Sphinx: Guardians of the Gods

Round she is, yet flat as a board.
Altar of the lupine lords.
Jewel on black velvet, pearl in the sea.
Unchanged but e’erchanging, eternally.

Riddle of the gynosphinx of White Plume Mountain

Buckle up, everyone! We’ve got a big guy on our hands today!

Lore: Divine Test Givers

Calm and powerful, wise and patient, the sphinx stands as the guardian of the gods’ treasures, the scattered bones of those who tried to claim its charge laying beneath it. They test the worth of any adventurer who seeks the prize; those who fail face death.

Some sphinxes are priests to the gods that created them. Others are embodies spirits. Regardless, they maintain their vigil valiantly and without rest. Should one fail a sphinx’s test, the treasure they seek will vanish, forever becoming unreachable and making an enemy of the god to whom it serves.

Though they most often reside in tombs or ruins, sphinxes can access realms beyond the Material. One might shift into all kinds of bizarre locals while speaking to one, such as a life-sized game board or any number of things. It is in these realms most absurd that the noble sentries administer their tests.

Even should a sphinx forsake their duty, they will never abandon it. Though driven mad by regret or dreams of being worshipped themselves, they can never abandon their charge. Once a sphinx has been set to vigil, they never depart.

An androsphinx is strong and mighty. Though they may speak cruelly to those who approach them, they are noble and wise, and their words are carefully chosen. Should one pass their test, the androsphinx may even reward them with a hearty feast.

Meanwhile, a gynosphinx is a master of magic and riddles. Gaze into their eyes and you will find yourself transported somewhere far away. They are not above bargaining, willing to accept treasure or service in exchange for their ancient knowledge and secrets.

This is some of the strongest lore we’ve seen in a long while! It’s so open-ended and full of depth that you could theoretically do anything with it!

Design: Y’all Ever Watch Lion King?

I do like how there’s a distinct difference between them. You can immediately tell which one of these is the noble warrior and which one is the spellcaster. All with minimal detail changes. It’s impressive!

But the core design itself is lackluster at best. It’s just a lion with wings. It’s extremely dull and disappointing.

Stats: Lords of Time and Space

Even before you reach the sphinx, the boss fight has already begun. This is because of its four lair actions. These are:

  • Force everyone to re-roll initiative
  • Increase or decrease a target’s age by 1d20 years
  • Move everyone in the lair forward or backward in time ten years
  • Shift itself or up to seven other creatures to another plane of existence

The implications of that are absolutely insane, and we haven’t even gotten started yet!

Both sphinxes are mighty foes indeed. With an AC of 17 and a monstrous pool of HP (more so for the andro than the gynosphinx), they’re tough to kill. More than that, they’re immune to phyiscal damage, and the androsphinx is immune to all nonmagical melee (the gynosphinx is only resistant to it).

They both have the Inscrutable ability. With this, they’re immune to all effects that can read their minds or emotions. More than that, Insight checks made on them have disadvantage.

For actual attacks, they don’t have much. Just their claws, which do a decent amount of damage and are buffed by the Magic Weapons ability. However, the androsphinx also has the Roar action, with three different effects. Its first use can cause the frighten status, the second escalates frighten to paralyze, and the third does a monstrous amount of thunder damage.

They’ve both also got an extensive list of spells. For the androsphinx, they are:

  • Cantrips (at will): sacred flame, spare the dying, thaumaturgy
  • 1st level (4 slots): command, detect evil and good, detect magic
  • 2nd level (3 slots): lesser restoration, zone of truth
  • 3rd level (3 slots): dispel magic, tongues
  • 4th level (3 slots): banishment, freedom of movement
  • 5th level (2 slots): flame strike, greater restoration
  • 6th level (1 slot): heroes’ feast

For the gynosphinx, they are:

  • Cantrips (at will): mage hand, minor illusion, prestidigitation
  • 1st level (4 slots): detect magic, identify, shield
  • 2nd level (3 slots): darkness, locate object, suggestion
  • 3rd level (3 slots): dispel magic, remove curse, tongues
  • 4th level (3 slots): banishment, greater invisibility
  • 5th level (1 slots): legend lore

Finally, we have the Legendary Actions. Which are… kind of lame, I’ll admit. Practical, yes. But they don’t feel particularly Legendary. They’re really simple. It can make a claw attack, it can teleport, or it can cast a spell. And… yeah, that’s it.

Phew! That was a lot! And it can make for some incredible boss fights! The time and space manipulation alone allows for near infinite possibilities! The sky is the limit!


This was almost a perfect monster! It’s lore and stats are both amazing, some of the best we’ve seen yet! But that design is really lackluster. Of all the interpretations of the sphinx I’ve seen, it’s among the safer and more boring.

