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Picasso007
2005-12-09, 11:05 PM
"Alright, children, alright, settle down now. *Hobbie, leave your sister alone. *Now, what story do you want to hear today?"
"Ooh! *Tell us about the time you fought the lich-king in his castle!"
"You always ask for that one, Billy! *We heard it last week!"
The old woman smiled; her dry, rough skin crinkling around her mouth and eyes. She turned to the smallest of the half-dozen children huddled around her, a freckled little thing barely old enough to walk up the hill by herself.
"Lyra, which story do you want to hear?"
The girl blinked her green eyes and smiled. "Wanna hear how you meet Arifel!"
"How I met Arithiel? *I don't believe I've told that one. *Let me think... *Oh, yes, now I remember. *It was a warm summer day-" Hobbie giggled, drawing a look. "Now, what's so funny?"
"Granny Winter, it's never warm under your tree!"
"This was long before that happened, Bobby, now hush." *The old woman picked up a beautiful lyre, and began to pluck out a quiet melody with gnarled yet sure fingers, providing a quiet backdrop to her story. *"Now then, it was a warm, summer day, and I was sunning myself in a clearing not far from here..."

Hours passed. *Though the near-leafless boughs of the giant oak provided little shade from the summer sun, the air around the tree remained as cool as late autumn. *She finished the story, and, at their pleading, began another. *The second ended as the sun was setting, the air growing cold. *Gathering the children around her like a mother hen with her chicks, she walked them back down the hill, stopping just outside the town. The kids scampered off into the warm summer night, back to their brightly lit houses and waiting families. *The woman smiled, then walked back up to the oak, put her hand on its ancient trunk, and stepped inside.

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c69/Salda007/GrandmotherWinter.png

Grandmother Winter (CR 20)
Venerable Dryad Ranger 13/Bard 4
Chaotic Good Medium Fey
Init +4
Senses Low-Light Vision, Listen +28, Spot +28
Aura moderate chaotic, moderate good
Languages Sylvan, Common, Draconic, Elven, Celestial
[hr]AC 27*, Touch 15, Flat-footed 23*
hp 66 (8d6 + 13d8 - 21 HD)
DR 5/cold iron
Fort +11, Ref +20, Will +16
Weakness tree dependent
(*-If Grandmother Winter attacks with her bow in a round, she loses her shield bonus to AC (+3) until the end of the round.)
[hr]Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Ranged +3 seeking mighty composite longbow [+4 Str] +24 (1d8+4/x3) or
Ranged +3 seeking mighty composite longbow [+4 Str] +16 (4d8+16/x3) with Manyshot or
Ranged +3 seeking mighty composite longbow [+4 Str] +24/+19/+14/+9 (1d8+4/x3) or
Ranged +3 seeking mighty composite longbow [+4 Str] +22/+22/+17/+12/+7 (1d8+4/x3) with Rapid Shot or
Melee +1 rapier +23 (1d6+2/18-20) or
Melee +1 rapier +23/+18/+13/+8 (1d6+2/18-20)
Base Atk +18; Grp +19
Attack Options Favored Enemy (humans) +2, Favored Enemy (goblinoids) +4, Favored Enemy (undead) +4, Combat Expertise, Manyshot, Rapid Shot
Combat Gear 4 potions of cure moderate wounds, 2 potions of haste, 40 silvered arrows
Bard Spells Known (Spells per day: 4/3/1) CL 4
2nd: glitterdust (DC 16), heroism
1st: cure light wounds, hideous laughter (DC 15), silent image (DC 15)
0th: light, lullaby (DC 14), mage hand, mending, prestidigitation, resistance
Ranger Spells Prepared (Spells per day: 2/2/2) CL 6
3rd: neutralize poison, remove disease
2nd: barkskin, spike growth (DC 16)
1st: endure elements, speak with animals*
Spell-Like Abilities At will—entangle (DC 15), speak with plants, tree shape; 3/day— charm person (DC 15), deep slumber (DC 17), tree stride; 1/day—suggestion (DC 17). Caster level 6th. The save DCs are Wisdom-based.
(*-If Grandmother Winter is anticipating trouble when she prepares her spells, she will prepare resist energy instead of speak with animals. *If she plans on leaving the area around her tree during the day, she will prepare alarm (which she casts on her tree before leaving) and longstrider in her first-level slots.)
[hr]Abilities Str 12, Dex 19, Con 9, Int 17, Wis 19, Cha 19
Special Qualities Animal Companion, Bardic Knowledge +7, Bardic Music 4/day (Countersong, Fascinate, Inspire Competence, Inspire Courage +1), Camoflage, Curse of Eternal Frost, Evasion, Wild Empathy +23, Woodland Stride
Feats Combat Expertise, Endurance(B), Far Shot, Great Fortitude, Improved Point Blank Shot(B), Manyshot(B), Precise Shot, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot(B), Self-Sufficient, Track(B), Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (longbow)
Skills Escape Artist +11, Handle Animal +24, Heal +19, Hide +38, Knowledge (nature) +29, Move Silently +28, Perform (oratory) +12, Perform (stringed instruments) +16, Ride +6, Survival +28, Use Rope +4 (+6 with bindings)
Possessions
+3 seeking mighty composite longbow [+4 Str]*, +1 rapier, +2 mithril shirt, +2 mithril buckler, +1 ring of protection, gloves of dexterity +4, rod of flame extinguishing, ring of chameleon power, boots of the winterlands, handy haversack, 4 potions of cure moderate wounds, 2 potions of haste, masterwork lyre, healer's kit, 40 silvered arrows, assorted gems and coins worth 1,628 gp.
(*-Grandmother Winter takes a -2 penalty when using her bow, due to her lowered Strength score. *The ranged attack numbers include this penalty.)

