Sphinxes are legendary creatures of great knowledge and wisdom, blessed with high magical power, and known to divine and foretell the future with great accuracy. Sphinxes are generally unconcerned with the course of events around them, as the knowledge of things to come and how every slight interference can drastically change things keeps them from taking an active role in shaping the future. In spite of that, sphinxes are far from passive, being wise advisers and relentless pursuers of hidden knowledge; they are known to help those who need their advice, if they are capable of glimpsing the truth from the sphinx’s riddles.
Sphinxes mix features of lions and birds, but differently from griffins, generally having entirely leonine bodies, but sporting large feathered wings. Furthermore, female sphinxes (gynosphinxes) have human-like faces, while males (androsphinxes) generally have a lion’s head and a thick mane. Male sphinxes are much less common than female ones; usually only one sphinx out of eight is male. For this reason, and the usually sheltered lives that the males lead, sphinxes were erroneously thought to be female-only by other creatures. While sphinxes do not need to wear clothes, they enjoy accessories and jewels, usually sporting designs that tie in with objects of mystery or knowledge, such as masks, mirrors, puzzle pieces and the like.
- Hit Die: A sphinx uses a d6 as Hit Die at every sphinx HD she gains.
- Ability Score Modifiers: Sphinxes are gifted with the powerful body of a lion and keen intelligence, but their large bodies are often unwieldy. They gain +4 Strength, –2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, and +2 Intelligence.
- Size: Sphinxes are large creatures and take a –1 size penalty to their AC, a –1 size penalty on attack rolls, a +1 bonus to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a –4 size bonus on Stealth checks, as well as a –2 penalty to Fly checks.
- Type: Sphinxes are magical beasts.
- Base Speed: Sphinxes have a base speed of 40 feet on land, and they have a flight speed of 40 feet with poor maneuverability.
- Languages: Sphinxes begin play speaking Common. Sphinxes with high Intelligence scores can choose any language they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.
- Terrain: Mountain, urban.
- Saving Throws: Intelligence-based.
- Starting Wealth: 2d6 × 10 gp (average 70 gp).
- Natural Armor: sphinxes gain a +2 natural armor bonus to their Armor Class.
- Resistant: sphinxes gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects and poison
- Curiosity: sphinxes are naturally inquisitive about the world around them. They gain a +4 bonus on Diplomacy checks to gather information, as well as a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (local).
- Arcane Focus: sphinxes gain a +2 racial bonus on concentration checks to cast arcane spells defensively.
- Magical Linguist: Sphinxes gain a +1 bonus to the DC of spells they cast that have the language-dependant descriptor or that create glyphs, symbols, or other magical writings. They also gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against such spells. Sphinxes with a Charisma score of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like abilities (the caster level is equal to the user’s character level):
- Claws: sphinxes gain two claw attacks dealing 1d4 points of slashing damage plus Strength modifier.
- Darkvision: sphinxes can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
- Quadruped: sphinxes possess four legs, granting them a +4 racial bonus to CMD against trip attempts.
Skill Ranks per Level: 2+ Int Modifier
|Level||Hit Die||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||1||+0||+0||+0||+2||[Feat], Cantrips, Forewarned, Prescience||3||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2nd||2||+1||+0||+0||+3||Future Spell (2nd), Send Senses, Spell Focus||4||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|3rd||3||+1||+1||+1||+3||[Feat], Gift of Prophecy||5||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|4th||4||+2||+1||+1||+4||[Ability Score Increase], Diviner’s Fortune, Future Spell (3rd)||6||3||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|5th||5||+2||+1||+1||+4||[Feat], Gift of Knowledge||6||4||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|6th||6||+3||+2||+2||+5||Future Spell (4th)||6||5||3||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|8th||8||+4||+2||+2||+6||[Ability Score Increase], Future Spell (5th), Scrying Adept||6||6||5||3||—||—||—||—||—|
|11th||10||+5||+3||+3||+7||Future Spell (6th), Gift of Knowledge||6||6||6||5||3||—||—||—||—|
|13th||12||+6/+1||+4||+4||+8||[Ability Score Increase], Future Spell (7th)||6||6||6||6||5||3||—||—||—|
|15th||14||+7/+2||+4||+4||+9||Future Spell (8th)||6||6||6||6||6||5||3||—||—|
|16th||15||+7/+2||+5||+5||+9||[Feat], Gift of Knowledge||6||6||6||6||6||6||4||—||—|
|17th||16||+8/+3||+5||+5||+10||[Ability Score Increase], Future Spell (9th)||6||6||6||6||6||6||5||3||—|
|19th||18||+9/+4||+6||+6||+11||Possible Spell, Sphinx’s Oracle||6||6||6||6||6||6||6||5||3|
|20th||19||+9/+4||+6||+6||+11||[Feat], Sphinx’s Revelation||6||6||6||6||6||6||6||6||4|
All of the following are class features of the sphinx.
