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Is Feruchemy really balanced? If it gives diminishing returns, wouldn't this end up as a net loss of power?

It doesn't diminish. Or, well, it does--but only if you compound it. You get 1 for 1 back, but compounding the power requires an expenditure of the power itself. For instance, if you are weak for one hour, you can gain the lost strength for one hour. But that's not really that much strength. After all, you probably weren't as weak as zero people during that time. So if you want to be as strong as two men, you couldn't do it for a full hour. You'd have to spend some energy to compound, then spend the compounded energy itself.

In more mathematical terms, let's say you spend one hour at 50% strength. You could then spend one hour at 150% strength, or perhaps 25 min at 200% strength, or maybe 10min at 250% strength. Each increment is harder, and therefore 'strains' you more and burns your energy more quickly. And since most Feruchemists don't store at 50% strength, but instead at something like 80% strength (it feels like much more when they do it, but you can't really push the body to that much forced weakness without risking death) you can burn through a few day's strength in a very short time if you aren't careful.


If a Feruchemist Taps warmth, does it actually warm them up physically, or do they just feel warmer?

It actually warms them. It’s not just a feeling.


Does the size of a piece of metal determine the amount of Feruchemical charge that can be stored in it? So how does it scale, in terms of volume?

It does. It does not scale as logically as people would think. There are certain thresholds.



Are hemalurgic spikes fabrials? Is a body that has been spiked a fabrial? Are Koloss and Kandra also something similar?

No, actually. Fabrial means specifically a bit of investiture that has been trapped by a gemstone and then modified to do something else.  Hemalurgy is its own thing--though there is a slight similarity.  In most Hemalurgy, investiture keyed to the identity of someone (a bit of a soul) is ripped off, and then magically grafted onto someone else's soul.  Not the same, though I can see the confusion.

Koloss and Kandra are similar, though in this case, the soul is mostly just being distorted by using an invested spike.  In thecosmere, the body will attempt to match the soul, and so a twisted soul (spiritual aspect of a person) can have profound effects on both mind and body.