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The Dryad is yet another monster that originated in Greco-Roman mythology. Part of the extensive Nymph family, they are tree and forest spirits; sources conflict as to whether dryad specifically means "oak tree spirit" or just the general term for "tree spirit". They had a vast number of sister species tied to specific trees, including: Daphnaeae (Laurel tree), Epimeliades (Apple tree), Kissiae (Ivy), Meliae (Ash tree), Balanos (Oak), Kraneia (Dogwood), Morea (Mulberry), Igeiros (Poplar), Ptelea (Elm), Aigeiroi (black poplar), Ampeloi (grape vine), Balanis (ilex), Karyai (hazelnut), Kraneiai (cherry tree), Moreai (mulberry), and Sykei (fig).
In /tg/ media, dryads typical appear as elfin maidens with druid-like powers over plants and, less commonly, animals. They may display some plant-like traits, usually green hair and/or wood-brown skin, and their life is often tied to the health and well-being of a specific tree, due to a confusion between the mythical dryad (spirit of a grove or forest as a whole) and the hamadryad (spirit of a specific tree). Because of these traits, they tend to hate individuals and species who wreck forests for lumber, farmland or just a love of burning shit.
In Dungeons & Dragons
In Dungeons & Dragons, dryads have been around since the beginning, dedicated to protecting their forests, mostly against the likes of orcs and goblins. They get on well with druids and rangers, but aren't very fond of woodcutters. Traditionally, they're described as being beautiful, elf-like maidens and considered to be either good or neutral aligned, despite their tendency to abuse their innate Charm Person to turn wandering humans and/or elves with sufficiently high Charisma into boytoys, a state in which they can be kept as prisoners for years before their captor grows tired of them and sends them away.
In 4th edition, Dryads got shifted out of the "pin-up monster" category by giving them the ability to shift between beautiful elf-maiden form and an armored, female treeman like form, in which state they could be much more aggressively proactive about defending their forests, instead of depending on Charmed servitors.
Hamadryads have less of a presence in D&D, only showing up in AD&D (both editions) and 4th edition.
THe Half-Dryad has appeared once or twice in D&D.
PC stats for dryads appeared under the BECMI rules in the splatbook "Tall Tales of the Wee Folk", a sourcebook on fey player characters. Dryads in this book are stated to be the daughters of hamadryads and their male mates, born independent of the "soul-trees" that sustain the lives of their mothers. At the age of 12, a dryad can either bond itself with a tree, effectively becoming an immature hamadryad, or remain detached, effectively functioning as a kind of variant [[elf[[ or as a human sorceress; they have innate magical powers due to their fey ancestry, but can roam the world as they please at the price of aging like mortals, until and unless they choose to bond to a tree.
Dryad BECMI PC Stats:
- Ability Modifiers: Maximum of 16 Strength, Minimum of 8 Wisdom and 12 Charisma
- Prime Requisites: Wisdom and Charisma (EXP +5% if one or both are at 13+, EXP +10% if one or both are at 16+)
- Natural Armor Class: 7
- Can speak with plants
- Can cast Druid spells as if a Druid of the same level.
- Dryads can learn the unique spells Insect Messenger and Polymorph Other To Plant.
- Dryads can choose to bond to a tree, at which point they cease aging and no longer need substance, but also cannot increase in experience. They can detach themselves, but this requires a painful process that lasts 24 hours.
- Can only use Magic-User weapons and armor.
- Can use magic items allowed to clerics and magic-users, as well as magical versions of permitted weapons.
- Save as Clerics of the same level.
- At level 0, a Dryad can Charm Person 3/day as per the 1st level magic-user spell. If bonded to a tree, they can cast Charm Person at will and with a -2 penalty on the victim's saving throws.
- At level 3, a dryad can Shapechange 1/day, but only into the form of a specific plant. At every 2nd level after 3rd, they can change an additional time per day, and add an additional plant to their list of forms. A dryad regains 1d4 HP per level when shapechanging, but cannot heal more than half of the damage suffered before shapechanging through this method.
- At level 10, when bonded to a tree, a dryad can invoke the Famine Curse once per month on a creature that has violated their tree; if the target fails a Save vs Spells at -4, they will suffer an insatiable hunger, craving to eat 24 hours a day but never able to gain any satiation, inevitably starving to death unless cured by a Wish spell, or by a Remove Curse cast by a Lawful cleric of at least 17th level.
Dryad Racial Class
- -1: -3,000 XP, 1d8 Hit Dice
- 0: 0 XP, 2d8 Hit Dice
- 1: 3,000 XP
- 2: 9,000 XP, 3d8 Hit Dice
- 3: 21,000 XP
- 4: 45,000 XP, 4d8 Hit Dice
- 5: 95,000 XP
- 6: 190,000 XP, 5d8 Hit Dice
- 7: 380,000 XP
- 8: 680,000 XP, 6d8 Hit Dice
- 9: 980,000 XP
- 10: 1,280,000 XP, 7d8 Hit Dice
- 11: 1,580,000 XP, 7d8+1 Hit Dice
- Subsequent levels require +300,000 XP and grant +1 HP.
|Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Races|
|Basic Set:||Dwarf - Elf - Hobbit - Human|
|Creature Catalog 1:|| Brownie - Centaur - Dryad - Faun - Hsiao |
Leprechaun - Pixie - Pooka - Redcap - Sidhe
Sprite - Treant - Wood Imp - Wooddrake
|Creature Catalog 2:|| Faenare - Gnome - Gremlin - Harpy |
Nagpa - Pegataur - Sphinx - Tabi
|Creature Catalog 3:||Kna - Kopru - Merrow - Nixie - Triton|
|Dragon Magazine:|| Cayma - Gatorman - Lupin - N'djatwa |
Phanaton - Rakasta - Shazak - Wallara
|Hollow World:|| Beastman - Brute-Man - Hutaakan |
Krugel Orc - Kubbit - Malpheggi Lizard Man
|Known World:|| Bugbear - Goblin - Gnoll |
Hobgoblin - Kobold - Ogre - Troll
In Warhammer Fantasy
In Warhammer Fantasy, dryads are a key part of the Wood Elf army force. Representing the more powerful spirits of Athel Loren, they bind themselves to living trees to give themselves a way of interacting with the world of flesh. Known for being real bitches who like to lure humans into the forest by assuming the shape of sexy elven women, then assume a monstrous humanoid tree-woman form and rip them apart for kicks.
Much like nymphs, dryads are considered pretty entry-tier monstergirls; after all, when you get down to it, the typical dryad is basically an elf druidess with some enchanter spells in her arsenal. It doesn't hurt that seducing handsome men and keeping them for their lovers is a pretty iconic trait of theirs, courtesy of D&D.
Even the Monster Girl Encyclopedia doesn't really stray from D&D's formula, it just makes it the be-all, end-all of her focus.