|Hit Dice||Spells Known|
A sphinx casts arcane spells drawn primarily from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. She can cast any spell she knows without preparing it ahead of time. To learn or cast a spell, a sphinx must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a sphinx’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the sphinx’s Intelligence modifier.
Like other spellcasters, a sphinx can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Sphinx. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Intelligence score.
A sphinx’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A sphinx begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of her choice. At each new sphinx Hit Die, she gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Sphinx Spells Known. Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a sphinx knows is not affected by her Intelligence score; the numbers on the table are fixed.
Upon reaching 4th Hit Die, and at every even-numbered sphinx Hit Die after that, a sphinx can choose to learn a new spell in place of one she already knows. In effect, the sphinx loses the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged. A sphinx may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that she gains new spells known for the level.
Unlike a wizard or cleric, a sphinx need not prepare her spells in advance. She can cast any spell she knows at any time, assuming she has not yet used up her spells per day for that spell level.
Sphinxes learn a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, as noted on Table: Sphinx Spells Known. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume any slots and may be used again.
Sphinxes can always act in the surprise round even if they fail to make a Perception roll to notice a foe, but they are still considered flat-footed until they take an action. In addition, they receive a bonus on initiative checks equal to 1/2 their Hit Dice (minimum +1). [Wizard – Diviner – Forewarned]
At the beginning of her turn a sphinx can, as a free action, roll a single d20. At any point before the beginning of her next turn, she may use the result of this roll as the result of any d20 roll she is required to make. If she does not use the d20 result before her next turn, it is lost. She can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Intelligence modifier. [Wizard – Diviner – Prescience]
At 2nd Hit Die, a sphinx can briefly borrow power from her future self. The sphinx chooses a single 2nd level spell from the sorcerer/wizard spell list and gains the ability to cast it once per day as a spell-like ability. The spell cast this way uses the sphinx’s Hit Die +2 as its caster level. To cast this spell, the sphinx must succeed in a concentration check with DC equal to 12 + spell level. If the check fails, the spell is not cast and the daily use is wasted.
When the sphinx gains access to 2nd level spells, she must select the chosen spell among her known spells, although she is then free to change it at a later time.
At 4th Hit Die and every 2 Hit Dice thereafter, the sphinx chooses another future spell, each time of 1 level higher than the previous, up to 9th spell level at 16th Hit Die. Each future spell has a separate daily use.
After the sphinx has attained access to spells of the appropriate level, she can use the spell-like ability without needing a concentration check.
If she has access to the appropriate spell level, has at least 1 spell slot available of that level, and has the spell among her known spells, she can use the future spell as a supernatural ability instead of a spell-like ability. If the future spell has a costly material component or focus with a value higher than 500 gp, the sphinx must provide the component or focus while using the future spell.
As a standard action, a sphinx of 2nd Hit Die or higher can place a scrying sensor at a point within medium range (100 feet + 10 feet/sphinx HD) that she can see and have line of effect to. She can see or hear (not both) through this sensor for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 her Hit Dice (minimum 1). The sensor otherwise functions as a clairaudience/clairvoyance spell with caster level equal to the sphinx’s Hit Dice. A sphinx can use this ability by expending one daily use of prescience. [Wizard – Diviner – Send Senses]
At 2nd Hit Die a sphinx gains Spell Focus (divination) as a bonus feat. If she already has it, she can choose any other feat she qualifies for.
