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Allomantic Metals on Roshar (Spoilers up to Ch. 7)


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I've been paying close attention to Navani's POVs since the beginning of this book. After her amazing prologue, I was really invested in her storyline and what she had to say, so I've been carefully observing her notes on fabrials. Both her observations on the airship fabrials and the headers taken from her fabrial lecture mention metals. Throughout The Stormlight Archive, we hear that aluminum has weird properties on Roshar, which matches up with the fact that aluminum seems to meddle with all kinds of Investiture in the Cosmere. 

In Chapter 7, Navani says that the spren inside a fabrial gemstone interact differently with zinc and brass wires. Contact with zinc wires will make the spren manifest more strongly, while contact with brass wires will make the spren withdraw. These effects mimic the properties of their Allomantic counterparts: zinc Riots emotions, while brass Soothes emotions. I found it interesting that the metals' interactions with the spren parallels the Allomantic properties of the metals on Scandrial. 

While I'm convinced that Brandon is inserting these tidbits as a little reference for those of us who have read Mistborn, I have a strange feeling that something here is connected. Or Connected. I'm not sure. I could be reading too much into it, but then again, reading too much into things is how we have some cool theories on this site. 

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Brandon once talked about Mental DNA, much like Physical or Spiritual DNA

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Questioner

Your magic systems are very structured, and specific rules that dominate them. But are there any universal laws that apply to all of the magic systems in the cosmere together?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there's several of them. Basically, the most important one and relevant to people who enjoy real physics is that I consider something called Investiture to be a third state of matter and energy. So, instead of e=mc^2, we have a third thing, Investiture, in there. And you can change Investiture to matter or to energy. And so, because of that, that law that you can do this, is where we see a lot of the cosmere magics living.

We also have a kind of rule that beings all exist, everything exists on three different levels. The Physical, the Spiritual, and the Cognitive. And, like we have DNA for our Physical self, we also have Mental DNA and Spiritual DNA, and all three influence one another. For instance, you couldn't test an Allomancer's blood and find the Allomancy gene, because it is in a different set of their DNA. You just have three sets. You could compose a test that could test it on the Spiritual Realm, but you're gonna have to use a different branch of physics to do that and determine who was an Allomancer. And so they all work on this kind of fundamental rules of: your Identity, your Connection, and being part of your soul, and the magics working through those things.

So there's some fundamental rules about this, about changing forms from energy to matter, and you having this Identity, Investiture, and Connection stored in your Spiritual DNA that are really relevant to everything.

ICon 2019 (Oct. 15, 2019)

I suspected that zinc and brass are manipulations of this Mental/Cognitive DNA as, well, its a manipulation of the mind/cognitive. Also the emotion spren on Roshar did support the idea that emotion are Cognitive in nature in the Cosmere. Zinc and brass having similar properties in fabrial science, more specifically on spren makes sense, spren are Cognitive Entities.

I suspect it seems similar to Allomancy because of the components of Allomancy: Preservation's Investiture, metal as key filtering the power to have a specific effect and an Allomancer's ability to burn certain metals, which comes from their Spiritweb or sDNA. Allomancers can burn metal from other worlds, which proves that there's nothing special about Scadrian metal. Since other people don't have the requisite sDNA, they won't be able to burn the metals, but the metals themselves can still act as a filter. I think that you can use them to filter Investiture from other Shards as well, not just Preservation. This filtering ability of these metals is Spiritual in nature

Quote

Questioner

Quick question on aluminum. Why does it affect other forms of Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

When I was building the cosmere, I just had to build certain themes into it, and metal was one of those. And the metals have kind of a Spiritual integrity, and Spiritual component, that if I can get into Dragonsteel explaining why, you'll get your kind of origins.

Questioner

And that's why, in Warbreaker, metals are different with Awakening, and stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

And even in Roshar, the cages that you're building for fabrials, once you start to figure out how those metals affect it, you'll be like, "Oh wait, that makes sense!" And these are just across the cosmere.

And if you want an in-world answer, it has to do with stuff in Dragonsteel. But really, the answer is, I was building this and I'm like, "I just want this to be a theme. So I'm just going to give this Spiritual component to metals." So it works in Mistborn, and it works all across everything.

LTUE 2020 (Feb. 15, 2020)

 

Edited by Honorless
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the cages that you're building for fabrials, once you start to figure out how those metals affect it, you'll be like, "Oh wait, that makes sense!"

Yep, that's exactly what happened, brass/zinc/aluminum effects of fabrials make so much sense. 

