Dryads - revised 12/17/2009

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Dryads - revised 12/17/2009

Post by Majestic_12 on Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:57 am

What are Dryads?

Dryads are tree spirits, creatures with a green soul aura.

Dryads are capable of moving swiftly from tree to tree in any given contiguous section of a forest. They move through the roots and the soil. One moment, you're looking at a simple tree; the next, it has become possessed by a Dryad and some will try to eat you; eating things helps them grow. Dryads are almost like fairies in that they practically waste nothing they eat. Practically, as in undigestible material is secreted as oxygen. Rumor had it for a long time that a Dryad's vitamin-rich sap was a waste product but experiments carried out on poor Dryads by certain evil Siluvaran Mage-Scientists (magicists) showed that this was not the case.

When they abandon the tree, the tree retains whatever physical changes it has gained while possessed. Dryads also like to extend the possessed tree's roots to connect with other trees; Dryad spirits move much faster and more safely through networks of roots than through soil. Dryads don't like to move because if they enter a smaller tree or one that isn't the shape/look they want, they have to slowly reshape themselves and eat to grow, etc. Dryads cannot move if they're uprooted, or if all the soil around their roots is removed; if their connections to other trees are severed, then they can move slowly through the soil.

But even if a Dryad is uprooted, they have one last option.

A Dryad can grow a "familiar" called a Spriggan, a plant-woman that can run somewhat independently of the Dryad that created it. A Spriggan can wander across a desert to another forest, and hug a tree, allowing her master to transfer her spirit into that tree. An uprooted Dryad would simply jump into that tree and abandon her former mortal shell. Possessing another plant, however, takes a moment, and this could leave a Dryad vulnerable to a nuclear weapon or a similarly destructive fairy magic spell, such as one cast by a Nosharti.

Spriggans can potentially jump on starships and find trees on other worlds, allowing their masters to jump worlds. This is commonly accepted as proof that Dryads are in fact spirits, as they have no physical method of bridging the gap between worlds. Dryads are thus a major target of research by human forces, particularly the Sword of Orion and the Cerulean Dawn, in their pursuit of the mastery of Chi.

Spriggans can be quite dangerous to animals, including humans. They can grow in size to giantess level, and swallow many humans all at once. They can't digest anything but they can travel back to their master, who would swallow the Spriggan, trapped prey and all. Spriggans are limited in power by how much magic energy their master can feed into them. A Spriggan can thus be terminated by not feeding any magic into her; she freezes and becomes a simple tree, and can no longer provide a transfer point for the Dryad. The death or suffering of a Spriggan is not transferred to a Dryad if she does not desire; ancient, very powerful Dryads can instantly and arbitrarily filter the sensations felt by one of several of her Spriggans.

The good news is, Dryads are sometimes happy to subsist off of sunlight and water. For every Dryad that habitually eats creatures, there may be another one who wants nothing to do with eating them. Most fall somewhere in between. Dryads are by far the most morally variable of the demi-humans in existence, and are more likely than any other carnivorous species to outgrow this habit. Being nice around a Dryad is by far the easiest way to avoid being eaten or killed. Likewise, a Spriggan under the control of a friendly Dryad will swallow a lumberjack, keep him overnight, and then spit him back out as a way of terrorizing him: few will ever be repeat offenders. Still, lumberjacks are by far the least safest profession in any alien forest, primarily because fairies and Kadruata chase them for food, but then also because any actively carnivorous Dryad will prioritize eating lumberjacks.

Dryads are by far the most stealthy and dangerous predators in the wild; anyone knows to be alert when a fairy is spotted. A Kadruata can be seen or felt coming from a mile away. But one can never know when a grove of trees will come alive and attack out of nowhere. That, and Spriggans can masquerade as a blade of grass, spying on anyone they so please. Dryads can use their iron-tough wood to bash giant nagas to death, or tear them apart with powerful, impossibly thick vines. The only way to attack a Dryad safely, in fact, is from the air.

