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On the nature of Dryads


Agentorange

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Over in the Gloranthan animals thread I said something about what kind of aldryami you might get in swamps, would they be different to your average deciduous or coniferous  forest aldryami.

That got me thinking about the nature of Dryads and I wondered would the kind of tree or grove a Dryad was associated with  influence what kind of Dryad they were. I don't just mean on an individual personality level but at a species level. Would Bristlecone Pine and Giant Redwood Dryads be a bit like Ents ? tending to take the long view of things and really  not being too " hasty " when dealing with stuff. Would the dryad of a Apple grove perhaps have a higher fertility % ( pretty high already ! ) due to all that fruting and flowering going on. Would a Swamp Cypress dryad perhaps have a water rune affinity/% ? After all if you live in the environment below water is an integral part of your nature and surroundings. Would Dryads from different trees actually have different Stats ? It's just that we get lots of different kinds of Trolls, there have been Broo varieties, there's different kinds of Horses and so on. yet despite the huge variety of trees Dryads are cookie cutter identical......

cypresses-swamp.jpg

Edited by Agentorange
typos, missing words
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1 hour ago, Agentorange said:

That got me thinking about the nature of Dryads and I wondered would the kind of tree or grove a Dryad was associated with  influence what kind of Dryad they were.

I definitely run it like that. The PCs have so far run into one very friendly appletree dryad, and one intimidating rose hedge dryad with thorns for teeth.

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I like the idea.  Certainly dryads should have individuality, because they are the dominant NPCs of their Grove or their part of a forest.  There is plenty of room to expand on dryads just as there is room to expand on elves / Aldryami.  (Pending an Elfpack.)

So, following your lead: A redwood dryad would have an impressive SIZ and CON, and a very long term view?

A cypress dryad would have a water rune affinity, a high CON, and control animals like alligators, fish, frogs?  

A fig tree dryad, now?  Will dryads of  cultivated trees be friendlier to humans? 

Shall we postulate that all cultivated trees originally came from Aldryami, as some kind of gift or trade item?

Or perhaps a symbiosis, in which an orchard keeper prepares the Earth and takes the role that elves do in the wild woods, and  should perhaps contract with elves for the development of a fruit tree dryad?  Should orchard keepars try to join the cult of Aldrya?  This opens an avenue for human NPC development.

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52 minutes ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

I like the idea.  Certainly dryads should have individuality, because they are the dominant NPCs of their Grove or their part of a forest.  There is plenty of room to expand on dryads just as there is room to expand on elves / Aldryami.  (Pending an Elfpack.)

So, following your lead: A redwood dryad would have an impressive SIZ and CON, and a very long term view?

A cypress dryad would have a water rune affinity, a high CON, and control animals like alligators, fish, frogs?  

A fig tree dryad, now?  Will dryads of  cultivated trees be friendlier to humans? 

Shall we postulate that all cultivated trees originally came from Aldryami, as some kind of gift or trade item?

Or perhaps a symbiosis, in which an orchard keeper prepares the Earth and takes the role that elves do in the wild woods, and  should perhaps contract with elves for the development of a fruit tree dryad?  Should orchard keepars try to join the cult of Aldrya?  This opens an avenue for human NPC development.

Exactly the sort of thing i was thinking of.  I think there's a lot of wriggle room in there for local flavour and feel. I also feel there could be all sorts of local spirit/nature cults in there as well. With Rune or spirit magics, maybe just skills or useful knowledge to share. I've had oak spirits provide the secret of making oak bark armour....and others do nothing but provide the knowledge of how to make acorn flour ( a real life thing ).

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8 hours ago, Agentorange said:

Would Bristlecone Pine and Giant Redwood Dryads be a bit like Ents ?

In our Holiday Dorastor series we went with the idea that Redwoods do not develop Dryads, but are themselves sentient with abilities and there are Hero Quests that depending how things go could go either way.

image.png.d111cee0a7864d7dee6d5d3aa2015a87.png

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6 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Or perhaps a symbiosis, in which an orchard keeper prepares the Earth and takes the role that elves do in the wild woods, and  should perhaps contract with elves for the development of a fruit tree dryad?  Should orchard keepars try to join the cult of Aldrya?  This opens an avenue for human NPC development.

We know that the Unity Council awoke dryads, and I think it could be reasonable to think that they did it for rational reasons, like being mistress of a grove or orchard (that's how I picture the Appletree Dryad mentioned above).

Edited by Akhôrahil
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My ownl take on dryads is that they do not develop naturally, but are an effect and benefit of Aldrya's cult. Elves and dryads of course try to spread dryads as much as they can while being in viable locations, and many humans do so too because it will improve and protect the crops in orchards and even well tended timber woods.