Once per day, a sphinx of 3rd Hit Die or higher can enter a trance to gain a glimpse of the future. This trance lasts for 1 minute, which must be uninterrupted and during which she can take no other actions. At 3rd level, the sphinx gains the benefits of an augury spell with 90% effectiveness. At 5th level, the sphinx gains the benefits of a divination spell with 90% effectiveness. At 9th level, the knowledge the sphinx gains is equivalent to a commune spell. None of these spell effects require material components. [Oracle – Seer – Gift of Prophecy]
A sphinx of 4th Hit Die or higher can touch a creature as a standard action to give it an insight bonus on all of its attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks and saving throws equal to 1/2 her Hit Dice (minimum 1) for 1 round. A sphinx can use this ability by expending one use of prescience. [Wizard – Diviner – Diviner’s Fortune]
At 5th Hit Die and every 5 Hit Dice thereafter, the sphinx can either take a feat she qualifies for, or gain 6 extra skill ranks for that level.
At 7th Hit Die, a sphinx can utter a prediction on the immediate future. While the sphinx’s foretelling is in effect, she emits a 30-foot aura of fortune that aids her allies or hinders her enemies, as chosen by the sphinx at the time of the prediction. If she chooses to aid, the sphinx and her allies gain a +2 luck bonus on ability checks, attack rolls, caster level checks, saving throws, and skill checks. If she chooses to hinder, her enemies take a –2 penalty on those rolls instead. A sphinx can use this ability for a number of rounds per day equal to her Hit Dice. These rounds do not need to be consecutive. [Wizard – Diviner – Foretell]
At 8th Hit Die, a sphinx is always aware when she’s being observed via magic, as if she had a permanent detect scrying. In addition, whenever the sphinx scries on a subject, treat the subject as one step more familiar to her. Very familiar subjects get a –10 penalty on their save to avoid the sphinx’s scrying attempts. [Wizard – Diviner – Scrying Adept]
A sphinx that has attained her 1st Advancement Tier can utter an unsettling revelation about a creature’s future she glimpsed upon. To use this ability a sphinx must consume a spell slot and pronounce the riddle to a single creature as a full-round action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. The target is entitled to a Will save (with DC 10 + Intelligence modifier + level of the slot used to activate this ability ). If the target’s HD are equal or lower than half the sphinx’s Hit Die + the consumed spell’s level, and the save is successful, the target gains a +3 insight bonus to all attack rolls, saving throws, skill and ability checks, but is confused (as per the spell) for 1 round per sphinx’s Hit Die. If the target’s HD are equal or lower than half the sphinx’s Hit Die + the consumed spell’s level, and the save is unsuccessful, the target suffers the effects of a phantasmal killer spell (as if cast by the sphinx) against which it’s entitled to the Fortitude save to avoid being slain. Even on a successful Fortitude save, the target takes a –3 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, skill, and ability checks for 1 round per sphinx’s Hit Die. If the target’s HD are higher, it only receives the +3 insight bonus on a successful save, and suffers no ill effect on a successful Fortitude save after failing the first save. This is a language-dependant, divination effect.
Creatures immune to confusion are still subject to this ability, and are still confused on a successful save, though only for 1 round. The target of this ability uses its Intelligence modifier instead of Wisdom (or Constitution) to determine the result of the saving throw against this ability. Creatures that have Intelligence as a non-ability are immune to riddle.
At 18th Hit Die, a sphinx can borrow powers from other possible timelines that might have happened. This ability works like future spell, except that the chosen spell can be any arcane spell up to 9th level, or any divine spell of up to 7th level. The sphinx does not gain a +2 bonus to her caster level when using a possible spell, but can change the selected spell each day when she recovers her spells.
When using a divination effect, a sphinx of 18th Hit Die or higher rolls twice for her caster level checks and d% rolls, and uses the better result. She also adds 4 to the save DCs of all her divination spells. Furthermore, each metamagic feat she applies to divination spells has its spell level modifier decreased by 1, to a minimum of 0.
Once per day, a sphinx of 19th Hit Die or higher can cast one of her spells of up to 8th level (or a divination up to 9th level) as a free action. If the spell was a divination, the spell slot isn’t consumed. When activating riddle by using a spell slot of 7th level or higher, the sphinx can choose multiple targets, up to 1 per Hit Die, that can’t be more than 30 feet apart from each other. If she does, the save DC is lowered by 1 for each target beyond the first.
Of Stranger Bonds, © 2019, Alessandro Passera