Daughters of the forest.
Anatomy & Morphology
Dryads inherit the form of their non-tawar or Dryad parent, which means they come into many shapes and forms. The only universal truth about them is that they are attractive and fit, by whatever standards the specific race holds.
Dryads have a symbiotic bond with their environment, which is where the myth of them being tied on a single tree originated from. Because of that, the life expectancy, and general physical traits of a dryad are as dependent of their chosen home than of their paternal race.
Genetics and Reproduction
All dryads are female, and the same is true for the majority of their offspring. All female children are dryads, while male children are the race of the father. They reproduce sexually, according to the physiology of their paternal race. The gestation period is determined by the race of the father of the child but takes place within a tree instead of the mother's body.
Growth Rate & Stages
Dryads grow at twice the rate of the father race until maturity, at which point the ageing process crawls to a halt. Physiologically, they exhibit the same stages of growth of the paternal race but mentally they mature much faster.
Ecology and Habitats
Myths want the dryads to live deep in the woods but the truth is somewhat different. If there is enough vegetation to sustain wildlife, a dryad can be found there. They still prefer forests and jungles but marshes and bogs are among the suitable environments for a dryad.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Dryads are omnivores regardless of the paternal race. They forage for food as often as they hunt, and can even gain some nourishment from the soil, water, and sunlight. Rumours speak of dryads consuming other sentient creatures that have ventured too deep in their territories without permission but no definite proof of such behaviour has been found.
For the most part, dryads react to the changing of the seasons the same way the vegetation around them does. During springtime, they become more social and can often be found in the company of satyri or other furies.
Solitary by nature, dryads will only seek each other's company in case of an emergency. A dryad will tolerate the presence of her offspring long enough for them to be able to claim their own territory, and will drive them away when it is time. Despite that, dryads are generally friendly toward one another, and particularly old members of the race - called "hamadryads" are respected by the rest.
The easiest way to domesticate a dryad is to simply talk to them. Not being particularly savvy in social matters, they will befriend anyone who is kind to them. Eventually, the dryad in question will become less naive and more socially aware but, by then, she's likely to have formed bonds with those around her.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
The raw potential of a dryad is enough to deter most hostiles from attacking a settlement that has "adopted" one. Historical examples speak of whole armies being swallowed by the forest. Likewise, as long as a dryad is available and on good terms with the local populace, crops will almost never fail, and hunts will be bountiful.
As with all nymphs, dryads are considered beautiful by most sentients. Their facial characteristics match those of an attractive member of their paternal race, though subtle variations give them a more exotic look. Regardless of their ancestry, they have pointy ears and small fangs.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Most dryads are found in Arcadia but a few can be seen on other worlds.
Dryads are of average intelligence for their paternal race, though extremes in both ends have been documented. Most of them appear to be naive and not familiar with the subtleties of civilised society.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Dryads inherit the sensory capabilities of their paternal race. Their tawar heritage manifests in their symbiotic link to their environment. If her territory is harmed in any way, a dryad is aware and affected by it almost instantly. The vast majority of dryads manifest powerful Attuned abilities, with a focus on Life, but a rare few are Maven or Infused instead.
Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms
There have been cases of cities or settlements "adopting" a dryad, and forming a mutually beneficial arrangement. When that happens, the dryad ensures the protection of her territory, while the settlement gains a powerful defender.
Civilization and Culture
Dryads generally do not use surnames, as there are few enough of them to be easily identifiable. They favour names from the cultures around their territory, though most opt for more archaic ones. Younger dryads often use a shortened version of their name when among other races.
Dryads do not bother joining a faction most of the time but they are generally associated with The Hallowed Garden. When a dryad is "adopted" by a city or settlement, she often considers the associated polity her territory and acts accordingly.
Each dryad has her own idea of what beauty is, usually coloured by the standards of her paternal race but the one common denominator is a healthy disposition. Many will decorate themselves with flowers or wear clothes simply because they look good in them.
Surprisingly for an all-female species, dryads have a keen understanding of gender roles in nature. While individual beliefs can vary, depending on the paternal race and the culture around them, dryads generally believe that females should nurture and grow, while males are there to protect and provide for them.
Not bound by most taboos of the societies they live near, dryads tend to be quite forward when it comes to courtship. They usually approach their target openly, even in the presence of others, making their intentions known. Young or inexperienced dryads will sometimes watch their would-be lover from a distance before approaching.
It is unusual for a dryad to pursue an actual relationship with someone but, in the rare case it actually happens, they are not limited to males. Solitary in regards to their own kind, they will sometimes entertain notions of a romantic relationship for brief lengths of time - possibly for the sake of their lover.
Average Technological Level
While most dismiss the dryads as primitive, in reality, they have an innate understanding of arcological design, likely a direct result of their symbiotic link to their environment. Rumours speak of a hidden dryad city somewhere deep in the woods of Arcadia but no proof of it has ever been found.
Major Language Groups and Dialects
Most dryads are well versed in the dominant language of their territory but they are also taught their native language at a young age. This is a dialect of ancient Greek but incorporates body language and signals only dryads are capable of replicating.
Common Etiquette Rules
In the rare case a dryad travels, it is expected of her to respect another dryad's territory. If a border has to be crossed, the guest has to announce her presence and acknowledge the sovereignty of the host. Most of the time this is limited to being courteous and asking for passage, but there have been cases of hosts asking for gifts or favours.
Common Dress Code
Dryads do not care much about clothes and are generally content to walk around their territory naked. When in a city or settlement, they will cover themselves in the minimum allowed manner. In extreme conditions, they will shield themselves using clothes made of vegetation or animal fur and leather.
The only true taboo among dryads is intentionally harming or disrespecting the territory of another. Whereas the dryads will take action against other races that do so, their retribution against one of their own is as swift as it is terrible.
There have not been any individuals among the dryads that they are willing to publicly acknowledge as important to their race. Dryads who have been "adopted" by a city or settlement, however, tend to rise to prominence in the local community and have often been of some historical importance.
Interspecies Relations and Assumptions
Since dryads need the other sentient races in order to procreate, most of them are quite eager to spend time around others. On the other hand, dryads do not tolerate those that would harm the forest, and they can turn hostile against them. While they do not care for the company of each other, the same cannot be said about living creatures in general, and it is not uncommon for a dryad to be surrounded by animals. They are not adverse to exterminate any that might disturb the ecosystem around them.
- Genetic Ancestor(s)
- Scientific Name
- Primum nymphe silvanus
- Titans or nymphs and any sentient race
- Potentially immortal
- Conservation Status
- Conservation Dependent (CD)
- Average Height
- Varies, depends on father race.
- Average Weight
- Varies, depends on father race.
- Average Physique
- Regardless of apparent race, dryads meet whatever criteria for fitness and desirability the paternal race holds. Their unique physiology and life in the wild tend to make them appear toned while maintaining the natural allure of all nymphs.
- Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
- Typically, dryads follow the colouration of their paternal race, though their skin and hair are always tinted. The specific colour varies, depending on the local vegetation and the season. Some have patterns on their skin but there does not seem to be a specific trigger that causes them to form.
- Related Myths
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