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Roshar

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Roshar
Roshar.jpg
by Isaac Stewart
Shards Honor, Cultivation
Perpendicularities Honor's Perpendicularity, Cultivation's Perpendicularity
Investitures Surgebinding, Old Magic, Voidbinding
System Rosharan system[1]
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
This page or section needs to be updated with new information for Oathbringer!
Be aware that in its current state, it does not include this additional content yet.
This page or section contains spoilers for Oathbringer!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.

Roshar is the native name for the planet on which The Stormlight Archive is set. It is also the name of the supercontinent on which the main events of the series take place[2]. People from Roshar are called Rosharans.[3]

Geography and Ecology[edit]

At one point in Roshar's past there were no large landmasses.[4] The supercontinent was designed by Adonalsium, following the shape of a Julia set (a mathematical formula that gives a geometrical pattern when given a seed number). [5]

Gravitational acceleration on Roshar is notably lower than usual, at 6.87 m/s2, or 70% of the cosmere standard.[6] This is due, in part, to the planet's small size; Roshar has a circumference of approximately 22110 miles, giving a radius of 3519 miles, and comes in just under 90% of the cosmere standard size.[6][7] These yield a planetary mass of 3.387×1024 kilograms. The main continent lies primarily in the southern hemisphere, spanning from just a few degrees north of the equator to about 55° south of the equator, and extends approximately 120° longitude.[8] It covers roughly 4×107 square kilometers.

The percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere of Roshar is higher than standard cosmere.[9]

The rainwater in highstorms is laced with a sort of slurry called crem. When crem dries, it hardens into rock. Since the highstorms always sweep from east to west, crem builds up on the eastern side of anything that stays still and isn't regularly cleaned. This process occurs both on a local scale and on a continental scale. Over time, the continent is very slowly shifting across the planet as the highstorm causes erosion and leaves crem deposits.

Map of Roshar by Isaac Stewart

Climate[edit]

With the exception of Shinovar and the occasional well sheltered lait, all of Roshar is frequently ravaged by powerful highstorms. These storms come frequently and, though they do not appear to follow a simple pattern, stormwardens are able to accurately predict their schedule through complex mathematics.[10] As a result, Shinovar is the only place on Roshar that has soil.[11]

The one consistent aspect of the Rosharan climate is the Weeping. The Weeping occurs every 500 days and consists of four weeks of steady crem-free rain. The middle day of those four weeks is known as the Lightday and alternates between being one clear day in the midst of the rain and being a high storm.[12] There are typically fewer highstorms in the weeks leading up to the weeping. [13] The seasons following the weeping typically have weaker storms, making them good for farming.[14] Beyond this, the seasons are about as random as the highstorms. They can be roughly predicted by stormwardens, but only tend to last a few weeks and don't follow any obvious pattern. The characteristics of winter, spring, summer and autumn line up fairly well with what we expect from those seasons on Earth.[15][14][13][16]

Flora[edit]

To cope with the frequent high storms, plant life across most of Roshar has adapted ways to retract and hide. As a few examples, the grass retracts back into the ground, rockbuds have particularly sturdy outerleaves that can fold up so that the plant resembles a large rock, and vinebuds have a durable but elastic stem that they retract back into. Many plants also have some form of tendrils or vines that waft in the air or can snake out in search of water or nutrients. Nearby motion causes many plants to retreat, though gardeners have cultivated some varieties that are less sensitive. These plants have also adapted to living in soil free environments.

In Shinovar, which is protected from the highstorms by the Misted Mountains and thus still has soil, the flora is much closer to that found on Earth. Visitors from the rest of Roshar find the still grass and plants that don't retract disconcerting.

Fauna[edit]

"Perhaps a story for a child," Wit said. "I will tell you one, to get you in the mood. A bunny rabbit and a chick went frolicking in the grass together on a sunny day."
"A chick...baby chicken? Kaladin said. "And a what?"
"Ah, forgot myself for a moment," Wit said. "Sorry. Let me make it more appropriate for you. A piece of wet slime and a disgusting crab thing with seventeen legs slunk across the rocks together on an insufferably rainy day. Is that better?"
Hoid's opinion on the ecosystem and Fauna of Roshar.[17]

Rosharan fauna have adapted to their unique environment in a number of interesting ways. Lower than usual gravity allows some of the native creatures to grow spectacularly large.[18] There are crustaceans (ranging from tiny crabs to lumbering chulls) and molluscs that retreat into their shells during the highstorms. Others have dens or pupate. There are also creatures, like the warm-blooded sarpenthyn, that vaguely resemble a tentacled mollusc with no shell and can ooze into the cracks between rocks.

