Karger

Can You Tap Spikes? (Making New Kandra and Other End Positive Hemalurgy)

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Posted (edited)

I have been troubled for a while about the probable fate of the ancient guardians of humanity.  The immortal kandra are a people cursed with an inability to make more of themselves without killing others.  Since all kandra are avowed "ahem MeLaan" pacifists the species is doomed to extinction unless someone figures out how to make spikes for them without killing people.  I think I may have found a way.

Recently we have learned of the potential of feruchemical aluminum.  The ability to store identity.  According to VenDell experiments indicate that while storing identity you can access anyone's metalminds.  This made me wonder.  Can you also access their spikes?  After all a spike is not so different from a metalmind.  It is just investiture stored inside a alomantically viable metal(I would appreciate thoughts on this).  You tap the spike gaining its ability and put that in an unsealed metalmind.  After that it is a simple matter of compounding a new identity free spike.   All of which can easily be done with the right metals and bands of morning. 

Would this work?  If so could you make new spikes for powers?  Are there other end positive functions of this magic system?

Edited by Karger
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Looking through all of the WoB involving tapping spikes, generally Brandon just glosses over that part of the question. Here's a couple of examples:

Quote

17th Shard

Can you burn the spikes? Like, Allomantically? For example, could they burn the steel in their head spikes?

Brandon Sanderson

I considered that and I eventually decided that they could, but it would be an excruciating process that would probably knock them unconscious simply by doing it.

17th Shard

Would they be able to tap?

Brandon Sanderson

Would they tap them? They can use them as metalminds, yes.

17th Shard Interview (Oct. 3, 2010)
Quote

Czanos

Would anything interesting happen if an Allomancer Burned a Hemalurgic spike, or a Feruchemist Tapped one?

Brandon Sanderson

Er, well, it’s possible. But you’d have to be burning a Hemalurgic spike that killed you and took your power…

Just like you can’t gain anything by burning a metalmind unless you infused it yourself.

#tweettheauthor 2009 (July 8, 2009)

 

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1 minute ago, 18th Shard said:

Looking through all of the WoB involving tapping spikes, generally Brandon just glosses over that part of the question. Here's a couple of examples:

So I could be on to something?

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18 minutes ago, 18th Shard said:

Er, well, it’s possible. But you’d have to be burning a Hemalurgic spike that killed you and took your power…

Just like you can’t gain anything by burning a metalmind unless you infused it yourself.

So yes, it looks like Identity is the obstructing factor to this. Given how he equates burning an Identity'd spike to a normal, keyed metalmind, it seems that a spike made by killing someone who is actively storing their Identity would be an Unkeyed Spike and could be burned allomantically, or perhaps tapped feruchemically. Whatever that does.

20 minutes ago, 18th Shard said:

They can use them as metalminds, yes.

also worth noting is i believe he is referring to the fact that metal can hold both a hemalurgic and feruchemical charge simultaneously, not that Feruchemy can tap the hemalurgic charge from a spike. I don't want people glossing over that and misinterpreting it (as i have before, and embarrassed myself thoroughly).

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4 minutes ago, Halyo_Alex said:

also worth noting is i believe he is referring to the fact that metal can hold both a hemalurgic and feruchemical charge simultaneously, not that Feruchemy can tap the hemalurgic charge from a spike. I don't want people glossing over that and misinterpreting it (as i have before, and embarrassed myself thoroughly).

But in that case you have two identities representing the different investitures and only one of them is keyed to you.  So maybe?

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Just now, Karger said:

But in that case you have two identities representing the different investitures and only one of them is keyed to you.  So maybe?

Well in the case of the hemalurgic + feruchemically charged spike, yes, the hemalurgy is keyed from someone else, and the feruchemy is yours. BUT.

Taken from the Coppermind page of Hemalurgy, under Other Uses, Allomancy and Feruchemy:

Quote

When a Feruchemical ability is stolen, the spike's recipient is able to access any metalminds created by the donor. If that spike was split into two pieces and given to two different people, they would both be able to access their donor's metalminds but not those made by the other person, due to the recipients' own identities "muddying" the metalminds' keying.

So you sort of semi-inherit the donor's Identity, enough to trick their old metalminds into being accessible by you. So that does mean that if they blanked their Identity, their hemalurgic spike would lack their Identity and the charge would be Unkeyed, meaning... could you burn the spike and get "tenfold" the power or whatever the actual amount is, like compounding Feruchemical charge?

