“All things considered, I would say it was the best smelling hill giant I’ve had to kill.”
– Akron Vess, Shatturan mercenary
The forests where dryads make their homes are incredibly enchanted areas teeming with plant and animal life. Although it’s obvious that these verdant realms are special upon entering them, the deeper that adventurers travel into their groves, the more the dryad’s influence on the life around them can be seen. Especially on those creatures that the Grovemother chooses as her guardians.
A Grovemother is the oldest and most powerful dryad in a grove, tasked not only with the protection of her forest but of all of her sisters within it. When a Grovemother feels that her home is threatened, she’ll reach out and ensnare creatures to further defend her domain. These Grovetouched creatures are forever changed, filled with earthen magic and ready to give their lives in service of their dryad masters.
When a creature is chosen by a Grovemother to help protect her domain, the creature is transformed into a Grovetouched. Grovetouched creatures are amalgams of fey magic and living plant material, driven to fiercely defend the woods of their Dryad patrons from outside threats.
Creatures blessed by the Grovemother to shield her children retain their original appearance, but their eyes glow bright green and vines, branches, or flowers erupt from their skin in various places.
A beast, dragon, giant, or humanoid can become a Grovetouched. In addition to its original type, it gains the plant creature type and its alignment becomes neutral if it was evil or unaligned and neutral good otherwise. Change its name to “Grovetouched [Name of Creature]” and make any adjustments to the challenge rating of the templated creature that you feel are necessary.
The Grovetouched creature keeps its original statistics, but changes as follows:
Damage Vulnerabilities necrotic
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened
Senses darkvision 60 ft.
Plant Camouflage. The Grovetouched has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks it makes in any terrain with ample obscuring plant life.
Regeneration. The Grovetouched regains 10 hit points at the start of its turn if it is in contact with the ground. If the Grovetouched takes necrotic damage, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the Grovetouched’s next turn. The Grovetouched dies only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and doesn’t regenerate.
Tree Stride. Once on each of its turns, the Grovetouched can use 10 feet of its movement to step magically into one living tree within 5 feet of it and emerge from a second living tree within 60 feet of it that it can see, appearing in an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the second tree. Both trees must be Large or bigger.
Entangling Aura. Grasping roots and vines sprout in a 15-foot radius centered on the Grovetouched, withering away after 1 minute. For the duration, that area is difficult terrain for non-plant creatures. In addition, each creature of the Grovetouched’s choice in that area when the plants appear must succeed on a Strength saving throw or become restrained. A creature can use its action to make a Strength check, freeing itself or another entangled creature within reach on a success.
Grove Guardian. When a dryad within 10 feet of the Grovetouched takes damage, the Grovetouched can use its reaction to magically take that damage, instead of the dryad taking it. This doesn’t transfer any other effects that might accompany the damage, and this damage can’t be reduced in any way.
Featured Image: Grovetouched Hill Giant by Anderson Maia
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