Chulls are very important crustaceans in Roshar. They are herded like cattle, but pull large carts like oxen would.

On the other hand, there are insects and amphibians that like the rain and spin cocoons that dissolve in water. One notable example are lurgs, which coat the inside of their cocoon with a mucus as they spin it so that it is water tight and keeps them from drying out between storms.

The skies of Roshar are populated by insects, skyeels, and a wide variety of chickens.

Mammalian life is limited outside of Shinovar, but rats and minks can be found in the wild. Domesticated hogs and horses exported from Shinovar to the rest of Roshar. There is some evidence that there may also be wild hogs.

Larkins are a rare form of creature found on Roshar which can suck the stormlight out of a surgebinder.[19]

It is easier for animals on Roshar to attain some degree of sentience because of something to do with Cultivation.[20]

History[edit]

Pre-Desolation Roshar[edit]

Creation and Early Inhabitants[edit]

The planet of Roshar predates the Shattering. The continent was specifically grown by Adonalsium.[21] Much of the ecology of the planet existed from this time, including the highstorms and the spren.[22][23] The singers were the primary inhabitants of Roshar at this time and are likely the Dawnsingers spoken of in modern times.[24] At some point after the Shattering, Honor and Cultivation settled on Roshar. They were equally Invested in the planet originally, though the balance shifted after Honor's death.[25]

The Expulsion and Early Interactions[edit]

Main article: Expulsion
They came from another world, using powers that we have been forbidden to touch. Dangerous powers, of spren and Surges. They destroyed their lands and have come to us begging
— From the Eila Stele[26]

Humans fled to Roshar from Ashyn, another planet in the Rosharan system.[27] They had destroyed the planet using what Honor implied to be the dawnshards.[28] Honor and Cultivation commanded the singers to take the humans in despite the forbidden powers they had relating to spren and Surges[26][29], and they were given Shinovar to live in since Shinovar could support the plants and animals they brought.[28] With the humans came Odium.[30] The humans, possibly with Odium's influence, grew dissatisfied with what they were given. The conflict between the invading humans and the singers living on Roshar became the First Desolation.[31]

A Vorin perspective on the history of mankind by Greg Call

The Heraldic Epochs[edit]

The Desolations[edit]

Main article: Desolations

The Desolations were conflicts between mankind and Voidbringers. The first Desolation occurred when humans invaded Roshar from the land they were given.[31] Some of the singers were infused with Odium's Investiture and became the Fused. The Fused did not pass into the Beyond and were instead reborn into the bodies of singers. To combat this, the Heralds made a deal with Honor called the Oathpact. This deal sealed away the Fused on Braize. However, there was a loophole. The Heralds could choose to allow the Fused to return to Roshar, so they were caught on Braize and tortured. The return of Heralds and Fused and the conflict that occurred became known as the Desolations.[32] The spren started to mimic the herald's Honorblades and the Knights Radiant were formed. They helped to fight and rebuild society after a Desolation.[33]

The Last Legion[edit]

See also: Listeners

At some point during the Desolations, a group of singers known as the Last Legion were sent to fight in the farthest plains, most likely the ruins of Natanatan on the Shattered Plains. They followed the commands of the Fused and took whatever forms were forced upon them. Seeking freedom, they fled during a highstorm and took on dullform to escape the Fused's control. In order to avoid forgetting their knowledge, they composed songs, including Song of Listing, Song of Secrets and Song of Histories. They didn't, however, know how to transform into any forms except dullform and mateform by themselves. They planned to remain living as tribes and refugees, unnoticed and forgotten, as they studied and rediscovered the forms.[34] Although it is not known exactly when this happened, it must have been prior to the Last Desolation as the Fused remained trapped on Braize from then until the True Desolation.

The Last Desolation[edit]

Main article: Last Desolation
A…a decision has been made. It is time for the Oathpact to end.
Jezrien's words to Kalak[35]

At the end of the Last Desolation, nine of the ten Heralds had survived the fighting. As usual, they were supposed to return to Braize to hold back the Fused. However, knowing they could not face more torture, they came up with an alternative plan. Taln, the only Herald never to have broken during the millennia of Desolations and the only Herald who died, would remain on Braize by himself.[32] They had been warned that lingering on Roshar could lead to the start off another Desolation, but Ishar claimed that Taln by himself would be enough to hold back the Desolations and maintain the Oathpact. Rather than tell mankind the truth, the Heralds proclaimed that they had finally won the war against the Voidbringers.[35] This deception lasted for four-thousand five-hundred years, when Taln finally broke under the torture.[32]

