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Magical beast
Warm deserts and hills
Source: Secrets of the Sphinx, pg(s). 84–85

Cynosphinxes are sphinxes that covet secret knowledge in order to gain control over others. They have winged, leonine bodies with the head of a jackal.1


Cynosphinxes have the innate ability to animate dead bodies and to speak with the dead, which they use to learn information that deceased creatures knew in life. Their canine muzzles grant them a keen sense of smell, but despite their large wings, they are clumsy fliers.1


Cynosphinxes are scavengers and feed preferentially upon mature corpses, although they also hunt live prey. After making a kill, however, a cynosphinx will usually leave the body to decompose for some time due to its preference for decayed meat. They are especially fond of bone marrow. They tend to lair near or within graveyards, necropoles, and other burial sites where food is readily available. A cynosphinx will always animate and interrogate a corpse before eating it, only consuming it fully once satisfied that it has obtained all the information it could from it.1

Cynosphinxes are exclusively male and, like other male sphinxes, rely on gynosphinxes for reproduction. Matings are rare, as cynosphinxes are repulsed by sex, and typically only occur towards the end of a cynosphinx's life. The offspring of these unions are almost always cynosphinxes. Cynosphinxes are reluctant to reproduce, however, as they prefer to ensure the lasting of their legacy through personal immortality, and only breed if this ceases to be an option.1

Society and culture

Cynosphinxes place great value on secrets, which they believe give them power over others. They often learn from speaking with the dead, but also engage in parley with other beings if they believe they can gain new knowledge this way. They quickly become violent if they believe their interlocutor does not hold valuable knowledge, however.1

Cynosphinxes are deeply preoccupied with mortality, and often go to great lengths to extend their considerable lifespans. They rarely take excessive risks in combat as a result, and particularly value information pertaining to the extension of one's lifespan.1

Cynosphinxes are solitary creatures, and avoid the company of other living creatures. They have generally poor relationships with other sphinxes, which they usually treat as inferior. Gynosphinxes detest cynosphinxes, and the two types only interact when a cynosphinx needs to reproduce. The gynosphinx typically needs to be coerced or blackmailed into mating. Cynosphinxes hate and envy the greater intelligence and wisdom of androsphinxes, and if a cynosphinx learns of an androsphinx's presence it will typically plot to murder it in order to learn secrets from its corpse. They generally ignore criosphinxes, and subjugate hieracosphinxes.1

When a cynosphinx keeps the company of other creatures, they usually associate with the undead. They may gather undead servants of their own when food is abundant, and may also serve especially powerful undead such as liches and graveknights.1


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Michael Kortes, David Schwartz, and Larry Wilhelm. (2014). Bestiary. Secrets of the Sphinx, p. 84–85. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-590-7