At long last, the criosphinx. The ram-headed perennial Nice Guy of the sphinx dysfunctional family tree.
As we’ve discussed before, plenty has been written about the mating habits—or should I say, mating schemes—of the criosphinx. So let’s skip that and instead look at the bigger picture. Criosphinxes probably have to be very careful in how they claim, mark, and defend their territories. A criosphinx wants to be well known enough that he is respected and so that any local gynosphinxes hear of his presence. Yet he does not want to be so well known or feared that caravans or wealthy travelers avoid his toll routes, or worse yet, that he attracts some do-gooder knight or greedy blue dragon’s interest. As a result, encounters with a criosphinx tend to involve a fair amount of bluffing and intimidation (hence the criosphinx’s bonuses in those skills) as he tries to quickly size up the situation and whether to bluster, fight, or flee.
For three straight years a criosphinx has flown into the Palm Agora on Midsummer’s Day to trade riddles with the debaters and pundits who loiter there. He pays for the puzzles with rings woven into his beard and hung on his horns. Once the last ring is gone, he retreats into the mountains to woo with what he has learned. Now it is Midsummer’s Day again, but the locals’ awe at his appearance has worn off. After overhearing jokes at his expense—something about him “having the horns of a cuckold already”—the criosphinx goes mad and begins goring citizens in the street.
Adventurers are tracking a thief who ran off into the desert with their treasure and a string of their camels. After two days they come across the camels, currently under the eye of a criosphinx who intends to eat them. He offers to use speak with animals to find out more about the missing thief, but his price his high. The adventurers must part with at least half of the stolen gold once they recover it, or they must agree to hobble a nearby gynosphinx so that the criosphinx can “rescue” her.
A novice druid is being terrorized by a criosphinx. The criosphinx intends to set himself up as an oracle at a nearby oasis, and the presence of a wise young woman who can also speak with animals threatens to upset his plans. Worse yet, the criosphinx’s trumpeting and threats have caught the attention of a mated pair of desert drakes, who are hungry for meals and tribute for themselves.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 252
More on sphinxes can of course be found in Jonathan H. Keith’s chapter in Mythical Monsters Revisited.
Also I am still sick. Please send Theraflu. Preferably via sylph courier.
This week my radio show had the misfortune to fall right in the middle of a new board installation. So the computer copied the wrong chunk of time, my voice was barely audible in Mic 2 (Mic 1 wasn’t even functioning), and things were generally FUBAR. Still, a show is a show, especially since I spent a major chunk of it celebrating 20 years of Smashing Pumpkins’ Pisces Iscariot. If you don’t mind your music with a side of technical glitches, fast-forward through the nine minutes of dead air at the start and enjoy!
(As always, if the feed skips Save As an mp3 for better results. Link good till Friday, 10/31, at midnight.)