Shardcast: Fabrials and RoW Part One Epigraphs


Let's talk about fabrials! We sure learned a bunch about them in Rhythm of War, that's for sure. This is the first of two episodes on fabrials. In this one we're going through the Part One epigraphs, which really did have a ton of fabrial stuff. We'll continue this next time, but do note Shardcast will be back to every other week after this one.

We have Eric (Chaos), Ian (Weiry, and who lives by a jet plane known as his laptop's fan), Evgeni (Argent), Joshua (jofwu), Marvin (Paleo), and making a return from a long, long time ago is Rosemary (Kaymyth)!

Timestamps:

00:00 Introductions
03:08 Fabrials Pre-RoW
9:51 Part One Epigraphs!
10:40 Ch 1 Epigraph
11:40 Ch 2
13:29 Ch 3
15:20 Ch 4
22:08 Ch 5
28:05 Ch 6
30:06 Ch 7
38:29 Ch 8
46:21 Ch 9
49:05 Ch 10
56:22 Ch 11 (and Ch 10)
1:11:21 Ch 12
1:14:44 Ch 13
1:21:12 Ch 14
1:22:06 Ch 15
1:30:27 Ch 16 and 17
1:35:45 Ch 18
1:40:37 Ch 19
1:43:53 Who's That Cosmere Character
1:50:54 Outro

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Why are you going to every other week?

I know this is hard to edit but this is a great addition of my week please consider changing it.

Great episode!!

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You guys keep saying they used the painrial on Renarin. They used it on Adolin.

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Chaos

Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Bejardin1250 said:

Why are you going to every other week?

I know this is hard to edit but this is a great addition of my week please consider changing it.

Great episode!!

It's really time-intensive to do these shows weekly. After Oathbringer's release we did over a year of weekly shows, but it's pretty brutal, so we went to every other week from late 2019 until Rhythm of War hit. We're doing the same now until the next big release.

It's quite a lot to record and edit each of these weekly, and it's nice to do in bursts when big stuff comes out, but is not long term sustainable. We all work full time. There's just not enough hours in the week. I'd really hate to learn to resent the podcast because of pushing too hard. Honestly, the last few episodes have been like that. Every other week was a lot more sustainable.

I haven't been able to do short videos like I want, so hopefully there should still be some regular content coming, but hopefully it won't take as much time to produce as the podcast.

Edited by Chaos
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These epigraphs made me wonder if Navani would agree with Thomas Jefferson on his thoughts regarding invention and profiteering (with bonus point regarding peculiar uniqueness of flames):

Quote

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.

That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from anybody. Accordingly, it is a fact, as far as I am informed, that England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices.

 

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So, I'm brand new to the website (although I'm a longtime Cosmere reader and have listened to the podcast for a few months now) and am not sure if this is the place where I should post thoughts I had during the episode or if I should start a new thread in the forums. I'll go ahead and post my thoughts here, but I'd be happy to copy them over to the forums if that's where they're supposed to be!

 

There was some discussion in this episode about what exactly distinguishes augmenters/diminishers from attractors/repellers and how they interact with zinc and brass. I think I have a good grasp on how each of them function when used in creating altering fabrials (i.e. those that alter some physical or cognitive property in the world around them, such as heatrials or painrials). Let's assume that flamespren trapped in rubies are always related to the concept of heat and use them as an example. Here are the effects (and a brief discussion) of the effects of a fabrial built around a flamespren/ruby using pewter (augmenter), tin (diminisher), iron (attractor), and steel (repeller) as the primary metal.

