D&D 5E Wandering Monsters 6/11/13: Riddle of the Sphinx


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delericho

Legend
First thought: A link to the earlier column would have been nice.

I'm troubled by his example test for the androsphinx. The problem is that, taken by itself, fighting to the death against hopeless odds really isn't 'valour', it's insanity. Far better for everyone involved if you retreat and live to fight another day. And yet, tell the PCs "this is a test", and the whole thing becomes far too easy.

Still, that can probably be fixed by facing the PCs with a hopeless battle while a caravan of innocents make their escape.

I do like the concept of the sphinxes, and the four different types of challenge are pretty good. I'm not sure they should go with "A sphinx does not need to sleep, eat, or breathe. They do not age, breed, or produce offspring.", though. Teenage love-triangle or not, the existing material does talk about their mating habits, and if that is truly the entirety of D&D's lore on the topic (as the earlier column claims), then simply discarding it seems... excessive. It would be different if that was just one minor aspect of the lore, but if that's all there is...

Finally, they'll need to give some more thought about what happens if the PCs fail the test, or if they simply attack the sphinx. Because I can easily see players faced with "you ran away from certain death, so now you die. No save" being less than pleased with that. And "we attack the sphinx" is indeed a fairly likely response from players. Now, I do like the notion that you only get the prize by completing the challenge - that's good stuff. But they need to consider the alternatives, and make sure they explicitly advise the DM on how best to handle the situation.

All that said - it's a better column than the last few.
 


Perun

Mushroom
I do like the concept of the sphinxes, and the four different types of challenge are pretty good. I'm not sure they should go with "A sphinx does not need to sleep, eat, or breathe. They do not age, breed, or produce offspring.", though. Teenage love-triangle or not, the existing material does talk about their mating habits, and if that is truly the entirety of D&D's lore on the topic (as the earlier column claims), then simply discarding it seems... excessive. It would be different if that was just one minor aspect of the lore, but if that's all there is...

Exactly, I fully agree.
 

This pretty obviously was the intent of their - what was it - planar guardian monster type?

I'm kind of mixed - I think I'm more likely to use sphinxes this way, but I agree that getting rid of the prior lore is troubling.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
And I also agree. (they really need to bring back visible xp)

If you don't like the sphinx relationships, don't use them (though they do have some funny implications if you want to). And this doesn't require changing anything...you just have the 1 encountered.
 


Klaus

First Post
And I also agree. (they really need to bring back visible xp)

If you don't like the sphinx relationships, don't use them (though they do have some funny implications if you want to). And this doesn't require changing anything...you just have the 1 encountered.

I'd actually do it the other way around: keep the basic sphinxes as the immortal guardians showcased here, and offer the species relationships as an optional layer. It's easier to add than to subtract.
 

RedShirtNo5.1

Explorer
I really like this take on sphinxes. My only concern is the concept that it doesn't matter if you defeat the sphinx in battle. Too likely to lead to the "only one way to advance plot" problem. Better might be that you get access to the thing the sphinx was guarding, but also get a curse.
 


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