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The Way of the Cobalt Soul is a monastic tradition practiced by some members of the Cobalt Soul. This subclass was created by Matthew Mercer and first published in the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting. Afterward it appeared in Campaign Two of Critical Role, where the subclass was played by Marisha Ray's character Beauregard Lionett of the Mighty Nein. The mechanics were tweaked throughout campaign, and the final version was made available on D&D Beyond on October 16, 2020.

Description[]

Driven by the pursuit of knowledge and its scholars' worship of the Knowing Mentor, the Library of the Cobalt Soul is one of the best-respected and most heavily guarded repositories of tomes, history and information in all of Exandria. People from all lands come to the library to seek knowledge, and those particularly dedicated to the virtues of truth often pledge their minds and bodies to the Cobalt Soul's cause. To become a member of the Cobalt Soul is to give oneself over to a quest dedicated to unveiling life's mysteries, bringing light to the secrets of concealed evil, and guarding the most powerful and dangerous of truth from those whose unwholesome thirst for knowledge might bring death and suffering to others.
– 
[!h]

In line with the Cobalt Soul's mission to expand knowledge, monks following this tradition train to decipher and exploit their enemies' defenses, both physical and mental, embodying the maxim "Know your enemy". They study languages and fields of academic study to augment their investigative and espionage abilities. They learn to defeat their foes through research and physical training, then record their discoveries for others to learn from.[1]

Not all monks in the Cobalt Soul learn this specific monastic tradition. Monastic operatives, infiltrators, and even high curators typically lack these specialized abilities, though some have a similar ability to exploit openings when a nearby enemy attacks and misses them.[2]

History[]

Though Beauregard Lionett had been illegally pressed into the Cobalt Soul for six months in 833 PD, she was not trained in the Way of the Cobalt Soul at that time, and she went away from the Zadash archive without leave. In 835 PD, after Zeenoth failed to track her down and return her to the archive, Dairon finally caught up with Beau in Trostenwald and, upon hearing Beau's allegation that Zeenoth had arranged for her to be kidnapped, began to train Beau in the Way of the Cobalt Soul, to begin initiating her into the secret order of "Expositors" who expose hidden evils to the light. Dairon immediately introduced Beau to her first lessons in the Way.[3] Over the course of Beau's adventures, with Dairon's occasional guidance, she eventually learned all of the abilities of the monastic tradition.[4]

Cressida Holt by Lauren Walsh

Official art of Cressida Holt, a Cobalt Soul monk and expositor, by Lauren Walsh from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, page 173.[art 2]

As of 836 PD, Cressida Holt was a freshly minted expositor, and was assigned to monitor a member of the Tal'Dorei Council.[5]

In 843 PD, when Beauregard arrived at the Rexxentrum Archive of the Cobalt Soul, she was greeted by a guard and referred to as "High Monk" Beauregard.[6]

Powers and abilities[]

Way of the Cobalt Soul was originally published in the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, and this version initially appeared in Campaign Two.[7] After feedback, Matthew Mercer made changes to the subclass; these changes were instituted in the campaign in "Well Beneath" (2x54) and published via Dropbox and Twitter shortly after.[8][9]

The subclass was published to D&D Beyond on October 16, 2020 with further changes.[10][11] Unless otherwise stated, the following mechanical information reflects Way of the Cobalt Soul as published through D&D Beyond.

Extract Aspects[]

Jinjidraws Exspositor Dairon

Fan art of Dairon, by Jinjidraws.[art 3]

Beginning at level 3, hitting a creature with an attack granted by Flurry of Blows marks and analyzes the creature. The player learns the following about the creature: damage vulnerabilities, damage resistances, damage immunities, and condition immunities. In addition, whenever a marked creature misses the player, the player can use their reaction to make one unarmed melee attack against it. This benefit lasts until the end of a short or long rest.[11]

In prior version published in the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, this ability cost one ki point to force a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the player must choose to learn one of the following: creature type, armor class, senses, highest saving throw modifier, lowest saving throw modifier, damage vulnerabilities, damage resistances, damage immunities, or condition immunities.[7] The change was made because players felt "the limitations of unknown usefulness" frustrating.[9] In both the campaign setting guide and the version published on Twitter, the ability to immediately use a reaction on a missed attack was formerly a separate feature called Preternatural Counter and could be used against any target, not just one targeted by Extract Aspects; it was learned at level 11 in the campaign guide and level 6 in the version published on Twitter.[7][9]

Extort Truth[]

Beginning at level 6, after striking a creature with an unarmed attack, the player can spend one ki point to force a Charisma saving throw. The player knows if the creature fails or saves, and on a failed save, the creature cannot deliberately lie and all Charisma checks directed at them are made with advantage for up to ten minutes. The creature is aware of the nature of the effect and thus can avoid speaking or answer evasively.[11]

In the prior versions published in the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting and on Twitter, this ability required landing two or more attacks in one round (not required to be unarmed attacks) and lasted up to one minute.[7][9]

Mystical Erudition[]

At level 6, the player learns one language of their choice and gains proficiency in one skill of their choice of Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, or Religion. If they already have proficiency in one of those skills, they may instead choose to double their proficiency bonus for that skill. They gain an additional language and an additional proficiency (or again doubling an existing proficiency) from that skill list at level 11 and again at level 17.[11]

In the prior versions published in the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting and on Twitter, this ability was first gained at level 3, then again at levels 11 and 17. In the campaign setting guide, there was no option to double an existing proficiency, and in the version published on Twitter, the option to do so was offered only at level 11 and 17.[7][9]

Mind of Mercury[]

Beginning at level 11, if the player has already used their reaction, they may spend one ki point per turn to take an additional reaction.[11]

In the prior version published in the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, the ability was learned at level 6 and allowed the player a number of reactions per round equal to their Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1) by spending one ki point per reaction beyond their first, limited to one reaction per trigger. It additionally allowed players to spend one ki point to gain advantage on an Investigation check.[7] The reaction ability was felt to be prone to abuse, and the version of the subclass published on Twitter added a limitation of one per turn. The ability to spend a point for advantage on Investigation checks was also removed. Furthermore, to make the class more competitive with other monk subclasses and to offer an earlier combat ability, the Twitter version made Mind of Mercury available at level 11 instead, offering Preternatural Counter at level 6 in its place.[9]

Debilitating Barrage[]

Beginning at level 17, after striking a creature with an attack granted by Flurry of Blows, the player may spend three ki points to make the creature vulnerable to a damage type of choice for one minute or until the creature takes that damage type. Once affected by this ability, a creature cannot be affected again for 24 hours.[11]

In the prior version published in the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, this ability required striking the creature with three or more attacks in a single round. Spending the three ki points, forced the creature to make all attack rolls at disadvantage until the end of the player's next turn and to additionally make a Constitution saving throw, suffering the damage vulnerability on a failure. The campaign setting guide additionally stated that the vulnerability does not affect a creature who has resistance or immunity to the chosen damage type; a resistance or immunity would be revealed to the player only after the type is chosen.[7]

Trivia[]

References[]

Art:

  1. Fan art of Beau, Way of the Cobalt Soul monk, by HeartofPack (source). Used with permission.
  2. Official art of Cressida Holt, a Cobalt Soul monk and expositor, by Lauren Walsh from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, page 173. 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.
  3. Fan art of Dairon, by Jinjidraws (source). Used with permission.
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