SzethIsBadAsHell

gemhearts
The Ecology of Roshar

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Has anybody thought about the ecology of Roshar? I notice we have a number of new species . From chasm fiends , axehounds, chull, great shells of the Reshin, and even the Rashadium. 

        I notice the lack of avians, bears,great cats, etc of course but that’s not what interest me.

     In real life we have 5 creatures we can’t live without earthworms , ants , plankton, bats and lastly bees. All play a part In fertilizing the ground , to increasing the yeald of plantlife, to spreading air and spreading seeds. Without these creatures human beings would die off.

     The ecology of Roshar seems to revolve. Around Gemhearts. How I can’t seem to workout. Just think about it , what do the Parshendi need with gemhearts ? They don’t sell them, they don’t need them stormlight because they haven’t been Radiants . The only use I can see is a type of lantern. But they sure fought the Alethi for them .

what creatures would cause life on Roshar to end if they were not present ? 

Therre is not much plant life described yet other than Rockbuds. The strange grass that can move and hide under the ground. 

       Like what is the constant that life on Roshar ? Using our blueprint earth , water, plants, air , carbon monoxide . 

Do we have enough to posit what Roshar system is ?

     I’m interested to hear what @Calderis and @RShara and some of you other sages have to say ? I hope u find this as interesting as I do !

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Gemhearts are for trapping spren. Creatures on roshar live in symbiosis with spren, and use investiture, and that's what they need gemhearts for. the parshendi, specifically, needed them to soulcast food, and fought the alethi over them for it, but that's irrelevant for the ecology.

As for moving food and fertilizer around, the job is done by highstorms. highstorms bring investiture, which is important for all creatures with a gemheart. it also brings crem, which is fertilizer. without crem, all the nutrients would move to the ocean eventually. on earth this is countered by plate tectonics, always pushing new rocks to the surface. but on roshar there are no plate tectonics, no way to renew phosphorous. So, I'd say roshar would die without highstorms.

You are also wrong about the only plants being rockbuds. those are the equivalent to shrubs. we have seen full fledged trees. some are described with some detail in shallan's sketches, or in edgedancer.

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Perhaps your right , I didn’t hear much about plants . They are the least described thing in the series . Nice idea about ecology though . Probably spot on.

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The entire ecology is set up in mimicry of tide pools outside of water. The highstorm is the central driving force around that.

The flora are similar to a coral reef, either protected and hard and immobile, or retracting to protect themselves from both the environment and predators. 

The fauna are effected similarly in either crustacean forms, or malleable bodies able to squeeze into clefts and hide. 

Spren bonds are everywhere and that is indeed what gemhearts are for. Skyeels fly via Gravitation. Greatshells are massive enough that they use the surge constantly to avoid crushing themselves by their own weight. The Parshendi are native and have the same adaptation... If it was adapted.

The entire system was created directly by Adonalsium, and as such is fairly unnatural. The continent is the shape of a 2D shadow of a 3D Slice of a 4D mathematical construct. The Highstorm dumps investiture into everything constantly. The moons orbits are unstable and damnation near impossible. The whole set up is a science experiment. 

And for the record, please don't call me a "sage." I'm a dude on my phone who loves these books and has access to the same information as everyone else. It's not some inherent wisdom, or inside view. It's learned through effort like anything else. 

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14 minutes ago, Calderis said:

for the record, please don't call me a "sage." I'm a dude on my phone who loves these books and has access to the same information as everyone else. It's not some inherent wisdom, or inside view. It's learned through effort like anything else

No problem sir, will never happen again. Never tried to imply you had inherent wisdom. Point is having access to same info as you, you usually have a point of view different than mine. It’s logically sound, and most importantly it’s usually a take I wouldn’t have thought of. I consider myself a pretty sharp fellow. So if I think your comments are worth listening too , I call that person a sage. I certainly never intended to offend anyone. And I’m not the type to mock anyone. I’m a guy who loves this books probably as much as you do. Not many people I hang out with have an interest in fantasy. So all day I sit up an analyze these books, cause it what I’m greatly interested in. Thanks for your viewpoint on the ecology. I didn’t know why the Parshendi wanted those gemhearts for. I always thought they didn’t have soulcasters. And, I thought a gemheart was to expensive to use as a foci for a spren bond. Are you implying they cut the gemheart into smaller gems to use as foci for spren bonds to change forms? If so that makes a lot of sense.   Also I was rereading WoR today. Eshonai flashbacks have a ton of stuff in them about the forms, Malen , Femalen etc. I’m going to edit my other post when done. I’m almost positive there is a clue in there that not all forms of power come from Odium. I want to see if you agree. Anyways , my apologies again if I offended you, won’t happen again.

