Family: Sphinxes

Large monstrosity, neutral evil

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 171 (18d10 + 72)
Speed 40 ft., fly 70 ft.

20 (+5) 14 (+2) 18 (+4) 18 (+4) 18 (+4) 18 (+4)

Skills Arcana +9, History +9, Perception +9, Religion +9
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities psychic, poison
Senses truesight 90 ft., passive Perception 19
Languages Abyssal, Common, Darakhul, Sphinx
Challenge 14 (11,500XP)

Special Traits

  • Inscrutable. The sphinx is immune to any effect that would sense its emotions or read its thoughts, as well as any divination spell that it refuses. Wisdom (Insight) checks made to ascertain the sphinx’s intentions or sincerity have disadvantage.
  • Magic Weapons. The sphinx’s weapon attacks are magical.
  • Mystic Sight. A gypsosphinx sees death coming and can foretell the manner of a person’s death. This ability does not come with any urge to share that information. Gypsosphinxes are notorious for hinting, teasing, and even lying about a creature’s death (“If we fight, I will kill you and eat your heart. I have seen it,” is a favorite bluff).
  • Spellcasting. The sphinx is a 9th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). It requires no material components to cast its spells. The sphinx has the following wizard spells prepared:


  • Multiattack. The sphinx makes one bite attack and two claw attacks.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (3d10 + 5) piercing damage.
  • Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 32 (6d8 + 5) slashing damage.
  • Rake. If the sphinx succeeds with both claw attacks, it automatically follows up with a rake attack. If the target fails a DC17 Dexterity check, it is knocked prone and takes 14 (2d8 + 5) slashing damage.

Legendary Actions

The sphinx can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. It regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

  • Bite Attack. The sphinx makes one bite attack.
  • Teleport (Costs 2 Actions). The sphinx magically teleports, along with any equipment it is wearing or carrying, up to 120 feet to an unoccupied space it can see.
  • Cast a Spell (Costs 3 Actions). The sphinx casts a spell from its list of prepared spells, using a spell slot as normal.

Gypsosphinx Temples And Riddles

Gypsosphinx temples are another matter; there the sphinx is served by an order of priests who understand its hunger, entertain it with discussions of philosophy, butchery, and gossip, and know when to withdraw and leave their patron to silent contemplation. Such temples are often quite rich, as the gypsosphinx at its heart demands its priests live well, the better to reflect its own importance and status.


The best riddles are ones you create yourself. However, here are a few easy and a few more difficult ones for a gypsosphinx.

1. It is light as a feather yet no man can hold it for long. What is it?


2. I live where there is light, but I die if it shines on me. What am I?

A shadow

3. Always smiles or maybe frowns, sinks in water, never drowns. Catches prey on its barbed teeth, hunts all day but never eats. What am I?

A fishhook

4. I have rivers without water, forests without trees, mountains without stones, cities without houses. What am I?

A map

5. Soft as velvet, can’t be touched, Hides the world, but isn’t much. What am I?


6. I have a tail and a head but no body. What am I?

A coin

7. What should you add to a barrel of ale to make it lighter? What am I?

A hole

8. Round as an apple, deep as a cup, all the king’s horses can’t pull me up. What am I?

A well

9. I am open when I’m closed and closed when I’m open. What am I?

A drawbridge

10. Born of the earth, strengthened in fire, I sit on high, a master of water. What am I?

A roof tile

11. Unwelcome, difficult, precious, and rare. What am I?

The truth


With black wings and a body pale as alabaster, the vulture-beaked gypsosphinx is easy to identify. As powerful servants of the gods of death and the desert, their riddles and obsessions all hinge on death and carrion. Their eyes can spot prey miles away, and the distance they climb into the sky hides their enormous size.


The pale gypsosphinx shines in the desert sun and stands out in underground tombs and caverns, yet it can conceal itself when it flies in moonlit clouds. Gypsosphinxes are found anywhere bodies are buried or left to rot, and they harvest corpses from battlefields of warring desert tribes.

Gossips and Riddlers. Gypsosphinxes converse with intelligent undead, priests of death gods, and with other sphinxes, but they rarely gather among their own kind. They guard their territory jealously, typically claiming a necropolis as the heart of their region. Like all sphinxes, gypsosphinxes enjoy riddles. They rely on magic to solve challenging riddles they can’t solve on their own.

Night Flyers. Unlike most of their cousins, gypsosphinxes are gifted fliers capable of diving steeply from the night sky to snatch carrion or a sleeping camel. The stroke of midnight has a special but unknown significance for the beasts.

Foretell Doom. Occasionally, a paranoid noble seeks out a gypsosphinx and entreats the creature to reveal the time and place of his or her death, hoping to cheat fate. A gypsosphinx demands a high price for such a service, including payment in corpses of humans, unusual creatures, or near-extinct species.

Even if paid, the gypsosphinx rarely honors its side of the bargain; instead, it turns its death magic against the supplicant, bringing about his or her death then and there.

Accompanied by flocks of vultures and often served by packs of gnolls, ogres, and hyenas, gypsosphinxes living in deserts, plains, hills, and even mountainous terrain often acquire a large number of followers and would-be helpers. This eventually leads a gypsosphinx to anger, as it requires some solitude and peace, and (depending on her mood) it will either abandon her entourage by casting greater invisibility and flying off, or it will turn them into a hearty meal by casting cloudkill. In either case, the survivors sometimes tell the tale of the creature’s wrath, discouraging others from following a gypsosphinx in search of wisdom.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Tome of Beasts. Copyright 2016, Open Design; Authors Chris Harris, Dan Dillon, Rodrigo Garcia Carmona, and Wolfgang Baur.

This is not the complete section 15 entry - see the full license for this page