That allows me to ignore dryads in areas without Aldrya's cult presence, and make them plentiful in others, which would not be possible if they just represent a certain ratio of trees or other plants.

In a mangrove forest, if there are no elves around nor any earth cult nearby, I might have naiads in the underwater root systems rather than dryads. 

Part of my humanist / sentienist agenda. Magic was initially intrinsic to the world, but after Time magic is linked to sentiency. Annihilate Aldrya's cult and in a few centuries no dryads will remain, unless you recover its secrets.

Human awakened dryads will tend to be in cultivated trees and if treated with respect will be human friendly. Elf awakened dryads in an elf forest will gravitate to positions of power and control, and isolated dryads may turn in different ways, from bitter and murderous to lonely and longing for contact. 

That allows the Lunar Empire or some Malkioni to raze the elven forests, tame or purge any dryads left and still have trees and wood exploitation without much concern about plant reprisal, at least till the elves launch their Hero Wars surprise.

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17 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

I like the idea.  Certainly dryads should have individuality, because they are the dominant NPCs of their Grove or their part of a forest.  There is plenty of room to expand on dryads just as there is room to expand on elves / Aldryami.  (Pending an Elfpack.)

So, following your lead: A redwood dryad would have an impressive SIZ and CON, and a very long term view?

A cypress dryad would have a water rune affinity, a high CON, and control animals like alligators, fish, frogs?  

A fig tree dryad, now?  Will dryads of  cultivated trees be friendlier to humans? 

Shall we postulate that all cultivated trees originally came from Aldryami, as some kind of gift or trade item?

Or perhaps a symbiosis, in which an orchard keeper prepares the Earth and takes the role that elves do in the wild woods, and  should perhaps contract with elves for the development of a fruit tree dryad?  Should orchard keepars try to join the cult of Aldrya?  This opens an avenue for human NPC development.

I would strongly suggest that Dryads are nymphs of pristine woodlands, all but living embodiments of Aldrya herself, and the idea that domesticated fruit trees would produce dryads is against the very wildness and freedom which is required for nymphae to exist.  I would go so far as to suggest that the reason some trees can be cultivated is because they have been subjugated by humans and had their connection to Aldrya severed.  It seems to follow that at some stage in the past, humans would have hero quested to conquer various fruit trees so they would give up their secrets and could be cultivated.

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45 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I would strongly suggest that Dryads are nymphs of pristine woodlands, all but living embodiments of Aldrya herself, and the idea that domesticated fruit trees would produce dryads is against the very wildness and freedom which is required for nymphae to exist.  I would go so far as to suggest that the reason some trees can be cultivated is because they have been subjugated by humans and had their connection to Aldrya severed.  It seems to follow that at some stage in the past, humans would have hero quested to conquer various fruit trees so they would give up their secrets and could be cultivated.

This is true more broadly beyond Aldrya as the plant goddess, and of all those who domesticate plant life. I'm hopeful that the forthcoming Elfpack can shed some light on the relationship between the Aldryami and the Grain Goddesses, for example.

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The Silver best-selling The Children of Hykim offers over 150 pages on Glorantha's shape-changing totemic animal people, the Hsunchen. "Magisterial ... highly recommended" - Nick Brooke. "An amazing labor of love" - Evan Franke, Exploring Glorantha. "A deep dive" - Joerg Baumgartner. "Excellent sourcebook, well-written and well-researched" - Niall Sullivan.

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14 minutes ago, Brian Duguid said:

This is true more broadly beyond Aldrya as the plant goddess, and of all those who domesticate plant life. I'm hopeful that the forthcoming Elfpack can shed some light on the relationship between the Aldryami and the Grain Goddesses, for example.

That sounds really interesting. Elf pack is one of the things I'm most looking forward to, along with Prax pack. I've always wondered about the whole Aldrya/grain goddess relationship. After all grains and grasses are a form of plant just as trees are.

My own approach is that Dryads can arise naturally and be awoken. the  precise mechanism for both is currently lodged in the Miffical Hand Wavium file in my head 😊

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On 9/13/2022 at 8:05 AM, Agentorange said:

Over in the Gloranthan animals thread I said something about what kind of aldryami you might get in swamps, would they be different to your average deciduous or coniferous  forest aldryami.

Hags are dryads of swamps and marshes and other dank dark places that we consider "nasty". It's a terrible prejudice, just because we don't like a particular type of nature we think of it as bad.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

Hags are dryads of swamps and marshes and other dank dark places that we consider "nasty". It's a terrible prejudice, just because we don't like a particular type of nature we think of it as bad.

Not quite correct. Hags are nymphs of such places, but have nothing to do with trees. They are comparable to Limoniads or Oreads, nymphs of meadows or mountains.

Hags correspond to uz ideals of beauty rather than human or aldryami ones. "Terrible" is not a negative value for uz.