  • Using pewter creates a heat augmenter, also called a heatrial.  This type of fabrial consumes Investiture in order to create heat, violating the law of conservation of energy. Think of it like a furnace, except it doesn't consume physical fuel and doesn't emit physical exhaust. Modifying the fabrial with zinc or brass will alter the fabrial so that it emits more heat or less heat (and presumably drain more/less Stormlight), respectively. It always emits some amount of heat, though. The fact that this is an energy-positive interaction explains why these types of fabrials drain Stormlight more quickly than other fabrials.
  • Using tin creates a heat diminisher, which I might call a "coldrial". This type of fabrial uses Investiture to destroy heat, violating the law of conservation of energy. Think of it sort of like the cold side of a Peltier device, except it uses Investiture instead of electricity and can operate without a hot side. Modifying the fabrial with zinc or brass will alter the fabrial so that it absorbs more or less heat, respectively. I don't know where the absorbed heat goes, but I'd guess that it's converted to Investiture and released in the spiritual realm. It might be possible to use some quirk of these fabrials to measure changes in physical properties. I could easily see modified "coldrials" acting sort of like thermistors in Stormlight-powered temperature sensors/digital thermometers.
  • Using iron creates a heat attractor (I can't think of a catchy name). This type of fabrial uses Investiture to attract heat in the surrounding environment. While it's similar to a heatrial in that using it heats the area around it, it differs in the source of this heat. Using a heat attractor only moves around existing heat, heating one place in exchange for cooling some other place. This doesn't violate the law of conservation of energy. Think of it like a heat pump. Modifying the fabrial with zinc or brass will alter the way the fabrial works, but I'm not exactly sure how. I think it'll either increase/decrease how quickly heat flows towards the fabrial, increase/decrease the size of the area that the fabrial effects, increase/decrease how large the temperature difference is between the hot and cold zones, or some combination of the three.
  • Using steel creates a heat repeller (No name for this, either...). This type of fabrial uses Investiture to repel heat in the surrounding environment. While it's similar to a "coldrial" in that using it reduces the heat of the area around it, it differs in where the excess heat goes. Using a heat repeller only moves around existing heat, cooling one place in exchange for cooling some other place. This doesn't violate the law of conservation fo energy. Think of it like a heat pump. I'm also not quite sure how zinc or brass will modify the output of this fabrial, but have similar thoughts as I did for the heat attractor.

Let's extend this to another example that deals with mass, not energy. An unknown spren trapped in smokestone can be placed in an iron cage to create a smoke attractor, like the Ghostbloods have. Using a steel cage (and presumably some technique that hasn't yet been developed yet) would create a smoke repeller (Before anyone says anything, you'd almost certainly want to use a smoke attractor, not repeller, to handle ventilation from a fire, assuming that it can be made directional using some aluminum foil). Using pewter and tin would get more interesting. I hypothesize that using this gem in a pewter fabrial would create smoke out of thin air and using it in a tin fabrial would literally destroy smoke that it came in to contact with. Yes, this would violate the law of conservation of mass, but it wouldn't be the first time that we've seen Investiture do that. Using a smoke augmenter (a literal smoke machine) probably uses a ton of Stormlight, though, so I doubt it'd be practical to do so.

 

I'm not quite sure how painrials and other fabrials that manipulate thoughts/feelings fit into this equation. We know that a painrial that reduces the amount of pain a person feels is made of a ruby with an unknown spren set in a brass cage. Pain is a cognitive phenomenon, not a physical one. Per the Allomantic table, brass is a mental, external, pushing metal. Its counterpart in the physical quadrant of the chart is steel. It's possible that brass is to mental concepts things as steel is to physical things. Still, that brings up another question. What's the difference between repelling pain and destroying pain? Where does repelled pain go? Could you use pain attractors/repellers to have one person take on the pain of another? I dunno... I'm curious to see what we learn in future books, though! I'd appreciate hearing y'all's thoughts on my theorizing.

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18 hours ago, exilarchy said:

So, I'm brand new to the website (although I'm a longtime Cosmere reader and have listened to the podcast for a few months now) and am not sure if this is the place where I should post thoughts I had during the episode or if I should start a new thread in the forums. I'll go ahead and post my thoughts here, but I'd be happy to copy them over to the forums if that's where they're supposed to be!

 

There was some discussion in this episode about what exactly distinguishes augmenters/diminishers from attractors/repellers and how they interact with zinc and brass. I think I have a good grasp on how each of them function when used in creating altering fabrials (i.e. those that alter some physical or cognitive property in the world around them, such as heatrials or painrials). Let's assume that flamespren trapped in rubies are always related to the concept of heat and use them as an example. Here are the effects (and a brief discussion) of the effects of a fabrial built around a flamespren/ruby using pewter (augmenter), tin (diminisher), iron (attractor), and steel (repeller) as the primary metal.

