This page contains a summary of the essays in Arcanum Unbounded. We hope these summaries will provide a quick refresher for anyone who doesn't want to take the time to reread the entire book.
The Selish System
The planet Sel is the only inhabited planet and was once the location of two shards: Dominion and Devotion. The planet is rather large and has a widely varying landscape. There are three main empires located on the planet which pointedly ignore each other.
Both shards were very influential on the development of human societies and are collectively referred to as the Dor. At some point in human pre-history, the shards were Splintered and trapped in the Cognitive Realm. Since that realm has distinct locations corresponding to the Physical Realm, the various magic systems are tied to location on the planet. It appears that the landscape itself of the planet is becoming Invested. The Ire may know more on the subject, but they aren't talking.
The Scadrian System
The planet Scadrial has suffered repeated cataclysms but still has a fairly technologically advanced population of humans despite the Lord Ruler's oppression. The planet itself was most likely created by the two shards Ruin and Preservation and appears to be modeled after the planet Yolen. The planet and its people were the focus of the conflict between the two shards. Investiture is rather commonly endowed upon its inhabitants, and some have held so much that the planet itself has been moved to different orbits. Hemalurgy is one of the magics discovered on this planet and can be used anywhere in the cosmere to create Connections never intended by any Shard.
The Taldain System
This system is actually one planet locked between two stars, the smaller one surrounded by a particulate ring. The planet orbits the larger star (along with the dwarf star, which locks it in place) but does not rotate, leaving one side in perpetual twilight (Darkside), the other in constant daylight (Dayside). Darkside flora and fauna have adapted to use ultraviolet light. Dayside is mostly a desert, with most life beneath the surface. Investiture from the Shard Autonomy is absorbed by microflora that lives on the sand, making it white when fully Invested, black when not.
Autonomy is currently preventing any travel to this system and has for many years.
The Threnodite System
This system is warped by the conflict between two shards: Odium and Ambition. The third planet, Threnody, and the people thereon have been twisted due to the conflict. When people die, they are sometimes turned into a cognitive shadow -- a barely self-aware piece of Investiture.
The planet consists of two continents. One continent is devoid of people and is occupied by what the locals call "the Evil," a dark force of some kind. The other continent has scattered outposts of civilization.
The Drominad System
This system is unique in that it has four habitable planets, three of which contain human civilizations, and also has a perpendicularity on the first planet even though there are no Shards present. There is probably some Investiture here, but the area around the perpendicularity is extremely dangerous. Expeditions from Silverlight have not returned.
The Rosharan System
Roshar is the name of the continent of the second planet, the second planet itself, and the planetary system. There are three habitable planets and several gas giants in the outer system.
The first planet is called Ashyn and is only inhabited in small pockets.
Roshar is inhabited by humanoid and other creatures and have symbiotic relationships with Splinters. Humans with relationships with self-aware spren can Surgebind. Giant crustaceans are possible through a symbiotic relationship with spren.
The third planet is called Braize and is too cold for humans. It is inhabited by self-aware Splinters.
The Rosharan system is the current habitation of Odium.
|Shards||Ambition · Autonomy · Cultivation · Devotion · Dominion · Endowment · Honor · Odium · Preservation · Ruin · Survival Shard|
|Planets||Ashyn · Braize · First of the Sun · Nalthis · Roshar · Scadrial · Sel · Taldain · Threnody · Vax · Yolen|
|Terms||Adonalsium · Sliver · Splinter · Realmatic Theory · Intent · Focus · Investiture · Shardpool · Spiritweb|
|Other||Hoid · Seventeenth Shard · Shattering · Worldhopping · Letters · Silverlight|