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Sphinxes are intelligent monsters with the head of a human and the body of a lion. They like riddles and might let their prey go if they answer their riddles correctly. Emphasis on the "might". There are two types of sphinxes, the common Egyptian ones and the rare Greek ones with feathers and eage-like wings.
Matt Wright


The Sphinx is a mythical monster, which had the head of a human and the body of a lion.

Overview

The Sphinx is said to be one of the most intelligent beings on Earth to the point where humans have regarded them as being nigh-omniscient. In sacred isolation, a sphinx guards the secrets and treasures of the gods. As it calmly regards each new party that comes before it, the bones of supplicants and quest seekers that failed to pass its tests lie scattered around its lair. Its great wings sweep along its flanks, its tawny leonine body rippling with muscle and possessed of forepaws powerful enough to tear a humanoid in half.

Sphinxes test the worth of those who seek the treasures of the gods, whether forgotten secrets or mighty spells, artifacts or magical gateways. Creatures that choose to face a sphinx's test are bound to that test unto death, and only those worthy will survive it. The rest the sphinx destroys. Some sphinxes are high priests of the gods that create them, but most are simply embodied spirits, brought into the mortal realm by devout prayer or direct intervention. A sphinx maintains its vigil tirelessly, not needing to sleep or eat. It rarely engages with others of its kind, knowing no other life except its sacred mission.

The secrets and treasures a sphinx guards remain under divine protection, so that when a creature fails a sphinx's test, the path to the object or knowledge it guards vanishes. Even if a sphinx is attacked and defeated, a quester will still fail to gain the secret it sought-  and will make an enemy of the god that placed the sphinx as a guardian. Benign deities sometimes grant a sphinx the power to remove supplicants that fail their tests, transporting them away and ensuring that they never encounter the sphinx again. However, those who fail a sphinx's test typically meet a gruesome end beneath its claws.

Mortals that encounter sphinxes do so most often in ancient tombs and ruins, but some sphinxes can access extra planar realms. A conversation with a sphinx that begins between tumbled stone walls might suddenly shift to an alien locale, such as a life-sized game board or a daunting cliff that must be climbed in a howling storm. Sometimes a sphinx must be summoned from such an extradimensional space, with supplicants calling it from its empty lair. Only those the sphinx deems worthy gain admittance to its realm. Whether through the weariness of the ages, regret at the slaughter of innocents, or dreams of worship by supplicants that attempt to bargain their way to knowledge, some sphinxes break free of their divine command. However, even if a sphinx's alignment and loyalties drift in this way, it never leaves the place it guards or grants its secrets to any except creatures it deems worthy.

Appearance

In Greek mythology, it has the head of a human, the haunches of a lion, and sometimes the wings of a bird. Unlike the Greek sphinx, which was a woman, the Egyptian sphinx is typically shown as a man (an androsphinx).

Personality

The Greek version of the Sphinx is depicted as treacherous and merciless. Those who cannot answer its riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories, as they are killed and eaten by this ravenous monster. However, the Sphinx in Greek mythology wasn't always malevolent as sometime it was actually benevolent in a sense.

The Egyptian sphinx was viewed as benevolent, but having a ferocious strength similar to the malevolent Greek version and both were thought of as guardians often flanking the entrances to temples.

Powers and Abilities

History

The Sphinx is said to have guarded the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes, and to have asked a riddle of travelers to allow them passage. The riddle being, "Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?" She strangled and devoured anyone who could not answer. Oedipus solved the riddle by answering: "Man, who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then uses a walking stick in old age." This caused the Sphinx to kill herself in a rage.

Myths and Legends

Sphinx Sub-Species

Quotes

Gallery

Trivia

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