  • Using pewter creates a heat augmenter, also called a heatrial.  This type of fabrial consumes Investiture in order to create heat, violating the law of conservation of energy. Think of it like a furnace, except it doesn't consume physical fuel and doesn't emit physical exhaust. Modifying the fabrial with zinc or brass will alter the fabrial so that it emits more heat or less heat (and presumably drain more/less Stormlight), respectively. It always emits some amount of heat, though. The fact that this is an energy-positive interaction explains why these types of fabrials drain Stormlight more quickly than other fabrials.
  • Using tin creates a heat diminisher, which I might call a "coldrial". This type of fabrial uses Investiture to destroy heat, violating the law of conservation of energy. Think of it sort of like the cold side of a Peltier device, except it uses Investiture instead of electricity and can operate without a hot side. Modifying the fabrial with zinc or brass will alter the fabrial so that it absorbs more or less heat, respectively. I don't know where the absorbed heat goes, but I'd guess that it's converted to Investiture and released in the spiritual realm. It might be possible to use some quirk of these fabrials to measure changes in physical properties. I could easily see modified "coldrials" acting sort of like thermistors in Stormlight-powered temperature sensors/digital thermometers.
  • Using iron creates a heat attractor (I can't think of a catchy name). This type of fabrial uses Investiture to attract heat in the surrounding environment. While it's similar to a heatrial in that using it heats the area around it, it differs in the source of this heat. Using a heat attractor only moves around existing heat, heating one place in exchange for cooling some other place. This doesn't violate the law of conservation of energy. Think of it like a heat pump. Modifying the fabrial with zinc or brass will alter the way the fabrial works, but I'm not exactly sure how. I think it'll either increase/decrease how quickly heat flows towards the fabrial, increase/decrease the size of the area that the fabrial effects, increase/decrease how large the temperature difference is between the hot and cold zones, or some combination of the three.
  • Using steel creates a heat repeller (No name for this, either...). This type of fabrial uses Investiture to repel heat in the surrounding environment. While it's similar to a "coldrial" in that using it reduces the heat of the area around it, it differs in where the excess heat goes. Using a heat repeller only moves around existing heat, cooling one place in exchange for cooling some other place. This doesn't violate the law of conservation fo energy. Think of it like a heat pump. I'm also not quite sure how zinc or brass will modify the output of this fabrial, but have similar thoughts as I did for the heat attractor.

Let's extend this to another example that deals with mass, not energy. An unknown spren trapped in smokestone can be placed in an iron cage to create a smoke attractor, like the Ghostbloods have. Using a steel cage (and presumably some technique that hasn't yet been developed yet) would create a smoke repeller (Before anyone says anything, you'd almost certainly want to use a smoke attractor, not repeller, to handle ventilation from a fire, assuming that it can be made directional using some aluminum foil). Using pewter and tin would get more interesting. I hypothesize that using this gem in a pewter fabrial would create smoke out of thin air and using it in a tin fabrial would literally destroy smoke that it came in to contact with. Yes, this would violate the law of conservation of mass, but it wouldn't be the first time that we've seen Investiture do that. Using a smoke augmenter (a literal smoke machine) probably uses a ton of Stormlight, though, so I doubt it'd be practical to do so.

 

I'm not quite sure how painrials and other fabrials that manipulate thoughts/feelings fit into this equation. We know that a painrial that reduces the amount of pain a person feels is made of a ruby with an unknown spren set in a brass cage. Pain is a cognitive phenomenon, not a physical one. Per the Allomantic table, brass is a mental, external, pushing metal. Its counterpart in the physical quadrant of the chart is steel. It's possible that brass is to mental concepts things as steel is to physical things. Still, that brings up another question. What's the difference between repelling pain and destroying pain? Where does repelled pain go? Could you use pain attractors/repellers to have one person take on the pain of another? I dunno... I'm curious to see what we learn in future books, though! I'd appreciate hearing y'all's thoughts on my theorizing.

What you said about heat fabrials: Brandon had said that matter, energy, and Investiture are all the same just in different states, like with real physics. The heat fabrials take Investiture (Stormlight) and convert it into heat energy.

