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I think there has already been a lot of speculation about how the structure of the fifth oath of the radiant would be formed and what it means for each order in particular. But a topic that I think has not been discussed much is: What benefits does it bring to the radiant?

Here I have a series of proposals that I have collected in the comments that I have been able to read on this issue:

  • That simply increases the amount of investiture they can use at one time and the efficiency with which they use it.
  • That they acquire the ability to use the full extent of the Surge.
    • An example would be that Windrunners could use Spiritual Adhesion like Bondsmiths, in addition to Spiritual Gravitation.
    • Like the above, a Dustbringer could use spiritual Division.
  • That they can manipulate the essence corresponding to their order. This would be reminiscent of an initial idea of Brandon's that was discarded [ref 1] in which he postulated that all orders could Soulcast their associated essence. It seemed to him that then all the orders would be too similar. But if he includes it in the 5th ideal, he gives enough room for them to be narratively (for the reader) sufficiently differentiated.
  • As a variant of the previous proposal, there is also the idea that the ideal 5th radiant can take full advantage of the conceptual characteristics of its platespren.
    • A Windrunner could more directly manipulate the wind.
    • A Skybreaker could directly manipulate gravity (and not just the perception of realmatic orientation), potentially creating black holes (although they may need the help of a Bondsmith to do so).
    • An Elsecaller could manipulate the logic.
      • If this seems very abstract, imagine that you can remotely manage systems that depend on logic, for example you could indirectly manipulate a computer or decrypt messages.
  • Finally, although this is not so much a benefit depending on who you ask. A 5th ideal Radiant could acquire the inability to violate oaths like Sprens. This is because his soul fusion has reached such a degree where he is practically a Spren in the physical realm.
    • This would have the benefit of instantly realizing if you are going to fall into a moral hole (like Kaladin) where you physically could not swear contradictory things since your body (soul) would prevent you from swearing anything that contradicts a previous oath.

With this said written, which do you think is the closest to being correct or do you have another one in mind?

Edited by Dofurion
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I, personally, think that the effects of swearing the fifth Oath as a Radiant won't provide a ton of dramatic or flexible new powers. It's a given that such a Radiant will be able to work with more Investiture and direct it more efficiently and effectively, since we see this improve with every Oath already it seems likely to continue. I don't know how much more powerful Radiants can become while still being characters that we can see participate in the plot without breaking the story just by their presence.

We haven't seen much in the way of Surges changing through further Radiance, though we also haven't seen many people actually develop. Shallan may be a good counterexample, being able to Soulcast her illusions to some degree, but I don't think that that's something along the lines of "Soulcasting like an Elsecaller". Maybe their resonances become more pronounced and flexible, rather than individual powers?

I don't think that manipulating essences will come up, nor making use of spren to cause changes in the physical realm. The former encroaches too much on Elsecallers and Soulcasting in general while the latter is what fabrials do already, and figures old enough to have known the Radiant Orders in the past seem ignorant of and surprised about captive spren fabrial technology. I don't think that Radiants will lose agency or be inherently constrained from making "bad" choices-- human freedom to choose to keep an oath or betray it seems like too much of a theme to be permanently taken off the table, though I do think that the depth of understanding required to reach the 5th Ideal will provide a lot of insight and guide a lot of decision making support.

So more Investiture and possibly better/fuller resonance between powers seem to me to be the most likely effects swearing the 5th Ideal produces. There will be more effects but I expect them to be more personal and philosophical in nature than additional superpowers. A 5th Ideal Radiant will have a much fuller and deeply-held understanding of their Oaths and the view of the world they engender (such as Kaladin's perspectives shifting in ways that make him a fuller Windrunner but less capable as a soldier).

They'll have the cracks in their spiritwebs (if not minds/souls, necessarily) filled in with... Investiture? The nature of their bonded spren? They'll have confronted the worst of their issues, though I'm not sure it's a guarantee that they'll overcome those issues, necessarily.

Their spren will be more fully present in the physical realm, with expanded intelligence, personality, and understanding than they'd had previously. That also suggests expanded abilities with manifesting as different types of objects.

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What am I coming to... I read the title and I thought: "They have a fantastic medical and dental plan. Retirement may not be great since the only 5th Ideal Radiant we know hasn't retired in millennia and Syl's last Knight died throwing her into slumber. They got room and board at Urithru which counts for something but probably doesn't extend to stock options."

...yeah. Moving on.

We see Kaladin getting closer and closer to full telepathy with Syl as he gets closer to the 4th Ideal, and I'm not sure if that's permanent or more prevalent at 4th. Perhaps it becomes more and more constant up until it's just always there at 4th or 5th. We see Syl try to predict and adapt her Shardblade form on the fly, surprising Kaladin in the process and she gets better and predicting what form he wants her to be as they progress. At any rate, full telepathy between spren and Radiant could have a huge variety of implications.

First it greatly increases the potential for super precise manifestation as objects as they can send and receive thoughts and maybe full images, possibly with the use-case intent. When we see skepping, Ishar's fantastic at it, but doesn't have to coordinate with a sentient sword/spear/shield/halberd, so it seems like telepathy would increase the potential of the Radiant (Ishar also has had a supernatural amount of practice).