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@SzethIsBadAsHell no offense taken. I just don't want to be treated as if my opinion has more weight than others. If my logic makes sense great. My opinion is as fallible as anyone else's.

I was working on a response, and realized we aren't in OB spoilers, so most of it is off limits. 

As to why they wanted the chasmfiends gemhearts, Eshonai makes that clear. For her people to eat. Either they had Soulcasters, which I don't believe, or they know how to use gems to make plants grow quickly. 

Quote

QUESTION

For Words of Radiance, could you put a comment about something in the upcoming books, something not too specific, just something I can think about? Something like "Renarin has a spren" you wrote for somebody else in The Way of Kings?

BRANDON SANDERSON (PARAPHRASED)

Brandon wrote "Stormlight makes plants grow" in the guy's book.

Questioner

For Words of Radiance, could you put a comment about something in the upcoming books, something not too specific, just something I can think about? Something like "Renarin has a spren" you wrote for somebody else in The Way of Kings?

Brandon Sanderson

[written] Stormlight makes plants grow. 

source

Edit: added relevant wob to Arcanum with proper source. 

Edited by Calderis
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5 hours ago, Calderis said:

was working on a response, and realized we aren't in OB spoilers, so most of it is off limits. 

 

Spoiler

Could you perhaps put your comment like this

I was referring to matters I read today in WoR so I didn’t consider the answers would be in Oathbringer. Anyways I’m telling there is some good good about the Listners and what forms they have ,which are malen and femalen etc. I should finish my research in a few days. It has me excited about Eshonai book when I wasn’t looking forward to it 

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Oathbringer spoilers are confined to the spoiler board, or behind spoiler boxes in Cosmere Discussion. Sorry. 

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OK, since this has been moved, in OB we learn that the singers/listeners/parsh have gemhearts, like many other native species. Per my thread on the forms and what they are, I think this physiology is due to them being native and harnessing the same natural magics as is widespread throughout the world. Even Ryshadium have evolved to do this so I wouldn't be surprised to find that they had developed gemhearts as well, though that's obviously not certain. 

The Parshendi had no need of those gemhearts beyond the feeding of their people. They were isolated in an area without a way to resupply. Whether they had Soulcasters or not is irrelevant, they needed the gemhearts for much the same reason as the Alethi did, feeding their people without supply lines. 

Hey have actual gemhearts of their own. Any internal use of a spren bond is going to be used through that. A Nahel bond is not the same.

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This is exactly what I was looking for.i Believe you are correct as it seems the creatures with gemhearts have spren that trail behind them when they move. Rashadium spren fly behind them, chasm fiends have strange spren floating behind them etc. Anyways my point is not all gemhearts will be harvested . Some creatures will die and have there gemhearts inside. We know Listeners don’t touch There dead . So what I’m getting at if someone was to dig thru crem to find decomposed corpses their will Be gemhearts all in the soil. What effect this has on plantlife can only be speculated but I know the grass moves to avoid being eaten by horses.

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What if on Roshar, the sun isn’t even the main source of energy for plants and animals? Like, considering that most plants are green, you’d assume that it does give some benefit to be able to photosynthesise, but what if that’s not the primary source of energy?

Perhaps, originally gemhearts were simply a means of allowing the fauna of Roshar to access this energy source and the spren bond is only a side effect of that?

It would also explain how chasmfiends can exist as apex predators in ecosystems apparently so lacking in large game.

It also explains how shalebarks can exist without leaves or any particularly mineral rich grounds like the forests needed to support large fungi.

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Sanderson wrote in some guys book “ stormlight causes plants to grow! Gemhearts hold stormlight . Gemhearts in the ground will be invested during a highstorm. Some are then covered with crem. Stormlight leaks from the gemhearts in the ground causing plants to grow . Chulls eat the rockbuds, horses eat the grass etc etc. does anybody see where I’m going . Without gemhearts and highstorm Everything on Roshar dies period .does anyone follow where I’m going?

 

another final question ; how many gemhearts does a Reshi greatshell hsve ? And if it’s only one can u imagine how big it is jeez?

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6 minutes ago, SzethIsBadAsHell said:

Sanderson wrote in some guys book “ stormlight causes plants to grow! Gemhearts hold stormlight . Gemhearts in the ground will be invested during a highstorm.

Gems behind walls aren't infused. I doubt gems that are buried fare better.

Edited by Calderis
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15 minutes ago, SzethIsBadAsHell said:

another final question ; how many gemhearts does a Reshi greatshell hsve ? And if it’s only one can u imagine how big it is jeez?

I would think it’s only one because there’s a wob saying that when a tai na dies, someone will try and get the gemheart (singular)- I would assume though that it really is enormous.

