Roshar (pronounced with the emphasis on the last syllable) is the name of the world in which the story of The Stormlight Archive takes place. It is also the name of the supercontinent on which the main story takes place. It is quite a large land (though smaller than Earth) and one that varies greatly, especially east to west. Like the rest of Brandon Sanderson's adult fiction books, it takes place in a single universe known as the Cosmere.
The landscape of Roshar varies across its regions. Along the eastern coast, near the oceans where the highstorms originate, the land is beaten harshly by the highstorms, eroding away any soil, leaving rough rock formations. Almost all types of life have some type of protective shell or encasing into which they can retreat for protection.
The lands in Shinovar, farthest west on the main continent of Roshar, have soil and grass that does not retract. This region is mostly protected from the highstorms by the high peaks of the Misted Mountains. Most plants that grow in Shinovar can not grow in other parts of Roshar.
Roshar has three moons - Salas, Nomon and Mishim, each of which waxes and wanes separately from the other. Roshar's seasons generally last only a few weeks and the world's surface gravity, at 0.7g, is significantly weaker than that of Earth. This is, in part, responsible for the exceptional growth of native creatures such as the Greatshell.
During the Heraldic Epochs, Roshar was ruled by a coalition of Ten nations known as the Silver Kingdoms. In the Era of Solitude, following the departure of the Heralds and the demise of the Orders of Knights Radiant, those kingdoms crumbled into smaller ones:
- Further information: Magic Systems
Given Brandon's answers to questions asked on tor.com, he based some of the Roshar magic systems on the Jewish mysticism of Kabbalah. Magic systems on Roshar include fabrial science, Surgebinding, Voidbinding, and the Old Magic. Both Honor and Odium each grant magic based on specific pathways in the spiritweb of persons as defined by the ideals of their Order. The Old Magic requires rewriting of the person's spiritweb to allow for the required changes.
Much of Roshar is inspired by tidal pools and coral reefs.
The Cosmere runs along a 10,000 year gap and Roshar falls right into the middle of the timeline.
Q&A with BrandonEdit
Q. You have said before that all the planets had their names before the arrival of the Shards. Is Roshar the planet's name before the Shards arrived?