Sisters of the Oak

Today we’ll be taking a basic woodland dryad and try to make it a bit more interesting.

The basic dryad  is very boring.  Besides being fast and capable of teleporting the dryad has nothing but a basic, low damage melee attack.  It is not a worthy threat and, in fact, not something I would bother throwing at my party.  They get a small damage bonus if they stay away from other enemies, but this dryad is about as threatening as a cat with its claws.

First off, I wanted this creature to be higher level so we’ll up its level to about 13.  This is of course completely adjustable.  Next we’re going to start by taking piece of other creatures to make it stronger.  We’ll make its primary damage ability worthwhile by snagging Oaken Strength and Autumn Wind from the Autumn Nymph.  This will increase its damage significantly since it changes the expression as well as potentially giving it two attacks per round.  We want it to be able to really skirmish, moving in and out of combat, so lets snag Secret of Autumn Leaves as well (It’s autumn in my current campaign, so it makes sense).

So far we’ve mostly just taken the Autumn Nymph and leveled it up so we’ll need to make it dryad-like.  Dryads are tied to their tree and creatures of nature.  Simply knocking them down isn’t enough to finish them off, but it should take them out.  Though it takes a while for them to regenerate, a dryad that has been knocked unconscious will draw strength from its tree to regenerate itself.  Thus, Tree Bond:

When this creature is reduced to 0 hit points it falls unconscious but does not die and does not regain consciousness normally.  If it is within 1 mile of its tree and touching the ground 6 hours later it will be absorbed into the earth and in 1d4 days restored to full health within 1 square of its tree.

Next I’d like to improve its treestride ability.  Hunters have reported seeing playful wood nymphs in the forest and many have even attempted to capture them.  They are elusive and wiley, however, seeming to move between the woods with grace and easy.  Some have claimed that a dryad would disappear behind one tree and appear next to another as if by some mystical force.

Once per round, this creature can enter any square occupied by a tree.  While in such a square this creature is considered adjacent to any square next to any tree within 6 squares. This creature cannot end its movement within a tree other than its own bonded tree.

Lastly, I’d like to give the dryad control over nature.  We’ll do this by stealing Briar cage from the Briar Witch.  Instead of its current form, we’ll change it to an Area Blast 2 within 10 and cause it to change the terrain rather than dealing ongoing damage.

What’s that?  Area Blast 2?  How does that work!  It works just like a close blast 2 but you can choose the origin square as any square you have line of effect within 10.  The purpose of an area blast is to demonstrate a more accurate result of a thrown blasting object, such as one that explodes directionally on contact, as well as allowing for areas that effect even numbers (burst can only effect areas of 3×3, 5×5, 7×7, etc).

Let’s take a look at the final product.

Ahh that’s much better.  The dryad is highly mobile and tries to keep moving during combat.  They’re defenses are rather low and you’ll notice that their health is very low as well (-15%).  A good dryad moves in and out of combat attempting to keep her enemies at distance and confused, assuming she is attacking in the first place.

I bet you’ve noticed the Dark Corruption.  That is part of our little bit of extra fun we’re going to add.  Lets see what happens when we infuse dark energy into the dryad.

This druid has accepted the corruption, albeit not willingly.  You’ll notice that instead of having control over the natural environment it has a dark aura that spreads death in its path.  In addition, it has a strong psychic attack that will stun its foes.  It also has a very fun ability called Whisper Game.  Both of these abilities were taken from the autumn nymph.

You’ll note that the Corrupt Sister is not treebound.  The dark magic that separates the dryad from its tree also sustains its.  The tree dies quickly when severed from its dryad in this fashion, but the dryad can continue to live on, spreading its corruption.

Michael McElrath

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