Spriggans and Dryads, being plant protein-based creatures, can in fact be eaten by any animal life form, including Siluvarans or other exo-symbiotic fairies. Some ancient Dryads have almost the same level of life force as a fairy and are good for recharging a fairy's magic. Spriggans have about the force of a non-sentient animal, which is less than that of a fairy, which is less than that of a human. Spriggans are deadly melee fighters on the ground, since their bodies can turn to solid wood at will. A few of the most powerful Dryads can create Spriggans who can cast spells - one example was Isaya of Ross 154-D, whose Spriggans aided in the extermination of the Silurheans on the planet in 2410 when she revealed they could cast spells.

Dryads can cast runelore and glyphlore spells to learn a sentient creature's language from a long distance, just as quickly as a fairy (unless she does exo-symbiosis). They cannot read minds. The most powerful and skilled Dryads can have multiple Spriggans running around at once, and can control them as easily, or moreso, than limbs. More powerful Dryads can also turn a grove of trees into a mobile army, although they find it more practical to send out a horde of Spriggans if a battle is necessary. These ancient Dryads can cast most spells that fairies can, including size-changing spells, and even greater Dryads can cast these spells through their Spriggans - although no Dryad ever wants too many people knowing that she can cast spells. Dryads who have tapped deeply into their magic abilities will try to hide it as best they can. It brings too many enemies her way, and she likes keeping it as a tool of absolute last resort. Also, fairies can cast any spell a Dryad can, except better and stronger.

Example: The Dryad known as Isaya of Ross-154-D never revealed her magic abilities, not even to her protector Roshana. She only finally used her formidable magic abilities when she was absolutely sure that any Silurheans who saw her magic in action, would not live to tell others: namely, she only used it when the resident Nivalavi, Dalassi and Bollar forces unanimously agreed to protect her from harm in exchange for sending out Spriggan cannon fodder for the war effort.

Killing a Dryad
Using fire against a Dryad might force her to move, but it does not work fast enough to kill; also, stronger Dryads develop fire-resistant wood, and anti molecular friction (freeze) spells are common Dryad skills. If swallowed by a Dryad, the best method of survival is to have a weapon that burns through iron. Dryads are not the most heavily armored things in the universe, but their wood is extremely dense (especially the larger ones who need more density to support their size) and their trunk is incredibly thick. Explosives set off inside a Dryad's belly can blow her open but it might also kill the person trapped inside; meanwhile the Dryad will either heal a major blast hole, or flee to another tree. A fairy can shrink a Dryad and confine her soul in one shrunken tree, and then devour her. But again, she must act quick; a Dryad can relocate, abandoning the tree and leaving a fairy an unfulfilling chunk of wood for a meal. Male fairies are particularly deadly because they can cast anti-magic - killing all of a Dryad's Spriggans outright, and rendering the Dryad completely helpless to being shrunken and eaten. A nuclear or antimatter weapon, orbital mass driver bombardment, or any similarly destructive magic spell, can kill a Dryad outright - by vaporizing the tree or grove that the Dryad's soul inhabits before she can transfer out of harm's way. Naturally of course, such an attack is best carried out without any warning.

Those who theorize that Dryads are in fact transgenics, say that Dryads are the most advanced transgenics of all.


Last edited by Majestic_12 on Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:26 am; edited 3 times in total

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Re: Dryads - revised 12/17/2009

Post by Majestic_12 on Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:42 pm

More information about Dryads.

Dryads derive a great deal of magic energy by sucking up and assimilating the bloodvine and its spores. To a dryad, the bloodvine is quite delicious, and very rich in magic energy. A single Dryad may move across an entire continent, destroying an entire bloodvine network during a brief span of its very long lifetime. Spriggan familiars can see the bloodvine deep under the soil, but are not above burrowing deep into the ground to find it. A planet with dozens of Dryads spread all over, is a sure sign that there is no more bloodvine on that planet.

Unfortunately, quite often, these Dryads are (shrunken and) eaten by carnivorous fairies. Usually Dryads are wiped out to extinction before they can cleanse (eat) all the bloodvine off a planet, but sometimes they're wiped out afterwards. Worlds like Lessaken are examples of the latter.

