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Dryad lineage and heritages for the Tales of the Valiant RPG

Dryad lineage and heritages for the Tales of the Valiant RPG

When the Tales of the Valiant Player’s Guide debuts in just a few months, it will contain the classic fantasy people for player characters: elves, dwarves, humans . . . the usual suspects.

This blog series of extra lineages doesn’t appear in the Player’s Guide . . . but if you like these, let us know here and in the Kobold Discord server. There’s potential for them to appear in an official capacity in the future!

In the Monster Vault, dryads have a suite of abilities that make them great monsters. But what if a player wanted to play as one?

Dryads

The lands of the fey, whether they are called the Summerlands, Wall Beyond, the Plane of the Fey, or simply Faerie, are lush with thick, dark forests. Growing in these forests are innumerable heart trees, each of which serves as a dryad’s home and soul. To the casual eye, a heart tree looks like any other tree of its species, but a practiced observer can tell the difference between it and a mundane tree at a glance. Heart trees are slightly smaller than average, and they never show the signs of pest infestation or disease. So long as a heart tree stands, its dryad cannot permanently be stopped by death’s cold embrace.

There are no settlements, as mortals reckon them, in the fey homelands, but the dryads whose trees stand inside the boundaries of a forest consider themselves to be of the same community. They further divide themselves into neighborhoods based on the species of their tree, rather than geographic proximity.

A ternion, formed of the oldest adult, the youngest adult, and the median members of the neighborhood oversee all matters related to their species of dryad. There is little movement of the oldest member of each ternion, but the other two members change often enough to keep the body from becoming stagnant. Each ternion of a forest meets regularly, once every century or two, to discuss matters important to the larger dryad community.

Most dryads spend their immortal existences either alone or with other members of their neighborhood. Dryad adventurers are considered to be thrill seekers and daredevils by their communities, and are urged to go out into the mortal world to vent their exhilaration, lest their emotions infect others. These venturers are keen to move among the shorter-lived races and experience the pace of their lives and the rapid shifts of their emotions.

DRYAD LINEAGE TRAITS

Your dryad character has certain hereditary traits dictated by their lineage.

Age. Dryads age slowly in comparison to many humanoids. They reach adulthood around their hundredth year and live up to 600 years on the Material Plane. On their home plane, dryads are immortal as long as their heart tree stands.

Size. Like the trees they are born from, dryads come in a diverse range of heights and widths, though all are of Medium size. Dryads stand between 5 and 7 feet tall and rarely weigh more than 200 pounds.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Fey Magic. You know the druidcraft cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast your choice of entangle or goodberry once per day as a 1st-circle spell. Once you reach 5th level, you can also cast your choice of barkskin or pass without trace as a 2nd-circle spell. You can choose to use either WIS or CHA as your spellcasting ability. Once you make this choice, it can’t be changed.

Forest Heart. If your heart tree stands in your homeland, you can’t die. If you are killed, your body decomposes into compost and your spirit returns to your tree. You emerge from your tree, fully rested and recovered after 1d20 years. Spells that return you to life, such as resurrection, can cause you to emerge before your recovery time elapses. You can’t be returned to life by the reincarnate spell.

Tree Step. You can use 15 feet of your movement to step into one living tree of at least Large size and materialize into an empty space within 5 feet of a second living tree, of equal or greater size, within 60 feet of the first tree. You can use this feature a number of times per day equal to your PB, recovering expended uses upon finishing a long rest.

Heritages

These heritages are open to characters of any lineage, but dryads founded them and their values lead these communities.

MANGROVE REGENT HERITAGE

Characters of the mangrove regent heritage have been raised among a community of mangrove dryads and carry its values and customs.

