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[Bands Spoilers] a certain similarity...

The Invested Beard

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You're right that they do seem pretty similar, but are they happening in the Cognitive Realm? It's been a while since I've read Emperor's Soul, but it seems to me that, by rewriting an object's history, Forging works in the Spiritual realm. You're messing with Connection, which seems to be a property of the Spiritual Realm, not the Cognitive Realm. But do inanimate objects even have Connection, or is that something that only people have? In Bands, we see them manipulating Connection to a homeland, but is that Connection to a physical place (northern continent) or to a group of people (inhabitants of the greater Elendel region)? (Now I kinda wish you had posted this on the Secret History forum, so we could apply some of those Realmatic revelations.) So, I'm gonna assume that Forgery operates by changing Connection, like the medallions do, and I'll be prepared to eat all my words in case I go back and check and Forgery does work in the Cognitive realm.


Let's bring Soulcasting into this for a deeper look at transformations:

  • Soulcasting changes how an object perceives itself and is perceived in the Cognitive Realm to enact a permanent change.
  • Forging changes how an object is Connected (i.e. its history) to enact a temporary change.
  • Translation medallions (Duralumin Feruchemy) change how a person is Connected to enact a temporary change.

Some changes are physical, some are mental (maybe more Cognitive?), but I'm not sure if there's actually a distinction. Just because we haven't seen a Soulcasting mental change or a. F.Duralumin physical change, does that mean they're not possible? For example, if I was a Duralumin Feruchemist, would I be able to store my Connection to McDonalds and enact a physical change in my body? So, I'm not trying to distinguish what kinds of changes are accomplished through use of these magic systems.


Permanent vs temporary might be a more fruitful analysis; however, with only three data points, these might just be idiosyncrasies of the various Magic systems, not necessarily representative of Cognitive- or Spiritual-based transformations. But the reason Spiritual-based transformations are temporary might be due to Connection reverting itself, so when you stop actively using the Magic system (i.e. don't refresh the seal or stop using Feruchemy), Connection reverts, and the change is undone. Contrast that with Soulcasting, where once the transformation has happened, it doesn't try to go back. (i.e. Shallan doesn't need to keep feeding Stormlight to the pile of blood, or else it will go back to being a goblet.)


It looks like you can use either the Cognitive or the Spiritual realm to perform transformations in the cosmere. Spiritual-based changing makes a fake history, while Cognitive-based transformation just smashes through that history with enough Investiture. Translation medallions and Forgery both appear to be the former of the methods of transformation. Good observation.

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So, I just read through Emperor's Soul to take a look at the Realmatics of Forging. A few things I noted:

  • Shai references the Cognitive Realm when referring to the Table as a whole. How it's viewed as a single item, so that's why a separate soulstamp isn't needed for each bolt or piece of wood. The stamp is also referenced as being applied to the object's "soul." The Cognitive Realm is used to find your target, but I think the changes happen in the Spiritual Realm.
  • The changes she makes all have to do with how people interact with the stamped object. Was the stone in the walls improperly quarried by the stoneworkers? Was the water damage in the room repaired by the palace staff? Even with the Emperor, it was how he interacted with his brother or Gaotona. Shai's warrior alter-ego was based on a group of people she could have trained from. I think in every instance she is messing with the Connection to a person in the Spiritual Realm.
  • The changes she made were easier or harder based on how realistic of a change in the object's history could be. The slighter the change in Connection, the easier it was. When Shallan soulcasts, she doesn't deal with history - she's looking at how an object is now, and what she wants it to be right now.

However, I may have dismissed Soulcasting too soon as not using Connection. Here's the passage when Shallan transformed the ship into water at the beginning of WoR:

It really wanted to stay a ship. She could feel it, the pride it took, the reinforcement of years of service.


"They are dying," she whispered.




"You can feel them dying. Their blood on your deck. One by one, the people you serve will be cut down."


She could feel it herself, see it in the ship. They were being executed. Nearby, one of the floating candle flames vanished. Three of the eight captives dead, though she did not know which ones.


"There is only one chance to save them," Shallan said. "And that is to change."


"Change," Pattern whispered for the ship.


"If you change, they might escape the evil men who kill," Shallan whispered. "It is uncertain, but they will have a chance to swim. To do something. You can do them a last service, Wind's Pleasure. Change for them."






Another light vanished.


"I will change."


Shallan used the ship's Connection with its sailors to transform it to save their lives. I can't think of an obvious Connection for every Soulcasting - Jasnah might have used the criminals' Connection to their victims to Soulcast them to death, she might have used the castle's Connection to Taravingian's niece to convince it to change to free her. It might not even be necessary, but it might make it easier.

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When it comes to Soulcasting, I think it would depend on whether it was an Elsecaller, Lightweaver, or an ardent with a Soulcaster who is trying to cause the change. When Shallan caused the Wind's Pleasure to change she had to convince it that changing what it was would be a good thing. Jasnah, on the other hand, commanded the rope to change so the sailors would be released so there is no real evidence pointing to Connection there.


Jasnah gripped the beads in her hand.

“You,” she command, “will change.”

“I am a rope,” one of them said. “I am—”

You will change.

The ropes shivered, transforming—one by one—into smoke in the physical realm.


Since we haven't seen how ardents can use a working Soulcaster to cause an object to change I'm guessing only Sanderson knows for certain how that would fit

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