The Dwarven Treeherd appear to be humanoid trees, though of a strange scale - most stand little over 6’ tall but have the appearance of somewhat stubby trees. They have leaves on their ‘crown’ which also bears large, almost humanlike eyes. A large toothless gash serves as their mouths. They have limbs which are analogous to human arms and hands.
Female treeherds have figures somewhat akin to human women, but like the males are very stocky. The Treeherds tend to resemble mundane tree species and have similar shapes, coloration and foliage.
|Dwarven Treeherd are quite resistent to physical injury and have only one real internal organ, a large brain-like structure which runs vertically in the center of their heartwood. They can sustain significant trauma to most other parts of their being. They do have a blood-like sap which runs faster then most trees. They can bleed from wounds, but not to the degree that animals do. The Treeherds typically live from 400-500 years.|
|Interestingly, unlike full sized treeherds, the Dwarven Treeherds view other trees in the same way many humans view animals - worthy of respect, but expendible.||As plants, the treeherds are affected by local weather. They try and avoid cold weather, walking south or moving to other warmer areas. If the temperature drops below freezing, they become slow and docile and will enter a hibernation like state until the temperature rises. They can survive very deep cold while in this state and even tolerate being frozen solid. There are reports of some groups of Treeherds actually using fire to extend their mobility, again their pragmatism allowing them to use wood for fuel.|
|Some Groves of Dwarven Treeherds have been known to trade for such items as manure and bonemeal.||They draw sustenance and water from their foot-like roots. Small rootlets are retractible and when they ‘take root’, the rootlets extend into the soil. The dwarven Treeherds prefer to travel at night and take ‘root’ during daylight to gather sunlight. Treeherds will actively gather material to make compost beds to take root in, and will use animal corpses (including humanoid races) if available. There might even be some groups of Dwarven Treeherds which seek out such ‘treats’. While Rooted, the treeherds often will enter a state similar to sleep, but they still retain much awareness of their surroundings.|
|Dwarven Treeherd reproduce via seeds similar to their mundane analog, and become sentient on their 10th year. They are mobile within 2 years, but will only move if directed to by an adult. The Treeherds consciously limit their reproduction to suit the resources available to the grove.|
|Magic and Technology|
|The Treeherds make little use of either apart from their intrinsic magic powers. No treeherds are known to practice wizardry, but herbal lore is advanced. They will make use of tools provided by other races, but normally require very little. The Treeherds in the service of the kingdom of Shyvora are quite different in this regard. They employ weapons including spears and ironically enough, axes. Some will even wear specially constructed armor. Since they are very strong, they can actually carry greater weight of armor then humans. This is not commonly done, however, as the armor ruins their ability to blend into the forest.|
|Society and Culture|
|The Dwarven Treeherds are a more social creature then their non-dwarf counterparts and form clan-like groups which translate as Groves. These Groves generally are between 40 to 60 individuals. They are also less idealist then their larger relatives, being very pragmatic. This pragmatism shows in their willingness to use wooden implements without apparent concern. Similarly, dead treeherds are left to decompose where they fall. Religion varies from grove to grove, with atheism being common. Regardless of religion, they do not greatly fear death.|
|The Dwarven Treeherd, as a species, have some advantages over most intelligent races. 1. As mentioned before, they have few internal organs to damage and are less affected by wounds. 2. They are able to communicate with plant-based life forms. 3. They are able to control animate plant life, but need to concentrate to do so. This ability extends for about 20-30’ depending on the individual dwarven treeherd. 4. Physically, the Dwarven Treeherd are stronger then most other humanoid species. Some disadvantages include: 5. Their vegetable brains are somewhat less efficient then mammalian brains, and so they are less intelligent then most humanoids. 6. Similarly, their nervous systems are somewhat slower and so their physical agility and speed is less then average. 7. As mentioned previously, they have vulnerability to climatic extremes.|
The origin of the Treeherds in Shyvora is well documented in local histories- the first treeherds were the survivors of a wrecked slave ship which washed up on the eastern shore of Shyvora. Where the slavers obtained these treeherds is unknown. There are tales of an island off the coast of Kargois, but these are unsubstantiated.
The survivors were aided, even though the people did not know what to make of the tree-like people. Most were dashed about and injured by the ordeal, but they are a tough people. The Treeherds are not an overly emotional people, and are very pragmatic in nature. Still, in return for their rescue and succor, they swore allegiance to the king and entered his service as wardens, guarding the forested province of Exshella.
The Kingdom of Shyvora has a unique military unit, the 1st Warden Regiment which is drawn entirely from the descendants of these first treeherds, and they have fought with distinction in many campaigns. After several years, one treeherd came to particular attention and was created the Oak Duke and granted domain over Exshella.
Plots and Campaign Use
|As a Player Character|
|The Dwarven Treeherds are much less powerful then classic Treeherds/Ents/etc and are of a similar scale to most humanoid races. They will tend towards warrior types with nature-oriented professions an obvious fit.|
|The Pilgrimage A grove of the Dwarven Treeherd have received a vision from their high priest. This vision directs them to proceed to a specified location to visit a ‘great tree’. This tree is somewhere in the center of human occupied area. The whole grove takes on a pilgrimage to this location, bringing them through the occupied lands where their passage causes a spectacle. The biggest problem is that the great tree has long been cut down by foresters. What happens next?|
|Raw Materials The same wood that makes the Dwarven Treeherds so strong also draws unfavorable attention from makers of enchanted items. The wood, tough and fine grained, also is rife with sentient energy and very suitable for enchantment. While in the sapling stage, they are very vulnerable to ‘collection’ and are fiercely defended by the adult Dwarven Treeherds. The PCs are contracted to obtain some specimens and have been given the location of a grove of saplings without being told exactly what type of trees these really are. The PCs will face determined resistance by the treefolk who will defend the grove with fanatical zeal.|