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Watching the newest WoB shardcast made it apparent to me that there differing views on Shard/Planet Interaction. I want to get people's opinion on how I view it. I would post some of the WoBs supporting but I'm new and can't do links.



You've said before that a lot of the magics we see across the cosmere come from an interaction of Shards and their Investiture with the planets they Invest in. What does this mean practically? If Scadrial explodes tomorrow, will Hemalurgy stop working across the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Hemalurgy wouldn't stop working, most likely, but it could. There are ways that you could make it stop working. I kind of mean that the Shards are an innate part of physics in the cosmere, and the magics that arise are an innate part of physics because of that. Like atium seeped out into the Pits of Hathsin, in the same way, these magics are just gonna leak out, and different places are going to affect them. You'll see Lightweaving happening in different places, and the way the Shard is interacting with the local... The way the Shard is is going to affect how Lightweaving is administrated in the various magics, but it's still gonna be there. Hemalurgy is kind of a similar thing to that. You will see Midnight Essence, you will see some of these recurring ideas popping up, and these are like natural parts of the physics, but they're influenced by the Shards on the local planets.

I don't know if that answer, that's gonna be a really fun one for them to transcribe into the Q&A thing, because I go around in circles on that question a ton. Put this part in when you do it.

Footnote: It was a really fun one.
YouTube Spoiler Stream 4 (June 16, 2022)

Other Known things:

  • Rosharan Magics
    • Ashyn Uses similar surges as the Rosharan magic system does today. 
      • The magic is now sickness based. 
      • The magic was not always sickness based. 
    • All of the rosharan system was specifically set up by adonalsium for a specific purpose.
  • Shards can have investiture in parts of the cosmere that they are unaware of until they look for it. When aware of it, they can shape it in a way.
    • "Shards influence and tweak certain Investiture, giving it a kind of spin or magnetism, but all Investiture ever predates the Shattering--and in the cosmere matter, energy, and Investiture are one thing"
  • Scadrial was created by Ruin and Preservation but they didn't create the atoms themselves. 

My Interpretation:
I think my interpretation is much like Argent's was in the recent WoB video, but I don't think he had all of the main points readily available to push this idea forward.

While I don't think it's totally accurate, I think it helps understanding to think of all investiture and magic as particles for the sake of this. In any given spot you may have matter, light, gravity, magnetism, electric charge, magic (such as midnight essence or lightweaving particles), ect. With these raw materials from a location, magic systems are formed. I would liken it to how different communities would use stone vs wood vs clay as base building materials for their civilizations based on the materials available and the weather forces they see regularly, except on a galactic scale. 

While typically not cognizant, the shards (either the power or the vessel or a mix of the two) bring magic systems into being based on what is available in that vicinity and how those magics interplay with the shard. It may be possible for a shard to intentionally bring more materials to in area to allow a specific interaction between themselves and the materials to come forward, but probably don't do things more than that to create a magic system.

For Roshar, we know that Adonalsium created the entire system for a specific purpose. While we don't know what that purpose is or how it works, if we think of the system as a singular thing it would make sense that the system has a specific set of raw materials. If all investure is just a part of physics then these magics would be part of the raw materials of the system. That may explain why pre-sickness Ashyn, post-sickness Ashyn, and Roshar all powers relating to those surges. There's something about the area that makes those magics more prevalent. I think it would explain it better than the surges are of Honor/Cultivation. That would mean that Honor/Cultivation had a hand in the creation of the unchecked surgebinding that destroyed Ashyn, and then also mimicking/forbidding it on Roshar. 

We know that Ruin and Preservation very intentionally made Scadrial by jointly gathering and arranging atoms in a way that  subfused every atom with thier... attunement? We know that Lord Ruler and Fuzz at times have tweaked the world to have the magics play in their favor (creating mistwraiths, forming the Pits, or changing the metals used to include Atium). But it makes sense that it would be outside of their abilities to have it be "if you burn iron you can now lightweave", because lightweaving particles don't seem to be one of the materials that are readily available in that system. 

