When Bark Really Is Worse Than Bite

A little while ago, I entered Kobold Quarterly’s King of the Monsters 3 contest. Unfortunately, my entry didn’t make it to the finals. As such, I’ve decided to repost it here so that you can use it in your game. So if you’re looking to present your party with a different kind of dryad, let them have a run-in with the warwood!

This beautiful woman ceases humming as she notices you, a frown crossing her face. Standing up, one dainty hand draws a stick from the bundle slung over her shoulder, holding it as though it were a weapon. The comical sight is interrupted as thick bark suddenly grows over her body like a second skin. The stick in her hand bulges into a stout club as she advances on you.

DRYAD, WARWOOD CR 7

XP 3,200

CN Medium fey

Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +13


DEFENSE


AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+3 Dex, +5 natural)

hp 90 (12d6+48)

Fort +7, Ref +11, Will +10

DR 5/cold iron


OFFENSE


Speed 30 ft.

Melee +1 greatclub +12/+7 (1d10+7)

Ranged +1 shuriken +10/+5 (1d2+5)

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th; concentration +16)

Constant – speak with plants

At will –wood shape (10 lbs. only)

3/day – entangle (DC 15), tree stride


STATISTICS


Str 19, Dex 17, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 18

Base Atk +6; CMB +10; CMD 29

Feats Dazzling Display, Defensive Combat Training, Deadly Aim, Skill Focus (Stealth), Toughness, Weapon Focus (greatclub)

Skills Acrobatics +14, Climb +15, Craft (sculpture) +12, Escape Artist +14, Handle Animal +12, Intimidate +14, Knowledge (nature) +12, Perception +13, Stealth +22, Survival +10; Racial Modifiers +6 Craft (wood)

Languages Common, Sylvan; speak with plants

SQ forest weaponry, timber armor, wild empathy, woodcraft


ECOLOGY


Environment temperate forests

Organization solitary, pair, or grove (3-8)

Treasure none


SPECIAL ABILITIES


Forest Weaponry (Su) As a swift action, a warwood dryad can turn any foliage in her grasp into a weapon. Branches and boughs become a +1 greatclub while leaves, flower petals, and other herbage becomes up to five +1 shuriken. These items revert to their natural state upon leaving the warwood dryad’s grasp (in the case of shuriken, this happens after they are used to attack).

Timber Armor (Su) A warwood dryad may cause a layer of form-fitting wood to grow over herself. This increases her natural armor bonus to +10, but reduces her speed to 20 ft. Removing the timber armor is a move action that causes it to recede.

Wild Empathy (Su) This works like the druid’s wild empathy class feature, except the warwood dryad has a +6 racial bonus on the check. Warwood dryads with druid or ranger levels add this racial modifier to their wild empathy checks.

Woodcraft (Ex) A warwood dryad has a +6 racial bonus to Craft checks involving wood, and is always treated as if she had masterwork artisan’s woodworking tools when making such checks.

HABITAT AND SOCIETY

Zealous defenders of the forests, warwood dryads are the fey answer to those who do not respect the natural world. Possessing the ability to turn innocuous branches and flowers into deadly weapons, they often leave the dead bodies of loggers at the edge of a forest, decorated with the bloody foliage used to kill them as a stern warning to other despoilers. Most communities that dwell near a forest inhabited by warwood dryads usually learn to leave it well enough alone.

Unlike normal dryads, a warwood dryad has no mystic connection to a tree; their connection to nature is internalized. Because of this they are able to roam freely and have much greater martial prowess than their tree-bound cousins, though their mystic abilities are stunted as a result. In contrast to more even-handed warriors of nature, warwood dryads do not respect those who only take from the land in moderation – to them, anyone who kills plants or animals for anything other than food is an enemy.

ECOLOGY

A warwood dryad acts as the protector of her environment, attempting to kill or drive off anything that doesn’t live in harmony with nature. Among those who revere nature, the warwood dryad is a steadfast ally, often serving a role similar to local law enforcement in humanoid settlements. Like their less-aggressive cousins, warwood dryads have a large sexual appetite, often pursuing relationships with satyrs, centaurs, and local druids. The results of these unions are always another warwood dryad.

TACTICS

Warwood dryads prefer to attack lone targets, usually when their prey is most vulnerable. They’ll activate their armor and create weapons before using tree stride to shadow a target. When they decide to strike, they’ll use their entangle spell-like ability before moving in to attack. If taken by surprise, a warwood dryad will always grab the nearest piece of flora and then activate her armor. Following that, she’ll create a weapon and counterattack as best she can. If in imminent danger of death, she’ll attempt to escape via tree stride.

 

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