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Metal transmutation & Feruchemy


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Feruchemy can store a specific attribute for each metal, what would happen if the metal is changed while it is charged ?

First there is 3 methods I can think of to change the metal :

- Soulcasting : this is unrealistic because Investiture resist Investiture. As such a charged metalmind would be near-impossible to change (more probably require an immense quantity of investiture)

- Forgery : same thing than Soulcasting, Investiture will resist

- Nuclear transmutation : this is the modification of an atom into another by adding/removing protons and neutrons. Currently no worlds have reached a scientific level where this is a possibility but this will be possible in Era 4 and maybe discovered in Era 3.

By nuclear transmutation it will at least be possible to change a base metal into another, alloys on the other hand will be more complicated.

Now let's suppose we have a Zinc metalmind and we transmute it to Copper (1 less proton only). For simplicity we'll use an unkeyed metalmind. So the question is what happens to the mental speed stored ?

- the charge disappear in the process and is released as raw investiture.

- the charge is accessible to be tapped by a Zinc Feruchemist but he can't store any new mental speed. A Copper Feruchemist could use it to store/tap memories.

- a Copper Feruchemist can tap but not store mental speed, and store/tap memories as usual.

- the metalmind still consider itself Zinc on the Cognitive side and fully behaves like a Zincmind. This will change with time but will be very slow, at some point we may end in one of the other outcomes.

- the mental speed is converted to memories and behaves like a normal Coppermind. Ok this might be a bit weird with my example, but in reverse it could be used to encrypt memories.

I have no way to tell which of those outcomes is the most likely.

Most of them however would not be worth realising the transmutation, their uses would mostly be limited to hiding what kind of feruchemist the user is. The conversion outcome can be more interesting depending on the conversion rates between the metals but it is unlikely to be worth the transmutation if it is as hard to do on Scadrial as it is for us.

What are your thoughts on the question ?

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What would happen if a Feruchemist fills, for example, a tin metalmind then mixes it to make a pewter metalmind? Does the stored attribute change? Is the Investiture gone when you melt the metal? What if he just makes it into a tin metalmind again?

Brandon Sanderson

If you make it impure, you'll keep the investiture, but won't be able to get it out. If you make it back into the same thing, you'll be fine, and can access it normally. If you try to fill it, after changing the composition to make another viable metal, it will act a little like a computer hard drive with corrupted sectors. Some of it will work for the new investiture, but you won't be able to fill it nearly as full. (Depending on how full it was before you melted down.)

This holds for basic uses of the metallurgic arts. Once you start playing with some of the more advanced parts of the magic, you can achieve different results, which are currently RAFO.


Similarly, if you were to soulcast a metal would it have similar effects of corrupting the investiture and making it inaccessible? Like if you turned a steel metalmind into pewter.

Brandon Sanderson

I've stayed away from soulcasting and forging in these types of discussions, as I feel my answers will dig too deeply and prompt more questions that, eventually, will lead to lots of RAFO type questions. I don't really want to go there--but I will say this. Changing invested objects with other magics is hard, and often requires such a force of investiture yourself, that it becomes very power-inefficient. Just like we can technically turn lead into gold right now--by spending way more money than the gold is worth.


So you could, for example, use electrolysis to dissolve a metalmind in water, then reverse the reaction later to get the investiture?

OR, better question, if you store investiture in one allotrope of iron, can your retrieve it off you change to a different allotrope?

Brandon Sanderson

I see no reason why these wouldn't work.


So would forging with the blood of a radiant(kaladin, dalinar,etc) work on a shard blade from a fallen radiant to say change who they had bonded, or how the bond was broken (to say death instead of giving up on the oath)?

Brandon Sanderson


General Reddit 2016 (Nov. 11, 2016)


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I would have to guess that, just by going through how each of those works, it would destroy the metalmind or at least render it inaccessible.

Soulcasting would be changing the Cognitive aspect of the metalmind which then results in a change in the Physical Realm, and (if you overcome the resistance from the stored attribute) it would seem that it is no longer, in your example, a zincmind but rather a regular piece of copper with the stored attribute either neutralized in the process of overcoming the resistance from the said stored attribute, by the interference from between the two sources of investiture, or (more simply) made inaccessible because it is a different type of metal now and in someway 'sealed off'.

Forgery (from what I understand, need to read The Emperor's Soul) involves rewriting the history of an object, so unless it was changed so that the new metal had been charged as a metalmind it would just run into the same problems as Soulcasting.

Nuclear transmutation seems to have more of a clear answer, as the quote @Chiberty showed says, mixing a metalmind with another metal after it is forged with simply make the stored attributes inaccessible, so it seems that if the investiture were not simply released or destroyed in the process of transmuting the metal, it would be inaccessible.

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