Sometimes, though, more powerful Dryads make good relations with fairies of blue or red auras by feeding them their familiars. Smart fairies won't eat these Dryads because they keep popping out Spriggans repeatedly, which in large numbers, provide enough magic energy to keep the local populace happy. This may even make Grues leave humans alone!

The Siluvaran Government, naturally, has seen this, and will use any means necessary to prevent Siluvaran citizens from encountering Dryads and their Spriggan familiars and potentially using them as a food source. Thing is, blue-aura exo-symbiotes, especially Siluvarans, do not like to eat Dryads; Spriggans aren't too popular with them either, because... well... they don't need food. Blue-aura fairies use exo-symbiosis to replenish themselves! Still, there are some blues who like to gulp down Spriggans on the down-low; all the fun of eating a plant woman that looks human without the consequences. You will encounter blue-aura fairies like this only in the wild. Siluvarans are too morally uptight for that.

Siluvarans, upon discovering (or re-discovering) Dryads, make it a death penalty offense to eat sentient plants, including Dryads. The law is a little gray on Spriggans, but Dryads, being living things with souls, are off-limits. Most Siluvarans don't even know that Dryads exist yet as of 2408 AD, but that is soon to change.


Last edited by Majestic_12 on Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:00 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Continuity fixes!)

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Re: Dryads - revised 12/17/2009

Post by Majestic_12 on Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:28 pm

What is it with the Dryad's diet?

Dryads are a highly variable lot when it comes to what they eat and don't eat.

A Dryad maximizes its growth and magic recharging by eating a living, sentient person - namely, a human or a fairy. But this is overkill for a Dryad. A very large Dryad, typically a tree-woman 500 feet or higher, has enough "energy inputs" through her system of branches and leaves, and her root system, that she can completely fill up her magic energy from zero to max in seconds from the soil, water, sunlight and carbon dioxide around her.

A Dryad is most concerned about keeping her magic energy (mana) maxed out. So, large Dryads tend to be less carnivorous. Very large Dryads (500 feet or larger) can lose interest in it, and may occasionally even become a bit holier than thou toward others in that they like to lecture about the evils of eating live beings.

A Dryad sapling that has grown in rich soil, by a river, under good sunlight, is the most likely to be averse to eating living things, and more likely be judgmental toward others who do. A Dryad sapling that lives in poor growing conditions, well, you can imagine what their mindset is like. A young Dryad's other primary interest is GROWING.

A smaller Dryad in less than optimal conditions, thus, will likely try to feed. Given their size, they'll primarily seize and eat fish, using the calories to make them grow. Calories are what make Dryads grow fastest. Just make a big bowl of heavily caloric veggie oil and put it at her trunk and she'll gulp it down and leave you alone. If you ate that oil you'd grow fat as heck - for a Dryad, though, those calories go right toward helping her grow a thicker trunk and a taller body.

Dryads of any sort will happily devour a dead animal. Calories are calories, after all. Some who have met humans or fairies, will leave those corpses alone, for fear of angering their friends or relatives. But she will gather their decomposing bodies under or around her roots; rotting corpses also provide nutrients for her. Dryads who avoid eating sentients may not avoid eating hostile non-sentient animals in their vicinity. Some are merciful and will crush the animal to death before gulping them down.

You may also encounter two kinds of super massive Dryads... the first would be a tree with a trunk the radius of a hundred yards or wider, reaching miles into the sky. They're rarely interested in eating anything. They don't have room to grow any more. The environment can't normally support them! Not normally, at least. The thing is, super massive Dryads and Ancestral Oaks (sometimes they're one and the same) appear and survive on two conditions: either the soil has been enriched by a large number of dead fairies, or thousands of people or animals have been eating dahlas (more on this food later) and poo'ing them back into the soil. Ancestral Oak trees, which reach miles into the sky and support large cities amidst their branches, are sometimes former huge Dryads who abandoned the tree and moved elsewhere.

