The Somnovem
Screenshot of the Somnovem Omega in the Aether Crux in Crit Recap Animated, by Offworld Studios.[art 1]
Organizational information
EstablishedAge of Arcanum
Disbanded3 Sydenstar 836 PD (All members killed)
Total members9
Notable members
  • Culpasi
  • Elatis
  • Fastidan
  • Gaudius
  • Ira
  • Luctus
  • Mirumus
  • Timorei
  • Vigilan
EnemiesThe Mighty Nein

The Somnovem[1] (also referred to as the Eyes of Nine) are the leaders of the Cognouza Ward of the pre-Calamity city of Aeor.[2]

Description[edit | edit source]

According to Vess DeRogna, the Somnovem are the minds of Cognouza, the ones who orchestrated its escape from the destruction of Aeor, and wish now to return. They had betrayed their own city to ensure their survival. She wished to become one of "the minds" in order to receive the lost knowledge of the greatest mageocracy in history. The Somnovem require the means to come back: enough threshold crests to replace those lost "when it found the storm." The gate lies in the center of Aeor's ruin.[3] Vess DeRogna's body also told the Nein that a Nonagon is a vessel, the key to Cognouza, and the one to free the Somnovem.[4]

The tome found and read by Lucien, then taken by Vess DeRogna before Lucien recovered it, stated that the Somnovem were the organizers of the Cognouza ward: nine philosophers who were dedicated to the idea of manifestation through dream and imagination with the conduit of arcana, and many of its denizens were able to forge matter from sheer will and idea alone. They became increasingly obsessed with the Astral Plane and were rumored to be plotting a secession from the Aeorian Convocation, to abscond from the city to their beloved plane of dreams and ash.[5]

Beau confirmed that the Cobalt Soul was aware that the term "Somnovem" had something to do with the leadership of the Cognouza Ward of Aeor, but that was the extent of their knowledge.[2]

Halas Lutagran described the Somnovem as the strangest of the many philosophers of Aeor, feeling as if they didn't belong within their own people. They had an almost fanatical belief in the mortal imagination, and when they were challenged in their fanaticism, closed themselves and the Cognouza Ward off from the rest of Aeorian society.[6]

Devexian called the Somnovem "a cabal of theorists and odd, exploratory, metaphysically-obsessed buffoons.[7] [...] "If Cognouza is what remains of Aeor, that in itself is a very cruel joke of history."[8]

History[edit | edit source]

The Cognouza Ward was once a part of the city of Aeor during the Age of Arcanum, where it was led by the Somnovem.[9] The Somnovem orchestrated Cognouza's escape from the destruction of Aeor during the Calamity. They betrayed Aeor to ensure their survival.[10] In doing so, the ward was transported to the Astral Sea, where it was caught in a psychic storm that broke the minds and spirits of the thousands of inhabitants until they were merged with the city itself.[11] Over time, they were reformed and became driven by the "instinct of their dreams". The Astral Sea allows one to "will their dreams to be" but the collective will of the Cognouza Ward was too "fragmented" to properly harness this.[12]

Shortly after the Mighty Nein arrived at Cognouza, Timorei contacted Caleb Widogast telepathically via one of the quasi-people populating the courtyard. Terrified, particularly by Elatis' and Luctus' embrace of the unknown, Timorei warned Caleb of the other Somnovem and urged him to destroy Elatis and Luctus at the Aether Crux. He further explained that the Nonagon was going to bring them "home".[13]

Immediately after, Ira spoke to both Fjord and Caleb Widogast in the form of one of the quasi-people near them.[14] He demanded of Caleb and Fjord which of the Somnovem had been speaking to them previously. When they claimed they didn't know, Ira angrily sensed the lie and demanded to know if it was Mirumus or Gaudius. Caleb agreed it was Gaudius, and Ira warned them not to trust him, saying Gaudius pushed forward "without call for truth in the evils of existence". Ira urged them to find the essences of the others at the Aether Crux and destroy them.[15]

Shortly after, Gaudius accosted the party and, wishing to bind everyone in "absolute eternal love without boundaries, urged the party to find the essences of Fastidan and Culpasi (who opposed this idea) at the Aether Crux and "grant them their separation from reality," so that the rest of the Somnovem could join together without doubt.[16]

Members[edit | edit source]

The nine members of the Somnovem were formerly humanoids living in Aeor. After they were changed by the psychic winds of the Astral Sea, they became aberrations. The Somnovem are able to move anywhere throughout the city, and can assume control of the blank people-like creatures that populated the area. They can speak through the form of a giant red eye consuming one of their heads or form an independent eye stalk out of the flesh of the city to communicate.[17][18]

