The Dryden: Hero or Horror? is a supplement for D20 fantasy, modern or future, presenting three different yet similar creatures named the Dryden. The fantasy version is a plant creature, the modern one an experiment gone wrong and the future version a parasitical alien race. Each version is slightly darker than the last. In all versions of the Dryden, sexuality is involved as the Dryden as a species can only reproduce by mating with other races; this is why it carries a mature tag as well as a discussion in the introduction on ?How NOT to use this book?.
The Dryden itself is a meta-template, by taking the ?Born Dryden? feat, the 10-level Dryden racial class is made available. Each level of the Dryden racial class gives the character another choice of racial abilities organized in various trees (this organization will be familiar to D20 Modern players). The ability trees allow the Dryden greater control over their various plant-hybrid forms, the ability to adopt new shapes, rapid healing, and similar tricks. A mid-to-high level Dryden will have a variety of interesting options available to it.
The fantasy Dryden are the most benign of the variants, mystical plant-human hybrids, they are guardians of their homes in the forest, and, to a lesser extent, nature in general. Friends to the elves, these Dryden usually reproduce only with willing partners (though they are not very choosy in who they partner with animal or humanoids are as likely to be selected as mates) their prodigy forming the next generation of guardians. But there are evil Dryden as well, such as Bereverak, God King of a Thousand Wives, a Dryden-Dragon who is breeding an army of his hybrid-dragon children to assist him in his plans of conquest.
The modern Dryden are the ?children? of Anna Dryden, an experimental subject, who have escaped. With their ability to blend in with humanity, they have become humanities greatest enemy, able to infiltrate and consume the skills they need. The modern Dryden are a thing of horror movies, either suspense or slasher as suits the play style of the campaign. A Dryden safe house is presented for the modern game, it should present a serious but necessary challenge to defeat the expanding threat of the Dryden.
The science fiction Dryden are a parasitical alien race, who reproduce by consuming the genetic material (and bodies) of other races. Not only are they parasitical but they are sadistic by nature, enjoying toying with and torturing their victims before consuming them. The Dryden race is constantly expanding looking for new sources of mates and raw material, constantly consuming whatever they encounter, they are an implacable alien threat. The future Dryden are useful as both generic villains or as part of a horror scenario like they modern version.
Overall, the Dryden are an interesting race, but not suitable to all games or styles of play. The source material provides a variety of options for use of the Dryden in various sorts of campaigns but keep in mind the comfort level of your players before introducing them.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: Interesting concept, wide range of campaign uses.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Some people will be uncomfortable with the subject matter, limiting it overall usefulness.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>
[4 of 5 Stars!]