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Building off of what @Honorless said. Think of the Cosmere as having an additional level to its physics, one where concepts have an actual valid influence. Those underlying physics likely are the source for why metals and colours play important parts in multiple magic systems.

My guess as to why metals have effects on Investiture is due to the same rules that cause solid Investiture to take a metallic form. There must be some kind of interplay.

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On 8/18/2020 at 11:25 PM, StanLemon said:

Those underlying physics likely are the source for why metals and colours play important parts in multiple magic systems.

[Cosmere Spoilers (Ish)]

Spoiler

Don't forget that the Polestones (because of their color, admittedly) are also capable of capturing other things besides Stormlight (and voidlight) and Spren. You could, theoretically, put a Seon in a gemstone and make a Fabrial. Also, I think you can put a Shade in there (perhaps with a Silver cage) and make something like Nazh's Shadegun from Era 2 Mistborn.

I also think you could store Light from Taldain's sun (Sandlight?) and use it as a fuel for a Fabrial.

...Jeez, imagine that... A Seon in a gem with a Silver cage fuelled by Sandlight... Strange...

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So zinc and brass riot and soothe the spren, so to speak (ch 7)

pewter and tin push and pull on nearby attributes (ch 9 & 10 resp)

bronze is used for alerter fabrials (ch 8)

Did we skip copper? Or are copper fabrials unknown at this point on Roshar?

Edited by Honorless
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53 minutes ago, Honorless said:

I was thinking copper's the one Navani & her team might discover after reverse-engineering/trying to counter the anti-Radiancy fabrial that the teleporting Fused used against Kal

It would be a little weird for them to be using bronze if they don't already know copper though. However when Syl mentioned the effect of the void fabrial had on her my first thought was copper

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2 hours ago, Honorless said:

I was thinking copper's the one Navani & her team might discover after reverse-engineering/trying to counter the anti-Radiancy fabrial that the teleporting Fused used against Kal

We know that Rosharans know what copper is, since Shallan and Kaladin recognized it on the spren ship in OB.

Which doesn't necessarily mean that they know what it does in Fabrials, but it does mean that Navani would almost certainly recognize it. That she didn't implies that it's either a Godmetal or one of the more exotic Allomantic ones, like chromium or electrum or something. As I said in the chapter discussion thread, I really wish Navani had mentioned what colour the unknown metal is, because that would really help us narrow down the options. 

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@StanLemon, Because of the elemental metal + alloy pairing? They might not be looking at it that way and instead seeing it as a continuum: pewter, tin, bronze.

We already skipped copper: zinc & bronze were mentioned together in ch 7 epigraph, then bronze in 8, pewter in 9 and tin in 10.

 

Could be that the fabrial was made using Nicrosil or aluminum or Duralumin too.

Edited by Honorless
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1 minute ago, Honorless said:

Because of the elemental metal + alloy pairing? They might not be looking at it that way and instead seeing it as a continuum: pewter, tin, bronze or something.

What? No, because copper is a very common and useful material with a really recognizable colour, and so Navani would easily recognize it, even if she's not used to thinking of it in the context of Fabrials.

And we do not that the Fabrial is not aluminium, because Navani mentioned using that in the construction of The Fourth Bridge and therefore definitely knows what it looks like.

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On 9/10/2020 at 11:42 PM, Gilphon said:

And we do not that the Fabrial is not aluminium, because Navani mentioned using that in the construction of The Fourth Bridge and therefore definitely knows what it looks like.

Oops, as I mentioned on the other thread, I just skimmed over the technobabble regarding the bridge so I totally forgot that they used aluminium, I only remembered that they needed a large number of chulls over on Narak to operate the bridge and that Navani is using the same principles from the archerstand in OB and spanreed, I just got the basic gist

 

In Ch 11, we see that they know iron pulls (attractor fabrials), they know there should be a repeller fabrial, but presumably don't know how to go about it. If they don't know steel, they might indeed not know copper. So they haven't quite figured out the elemental metal-alloy connection, in the sense of Allomantic pairings, I'm not saying that the Rosharans are unaware of the element or compound's existence. Navani makes it clear in the Rhythm of War part 1 epigraphs that fabrial science advances are treated as state secrets so some fabrial science methods may even be lost, like the half-Shard shields and bows from Jah Keved, after the development of which King Hanavanar and a no. of his Highprinces were assassinated by Szeth and then a civil war started.

Edited by Honorless
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