Curse of Eternal Frost: *Long ago, a wizard cursed Grandmother Winter, in revenge for the part she played in foiling his attept at lichdom. *At all times, the air around Grandmother Winter's oak is thirty degrees colder than the ambient temperature. *The restriction extends high into the air over the tree, but does not reach more than 400 yards from the tree itself. *The effect is bound to the area surrounding the tree; a breeze blowing over the hill will cool immediately upon reaching the edge of the area, and warm again immediately upon leaving it. *Especially in autumn, winter, and early spring, the temperature is usually cold enough be dangerous, although only on the coldest nights does the weather reach extreme cold.

Picasso007
2006-01-04, 10:22 AM
Description: Before you sits an old, old woman, gnarled with age. *Her dark skin, worn and leathery from long years in the sun, is sharply contrasted by her almost-white hair. *Her features have an elven cast to them, but elves do not appear to age as much as she has. *Despite her age, though, her features are striking, her poise stately, her movements graceful, and her eyes full of mirth. *She is dressed simply and warmly, in a woolen skirt and blouse. *She reclines easily against the trunk of a magnificent old oak tree, in a nook between the roots that looks almost to have grown around her. *She smiles, kindly, and produces a beautiful lyre from a well-worn pack at her feet. *Closing her eyes, she settles back against the tree and begins to play.

Personality: *Grandmother Winter is an enigma among her kind; though once aloof and reclusive like her sisters, over the centuries of her life she has slowly become more engaging. *While still wary of newcomers, those that prove themselves to be trustworthy allies of the forest find in her a lifetime friend. *But to those that threaten her forest or village, she is an dangerous foe, though she is not the warrior she once was. *While she tends to be reserved, letting others do the talking, she is more than forthcoming with her knowledge and ideas when asked. *Also, like many fey, Grandmother Winter has a soft spot in her heart for children of all types, and indeed spends many long hours regaling the children of the nearby village with songs and tales from her life. *Indeed, she is the village’s de-facto babysitter during the summer months, and has been called upon to act as a midwife more than once.

