Mind: Untrained - 20
Body: Skilled - 14
Magic: Untrained - 20 for fledglings, Skilled - 14 for elders, and Master - 8 for Shamans.
Number of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: Pounce, rake, and roar - Roar is used to cause fright and stun others.
Special Attacks: Magic possible, with emphasis on fire, heat and charm spells.
Special Defenses: Flight, dodge
Special Abilites: Infravision, read magic
Magic Resistence: Nil
Climate/Terrain: Sphinx can be found in mountains and desert, occasionally they will venture into temperate forests.
Activity Cycle: Any
Intelligence: Average to high.
Language: Sphinx, Draconic, Infernal, Celestial, Common, and whatever other language they care to learn.
Alignment: Usually neutral. They can be good or evil. It varies just as people vary.
All types of sphinx are related, yet can be diverse in appearance, intellect, and personality. All combine a lion's body, a falcon's wings, and a head of some other species. The more intelligent types sport humanoid heads—either male or female. These humanoid-headed races are often called androsphinxes and gynosphinxes, terms many sphinxes consider demeaning. Lesser sphinxes have the heads of beasts and are invariably male; the most commonly encountered are the ram-headed criosphinxes and the savage, falcon-headed hieracosphinx. Sphinxes deny any common ancestry with other leonine hybrids such as griffins and manticores, let alone celestial beings like lammasus, and find such lines of conversation distasteful.
Sphinxes prefer warm desert climes and the hills nearby, both for the comforting warmth and the pleasant solitude. The more intelligent sphinxes have contrary social natures, alternately craving conversation and isolation as the mood strikes them. Indeed, a bored or irritated sphinx often takes leave in the midst of discussion, or perhaps slays and devours its petitioners out of sheer annoyance.
While sphinxes as a race are not truly immortal, they are fantastically long-lived, save for the violent hieracosphinxes, who rarely survive their second decade. Unless slain by accident, violence, or misadventure, other sphinxes seem to pass on only after several centuries of living. The older a sphinx is, the less it needs consume. The oldest of sphinxes dine perhaps once per year, making them ideal guardians for monuments, temples, and tombs.
Sphinxes prefer to converse in their own tongue, but most speak the languages of humans and dragons as well. Addressing a sphinx in its own language with all due politeness and deference goes a long way to ensure peaceful conversation.
Though sphinxes have a reputation for loving riddles, in truth, only gynosphinxes truly enjoy them. Androsphinxes prefer lofty philosophical discussions, while criosphinxes prefer worldly topics or fawning praise. Hieracosphinxes rarely converse at all, and respond only to threats from creatures more powerful than they are.
Neighboring humanoids generally adopt a policy of avoiding local sphinxes, as the creatures grow increasingly irritable each time their solitude is invaded. Even so, once a sphinx's lair is known, it can expect a steady flow of visitors in search of the fabled wisdom of its race. Some sphinxes move to quieter abodes once the interruptions become too much to bear; others devour a few of the more irritating supplicants until the visits cease.
Most sphinxes fight on the ground, using their wings to help them pounce much as lions do. If outnumbered by earthbound creatures, a sphinx takes wing and attacks on the fly.
The more intelligent sphinx can use magic in combat. But to do so requires the use of incantations, and so the sphinx cannot be attacking with claws and casting spells at the same time.
This regal, bird-winged lion has the face of a powerful human male.
The mightiest of the sphinxes, androsphinxes see themselves as all that is worthy and noble in the species and carry themselves as though the weight of the world rests upon their good example.
Androsphinxes put on a gruff and cantankerous front to outsiders. They make no effort to hide annoyance when displeased. Androsphinxes tend to be territorial like all sphinxes. They almost invariably warn and bluster before attacking, and nearly always heed a call to parley. Androsphinxes barter information and conversation for safe passage, not treasure.
They view criosphinxes with paternalistic condescension, hieracosphinxes with poorly veiled disgust, and gynosphinxes as the only other sphinxes worthy of their time.
Androsphinxes can grow as large as 10 feet tall from paw to head and weigh 1,000 pounds.
This creature has the wings of a bird, the body of a lion, and the head of a ram with sad, wise eyes.
Perhaps the least leonine of all sphinxes, the ram-headed criosphinx lacks the intellect of androsphinxes and gynosphinxes, but still outmatches the dim-witted hieracosphinxes. Like hieracosphinxes and androsphinxes, criosphinxes are always male. At the start of a battle, a criosphinx lowers its horns and crashes into foes, clawing enemies it has engaged. It favors charging down on foes from great heights.
