View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Ecology of the Silk Grove (new dryad, monstrous giant silkworm, sylvan silk armor)

2016-12-28, 06:19 AM
Ecology of the Silk Grove.

While I envision this encounter as a cottage industry, there are more factors at play. There are many things that could threaten this grove (fire, blight, birds that eat silkworms, mortal interference, etc.) and bring out the worst in the dryads (including their ability to call on red caps). This plays on the intricacies of Seelie and Unseelie courts (both need the sylvan silk) so they aren't always opposed to one another. The grove itself isn't necessarily benign.

I also wanted to add some economic verisimilitude. Sylvan silk armor would be rare and extremely expensive. It is never sold or gifted to non-fey though it may be loaned (sometimes for long terms -- even through several generations). I imagine that the Fey keep meticulous records as to these loans.

Dryad, White Mulberry Tree
Medium Fey
Hit Dice: 4d6 (14 hp)
Initiative: +4
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 17 (+4 Dex, +3 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+2
Attack: Dagger +6 melee (1d4/19-20) or masterwork longbow +7 ranged (1d8/×3)
Full Attack: Dagger +6 melee (1d4/19-20) or masterwork longbow +7 ranged (1d8/×3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Spell-like abilities
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 5/cold iron, tree dependent, wild empathy
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +8, Will +6
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 19, Con 11, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 18
Skills: Escape Artist +9, Handle Animal +11, Hide +11, Knowledge (nature) +11, Listen +7, Move Silently +11, Profession (Weaver) +7, Ride +6, Spot +7, Survival +9, Use Rope +4 (+6 with bindings)
Feats: Great Fortitude, Weapon Finesse
Environment: White Mulberry Tree Groves
Organization: Sewing Circle (3-20)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: Standard (50% sylvan silk cloth and thread)
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: —

A white mulberry dryad’s pale delicate features are much like a female elf’s, though her flesh is like bark or fine wood and her stark white hair is like a canopy of flowers.

Unlike other dryads, white mulberry tree dryads are social, gregarious creatures, living in communal groves for the sericulture at the center of faerie fashion and finery.

White mulberry trees are very hardy. While under a dryad’s care, these trees grow three or four times their normal size. Furthermore, the monstrous giant silkworms that feast on their leaves need not worry about their food supply as the trees are sustained with judicious use of plant growth spells. This ensures a constant supply of white mulberry leaves while maintaining a renewable source of exquisite sylvan silk.

White mulberry tree dryads are far more industrious than other dryads because of their connection to the monstrous giant silkworms and silk moths that depend on the trees for sustenance and survival. However, the dryads are not alone in this endeavor. Treants and brownies help harvest the cocoons when the silk moths emerge. The silk that makes up the cocoons is then dyed and woven by the dryads and other Fey creatures. Even the Unseelie court sends changelings to help with the manual labor. As long as the changelings are not mistreated, the Seelie court turns a blind eye to their use.

As the white mulberry groves are some of the most valuable resources that the fey have, few would openly attack the dryads there. Should the grove be threatened, the dryads can even call on normally evil fey such as red caps. Fey justice sometimes demands swift and lethal measures and the red caps are happy to oblige. Such truces are short lived, the red caps leaving with insult on their lips, but with their dignity intact. The gossipy dryads find humor in the situation rather than take offense.

White mulberry tree dryads speak Common, Elven, and Sylvan.


If threatened, or in need of an ally, a white mulberry dryad can call upon her sisters and other fey creatures as well as using charm person or suggestion against her attackers. Any attack on her tree, however, provokes the dryad into a frenzied defense. Many fey, even those not usually allied with the dryads will come to defend the trees. Woe to anyone who attacks the white mulberry trees.

Spell-Like Abilities: At will—entangle (DC 13), mending, speak with plants, tree shape; 3/day— charm person (DC 13), deep slumber (DC 15), tree stride; 1/day—plant growth, suggestion (DC 15). Caster level 6th. The save DCs are Wisdom-based.

Tree Dependent (Su): Each dryad is mystically bound to a single, white mulberry tree and must never stray more than 300 yards from it. Any who do become ill and die within 4d6 hours. A dryad’s white mulberry tree does not radiate magic.

Wild Empathy (Ex): This power works like the druid’s wild empathy class feature, except that the dryad has a +6 racial bonus on the check.

