Shardcast: Fabrials in Rhythm of War and Dawnshard

Last time, we talked about the Rhythm of War Part One epigraphs and the fabrials details there (which you can check out here: ). This time we are going deep into the new things we've learned in Dawnshard and Rhythm of War, and boy. There is a lot. We get solidly into the weeds here on mechanics, aluminum, and the ancient fabrials.

We have Eric (Chaos), Ian (Weiry), Evgeni (Argent), Joshua (jofwu), Marvin (Paleo), and Rosemary (Kaymyth).

00:00 Introduction 
3:57 Fabrials
6:10 Aluminum, Frame of Reference, and Spanreeds
27:39 More Aluminum: Tomor's Glove and Fourth Bridge
41:06 Force Multiplication
48:47 Ancient Fabrials
1:29:49 Suppression Fabrial
1:54:25 Who's That Cosmere Character

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I'm not done with the episode yet, but I feel compelled to post this now... I was pretty frustrated while listening to the first section (aluminum, frames of reference, the Fourth Bridge, spanreeds, the glove, etc...). The way that spatial pairing fabrials conceive of space can be a lot simpler than the system that y'all were talking about throughout much of this part of the podcast. I think that y'all got there in the end, but it never was actually spelled out, so I figured that I'd write up the way that I envision spatial pairing fabrials working. (Note that I'm specifying spatial pairing fabrials. It appears to be possible to used paired gemstones to reflect attributes other than location in space. AFAIK, the only example we have of this in book is the blinking feature of spanreeds, but I wouldn't be surprised if other uses of paired gemstones are possible. I could envision fabrials that transmit heat or sound, for example.)


Spatial pairing fabrials (i.e. conjoiners and reversers) model the space that they're moving through in a similar way as most 3-D plotting/modeling/tracking systems do in the real world. They create 3 axes (x, y, and z, by convention) and model movement through space as movement on these axes. There is some arbitrarily defined origin point (0, 0, 0) and all movement is measured relative to that location. If I'm at the origin and move 5 meters to the right (i.e. along the X axis in a positive direction), I'll end up at (5, 0, 0, assuming units are meters). If I then move 2 meters forwards (positive Y axis) and 3 meters down (negative Z axis), I'll be at (5, 2, -3). You might recognize this as a basic 3-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system.

While it's possible for you to build your system in a way that the X coordinate is longitude, the Y coordinate is latitude, and the Z coordinate is altitude, this is by no means required. You don't have to make sure that you're facing north before drawing a 2-D graph on a piece of paper, for example. You also don't have to make sure that the paper is parallel to the ground. You can even move the piece of paper around! All points in this space are measured relative to the origin, which is itself located on the piece of paper.

Spatial pairing fabrials work by having motion on one end produce a corresponding motion on the other end. If an activated conjoiner moves 5cm in the X direction, its partner also moves 5cm in the X direction. If an activated reverser moves 2 meters in the Y direction, its partner moves 2 meters in the negative Y direction.

My theory is that you set the origin point/axes for a given spatial pairing fabrial when you activate it. Turning the fabrial off "erases" the old origin point and turning the fabrial on again in some other place creates a new origin. Orienting a spanreed is a process that ensures that the origin point and axes of the sending spanreed and receiving spanreed are aligned relative to the piece of paper being written on. I imagine that the convention is something like "The X axis runs from the top of the page to the bottom of the page, the Y axis runs from the left side of the page to the right side of the page, the Z axis runs perpendicular to the page, and the origin is hovering some set distance above the top left corner of the page." To orient the spanreed, you turn it on while holding it in that position. There's no need to worry about pulling out a compass or locating the origin or anything like that.

Aluminum can be used to limit the connection to movement on only one or two axes. A pair of conjoiners modified by aluminum might only link motion on the X axis, while allowing both fabrials to move independently on the Y and Z axes. This is how the glove works. The weights fall along their Z axis. Engaging the glove sets the glove's Z axis to align with the direction the wearer's hand is pointing. The weights then pull the wearer in that direction. If the wearer wants to move in another direction, all they have to do is disengage the glove, point their hand somewhere else, and reengage the glove.


This theory isn't perfect, of course. A major issue is that it doesn't explain why a pair of spanreeds that are both on the same ship work fine while writing from land to a ship is effectively impossible. That said, I think it works pretty well overall.


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Posted (edited)

Huh, that was an interesting idea that Kaymyth proposed, we don't see the Shardblades of all the Recreance Radiants, there should be a lot more, but if some of them were left behind as Soulcasters rather than Shardblades... Unlike Shardblades, Radiants who can Soulcast wouldn't need their spren to turn into Soulcasters though so that would have to have been a conscious decision if that happened, on the other hand, we do see pre-Recreance Radiants using a Regrowth fabrial, and they probably had Soulcasters too... but why? A Radiant is much more versatile than having a spren manifest themselves as a fabrial, and even if before the imprisonment of Ba-Ado-Mishram it wouldn't have meant being comatose, it still doesn't seem that much preferable than being Bonded (and before the Recreance they shouldn't have considered being Bonded that dangerous, right? Oh wait, the Inkspren did consider the possibility, only half of them Bonded. Hmm...), so why would pre-Recreance spren have chosen to do that at all?

Parent, Sibling, gender neutral terms, there were hints, dammit! Good eye with Sja-Anat's Enlightened spren calling her mother, despite having already existed before being changed by Sja-Anat, seeing it as a rebirth.

Hey, Urithiru is the Sibling manifesting in the Physical Realm, does that mean that the Tower is made up of godmetal or godmineral? The Sibling is the only spren we know of who manifested gemstones, huh, I wonder if those gemstones count as being more special than regular gemstones? Do they count as... godmineral too

Wow, I didn't even notice it, all Godmetals aren't necessarily near indestructible: Atium and Raysium are specifically molded, and Soulcasters can (maybe) be damaged! So Shardblades (& Honorblades) are something special in that way. And I didn't even wonder about Melishi's failsafe fabrial Soulcasting, Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! That's a pretty major thing in retrospect... 

Unrelated but, have I mentioned how much I love the term "Towerlight"? A lot of people complained about that term, but I loved it! It invokes the image of a lighthouse, which is rather fitting, an idea of a bastion of light against the darkness. And the idea of the Tower City of the Radiants glittering with its own strange Light in ancient times just makes me really want a pre-Recreance, possibly pre-Aharietiam  novella!

Convincing a minor spren to manifest as a fabrial vs imprisoning them in a gemstone, huh. Kinda like how minor spren Bond with native Rosharan flora? That should be possible

Hey, you guys didn't talk about the ancient fabrial which apparently made Aimia habitable! It could have been a big spren who manifested themselves as such *looks at Cusicesh the Protector*

We've only seen suppressor fabrials being manifested by the Sibling and a potentially completely new? type of Voidspren, huh. I wonder if other spren could learn how to do that.

Edited by Honorless

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Just throwing this out there, but when I go running, 3 MPH is my walking speed and 6 MPH is my running speed. It's a very odd running speed in that it feels pretty fast if you're on a treadmill, but it feels relatively slow on the road (I have to actively monitor my speed, so as not to go too fast). It's definitely on the slower end of the run speed spectrum.


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In regards to whether Teft could use Adhesion.  If I remember correctly the plan was to use adehsion on the outside of the tower as part of the radiant resue plan.


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