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Monday, May 8, 2017

RMA: Dryads

While dryads are a bit more mythology than fairy tale, their sylvan nature makes them a good fit for the fae thread these posts have been following of late. 

Fun fact: In Greek 'drys' signifies "oak." Thus, dryads are specifically the nymphs of oak trees. The dryads of ash trees were called the Meliai. Those associated with apple trees were the Epimeliad, and those associated with walnut-trees were the Caryatids. Thanks, wikipedia!

Dryad: (from Cook) - 

AC: 5
HD: 2*
Move: 120' (40')
Att: special
Dmg: 0
No. App: 0 (1d6)
Save: F4
Morale: 6

Let's unpack this a bit. Dryads are only encountered in the wilderness, specifically in woods. That makes sense, since the description is "a beautiful female tree spirit who lives in a woodland setting or a dense forest."

Unsurprisingly -like many other fairy tale creatures- dryads are no great shakes as combatants. And like their fellow fae, that's really not the point of them. The signature features of the dryad are her beauty, her ability to charm, and her connection to her tree.

Dryads are described as "shy and non-violent." They cannot stray far from their tree and if it dies, they die. So they are not terribly hard to kill. The trick is being able to spot them. They can merge with their tree and be indistinguishable from the rest of the woods. 

However, dryads are also described as suspicious. If they are deliberately approached or followed as they move about, that's when they may turn on the charm. Note that the description specifically states that simply passing or standing near the tree doesn't count. So the dryad would most likely stay hidden in those circumstances. Their charm spell is powerful (-2 to saves), so there's a decent chance of it working. Once beguiled, the victim is taking inside the tree. There is nothing about how long this process takes, so the assumption is one round. 

Now here's the scary part. "Unless rescued immediately, the victim will never be seen again." There are two things to keep in mind here:

  1. I would interpret 'immediately' in this case to be 'before entering the tree'. So the victim's companions need to grab him fast and keep him away from the trunk.
  2. Note that it says "never be seen again," not "dead." So things like raise dead aren't necessarily an option. I would say a wish would do the trick, but even chopping down the tree won't bring your missing comrade back.
Another tidbit I'd like to mention: 1d6 appearing. That's right, the party could stumble into a grove of dryads. 

Imagine a dryad per PC casting their buffed charm spells. The 1-2 PCs who maybe make their saves having to decide which of their friends to tackle and keep from disappearing into the trees!

A final note: Dryads' treasure is in hollows beneath the trees' roots. I imagine that the wealth of their victims ends up down there. Treasure type D is fairly respectable for a 2HD creature, with a decent chance at a few thou in gold, not to mention gems, etc. Of course, chopping down a dryad's tree and digging up the loot might attract some unfriendly attention in an enchanted wood situation.

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