Cobalt Soul

Library of the Cobalt Soul
Official art of the Cobalt Soul symbol, by Claudio Pozas.[art 1]
Organizational information
Type
  • Religious
  • Scholastic
Base
Favored deityIoun
GoalsRecover lost knowledge[1]
Expose lies and reveal the truth[1]
History
EstablishedJust after the Calamity[2]
Membership
Leaders
DemographicsMultiracial
Associated classesMonk, Bard, Cleric, others[3]
Associated alignmentsNeutral
Relationships
AllegiancesDwendalian Empire
Allies
RivalsCerberus Assembly[5]
Enemies

The Library of the Cobalt Soul is an order publicly dedicated to the search for and preservation of knowledge, making it as accessible to the public as possible, guided by the light of Ioun, The Knowing Mistress.[7][8] Their less-public mission is to use this accumulated knowledge against corruption and tyranny to ensure the freedom of all people. While their archives are available to everyone, the curators of the Cobalt Reserve privately determine what knowledge is too dangerous to be included — typically, information magical in nature or secrets that may be used against unjust leaders, cults, and any other antisocial factions.[6]

Most members of the Cobalt Soul do not consider themselves Ioun's zealous worshipers, but still pay homage to her in some form.[2]

Description[edit | edit source]

Symbol of Cobalt Soul on a Cobalt Journal.[art 2]

Some members of the Cobalt Soul are monks, while others are knowledge clerics of Ioun, bards, or fighters. Many folks are just standard researchers, caretakers, and historians.[9] Members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and all are expected to assist with and protect the archives.[10]

Cobalt Soul members believe that true strength comes from collecting knowledge and disseminating the truth. Far from passive observers, they attempt to root out corruption in their archives' home cities, striving to expose lies and unveil propaganda. High Curators may spy on members of competing power structures or assist the oppressed in escaping their plight. Infiltrators and operatives engage in espionage and sabotage, using magic to enhance their performance in battle and carry out their secret missions.[11].

Ranks[edit | edit source]

  • High Curator: Those to whom all other members of their archive must ultimately answer, who are privy to the organization's deepest secrets.[6] The High Curator of Vasselheim and the High Curator of Rexxentrum (Yudala Fon) share dual and equal leadership over the entire structure of the Cobalt Soul.[12] They can manipulate energy for self-defense and impeding enemies.[13]
  • Curator: A small group of three to five curators manage the top-level operations of each archive.[6]
  • Expositor: Trained in the art of espionage, the expositors take on the duty of uncovering secrets and obscure knowledge. Their true mission is unknown to low-ranking monks, who see them simply as well-trained field agents.[6] Expositors report only to their High Curator.[1]
  • Archivist: Charged with organizing the overwhelming flow of information from returning researching expeditions, training new monks, and performing administrative tasks within their local archive.[6]
  • Monk: A member of the library with the most visible public duties: searching out knowledge both modern and archaic, and aiding archivists with its preservation within an archive.[7] In the Ank'Harel library, any volunteer can perform a monk's duties, and are officially accepted into the order after about six months of probation.[4]
  • Order of mages[14]

History[edit | edit source]

The Cobalt Soul was founded in Wildemount, just after the Calamity.[2] The first archive was built in the city of Zadash during the reign of the Julous Dominion circa 400 PD. When the Dwendalian Empire conquered the Dominion at the end of the Marrow War in 546 PD, the Cobalt Soul was allowed to be integrated into Dwendalian society.[1] There the Cobalt Soul often butts heads with the Empire's Cerberus Assembly, working together but just as often attempting to curtail the political influence of the other.[5]

Some time before 547 PD,[15] the Cobalt Soul expanded to the continent of Tal'Dorei, where they built the Cobalt Reserve in Westruun.[16] Around 685 PD, the Cobalt Soul expanded to Marquet, founding the Temple of the Mentor in Ank'Harel[17] In early 811 PD, the Cobalt Soul expanded to Vasselheim, where they built the Cobalt Vault.[18][19] The Emon Cobalt Reserve was built some time between 811 and 836 PD.[20][21] At unknown points in time, the organization founded two additional archives: one in Port Damali, and one in Yios.[22]

