A fabrial is an artifact which harnesses the power of Stormlight in order to perform a given function.
Contemporary artifabrian engineers made breakthroughs in fabrial technology. There are five known types of contemporary fabrials in three different categories. However, no amount of fabrial science has even approached re-creating relics from the time of the Radiants, such as Shardplate.
The type of gemstone and the size greatly influence the efficiency of the fabrial; the larger the stone, the more Stormlight it can gather and maintain its effect.
According to Navani, a renowned artifabrian, within her notebook, patterns of Stormlight filtered through the fabrial determine the power of the gemstone. While the cut and type of the gem determines what kind of spren are attracted to it and can be imprisoned in it. Further, she indicates that there must be thousands of possible combinations. Once a spren is captured and the gem infused with Stormlight, the fabrial can be used in machines.
Types of Fabrials
There are five groupings of fabrials (outside of Soulcasting fabrials) discovered so far:
- These are devices created to warn the user of something nearby, be that a person or a sensation or an object; a larger gemstone infused in this type of fabrial increases the range at which the user can be warned. The device is used by Rysn to warn of the approaching Shin is an example of how this type of fabrial can be used.
- Conjoiners are sensitive fabrials. They are created by splitting one gemstone - specifically, a ruby - which will in turn act as a whole, with the actions of one half affecting the other half. The most common example of this type of fabrial is the spanreed by which means communication can be affected over a vast distance. Conservation of force is maintained, for instance, if one attaches a fabrial to a large stone; one would need the same amount of force to lift the fabrial as one would need to lift the stone.
- Reversers act in the opposite way to conjoiners and are created by the splitting of an amethyst instead of a ruby. The reaction of each half is the exact opposite of what one half undergoes; to lift up one half would cause the other half to be forced downwards.
- Augmenters are fabrials which enhance something. They can be used to increase heat or movement, to warm a room or generate a breeze. The Half-Shard shields invented in Jah Keved are an example of an augmenting fabrial.
- Diminishers are fabrials which work opposite of Augmenters. They are used to reduce something, such as pain or heat. The device used by Navani to reduce the pain in the wrist of her nephew, Adolin, is an example of this type of fabrial. (See Painrial.)
- These devices were demonstrated in Words of Radiance. Navani used water-attracting fabrials powered by garnets to keep bowstrings dry during the battle against the Stormform Parshendi. Mraize also owns one of these, powered by a smokestone, to draw smoke through his chimney. Given the way most fabrials seem to be paired by their effects, repulsing fabrials are likely possible as well.
- There are also clock fabrials. Lirin's clock fabrial was described as small, baring a single dial at the center and a glowing smokestone at its heart. It could measure the minutes and hours.
- Navani's arm clock is like Dalinar's own, though with a few more gemstones attached. It's a new fabrial with which she's tinkering.
- Powered by large rubies, set atop poles, with worked golden tines holding them in place, these fabrials give off heat though there is no fire involved.
- Ico is in possession of a device that looks a little like a coatrack - although only about three feet tall. Made entirely of steel, it has dozens of small metal prongs extending from it, like the branches of a tree - only it has a metal basin at the very bottom. He places a glass bead into a hole in the center of the device, indicating that this is Stormlight.
- With a diamond mark in one hand, Ico touches the glass bead he'd put in the fabrial. He says this is a soul, a soul of water, but very cold.
- He says it's ice from a high place that's never melted. Ice that's never known warmth. The light in the sphere dims as Ico concentrates.
- The glass bead expands and grows cloudy, looking like ice.
- The device now gets cold, and that cold makes water. That water collects in the device's basin.
- Eventually, drops of water collect on the branches of the device. They run down the metal and gather in the basin. It takes about a half hour to make a small cup of water, which is consumable - the basin has a spigot and cup. The water is cool but flavorless, unlike rainwater.
There is an article on tor.com concerning everything readers currently know about fabrials here.
Q&A with Brandon
Q. You have told us there are more than 30 magical systems on Roshar. I am assuming there are 10 surgebindings and 10 voidbindings. Do the next 10 belong to another such classification? If yes, can you give us the name for it.
A. Fabrials are part of it.
- Navani's Notebook
- Words of Radiance, 22. Lights In The Storm
- The Way of Kings, 22. Eyes, Hands, or Spheres?
- The Way of Kings, 60. That Which We Cannot Have
- Words of Radiance, 35. The Multiplied Strain Of Simultaneous Infusion
- Words of Radiance, 43. The Ghostbloods
- The Way of Kings, 10. Stories of Surgeons
- Oathbringer, 24. Men Of Blood And Sorrow
- The Way of Kings, 12. Unity
- Oathbringer, 99. Reachers
- Magic system ...