Criosphinxes crave wealth over nearly all other things, habitually extorting tolls for safe passage from any who pass their lands. Groups who cannot pay must yield one of their number or a pair of mounts for the criosphinx's meal—single travelers must fight or die. Unlike gynosphinxes, no mere riddle suffices—only the shine of metal or the gleam of jewels can satisfy a criosphinx. Little can convince a criosphinx to part with even a single coin save the lust that its kind bears for the gynosphinx. Criosphinxes crave mating with gynosphinxes above all else, and pay well for the whereabouts of a female, or better yet, a well-crafted riddle that might impress one. For their part, gynosphinxes prefer to have little to do with what they mock as the sheep of sphinxes, though they sometimes lower themselves to a brief assignation in the rare event a criosphinx manages to impress them with wealth or wit.
Criosphinxes detest hieracosphinxes, regarding them as little more than beasts and a disgrace to their noble race. They drive off their falcon-headed cousins with mock-charges and posturing, escalating to full-fledged attacks if ignored. Androsphinxes they view with mixed fear and respect, and gynosphinxes with disdain and lust.
A typical criosphinx can grow to 8 feet tall and a weight of 750 pounds.
A gynosphinx is the only type of female sphinx. While not as physically powerful as an androsphinx, the gynosphinx is still a capable combatant and possesses a number of magical powers. The gynosphinx is viewed as a wise and majestic creature that is nevertheless terrifying when angered.
Gynosphinxes prefer to pursue intellectual ideals. They love to collect knowledge and ancient lore and delight in solving riddles, puzzles, and mental challenges. These rare creatures are often invaluable sources of information, especially when making use of their magical abilities. They are the most willing to barter with humanoids, and will eagerly trade for new and interesting information. Gynosphinx place a great value on politeness, and think little of devouring those that don't give them their adequate attention.
A typical gynosphinx is just under 10 feet tall and weighs about 800 pounds.
A cold-eyed falcon's head and great wings adorn the body of this otherwise leonine creature.
The least intelligent of the sphinxes, hieracosphinxes are a cruel-hearted lot. All are male.
Hieracosphinxes guard their territory ruthlessly against weaker intruders, seldom giving warning before they attack. They have no use for banter and riddles, making most efforts at diplomacy rather ineffective, but can be convinced to call off their attacks by convincing shows of force coupled with information on the location of weaker prey. Unlike the other sphinx, these prefer to fight from the air the better to escape if the combat turns against them.
As they lack the ego and resourcefulness of the rest of their breed, hieracosphinxes can be pressed into service of mounts, particularly by those of similarly evil dispositions. Hieracosphinxes chafe under such service but submit to more powerful riders, though they still inflict their foul tempers on any weaker creatures that happen by. A grown hieracosphinx can easily consume a full horse's worth of meat in a day, making their upkeep rather expensive. Even with these drawbacks, hieracosphinx eggs command values of up to 1,500 gp on the open market, as do young hieracosphinxes. It takes 3 years for a hieracosphinx to reach maturity, after which an untrained hieracosphinx only rarely accepts a rider without magical compulsion. Trainers, though hard to come by, charge thousands of gold pieces to rear and train a hieracosphinx, owing to the risk to life and limb.
They despise the larger and cleverer androsphinxes and criosphinxes. Toward gynosphinxes they hold a twisted mix of a lust and hate, simultaneously envying their beauty and power while craving them as mates. Hieracosphinxes attack other sphinxes whenever they have them at a disadvantage. Male sphinxes of other species they tear to shreds or drive away, whereas they prefer to leave gynosphinxes ravaged but alive. The other species of sphinx likewise hold nothing but disdain for hieracosphinxes, and typically attack these vile beasts on sight.
A typical hieracosphinx is just short of 7 feet tall and weighs 600 pounds.
Sphinxes have peculiar breeding habits, contributing in no small part to their scarcity and the strange diversity of their species. The female gynosphinxes have nothing but scorn for animal-headed sphinxes, craving only the attentions of the masculine androsphinxes. For their part, androsphinxes consider petty rutting a waste of time and energy, both of which are better spent on loftier pursuits than the fleeting pleasures of the flesh. Criosphinxes and hieracosphinxes alike lust after gynosphinxes. The former abase themselves and attempt to curry favor with lavish gifts. Hieracosphinxes scorn any such civilized gestures, and mate by force on the rare occasions they have a female at their mercy.
From these rare couplings, two to four sphinxes of any type may be born, regardless of the breed of the parents. Instead, the nature of the coupling itself influences the species of the resulting offspring. From those rare matings engendered by love or respect, androsphinxes and gynosphinxes are born. Those couplings motivated by carnal lust or selfish urges most often produce criosphinxes. Hieracosphinxes come from acts of hate and violence, and their disgusted mothers quickly abandon them to the mercy of the elements, lest the young turn against them. Of all the males, only the criosphinx willingly helps rear its own young, often as part of the bargain for mating in the first place.