The Era of Solitude[edit]

The Voidbringers were cast back into the Tranquiline Halls. The Heralds followed to force them out of heaven as well, and Roshar’s Heraldic Epochs ended. Mankind entered the Era of Solitude. The modern era.
Kabsal to Shallan[36]

The False Desolation[edit]

Main article: False Desolation
Something must be done about the remnants of Odium’s forces. The parsh, as they are now called, continue their war with zeal, even without their masters from Damnation.
—Drawer 30-20, first emerald[37]

The False Desolation began when Ba-Ado-Mishram learned how to Connect with the majority of the singers, giving them forms of power and access to Voidlight.[38] The Radiants, unaware of how she did this, sought a way to end the fighting for good, as the Heralds had promised them.[39] The fighting became particularly intense at this time,[40] as the singers made a push towards Feverstone Keep, possibly as part of a plan to capture Rall Elorim.[41]

Working together, the scholars among the Radiants theorized that an Unmade could be imprisoned like a regular spren.[42] That devised a plan to trap Ba-Ado-Mishram and prevent her from Connected with the singers and providing them with Voidlight.[43] This plan would require Melishi, the only Bondsmith of his generation,[44] and a special prison, likely a perfect gemstone.[42] Although Melishi was confident the plan would succeed in destroying the Voidbringers, Naze-daughter-Kuzodo warned of unintended side effects.[45] Although the plan seems to have succeeded, as Ba-Ado-Mishram has not been seen in modern times unlike other Unmade,[46] Naze-daughter-Kuzodo's warning was correct. Because she had been Connected to all the singers, their Connection and Identity was torn out of them, creating slaveform or parshmen.[47] The Radiants' horror for what happened likely contributed to the Recreance.

The Recreance[edit]

Main article: Day of Recreance

During the lead up to the Day of Recreance, many events occurred which demoralized the Knights Radiant. The Sibling, for some unknown reason, withdrew from Urithiru and forced the Knights to abandon their ancestral home. Many Radiants blamed this on a perceived unworthiness, including increased conflicts between the Windrunners and Skybreakers, but scholars of the time disagreed.[48][49] This concern extended to potential infiltration by Unmade.[50] While this was occurring, the False Desolation was coming to a close. The presumed success in imprisoning Ba-Ado-Mishram leading to the singers having their Connection and Identity ripped out of them likely influenced the Radiants.[51] In the midst of this turmoil, the Radiants discovered the truth about the origins of humans on Roshar. The singers had been the original inhabitants of Roshar. The humans came as refugees from their homeworld, which they had destroyed with surges. After being taken in by the singers and given Shinovar, they invaded Roshar and started the Desolations. While Honor had comforted previous generations who learned this, this time he was dying. He raved about the dawnshards and promised the Radiants they would destroy Roshar like they had their homeworld.[28]

As a result of these revelations, the nine of the ten orders decided to abandon their oaths and kill their spren. They believed that this would prevent the destruction of Roshar Honor warned them about.[28] At the locations they left their plate and blades, men quickly began fighting over the weapons, leading to much death and destruction.[52] The Radiants, other than the Skybreakers, were quickly turned on and killed because of the sense of betrayal felt.[40] Society for both spren and humans drastically changed in the aftermath. Those with shardblades quickly consolidated their power, including using Arts and Majesty to justify women not wielding them.[53] It is likely that this is when lighteyes truly came to power. The genocide decimated the populations of spren societies. Most of the survivors were children forced to spend centuries without nurture or guidance. Some societies took two thousand years to fully recover. [54]

The Hierocracy and the War of Loss[edit]

Main articles: Hierocracy and War of Loss

The Hierocracy began when the Vorin Church decided to conquer the world and run the government rather than just provide spiritual guidance.[55] They claimed their conquering was for the good of the people. Some of the most powerful ardents claimed to have visions from the Almighty, which they used to solidify their rule and obfuscate their religion. One of their main goals was to destroy knowledge of the failures of Vorinism, including Shadesmar, the Knights Radiant, and the Recreance.[56][36] They were primarily successful, as even the major libraries on Roshar are missing this information. Before the Hierocracy could spread to the west, Sadees, the Sunmaker, united the princedoms of Alethkar to drive out the HIerocracy.[57][58] They fought in many epic battles the likes of which have not been seen since in what came to be known as the War of Loss.[52] The Sunmaker successfully cast down the Hierocracy and stated the visions were a fraud.

