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hwiles

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  1. So, I haven't actually had enough time away to myself yet to crack Yumi open and see what this one's all about yet, so please no spoilers, but I did want to share... Basically, whenever I buy from Dragonsteel (or any other creator or product-originator) directly, I try to say something nice, cute, or cheeky if they include a form field for special shipping/handling instructions/comments. In my experience, legitimate requests are usually handled well, but it's pretty rare that anyone actually reacts to them when they aren't serious, if only because time is money, and you can never be sure who you're dealing with... Buuuuuuut, this time I lucked out a little and the exceptionally kind Dragonsteel Shipping team has blessed me with a vision of the likeness of their mascots and a succinct thank-you-note for the continued support. Huzzah! Glory to the Shipping team, may they live forever! Without them, my collection of leather-bounds would be empty instead of compleat, and they shan't be forgotten for it.
  2. hwiles

    Shardcast: Hemalurgy

    Let's be honest with ourselves, we all knew that the pandora's box which is Hemalurgy had to be opened all the way eventually the moment we first laid eyes on it. Many thanks to the 17th Sharders for exploring depths that few others dare to walk!
  3. I mean...I know this is a bit of an off the wall proposal so I can't push back too hard...but "pre-established" feels like too strong a word for this case. The Heralds only imposed oaths and orders on the Radiants as a reactionary measure, my understanding is that they were originally surprised when Radiants began manifesting Nahel bonds. My thought is that Heralds "attempted" to pre-establish development pathways for what were essentially 10 newly evolved wild magic systems which closely mirrored their own capabilities and powers but ultimately got their by totally different means. Those development pathways have obviously been stable enough that no one has broken out of them by brute force progression and self-growth thus far, but do we know them to be hard-capped and, more importantly, would the Heralds have intentionally wanted and chosen to but a hard limit on the people they were trusting with protecting the planet in their stead? I propose a simple scenario: in the back-half of the stormlight series, a 5th Ideal Radiant is confronted with an existential threat to themselves and their entire order which is somehow directly derived from an ideological weakness, gap, or under-constraint in their Oaths. They see it, they acknowledge it, and they physically CANNOT (because of the first Oath) simply lay down their arms, admit that their order is flawed, and surrender to their own destruction. So what do they do? They swear new words which bind them even tighter and obligate them to do everything they still can to counter such a threat (strength before weakness, and life before death yes?) And all future threats which resemble it. When I consider that languages evolve and expand over time to incorporate new concepts, and both humans and spren appear to be capable of self-improvement and change...I don't know, this suggestion just really resonated with me. I almost feel like there absolutely must be higher Ideals beyond the 5th, if only because the Heralds were demonstrably imperfect beings; if they truly had all of the answers upfront, then why did they still fall? Just musings and thoughts; I'd like to hear what more people think back though, or what some potential consequences of extreme ideological binding (or overconstraint!) Could ensue 10 years from now when we really digging into Roshar's future. Also, also: if all the Heralds die permanently, and they don't lead/govern each Order in any way, do the contents of the Oaths still stay static forever...?
  4. A peculiar thought, but it occurred to me that many of the times a Radiant on screen has sworn a new Ideal has been the direct result of a traumatic event. So...I suppose I wanted to ask the community: should it theoretically be possible for a Radiant who has already sworn and complied with their 5th ideal to, if cornered, battered, and gravely threatened in a way that challenges the core of the character but is able to be philosophically overcome with a single epiphany, conceive, manifest, and swear a 6th Ideal? Is there any reason to doubt that this is possible?
  5. First, awesome post. Your observations on Pewter alone are maddening and system-breaking and I can't see any holes in them; 100% agree that a brute with ambitions on being a professional body-builder could store muscle mass and strength continously, persistently work out while weakened to achieve consistent accelerated gains, then tap their mind on demand to become an 800lb gorilla and that's horrifying... I would take Wayne's sick-day strategy claims with a grain of salt though...he's a good man deep (DEEP) down, but he lies a lot. I just have trouble believing that one can meaningfully store health while severely drunk; I don't doubt that he binge drinks and screws off for weeks on end, I just don't believe that's actually how he gets his charge and suspect he must be using the bit-by-bit method constantly in order to keep up with how often he gets shot, stabbed, or broken. Storing health while drunk just sounds like a super bad idea that shouldn't work. Zinc, I think, would actually be one of the easiest metals to store and build up. Admittedly, if one stored 20% of mental speed constantly, people they interact with regularly would probably develop a perception that they were slow in the head, which isn't ideal. That said, tapping 500% for 5 minutes in anyone's presence would likely be enough to permanently convince them that you're a genius, angel, or some kind of God. Electrum. I would actually think that determination could be stored best using your flicker method. I'm pretty sure I could store at 90% during most of my daily meetings and no one would notice as long as I stopped when asked to speak. Chromium. 100% agree that storing Fortune should not be conducted using the bit-by-bit method; that sounds like a recipe for ruining one's life. Storing while specifically engaging with controlled, safe, low-variance activities should be basically negligible though, and tapping while engaging with random, high-risk, and high-variation activities (like gambling) would be awesome. Steel. Sick day method 100% here. Getting drunk for a whole day and watching TV requires nearly zero physical movement and would net one approximately 16 hours at 2x speed later and that's freaking insanely broken. I would only move at 0 or 1000% as a steel ferring.
