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. 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.
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.
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.
Devexian called the Somnovem "a cabal of theorists and odd, exploratory, metaphysically-obsessed buffoons. [...] "If Cognouza is what remains of Aeor, that in itself is a very cruel joke of history."
The Cognouza Ward was once a part of the city of Aeor during the Age of Arcanum, where it was led by the Somnovem. The Somnovem orchestrated Cognouza's escape from the destruction of Aeor during the Calamity. They betrayed Aeor to ensure their survival. In doing so, the ward of the city was transported to the Astral Sea.
- 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.
- 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.
- "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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Mild Telepathy (limited to 120 feet to someone else with an eye)
- Can see through illusions
- Can choose to see into the Ethereal Plane
- Scry through the red eye mark of another person
- Sense all sentient beings within 300 feet
- Rend Mind, which does 10d10 psychic damage and Lucien used to kill Vess DeRogna
- Control the minds of other people with red eyes
- Anti-magic cone, but become an NPC under Matt’s control
- Matt spells the name in "An Open Window" (2x114), but the transcripts frequently use "Somnovum" as well.
- See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 2:48:31.
- See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) from 2:06:50 through 2:09:35.
- See "An Open Window" (2x114) at 3:07:48.
- See "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained" (2x122) at 1:12:42.
- See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 2:48:31.
- See "The Neverending Day" (2x125) at 0:43:55.
- See "The Genesis Ward" (2x135) at 2:18:38.
- See "The Genesis Ward" (2x135) at 2:20:10.
- See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 2:47:53.
- See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 2:06:53.
- See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 0:47:27.
- See "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:06:25.
- See "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:06:10.
- See "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:17:35.
- See "Where There Is a Will..." (2x138) at 2:38:30.
- See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) from 0:46:57 through 0:50:12.
- See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 0:54:14.
- See "The Neverending Day" (2x125) at 3:42:09.
- See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 2:52:29.
- See "An Open Window" (2x114) at 3:10:10.
- See "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap Up" (Sx56) from 3:25:52 through 3:26:59.