  • Culpasi[19] was not encountered individually by the Nein. In combat with Lucien, Culpasi's eye caused intense guilt that could be resisted by a constitution saving throw. The guilt caused disadvantage on saving throws[20] and psychic damage whenever the target hit the enemy.[21]
  • Elatis[22] was not encountered individually by the Nein. In combat with Lucien, Elatis' eye created a burbling sense of excitement in the target.[23] On a failed Intelligence saving throw, the target sees an illusion of a loved one (i.e. Caduceus Clay saw his sister) and was pulled 120 feet toward Lucien.[24] On both a failure and a success, the target received another red eye marking somewhere on their body.
  • Fastidan[19] was not encountered individually by the Nein. In combat with Lucien, Fastidan's eye created a wilting necromantic energy similar to a high-level Blight spell that could resisted by a constitution saving throw.[25] This eye was destroyed by Fjord's Eldritch Blast.[26]
  • Gaudius[27] wished to bind everyone in "absolute eternal love without boundaries", erasing "the horrid separation that plagues all life in the cosmos, breeding strife through loneliness and misunderstanding". They were at odds with Fastidan and Culpasi because of what Gaudius described as disgust, arrogance, and deeply misplaced shame.[28] Something about the voice and the light of Gaudius' red eye was "oddly comforting".[29] While in combat with Lucien, Gaudius' eye flickered a warm, welcoming sensation, filled with longing and love, causing the target to become charmed for one minute on a failed Wisdom saving throw.[30] Even on a success, however, it sometimes caused a new eye to appear on the target's body.[31]
  • Ira[27] is consumed with anger and desire for vengeance and was highly suspicious of his fellow Somnovem, repeatedly demanding who had spoken to the Nein previously. He approved of the vengeance he saw in their souls, and he distrusted Gaudius and Mirumus particularly.[32] In combat with Lucien, Ira's eye burned with bright anger and cast Fireball.[33] This eye was destroyed by Veth's Brenatto's Voltaic Bolt.[34]
  • Luctus[27] was not encountered individually by the Nein. In combat with Lucien, Luctus' eye was dull grey and seeping. Its attack on failed Dexterity saving throws caused the target's heart to sink with absolute grief and sadness and inflicted Slow.[35][36] This eye was destroyed simultaneously with Timorei through Essek Thelyss's Tether Essence.[37]
  • Mirumus[38] was not encountered individually by the Nein. In combat with Lucien, Mirumus' attacks were negated by Caleb's Protection from Aberrations,[39] and later by a high wisdom save by Jester.[40] Thus, the effect is unknown.
  • Timorei[41] was completely mad with fear at the time the Mighty Nein met him. He insisted that at all costs, the oblivion of death must be destroyed and "they" must endure. He was particularly afraid of the consequence of what Elatis and Luctus were doing.[13] In combat with Lucien, Timorei's eye cast Fear.[42] Even on a successful Wisdom save, however, the eye sometimes gave the target a new red eye marking.[43] This eye was destroyed by Fjord's Eldritch Blast.[37]
  • Vigilan[27] was not encountered individually by the Nein. In combat with Lucien, Vigilan's eye created a 60-foot anti-magic cone.[44] This eye was destroyed by Essek's Magic Missile.[45]

Affiliations[edit | edit source]

  • Lucien was the leader of a mercenary group offshoot of the Claret Orders when he found a book which, when he looked inside, "it looked back." At that point, he became the Nonagon, working to restore the Somnovem. With each dream, a different mind came to him, one by one showing him what the city was: a collection of minds, finding emergence, and becoming one under the Eyes of Nine. On each visit, they gave him one of his eye markings. When his spirit was splintered by DeRogna's purposeful botching of the ritual designed to unite him with the Somnovem, they were able to find him and put him back together, and in the process he learned much more about them.[46]
  • The Tombtakers, under Lucien, are also in the service of the Somnovem. Cree, one of the Tombtakers, stated that they trusted in Lucien and the Somnovem while looking up with reverence, closing her eyes, and clutching the stone around her neck.[47]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