  6. Similar to what a couple folks have already noted, I think you've identified what is more-or-less the market cap price for "premium" Breath, not the open free-market trade value (IE: the God King pays the most because Breath donations from children is a core pillar of Nalthian governance, economics, and religion and anyone who isn't the God King would generally pay much less). That said, you've still made an astute observation in my view. I would offer the opinion that, since trading Breath is fundamentally unregulated in the sense that anyone who can speak the words while in possession of Breath can do it, the typical free market price of Breath shall always default to the lowest locally accepted figure. It's painfully difficult to estimate what the "true" economic cost to an individual is for being a drab on Nalthis, which means that people who are selling their Breath in the open market are, realistically, probably not making any objective considerations as to the cost to themselves for selling their innate Breath (IE: they just need the money right now and they either don't realize or don't care that they are definitely getting a raw deal trading under these conditions). So, in my head at least, the question becomes: what single lump sum amount of money would the most desperate subpopulation of a society (bottom 10% of wage earning adults) be willing to trade an object which >99% of said population cannot ever "use" (most people just don't have enough Breath to do anything useful with it except keep it in their body to reinforce themselves), 100% of them possess naturally by birth, and which is correlated with sickness and depression if surrendered? Economics is not my forte, but my understanding is that in the US, the individual poverty threshold is currently set as earning <$15K/year and approximately 10% of citizens are considered to be impoverished. Now, this may feel cold, harsh, and sterile, but...it only takes 9 months to make a new child with their own virgin Breath from Endowment...so, at most I would expect the Breath of an impoverished adult to trade for: 9months/12months*$15K=$11K However, taking into account that money-in-hand today is more useful to a desparate man than money-in-hand tomorrow, we can probably haggle even lower. How much lower? What an evil question. For personal morality reasons, I do not want to see the price of Breath fall below $5K/unit, so I'm gonna stop now, you monster. =]
  7. I'm largely in agreement, but I think there may be more value in speculating what they might bond or find common ground over. Whether they both live or die, I'm expecting them to end up on the same side of the fight at this point, so I assume there will be some alignment and overlap between them which will develop. Like...how do their backstories and tortured pasts allow them to empathize with eachother? How has Szeth's apparently highly formalized and ritualized training with magical super weapons from an early age shaped his personality differently than Kaladin's highly informal and self-led conditioning with only the most basic equipment and how will they work together? What will each of them have to do in order to get the other one to forgive them for the personal hell and impossible anguish which they have, very much on purpose and by choice on several occasions, caused eachother? I expect it to be tragically exciting and for the two of them to end as friends. No idea if they'll live, die fighting, or something in between though.