Monstrous Giant Silkworm
Tiny Vermin
Hit Dice: 1d8 (4 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), climb 20 ft.
Armor Class: 14 (+2 size, +2 Dex), touch 14, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +0/-13
Attack: Bite +4 melee (1d3-5 plus poison)
Full Attack: Bite +4 melee (1d3-5 plus poison)
Space/Reach: 2˝ ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., vermin traits
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +0
Abilities: Str 1, Dex 15, Con 10, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 2
Skills: Climb +10, Hide +18, Spot +4
Feats: Weapon Finesse B
Environment: White Mulberry Tree Groves
Organization: Colony (10-20)
Challenge Rating: 1/8
Treasure: Silk
Advancement: —
Level Adjustment: —

These delicate creatures eat nothing but the leaves of white mulberry trees. Left unchecked, they can destroy whole groves in just a few weeks. Judicious use of plant growth spells ensures the survival of the trees and the silkworms

In 4-6 weeks after birth, the silkworms enclose themselves in cocoons, a single silk thread 6,000 to 8,000 feet long, that provides the silk thread used by many fey creatures for clothing as well as sylvan silk armor. The emerging silkmoth breaks the cocoon and begins to look for a mate. Generally, the males fly to the females to mate. Adult silkmoths only live 2-3 days. Hundreds of eggs are laid and the cycle begins anew.

Broken cocoons are first mended (via a mending spell), so the thread remains whole. The cocoons are then are softened in warm water and unwound. The silk thread is dyed (using natural and magical means) and woven into fabrics. Most fey prefer shiny silk and shun any imperfections. Inferior silk is given as gifts or sold to non-fey (usually at fair market prices for silk items, i.e. 100 gp for clothing). An Appraisal check (DC 15) is needed to determine if the silk is of superior quality or not.

Poison (Ex): Unlike mundane silkworms, monstrous giant silkworms have a poisonous bite that causes 1d2 points of strength damage on initial and secondary damage unless a Fortitude save (DC 10) is made. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Skills: Monstrous giant silkworms have a +4 racial bonus on Spot checks and a +8 racial bonus on Climb and Hide checks. They can use either their Strength or Dexterity modifier for Climb checks, whichever is higher. Monstrous giant silkworms can take 10 on Climb checks, even if threatened or distracted.

Sylvan Silk Armor

Ever wonder where fey creatures get their clothes and armor?

Sylvan Silk is an extremely strong thread that comes from monstrous giant silkworm cocoons. It can be woven into exquisite cloth used to make fey clothing and armor. Although the armor itself is nonmagical, it can only be made by Fey creatures. It is never sold or gifted to non-Fey, though it may be loaned even through generations. Eventually, the loan does come due...

Armor Type: Light
Cost: Never sold or gifted, only loaned to non-Fey (See text above)
Armor/Shield Bonus: 4
Maximum Dex Bonus: 6
Armor Check Penalty: 0
Arcane Spell Failure Chance: 0 %
Speed: 30 feet/30 feet; 20 feet/20 feet (i.e. no change)
Weight: 5 lbs (for Medium sized armor)

2016-12-28, 01:53 PM
This is really cool! The monsters seem just fine balance-wise, and I love seeing new fey creatures. I always thought D&D was lacking them, despite their being a huge part of really any mythology.

I do have a question though, what happens if someone steals fey silk armor and tries to sell it on the black market? I'd imagine it would fetch a high price for its rarity, and would even be useful to evil spellcasters in rituals, since they would be defiling such a pure material.

2016-12-28, 05:44 PM
Well, dealing with the black market is always risky. I imagine ALL fey creatures are aware that any sylvan silk armor on the black market is stolen. It could be that the buyer just is out money when the proper owner finds it. The fey are a capricious lot so a buyer who genuinely didn't know it was stolen could be loaned the armor for a period of time as well. It depends on the owner and the circumstances.

As to the buyers: Paladins might want to atone for accidentally buying stolen good. Rogues probably don't care.

Loaning periods would vary. Long lived fey might loan armor until the buyer's children's children are born and if no offspring for 50 years, whichever comes first. Shorter loans might be a year and a day or 1001 nights. It could be a loaned until some oath is broken. This is armor that comes with a price more than just money. There could be all kinds of sneaky clauses to the loan.

I don't see how using the armor in a ritual would help. It's not necessarily "good". Evil fey wear silk too.

Finding the proper owner of a suit of sylvan silk armor could be a whole quest. You could have several entities who have legitimate claims (several offspring of a fey creature or a spouse) as part of a missing will or other inheritance. You could even have a PC gain a template that changes the PC's Type to Fey during the quest. I hadn't quite figured out what to do about "unclaimed" sylvan silk armor, though the fey courts might have ultimate claim to any such armor. Imagine the punishment meted out if one of the fey tried to gift this to a non-fey (first, it would be a lie since it can't actually be done. The original owner might lose ownership and it would automatically transfer to a successor). While the armor isn't magical, the whole loan could be a magical contract.

Fey bloodlines would allow non-fey to inherit sylvan silk armor. The value of the armor could vary a lot. Silk can be very beautiful so there is a value to that.