The library has commissioned a large number of cobalt golems to guard their most restricted archives.[23]

Locations[edit | edit source]

The Cobalt Soul is one of the most widespread organizations in Exandria, and has at least one archive on every continent. Its native continent of Wildemount has three, the original Valley Archive of the Cobalt Soul in Zadash, the main archive in Rexxentrum, and an archive in Port Damali.[24] In Tal'Dorei there is the Cobalt Reserve in Westruun, as well as a newer one in Emon.[25][26] Issylra has at least one archive, the Cobalt Vault in Vasselheim.[27] Marquet has two archives, the Temple of the Mentor in Ank'Harel,[6][28] and an archive in Yios.[22]

The Cobalt Reserve in Westruun[edit | edit source]

With a grand dome of blue, polished stone, the Cobalt Reserve is a well-fortified library in Westruun. The Reserve's collection of knowledge is so vast that individuals travel from all over the world to study here. A monk is assigned to every person that seeks entry, both as a guide and as a security escort, as Quian was assigned to Vox Machina during their quest to remove the proto-phylactery from Grog's torso.[29]

Known members[edit | edit source]

  • Greisalda Cassios, the High Curator of the Cobalt Reserve as of 836 PD. Half-dragonblood, half-human female with silver scales.[6]
  • Cressida Holt, an expositor of the Cobalt Reserve as of 836 PD. Non-binary orc.[30]
  • Quian, a monk who helped Vox Machina research how to remove the phylactery from Grog's chest.[29]
  • "CS", an author of articles based on Beauregard Lionett's intelligence, with whom Zeenoth corresponds.[31]
  • High Curator Jorum Irrelios, who made their research on Spire of Conflux, dated to circa 547 PD. In their work, they included records from Vasselheim temple dedicated to Melora.[32]

The Cobalt Vault in Vasselheim[edit | edit source]

Located in the southern region of the Quadroads, the Cobalt Vault is a light-grey, nearly-transparent cylindrical stone building topped with a blue and black marbled dome.[33] It acts as a repository for the gathering and guarding of information, where monks copy entire books. Vox Machina observed affluent individuals reading books about dragons in the upper research area within the library, carefully monitored by monks to ensure that they did not remove any books.[34] The Curator of this Vasselheim branch, at the time of the events of Campaign 2, had dual leadership of the Cobalt Soul with the High Curator of Rexxentrum.[35]

Interior[edit | edit source]

The outer walkway leads into a concentric cylindrical library approximately 60 feet tall, with hardwood floors and dozens of moving ladders. Monks sit at tables and transcribe copies of stacks of newly-arrived books. In the center of the chamber, a spiral staircase leads to an upper platform with chairs for research or reading.[36] Behind the spiral staircase, a large rug hides a trap door that opens by pulling a small chain and leads to a staircase below.[37] The square-shaped cellar with candelabras flickering in the corners houses a secret book collection, with shelves and locked cases made of glass with dangling chains around the books.[38] The books include information on Orcus and the Nine Hells.

Known members[edit | edit source]

  • Curator[presumed] Kusuo[39] leads Vox Machina to an underground secret book collection.[40]
  • Sura[41], one of the monks guarding the secret book collection in the cellar
  • Wailen[41], the other monk guarding the secret book collection in the cellar

The Valley Archive of the Cobalt Soul in Zadash[edit | edit source]

The Valley Archive is located on the western side of the Pentamarket in the Interstead Sprawl of Zadash.[24] Although open to the public under supervision, it has off-limits areas requiring special approval for access. After signing in, a monk is assigned as a watchful escort. Within the public areas, attendees can read and take notes on the materials within, though removing items from the library is strictly forbidden.[42]