Sadees's win in the War of Loss affected much of eastern Roshar. Sadees declared himself king of Alethkar and began a conquest of Roshar.[59] Although the extent of his empire is not exactly known, Herdaz and Azir were both included. He committed genocide in Azir and killed ten percent of the population.[60] His empire quickly collapsed after his death, however, as he did not choose an heir, and his ten sons divided the kingdom into princedoms and became highprinces.[61] The effects of the Hierocracy on Vorinism can still be felt in the modern time. The central leadership of the church was destroyed and split into mostly independent Devotaries.[62][55] The ardents became slaves who could not own land or property.[36][63] Their revisions to historical texts also perpetuate, and it is difficult to find information about pre-Hierocracy history or the Knights Radiant.[56]

The Scouring of Aimia[edit]

Main article: Scouring of Aimia

What exactly occurred during the Scouring of Aimia is unknown but it appears that the vast majority of Aimia's ecosystem collapsed, leading to the extinction of the lanceryn[55] and the near extinction of the larkin. Most creatures there are quite rare since the scouring.[64] The island of Akinah, however, was not destroyed and is still protected from outsiders by the Sleepless.[65] Hessi indicates in Mythica that Dai-Gonarthis may have been responsible for the scouring.[66]

Culture and Society[edit]

Nations[edit]

Roshar's population categorizes their history into a number of epochs. Most notable is the Silver Kingdoms Epoch, or the Heraldic Epoch, when the Knights Radiant kept the peace. They protected Roshar from their home, the great city of Urithiru. The ten Silver Kingdoms are:

In the the modern era, the Era of Solitude, the current division of twenty-six countries and regions in Roshar are:

Calendar[edit]

The Rosharan calendar is divided up into ten months, with ten weeks each. Both the months and the weeks are named after the numbers on the Ars Arcanum, and are sometimes combined into abbreviations. Such abbreviations have the full name of the month and two suffixes, for week and day. Each week is five days, so the year in Roshar is 500 days, ultimately defined by the time between two Weepings.[12] Although the Rosharan year is 500 days long, these days are shorter than on Earth and a Rosharan year is equivalent to 1.1 Earth years.[67][68] As an example Chachel means it's the third day of the week.[69] Interestingly, Kaladin, who gets paid once a week, refers to payday as "third pass"[70]. Presumably, this means that another way to talk about days of the week is by saying first, second, third, fourth or fifth pass.

Abbreviation Examples
Abbreviation Month Week Day
Chachanan Chach Nan Nan
Jesachev Jes Chach Vev
Kaktach Kak Tanat Chach

Currency[edit]

Main Article: Spheres

The primary form of currency found on Roshar are spheres, pieces of gemstone encased in a sphere of glass with one side flattened to prevent rolling.[71] The gemstones can be any of the ten Polestones and there are three denominations: chip, mark, and broam. The ten gemstones are organized into five value levels with some gem types having equivalent values.[72] These value levels are determined by Soulcasting properties, so diamonds, which can create air, have the lowest value, and emeralds, which can create grain, have the highest.[73] Spheres, like all gems on Roshar, have the ability to hold and leak stormlight. Spheres with light are referred to as infused and those without are referred to as dun. Although dun spheres can be used as currency, people are suspicious of them because light is the easiest way to determine a sphere is real.[74]

Because of their ability to hold stormlight, spheres are commonly used on Roshar as a source of light. The light from spheres is considered to be steadier and more consistent than traditional light sources such as candles.[75] It can be expensive, however, as spheres are also used for currency, so the use of spheres as a source of light is often a sign of wealth. Diamonds are considered the best light source because it is both the cheapest and the closest to natural light.[76]

The denomination of spheres in eastern Roshar is weaker than in the west, with some people drilling holes in spheres to carry them on strings or using chunks of gemstone instead.[77]

Planetary System[edit]

Roshar is the second planet from its sun[78]. It has several notable heavenly bodies, including three moons. The first moon is Salas. It is violet, and is the smallest moon. The middle moon is Nomon, which is a bright, pale blue. And the final moon is Mishim, which is small and green. The Shin call the moons the Three Sisters, and call each moon by its order. So Salas is the First Sister, Nomon the Second Sister and Mishim, the Third Sister.