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3 hours ago, basement_boi said:

What you said about heat fabrials: Brandon had said that matter, energy, and Investiture are all the same just in different states, like with real physics. The heat fabrials take Investiture (Stormlight) and convert it into heat energy.

I figured that it was something like that, but I'm glad to know that it's confirmed in WoBs (as much as anything can be confirmed in WoBs, at least)! If it turns out that thought/emotion/feeling manipulation can be done both with augmenters/diminishers and with attractors/repellers, that leads to some interesting questions. Do augmenters still consume more Stormlight? If they do, is that because emotions/thoughts/feelings are how matter or energy (not sure which one) is represented in the Cognitive Realm?

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Looks like polarizing light is used to reduce glare and to otherwise control what energy is focused on.  In the case of the painrial it might be related to how much pain is let through and depending on where touch and pain differ it might dictate which kinds of sensation can be let through e.g. something crawling on you might not be painful but you might be able to tune a painrial to take away crawling sensations instead of burning sensation.  Below are the things I read to try to understand what they might be saying.

https://www.khanacademy.org/science/physics/light-waves/introduction-to-light-waves/v/polarization-of-light-linear-and-circular
https://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/light/Lesson-1/Polarization

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Gilphon

Posted

I'm sceptical that it's actually Raysium that's being used to the conduct investiture. Like the spears the Fused wield are made out of the 'silvery' metal, and the herald-killing dagger has what Raboniel claims is a 'nickel silver alloy' around the gemstone. 

So I think that it's actually Nicrosil that they're using. So they're not gonna have to rely on a Godmetal when it comes time to make Fabrial computers. 

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On 3/8/2021 at 1:21 PM, Gilphon said:

I'm sceptical that it's actually Raysium that's being used to the conduct investiture. Like the spears the Fused wield are made out of the 'silvery' metal, and the herald-killing dagger has what Raboniel claims is a 'nickel silver alloy' around the gemstone. 

So I think that it's actually Nicrosil that they're using. So they're not gonna have to rely on a Godmetal when it comes time to make Fabrial computers. 

Before I start my actual reply, here's a link to a thread on the forum with a translation of Navani/Raboniel's notes on the dagger. It's where we learn about the "silver-nickel alloy", among other things.

Raysium is used in making these daggers. It isn't the "silver-nickel" alloy you're referencing, though. That might be nicrosil, but I'm not 100% convinced. I'm going to walk through the (at least) 3 metals used in constructing the dagger.

First, there is the metal that makes up the blade (and probably the handle) of the dagger. I assume this is iron or steel, since I don't recall anyone ever making note of the blade of the dagger being made out of a different metal than one would expect. I assume that it isn't important to the dagger's function (in terms of investiture, at least. It's definitely important to the dagger's function if you want to use it to stab someone in the conventional sense!).

The "silver-nickel" alloy that you mention is used to house the gemstone. It's definitely possible that this metal is nicrosil, but I'm not certain of that. First off, IRL nicrosil isn't an alloy of nickel and silver. It's an alloy of nickel with chromium, silicon, and (sometimes) germanium. If the Fused don't make the alloy themselves, it's possible that they don't know the composition and are only assuming that it's an alloy of nickel and silver. If they do make it, though, there's no way that they could be confused about this. The physical properties of silver and chromium (the two metals they'd be mixing up) are very different. Silver tarnishes, unlike chromium. Chromium has a melting point ~1000°C above silver's. Silver is incredibly soft, while chromium is among the hardest elements that we know of. If the metal is nicrosil, Raboniel is either lying to Navani or doesn't actually know how to make it. (As an aside, I think that this might actually be an alloy of nickel and silver. When Brandon RAFO'd a question asking whether Raboniel was lying about the metal's composition, he mentioned "interesting theories and conclusions in that post above". An earlier post in that thread linked to this WoB that indicates that silver has some role in the Cosmere (even though it isn't currently used by the Metallic Arts). Maybe silver (or silver alloys) conduct investiture?)

