Monster Analysis: Monk of the Cobalt Soul

Thanks to @JinjiDraws for this art piece!

  • First Appearance: 2-04 Disparate Pieces
  • Armor Class 12 < x < 21
  • Speed 40 ft
  • 31 damage taken

The Way of the Cobalt Soul appears in the Tal’Dorei Campaign Guide as a monastic tradition option for those whose character values using knowledge to crush corruption and falsehoods presented by those who would abuse the power they have. While we briefly discussed the monk as a new class to the show, we can now dive in a little bit more into the path that Beauregard has embarked upon, as well as what she can look forward to, as demonstrated by Expositor Dairon.

Way of the Cobalt Soul

By Expositor Dairon’s own words:

“We are the hidden strength of the library, you are not wrong. We wade in the filth of society. We weed out the corrupt. We pursue the secret evils of the world, and expose them to the light. We twist the arm of the unjust until they spill their mysteries. We are the spies. We are the hunters. We are the watchmen to those who rule. We are not kind. We are forthright. We are truth.”

The Way of the Cobalt Soul, unlike the PHB monk traditions, is rooted in the divine; specifically, The Knowing Mistress (sometimes known as Ioun). She is a neutral deity of knowledge and arcana, though she most highly values not just the learning of knowledge, but the spread of it to others. Because she was wounded so heavily by The Chained Oblivion during the Calamity, most of her followers, ironically, must worship under a cloak of secrecy. The Cobalt libraries, such as the ones in Vasselheim, Westruun, and now Zadash, are the few public bastions of hers, as their importance grants them government protection.

While the specific hierarchy of the order is unknown, from what we heard from Dairon and Xenoth, there is a definite delegation of duties. Xenoth works an an Archivist, and, up until recently, was responsible for trying to train Beau. Vox Machina encountered archivist monks of the Cobalt Soul order during one of their trips to Vasselheim (you can rewatch it here). While the Archivists serve The Knowing Mistress through the careful preservation of information for others to use, Expositors (those who expound or explain) go out into the world as The Knowing Mistress’ statement against liars and those who would seek power through the corruption of knowledge.

Warehouse Showdown

Thanks to @TriaElf9 for this art piece!

"Do you see, with but a few simple strikes, I'm able to extract from you everything I need to know about you. You see, brute force has its place. But precision, and intent. That can take down the greatest of mountains, by poking the weakest point. And now, I know where your weak points are."

Cobalt Soul monks combine the unarmed striking ability of a monk with the knowledge application of the Knowing Mistress, resulting in an unarmed combatant that not only know how to stretch the limits of their own body, but one who can also identify and manipulate the limits of their opponents. This information is both used, and later, neatly categorized (as is the stats’ way).

Dairon demonstrated several of the specialized abilities of the Order. First, she used one of the abilities that Beau will get at level three, Extract Aspects, to spend 1 ki to learn information about her target after hitting Beau at least twice in a round. Next, she used an 11th level ability, Preternatural Counter, to take advantage of Beau’s missed attack to use her reaction to attack her. Finally, she used a 6th level ability, Mind of Mercury, to take additional reactions in a round based on her Intelligence modifier at the cost of 1 ki point per reaction.

In all, Dairon burned through three of her at least 11 ki points, while Beau had to use both of hers. Dairon was very obviously uninterested in doing major damage to Beau. Outside of her first strike to get Beau's attention, she elected to deal controlled single points of damage at a time so she could show off all that Beau could learn as a Way of the Cobalt Soul monk. The 31 damage Beau dealt to Dairon is fantastic for a 2nd level monk, but nowhere near what would be required to take down a monk of Dairon’s level.

If you loved this battle and want to know more about the Way of the Cobalt Soul monastic tradition, you can find the full class lore and details in the Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting!