Unlicensed Hemalurgist

Awakening and Synthetic Fabrics

11 posts in this topic

It suddenly occurred to me that once the people of Nalthis discover how to make synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester, Awakening may become significantly harder. We know that Breath has a hard time Awakening materials like metal and stone that have never been alive. Most of the Awakened objects we see in Warbreaker (aside from Nightblood obviously) are either Lifeless or pieces of fabric. Now, that may be an obvious solution in a medieval/early-modern society, but as Nalthian technology advances to the point where synthetic fibers become commonplace, Awakening becomes a lot less practical. 

Has anyone else had similar thoughts?

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What I’ve been more curious about is how it’s going to work for blends. Things that are 55% 45% polyester. Likely, the amount of breath required will just average out, but it could be interesting if you could do like partial cloth awakenings or something.

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54 minutes ago, Snipexe said:

What I’ve been more curious about is how it’s going to work for blends. Things that are 55% 45% polyester. Likely, the amount of breath required will just average out, but it could be interesting if you could do like partial cloth awakenings or something.

I think it'll see itself as a single object, so the difficulty would be, like, proportional to the percentages.

As for polyester, it's largely made out of petroleum, yes? And petroleum is made from organic compounds. That is, thousands of dead little animals and plants and mosses and the like, under the right conditions, metamorphosize into petroleum. So technically, synthetic or not, it was still alive at some point.

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They are probably further from being alive than natural fibers. But yes, still technically "once alive".

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Unless the whole Living vs Non-Living thing is not an intrinsic limit of Breaths but rather a matter of technique (maybe it's hard for people because they are alive and so relate to non-living things less?).  I mention this possibility only because they were able to a breakthrough with the Lifeless such that they were no longer difficult and/or costly to animate.

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I thought the reason Lifeless were so much more practical in modern Nalthis than they were centuries ago was because preservation practices like ichor-alcohol had increased the length of time the Lifeless could stay functional. It was a function of "materials science" (for lack of a better term), not new Commands or a new technique. Could be wrong, though-- it's been a while since I read Warbreaker.

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8 minutes ago, Unlicensed Hemalurgist said:

I thought the reason Lifeless were so much more practical in modern Nalthis than they were centuries ago was because preservation practices like ichor-alcohol had increased the length of time the Lifeless could stay functional. It was a function of "materials science" (for lack of a better term), not new Commands or a new technique. Could be wrong, though-- it's been a while since I read Warbreaker.

It's both. Ichor alcohol definitely helped their longevity, but the one breath lifeless command was a major step as well. 

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On 8/3/2018 at 0:26 PM, RShara said:

I think it'll see itself as a single object, so the difficulty would be, like, proportional to the percentages.

As for polyester, it's largely made out of petroleum, yes? And petroleum is made from organic compounds. That is, thousands of dead little animals and plants and mosses and the like, under the right conditions, metamorphosize into petroleum. So technically, synthetic or not, it was still alive at some point.

This is my view as well. Probably requiring a greater number of Breath than a natural fabric but requiring less compared to something that was never alive.

Depending on how Awakening influences industry the future of Nalthis natural textiles and fabric might be more popular in the future if compared to Earth (although we still use natural fabrics today so not sure how big of a difference there'd be). An Awakener might just have to be careful in choosing their material, maybe making their own garments.

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Is there any reason to believe it would be harder for an Awakener to use synthetic dyes vs. natural ones as fuel?

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1 hour ago, Unlicensed Hemalurgist said:

Is there any reason to believe it would be harder for an Awakener to use synthetic dyes vs. natural ones as fuel?

Any color works. The only "better" fuel is dyes from the tears 

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On ‎8‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 0:03 AM, Calderis said:

Any color works. The only "better" fuel is dyes from the tears 

And I could be wrong, but I think that's just because dyes made from the tears are unusually vivid and resilient, compared to other dyes.

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