The dryad are the newest race on the world of Fortannis, though they claim to be the oldest. According to their stories, they were once the caretakers of a great forest. When First Forest told them to sleep, they gave stewardship over to the elves under the condition that they would wake once again if the Forest called to them.
Having recently woken from what they now call the Great Sleep, these plantlike people are remembering more of their culture each day. Although they all share the same racial skills, dryads are classified into four different subtypes. There are the Thorns, the most common of the four, resembling flowers or leafy plants; the Barkskins, most akin to the trees of the forest; the Reeds, who dwell in swamps, ocean shores, and rivers; and the Spores, fungal types who prefer the damp darkness of caves. Spores are the youngest, living only a few mere decades. Thorns’ and Reeds’ average life-spans tend to be about a century, while Barkskins’ lifetimes are closer to those of the elves.
It is possible to find dryads asleep in nearly any environment. Because the presence of one helps to wake others, they wake their brethren Photo courtesy of Creative Crossroads simply by wandering. Once woken, they gravitate towards forested areas. Dryads (who often refer to themselves as the “Children of Autumn”) consider all forests to be descendants of First Forest and will defend them to the last.
They are an egalitarian people who tend to group together in small unnamed tribes. All consider one another brothers and sisters and live in remarkable harmony with each other. They tend to avoid confrontation with those of their own race and often “agree to disagree” in strained situations. Dryads are unaware of their own oddity and will take no offense to staring, often thinking it some sort of game. They are childlike in their happy demeanor, with a tendency to be mischievous. They love playing innocent pranks and tricks on those around them so long as no one is harmed.
Dryads will often claim an area to be the “First Forest” and they protect it as if this is fact. It is their belief that one of their kind will find it, and since none of them can be sure, they all treat “their” forest as the true “First Forest.” All dryads hate the wanton destruction of their lands, but do not see a problem with the judicious use of plants for housing and food. They believe it is their duty and calling to protect their land against the forces of chaos, which would destroy it.
All dryads hate necromancy and the harm it can cause to the Forest. While some dryads take a more fanatical view, the majority find those who cast it worthy of great pity and disdain. They would first seek to reeducate someone charged with necromancy, but failing that would have little regret punishing or executing them.
Processed metal of any type generates discord within dryads and they therefore tend to shy away from metal weapons or metal armor. A few gold coins in a pouch may not be much of a bother, nor would metal rivets in leather, but a metal bracer wrapped around the forearm would feel extremely, distractingly uncomfortable. It is not just the iron content of any particular metal that bothers the dryads. It’s the manipulation of the mineral through heating, melting and forging that throws off its “energy,” generating discord to any dryad who is near it. The level of discord becomes unmanageable when the quantity of metal is large enough to serve as armor.
It must be noted that dryads are not plant wylderkin. You may not play a “pine tree dryad” or a “sunflower dryad.” Think more in terms of the natural environment the dryad comes from or the general type of plant to which the dryad has an affinity. To play a dryad, you must use makeup and costuming appropriate for the type. All must have some sort of leafy prosthetic, such as flowers in the hair or vines around the body. Makeup can be as simple or as creative as you wish, as long as it is nature-inspired. The makeup and costuming can change with the seasons; thus a barkskin dryad could be primarily gray in the winter, green in the spring and summer, and orange in the fall.