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6 minutes ago, Halyo_Alex said:

could you burn the spike and get "tenfold" the power or whatever the actual amount is, like compounding Feruchemical charge?

That is the idea but I would like one of the more hemalurgically competent sharders to look over it.

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Just now, Karger said:

That is the idea but I would like one of the more hemalurgically competent sharders to look over it.

Well if it works anything like Compounding feruchemy, it'd "trick" the incoming allomantic power into becoming the same thing as the hemalurgic charge. Right?

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Just now, Halyo_Alex said:

Well if it works anything like Compounding feruchemy, it'd "trick" the incoming allomantic power into becoming the same thing as the hemalurgic charge. Right?

Which you could then store and use to make more spikes thus making hemalurgy an end positive system(I think).

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1 minute ago, Karger said:

Which you could then store and use to make more spikes thus making hemalurgy an end positive system(I think).

Yup. You might have to die while storing Identity though... :ph34r:

But yeah, using the end-positivity of allomancy to make a net gain of power.

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10 minutes ago, Halyo_Alex said:

Yup. You might have to die while storing Identity though... :ph34r:

Excuse me kind sir, would you mind helping me make a medallion? just hold this identity medallion and store your identity. *Stabs in the back*

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Two things,

First, this is an interesting line of thought.  One way around the Identity issue is to directly Spike their Identity with a Duralumin Spike, which would give you compatibility with any/all of their metalminds and (assuming you can simultaneously spike more than one thing from a single victim) their Spikes.  At the very least that gets you around the WIlling Participant issue, though not the pacifist moral issue. 

The other thing from the OP, the Kandra arent necessarily dwindling like that.  While it's true that the knowledge of how to make new Kanda spikes is all but lost (Harmony knows how, and Kelsier might as well), the Blessings are the only limiting factor so their numbers can remain constant so long as they are not loosing/destroying blessings.  The Mistwraiths are (or at least were last time anyone saw them) a breeding race:

 

Quote

 

Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Eighty - Part Two

Sazed Sees Mistwraiths

I worry that I didn't get to show mistwraiths very much in this book. It's not that big of an issue—they're only a minor world feature, and are only tangentially important. Still, they're a part of the kandra past and culture, and I want readers to understand what they are and what they have to do with the kandra life cycle.

Remember, all of the kandra save for the First Generation were born first as mistwraiths. That race of creatures breeds true, and has only a fifty-year lifespan. They die off, but birth new members. Taking one of those new members and adding spikes to them, however, awakens them and brings them sentience. They're part human, just like the koloss who remember having once been human.

The Hero of Ages Annotations (May 27, 2010)

 

 
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1 hour ago, Karger said:

That is the idea but I would like one of the more hemalurgically competent sharders to look over it.

*Summons the Dark Alley* :ph34r:

On a serious note, though, we know that burning a spike may "[splice] your spiritual DNA to that of the person's that is in the spike".

We also know if the identities don't match, "There would be power there, but you wouldn’t be able to access it. Like burning someone else’s metalmind."

I think it has potential to work - if the spike steals something similar to what Feruchemical nicrosil stores, you may have a similar effect when burning an unkeyed spike as an unkeyed Nicrosil metalmind. 

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I'm not a hemalurgic expert, but I'm going to say no, mostly because Kandra blessings are incredibly complex and we just don't know how they work.

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Quote

yulerule

Are Inquisitor spikes, kandra Blessings and koloss spikes interchangeable?  Like if you it spiked in a different way--

Brandon Sanderson

*Hesitant* You could make that work and it wouldn't be that hard. But just as they are, no.

yulerule

Would nothing happen or would weird stuff happen?

Brandon Sanderson

Weird stuff would happen

*pause*

But that one's not very hard to make work.

JordanCon 2018 (April 22, 2018)

 

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2 minutes ago, Elsecaller_17.5 said:

I'm not a hemalurgic expert, but I'm going to say no, mostly because Kandra blessings are incredibly complex and we just don't know how they work.

Complex how?

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Posted (edited)

We don't know, but MeLaan said so. Wax asked her why not make more Kandra with the left over Inquisitor spikes and she said it was more complicated than that.

Edit: it was actually Marsia

 

 

15859482567922464091914165673887.jpg

Edited by Elsecaller_17.5
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I think part of the issue they mention on the previous page is the identity of the kandra becoming imprinted onto their spikes, and part of it is the fact the old inquisitor spikes are simply no longer potent enough for the job.

