"To make a prairie you need a clover and one bee one clover and a bee and reverie."
Outsiders among outsiders, Dryads occupy a small, forgotten corner of the Dreaming. Living alone or a few together in deep forest groves and other secluded places in nature, they serve as guardians of the dwindling wild areas of the Earth. In Arcadia, Dryads are as joyous as their brethren, but in the physical world the cold truths of pollution, natural disasters, and other calamities have enshrouded their spirits with sadness. Secluded from the rest of changeling society, their numbers continually decrease as more and more dryads succumb to banality as humanity destroys their natural homes.
Seelie and Unseelie dryads alike possess a deep love for their wild freeholds and do not hesitate to defend them. While Seelie dryads prefer idyllic, temperate forests and similar locations as their homes, the Unseelie variety often live in darker settings such as swamps and deserts, tending the strange flora of their surroundings just as the Seelie dryads do. Unseelie dryads are also quicker to attack trespassers and are often more violent in their ways than their Seelie kindred who will often attempt to question trespassers before staging any sort of attack. In their kith seemings, the hair, skin, and even clothing color of dryads varies with the season, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings. The stark beauty of a dryad with red-hued hair and fair, pink skin in the autumn, pale, glowing demeaners in winter, a flowering appearance and personality in spring, their happiest season, and their greening features in the summer give them a varied comeliness that often rivals that of the Sidhe. Despite this, however, they remain different in their ways. While Sidhe always dress and act nobly, dryads often decorate themselves with flowers, leaves, and other elements of the wild, and dryads seldom observe formal etiquette, particularly when arguing passionately in favor of their wild homes. When in court, dryads usually stay together and seldom speak, even to fellow tree spirits.
They have an affinity with the Nature realm.
Appearance and Lifestyles
As discussed, the appearance of dryads varies with the season. They usually wear loose, simple clothing that also varies seasonally to better conceal them from mortal and changeling eyes alike. In their mortal seemings they look to most like vagabonds and hermits, attractive, perhaps, but dirty, and probably not quite sane considering their choice of lifestyle. Dryads usually adorn themselves with a great many natural objects such as flowers, reeds, grasses, pine needles and cones, leaves, and similar things. While in court, their wild ways often disgust other changelings, but usually only the Sidhe find them vulgar, particularly when they leave behind a trail of flower pedals, leaves, and many of the other natural objects they wear. Despite some changelings' objections to their lifestyle, however, they do respect the ideals of the dryads and their convictions in upholding them.
Childling tree spirits are the only dryads who even come close to being as glib as other kith of their seeming. Resembling nothing more than smaller dryads, childlings protect a smaller area and gleefully play in them with others of their kind.
Wilder dryads develop a slight arrogance about their homes, foregoing their playful youths to tend their protected areas as well as they can. Most wilder tree spirits compete with others of their kind in this capacity, but never forget their greater battle with the crushing heel of humanity.
Grump dryads are relatively few in number as many of them, by this point, have grown so saddened and wearied by the world they have chosen to meld with tree permanently and live as inanimae. The few that do remain active in the world serve as leaders and arbitrators for other dryads when their wisdom is sought. Grumps also show their age as an ancient tree shows its, with scars and wrinkles and withered features. Many of their adornments at this point in their life are also wilting and lifeless.
Dryads prefer to be secluded from changeling as well as human society, and even from each other to a degree. Dryads choose to live in the wildest places in nature, guarding over them from the shadows and attacking any who they see as threats to their wild. Dryads must remain in natural surroundings to survive; each day a dryad is away from nature (in a civilized location such as a city) she loses a point of Glamour or gains a point of Banality (this option can be up to the dryad or up to the Storyteller). Dryads often have dealings, to some extent, with Garou (Werewolves).
Birthrights and Frailties
As with any Kith, Dryads have a few traits exclusive to them.
Meld with Trees: On a successful Stamina + Empathy roll, a dryad may meld with a tree. The tree must be at least of middle-age to support the spirt of the dryad and the number of successes indicates how connected the dryad is to the spirit of the tree. A low number of successes represents a limited empathy between tree and dryad while a high number of sucesses represents a deep, soul-link between tree and dryad. How the Storyteller uses these links is up to her (a limited link may allow the dryad to glean bits and pieces of information about the area while a deep link may allow tree and dryad to commune on a complete, personal level).
Natural Survival: Because of their affinity with nature and their constant exposure to it, Dryads are more adept at surviving in any clime in the wild than other changelings. The Storyteller may decide to adjudicate the actual situations, but dryads can survive in the harshest of outdoor locales for years at a time (or lifetimes at a time) and the elements should effect them in only the most severe of circumstances. Note that their ability to survive does not extend to unnatural locations such as cities, which often prove to be their bane.
Changeling Alienation: Being separated from changeling society as they are, Dryads find it difficult to associate with others of their kind. Other changelings often avoid, shun, or even (in the case of Unseelie) persecute Dryads for their seperatist, primitive ways. Unseelie Dryads themselves find it particular difficult to relate with other Kithain. With no one to depend on but themselves, including other beings of the Dreaming, Dryads have a huge setback and thus often form closely-knit groups if they form groups at all, or else live in solitude.
Views on Other Kith
Boggans: Nice little guys, but they should enjoy what there is rather than try to improve it.
Eshu: Their lifestyle and survivability is admirable, as are their tales.
Nockers: They really should stop complaining and start enjoying.
Pooka: Cute little critters, but I wouldn't trust one to save my life.
Redcaps: Vile destroyers, there is no honor in what they do.
Satyrs: These guys enjoy things a little too much.. They need to calm down a little and take things more slowly.
Sluagh: Though we rarely see them, we have much in common.
Trolls: A noble, stalwart folk I'd be glad to host in my glade.