Although she cares for the forest as a whole, a dryad is bound to a single tree with which she shares her soul. Anyone who helps protect the woodlands is a friend to the elusive fey creature, but one who protects the dryad's own tree is also a personal benefactor and savior.
A tree-friend is a member of a cult that has assumed responsibility for the protection of one or more dryad trees as well as the surrounding woodlands. A tree-friend's devotion to the woodlands in general and to dryads in particular is unsurpassed. When the eternal glades are in peril, he moves as quietly as a leaf falling in autumn and strikes with the strength of the mighty oak. Woe to those who feel the wrath of a tree-friend, for it is like the fury of nature itself.
Tree-friends are often organized into loose bands that monitor specific areas. Each member of the group operates independently but assists the others as needed. Larger groups of tree-friends are called branches; smaller ones are known as twigs. The eldest tree-friends usually assume positions of leadership, directing watches and overseeing the laying of defensive traps and snares.
Most tree-friends were once rangers or druids, but some were clerics of nature deities. Forest-dwelling barbarians also tend to be protective of the wild lands, so they too might find this prestige class an intriguing option for advancement.
If an NPC tree-friend believes that intruders intend harm to his charges, he might follow them for miles, keeping just out of sight, then turn the task of monitoring them over to the next member of his branch or twig. In combat, he uses the cover of the forest to best advantage, striking from concealment to minimize losses.
To qualify to become a Tree-Friend, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
Alignment: Chaotic good, chaotic neutral, or neutral good
Skills: Survival 8 ranks, Knowledge (Nature) 8 ranks
Special: The candidate must have saved at least one tree to which a dryad was bound from destruction or corruption.
The tree-friend's class skills are Climb, Craft (any), Escape Artist, Hide, Knowledge (nature), Listen, Move Silently, Search, Sense Motive, Spot, Survival, and Swim.
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All the following are class features of the tree-friend prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A tree-friend gains no new weapon, armor, or shield proficiencies.
Seasonal Change (Ex): Like the dryad, a tree-friend undergoes changes in physical appearance with the seasons. During the spring and summer, a tree-friend's hair resembles green, leafy vines. In the fall, it turns red or gold and becomes thinner and finer, like autumn leaves. In winter, it is white as snow. The tree-friend's personality also changes with the seasons - he tends to be mirthful and joyous in spring and summer, quiet and even slightly depressed in autumn, and cold and removed in winter. When in a wilderness environment that matches the seasonal change the tree-friend is experiencing, the tree-friend gains a +4 circumstance bonus to Hide checks.
Nature's Healing (Su): A tree-friend is so in tune with the woodlands that he can tap their energy to heal himself. He can cure a number of hit points each day equal to his Charisma bonus times his tree-friend level, and he can spread this healing out among several uses. The tree-friend must be in physical contact with a living tree to use this ability.
Speak with Plants (Sp): At 2nd level, the tree-friend gains the ability to use speak with plants once per day per tree-friend level as a sorcerer of a level equal to the tree-friend's character level.
Charm Person (Sp): Beginning at 3rd level, a tree friend can use charm person once per day per tree-friend level as a sorcerer of a level equal to the tree-friend's character level.
Tree Stride (Sp): Upon reaching 4th level, the tree-friend gains the ability to use tree stride once per day per tree-friend level as a sorcerer of a level equal to the tree-friend's character level.
Dryad Apotheosis (Ex): At 5th level, the tree-friend's type changes to fey, making him even more like the dryads he so admires. His features become more delicate, beautiful, and ethereal, and his ears acquire slight points. He gains low-light vision if he did not have it already, and his Charisma score increases by +2.
The Tree-friend Hit Die: d10
CL BAB Fort Ref Will Special
1st +1 +0 +2 +2 Seasonal change, nature's healing
2nd +2 +0 +3 +3 Speak with plants
3rd +3 +1 +3 +3 Charm person
4th +4 +1 +4 +4 Tree stride
5th +5 +2 +4 +4 Dryad apotheosis