The Sphinx, a nuisance encounter for TFT

All page references are to The Fantasy Trip In the Labyrinth rulebook, unless noted otherwise.

A collection of my own musings, not to be taken too seriously. -HJC


  1. Introduction
  2. Stats
  3. The Abduction
  4. Adventure hooks


Despite their considerable intellectal, physical, and magical abilities, scholars rate the Sphinx as only a nuisance encounter. This is because of the pure motivations of the Sphinx, which appear to be purely boredom, vanity and loneliness. Scholars advise just playing along with these creatures which are neither angels nor demons but rather eternal children.


A Sphinx has the same body layout and two hex size as a Gryphon (page 90), except that they have an oversized humanoid rather than an Eagle's head and they are all wizards. ST 2d+20 DX 1d+9 IQ 2d+9 MA 14 on the ground and 20 flying. Mana 2d+8 and 1d in extra talent or spell costs above their IQ.

Lion claws on their paws give them +2 damage over a human's bare handed attack (-2 DX to kick into their side hexes, -4 DX to kick into their rear hexes), plus any unarmed combat talents (at double cost because they're wizards.)

While they appear to be unarmed they all know at least the Staff II spell and are able to use the occult (but not mundane) Staff attacks and have a Mana stat as above. In addition they all know Literacy (how can they write with those paws?), a few languages (which they speak with a strange accent, unless they have the Scholar talent (which isn't double cost for them)) and they all know Sex Appeal.

The Abduction

A Sphinx will scout around until they spy an isolated human (or very rarely some other humanoid) that is favorable to their eye. The Sphinx will first convince himself/herself that this human is their own wayward child and will then use Whisper, Illusion, Shapeshifting or such to appear before and attempt to charm this human with a riddle.

If the human makes a 4/IQ save (or the player figures out the riddle) then roll the reaction for the Sphinx (usually at around a +1 because the Sphinx did like something about what he/she saw from afar, but modified by the human's behavior) and on a bad reaction will attack to devour the human, otherwise the Sphinx will withdraw and never approach that person again.

Humans who fail to answer the riddle (i.e. fail the saving throw) are adopted as children of the Sphinx and taken away to the palace of the Sphinx. There they are put to work tending the garden, building a patio, composing poems, etc. but always some task that this human lacks the talent to accomplish. The human is corrected over and over again for several months until they have mastered the talent (i.e. three months per IQ point cost).

Proud of what they have taught their human "child" the Sphinx will then return their "child" to the humans. Usually not to the same group of humans, but rarely to a different continent. After all, aren't all humans the same?

Adventure hooks

Usually it's not a good thing to abduct the actual party, unless one player needs a multi-session break. Instead once during a long adventure have an NPC the players were counting on meeting instead abducted by a mysterious stranger when the players are getting too far ahead of the plot. The players can then go on side quests while they await the return, find some other way to resolve their situation, or go questing for a well hidden and well defended palace.

The Fantasy Trip(t.m.) is a trademark of Steve Jackson Games, and their rules and art are copyrighted by Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by Steve Jackson Games.
This game aid is the original creation of Henry J. Cobb and is released for free distribution, and not for resale, under the permissions granted in the Steve Jackson Games Online Policy.