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I'm working on an adventure that involves obtaining the wood from a dryad's tree, and would like to present the dryad as something other than the typical depiction. I have some ideas, but am curious as to whether anyone remembers seeing a dryad that stuck out to them from any system, setting, adventure, or piece of fiction. Bonus points if it comes from appendix N, as the adventure is for DCC RPG.

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Thanks all, that's some good stuff. I also read Algernon Blackwood's short story "The Willows" yesterday and although it doesn't deal with dryads per se, it has some great concepts. I'll probably steal the setting of that story and drop in a dryad based on some of the concepts below. –  Numenetics Jun 24 '11 at 13:57
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I find the best source for finding dark/weird versions of nature spirits is to look to the wiccan community. They often find old stories that date back to the origins of these creatures, where they were often created to scare people into good behavior.

I found a few links you might find helpful:

http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=uspa&c=words&id=13299

A Visual: http://www.coolminiornot.com/191571

And here is a thread all about the new dryad in DnD 4e and different speculations on it's nature. http://www.enworld.org/forum/4e-discussion/212064-dragon-360-art-gallery-dryad.html

The new 4e version of the dryad to me, is not of the "typical depiction" so perhaps that might be good enough.

Wikipedia might also be a good spring board to give you various incarnations of the Dryad so you can pick non-oak tree based drayds and even give it one of the different names from Greek Mythology. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamadryad

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Earthdawn had a unique take on dryad but really I thought it was more taking a name and putting it on something different. Warhammer (Fantasy RolePlay) has a cool dark version as well.

I seem to recall that RA Salvatore's Demon Wars saga had some interesting creatures, but I can not find any reference to the dryads, though I thought they were in there. I am not aware of any sourcebooks around this world.

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Another option is to use another forest spirit, like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leshy

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