  8. Whoops! I'm going to treat those slips as not spoilery enough to warrant a rewrite unless y'all really push, but point taken and appreciated. I still think most of the plan would work fine and...I agree, I'm overly conservative on the perpendicularity transition mechanics. I'm not certain I personally understand the metaphor 100% so I like to leave myself a few arms lengths of wiggleroom whenever the subject comes up. Not least of all being that I suspect that some of these hoppers got a LOT more help than others in making their first jump...lol
  9. First and foremost, optimize for inter-world mobility 100% since we're targeting access to the maximum number of unique powers. What does this mean? It means, before all else, one must secure a reliable means of either interplanetary teleportation (not yet discovered anywhere as far as I'm aware), interstellar travel (which requires extremely advanced technology like the One's Above and, presumably, tremendous political power upfront), OR, a means to personally enter the cognitive realm which doesn't impede one's ability to leave their home planet. So...who is the least invested worldhopper that we know of? I would opine it to be Demoux, the Seer! Now, Demoux is technically a specially crafted form of misting created by Preservation, however...we do not have any indications that they are more heavily invested than any normal misting, so I'm going to open with an outright supposition that being born a misting technically gives one's soul the ability to hold itself together through the transition across a perpendicularity from the physical to cognitive realm so long as one knows what they're doing. This...might not be true and it's possible the 17th sharders gave him something extra to get him to interdimensional status, but if that's case it's happened completely off screen with very little in the way of hints, foreshadowing, or references. So... Step-1: be born a misting of any kind on Scadrial. A full mistborn or furechemist would be better, but let's not be greedy, that comes later. A ferring might also work, but we don't have any proof that I'm aware of. Let's avoid hemalurgy...too messy... Step-2: transition to the cognitive realm via the pits or the well or one of Harmony's conduits and hitchhike your way to Sel. Step-3: don't bother learning how to make soulstamps, that takes years of practice normally and we don't like that. Instead, recall that soulstamps work for anyone once they're created and last a long time if they are well made and plausible, and just commission a bunch for turning iron ingots into gold ingots. You may need to cash in your savings to cover the overhead for a cart and a couple horses for your first trade shipment, but the goal here is going to be to convert one ton of iron into one ton of gold for an approximately 1,000,000x value mutliplier and trade it back to scadrial on the Grey market. Given that knowledge of interworld travel is rare, this should give one access to darn near infinite "money" in relatively short order. Let's say you make 10 trips for approximately roughly half a billion dollars in equivalent US dollars. Look at you, your horses aren't even sweating pulling that sort of weight through empty thought-space! Step-4: as a worldhopper, you are aware that money, while highly valued universally, is ultimately completely worthless. So, you elect to trade it for Breath on Nalthis, which is totally a thing people are just like...willing to do! Step-5: you trade the gold coin, atium, trade goods, or misc. Luxury goods which you bartered for on scadrial using precious metals Forged from iron bars (this trade relationship isn't going to have to last long, don't worry about the lying and cheating too much!) To buy Breath from the biggest, poorest, bulkest sources that you can find on Nalthis. Let's assume that you're super generous, impatient, and paranoid. You'll probably just buy 50,000 breaths at a USD equivalent of approximately $10K cash per unit; this is more than enough to very seriously turn around the life of someone living below virtually any locally defined poverty line irl, so I would expect it to draw many volunteers very fast, which is very good because you need to get the heck out of Nalthis before any Returned God Kings decide that you might be too smart to be allowed to live. Congrats, you've reached the 10th heightening! Step-6: you have very little connection to any particular world despite being one of the most highly invested beings to ever exist. Let's go to Roshar! Step-7: you're on Roshar. Things are fine. You could bond with spren or two or three...but it would make leaving difficult and we're optimizing specifically for ease of mobility. Also it would subject you to binding oaths to external parties, so let's skip that nonsense. Instead, you're going to beg, borrow, steal, kill, or threaten people until you figure how to cleanly absorb and convert Stormlight into Breath Equivalent Units (BEU). You could also probably do this on whatever random asteroid the Sunlit Man took place on or any other similar source of "free" (natural) investiture; the goal here is just to lie low and drink enough BEUs to become immune to shardblades and, therefore, nearly impossible to kill without extremely convoluted shenanigans and conspiracy. Step-8: so you're impossible to pierce with a shardblade, richer than Adonalsium, and biologically immortal huh? Well, I bet you might not be able to heal from decapitation! Let's fix that. Without a spren, you'll probably need to rely on feruchemic gold for instant regeneration against lethal damage. Let's just go ahead and say that you pay hitmen to hemalurgically harvest one each of the 32 metallic arts users and you give those spikes to a handful of uninvested friends so that y'all can experiment with creating medallions. It's still unclear if this would be enough by itself to get you your own bands of mourning, but even if it didn't, you'd be unkillable and have a squad of supercharged superheroes behind you. Step-9: you have access to double steel for super speed, double copper for perfect recall, double zinc for constant hyper-genius awareness, and double bronze so you never need to rest. Go take every theoretical invesyiture course offered at whatever the biggest and most expensive university or society in silverlight is? The idea here is not to know everything, it's just to close any knowledge gaps in order to make sure that you're the most well educated person anywhere. Step-10: honestly? At this point you could just start bullying heralds, stealing honorblades, or manipulating whole planets if you wanted to. Let's say you realize that you don't want any Shard looking over your shoulder so you just keep making circuits until you have enough investiture to ascend as the Cosmere's first totally artificial composite Shard!
  10. If you find that outside-in WoB definitely consider an update, I'd love to read it! I've had a pet theory for 10 years that southern scadrian tech is going to rely on metalminds conducting charge only along their surface (instead of throughout their volume) but I've never managed to pull the ammo together to really make a push towards arguing it in a live forum. Time's almost up!
