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Relation of Forgery to tables (and other things)


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I was recently re-reading Arcanum Unbounded, and while reading Emperor's Soul, I thought about Shai's demonstration of Forgery in regard to a table, in how it doesn't regard itself as many different pieces, but as simply a table. I was wondering that if a table was stamped very quickly after it was made, if it was possible to separate the items because it hasn't been considered a table long enough, or if the stamp simply couldn't work. On a related note, would it be possible to separate something using forgery? For example, I accidentally glued two pieces of wood together, could I stamp the combined piece to separate the two? 

Another example : I've just finished a puzzle, and have now broken it up to put it away. However, I have realized I wanted it out for longer. We'll say that it has been long enough that the puzzle considers it a single piece in the CR. Would it be possible to stamp a single piece to re-combine the entire puzzle?

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Interesting question!

My instinct is to say no, that Forgery can't separate nor re-assemble something as you describe. The main reasons are that a stamp needs to be on a thing to change it and damaging a stamp's imprint interferes with the Forgery. So if you stamped a table top to separate it from the table's legs it seems as though it wouldn't be effective because, once the legs did fall off (if they did at all), then the stamp wouldn't be able to continue influencing them because they are not, themselves, stamped. I don't recall any examples of a stamp's effects being permanent in the sense that they persist after the stamp is removed. So I think that such a Forgery simply wouldn't work. For the same reason I think that the glued wood pieces example would not work either. You could, however, stamp things such that they were easier to break (Forging the joinery to be weak or poorly done, maybe, or the glue to be inferior or badly applied).

The puzzle example faces the same issue. Stamping one piece isn't going to influence the other pieces, certainly not if they aren't assembled into one complete puzzle.

I think that Shai's description of the table seeing itself as one thing is mostly about a single stamp being able to influence all the different components of a discrete object, as we would consider it, rather than needing to stamp every individual component to achieve the changes. And it also has Realmatic implications which may or may not be mechanically relevant to Forging itself.

All that said, we don't really know a whole lot about Forgery. I wouldn't rule out possibilities like you describe completely, since many things in the Cosmere become possible with extensive knowledge and enough spiritual energy.

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  • 3 weeks later...

After a bit more thinking, I do agree that Forgery could not finish a puzzle. However, I do think it could break apart a table. In TES, Shai says she could possibly escape by severely weakening the chain and breaking it. Even if the stamp didn't take after a minute, or even 2 seconds, it wouldn't matter because the chain would already be broken. Therefore, I think that if I stamped the table so the legs were then on the table in a nice stack, it would work for a second, and then not matter because they are off. If I stamped it with something that makes the legs fall off, that would work too, because once the legs are detached, they would be unable to be influenced by the stamp anymore. 

It is a convoluted way to detach things, but I think it could work out. 

This is certainly an into the weeds question that I'll probably ask Brandon if I ever make it up to Dragonsteel. 

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On 12/26/2023 at 1:36 PM, Aredor said:

In TES, Shai says she could possibly escape by severely weakening the chain and breaking it.

Right, but please do not forget the required plausibility. As per Shai's examples, she considered it "plausible" that a link had been cast incorrectly (weakening it) and that the defect had gone unnoticed. How plausible is it that somebody creates a table, creates legs for the table, but never attaches those legs (and still consideres it to be a "finished" "table"). Far more plausible for a stamp to make a plausible weakening (like the floor under the bed in the finale), so that the Forger can easily break/split the object. 

As far as we know, forgery cannot move physical objects (other than as required to align with their new stamped nature). So, the window frame "moved" in that the corner un-warped based on the plausible stamp that it had been lovingly restored. But the floor did not cave itself in, it was mearly weakened enough that the floor fell away under stress. In her notional "chain" example, she would have had to exploit the weak link to break the chain, the links could not "disconnect" themselves. 

Edited by Treamayne
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