A Class for D&D 3.5e
Over a decade ago, my friend Colin, of Valent Games, published a short setting document for 3.5e Dungeons & Dragons called Permafrost. It’s no longer in print, but the idea was that some sort of planar injunction was causing the Plane of Cold to encroach on and merge with the Material Plane.
The world was freezing over into the worst ice age ever. The remainders of civilization were eking out an existence in the last several degrees of latitude around the equator. On the last remaining unfrozen continent, people lived on the sides of active volcanoes, around geothermal hot-spots, and deep underground.
Colin had several custom classes tuned up for the setting already, along with some nice lore and backstory. I found Permafrost and his ideas about what folks were doing to survive very intriguing. Meanwhile, concerned about low sales and reviews, he wanted to tweak a few things. When he mentioned he would write a second edition, I asked if I could create a custom class for it. The second edition never came about, but the work I did for it I’ll present here.
The Fell Sylvanus class was inspired, in part as you may have guessed, by Ents. But it was my concern for the denizens of the world who would be most harmed by the heat-death of the trees that most drove the design. I’m speaking, of course, of the dryads. In 3.5e the poor things were permanently bound to their tree-homes. So what was a dryad to do when the deathly frost line descended past her latitude?
Befriend a local group of psionically talented druids, of course. The Fell Sylvani are druids who, through a deep connection with nature, have developed the ability to act as a tree host for a dryad. The class is Druid inspired, but also uses aspects of the old 3.5e psionic classes. In early levels, the humanoid and dryad share a body, taking turns steering it. Imagine being willingly possessed and allowing your possessor some free time in your body. At later levels, once the linking is mature, the dryad can exit the Fell Sylvanus’ body and roam around. She fights alongside the Sylvanus and behaves as a cohort. A side effect of the process is a shortened lifespan for the erstwhile druid, and the tendency to become more tree-ish at higher levels. But it’s a small price to pay to save the dryads from extinction. We’re all in this together.
The Fell Sylvanus
While the Fell Sylvanus was custom built for the Permafrost setting, you could place it in any campaign with an existential threat to plant life. Or possibly just very cooperative dryads and druids. You could even set up a plot where the dryads were trying to take over the world, or at least mobilizing against the corruption of civilization.
The pdf below holds the Fell Sylvanus class information, as well as a progression chain for leveling up the dryad as she gains hit dice and a list of new spells powering the dryads’ spell-like abilities. Enjoy!