Libris Monstrum #4: Dryads of the World
Let’s go with something a little simple for this entry of the Libris Monstrum. Dryads are creatures that assume something very specific: trees. That’s not even very accurate since these trees a very basic and generic, but there are so many type of trees and other plants in the world. What kind of dryads live in those areas??
One of the most obvious forms that a dryad might take is that of a cactus. Out in some deserts are few trees and small, rough plants. Here the landscape is dotted with large, water-filled cacti. This is definitely much more of a reskin than anything else, but we definitely can tweak it a little more. Simplest thing that needs to be done is change the attack to be a spiked club that deals piercing damage. I mean, it only makes sense for a cactus. The other thing would be to make mirages. While these are more commonly associated with vast sand-filled deserts it is the heat that does it, so any desert has the potential to have them. So we will go ahead and add some illusory magic to cacti dryads.
This time I don’t want to move away from tree but talk about a special kind of tree. Things like cedars and mangrove trees. These plants are interesting in their locality within a wetland. Cedar swamps are full of water, moss, and tall evergreens. Mangrove woods have strange trees coming up out of the shore water on lattices of roots. I want to take these dryads and give them more ability with relation to water. This is going to be largely based within the spells they get to allow for things like water walking and manipulation.
Guardians of Great Reefs
Finally let’s dive into the water and completely away from plants. Dryads are fey creatures and there is no real need to maintain the link to plant species. Instead we can take the coral of massive reef communities and give them dryads. These will be the most different, with interesting capabilities related to living underwater and being among colorful and dangerous creatures. Giving them a reaction related to fire coral is something we can use to set them apart, but a couple spells that overlap with the mangrove dryads will help too.
Are there any other dryads we might make? Any places that could use the equivalent to the fey grove guardian? Perhaps we could even look into planar versions in the future where the dryads exist where the Feywild overlaps with crystalline trees of the earth plane or the dark hangman’s trees of the Shadowfell. The nice thing is dryads are recognizable to most by concept but these tweaks have the potential to surprise veteran D&D players!