Interior[edit | edit source]

The archive has a tall, tapering tower that curves at the top into a dome-like pinnacle. Flanking the sides of this tower are three smaller spires. The stonework of the main tower has a smooth, concrete-looking texture. In the morning sunlight, the tower shines brightly and reveals intricate carvings on the various tiers that spiral down the tower.[43]

Known members[edit | edit source]

Former Members[edit | edit source]

  • Adon Zeenoth[55], former elven archivist who had personally overseen Beau's induction into the Cobalt Soul and thus frequently interacted with the Mighty Nein, removed from position following an investigation into and a subsequent trial for corruption.

Rexxentrum Archive of the Cobalt Soul[edit | edit source]

The Rexxentrum Archive is of the two headquarters of the Cobalt Soul, the other being in Vasselheim. This library is in the Tangles neighborhood of Rexxentrum. It is easily larger than the Zadash archive by fifty-percent or more. There are multiple floors, with at least four full fifteen-foot high tiers visible from the interior, with many little pocket chambers. Walkways connect the tiers. In the basement are teleportation circles to Vasselheim, Westruun, Port Damali, and Zadash. The exterior of the building is cerulean and has four short multi-level domed towers of polished blue stone.[56]

Known members[edit | edit source]

Port Damali[edit | edit source]

An archive in Port Damali has a teleportation room that does not link to Vasselheim, unlike both Rexxentrum and Zadash.[60]

Temple of the Mentor in Ank'Harel[edit | edit source]

The Temple of the Mentor, the Cobalt Soul's branch in Ank'Harel, was founded around 686 PD,[61] combining a vast library and a temple to Ioun. The local archivists are preoccupied with eradicating factions that they consider evil, particularly the Consortium of the Vermilion Dream, which uses weapons made out of a suspicious material called ruidium. Members of the archive are concerned about the Allegiance of Allsight's fascination with Cael Morrow but cooperate with them out of shared ideals and goals.[4]

Known members[edit | edit source]