One of the talking points in the stream was that it could be inherent to the shard and that endowment would likely do breaths wherever she was, but that breaths may look different. I would agree with this based on this model. The breath, the magic endowed to each person at birth and the possibility to come back and be endowed with extra life, is likely an effect of how that shard's essence interplays with the materials around it. We may think of Nalthis as a place with a lot of the magic particles that power Tin at scadrial, and other magic particles that can bring awareness/ect for awakening.  If endowment was instead on a planet with a lot of gravitation surge and connection surge maybe instead your breaths would help you fly and you could use them to forge a connection between things, but the mechanic of being born with a little and being able to pass them around would likely stay. 

Let me know what you think. Feel free to add ideas if you think you can support it or bring up some counter arguments. I just was listening to the podcast and I couldn't help but feel the ideas weren't fully fleshed out when Argent was talking about it, and it didn't sound like the other people that disagreed were necessarily disagreeing with the key points.

Thanks all!


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Might want to post this in the Cosmere Discussion section, or maybe ask a mod to move it.

I have two main thoughts on this. Brandon's answer to that question is hilariously annoying, because it does nothing to answer the original question. This is partly on me, I could have phrased the question better too. While his answer of there being common themes across magics, or the same "physics" leading to different manifestations in different places based on local factors makes sense, it does nothing to address the problem of dealing with something like hemalurgy, which has no actual requirement, other than the intent to do it. Unlike Allomancy or Feruchemy, which requires you to be able to trace some lineage back to a scadrian soul - or even something like Singers being able to hear rhythms anywhere in the cosmere, which requires you to be a Singer (similar case to being of Scadrian descent) - all you need to perform hemalurgy anywhere in the cosmere is a soul to perform hemalurgy on, a piece of viable metal, and the intent to do it. So where is the dependancy on the existence of Scadrial in this? Brandon didn't really answer this (not that there needs to be a reason).

Second, regarding the different manifestations in different places, I kind of think of it as terraforming or geo-engineering. Take Mars, for example. If all I do is just dump enough oxygen (by mass) so as to double its atmosphere by mass, then... well... that oxygen will do oxygen-y things. A lot of it will maybe straight up get eroded away into space due to solar winds, but a lot of it will start interacting with local elements, and we will get all sorts of oxides and such, interactions with other elements and radiation unique to oxygen. We will get fire if there's enough hydrogen and heat naturally present, to maybe make enough water to cover some surface of the planet. In a 100,000 years, a lot of the oxygen might even cycle, by natural processes like plate tectonics and such, into mineral oxides deep beneath Mars's crust. This would be analogous to a shard just willy-nilly investing in a planet. All planets in the cosmere will have all sorts of interplays between things physically, and the souls of things cognitively and spiritually. If they have life, this interplay will only be more complex, as creatures will be born with souls, perceive things around them, and then die as part of their natural cycle of life. If a shard just throws their investiture into the mix, with no real control or shaping, well... over time, it will seep into things, and start affecting things according to its intent. We will get a shardpool or two, and magic will start manifesting by natural processes of physics and realmatics, magic that will be strongly influenced by the intent of the shard, but manifested through natural processes and interactions present locally.

But you can also do something else. If you want to terraform a planet by intent, you can also have an endgoal, in wanting to do something like... say, wanting to make Mars habitable, specifically. And then you would do specific things, like introducing a specific kind of life to the planet that generates its own oxygen, you will set up technology, and maybe even specific elements so that you get a habitable, green world a thousand years from now. And in the Cosmere, a shard could also do something like this. Instead of just investing by blindly dumping their essence into a planet, they could also shape things, such that the end magics created are of a specific kind or work in a specific way, like maybe wanting to introduce lightweaving to a world that didn't naturally have it, or changing the natural lightweaving present on a planet to work differently based on the preferences and intent of the vessel-shard entity.

That's at least my take on it.

Edited by asmodeus
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