Sphinxes of Mystara

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Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby Havard » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:10 pm

Sphinxes of Mystara

I have been doing a bit of research on these creatures. Here are some of the things I have found so far:

The Sphinxes were created by Grammaton (According to the fan created Codex Immortalis, another name for Odin) in ancient times. According to other fan material, they were part of the Golden Empire, a pre-Blackmoor realm that opposed the descendants of the Carnifex and were a force for good based on Davania.

In 91 BC, a pair of Sphinxes from Tel-Akbir came to assist the construction of Serraine.

Some known Sphinxes:
  • Son of Grammaton: The first Male Sphinx. A master of Wizardry. (PC2)
  • Daughter of Grammaton: The first female Sphinx. She was a Shaman. (PC2)
  • The Sphinx of Halag (PC2)
  • The Sphinx of Kaziri al-Wadi: The Sphinx Al-Kalim consulted (PC2)
  • Unknown: A Sphinx in Ylaruam who collects ancient Narval bone carvings from Minrothad, though only if they were at least 500 years old. (PC2)
  • Unknown: Two Sphinxes who collect Blackmoor memorabilia. These two assisted the construction of Serraine. (PC2)
  • Unknown: A Sphinx who creates Chessmen (PC2)
  • Unknown: A Sphinx who collects the wickerwork of an unknown Ethengar craftsman (PC2)
  • Unknown: A Sphinx guarding the tomb of a forgotten Khan (PC2)
  • The Tongue-less Sphinx: A villainous Sphinx from Zyxl. Fan created (http://www.pandius.com/mentzerm.html )
  • The Sphinxes of the Spindle: A mated pair known to enjoy discussing riddles (AC7)
  • Demosthenes and Neria: Two adult Sphinxes. They have two cubs. (M4 Five Coins For a Kingdom page 7).
  • Guardians of the Temple of Dawn: Two Gargantuan Sphinxes gradually turning to stone (M5 Talons of Night featured some sphinxes, page 13)
  • Ancestors (Male and Female) of the Rakasta Sphinx Bloodlines (Bruce Heard's Rakasta Article, Dragon #247)


Subraces: Although the names Androsphinx (male) and Gynosphix (female) are not used in BECMI, male and female Sphinxes are noted to have differerent abilities. Other subraces from later editions are assumed not to exist on Mystara.

What else is known about Mystara's Sphinxes? Do Sphinxes appear in any modules set in Mystara? Are Sphinxes related to Shedu, Manticores, Chimeras or similar creatures?


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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby happylarry » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:47 pm

There are two sphinxes, a male and female mated pair, in the mini module inside AC7 Master Player Screen (p5-6). They are found reclining on oversize divans, and the write-up is about how they will attack. No particular lore is given.
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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby ripvanwormer » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:05 am

M5 Talons of Night featured some sphinxes (page 13).

The entrance to the Temple of the Dawn was once guarded by gargantuan living sphinxes. Ages of inaction have turned them to stone. The female succumbed to full petrification long ago; the male finds his end today.


Do you think all sphinxes turn into stone eventually?

There's also a mated pair of sphinxes, along with their two cubs, in M4 Five Coins For a Kingdom (page 7). The adults are named Demosthenes and Neria.

There's a riddling sphinx in M3 Twilight Calling (page 5).
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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby Robin » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:04 am

There was an AD&D1 adventure( I can't remember which one, but it could also be an Gencon AD&D1 adventure) which mentioned that Sphinxes grow with age, and are the main enemies of Snakes, Hags, Yuanti(this could well include Havard's suggestion of opposing the carnivex on Mystara), Medusae and other evil petrification enemies, this mainly due their goodness, divineness and their innate ability to resist petrification. it was assumed that they actually paused the petrification, until their life's end is nigh. Yet even then (with the correct magic) their knowledge and riddles can be accessed, as their soul still rests within the stone until eternity. in this condition they mostly guard important centres of knowledge which should not (no longer) be publicly accessible...like the Nithian library in the game Stone Prophet...with the Riddle;there is the I, the eye and the lie. here the area can only be accessed in solving the riddle...it thus suggests also that the sphinx still has some (magic) control about the portal it guards...in this game this was a small descending structure located between its paws, and it was lying catlike over it, shaping the rocks over it.
I adjusted this adventure to fit in Mystara Nithia as can be seen in this map http://www.deviantart.com/art/Ancient-Nithia-1500BC-8-mile-hexes-516077764
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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby agathokles » Thu May 04, 2017 4:20 pm

Two Sphinxes (mated pair) are mentioned in Norwold, IIRC, in Five Coins for a Kingdom. The male is named Demosthenes, IIRC.