Personnel at other locations[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The cast of Critical Role, other than Matthew Mercer, often erroneously refers to the whole organization of the Cobalt Soul as the Cobalt Reserve.[68][69]
  • In the pre-stream games, the Cobalt Soul originally worshiped the god Delleb from the Greyhawk pantheon. The change to Ioun was likely made during the campaign's switch to Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition.[70]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 2: "Factions and Societies", p. 52.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 2: "Allegiances of Tal'Dorei", p. 58.
  3. See Matt Mercer's clarification on Twitter.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Call of the Netherdeep, Chapter 4: "The Jewel of Hope", p. 88.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) at 4:06:16.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 2: "Allegiances of Tal'Dorei", p. 59.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 2: "Allegiances of Tal'Dorei", pp. 58–59.
  8. "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) at 1:38:23.
  9. See Matt Mercer's clarification on Twitter.
  10. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 2: "Factions and Societies", p. 52. Factions and Societies/Library of the Cobalt Soul
  11. Call of the Netherdeep, "Appendix A: Creatures", p. 202. Appendix A: Creatures, Monastics of the Cobalt Soul
  12. "The Threads Converge" (2x85) at 3:57:50.
  13. Call of the Netherdeep, "Appendix A: Creatures", p. 201. Appendix A: Creatures, Monastics of the Cobalt Soul.
  14. "Somewhere Out There" (3x59) at 3:33:30.
  15. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 5: "Game Master's Toolkit", p. 201. A monograph about the Vestiges of Divergence is credited as being written by the Cobalt Reserve's High Curator circa 547 PD, implying the archive to have been established some time before then.
  16. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 3: "Tal'Dorei Gazetteer", p. 91.
  17. Call of the Netherdeep, Chapter 4: "The Jewel of Hope", p. 87.
  18. "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) from 1:38:20 through 1:38:57. In early 811 PD, when the archive is first mentioned, it is said to have been recently "expanded back into Vasselheim"
  19. "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 3:27:20. In 836 PD, the Vasselheim archive is considered "recently established".
  20. "Curious Tides" (1x89) at 2:59:10. In this episode set in 811 PD, Matt clarifies that the Cobalt Reserve is in Westruun, implying that there isn't a Cobalt Soul archive in Emon.
  21. "The Neverending Day" (2x125) at 1:19:24. In this episode set in 836 PD, Matt confirms that there is a Cobalt Soul archive in Emon.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "The City of Flowing Light" (3x42) at 3:41:05.
  23. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 6: "Allies and Adversaries of Tal'Dorei", p. 239.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) from 1:22:33 through 1:22:52.
  25. "Faith or Famine" (3x60) at 20:27.
  26. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 1: "Welcome to Tal'Dorei", p. 13.
  27. "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) from 1:38:20 through 1:38:57.
  28. "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 3:34:02.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Information about Quian was imported from Matthew Mercer's Vox Machina Wiki article, "Quian".
  30. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 2: "Allegiances of Tal'Dorei", p. 60.
  31. The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, pp. 148 and 247. May also be an abbreviation of "Cobalt Soul".
  32. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 5: "Game Master's Toolkit", p. 209.
  33. "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) from 1:38:11 through 1:39:00.
  34. "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) from 1:47:11 through 1:48:22.
  35. 35.0 35.1 "The Threads Converge" (2x85) at 3:57:50. However, in Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 53, it states that the second High Curator is located in Zadash rather than Vasselheim.
  36. "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) from 1:45:25 through 1:46:30.
  37. "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) from 1:48:24 through 1:49:02.
  38. "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) from 1:49:25 through 1:50:44.
  39. "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) at 1:43:48. Kusuo describes himself as "in charge of looking over this extension of the Cobalt Reserve's reach and collection."
  40. "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) at 1:49:10.
  41. 41.0 41.1 "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) at 1:50:45.
  42. "Harvest Close" (2x17) at 1:49:48.
  43. "A Favor in Kind" (2x16) at 3:33:54.
  44. "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 2:35:47.
  45. "Manifold Morals" (2x74) at 1:36:24.
  46. "Family Shatters" (2x96) from 3:50:22 through 3:52:12.
  47. According to Zeenoth. See The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, p. 152.
  48. "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 2:26:17.
  49. 49.0 49.1 "Harvest Close" (2x17) at 1:50:34.
  50. "Whispers of War" (2x18) at 3:28:38.
  51. "Disparate Pieces" (2x04) at 2:18:19.
  52. "A Walk to Warmer Welcomes" (2x124) at 1:23:04.
  53. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 2: "Factions and Societies", pp. 53–Factions and Societies, Library of the Cobalt Soul.
  54. "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) at 1:22:38.
  55. "Disparate Pieces" (2x04) at 1:03:48.
  56. "Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) at 4:01:44.
  57. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 2: "Factions and Societies", p. 53.
  58. "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 3:42:04.
  59. "Bathhouses and Bastions" (2x90) at 1:09:01.
  60. "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 3:43:17.
  61. Call of the Netherdeep, Chapter 4: "The Jewel of Hope", p. 88. "nearly 150 years ago"
  62. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 11. Short mention; tells a story of the world creation.
  63. "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" (OSx09) at 1:22.
  64. The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, p. 182.
  65. The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, p. 193.
  66. "Faith or Famine" (3x60) at 20:36.
  67. "Somewhere Out There" (3x59) at 1:46:10.
  68. "A Favor in Kind" (2x16) at 3:32:27.
  69. "A Tangled Web" (2x77) at 3:47:46.
  70. Taken from Westruun page from the archive of Vox Machina Wiki which was created by Matthew Mercer.

Art:

  1. Official art of the Cobalt Soul symbol, by Claudio Pozas (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  2. Symbol of Cobalt Soul on a Cobalt Journal (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.