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Lesser spren

How much investiture is in a Breath?

Question

Exactly how much investiture is in a breath? It's considered net neutral, so it has to contain quite a bit for it not to degrade over time.

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That's kind of like saying how much does a pound weight.

Breath is the unit of measurement.

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Brandon hasn't come up with a unit of investiture yet or a conversion rate between any types of investiture, so this question can't really be answered yet. Investiture does not degrade over time, though some types do leak out of imperfect containers, so Breath doesn't need to contain that much Investiture because it can be contained perfectly in any object.

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/31/#e9685

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/314/#e8925

 

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Closest thing I think we have right now (absent the promised quantification) is this more relative ranking of invested objects:

 

Quote

 

Questioner

I've got a list of various Cosmere bits of metal and I was wondering if you would rank them from like one to ten or just easy to difficult on how hard it would be to steelpush on them. So with one being just a regular coin, ten being like when the Lord Ruler was moving bits of glass on the floor, so like metal inside a person's body.

Brandon Sanderson

It depends on how strong the Investiture in them is.

Questioner

Is that gonna be the answer for all of these?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably!

Questioner

How about a spike charged with Hemalurgy?

Brandon Sanderson

A spike charged with Hemalurgy... that depends on...

Questioner

Not in a person.

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on how strong, yeah, a spike is moderately, (in the realm of these kinds of things) moderately easy to push on because a spike does not rip off very much Investiture. Only enough to short circuit the soul, and less it over time. I would put that at the bottom, with the top being very hard, to be one of the easier things.

Questioner

How about a metalmind that is full?

Brandon Sanderson

That is full? That is going to be middle of the realm of the, yeah. Generally easier than, for instance, a Shardblade which is going to be very hard.

Questioner #2

A Shardblade is [inaudible] actually metal? [metal]-ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Ish. Is Lerasium a metal? Yeah.

Questioner

So that'd be the same for Shardplate too?

Brandon Sanderson

Shardplate and Blade are very hard. Blade is probably gonna be a little harder.

Questioner

A Half-shard?

Brandon Sanderson

A Half-shard shield? That's gonna be moderate.

Questioner

Nightblood? I imagine that being hard.

Brandon Sanderson

Hard, of all the things you've listed, that is going to be the hardest. Far beyond even a Sharblade.

Questioner

Far beyond metal inside a person? 

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, yes. Depending on how invested the person is.

Questioner

If somebody was invested as much as Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, for instance the God King, right. At the end with all those Breaths. Pushing something inside of him, getting through all of that? Gonna be real hard. Average person on Scadrial? You've seen how hard that is. A drab? Much easier.

Questioner

That was my next one, or no, sorry not a drab. A lifeless?

Brandon Sanderson

A Lifeless, yeah. Even... yeah. Lifeless are kind of weird because they've had their soul leave but then they've had a replacement stuck in in the form of Breath which leaves them in a very weird position compared to a drab which has had part of their Investiture ripped away but a majority remains, so, anyways. I'm going to give you one more. Pick your favorite.

Questioner

A soulstamped piece of metal?

Brandon Sanderson

A soulstamped piece of metal is going to be on the lower, easier side. Not a lot of Investiture going on in a soulstamp.

Salt Lake City signing (March 29, 2014)

 

 
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I was wondering this question because in allomancy the power doesn't come from the investiture of the metal but from energy from the spiritual realm, thus it is End-positive. One would think that awakening would work the same way, the breath acting as a catalyst rather than the source. But instead Awakening is End-neutral, meaning the only way for a person's little straw man to get up and do a jig, is for a him to take energy from the breath itself. So that would make the investiture in a breath (being inexhaustable) much more than can be stored in any metalmind.

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8 minutes ago, Lesser spren said:

So that would make the investiture in a breath (being inexhaustable) much more than can be stored in any metalmind.

Ummm, not really? Both are just Investiture being used in different ways and you're forgetting that allomancy and feruchemy work differently. We know that a Nalthian has more Investiture naturally than a baseline human thanks to their inborn Breath but they're not especially more resistant to Investiture than baseline, while a full metalmind could be used to block a Shardblade.