When gales and hurricanes rage across the oceans of the fey realms, the neighborhoods of mangrove dryads provide the first line of protection to their communities. The mangroves themselves break the wind, preventing it from roaring through the lands beyond at its full force. The magically inclined among them then use their arcane skills to further blunt and redirect winds, while the more physical members of the community build stormbreaks of felled trees. Between storm seasons, the mangrove dryads prepare for the next one, all the while boasting and betting on how effective their individual works will be at reducing the storm’s sting.

On the Material Plane, mangrove dryad communities continue their efforts to aid others. They gladly provide guides to people seeking to move through their beloved coastal swamps. During the daylight hours, while they work, the mangrove regents are serious about moving their charges safely through the region, and are quick to divert course around quicksand, nesting alligators, and reeking fens. At rest though, their camps are full of laughter and music as they play games and songs to entertain themselves and each other.

Marsh Player. You have proficiency with one musical instrument and one gaming set of your choice.

Swamp Strider. As an action you enable yourself to move across water, mud, and quicksand as though it was solid ground for 1 hour. Once you have used this feature, you must finish a long rest before using it again.

Venom Tolerance. You have resistance to poison damage, and you have advantage on CON saves to avoid being poisoned.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan. You can speak to swamp-dwelling reptiles as though under the effect of speak with animals.

PINE SCION HERITAGE

Pine scion heritage characters carry the best aspects of the dryad communities into the world, at least as they see it. Unlike the snobbish oaks or gossiping teaks, the dour ashes or airy corks, pine scions are easy to understand and get along with.

To their credit, the pine scions’ dryad forebears worked hard to ensure the mortals they travelled among didn’t feel overshadowed. They patiently taught their skills at woodcraft to the younger lineages, and encouraged them to develop at their own pace. In times of want, they instructed pupils how to sustain themselves on the needles, bark, and cones of the pine trees. In times of plenty, they assured them it was acceptable to cut down some of the pines to make homes, furniture, and conveyances.

Pine scions live fully in two worlds. They love to travel the woodlands. They seek to discover what lies beyond the next stand of trees and what mysteries they can discover in each flower-filled glade. They also love the comforts of home. After a long trip, they want to settle in with new and old friends, drink, feast, and tell stories, both of the adventures they’ve had, and of the ones they’re planning for.

Bark Eater. As long as there are pine trees in your environment, you can provide enough food and water to sustain yourself and a number of other Humanoids equal to double your PB.

Scale the Branches. You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed. You can use your bonus action to Dash while climbing, though once you have done so, you must finish a short or long rest to do so again.

Woodcraft. You have proficiency in your choice of the Nature or Survival skill.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan. You can speak to birds as though under the effect of speak with animals.

Looking forward to the Tales of the Valiant RPG? So are we! The Player’s Guide and Monster Vault will be out later this year!
You can get PDF and VTT implementations of the new game at Kobold Con, May 10!
Visit the Kobold Press Discord for more info!

about Kelly Pawlik

Kelly started gaming after her second son was born in 2012. She delights in worldbuilding and prefers campaigns that contain an abundance of intrigue and romance. Kelly co-founded Dire Rugrat Publishing in 2015 and has worked on many projects with Kobold Press. In 2021 she released the first three novellas in her middle-grade science fiction/horror/urban fantasy series, The Olympic Vista Chronicles.

4 thoughts on “Dryad lineage and heritages for the Tales of the Valiant RPG”

  1. ❤️❤️❤️

    This instantly climbed to my top 5 favourite lineages!

    I also love the mechanic where the dryad gets a new body after 1d20 years—really reminds me of the Eldar in the Arda Legendarium.

  2. Craig W Cormier

    This is an interesting lineage. I am wondering though, are PC dryads considered Humanoid since they don’t have the Fey type?

    Their rebirth mechanic is also really cool and flavorful. How quickly do they decompose after death? Can Revivfy or Raise Dead be used on them, or only something more powerful like Ressurection?

    I look forward to seeing what else you all come up with of ToV.

  3. These are fantastic options. Completely different and filled plenty of lore to develop great characters and interesting role playing options.

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