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So I was browsing Arcanum when I came upon this little WoB:

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Pagerunner [PENDING REVIEW]

If you need to bring food into Shadesmar, why don't you need to bring air?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Y'know, we actually talked and thought about this. There are certain things I just decided for narrative reasons. I wanted Shadesmar to be travelable and I wanted it to be a real place, and so I just made air, I came up with kind of my own hacks. There are times I do this for narrative reasons. 

Let me give you an easier example. In the Mistborn books, and I've told people this before, I was working on speed bubbles. Slowing down time, speeding up time in a small little bubble around you, right? I went to Peter and I'm like, "This is what I'm going to do, what are the problems with this?" And he's like, "Well, redshift." Which means that basically you would be irradiating everyone with the light coming from inside the speed bubble. I'm like, "alright, we're just going to say that doesn't happen." This is where the line between for me science fiction and fantasy exists. When I'm building my story, I do try to have one foot in science with things like this. But I tend to work backward. A lot of science fiction starts with what we have now and extrapolates forward to [an] interesting, plausible premise. For my fantasy works, I start with some cool idea. And then I work backward in plausibility, trying to justify it. And we kind of meet in the center, but at the end of the day I am breaking the laws of thermodynamics, right? Just straight-up breaking laws - I mean, we have our whole realmatic theory and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, I am trying to tell stories where certain extreme situations exist. Like, I bent over backwards to make the science of Roshar work with the greatshells, but at the end of the day, we still have to have a magical solution, right. To get beasties as big as we want to do, it doesn't matter how high your oxygen content is, if you've got .7 gravity or not, all these concessions we've made: the square-cube law says those things crush themselves. You just can't have things this big. And so we built in a magical solution. The spren creating this symbiotic bond is making it so these things don't crush themselves. 

And when I was looking at Shadesmar, what I want for the narrative is this place. I am going to work backward and try to make as many concessions and nods toward science as I can. But the air one, I just said "You know what? There's just gonna be air in Shadesmar. I am just gonna make it so that you can." I want you to be able to walk between the planets on Shadesmar, I don't people to have to worry about bringing a Windrunner with them and plants or whatever to get oxygen. I'm just gonna make that the case. Your in-world answers, I'm like "Well, air kind of permeates and has escaped through and things," but really do we have an oxygen cycle there? We've got plants, but are they really...?

The answer is, there is air in Shadesmar because I want there to be air in Shadesmar. 

JordanCon 2018 (April 21, 2018)

And immediately something stuck out to me (highlighted in blue) - Brandon says that he made it so that Shadesmar has air so that people wouldn't have to worry about bringing plants to get oxygen, or a Windrunner, or - wait. What? The way he says it, it sounds like (were it the case that Shadesmar had no air) a Windrunner would be helpful - if not absolutely crucial - in getting air into Shadesmar. This leads me to believe that, as they progress in the Oaths, Windrunners gain access to some sort of air/wind manipulation abilities; this seems to be supported by Kaladin's pressure bubble in Oathbringer.  I'm curious to see how this could be applied by Kaladin, and other Windrunners, but I'm more curious to see if other orders have similar abilities not exactly related to their surges. Personally, assuming some (if not all) other orders have abilities we haven't seen yet, I like to think that the Skybreakers could summon lightning. It fits with their name (breaking....skies....), and would definitely be storming cool (yes, I will admit, I just want to see Szeth shoot lightning while dual-wielding Nightblood and his sprenblade). What do you think about this? Am I reading too much into this WoB? Do you think the orders could have abilities other than those strictly defined by their surges?

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Nice theory you got there, but I think this WoB you based it on may be no more than an error he committed. In any case, it's worth thinking about it. And if I remember it correctly, in WoK prime, the powers of the different radiant orders were much more like "elemental" ones, so the windrunners would be literally controlling wind, the skybreakera would control lightning and so on. 

So there is a chance Brandon still wanted some of that to get into Roshar, so I'll admit it looks like we could get some of it, but in a more "smart original way of using the surges we already know", instead of just changing the rules at higher oaths. 

I haven't read Oathbringer yet, so I'll most likely stay away from this topic before it gets to spoily haha haha, but hope more people give their opinions on this

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Unfortunately, Brandon isn’t really looking to make an elemental magic system because of how over done it is.  This WoB is specifically talking about 4 element magics like in Avatar, but I think it’s also applicable to the 10 element system you’re thinking about.

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Arcanist

Do you plan a magic system which enables the character to manipulate the four elements with their will? I mean not so bounded, like Allomancy with Pushing or Pulling but shaping/summoning the elements according to the wishes of the person. I ask this, because in the whole fantasy genre I rarely find something like this (except: Arc Magica RPG), so I had to develop it myself at home. But from the authors I know you are the person who has the creativity to do this without doubt.

Brandon Sanderson

Maybe, but there are a few problems here. For one, "Four elements" magic has been done over and over in books and video games, so it feels hard to make fresh. And in what you describe, it sounds like the characters would be very powerful, which makes for a challenging story to write.

Also, it has been confirmed that Windrunners can control air pressure.  We’re not sure if it’s possible only with the surge of Adhesion (bonding things, like the various molecules in air, together) or if it’s a combination of Gravitation and Adhesion, in which case Skybreakers wouldn’t be able to replicate this ability.

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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Could a Windrunner in Shardplate travel to other planets?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Uh, theoretically possible. Take a long time.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, it would. 'Cause he wouldn't need to breathe, if he's got enough Stormlight.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yeah, well, I mean, they can control pressure, so. You'd need oxygen scrubbers, but they can also, so... you can create a ball of air around yourself with their power anyway, so--

 

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Making an air bubble seems to match up pretty well with Adhesion, actually.  What is a high pressure bubble if not a bunch of air molecules stuck together.  

I'm not sure how you get lightning manipulation from Gravitation/Division, though.  

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I guess you could try to use Gravitation and DIvision on the air particles, although Division only splits molecular bonds, I think.

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Division is just decay and other related stuff

Brandon said that division breaks molecular bonds and not the molecules themselves, but this can be understood in many ways. Like burning people to ash, or melting their flesh off their bones, or summoning a bolt of lightning to strike a bunch of parshendi. I could see Szeth shooting lightning while dual-welding Nightblood and his sprenblade. Besides: 

The Rule of Awesome!!!!

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To create lightning a skybreaker could break apart molecules in the air to make charged ions. This would create a charge difference between the air and ground, which is what creates lighting. The only question is whether they could ionise enough of the air for lightning.

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6 hours ago, Thrand_Antharo said:

To create lightning a skybreaker could break apart molecules in the air to make charged ions. This would create a charge difference between the air and ground, which is what creates lighting. The only question is whether they could ionise enough of the air for lightning.

If you split a bunch of molecules into charged ions, wouldn't there be the same amount of positive and negative ions, which would cancel each other out?  

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Given what we know of the Surge of Division, I think it would less lightning strike and more pillar of fire.

10 minutes ago, Scion of the Mists said:

If you split a bunch of molecules into charged ions, wouldn't there be the same amount of positive and negative ions, which would cancel each other out?  

 

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On 1/30/2019 at 4:27 PM, Gasper said:

Given what we know of the Surge of Division, I think it would less lightning strike and more pillar of fire.

And then a lot of brown smoke as the lone atoms bond together again and form a lot of nitrous oxides

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