Edited by Weltall
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8 minutes ago, Lesser spren said:

I was wondering this question because in allomancy the power doesn't come from the investiture of the metal but from energy from the spiritual realm, thus it is End-positive. One would think that awakening would work the same way, the breath acting as a catalyst rather than the source. But instead Awakening is End-neutral, meaning the only way for a person's little straw man to get up and do a jig, is for a him to take energy from the breath itself. So that would make the investiture in a breath (being inexhaustable) much more than can be stored in any metalmind.

or that the investiture to energy ratio is insane, breath do degrade, slowly, but only over long periods of time.

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11 minutes ago, Frustration said:

or that the investiture to energy ratio is insane, breath do degrade, slowly, but only over long periods of time.

Just for reference, I got to ask Brandon about this at a signing once and while I didn't record the audio and thus don't have the exact words he used, he was quite specific that there's a point at which Breaths stop degrading in a measurable way. It sounds similar to (but less extreme than) the principle of hemalurgic decay, where there's a minimum level of charge that will always exist in a spike or a fragment thereof.

There's a very old WoB from the Timewaster's Guide that suggests otherwise, but it was framed as something Brandon might do in response to a comment and he doesn't seem to have actually canonized it. It's also possible there's a difference between 'Breath in a living being' and 'Breath in an Awakened object' that we simply haven't gotten details on yet, though Brandon didn't contradict a question implying that perpetual motion via Awakening might be possible so... that one's up in the air.

Edited by Weltall
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@Lesser sprenI would say 1 breath is the most basic unit of investiture above life itself. Perhaps everyone in the Cosmere has a minimum of two breaths of which one can never be given away. In other words all other investiture can be measured in terms of multiples of breaths. On Roshar the basic unit is 1 diamond chip which may hold say 10 breaths of investiture or maybe even 100 (unlikely). Metal flakes on Scadrial probably do have the equivalent of 100 breaths (solids hold more investiture than gas) and perhaps Dor is on the scale of Brohms (1,000's of breaths). Forgery or sand in the scale of 10's of breaths.

Of course I could be way off.

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On 19/02/2021 at 11:57 PM, BenduLuke said:

@Lesser sprenI would say 1 breath is the most basic unit of investiture above life itself. Perhaps everyone in the Cosmere has a minimum of two breaths of which one can never be given away. In other words all other investiture can be measured in terms of multiples of breaths. On Roshar the basic unit is 1 diamond chip which may hold say 10 breaths of investiture or maybe even 100 (unlikely). Metal flakes on Scadrial probably do have the equivalent of 100 breaths (solids hold more investiture than gas) and perhaps Dor is on the scale of Brohms (1,000's of breaths). Forgery or sand in the scale of 10's of breaths.

Of course I could be way off.

1000 breaths is enough to create sapient things, if broams could hold that much stormlight the stormlight inside the king's drop would have become a spren long ago

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On 2/20/2021 at 6:23 PM, mathiau said:

1000 breaths is enough to create sapient things, if broams could hold that much stormlight the stormlight inside the king's drop would have become a spren long ago

Like I said my scale could be way off.

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On 2/20/2021 at 7:23 PM, mathiau said:

1000 breaths is enough to create sapient things, if broams could hold that much stormlight the stormlight inside the king's drop would have become a spren long ago

That gives use an upper limit for the king's drop. So if we assume that perfect gemstones don't have any perpendicularity shenanigans going on, we can conclude despite being stupidly invested (the only possible loss of investiture being through conversion to light and still have not seen any noticeable difference through out known history) that perfect gemstones are lessinvested than nightblood.

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2 minutes ago, Lesser spren said:

That gives use an upper limit for the king's drop. So if we assume that perfect gemstones don't have any perpendicularity shenanigans going on, we can conclude despite being stupidly invested (the only possible loss of investiture being through conversion to light and still have not seen any noticeable difference through out known history) that perfect gemstones are lessinvested than nightblood.

Nightblood is far more invested than he was when he was created, Azure's sword will be a better comparison when we eventually see more of her

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2 minutes ago, mathiau said:

Nightblood is far more invested than he was when he was created, Azure's sword will be a better comparison when we eventually see more of her

 I suppose so. Either way it's not that useful of a comparison, but it's something. The pure investiture gaining sentience rule could tell us a little, would that make the ivestiture in cognitive shadows and sentient spren comparable to 1000 breaths or would it be less since a perfect gemstone was enough to contain an intelligent spren like Ba-Ado-Mishram. What would really help would be to know how much a standard breath is compared to the innate investiture in a human. 

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