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Dryad

A dryad is a sapient manifestation of a tree's spirit, typically in humanoid female form. Their lives are tied to the tree that they bond with like a symbiotic relationship. Most of their trees have a naturally long life of centuries and dryads will spend much of their time developing a variety of pruning techniques that will keep their tree healthy and extend its lifespan.   Dryads can be passionate, and are fond of merriment as they see themselves as the embodiment of change inherent in nature and thus act accordingly. They often secretly help animals and some people living among their forests, and think nothing of helping those in need and befriending strangers.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Most dryads are superficially identical to human females in terms of appearance, typical differences tend to manifest in the form of pigmentation, and internal biology being plant tissue that mimics a humanoid form. Dryads may display pigmentation calling to mind the tree to which they are attached. For example, the dryad of a cherry blossom might have brown skin and red-pink hair, while an oak might have darker brown skin and green hair.

Biological Traits

Plant based Shapeshifting: All dryads can transform into plants, most commonly that of the tree it is bonded to. In this form, the dryad appears as a particularly healthy specimen of that particular plant. A dryad can also become a female humanoid that is composed of plant matter like wood and leaves. A dryad can assume plant form or humanoid form whenever she wishes.   Tree Meld: A dryad can phase into any tree, even in a corporeal body or with a tree she is not bonded with. She can remain melded with a tree as long as she wishes.   Plant Manipulation: A dryad can cause preexisting plants to grow a certain way and speed.

Genetics and Reproduction

Most dryads reproduce in their tree form by dropping seeds, buds, or whatever is relevant to their particular tree species. They can be intimate in their humanoid form as well, though it is uncommon for a dryad to carry a pregnancy.

Ecology and Habitats

Forests and woodlands

Dietary Needs and Habits

Dryads subsist primarily on water and sunlight. While most dryads are capable of eating solid foods, they seldom do and it is not clear if ingesting food benefits their tree's vitality at all. They never hunt and thus rarely ever eat meat. Typical Dryad fare consists heavily of water, often flavored with sugars, and various types of juices for very special occasions.

Biological Cycle

Their appearance often mimics the seasons- dark brown hair and eyes and very fair skin in winter; vibrant green hair, bright green eyes, and pale green complexion with rosy cheeks in spring ; forest green hair, deep hazel eyes, and a yellow green or golden tan complexion in summer; light brown, red, or strawberry blonde hair, amber eyes and a brown yet rosy complexion in fall. Some dryads have been known to sprout floral vines and may even bloom depending on their mood or the weather, though this is by no means a constant.   Very few dryads are active during the winter. The dryads of evergreens are active year-round, but most dryads fall into inactivity during the winter months, entering into a state of deathlike hibernation. It is rare for dryads beyond the evergreens to be awake during the winter; those who remain tend to be either curious or foolhardy. When the winter passes there is a great celebration among the newly awakened dryads, ushering in the birth of new life.

Additional Information

Average Intelligence

Sapient

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Communicate with Plants: Any natural plant with range of dryad is indubed with the capacity for conscious thought. This enables a dryad to speak and empathize with them. Preternatural flora with at least some consciousness can easily commune with dryads.

Civilization and Culture

Average Technological Level

As a race that primarily stays or returns to heavily wooded areas, they rely on very little technology and those that they use them are based on forest materials and leavings. At the most they make of plant resins for various things such as salve or adhesive.

Common Dress Code

They tend to wear summery clothing but are comfortable with nudity.

Culture and Cultural Heritage

They are a highly nature-centric subculture, owing to their existence as tree spirits. Dryads tend to reside in heavily forested areas and are often quite elusive. They do not construct towns or structures; they live as trees and have no need for housing. Most of them are uncomfortable indoors, as they tend to be accustomed to having lots of room to spread their limbs, although dryads who have a relationship with a non-dryad often train themselves to adapt to occasional time indoors. Dryads often congregate in discreet forest glades or about particularly revered trees. They hold a great reverence for old trees, as old trees have endured many hardships and joys and have thus gained great wisdom. During rainstorms dryads often congregate in secluded clearings and dance, reveling in the life-giving rainfall.  

Family

  Young dryads tend to be raised communally, rendering traditional family structures moot in favor of a great unifying family in which all dryads share a semblance of kinship. A dryad will often identify the trees nearest her as sisters in a spiritual sense. Dryads born through a humanoid process, however, tend to identify with an actual mother and sisters quite strongly.

Common Taboos

Dryads object to the construction of wooden houses and furniture unless the wood of dead trees is used. They believe that to cut down a living tree is murder, but with the soul of a dead tree already moving along its next arc of the spiral, the body is merely a vessel and may thus be used as others will.

History

Dryads are spirits that arose early within Kafs history within the heavily forested areas. For most of classical history they had little effect on civilizations due to staying deep in the wilderness. It was until during the Ghulat Wars and forests were being cleared that the dryads became involved.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Dryads are sociable, though preferring the company of fey and other forest races. They are quick to fall in love with humanoids and will seek out the company of those that are respectful of the forest. They often take the appearance of peasant girls and shepherdesses as a way to interact with humanoid races. They may even secretly assist those living in the woods.   Dryads are benign guardians of trees, and though they can do little in the way of direct violence, they can trap and disable threats to their homes or turn enemies into allies. Some keep one or more charmed creatures in their territory to fend off or lead away attackers. Incapacitated foes are typically dragged to the edge of the forest by the dryad's allies and left there, but evil or overtly hostile ones are killed once combat is over.

Origin/Ancestry
Drys, Epimeliad, Meliae
Lifespan
As long as their bonded tree
Conservation Status
Least Concern
Average Height
4'8" to 5'11"
Average Weight
90-180 lbs

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