Many adventurers are familiar with the common dryad found in temperate forests. At home in the green shade of a summer canopy or among the golden leaves of autumn, typical dryads are often figures of relief to a beleaguered party — though wise heroes remain wary of their charms.

But dryads dwell in other climes as well. Among the roots of warm marshes and swamps, the nature spirits take on a decidedly darker cast. Swamp dryads channel their natural enchantments not to evoke love and companionship but to elicit fear. Their beauty masked by algae and mold, these figures emerge from the water and cast their morbid gaze on trespassers.

Swamp dryads are not evil, however. Most simply cherish their solitude and want to tend to their fetid domain alone, in peace. Lacking their cousins overwhelming charm, swamp dryads must strike deals with the beasts of the swamps — which can sometimes mean leading a group of young adventurers into an ambush of crocodiles.

Swamp Dryad

Medium fey, neutral
Armor Class 11 (16 with barkskin)
Hit Points 22 (5d8)
Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.

STR 10 (+0); DEX 12 (+1); CON 11 (+0); INT 14 (+2); WIS 16 (+3); CHA 18 (+4)

Skills Intimidation +6, Perception +5, Stealth +5
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Elvish, Sylvan
Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Innate Spellcasting. The dryad’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 13, +5 spell attack). The dryad can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At will: druidcraft, poison spray
3/day each: entangle
1/day each: barkskin, charm person, water breathing

Magic Resistance. The dryad has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Speak with Beasts and Plants. The dryad can communicate with beasts and plants as if they shared a language.

Tree Stride. Once on her turn, the dryad can use 10 feet of her movement to step magically into one living tree within her reach and emerge from a second living tree within 60 feet of the first tree, appearing in an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the second tree. Both trees must be Large or bigger.

Actions

Vine Whip. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4+1) slashing damage and the target is knocked prone.

Morbid Gaze. The dryad targets one humanoid or beast that she can see within 30 feet of her. If the target can see the dryad, it must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of the dryad. The effect lasts 24 hours or until the dryad dies, is on a different plane of existence from the target, or ends the effect as a bonus action. If a target’s saving throw is successful, the target is immune to the dryad’s Morbid Gaze for the next 24 hours.

Swamp Dryad; Art by Public Domain