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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby NPCDave » Fri May 05, 2017 12:29 am

In Bruce Heard's Dragon Magazine article on rakasta, he included some special rules on the bloodlines of other creatures that can be found in a few rakasta. One of those bloodlines was sphinxes. A rakasta can have an androsphinx or gynosphinx bloodline, and a strong sphinx bloodline can give the rakasta a special ability, like the roar of an androsphinx or extra proficiencies and magical abilities for a strong gynosphinx bloodline.
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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby Robin » Tue May 09, 2017 3:25 pm

I used a PC Sphinx also named Grammaton, (maybe a grandchild of your Grammaton?) here in the Glasshouse of Slyth adventurehttp://6inchnails.deviantart.com/art/Glasshouse-3a-663739422
some other sphinxes were used from the PC gazetteer.
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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby Havard » Tue May 09, 2017 9:19 pm

NPCDave wrote:In Bruce Heard's Dragon Magazine article on rakasta, he included some special rules on the bloodlines of other creatures that can be found in a few rakasta. One of those bloodlines was sphinxes. A rakasta can have an androsphinx or gynosphinx bloodline, and a strong sphinx bloodline can give the rakasta a special ability, like the roar of an androsphinx or extra proficiencies and magical abilities for a strong gynosphinx bloodline.


I wonder if these bloodlines can be tied back to individual Sphinxes?

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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby ripvanwormer » Tue May 09, 2017 9:31 pm

Havard wrote:I wonder if these bloodlines can be tied back to individual Sphinxes?


Probably. It's hard to imagine this sort of crossbreeding happening very often. Rakastas are essentially humans with cat heads and sphinxes are cats with human heads, so they don't seem very compatible; from an anatomical perspective, I assume (and hope) that the crossbreeding is purely magical in nature. So we might be looking at a specific Alphatian experiment, and there are probably records still extant.
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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby oleck » Fri May 19, 2017 6:39 pm

My version of karameikos sphinx writen at Blight Swamp compendium

Tsennakheb is a veteran guard that lived in Serraine the Flying City. After living most of his live as guard he get bored and decided to adventure by his own. His adventure places went from Darokin to Karameikos. Finally after picking up treasures he decide it was time to rest and have peace. He found a rocky reef in the Gulf of Halag with a cave big enough to live and protect his treasures. Now he just protects his territory, he attacks ships that come too close and adventurers seeking treasures.
He is a 1 level sphinx (13 HD) that attacks 3 times per round (3d6/3d6/2d20). Has natural AC of 0 and can roar in a radius of 13”/65”/130” doing 6D6 of damage. He can fly, speak with animals and has special bonuses (+4) against first and second level spells.
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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby willpell » Fri May 19, 2017 6:57 pm

happylarry wrote:There are two sphinxes, a male and female mated pair, in the mini module inside AC7 Master Player Screen (p5-6). They are found reclining on oversize divans, and the write-up is about how they will attack.


Lemme guess...as you walk between them, they start to open their eyes, and you have to run through before you get blasted into a skeleton....
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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby Havard » Sat May 20, 2017 11:37 am

Okay guys! Keep those posts coming. I have updated the original post with some of the responses made so far. Will add more later!

ripvanwormer wrote:
Havard wrote:I wonder if these bloodlines can be tied back to individual Sphinxes?


Probably. It's hard to imagine this sort of crossbreeding happening very often. Rakastas are essentially humans with cat heads and sphinxes are cats with human heads, so they don't seem very compatible; from an anatomical perspective, I assume (and hope) that the crossbreeding is purely magical in nature. So we might be looking at a specific Alphatian experiment, and there are probably records still extant.


Heh, yeah I think a magical crossbreeding would be preferable (and much less gross to think about :lol: ). On the other hand, could it be that all Rakasta (and perhaps Lupins too) are created from a ritual that turns Beasts (And other creatures, such as Sphinxes) into monstrous humanoids? A later Alphatian experiment with some bloodlines, as you suggest, is also a likely possibility.


ripvanwormer wrote:M5 Talons of Night featured some sphinxes (page 13).

The entrance to the Temple of the Dawn was once guarded by gargantuan living sphinxes. Ages of inaction have turned them to stone. The female succumbed to full petrification long ago; the male finds his end today.


Do you think all sphinxes turn into stone eventually?


I am beginning to like the idea of all Sphinxes turning to stone with (very) old age. Another idea though: Could these two actually be the Son and Daughter of Grammaton, the original two Sphinxes? Or at least from one of the very early generations?


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Re: Sphinxes of Mystara

Postby ripvanwormer » Sat May 20, 2017 7:41 pm

Havard wrote: On the other hand, could it be that all Rakasta (and perhaps Lupins too) are created from a ritual that turns Beasts (And other creatures, such as Sphinxes) into monstrous humanoids?


Bruce Heard's rakasta origin myth has them as descendants of Kum-rah (a human shaman of Ka) and Ba-steh (a cat who Ka transformed into a human woman). It wouldn't take much to say that instead of being a mundane cat who fell in love with a human, Ba-steh was originally a sphinx. In fact, I like that version a lot better. When Ba-steh realized she wasn't completely comfortable in her human form, Ka transformed both lovers into rakastas.

Could these two actually be the Son and Daughter of Grammaton, the original two Sphinxes? Or at least from one of the very early generations?


The Temple of the Dawn (and possibly the Temple of the Stars from CM2?) seems to have dated back to Nithian times. It's certainly not impossible that the first two sphinxes might have spent the last millennia of their lives guarding a Nithian temple, but I wonder what was in it for them. I suppose that's true whether or not they're the original pair of sphinxes. Probably they were magically bound somehow by Ramenhotep X.
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