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I recall reading a book a long time ago which had an interesting concept of magic. Essentially, magic created superhumans by taking the attributes of one person and giving them to another. So, for example, the king had three or four people bound to him magically, each of whom had no physical strength whatsoever because they were giving it to the king. I specifically remember a moment where the newly-coronated king meets the people who had given their mental capacity to his father - the "King's Wits" they were called.

But I can't for the life of me remember what the book(s) were called. I only read the second or third one in a series, and it was ten or fifteen years ago. I recall the cover art included some big non-human creatures with oversized noses. I thought the magic system was interesting, and figured I might like to re-read the book(s). Anybody know what I'm talking about?

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This is certainly Runelords by David Farland.

In the universe of The Runelords, there exists a unique magical system which relies on the existence of distinct bodily attributes, such as brawn, grace, and wit. These attributes can be transferred from one individual (or animal) to another in a process known as "giving an endowment". Lords who have taken many endowments become extremely powerful, almost superhuman, and are known as Runelords.

The original novel was published in 1998, and the whole series runs to 9 books and a couple of short stories.

Thanks to @Kitkat who supplied this quote from book 2; The Brotherhood of the Wold

These seven men were the King's Wits, men who had endowed King Mendellas Draken Orden himself with the use of their minds, letting their skulls become vessels for another man's memories. Though the King had died, fragments of his thoughts and recollections lived on in each of these Restored men. In days to come these men would probably become valued counselors to the new King.

 Wizardborn

I think the cover image you remember is from book three, Wizardborn. Though I can't for the life of me recall what this creature is supposed to be.

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    This is absolutely it! As soon as the system lets me you'll have the check mark.
    – Izzy
    Apr 30 '20 at 13:39
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    From Volume 2, Brotherhood of the Wolf: "These seven men were the King's Wits, men who had endowed King Mendellas Draken Orden himself with the use of their minds, letting their skulls become vessels for another man's memories. Though the King had died, fragments of his thoughts and recollections lived on in each of these Restored men. In days to come these men would probably become valued counselors to the new King."
    – Kitkat
    Apr 30 '20 at 13:42
  • The creature on the cover is a Frowth Giant.
    – eshier
    Apr 30 '20 at 22:49

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