Edited by Joerg
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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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I see nymphs as naturally occurring spirits, unlike my own interpretation of dryads as Aldrya's creations, but I also play that as a spirit they can adapt their appeareance to the expectations of the watcher. However as years pass, there will be one or two forms they adopt preferently and that becomes the default appearance. I am not sure hag-looking nature spirits are necessarily all darkness, or that the ugly ones are dark, as water also has tendency to both beautiful (to humans) and horrid appeareance, and it feels more appropiate an Earth - Water link in a swamp than Darkness. Darkness would be underground (and that brings darkness hags in caves) or areas of permanent shadow.

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1 hour ago, JRE said:

I see nymphs as naturally occurring spirits, unlike my own interpretation of dryads as Aldrya's creations, but I also play that as a spirit they can adapt their appeareance to the expectations of the watcher. However as years pass, there will be one or two forms they adopt preferently and that becomes the default appearance. I am not sure hag-looking nature spirits are necessarily all darkness, or that the ugly ones are dark, as water also has tendency to both beautiful (to humans) and horrid appeareance, and it feels more appropiate an Earth - Water link in a swamp than Darkness. Darkness would be underground (and that brings darkness hags in caves) or areas of permanent shadow.

IMO all nymphs "inherit" from the Tilntae form, the Life (or Love) nymph daughters of Uleria, including the dryads. They don't seem to have their own form rune, although they might deserve one.

Dryads are a special case of nymphs as they are tied to their trees in a narrower and to their groves in a wider sense. A dryad's grove is comparable to a limoniad's meadow or an oread's hilltop, a domain attached to the locale they are in. River and lake nymphs are anchored in the locale and the body of water, with the body of water able to change its bed or even leave it temporarily during greater floods. Nymphs of the open seas exist, too - probably lesser forms of Natea rather than Niiad Triolini, although those share quite a few traits with nymphs, too.

Inora might be the archetype/ancestress of glacial or snow-field nymphs, possibly a Cold adaptation of oreads.

Darkness nymphs may use manifestations of Shadow as their domains. They might be doomed to diurnal phasing since the Dawn, but they would have been quite common before that.

These Cold, Shadow or Darkness nymphs do imply the (previous) existence Fire, Light or Heat nymphs, too, although the Lesser and Greater Darkness may well have caused their extinction, or possibly some bare-bone survival in a few sheltered places. Light without Heat might well have joined Inora. Heat without (much) Light may be the true origin of Caladra, the otherwise unheard-of Volcano Daughter of Lodril/Veskarthan. Firshala from Griffin Mountain might be the closest thing to a Fire Nymph besides Cragspider (an existance that defies taxonomy). There might be star nymphs in the Upper World.

Aldrya is the Great Nymph whose grove contains all forests on land. Possibly also those on/in Fire, of the White Elves on top of the Spike. Is there an equivalent for Murthdrya, though? While kelp may grow to similar heights as jungle trees, it remains a lot more vulnerable than those trees. Another type of underwater dryad-like nymphs might be found in coral reefs.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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36 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Aldrya is the Great Nymph whose grove contains all forests on land. Possibly also those on/in Fire, of the White Elves on top of the Spike. Is there an equivalent for Murthdrya, though? While kelp may grow to similar heights as jungle trees, it remains a lot more vulnerable than those trees. Another type of underwater dryad-like nymphs might be found in coral reefs.

Weirdly enough I was also wondering whether there would be Voralan equivalents to dryads the other day. So far, I think not.

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The Silver best-selling The Children of Hykim offers over 150 pages on Glorantha's shape-changing totemic animal people, the Hsunchen. "Magisterial ... highly recommended" - Nick Brooke. "An amazing labor of love" - Evan Franke, Exploring Glorantha. "A deep dive" - Joerg Baumgartner. "Excellent sourcebook, well-written and well-researched" - Niall Sullivan.

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32 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Why limit it to two of the six elements? Maybe Wind Children are air nymphs. I don't want to meet a moon nymph.

Most of the "land type" nymphs are minor Land Goddesses, with the exceptional major ones thrown in (Kero Fin), thus Earth is sort of the default of a nymph.

Brastalos might be "the" Air nymph.

Moon nymphs are conceivable tied to all that blue moon fallout distributed across the world (Croesium, Blue Moon Plateau, Artmali places). For the Red Moon, Glamour is a Lunar nymph, but I am not sure whether Yara Aranis might qualify as one.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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12 minutes ago, Joerg said:

For the Red Moon, Glamour is a Lunar nymph, but I am not sure whether Yara Aranis might qualify as one.

Our next item in the Holiday Dorastor series deals specifically with Moon Elves. I would be happy to discuss some of the ideas presented there, but not sure if this thread is a right place.