The third metal is the one that's referred to as Raysium. It's the "white-gold" metal that makes up the thin vein that runs the full length of the blade. Raboniel removes it from her dagger, turns it around, and reinserts it in order to switch the "polarity" of the device (i.e. to make it draw investiture in rather than pull it out). This is different than merely conducting investiture. If silver acts like a pipe that carries investiture, Raysium acts as either a pump or a one-way valve (I'm unsure if the investiture is drawn in to/pushed out from the gem on the blade because of differences in "pressure" or if the Raysium actively pushes/pulls the investiture out/in.) Raysium definitely could be useful in building investiture-powered versions of real-world electronics (it sort of acts like a diode), but probably wouldn't be strictly necessary for many (most? any? IDK, I don't know much more than the basics of electronics) of them.

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Gilphon

Posted

On 2021-03-09 at 4:22 PM, exilarchy said:

The "silver-nickel" alloy that you mention is used to house the gemstone. It's definitely possible that this metal is nicrosil, but I'm not certain of that. First off, IRL nicrosil isn't an alloy of nickel and silver. It's an alloy of nickel with chromium, silicon, and (sometimes) germanium. If the Fused don't make the alloy themselves, it's possible that they don't know the composition and are only assuming that it's an alloy of nickel and silver.

This is my assumption, yes. Or at the very least, I'm assuming that Raboniel doesn't know that it's not silver. Her expertise isn't exact metalworking, and Nicrosil isn't exactly an otherwise common material. I quite simply not buy for a second that an unknown silver-nickel alloy that's never been referred to before is going to turn out to be super-important for the future of magical technologies. Not when Nicrosil is right there and conducting Investiture is a basically perfect match for how it behaves in all three metallic arts.

And yes, it is clear that the dagger does use Raysium for something, but I think it's almost as clear that the 'silver-nickel alloy' is not as non-functional as Raboniel claims, so we're left without clarity on what metal does what. Though I think the biggest clue lies in the assumption I'm making that the stormlight-sucking are not using Raysium. Which leads me to the speculation that the Raysium is being used to make sure sentient beings like spren and heralds can't resist. That Nicrosil is good enough if you're just moving around stormlight, but not if you want to move a spren.

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Is there a new ep this weekend? I keep checking YouTube but I can’t find it. 

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10 hours ago, Lightwing8888 said:

Is there a new ep this weekend? I keep checking YouTube but I can’t find it. 

Yep! It's another episode on Fabrials. Here's a link:

 

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On 3/10/2021 at 4:46 PM, Gilphon said:

And yes, it is clear that the dagger does use Raysium for something, but I think it's almost as clear that the 'silver-nickel alloy' is not as non-functional as Raboniel claims, so we're left without clarity on what metal does what. Though I think the biggest clue lies in the assumption I'm making that the stormlight-sucking are not using Raysium. Which leads me to the speculation that the Raysium is being used to make sure sentient beings like spren and heralds can't resist. That Nicrosil is good enough if you're just moving around stormlight, but not if you want to move a spren.

I agree that the alloy probably has some function in the device, but Raysium has to be more important to the "stormlight-sucking" properties of the dagger beyond just making it more effective on cognitive entities (spren, heralds, etc...). It appears to be explicitly involved in the directionality of the dagger.

 

Quote

Feeling an ominous cloud hanging over her, Navani repeated her experiment, this time filling the gemstone a little less -- just in case -- before removing it and holding it up.

Raboniel took it, and though she didn't drop it this time, she did flinch. "So Strange," she said. She fitted it into her second dagger. Then she undid a screw and slipped out the piece of metal running through the center. She flipped it around -- it had points on both ends, and a hole for the screw -- before replacing it.

"To make the anti-Voidlight flow out of the gemstone along the blade?" Navani asked. "Instead of drawing in what it touches?"

"Indeed," Raboniel said.

From pg. 1048 of RoW (US hardcover), just before Raboniel kills her daughter.

 

By rotating the piece of Raysium in the dagger, Raboniel can turn it from something that "sucks in" investiture to something that "pushes out" investiture. I'm not sure if Raysium acts as a pump that forces the investiture to "flow" or if it acts as a valve that regulates a "flow" created by something else (the alloy, perhaps?). Either way, Raysium is absolutely necessary for this method of "flow" control to work. There are probably other ways to achieve the same effect without using a God Metal, but I imagine that they're tougher to design/build, that they don't work as well, or both.

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