What if there was a creature like a sphinx, but where those creatures are noble and wise, this one is vile? A huckster, swindler, and thief, dedicated to the fine art of getting as much as it can from others while giving as little of its own as possible.
The inspiration and art for the Fool’s Sphinx come from a 15th Century Book of Hours. It is part of the Public Domain Adventures series, all based on works in the public domain.
A pay-what-you-want, OGL compatible PDF of the Fool’s Sphinx can be found at DriveThruRPG. You can also support our Weekly Beasties by giving to our Patreon page. The Beastie itself can be found below:
Medium monstrosity, lawful evil
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 75 (10d8+30)
Speed 30 ft., fly 15 ft.
STR 16 (+3) DEX 10 (+0) CON 16 (+3) INT 16 (+3) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 15 (+2)
Saving Throws Wisdom +5
Damage Resistances psychic
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened
Skills Deception +8, Perception +5
Senses truesight 120 ft., passive Perception 15
Proficiency Bonus +3
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
Innate Spellcasting. A parosphinx’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 12). The parosphinx can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components.
At will: detect magic, guidance
2/day each: augury, divination, identify
Inscrutable. The parosphinx is immune to any effect that can sense emotions or read thoughts, as well as any divination spell.
Magic Weapons. The parosphinx’s weapon attacks are magical.
Piteous Complaint. Any creature which spends a handful of minutes in conversation with a parosphinx can be compelled to undertake a mundane task on its behalf. If the parosphinx makes a request of its audience, any creature in hearing which fails a DC 12 Charisma save is Charmed by the parosphinx and will do a single, at most slightly dangerous, usually rather complicated, favor for it. This effect wears off when the favor is done or when 24 hours pass, whichever comes sooner. A creature affected by this ability or which succeeds on its save cannot be effected again by the same parosphinx within a week. If a creature successfully completes the parosphinx’s task, it may demand one casting of the parosphinx’s divination spell as recompense, asking any question it chooses.
Multiattack. The parosphinx makes two claw attacks.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) slashing damage.
The gods created Sphinxes to guard their sacred places, treasures, and knowledge. Varied in form and function, they serve as a reminder of the power of deities over the world. In remote swamps and badlands dwell a failed creation of some forgotten pantheon of gods – where most Sphinxes are noble and powerful creatures with a sacred mission, these craven creatures serve only themselves and rarely guard anything of consequence. Scholars call them Fool’s Sphinxes, but they call themselves the Parosphinx.
A grossly oversized human face, lolling tongue, and bedraggled fur cover the creatures, who have the legs of a hoofed beast like a goat and a flowing tail and mane like a horse. Comically undersized bat wings hang limply from their shoulders, allowing limited flight despite their seeming uselessness.
The Parosphinx’s most dangerous trait is their seeming unawareness of their own absurdity. Believing themselves chosen by the gods for glorious purpose, they impose themselves upon everything around them, using a magically augmented facility for speech to back up their requests for petty luxuries at the expense of others: Fresh-baked breads, pastries, fruit juices, alcohols, plush pillows, tapestries, and finely crafted furnishings.
In spite of their piteousness, Parosphinxes are actually powerful diviners capable of contacting the primal forces of the universe: Their connection to the divine is real. Someone who fulfills one of their absurd requests can force the creature to use its divinatory powers on their behalf, receiving an answer direct from the cosmos. A Parosphinx often sets itself up as a petty oracle to backwater and unsophisticated peoples – remote humans, goblins, hill giants, and ogres often form cults surrounding a Parosphinx.
Lizardfolk often live in the same swampy regions as Parosphinxes and so know them well for what they are. Lizardfolk kill the creatures on sight, never allowing them to speak. A Parosphinx will often use its Piteous Complaint ability to conscript adventurers as diplomats to make peace with locals they’ve previously wronged, like Lizardfolk.