Tartarus: Wrath of the Titans
I approached the pool with jar in hand, for my horse was too lame to walk. Soon the sunlight through the forest canopy flickered in all colors as a rainbow. From the trees rained a dancing shower of gold and red leaves. It was to my amazement that I realized these leaves were yet alive. Each had a face, little more than blackened eyes set upon small orbs. They fey creatures twisted and twirled as they covered my aged steed. It looked like a funerary mound, covered in leaves and flowers. I soon realized it was. My horse breathed its last, and the forest spirits once more ascended to the canopy.
By then I had thought myself alone. Yet a song, previously unheard, softly faded. It came from a woman pressed against the trunk of a tree. She had eyes green as earth and hair that looked of it. She smiled as she vanished into the forest. She had watched as the animal’s spirit returned to paradise, and with that, her task was complete. — Myrrine of Athens
Dryads are elemental beings of otherworldly grace, living in the world but not entirely part of it. They live in natural abodes of surreal beauty, in the midst of ancient forests or by ponds glittering with spiritual lights, where soft music drifts through the air and gentle fragrances waft on the breeze. Dryads love nature and magic, art and music, and are instilled with an insatiable curiosity. As truly innocent spirits they detest violence and are horrified by any encounter they may have with it.
TREES AND LEAVES
With their unearthly delicacy and fine features, Dryads appear hauntingly beautiful to Humans and members of many other races. They appear in two general forms – the human-like Nymphs and blossom-like Sylphs. Nymphs are slightly shorter than humans on average, ranging from will under 5 feet tall to just over 6 feet. They are more slender than humans, weighing only 100 to 145 pounds. Sylphs are tiny creatures, averaging around a foot tall and weighing twenty pounds.
Dryad coloration typically reflects their inherent elemental heritage. A Fire Nymph might have golden skin and red hair, while Earth Sylphs often look like blossoming leaves. Some Nymphs, however, look so much like Humans in hair and skin tone they have been mistaken for one.
Dryads are immortal creatures, and most have been alive since before recorded history. They do not age, and so often seem aloof and thoroughly uninterested in material issues of politics or wealth. Their greatest is known as Lypaios, or the Great Sadness. Those Dryads who suffer great trauma or depression simply fade away, their bodies scattered to the winds. Dryads have sometimes chosen this fate willingly, when they have grown weary of living, but others have had Lypaios trust on them. For this reason many elder Dryads forbid their curious young progeny from interacting with humans – who they believe bring nothing but death and pain – or all outside races entirely.
Most Dryads dwell in small villages hidden within natural alcoves reflecting their elements. A Fire village might be centered in a dormant volcano, wile a Water village could be nestled deep inside a cave by the sea. Vegetarian by nature, Dryads spend much of their time gathering food, growing vegetables and singing songs. Their skill and magic allow them to support themselves without the need for clearing and plowing land. Most magical Dryads derive their power from nature, but a few become oracles or clergy.
THE GREAT BEYOND
The few Dryads found outside their domains take to adventuring out of curiosity and wanderlust. Some get bored of their lives and seek the companionship of other races. Some may be following an ominous sign, aiding the innocent they encounter against oppression or using their powers to defeat an encroaching evil.
The Dryad language is purely musical, with no actual words. As such, they have no native names. However, those who learn the languages of others – Hellenic, primarily – soon adopt a name that reflects their personality or abilities. Often this takes the form of a color or descriptive term followed by a meaningful object.
- Dryad Names: Ashen-Berry, Autumn-Leaf, Black-Horn, Buried-Shell, Cold-Flower, Fire-Stone, Flower-Eyes, Green-Seed, Holy-Song, Idle-Wing, Jasper-Eye, Keeps-Eggs, Lavender-Breath, Melody-Seeker, Never-Sleep, Obsidian-Hand, Peace-Talk, Red-Hair, Seaside-Mountain, Silent-Tree, Turning-Wind, Turtle-Friend, Under-Root, Venom-Water
Your Dryad character has a variety of abilities in common with all other Dryads.
Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma Score increases by 2.
Age. Dryads are immortal and created magically, sprouting fully-grown from large flowers in sacred rituals. As such they can be anywhere from several days to centuries old. The eldest Dryads have not kept track of their exact ages, but can recall well over 4,000 years of history.
Alignment. Only Good Dryads have ever been encountered or recollected. A few tales of corrupted Dryads have circulated, but even Dryads themselves consider them mere myths. Dryads most often embody the gentler aspects of chaos as well, being purely ignorant to the laws and customs of other race.
Darkvision. Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of as if it was bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.
Elemental Heritage. You have an innate connection to a specific element. Choose one type of element from the following list: Earth (Acid), Water (Cold), Fire, Air (Lightning). You have an advantage on any saves to resist spells of this type, and impose a disadvantage on enemy saves to resist spells you cast of this type.
Trance. Dryads don’t need to sleep. Instead, they meditate deeply, remaining semiconscious, for 4 hours a day. While meditating, you can dream after a fashion; such dreams are often mental or spiritual exercises. After resting in this way, you can the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep.
Languages. You can speak, read and write Hellenic and Dryad, though the latter has no written form. Because the Dryad language is purely musical, Dryads tend to have a smooth and melodic way of talking, almost as if singing. It is is also possible to “speak” Dryad using musical instruments, making discreet communication quite viable even in public situations.
Subrace. Dryads come in two distinct and physically contrasting varieties: Nymphs and Sylphs. Choose one of these subraces.
As a Nymph, you have an alluring look and irresistible voice. Also known as Naiads, Nymphs are humanoid nature spirits and the most common subrace encountered by outsiders. Their appearance most often reflects their elemental heritage. Air Nymphs have pale blue or white skin with silver or white hair. Earth Nymphs have green or brown skin with hair like green moss or autumn leaves. Fire nymphs have skin ranging from gold to deep red, with hair that looks to be made of fire. Water Nymphs have blue or aqua green skin, with blue or white hair that looks to be constantly flowing. A few Nymphs show none of these extreme features and appear human to the casual observer – though they still have minor tells such as radiant eyes.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Size. Nymphs range from under 5 feet to just over 6 feet tall and have slender builds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Cantrip. You know one of the following sorcerer cantrips, based on your Elemental Heritage: shocking grasp (Air), acid splash (Earth), fire bolt (Fire), ray of frost (Water).
Silver Tongue. You are proficient in Persuasion, and have an advantage on Persuasion checks when out of combat.
As a Sylph, you are a diminutive nature spirit imbued with healing magic. Sylphs are plant-like beings that are small in size but big in heart. They have no gender, and are only arbitrarily referred to as “he” or “she.” Sylphs looks much like flower blossoms, with minute limbs and bulbous heads – which are dominated by large eyes. Like Nymphs, Sylph colors reflect their elemental heritage. Their coloration tends to be simpler, appearing as either white, green, red or blue accordingly. Sylphs can speak, but their voices tend to be rather high-pitched, making them difficult to understand if they talk too fast.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
Size. Sylphs average around 1 foot tall and weigh in about 20 pounds. Your size is Tiny.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 10 feet. Your base flying speed is 40 feet.
Elemental Resistance. You gain resistance to the energy type associated with your Elemental Heritage.
Healing Magic. You know the spare the dying cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the cure wounds spell once per day. When you reach 5th level, you can also cast the prayer of healing spell once per day. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.