Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Askafroa, The Ash Dryads

Halloween is over. The elections are done.  I have cleaned up all the garden plants and set the clocks back. When I drive home from work and the weatherman is saying the "s-word" on TV.

Time to get back to my oft-neglected Winter Witch book.
Thought I would start the ball rolling here (though I have been working on it for a while) with a creature that almost went into the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box.

"The Dryad" by Henry John Stock
Askafroa (Ash Dryad)
Hit Die: 4
AC: 5 [14] (natural armor)
Attack: 1 claw (long nails) (1d6)
Move: 12
Save: 13
Alignment: Neutral
CL/XP: 5/240
Special: Charm person (-2 save), use witch spells*

The Askafroa, also know as an Ash Wife, is the spirit of an ash tree much in the same way a Dryad is the spirit of an oak.  There is a rumor that these creatures were made by the gods themselves to protect the sacred ash trees.
Askafroa appear to be slightly smaller elvish humanoids.  Their dark hair is intertwined with ash leaves and twigs but otherwise, they seem to be mortal.   They are faerie and thus beautiful to behold, with long brown or black hair and piercing green eyes. Some though have been reported to grow hideous in countenance when their ash trees are threatened. This gives them their other name, Ash Hags.
Askafroa do not attack unless their ash trees are threatened, then they can attack with their wooden nails which act like claws.  They can also cast spells as a 4th level Winter Witch.  Askafroa are very liberal in what they determine is a threat.  Walking into their forest with an axe or even a torch might be considered a threat.
If a human or elf makes an appeasement and the proper sacrifices in front of an ash tree then the Askafroa can be made more friendly and even talkative to the human or elf.  Other races they do not trust or are unaware of.
Like her dryad cousins, the Askafroa is bound to an ash tree. If she strays too far from the tree (more than a day's walk) she will begin to weaken losing 1d6 hp per day.  If her tree is cut down or burned she will die.


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