Second, Kaladin was having Syl scout for him from the very beginning, but add in full audio and visual communication makes it enormously useful. 

The OP suggested that the Radiant would become physically unable to swear contrary Oaths, which I think is far less likely than the Radiant being unable to hide or otherwise obscure their mind and decisions that may lead to conflicting Oaths from their spren who would have full awareness and voice to object - which in the vast majority of cases probably amounts to the same thing. If the Radiant is too stubborn and does it anyway, it likely would have much more severe, possibly lethal consequences, but I don't see Brandon removing the ability to make the decision. Being spren-like hasn't prevented the Heralds or Fused from lying or breaking Oaths.

A while back I had the idea that 5th Ideal Radiants may be able to manifest the fabrial associated with their Surges to loan them out, which I'm not going to promote here other than mentioning it, but we do see from the beginning Syl using the Surge of Adhesion to prank Kaladin and later Shallan anchors Lightweavings to Pattern. Perhaps the spren will be able to use Surgebinding themselves? Like Syl flying invisibly over to something and Lashing it into the sky? Pattern creating Lightweavings on his own? That opens a world of flexibility, but with the advent of anti-Light and spren detection methods like the sand used to find Phendorana, the risk to the spren for attempting such stunts has similarly increased - particularly as some Fused and Regals can just passively see into the CR. It would be an upgrade but with the current story there would be an accompanying host of risks associated with using the ability.

As for channeling the elements themselves, we do see Kaladin create a windbreak in a Highstorm to protect some villagers, so... whatever was going on there wasn't even a 5th Ideal thing. Wasn't even a 4th Ideal thing, using his Plate spren, though I think it absolutely was meant to hint that Windspren were going to become his Platespren. Brandon hasn't delved into all of their abilities that we've seen and we haven't even gotten to 5th Ideal. Most of what's beyond this feels like extrapolating from a single point of data.

 TSM spoilers:

Spoiler

We know Sigzil was at least 4th Ideal, and held a Dawnshard, with special Connectivity powers that Aux had access to, so extrapolating from them is flawed at best... but it may be worth trying to differentiate between Sig's abilities that are partial 4+ Ideal Radiant and what are Dawnshard. For example, can all 4+ Ideal Radiants feed Investiture/Stormlight directly into their spren, or is that Dawnshard specific? Directly related to that, it sounded like Aux or Sig could absorb Investiture and possibly feed it to each other, and while the ability to forcibly draw all passive Investiture types from other sources sounds like a Dawnshard thing, maybe 4+ Ideal Radiant spren could draw Stormlight and pass it to their Radiant for Surgebinding or vice versa? Just being able to feed Stormlight into a spren to increase its size is pretty significant.

Edited by Duxredux
clarity
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2 hours ago, Duxredux said:

What am I coming to... I read the title and I thought: "They have a fantastic medical and dental plan. Retirement may not be great since the only 5th Ideal Radiant we know hasn't retired in millennia and Syl's last Knight died throwing her into slumber. They got room and board at Urithru which counts for something but probably doesn't extend to stock options."

This gave me a good laugh; thank you!

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I have expressed this before, but I think that a couple of things could be possible. Knowing that Brandon likes to make things big and impactful, I think it has to be more than efficiency although that is part of it. Two things have stuck in my mind. The first goes with efficiency (I think someone else came up with this first), But upon swearing the fifth idea, the Radiant truly becomes native to Roshar and gains a perfect gem-heart.  Which has the following benefits: no stormlight leakage. Can store vast amounts of stormlight (so it is like a miniature perpendicularity. In this way it would act similarly to an honor blade). Allows Radiants and spren to safely travel out of the Rosharan system.

 

The other thought is that reaching the fifth ideal slows the aging process allowing Radiants to live much longer. I've been convinced that functional immortality is unlikely. 

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So the pattern is, 1st ideal (1st surge), 2nd ideal (2nd surge), 3rd ideal (Blade), 4th ideal (Plate).  I believe the fifth ideal will fit this general pattern, 5th ideal (Stead).  This won't be a Ryshadium, but rather the ability to connect with the natural life of Roshar.  Willshapers will ride chasmfiends.  Edgedancers will run with whitespines.  Elsecallers will cuddle sky eels.  Windrunners will fly with Larkins.

Edited by ConfusedCow
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On 4/3/2024 at 5:14 PM, Master Silver said:

Allows Radiants and spren to safely travel out of the Rosharan system.

This is the one I've been thinking they get, but I doubt it's the only thing. But my idea is that 5th ideal is the way you can get your spren off world because you are now so connected to each other/spiritwebs are enmeshed essentially, that they can come with you.

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23 minutes ago, Dreamwa1ker said:

This is the one I've been thinking they get, but I doubt it's the only thing. But my idea is that 5th ideal is the way you can get your spren off world because you are now so connected to each other/spiritwebs are enmeshed essentially, that they can come with you.

I think that the opposite is likely true, unfortunately; the more Connected you are to something, the harder it is to leave it.