The other type of giant Dryad, however, does not choose to become an Ancestral Oak; she will grow outwards, horizontally. If you encounter a grove of trees all connected by branches, it's probably a Dryad, or was a Dryad. These groves can extend for hundreds of miles, and may be an ancient Dryad in the process of making a world comfortable for herself - and, by consequence, habitable for everyone else.

Typically a younger Dryad will be obsessed with growing straight up, becoming an Ancestral Oak. The more ancient ones will see the limitations of this and choose to grow into a well-connected forest.


Last edited by Majestic_12 on Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:43 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Continuity fixes!)

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Re: Dryads - revised 12/17/2009

Post by Majestic_12 on Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:45 pm

How important are Dryads to the universe, anyway?

Dryads are the single most powerful environmental force in the galaxy, capable of revitalizing desert worlds if there is even a single living cactus for a Spriggan to encounter.

To explain the way a Dryad works, there is no differing species of Dryad.. a cactus Dryad is a Dryad that has moved her soul into a cactus and is now adapted to survive in the desert.

A Dryad occupying a cactus in a desert will use the sun to fuel her magic, and will use her magic to fertilize the sands and slowly transmute it into fertile soil. She may even kill hostile or annoying creatures - including humans - eating some, while leaving others to decompose, helping her with her work. Most of her magic, though, would be devoted to acquiring more water. This includes altering weather patterns in hopes of generating rain - or, if there's not enough moisture for this, alchemizing sand into water, which costs much more energy and may leave her temporarily depleted and vulnerable. A Dryad's primary goal in a desert is to acquire magic energy or water. Then she wants to develop a rich soil so she can grow. Then she wants to grow so she can get more magic from photosynthesis. And so on.

Suffice it to say that Dryads in the desert are statistically a bigger threat with regards to eating living things. She would be interested in digesting them alive to turn them into strong infusions of magic energy, so she can transmute sand into water.

If you encounter a hungry desert/cactus Dryad, offer or promise her water. Lots of water. She'll let you go on the off chance that you might bring her more water! But if you come back, you better have some water; she'll remember you.

In any case, a Dryad's desire to grow and thrive, has a direct impact on any world on which she settles. Given time and resources, she will convert anything in her vicinity into fertile soil. These studies haven't even gotten into the whole issue of her providing for her seedlings and saplings, some of whom also become Dryads; this contributes to a rapid growth of forest land even on burned out battlefield worlds... so long as there's even one surviving tree for the first Dryad to inhabit.

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Re: Dryads - revised 12/17/2009

Post by Imrhys on Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:52 pm

Have to say, I like your views on Dryads. Not fond of a spirit being being able to span the stars, but that is a personal bias of mixing fantasy w/ sci fi.

Their capacity to revitalize even dead worlds if they can find one scrap of life to cling to there, truly makes them Gaia's "helpers". And gives the universe hope against the warmongering devastation of races like... humans.

Have you ever thought about human terraformers teaming up with Dryads to rebuild dead worlds or even to help with terraforming utterly lifeless worlds?

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Re: Dryads - revised 12/17/2009

Post by Majestic_12 on Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:22 am

Imrhys wrote:Have to say, I like your views on Dryads. Not fond of a spirit being being able to span the stars, but that is a personal bias of mixing fantasy w/ sci fi.

Their capacity to revitalize even dead worlds if they can find one scrap of life to cling to there, truly makes them Gaia's "helpers". And gives the universe hope against the warmongering devastation of races like... humans.

Have you ever thought about human terraformers teaming up with Dryads to rebuild dead worlds or even to help with terraforming utterly lifeless worlds?
The size of the world a Dryad can "terraform" depends on her size and magic prowess.

It also takes time. Isaya of Ross-154-D could do it but she'd take a very long time. Only one or two other dryads in the universe are stronger than her and they would take an entire human lifetime to terraform a world.

Oh yeah and humans are far from the only threat to the universe. The Grue Combine will gladly burn a world to cinders to get rid of, say, a Nivalavi infestation.

Humans could work with Dryads. They just need to find a Dryad that won't try to eat them!

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Re: Dryads - revised 12/17/2009

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