  11. Yes! If Sazed had stored his Identity into a separate mind while filling the mind which he gave Vin to burn, it's theoretically possible that she might have been able to obtain access to a rudimentary form of compounding without medallions or the bands of mourning. A one pound lump of steel and/or zinc with 5-minutes worth of identityless feruchemic charge would probably have been the greatest gift Sazed could ever have given Vin; it's just a shame that they didn't know how identity magic works.
  12. Haha, I'm inclined to very strongly agree, I could envision anyone in the era-1 crew sporting a snake-bite and triple tongue rings. I speculate that, from a perception/intent perspective, a lip/tongue piercing would be easier to burn allomantically than a piercing anywhere else on the body (since digestive-tract is apparently canonically considered the easiest internal cavity to burn from currently) but you're right, with the information so far in this thread, it seems like earstuds should work just as well so long as the wearer thinks about them "correctly."
  13. This was an awesomely validating answer and thank you. =] I would definitely still appreciate some dissenting opinions though since, with what I have between your thoughts and mine, it seems to me that, if any of the above scenarios truly would work, then every allomancer who cares about their health would use heavy gauge lip/tongue piercings to fuel their powers instead of ingested metals. Pros: 1. Can't normally be pushed/pulled by adversaries like vials of metals can. 2. Would last EXTREMELY long compared to vials of flakes. 3. Could be removed, reinserted, or replaced at will; a gold placeholder ring could (I think?) Be left in continuously without ever causing metal-poisoning or allowing the hole for the piercing to heal closed. 4. Would allow for allomancers to much more closely track how much Investiture they use for any given feat (when they drink a vials of flakes, that's it, the metal is in their body and they either must burn or excrete it naturally; with a piercing, only the amount they actively burned would be lost, this amount could be measured with a balance, and they could plan, understand, and predict how much fuel they require with much greater precision and reliability across the board. Think: breath-equivalent-units but on steroids. Cons: 1. Sort of soft-locked into a goth/punk/alternative aesthetic going down this path. 2. No more utility belts full of mysterious vials. 3. Mistborn would need some insane dental headgear to play along and would be identifiable immediately (this shouldn't be a big deal since they aren't being born anymore though) 4. Ummm...it would leave a bad taste in people's mouths? Fighting in general does that for me though, so I don't really sympathize with this one, I just recognize it.
  14. Darnit! Good catch, that's what I get for going by memory. Thanks!
  15. Unfortunately, Vivennas' blade might legitimately prevent the creation of Lifeless given the color manipulation stuff it has going on (although...regular shardblades do remove color from severed limbs...?), and nightblood is a flat out no-go since it vaporizes bodies... For regular blades though, yes, I believe they are the ideal tools for creating Lifeless! The devil is, as always, in the details though, as there would notably be as yet unconfirmed side-effects and consequences to this method. What kinds of consequences you ask? Well, let's explore! The eyes would definitely be burned out as you noted. This shouldn't actually matter since Lifeless do not seem to have functioning circulatory systems (IE: they don't bleed when stabbed, they just...leak...?) So, while it's counter-intuitive, I would opine that the absence of eyeballs in the corpse being awakened would not actually influence whether or how the resulting Lifeless could "see," since a Lifeless with eyeballs can "see" without needing to supply blood, oxygen, or nutrients. I'm putting "see" in quotes because I don't think sight is a very good description of how Lifeless perceive things; they seem to just possess magical proximal awareness that doesn't require light as far as I can tell. This kinda makes sense when one recalls that nightblood has no eyes. But wait, what about the fact that Lifeless retain some of the self-awareness and identity which they possessed while alive? Well, the implication from the above seems to be that a person who was killed via shardblade cut through the head/spine would have the connection between their soul and body completely severed. Does this matter? Possibly. It could be inferred (hypothesized) that the corpse of a person killed by a shardblade might have significantly less (zero) spiritual connection (memory) back to its previous owner's spirit-web and cognitive manifestation, which is to say: the body might not be able to "remember" who it was in life as well as a normal Lifeless. This could mean that shardblade-killed bodies might produce only generic, unskilled, blank-slate Lifeless whereas the regular process does leave them with some of the skills and abilities that they possessed in life. This is...probably a bad thing. Hopefully it isn't true, buuuuuuut...it would make for EXTREMELY consistent and uniform results if it was, which is a form of power in and of itself. How about applying a humanitarian perspective? Well...execution by shardblade seems to be literally the gentlest way to die in the Cosmere, so there's definitely that... If the late-stage Scadrians end up leveraging "ethical-hemalurgy," (and they almost certainly will...) then I would expect the Nalthians and Rosharans to have no problem euthanizing their terminally ill to create a constant supply of identity-less soldiers who feel no pain, possess no memory or self-awareness, and live only to protect and serve. Excellent question, thanks a bunch!
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