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18 hours ago, Brian Duguid said:

This is true more broadly beyond Aldrya as the plant goddess, and of all those who domesticate plant life. I'm hopeful that the forthcoming Elfpack can shed some light on the relationship between the Aldryami and the Grain Goddesses, for example.

To clarify my position, I think that back in the Green and Golden Ages, Dryads were probably lovely toe everyone and freely provided fruit in reciprocal arrangement to the other peoples of the Lozenge.  I also think that changed with the Lesser and Greater Darkness.  I suspect that the Solar cults can call on their ancient friendship with Aldrya to obtain the benefits of her plants, but Malkioni, Praxians, and Orlanthi and others likely can't imo.  Needless to say I am very interested in Elfpack.  

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16 hours ago, Joerg said:

Not quite correct. Hags are nymphs of such places, but have nothing to do with trees. They are comparable to Limoniads or Oreads, nymphs of meadows or mountains.

Hags correspond to uz ideals of beauty rather than human or aldryami ones. "Terrible" is not a negative value for uz.

Hags are nymphs... I wonder if they degenerate the way they "do" on Earth. If a place succumbs to corruption or extreme degradation, does a Gloranthan Nymph turn into a Hag? Are Chaos corrupted areas full of Hags? 

Or, do they follow a seasonal model, nymph in summer, hag in winter, and in between in spring and fall?

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
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I will expand a bit on my theory of "created " dryads. All IMG, of course.

My own view of Glorantha has the world in a transition from a very high ambient magic environment, the Godtime, to a low magic environment, as the Godtime becomes more and more disconnected from the material world., What was commonplace in the First Age is now the stuff of heroes, and what was daily events in the Godtime, is now rune magic, so you need to connect with that to get those effects.

During the Godtime Nymphs were present all over the place, so each brook, hill or crag had its own spirit of place (locus spirit). The God's War destroyed many of them, but they were still plentiful at the Dawn, as the Silver Age saw some of the lost ones returning or being recreated by the ambient magic. However, now in Time, when such a locus spirit is gone it does not come back naturally, though you may still bring them back through a heroquest to the Godtime, when they were around and there is enough magic to allow them to return.

The dryads are the children of Aldrya and spread with her other children in the Green Age. Though similar to lesser nymphs, they are separate in that they are mortal, tied to their tree, and also are fully linked with their mother, as part of an ecosystem with the other aldryami. So I consider something quite different from the locus spirits. If you manage to move the tree and it survives, the dryad goes with it, so certainly a plant spirit and not a locus one. In Godtime they appeared naturally wherever the trees spread. In the God's War and the Greater Darkness, they survived where they could with the support of the other Aldryami, but many were lost. Where trees returned, so did the dryads.

However during Time the dryads stopped coming naturally, which put a lot of pressure on aldryami, as many of them are dependent on dryads for reproduction. The cult of Aldrya found out they could awaken a tree spirit in a more full way than the already in use war trees and other plant defenders. I expect a one use spell similar to Awaken Beast, Awaken tree. That requires Major temples to Aldrya and of course a POW investment, but it allows a constant growth and if elf population explodes, as happened several times in history, such as in the second Age with the Yellow elves, the dryads follow suit. Also, as the dryad survives as long as her tree survives, many could hide and survive even if most of the forest was gone. Many are now isolated among humans. Thrir reactions will be varied but interesting, specially as the older the dryad, more powerful it will be.

Human Aldrya temples seldom reach Major size, but a dedicated human worshipper may be accepted in an elf temple, and be able to bring a dryad to their trees, and I am sure there are a few Major temples in orchard regions in Esrolia and elsewhere. Human awakened dryads will be the focus of the human Aldrya cult, so they will be well disposed to humans and surely help the orchards and see nothing wrong with humans benefitting from the fruits. 

When I say no dryads or nymphs appear anymore it is of course in wide statistical terms, meaning it is rare. It will be MGF to have a locus spirit or a dryad appear unexpectedly, but that is scenario material, not a normal occurrence.

I agree with the other comments on variety and personalization of dryads, and with dryad appearance linked to the age and health of their tree.

As to from where does the spirit come, it is not one of the Godtime dryads, but the actual awakened spirit of the tree, so no ancient knowledge or insights, just a sentient tree that through the power of Aldrya can separate from the tree and move around.

I suppose this will be all changed when Elfpack comes out, but I am not holding my breath, and I prefer to have an answer now, even if it will have to change in some years.

Edited by JRE
Some errata and clarification
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47 minutes ago, JRE said:

I suppose this will be all changed when Elfpack comes out, but I am not holding my breath, and I prefer to have an answer now, even if it will have to change in some years.

But that's the beauty of the JC and YGMV. if people don't like the official version they can nip off and make their own up.

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