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Dryads density in Aldryami forests


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Just wondering how common/rare are the dryads in Aldryami forests.

I took an example : Vralos : more or less 500 km by 700km, therefore 350.000 square kilometers. Population 730.000 (From the Guide). Therefore we have a aldryami density (Brown and green elves, not the others) or roughly 2 elves per square kilometers (as low as mongolia or Western Sahara).

We know that elves have a tendency to gather in clans/groups.

Has each group at least 1 dryad? If a group/clan is around 100 elves, and there is one dryad, then it means that in Vralos, there is 7300 dryads, with a density of 1 every 50 square kilometers.

 

Just to have an idea of how frequent they are.

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3 hours ago, Manu said:

Just to have an idea of how frequent they are.

Love it. For MGF I'd consider staging them at least a few days travel apart on average to make each one feel more like a passage into a separate ecosystem even for elves in their own forests. This gives each of the girls space and encourages the clumping patterns you point out. 

Let's run some tests. Say an elf on the go needs to run a wild and happy day from grove to grove when it's Awakening season. If we treat native forest as trade road for their purposes, those dryads might be 30 km apart for an average territory of 700 km2 . . . more like 500 groves in Vralos and each would function as a living great temple to Aldrya with maybe 1,500 full elves (again on average) under her shade.  Naturally they aren't all frolicking right there 24/7 so it doesn't get crowded. They have things to do. But when there's trouble and/or a festival things get ugly for intruders fast.

Maybe you want smaller clumps more closely spaced. That's great too. At 50 km2 the girls are maybe 4-5 km apart, call it one in every AAA hex on average. We can do that. It's up to you. If you want a little drama between them, slow the runners down. This won't keep lucas virae from using spells to know what's going on in neighboring groves, but maybe you like that spooky hivemind vibe. YGWV.

Some people like dryads to be awesome campaign-culminating events, "hero-level heavies." In that scenario, I would just park one on each of the Plant Runes in AAA and the Guide, so that's 11 mature groves in Vralos. Is that too thin a distribution? On the one hand, you get maximum drama when you meet one. (I have not personally encountered many.) On the other, if you need to run a week to kiss the dryad and pass the Awakening baton, it's going to slow the spring down a lot before everybody gets the good news. Maybe they have special magic to motivate you in that season.

 

Edited by scott-martin
better math
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I tend to use Shannon Appelcline's work, although Second Age, you can ignore most of that and look at the structures:

"The standard Aldryami community grouping is the ‘grove’. They are universally small, never numbering more than a hundred of so Aldryami. Thus they are similar to our own villages."

So what you say makes sense to me

 

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Is it fair to equate a dryad with a village ancestral spirit, or a clan wyter?  Realising that they have their own physicality that exists separate from worship and/or propitiation (or do they?), they're still residing somewhere near the axis mundi of Aldryami communities.

!i!

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Dryad density is actually tied to the elf type. Green elves come in about the same numbers as male or female, and "never" mate or procreate with dryads. There will still be dryads in pure green elf environments, but they don't play much of a role in elf reproduction.

Yellow elves are the other extreme - they are a males only species, entirely reliant on Olarian dryads for procreation. Even if several elves serve a single dryad as pollinators, the elf to dryad ratio should be a lot higher than in Green Elf forests.

Brown elves are the weirdest type of regular elves. Their males procreate with both the females of their kind (which should come in nearly equal numbers) and with the dryads of their forests, which probably leads to polyamory relationships among their kind. Dryad density should be somewhat higher than in green elf forests, although not quite as high as in yellow elf forests.

(I also wonder when the Brown Elves came into being. If the Death of Yelm stopped aldryami procreation, then there would have been no brown elves at all in the Storm Age as prior to the death of Yelm there was something like eternal summer. That's patently not the case as we have Brown Elf forests awakening shortly after the Dawn, so Brown Elf life must have gone on way beyond the death of Yelm, and their collective hibernation may have started with the death of Flamal instead, quite a bit further into the Gods War.)

The Guide does give us elf populations for the major forests, and we can estimate the forest area by counting the hexes. Calculating the number of dryads now is an exercise of fixing a ratio between male elves and dryads for the respective species.

 

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6 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Some people like dryads to be awesome campaign-culminating events, "hero-level heavies." In that scenario, I would just park one on each of the Plant Runes in AAA and the Guide, so that's 11 mature groves in Vralos. Is that too thin a distribution? On the one hand, you get maximum drama when you meet one. (I have not personally encountered many.) On the other, if you need to run a week to kiss the dryad and pass the Awakening baton, it's going to slow the spring down a lot before everybody gets the good news. Maybe they have special magic to motivate you in that season.

The Jonstown Library example that has been published more than once, including in the Guide, pictures a heavy-duty shaman but not necessarily Hero-level. It probably both makes sense and is conducive to MGF if dryads come in varying power levels.

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50 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

The Jonstown Library example that has been published more than once, including in the Guide, pictures a heavy-duty shaman but not necessarily Hero-level. It probably both makes sense and is conducive to MGF if dryads come in varying power levels.

Yeah. A really in-depth take would look at the various roles lucas virae plays in the larger Great Tree cycle: seedling dryads all the way to mature canopy. In some phases, sisters might grow tightly clustered. ("An Aldryami Shaman's Grove" has at least four tree "nymphs" of different species coexisting in a relatively small but intense bit of woodland.) As they get older, time will naturally space them out. So this part depends on what level of dryad experience we're looking for.

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