Since a Radiant's Spren is Connected to Roshar and the Bond/Connection between the Spren and Radiant is stronger than ever at the 5th Oath, it's going to be even harder for the Radiant to leave the system. 

We actually get some confirmation for this in RoW, when Mraize tells Shallan that she is trapped in the Rosharan system by her Invested nature.

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We have only ever seen, or even know about for sure, one Radiant of the Fifth Ideal of any order: Nalan of the Skybreakers.

Who is also a crazy Herald in a post-Honor world, so it's hard to separate what's special about Nalan between "Herald Who Reclaimed His Honorblade and without Honor Around to Check Things", vs. his being of the Fifth Ideal.

Or even if his doubling up as a Fifth Ideal Skybreaker while ALSO holding the Skybreaker Honorblade is a factor.

Still, the one example that stands out to me, as a unique exhibited ability, was when he immediately sensed Lift drawing Investiture from eating food (after he'd carefully removed all spheres of Stormlight from the area) the first time they met.

It wasn't through use of a fabrial. And while he had used a larkin or some similar creature to suck her empty of Investiture earlier, it's not like that creature "perked up" when she became Invested - he'd given it to "one of his minions" who stuffed it into a sack, and then pocketed the sack.

I dunno. Could this could be some extra-sensitive extension or resonance of the Surge of Division, in conjunction with his "Becoming the Law" at the Fifth Ideal, and having decided to Divide the world between Skybreakers (Nalan-approved Surgebinders) and all others?

Edited by robardin
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On 4/12/2024 at 10:35 AM, robardin said:

We have only ever seen, or even know about for sure, one Radiant of the Fifth Ideal of any order: Nalan of the Skybreakers.

Who is also a crazy Herald in a post-Honor world, so it's hard to separate what's special about Nalan between "Herald Who Reclaimed His Honorblade and without Honor Around to Check Things", vs. his being of the Fifth Ideal.

Or even if his doubling up as a Fifth Ideal Skybreaker while ALSO holding the Skybreaker Honorblade is a factor.

Still, the one example that stands out to me, as a unique exhibited ability, was when he immediately sensed Lift drawing Investiture from eating food (after he'd carefully removed all spheres of Stormlight from the area) the first time they met.

It wasn't through use of a fabrial. And while he had used a larkin or some similar creature to suck her empty of Investiture earlier, it's not like that creature "perked up" when she became Invested - he'd given it to "one of his minions" who stuffed it into a sack, and then pocketed the sack.

I dunno. Could this could be some extra-sensitive extension or resonance of the Surge of Division, in conjunction with his "Becoming the Law" at the Fifth Ideal, and having decided to Divide the world between Skybreakers (Nalan-approved Surgebinders) and all others?

Nale being able to sense that reminded me of the 4th Heightening from BioChromatic Breath. But he’s passively sensing (I’m assuming) kinetic investiture where Life Sense is a little more picky, but seems to passively sense Innate Investiture.

Perhaps part of the 5th ideal grants Kinetic Investiture sense? I’m sure it would have a better name, and that there’d be more to it.

Nale’s ability to sense it could also come from Herald/CS shenanigans

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On 4/3/2024 at 11:52 PM, ConfusedCow said:

So the pattern is, 1st ideal (1st surge), 2nd ideal (2nd surge), 3rd ideal (Blade), 4th ideal (Plate).  I believe the fifth ideal will fit this general pattern, 5th ideal (Stead).  This won't be a Ryshadium, but rather the ability to connect with the natural life of Roshar.  Willshapers will ride chasmfiends.  Edgedancers will run with whitespines.  Elsecallers will cuddle sky eels.  Windrunners will fly with Larkins.

I'm not sure I agree this idea. It's certainly possible, but I feel like it wouldn't really fit in with the "Immortal Glowing Knight" idea that still takes precedence in the Radiant story. I do believe that the Fifth Ideal grants access to a Ryshadium, one that is maybe faster or stronger than others. We already know that Ryshadium use spren, specifically musicspren. Perhaps, just like the other two Shards involve bonding spren (Radiant for the Blade and lesser spren for each piece of Plate) bonding a Ryshadium will have something to do with bonding the spren that lthe Ryshadium has.

However, we can always trust Brandon to keep us on our toes!

The Ultimate Archivist.

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Forts Board makes a good point and there is a question about how many side kicks.  Moana has Pua and Heihei. Luke has R2 and C3PO. Harry has Hedwig and Buckbeak.  Spin has a slug and a spaceship.  

Let me offer this other point in defense of 5th ideal (Stead).  Brandon excels at world building. His works stands apart in the genre for the vibrancy and uniqueness of the ecology.  Not since Tolkien, have the plants and animals been such a part of the story.  I have this theory that there is an impending ecological catastrophe on Roshar.  There are hints at this, Ashyn, visions, the very destructive nature of the storms.  If the radiants journey ended back at connecting to the natural world it would be a pleasing convergence of themes.

  

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7 hours ago, ConfusedCow said:

If the radiants journey ended back at connecting to the natural world it would be a pleasing convergence of themes.

I like this, especially considering that the Spren are a part of the natural world and the Radiants owe their power to the Spren and the Surges, the natural laws that govern reality. Certainly things to think about.

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