both forms of Power are shaped by the Intent of Ruin and will have similar effects when used allomantically. Expanding on this idea, could all of the metals have a corresponding shard? The only other God-Metal we know about is Lerasium, and it seems to be capable of altering a person's Identity to Attune them perfectly with Preservation. There is a feruchemical power that stores Identity. I suggest that Aluminium is the Metal that accesses white Light from Preservation. Used allomantically, aluminium alters the Identity of the other metals in the user, destroying them instantly. I suggest that a trained allomancer could control how Aluminum changes the metals instead of just destroying them.