We also know blessings are almost always made from spikes that have stolen human attributes - strength, senses, emotional stability, mental fortitude. WoB says that it does require some tricks to use spikes stealing allomancy or feruchemy as a blessing, and inquisitor spikes are all allomantic or feruchemical.

I doubt you could use this idea to restore a kandra who had lost their spikes, but it might be enough to make a new one. 

Spoiler

Questioner

Can Kandra blessings be any spikes or just the four.

Brandon Sanderson

They were created specifically to do what they do.

Questioner

So you couldn't have a Kandra with, for instance, Allomantic powers?

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't go that far, I will say the Kandra spikes are specifically created to do what they do and the Kandra don't know how to make ones that do other things.

Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016 (June 11, 2016)

 

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Another question.  What if a kandra used the bands to blanket their own identity and then used nicrosil to store the investiture of their own spikes and compounded that?  New spike that way?

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Posted (edited)

Spoilers for Warbreaker I guess?

Spoiler

I've always fell that BioChromatic Breath would end up being the key to Kandra proliferation. Give a Mistwraith enough breath and I bet it becomes a Kandra.

 

This seems really weird to me.

Quote

Czanos

Would anything interesting happen if an Allomancer Burned a Hemalurgic spike, or a Feruchemist Tapped one?

Brandon Sanderson

Er, well, it’s possible. But you’d have to be burning a Hemalurgic spike that killed you and took your power

Just like you can’t gain anything by burning a metalmind unless you infused it yourself.

#tweettheauthor 2009 (July 8, 2009)

You can't tap someone else's metalmind, but anyone can use a spike. I don't get why it would need to be keyed to you if the power inside is accessible to anyone.

 

edit: also, what about a Lerasium spike? It would steal the persons identity along with all of their other powers. Seems like anyone should be able to burn that.

Edited by SwordNimiForPresident
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1 hour ago, SwordNimiForPresident said:

You can't tap someone else's metalmind, but anyone can use a spike. I don't get why it would need to be keyed to you if the power inside is accessible to anyone.

We actually now know a potential way to tap someone else's metalmind and we know there is at least one way to make one that can be used by anyone.  The problem is identity.  As to why you can revive the spike even if it is not keyed to you.  You are stitching it one.  It is "unnatural."  I had not considered breath although it may work(we don't know where the cognitive blockage comes from or if breath could fix that).

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Karger said:

We actually now know a potential way to tap someone else's metalmind and we know there is at least one way to make one that can be used by anyone.  The problem is identity.  As to why you can revive the spike even if it is not keyed to you.  You are stitching it one.  It is "unnatural."

My point was that you can't tap them under normal circumstances. You have to play games with Identity to make it work. With spikes, they just work. No games with Identity. Just stab it in the right spot and you gain the ability. It's odd that you can use the spike without Identity shenanigans, but to burn it you have to play games.

In both cases you are accessing the Investiture but only one of them is Identity locked. It just seems weird.

It likely has to be designed this way, otherwise you could burn Hemalurgic spikes and gain the abilities without having the spike in a bind point. Seems like something that was done to protect the plot.

1 hour ago, Karger said:

I had not considered breath although it may work(we don't know where the cognitive blockage comes from or if breath could fix that).

Spoilered for SA and WB

Spoiler

The idea came from Ryshadium. They are near human intelligence as a result of the Investiture from their Spren bond. Since breath is so easy to use, I figure it would be the easiest way to bring an animal (Mistwraith) to sentience. The real question is how much breath it takes.

 

edit: now that I think about it, it has to be less breath than Nightblood. Bringing an animal to sentience has to be easier than bringing an inert piece of metal to sentience.

 

Edited by SwordNimiForPresident
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Just now, SwordNimiForPresident said:

Just stab it in the right spot and you gain the ability. It's odd that you can use the spike without Identity shenanigans, but to burn it you have to play games.

I suppose it is a bit odd in that respect although the relmatics make sense to me.  We see the same thing with breath.

1 minute ago, SwordNimiForPresident said:

The idea came from Ryshadium. They are near human intelligence as a result of the Investiture from their Spren bond. Since breath is so easy to use, I figure it would be the easiest way to bring an animal (Mistwraith) to sentience. The real question is how much breath it takes.

So Kandra already have the necessary investiture to think it is just "blocked."  I am worried that the problem is cognitive and not spiritual in nature so adding breath might not be a good solution. 

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