18 October 2012
• harrowing +8 (1d6)
MV fly 60
SP fleeting, limited telepathy
A Dryad is the guardian of a forest or grove, an aethereal, feminine embodiment of the life force of the flora. They come into existence when a forest has been used for evil purposes, or when great harm has been done to a forest, spawning in a like way as anti-bodies form in the blood to fight illness. Having no solid physical form, dryads are only visible as fleeting movement in the canopy and branches of a forest.
They move freely under and within the canopy with great speed. They can briefly appear in a semi-corporeal from in front of the trunk of a great tree. However, if two or more observers are positioned around the tree, the dryad will appear to be before the tree for each observer, even if the observers are on opposite sides of the tree.
If men enter a dryad-guarded wood with malice or mischief in their hearts, the dryad can sense this. She will then aim to intercept the intruders and harry them into leaving her woods. Dryads can recall the pain of any who have suffered in their groves, and can call the echo of such pain to harrow intruders. The damage thus inflicted comes with the full intensity of the original pain, and causes hit point damage. This damage is negated as soon as the target leaves the dryad's woods. Thus, the dryad may cause someone to feel the fear and pain of a person abducted into the woods and beaten savagely a year earlier, or the pain of someone trapped in the woods by fire a century ago; the powerful memories so inflicted cause hit point loss, until such time as the target leaves the woods whereupon the memories lessen as memories do, and the hit points are restored. Any being reduced to zero hit points will enter a coma, not awakening until the dryad allows them, or until they have been removed from the woodlands.
Targeting a dryad with arrow, stone or spell is no easy feat. Restless, furtive creatures, each round anyone trying to attack a dryad, or even someone merely attempting to speak to one, will have to make an ability check to find the dryad, either Intelligence-based, Luck-based, or as adjudicated otherwise by the GM to fit the specific situation.
The wood of trees, even fallen trees, from within a dryad's protection can be used for special purposes by those who know how to unlock their unique properties. A dryad may make a bargain with collectors seeking such samples; she may allow the taking of such things, if the collector promises to right a wrong previously inflicted in her grove. Being far from human, the only way the dryad has to help a collector do such a thing is to use her harrowing power to bring the memories to the collector, painful though they will be... And she can only hope that the collector may glean enough clues from such memories to champion the subject of the wrongdoing....
It is not unheard of that a particularly hallowed grove or ancient forest might have multiple dryads guarding it.