The name "Dryad" has existed for a long time. But as beings that prefer to isolate themselves in various forests around the continent of Orelisle, their very existence hasn't been confirmed generally until recently. Most still discern Dryads as a plant monsters, However three things have been universally accepted about Dryads:
- Despite their humanoid appearance, Dryads are completely made of plants.
- Dryads exist in the form of plants with high elemental energy. These are the plants that generally exist all over the world. (i.e. Mushrooms, Bushes, Trees, Flowers, Moss...)
- The meaning of a Dryad's life is to protect the forest. All forests are important, but one's home forest is second in importance only to the original forest.
But there is obviously more to Dryads and Dryad culture than what is commonly known by others.
At the inception of plants and forests, Avani created the Ents in order to protect the forest. However, Ents were not destined to guard the forest alone. Despite their wisdom, Ents were too powerful and too judgmental in order to peacefully coexist with the slowly emerging societies on the continent. Seeing this, Avani stopped the ability of Ents to reproduce and created a second race to be the true guardians of the forest. This race of humanoid plants appeared in all forests at the same time and later became known as the Dryads. To this day, the Ents still resent Dryads for taking their place.
Customs and Religion
There is one overarching Dryad culture, as Dryad culture is based upon their religion.
Life-cycle of a Dryad
A Dryad begins life as a seed, much like any other plant. In order to survive, each seed needs to grow in the conditions required for that particular plant. As the Dryad grows, he looks just like a regular plant, namely because there is very little difference. Biologically, the Dryad is solely a plant at this point, despite the inherent consciousness of a Dryad. One can observe the surrounding world at this point, but cannot express oneself. During this time, typical Dryad parents look after their children. It is a very taxing job, as the child cannot protect himself from any potential dangers and so requires constant supervision. However, this inability is also a fundamental part of Dryad culture. During this period of time, one gets the chance to experience the forest and its nuances. In addition, most Dryad parents take advantage of this time in order to teach their children about Dryad culture, religion and the surrounding world.
After a Dryad finishes germinating as his certain plant, he slowly becomes more humanoid until he physically matures into a Dryad. During this time, he still looks enough like a plant that those who aren't Dryads themselves can't tell the difference between him and a regular adult plant. This part of a Dryad's life is considered the conscious portion, and lasts for about 250 years.
When a Dryad is about 250 years old, or "dies" for any other reason, he resumes the life cycle of his original plant. It is after his death as a plant that a Dryad truly dies.
It is of no surprise that there is more than one type of Dryad, each modeling itself after a common plant. Each kind of Dryad is better at something than the others and therefore fill a niche spot in the Dryad community. They are all different and can deviate from these molds, but their varying kinds of plants do lead to different personality archetypes and customs.
Mushroom Dryads take on the role of cleaning up the forest. The younger generation makes sure that the forest floor is fairly clear, taking the time out to help dead plants and animals decompose in order to help the forest flourish with new life.
The Flower Dryads are the information gatherers and keepers of the forest world. Flowers have the ability to pop up almost anywhere and not be questions by other species, such as Humans and Elves. Due to this, they have taken upon the role of observer, carefully taking down information about the world around them.
Dryad of what are typically known as poisonous plants take on the role of protecting other Dryads. They believe that in order for the forest to run correctly, the Dryads must be there to help it grow and in order for these, normally peaceful, Dryads to survive, they must be protected.
- What does Dryad blood look like?
- Dryads bleed plant blood. What this means is yes, they create their own sauce. Because why else would you ask this question?
- How do Dryads eat?
- They don't eat, they absorb sunlight. Dryads do, however, need more water than most other races.
- What happens when a Dryad drinks ale?
- Dryads can't get drunk. What this means is simple--they can drink but can't get drunk unless it is magically induced.
- Can Dryads reproduce with other races?
- No, they cannot.
- How do Dryads reproduce?
- Dryads are humanoid and therefore have regular humanoid parts. They reproduce with each other in a similar manner to other humanoid races, but they conceive seeds/spores instead of becoming pregnant with a baby. How a seed/spore is created depends on the plant.
- Since many plants die in the winter, do Dryads have a biological weakness to the cold?
- No, although many Dryads either travel south or hibernate in the winter.
- Do Dryads wear clothing?
- Since Dryads are basically humanoid plants, no, they do not wear clothing. They look like their plant counterpart and this can be misconstrewed as clothing, but it actually is not. They can wear clothing if they so choose, but it is fairly unheard of.
The first names of Dryad characters are typically designed like those of the Native American tribes. Such names can be found here. First names are also often repeated among families, since many Dryads tend to die within the first few years of their lives due to the general forces of nature. Otherwise, Dryads do not tend to have middle names, and their last names are typically representative of where they are from. Last names usually go along the lines of "of the ____ Forest".