Even still, the Sphinxes have earned the #30 spot on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Mind Flayer
  4. Dragon Turtle
  5. Mummy/Mummy Lord
  6. Nagas (all three of ’em)
  7. Green Dragons
  8. Red Dragons
  9. Blue Dragons
  10. Black Dragons
  11. White Dragons
  12. Silver Dragons
  13. Couatl
  14. Behir
  15. Aboleth
  16. Sea Hag
  17. Slaadi (all six of ’em)
  18. Lamia
  19. Bronze Dragons
  20. Brass Dragons
  21. Copper Dragons
  22. Gold Dragons
  23. Chuul
  24. Kuo-Toa
  25. Gibbering Mouther
  26. Kraken
  27. Intellect Devourer
  28. Shadow
  29. Chimera
  30. Sphinxes <———————————-
  31. Death Knight
  32. Fomorian
  33. Bone Devil
  34. Dracolich
  35. Faerie Dragon
  36. Gelatinous Cube
  37. Lich
  38. Peryton
  39. Remorhaz
  40. Orcs (all four of ’em)
  41. Magmin
  42. Shield Guardian
  43. Kobold
  44. Kenku
  45. Hobgoblins
  46. Night Hag
  47. Green Hag
  48. Black Pudding
  49. Ankheg
  50. Hook Horror
  51. Oni
  52. Purple Worm
  53. Storm Giant
  54. Hill Giant
  55. Empyrean
  56. Efreeti
  57. Grimlock
  58. Minotaur
  59. Dao
  60. Cloud Giant
  61. Manticore
  62. Scarecrow
  63. Drow (all four of ’em)
  64. Shadow Demon
  65. Modrons (all five of ’em)
  66. Marilith
  67. Drider
  68. Aarackockra
  69. Azer
  70. Demilich
  71. Spectator
  72. Gray Ooze
  73. Ochre Jelly
  74. Hydra
  75. Rakshasa
  76. Marid
  77. Salamander
  78. Harpy
  79. Werejackal
  80. Otyugh
  81. Satyr
  82. Half-Dragon
  83. Cambion
  84. Fire Giant
  85. Nothic
  86. Pixie
  87. Animated Armor
  88. Roper
  89. Banshee
  90. Basilisk
  91. Yochlol
  92. Bulette
  93. Cloaker
  94. Darkmantle
  95. Doppelganger
  96. Revenant
  97. Ghoul and Ghast
  98. Sahuagin (all three)
  99. Ettin
  100. Medusa
  101. Pit Fiend
  102. Erinyes
  103. Chain Devil
  104. Bearded Devil
  105. Barbed Devil
  106. Spined Devil
  107. Ice Devil
  108. Mimic
  109. Djinni
  110. Merrow
  111. Nalfeshnee
  112. Glabrezu
  113. Chasme
  114. Grell
  115. Barlgura
  116. Horned Devil
  117. Balor
  118. Skeletons
  119. Shadow Dragon
  120. Myconids (all four of ’em)
  121. Piercer
  122. Werebear
  123. Lizardfolk
  124. Vrock
  125. Dretch
  126. Pseudodragon
  127. Gnolls (all three)
  128. Goristro
  129. Hezrou
  130. Manes
  131. Quaggoth
  132. Frost Giant
  133. Weretiger
  134. Werewolf
  135. Duergar
  136. Quasit
  137. Dryad
  138. Shambling Mound
  139. Flumph
  140. Goblin
  141. Nightmare
  142. Rust Monster
  143. Wereboar
  144. Wererat
  145. Githyanki
  146. Owlbear
  147. Planetar
  148. Imp
  149. Ogres/Half-ogres
  150. Roc
  151. Clay Golem
  152. Flameskull
  153. Displacer Beast
  154. Carrion Crawler
  155. Githzerai
  156. Grick
  157. Invisible Stalker
  158. Rug of Smothering
  159. Bugbear Chief
  160. Bugbear
  161. Flesh Golem
  162. Vine Blight
  163. Twig Blight
  164. Needle Blight
  165. Mephits (all six of ’em)
  166. Bullywug
  167. Hellhound
  168. Ettercap
  169. Gas Spore
  170. Cockatrice
  171. Lemure
  172. Homonculus
  173. Merfolk
  174. Solar
  175. Deva
  176. Gorgon
  177. Hippogriff
  178. Griffon
  179. Cyclops
  180. Centaur
  181. Ghost
  182. Pegasus
  183. Fire Elemental
  184. Water Elemental
  185. Air Elemental
  186. Stone Giant
  187. Deep Gnome
  188. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  189. Specter
  190. Iron Golem
  191. Stone Golem
  192. Earth Elemental
  193. Galeb Duhr
  194. Helmed Horror
  195. Flying Sword
  196. Crawling Claw
  197. Violet Fungus
  198. Shrieker
  199. Gargoyle

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