Dryad: Don’t Mess With Trees (Best of the Bestiary)

Ah, the dryad. A fantasy classic. But if we’ve learned anything in this series, it’s that those aren’t immediately prone to a win. In fact, most creatures like that are sitting near the bottom of the list. Let’s see if this one fares any better.

Travelers wandering the forest might catch brief glimpses of these creatures. A warm laugh hanging in the air. A form darting through the trees. Some might misinterpret them as a threat. Others might pursue them out of pure curiosity, delving deeper into the forest.

Sometimes, powerful fey will bind lesser spirits to the trees, transforming them into dryads. This is often done to punish the fey for falling in love with a mortal, should that love be forbidden. However, simply binding them to the tree doesn’t take their freedom away. A dryad is free to wander the world and will remain young and beautiful in doing so, just so long as the tree is healthy. Should it be harmed, so too is the dryad.

Dryads act as the guardians of their woodland domains, shyly watching those who pass through them from the trees with the aid of other woodland creatures (unicorns, treants, and satyrs, along with some druids). Should they be allured by the beauty of a traveler, they might draw closer to try and charm them.

There is a ton you can do with that! You could create a whole little forest culture for the players to explore out of this lore! And better yet, it offers complete freedom on the player’s part! Do they leave the dryad in peace? Fall for their seductive charms and have to find a way to escape? Aide her against more hostile intruders? The sky is the god damn limit here!

Design wise… meh? It’s alright.

Am I weird for thinking this is kinda hot?

She certainly looks like a forest spirit, what with the golden color scheme and the leaf dress. So it at least gets points for getting the point across. But in terms of originality? It kinda leaves a bit to be desired.

Well, at least she’ll make a good fight. Hopefully.

Not that you would fight her; she’s not really meant to be an evil monster for the party to slay. But whether they provoke her or fight alongside her, she’s prepared.

Defense wise, she’s kind of pathetic. Without barkskin, her AC is pitifully low, and even with it, her HP is just as bad. Sure, she’s resistant to magic! But chopping down this tree spirit really wouldn’t be that hard.

None of her spells are much of a threat, either. Sure, she could restrain you with entangle, shore up her defenses with barkskin, and heal herself a bit with goodberry. But all the other ones are more useful for before a fight than during one. For god’s sake, two of her abilities are talking to plants/animals and moving through trees!

But hey! She can charm you! And then proceed to hit you with a club! So… that’s good, I guess?

Lore wise, this is a very strong entry. However, her design and stats leave much to be desired. All in all, she’s just kind of… meh.

With all that in mind, let’s put the Dryad on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Dragon Turtle
  4. Green Dragons
  5. Red Dragons
  6. Blue Dragons
  7. Black Dragons
  8. White Dragons
  9. Silver Dragons
  10. Couatl
  11. Behir
  12. Aboleth
  13. Bronze Dragons
  14. Brass Dragons
  15. Copper Dragons
  16. Gold Dragons
  17. Chuul
  18. Chimera
  19. Death Knight
  20. Bone Devil
  21. Dracolich
  22. Ankheg
  23. Shadow Demon
  24. Marilith
  25. Drider
  26. Aarackockra
  27. Azer
  28. Demilich
  29. Spectator
  30. Cambion
  31. Animated Armor
  32. Banshee
  33. Basilisk
  34. Yochlol
  35. Bulette
  36. Cloaker
  37. Darkmantle
  38. Doppelganger
  39. Pit Fiend
  40. Erinyes
  41. Chain Devil
  42. Bearded Devil
  43. Barbed Devil
  44. Spined Devil
  45. Ice Devil
  46. Nalfeshnee
  47. Glabrezu
  48. Chasme
  49. Barlgura
  50. Horned Devil
  51. Balor
  52. Shadow Dragon
  53. Vrock
  54. Dretch
  55. Goristro
  56. Hezrou
  57. Manes
  58. Quasit
  59. Dryad <———————-
  60. Planetar
  61. Imp
  62. Displacer Beast
  63. Carrion Crawler
  64. Rug of Smothering
  65. Bugbear Chief
  66. Bugbear
  67. Vine Blight
  68. Twig Blight
  69. Needle Blight
  70. Bullywug
  71. Cockatrice
  72. Lemure
  73. Solar
  74. Deva
  75. Cyclops
  76. Centaur
  77. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  78. Flying Sword
  79. Crawling Claw

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