Races of Altellus: Sphingidae for 5e

The Kiss of the Sphinx by Franz von Stuck
"SPHINX: …And now, I am going to give you a demonstration. I’m going to show you what would happen in this place, Oedipus, if you were any ordinary handsome youth from Thebes, and if you hadn’t the privilege of pleasing me.” – Jean Cocteau, The Infernal Machine

Born from the very spirits of enigma, Sphingidae revel in the questions their very existence entails. Few can imagine what confluence of desire and danger could lead to such a mating of mortal and mystery; some doubt that even these humanoid descendants of the sphinxes know the truth of their origin.

Enigmatic and Alluring
Modern scholars write of the majesty and otherworldliness of sphinxes, crediting the human/lion/bird hybrids with divine origin – indeed, describing them as guardians of the gods’ secrets – but the natural historians of ages past make reference to the lustfulness of criosphinxes, the desirousness of gynosphinxes, and the frigidity of androsphinxes. While it is debatable that the gods were lewder in ages past, the proof of the sphinxes’ libidinousness walks upon and flies above the earth as the hybrid humanoids called sphingidae.

Most sphingidae resemble winged cat-folk, though usually with more human-like facial features. It is said that some few are descended of the ram-headed criosphinxes and hawk-headed hieracosphinxes, but this may just be a fable; those same ancient authors who write of the sex lives of sphinxes comment that the lusts of the lesser sphinxes are reserved for the gynosphinx. The known sphingidae prides all claim descent from androsphinxes and gynosphinxes.

Noble Beasts
The mystic –even divine – origin of sphinxes lends to their descendants the grace of cats and the beauty of angels. Given that only the mightiest of heroes and the holiest of the devout can win the hearts of sphinxes, sphingidae prides are often nobility or ascetics. They walk the world as living reminders of the mysteries of the universe.

The leonine instincts of sphingidae are largely sublimated into a constant hunt for knowledge and learning. They give themselves over to solving mathematical equations or researching ancient history with all the intensity of cats on the prowl, but sometimes their wild side erupts. Sphingidae still have claws, after all...

Prides and Prejudice
Sphingidae prides are usually found either in service to their sphinx ancestor or in the position in society won by heroes who answered a sphinx’s riddle; in other words, they either live apart from the world in remote temple complexes and hidden tombs or have inherited wealth and privilege. It is a rare sphingidd indeed that grows up a commoner. Unfortunately, this only aggravates their natural feline inclination to aloofness.

The sphingidae lust for knowledge leads some to pursue the adventuring life. Learning to tolerate the company of other races is a challenge to these sphingidae, but the best approach it as yet another riddle to solve. While a sphingidd adventurer may appear to her companions to hold herself apart from tales told around the campfire, this is more because she is contemplating the lessons learned from their words than from disdain. The friendship of sphingidae is hard-won, but a sphingidd’s personal pride will not allow him or her to betray or disappoint their companions.


Sphingid Names
Sphingidae names are often borrowed from the cultures that worship at sphinxes’ temples or from the heroes who win sphinxes’ love. When prides have grown over generations, linguistic drift leads to them developing their own unique idioms and names.

Female Names: Antigone, Beruetokia, Eartha, Hatshepsut, Hetepheres, Ismene, Jocasta, Khamren, Marl, Phix, Sachmis, Sekhmet, Selina, Shagotte, Sharuru

Male Names: Amenemhat, Gogotora, Happi, Khafra, Khurappu, Khurubushi, Laius, Leontos, Maahes, Martam, Nadi, Nefertum, Ptah, Rakki, Riri, Thutmose

Sphingid Traits
As a humanoid hybrid of the hybrid sphinxes, you have the abilities of bird and beast, man and spirit.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Age. Sphingidae mature at the same rate humans do and can live to around 250 years.

Alignment. Sphingidae enjoy routine (especially regular meal times and bed times) and a certain amount of pomp and fanfare. They are largely lawful, but in a somewhat selfish way that tends more toward neutrality than good or evil.

Size. Sphingidae range from just shy of 6 feet to just over 7 feet tall and between 110 to 250 pounds. Males and females are lithely muscular, with males being somewhat bulkier. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Flight. You have a flying speed of 40 feet. To use this speed, you can’t be wearing medium or heavy armor.

Claws. You are proficient with your unarmed strikes, which deal 1d4 slashing damage on a hit.

Language. You can speak, read, and write Common and Sphinx.
Guess which names in the lists are taken from Fairy Tail!

Sphingidae in Altellus
As with the other hybrid races of Altellus, sphingidae are part of the common culture inherited from the extinct human race. They are exotic, though, even by that world’s loose definition of strangeness.

Sphingidae form the aristocracy and much of the clergy of Khumat, the ancient empire allied to the Toscana Republic. There they dwell as gods-upon-earth, revered with superstitious awe by the common folk. Malicious rumor reports the court is filled with intrigue and incest, poison and plotting, but so few Erigoneans are invited to visit the inner sanctums that the truth may never be known.

They also make up the royal house of Thiva, one of the numerous city-states of the Arkadian Peninsula. The Thivan sphingidae – like nobility throughout Erigone – have scattered their seed widely, leading to a handful of sphing-led merchant houses and military companies. The mysteries of mathematics and the inticacies of tactics appeal to sphingid mind; the del Medico pride of Florentia in particular has succeeded at both. 


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