Simple Monsters Made Interesting: the Dryad
Simple Monsters Made Interesting is a series where we take an underutilized or generic creature and flesh them out into something more than their stat block to give you some inspiration for your games. Today, we’re taking a walk in the woods to find a Dryad.
Shy and reclusive protectors of sacred groves, dryads use their fey powers to aid other sylvan creatures in the defense of their woods. They typically attempt to lure unwanted visitors away from their tree instead of directly confronting them, but can also choose to charm them into their service. Dryads can be used as cunning antagonists or an otherwise more interesting NPC in your campaign, and have more potential than being a simple monster encounter.
Haeva was a strong-willed lesser fey, whose attitudes about how the other fey conducted themselves in the affairs of the mortal realm greatly differed from her superiors. Instead of focusing on their own reclusive realms, Haeva believed that the resources of the fey would better be used proactively to protect what was important from the harsh and destructive mortals. If they could become more organized they may even be able to halt themselves from being drawn into mundane conflicts by amateur conjurers. Haeva believed that they needed to play by the rules of the mortals and they needed to act decisively.
Her outspoken behavior was met with contempt. Eventually, her queen banished her from the feywild and bound her to a young almond tree as a Dryad. Haeva didn’t despair at her new fate, however. She realized that she was finally free to follow her own path and began hatching plans to seize power in the mortal realm. She started to seduce travelers and gathered information about the towns and lands surrounding her tree. Eventually, she found her opportunity in a wealthy merchant with the resources and means for her enterprise.
Using the merchant as a pawn, she arranged to have her tree transported to the grounds of a manor within a nearby city. Her tree was the first of many, as the merchant’s resources were quickly used to found a tree nursery. These young almond trees, the children of her own, grew magically fast and yielded the best tasting almonds in the realm. The merchant’s prestige grew nearly as fast, and it was soon a status symbol for the wealthy and connected of the city to have an almond tree of their own in their gardens. Through these trees, Haeva began to grow her influence and amass wealth and power through an increasing number of enchanted proxies. She searched far and wide for even more Dryads that were sympathetic to her aims and soon, more trees were transported to the city’s nursery: apple, chestnut, and so on.
Havea’s almonds are infused with her magic, a low-level enchantment that to compels the weak-willed to stop the destruction of the forests and to leave the fey to themselves, to not use them as magical pawns or pets. Her ultimate goal is to influence wizards to stop unwilling fey conjuration and to stop painting crosshairs on fey lairs in their search for treasures. It’s a long way to go from here, but she’s practically immortal, so time is on her side.
- The party meets a few seemingly brainwashed people who are harassing woodsmen or destroying other machinery in the name of the forest. They are a mixed bunch of people, from every level of society. After they are subdued, they start to complain about headaches and forget their reasons for becoming hostile.
- An interesting notion is being circulated among wizards: a possible ban on unwilling conjuration of fey. The party is hired by a summoner to figure out who’s behind this, as this would seriously harm the wizard’s goals.
- A well-known innkeeper to the party is acting strange and has been the last person to see several missing people. The innkeeper became enchanted soon after receiving his prized almond tree and has been sending adventurers into dangerous areas with false information.
New Magic Item: Fruit for Thought
The Fruit for Thought contains an especially focused enchantment that creates a compelling thought that the ingester must obey for 2 hours. The character that eats the Fruit for Thought must make a WIS saving throw (DC 12) or be under a suggestion-like effect for the duration.
Creatures that are immune to being charmed gain advantage on the save. If they continue to eat the fruit while under the spell, its effect is prolonged by 2 hours for each additional piece eaten up to a maximum of 8 hours with characters allowed an additional saving throw every hour.
Characters under the effects of this suggestion-like effect will immediately break free of the suggestion if compelled to do something that would cause them direct harm.
New Homebrew Proficiency: Gardener’s Tools
You know how to use spades, hoes, and rakes. You are skilled with secateurs, and the different nutrients needed to make a plant grow. You know how to inoculate fruit trees.
Others say you have a “green thumb”.
New Downtime Actions
Learn Gardener’s Tools Proficiency
You dedicate your time and learn this new tools proficiency.
Category: Learn Proficiency
Costs: 125 days, 125 gp
Rewards: New proficiency: Gardener’s Tools
Work in Haeva’s Tree Nursery
Take care of young saplings, sell trees to orchards and private customers.
Requirements: Gardener’s Tools Proficiency
Costs: 10 days
Rewards: 10 gp
As a volunteer of the Haeva Tree Foundation, plant a dozen trees from the nursery in a city of your choice.
Requirements: Gardener’s Tools Proficiency
Costs: 5 days
Rewards: Note on your character sheet: the Haeve Tree Foundation owes you a small debt.
+ 100-120 XP
Acquire a rare tree for a wealthy landowner
Act as a procurer and dedicate your time to find the most beautiful tree for your customer.
Costs: 20 days
Rewards: Note on your character sheet: a wealthy merchant owes you a debt.
+ 200-240 XP