9 minutes ago, Calderis said:

Gems behind walls aren't infused. I doubt gems that are buried fare better.

I think that’s a spiritual realm thing, not about actual physical exposure to the storm.

Mistborn spoilers 

Spoiler

Like how the mists don’t go inside. We do know for a fact that investiture can still leak from the spiritual realm to underground because that’s pretty much what the pits of hathsin are

 

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9 minutes ago, Calderis said:

Gems behind walls aren't infused. I doubt gems that are buried fare better.

Well I’m not necessarily arguing that . Even though I do remember a tunnel somewhere in Urithiru that had gemstones that somehow were invested during high storms . How about this . There is battle in the shattered plains. 1000 listeners died , a chasmfiend and 4 rashadium horses .  Few days later a high storm happens investing all the bodies and covering them with crem. A few months later the bodies decompose and are covered by more crem. Gemhearts leak stormlight into the soil , Rockbuds , grass and other plants grow . Is this possible?

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6 hours ago, MadhavDeval said:

I think that’s a spiritual realm thing, not about actual physical exposure to the storm.

Mistborn spoilers 

  Reveal hidden contents

Like how the mists don’t go inside. We do know for a fact that investiture can still leak from the spiritual realm to underground because that’s pretty much what the pits of hathsin are

 

Eh, not quite. If that were the case, why would people put their spheres outside during a storm?

Spoiler

That's because the pits are right there next to the perpendicularity, and Preservation did some funky stuff in order to make the atium geodes form. 

 

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4 hours ago, StrikerEZ said:

Eh, not quite. If that were the case, why would people put their spheres outside during a storm?

  Reveal hidden contents

That's because the pits are right there next to the perpendicularity, and Preservation did some funky stuff in order to make the atium geodes form. 

 

 

Spoiler

Well yeah, it’s the same spiritual realm thing that means the mists can’t come inside stopping Stormlight- and it is very possible that the highstorm fulfils the function of a perpendicularity in this situation, whether it actually is one or not 

We ultimately don’t know whether spheres buried outside would be recharged, but I think that’s the most likely explanation as it explains so much about Roshars biology- perhaps even why Veden land near the Horneater peaks are so fertile (although to be fair the presence of the peaks and and the sunmakers does go some way to explaining this). The proximity to cultivation’s perpendicularity could be charging buried spheres and stimulating plant growth.

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At first I was like this idea was wrong, but now maybe in certain areas this could work, because isn't that how Urithiru works, that Urithiru has some veins of gems on the outside to absorb stormlight and then stormlight works its way to the central gem spire. We know that the ground is invested by the stormlight, so maybe a very small amount of stormlight works its wait to the gems in the ground, but their could be a very small amount.

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I would doubt this. There is no indication that stormlight can traverse through stone. Gems have to be exposed directly to the highstorm to recharge. Gemstones inside of a building will not recharge, so I do not think stones buried would do otherwise. The crem deposited by the highstorm is of a magical nature, and that's what allows plant-life to flourish on Roshar. It has been hinted that gemstones/stormlight can be used to encourage plant growth, but it has not been shown how. This probably involves stormlight directly hitting the planets, not being buried. 

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I was thinking more like the highstorm would invest the ground, but the ground would quickly disperse all the stormlight in all directions and then the stone underneath that will repeat the same process and so on till it reach a gem.

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stomrlight makes plants grow, but can they sustain on just stomrlight? what if they lack proper nourishment? how much can they just use stomrlight for it? we can't say for sure how much plants sussist pon stomrlight without answering that question

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1 minute ago, king of nowhere said:

stomrlight makes plants grow, but can they sustain on just stomrlight? what if they lack proper nourishment? how much can they just use stomrlight for it? we can't say for sure how much plants sussist pon stomrlight without answering that question

I would assume it varies greatly between species based on how useful photosynthesis is for that niche and what their competition is like for that niche- I’m assuming there are some areas of Roshar where the crem doesn’t hold much water, so plants there would probably use photosynthesis less and use more Stormlight whereas places where gemhearts don’t tend to settle would probably see more plantlife that uses more photosynthesis than Stormlight 

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There has to be some seepage where Stormlight is concerned. We don't see much exposed vegetation outside of Shinovar. The crops we've seen are in the form of rockbuds. So those buds grow in darkness, covered by a rock shell that limits or prevents exposure to sunlight

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6 minutes ago, Bigmikey357 said:

There has to be some seepage where Stormlight is concerned. We don't see much exposed vegetation outside of Shinovar. The crops we've seen are in the form of rockbuds. So those buds grow in darkness, covered by a rock shell that limits or prevents exposure to sunlight

Rockbuds uncurl when there isn’t a highstorm to expose the leaves to the sunlight 

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