  • "Another finds us, finds their way home. Welcome. We dream with you. Dreams are the first step. We can make dreams into anything. Into everything. Together."[48]
  • Ira: "Creation is born from destruction, and if all that is worthy of us is destroyed, then so much more can be created or forgotten. Fates that threw us to torment and death, they all will pay!"[49]
  • Ira: "To strike first is to survive, and to punish before you yourself can be hurt. All will eventually hurt you!"[50]
  • Ira: (snarling) Gaudius, do not trust them. They push forward without call for truth in the evils of existence. They wash us all towards oblivion with arms open and naive.[51]
  • Gaudius: You arrive by sheer force of love and family, protecting those that bring you joy and meaning. That is true purpose. Through these bonds eternal, everything, everything has meaning. We seek to bond everything in love and to become one as we all are. Absolute, eternal love, without boundaries.[52]
  • Gaudius: [Fastidan and Culpasi] are driven from unity through disgust, arrogance, and deeply misplaced shame. They would divide and maintain the horrid separation that plagues all life in the cosmos, breeding strife through loneliness and misunderstanding. If you could show love for each other, and for us, could you find where they're harbored within the Aether Crux, and maybe grant them their separation from reality as they so seek, so that the rest of us might join without doubt? Please.[16]
  • Timorei: "You know the terror of the end, mortal ones. The nothing, the acceptance of fate or even oblivion. We-- we cannot end. No, at all costs, oblivion must be destroyed. We will endure!"[13]
  • Timorei: "Driven by fear, you are powerful."[53]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Lucien stated that he no longer needed sleep as a gift of the Somnovem, giving him more time to think, contemplate, and watch, although he could still dream.[54]
  • The word "Somnovem" is probably based on two Latin roots: "somn" meaning "sleeping" or "dreaming", and "novem" meaning "nine". Thus, the Dreaming (or Sleeping) Nine.[55]
  • Each of the names of the Somnovem also appear to have Latin roots.
    • Luctus: luctus (grief, sorrow)
    • Gaudius - gaudeo (rejoice)
    • Ira - ira (anger, wrath)
    • Vigilan - vigil (awake, alert, watchful)
    • Elatis - elatus (uplifted, exalted) or elate (haughtily, loftily, proudly)
    • Timorei - timor (fear, dread)
    • Mirumus - mirum (surprise)
    • Fastidan - fastidium (loathing)
    • Culpasi - culpa (blame, fault)
  • The eye markings that appeared on Lucien and on the various Mighty Nein members granted powers to their bearers, with each additional eye giving a cumulative new ability:
    1. Mild Telepathy (limited to 120 feet to someone else with an eye)
    2. Darkvision
    3. Can see through illusions
    4. Can choose to see into the Ethereal Plane
    5. Scry through the red eye mark of another person
    6. Sense all sentient beings within 300 feet
    7. Rend Mind, which does 10d10 psychic damage and Lucien used to kill Vess DeRogna
    8. Control the minds of other people with red eyes
    9. Anti-magic cone, but become an NPC under Matt's control[56]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Matt spells the name in "An Open Window" (2x114), but the transcripts frequently use "Somnovum" as well.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 2:48:31.
  3. "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) from 2:06:50 through 2:09:35.
  4. "An Open Window" (2x114) at 3:07:48.
  5. "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained" (2x122) at 1:12:42.
  6. "The Neverending Day" (2x125) at 43:55.
  7. "The Genesis Ward" (2x135) at 2:18:38.
  8. "The Genesis Ward" (2x135) at 2:20:10.
  9. "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 2:47:53.
  10. "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 2:06:53.
  11. "Hell or High Water" (2x136) at 2:36:01.
  12. "Hell or High Water" (2x136) at 2:35:57.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:05:17.
  14. "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:13:29.
  15. "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:13:43.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Where There Is a Will..." (2x138) at 2:38:44.
  17. "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:13:24.
  18. "Where There Is a Will..." (2x138) from 2:35:20 through 2:41:08.
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Where There Is a Will..." (2x138) at 2:38:30.
  20. "Rebirth" (2x139) at 2:55:03.
  21. "Long May He Reign" (2x140) at 3:13:44.
  22. "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:06:25.
  23. "Rebirth" (2x139) at 1:12:56.
  24. "Rebirth" (2x139) at 3:28:57.
  25. "Rebirth" (2x139) at 1:26:52. The eye caused 68 points of necrotic damage. Blight cast at its base 4th level is 8d8 damage, indicating the damage from the eye was at a higher level.
  26. "Long May He Reign" (2x140) at 2:49:38.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 47:27.
  28. "Where There Is a Will..." (2x138) from 2:36:43 through 2:38:50.
  29. "Where There Is a Will..." (2x138) at 2:41:23.
  30. "Rebirth" (2x139) at 1:48:32.
  31. "Long May He Reign" (2x140) at 40:56.
  32. "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:14:54.
  33. "Rebirth" (2x139) at 1:14:38.
  34. "Long May He Reign" (2x140) at 2:29:56.
  35. "Rebirth" (2x139) at 1:31:00.
  36. "Long May He Reign" (2x140) at 42:08.
  37. 37.0 37.1 "Long May He Reign" (2x140) at 1:32:02.
  38. "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:17:35.
  39. "Rebirth" (2x139) at 2:38:28.
  40. "Rebirth" (2x139) at 2:51:24.
  41. "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:06:10.
  42. "Rebirth" (2x139) at 1:50:42.
  43. "Long May He Reign" (2x140) at 43:23.
  44. "Rebirth" (2x139) at 1:35:52. Matt states that the anti-magic effect is created by the central eye stalk above Lucien's head, "the one name you didn't catch", which was Vigilan.
  45. "Long May He Reign" (2x140) at 1:39:32.
  46. "Ice and Fire" (2x121) from 46:57 through 50:12.
  47. "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 54:14.
  48. "The Neverending Day" (2x125) at 3:42:09.
  49. "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:15:28.
  50. "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:18:37.
  51. "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:18:11.
  52. "Where There Is a Will..." (2x138) at 2:36:43.
  53. "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:05:58.
  54. "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 2:52:29.
  55. "An Open Window" (2x114) at 3:10:10.
  56. "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap-Up" (Mx10) from 3:25:52 through 3:26:59.


  1. Screenshot of the Somnovem Omega in the Aether Crux in Crit Recap Animated, by Offworld Studios (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.