For the player mechanics in playing a New Dryad, please see New Dryad (Player Race)
The New Dryads are a completely separate take on the Old-World Dryads, as their goal is not only to live in harmony with Nature, but to venture from their home trees in search of new lands to plant their seeds and rejuvenate it. Most New Dryads have been taught within their culture that their ultimate goal is to replenish land taken away by evil spirits or cold-hearted beings, bringing this stolen soil to its formal primal glory of beautiful plants, streams, glades and wildlife.
New Dryads come in all shapes and sizes. They stand normally around 7 feet tall, have bark skin, and branches for hair. Their faces appear to be masks, with only their eyes showing. Most have brown skin, but this can vary as well to different shades of brown to dark green. They walk with an arched back and lead with their giant arms. About one third of them are born with butterfly wings which they use to fly. The color of these wings is limited to anything that is not periwinkle. Never trust a New Dryad with periwinkle wings.
Dryads can be any class they choose, although almost all tend to go towards true Druid, with a few also opting to go towards the Druid/Warlock path. Dryads have the ability to begin whatever class they want, with a very select few becoming Rangers and even fewer becoming Clerics, worshipers of Mielikki. Virtually no Dryads decide to become Rogues, Barbarians, Fighters, or Paladins as these paths would take them too far away from their inherent love and desire to protect the forest.
Dryads will be brought up learning Common and Sylvan, keeping with their tradition of being the connection between the outsiders and the forest. A good portion of the population also learns Elven as many wood elves have begun to make their homes in these forests (very few are able to call the faerie forest their home).
New Dryads are neutral towards all species. They usually try to see the good in other beings, but do tend to be careful, steering clear of anyone who might have evil intentions. They are very passive, doing their best to avoid direct conflict; however, when they witness wrongdoings towards a forest, they may take action only if the wrongdoer cannot be talked out of his or her actions.
Their battle techniques usually rely on trying to end the battle, either through charm, confusion, or fear, but will use spells such as Call Lightning, Moonbeam, or Sunbeam to end a relentless foe. If they find themselves unable to defeat a foe, they will flee using, most commonly, a mixture of Fog Cloud and Tree Stride. If trees are unavailable, they will cast Invisibility.
Although New Dryads are free souls allowed to think and travel on their own, almost all Dryads worship Mielikki, goddess of Dryads, forests, and the hunt. There were two orders worshiping Mielikki before the New Dryads came, the Order of the Unicorn’s Horn, mainly focused on Her healing powers, and the Shadoweirs, mainly focused on Her proactive stance on the protection of nature. The New Dryads have created a new order combining these previous two, focusing on healing the vast forest and everything it contains while combating those who wish harm against it. This offensive stance, however, is not usually violent.
Most New Dryads worship Mielikki, but a very small amount also worship either Obad-Hai or nothing at all. These dryads are usually pretty silly and aren’t taken seriously. By anyone. Especially other dryads.
The New Dryads can be found all over the Quelmar realm, although most tend to find solace in Isonhound, their origin. As soon as they are able to leave their home trees, they are able to travel wherever they please, although most stay near their forests, opting to become protectors of their sacred homes.
Faerie Forests Edit
As the species grew, the once-lost fey spirits of nymphs, pixies, satyrs, and other faeries began to emerge, feeling once again safe thanks to the protection of these new forest keepers. Faerie forests, though still almost complete mysteries to outsiders, are no longer extinct. They are well hidden thanks to the dryads’ ability to manipulate perception, hiding forests’ true appearance from outsiders who might stumble upon them. They are well guarded by a plethora of spells and spirits, ranging from the spell Alarm to Awakened trees (At least one dryad of every tribe will have access to the 5th level spell, Awaken). If, however, some outsider should be venturing into the deepest brush to find the glades which many dryad clans call home, they are first met with a few tests thought up with some of the very first new dryads to see if they are truly worthy of being presented with the beauty of the forest.
Entering the Faerie Forest Edit
First, these travelers are met with Dancing Lights fluttering around them as the ground beneath them begins to spring to life with a myriad flowers. A gentle breeze is felt as one dryad comes out of hiding to present trerself to the explorer. They must succeed in a battle of wits, usually through the act of Charm Person, although sometimes met with a riddle. If the explorer is charmed, they are told to leave and never return, as they are unworthy of witnessing the beauty of the forest. If the explorer succeeds, the dryad leads them deeper into the forest, and mist begins to appear.
As the mist grows thicker, the explorer is met with a bear, the representative animal of Mielikki. The bear will have a magical ward protecting it from attacks. It will not attack, but rather attempt to intimidate the explorer into leaving. On closer inspection, the bear will appear to be caught in a bear trap (a Minor Illusion, of course). If the explorer attempts to attack the bear, the bear will run away and the explorer will not be permitted to go any further. However, if they attempt to save the bear, the illusion fades and the bear will lead them further. The bear will stop at the sound of music and signal for the explorers to continue. There they will find the home of the dryads, an open glade similar to a larger version of the Grove of Respite spell. Here they will find a small society of fey creatures, peacefully buzzing about, tending to animals, praying at altars, etc. They will be alert at the sight of an outsider without the aid of a dryad, but will welcome one accompanied with one.