History: *Grandmother Winter’s story is long and winding, although it starts out like that of most other dryads. *She was content to pass the time in her grove, ignoring the world around her and letting the decades pass idly by. *Things changed, though, when a company of loggers moved into the area and began clearing the forest for lumber. *Outraged at the destruction, the dryad drove them off with spell and bow, at times even venturing far from her tree to menace the loggers in their camps. *Within a month, the loggers packed up and moved to less dangerous territory.
Some decades later, a small group of settlers, led by a young elven druid named Arithiel, founded a small hamlet at the base of the hill upon which her tree stands. *Arithiel and the Lady of the Glade, as she was then known, became fast friends, and many believe that it was his presence that stopped her from driving off the settlers.
Life was quiet in the village for well over a century. *Its isolated location kept it free from political squabbles, and the hills were mostly free of dangerous creatures. *Aside from the occasional goblin incursion, which the Lady was more than able to drive off, there was little to disrupt things. *Thus it was a complete surprise when a tower was built nearby.
At first the villagers ignored it, hoping it was merely the fancy of some bored noble. *But strange sights, sounds, and—on one memorable occasion—smells began coming from the tower, and several graves in the temple’s cemetery were disturbed. *Cautious investigations were made, and the news that returned was bad, to say the least. *A powerful old wizard had holed up in the tower, and was busily attempting to unlock the secrets of lichdom. *A call for assistance was put out, but the party that assaulted the tower was driven back by the wizard’s undead minions. *To everyone’s horror, the horde spilled forth from the tower, seeking revenge against the village. *The Lady of the Glade fought tirelessly to drive off the undead, venturing from her tree to the point where she nearly collapsed from the stress. *Luckily, a group of clerics and templars from a nearby temple arrived just in time, driving back the undead and relieving the besieged villagers. *
The next day, this time with the help of the holy warriors, the aging Arithiel, and the Lady herself, the party assaulted the tower again. *This time, they prevailed, and the wizard was forced to flee his tower under a barrage of arrows from the enraged dryad.
With the danger driven off, the villagers tried to return to life as usual. *It was difficult at first, as many undead had escaped out into the woods. *It was several years before the Lady hunted down the last of them. *Just as things were settling down, the wizard took his revenge on the dryad. *From a new stronghold, far from the village, a powerful ritual was conducted under the midnight sky of the winter solstice. *A pact was made, an effigy burned. *Immediately, a powerful blizzard sprung up around the Lady’s tree, extending just past the radius the Lady herself could walk safely. *The magic storm persisted for nearly a month, continuously pouring snow and sleet onto the hilltop glade. *Finally, the storm broke, but it left a permanent chill in the area, such that it would always be much colder around the tree than the surrounding foothills.
The storm decimated the trees and plants around the Lady’s tree. *Only the magnificent oak itself survived the onslaught, and even that was a near thing. *The Lady emerged from the ordeal wearied, weakened. *She had lost the timelessness that her kind had always possessed, and began to feel her years.
A report came from a distant land that the wizard had miscalculated in his ritual, and had been consumed in the casting of it. *With this news, things finally settled down, and life in the village was finally able to continue as it once did. *Seeds from colder climates were brought in and the hill was replanted. *Children grew up, married, and had children of their own. *The Lady of the Glade, now known as Grandmother Winter by everyone, put up her bow and began spending the days playing the lyre and entertaining the children of the village with her stories. *When Arithiel died almost a century ago, at the end of a long, long life, his remains were buried at the foot of an ash tree near her own oak, so that he could keep her company through the long, cold winters.

Keeh (CR --)
Eagle Animal Companion
Neutral Small Animal
Init +2
Senses Listen +4, Spot +20
[hr]AC 18, Touch 14, Flat-footed 16
hp 28 (5d8 + 5 HD)
Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +3
[hr]Speed 10 ft. (2 squares), fly 80 ft. (16 squares) (average)
Melee Talons +7 melee (1d4+1) or
Melee 2 talons +7 melee (1d4+1) and bite -2 melee (1d4+1)
Base Atk +3 Grp +0
Attack Options Flyby Attack
[hr]Abilities Str 12, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 6
Special Qualities Evasion, Low-light vision, Link, Share Spells
Feats Alertness, Flyby Attack, Weapon FinesseB
Skills Listen +4, Spot +20
Tricks Known: Attack, Attack Unnatural Creatures, Come, Defend, Down, Fetch, Heel, Seek, Stay

Keeh is the latest in a long line of eagles that have been companions to Grandmother Winter. With the help of his eyes, she is able to keep watch in a far wider range than she would on her own, spotting orcs and goblins for miles around. Occasionally she will have him carry messages to the village, using speak with animals to convey instructions if needed. Many of the villagers have come to recognize Keeh, and the mayor and the captain of the town's small militia both cheerfully painted their roofs in bright colors so that Grandmother Winter could give Keeh more accurate directions. Grandmother Winter casts her endure elements on him every evening before going to sleep.