Taln's Scar, is a great swath of red stars that stand out against the white ones.[79] Taln's scar is important in Rosharan astrology, particularly its position on one's seventh birthday.[62] The Tear is a particularly bright star in the Rosharan sky. It's name comes from the single tear shed by Reya in Rosharan Mythology.[80]

There are two other inhabitable planets in the Rosharan system: Braize and Ashyn.[81] All 3 planets are currently inhabited.[78]

Notes[edit]

  1. Map of Roshar system
  2. It is a supercontinent
    17th Shard forums - 26 September 2012#
  3. Selish, Scadrian, Nalthian, Rosharan.
    17th Shard forums - 26 September 2012#
  4. I asked you at Minicon if Roshar had always been the only large landmass on the planet and I think you said that there was once no large land mass on Roshar. Did I hear you correctly?
    — Reddit - Jul 15th, 2015#
  5. The slice of the Julia Set was the one that stuck with me as feeling perfect for Roshar. As the continent was specifically grown by Adonalsium, you now know the seed that was used in-world to create it.
    — Reddit - Sep 28th, 2016#
  6. a b Arcanum Unbounded - The Rosharan System #
  7. JordanCon 2018
    Arcanum - 2009-04-21#
  8. Map of Roshar
  9. DrogaKrolow.pl interview
    Arcanum - 2017-03-17#
  10. Words of Radiance chapter 31 #
  11. The Way of Kings interlude I-4 #
  12. a b Words of Radiance chapter 46 #
  13. a b The Way of Kings chapter 25 #
  14. a b The Way of Kings chapter 4 #
  15. The Way of Kings chapter 18 #
  16. The Way of Kings chapter 54 #
  17. Words of Radiance chapter 59 #
  18. Did you have to do lots of research?
    Theoryland - Sep 16th, 2010#
  19. Words of Radiance interlude I-9 #
  20. They're one of a few Rosharan animals with a degree of sentience. It's easier on Roshar for this to happen. (Kayla, to clarify: Because of Cultivation? Brandon: Yes.)
    — Kogiopsis' Tumblr - Oct 7th, 2015#
  21. General Reddit 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-09-28#
  22. Arcanum entry 167
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  23. Arcanum entry 6567
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  24. General Reddit 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-11-16#
  25. Arcanum entry 12038
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  26. a b Oathbringer chapter 115 epigraph #
  27. Well of Ascension signed copy
    Arcanum - 2018-03-08#
  28. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 113 #
  29. Oathbringer chapter 116 epigraph #
  30. Oathbringer chapter 117 epigraph #
  31. a b Oathbringer chapter 111 #
  32. a b c Oathbringer chapter 38 #
  33. Words of Radiance chapter 4 #
  34. Words of Radiance interlude I-4 #
  35. a b The Way of Kings chapter prelude #
  36. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 45 #
  37. Oathbringer chapter 77 epigraph #
  38. Oathbringer chapter 80 epigraph #
  39. Oathbringer chapter 82 epigraph #
  40. a b Words of Radiance chapter 41 epigraph #
  41. Oathbringer chapter 84 epigraph #
  42. a b Oathbringer chapter 79 epigraph #
  43. Oathbringer chapter 78 epigraph #
  44. Oathbringer chapter 67 epigraph #
  45. Oathbringer chapter 81 epigraph #
  46. Oathbringer chapter 107 epigraph #
  47. Oathbringer chapter 17 #
  48. Oathbringer chapter 70 epigraph #
  49. Oathbringer chapter 64 epigraph #
  50. Oathbringer chapter 73 epigraph #
  51. Oathbringer chapter 17 #
  52. a b The Way of Kings chapter 52 #
  53. Words of Radiance Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-08#
  54. Oathbringer chapter 47 #
  55. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 36 #
  56. a b Words of Radiance chapter 3 #
  57. The Way of Kings chapter 18 #
  58. The Way of Kings chapter 24 #
  59. Oathbringer chapter 34 #
  60. Oathbringer chapter 42 #
  61. Oathbringer chapter 19 #
  62. a b The Way of Kings chapter 33 #
  63. The Way of Kings chapter 59 #
  64. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-25#
  65. Oathbringer interlude I-4 #
  66. Oathbringer chapter 113 epigraph #
  67. Roshar year is 1.1 Earth years
    17th Shard forums - 25 January 2014#
  68. Length of Roshar days and years
    17th Shard forums - 12 February 2013#
  69. The Way of Kings chapter 46 #
  70. The Way of Kings chapter 14 #
  71. The Way of Kings chapter 27 #
  72. Miscellaneous 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-01-01#
  73. The Way of Kings chapter 3 #
  74. The Way of Kings chapter 17 #
  75. The Way of Kings chapter 23 #
  76. The Way of Kings chapter 8 #
  77. Edgedancer chapter 6 #
  78. a b Arcanum Unbounded - The Rosharan System #
  79. The Way of Kings chapter 2 #
  80. Words of Radiance chapter 31 #
  81. Correct spellings (by Eric)
    17th Shard forums - 09 August 2013#
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