For the Warcraft III unit, see Dryad (Warcraft III). For the Hyjal Summit NPCs, see Dryad (Hyjal Summit). For the Traveler ship, see Dryad (ship).
Jasani, Shrine Keeper.jpg
Faction/Affiliation Cenarion Circle, Alliance
Character classes Druid,
Warrior[citation needed] 
Racial capital Moonglade
Racial leader(s) IconSmall Cenarius.gif Cenarius
Homeworld Azeroth
Environment Temperate forests
Area(s) Northern Kalimdor
Language(s) Darnassian

Dryads are the enchanted daughters of the demigod Cenarius. The playful, frolicking creatures vaguely resemble a female night elf for the upper part of their bodies, while the lower part is more akin to woodland fawns. They are swift and sure and are at peace with all of the children of the forest. Like the keepers of the grove, while they prefer peace[1] and abhor unnecessary violence, the dryads will defend the wildlands of Kalimdor with their lives if need be.[2] They are curious, but only a few leave the forests.[3] They can enter the Emerald Dream by shifting their bodies between the planes.[4][5]

Being the children of Cenarius, they have shared ancestry with the centaurs.[6] Some are the children of Remulos rather than Cenarius.[7]


The first known encounters with the dryads were almost 15,000 years ago when they were encountered by the dark trolls that eventually evolved into night elves. Following the Great Sundering, the woodland dryads emerged from the secluded Moonglade, traveling to other areas such as Ashenvale and being revered by the night elves as an omen of good times.[8]

Notably, they assisted the Kaldorei Resistance and the Wild Gods during the War of the Ancients,[9] the Sentinels during the Third War as well as the dreamform army in the War Against the Nightmare.

They also appear in Val'sharah, and a group of dryads lives in the Verdant Wilds.


A dryad in Warcraft III.

Dryads, when first grown, stand at around 5'5".[10] They first begin their lives as enchanted acorns, cared for and tended to by experienced druids who consider them sacred. These druids whisper in various languages to the acorn to teach them about the world before they're grown, and at the first touch of water, sprout into their normal appearance in a matter of seconds.[11] Once grown, they immediately imprint on the first person they see, meant to be a druid, who will teach them to control and utilize their powers for the good of nature.[12] Dryads do not consume animal products, and instead enjoy various vegetables and fruits.[13] They can converse with any living beings, such as bee hives,[14] can grow plants at their will,[15] and are largely immune to all forms of magic.[16] Although they grow from an acorn, they do seem to have normal biology once done growing, as they're capable of bleeding[17] and defecating.[18]

Loa and night elves hold dryads in very high regard. Shadra bowed her head to Taryndrella out of either respect--or fear.[19][20]

It is said that the knowledge of the Ancients of Lore is necessary also to enable communion with the enigmatic, free-spirited dryads.[21]

They use spears or wands.

Notable dryads

Other types

Dryad WoW.png

Crystal dryads

Wrath of the Lich King This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.

Crystal dryads can be found in Crystalsong Forest. Unlike other dryads, their coloration is not like that of woodland trees. They are most likely this way as a result of the same dragon magic that overtook much of the forest.


The term nymph is interchangeable with dryad. Nymphs are a wilder variation.[22] Two types are known to exist: the frost nymphs and forest nymphs.[23] Frost nymphs were first discovered in Howling Fjord during Wrath of the Lich King, when they started revealing themselves in order to ask for help. A few forest nymphs have also been seen in Mount Hyjal helping the Guardians of Hyjal during Cataclysm.

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Playable dryad in the RPG.

A dryad in the Emerald Dream with unknown creatures.

They monitor the health of Kalimdor's forests, ever watchful against the depredations of evil magic. The creature has the head, arms, and torso of a beautiful night elf woman, but the lower body of a fawn. A gentle calm is evident in her eyes, but she hefts a spear with practiced skill. It doesn't look like she wants to use the spear in her hand — but if she had to, she could.[24][25]

Allies of the night elves, dryads are the daughters of the demigod Cenarius. They are peaceful by nature and despise violence; however, like ancients, night elves, and their brothers the keepers of the grove, dryads fight to protect the forests and their allies. They are particularly adept at destroying magic and are immune to its effects. Most dryads remain in the forests, frolicking with the animals, dancing in the rain, and occasionally bringing nature's wrath onto their enemies. Some dryads, however, leave their forests and become adventurers. For some, encounters with hostile forces spark this desire — they wish to bring the fight to the enemies of nature. Others are curious about the world outside their forests and wish to experience new environments and meet new beings. Other dryads and night elves see adventuring dryads as a bit less unusual than adventuring ancients. Dryads possess an innate streak of curiosity, after all. However, adventuring dryads are still branded as eccentrics who go against the natural tendencies of their kind.[26] Dryads are peaceful watchers of the forest. They are friends of the night elves and defenders of nature. Daughters of Cenarius, they somewhat resemble centaurs, their cursed brethren. Dryads enjoy play and frolic in the forests. Despite the fact that dryads abhor violence, they fought alongside their night elf allies in the Third War and continue to protect the forests against the depredations of the Scourge, the Burning Legion, and other intruders. They focus their efforts particularly against hostile magic.[25]

While dryads are peaceful with all inhabitants of the forest, they can be fierce defenders against those who would do harm to nature.[24] Dryads are peaceful, but they fight to protect nature and in defense of their night elf allies. They hurl their spears at close range (most dryads carry five or six spears), closing to melee when they run out of ammunition. In a serious engagement, one or two dryads flee to summon help from ancients, keepers of the grove or night elves, while the others delay their opponents. A dryad's magical nature coats her weapons with a painful and debilitating poison. Dryads attempt to weaken their enemies to the point where their gear weighs them down, forcing them to move slowly and making them vulnerable.[25]

They are playful, frolicking fey creatures that vaguely resemble centaurs (their cursed cousins), but have upper torsos of night elves and lower bodies more akin to woodland fauns.[citation needed] 

Dryads are known to visit the Shrine of Aessina to venerate Aessina.[27]

They can be healers[28] and mages.[29] They are classified as Medium Fey.[citation needed] 


The first dryads are the daughters of Cenarius, and sisters of his sons (Zaetar, Remulos, "the centaur", etc). Later, dryads were born from his "favored children", the dryads and keepers. Cenarius' daughter known as "the dryad" mothered dryads, and Remulos fathered dryads as well.[30]

Corrupted dryad

A dryad that has been mutated into one of the Corrupted Ones. The creature has the torso of an elf and the body of a faun, it is clearly a dryad. Yet, the body is twisted, its skin scaly and fingers clenched like horrid talons. Its face is screwed up in an evil scowl, and it attacks with a wild scream.[31]


Dryads usually speak Darnassian. Dryads find it useful to know the languages of the races with which they are most likely to come into contact. These languages include Common, Low Common, and Taur-ahe.[26]

A dryad has wild empathy and can use body language, vocalizations, and demeanor to improve the attitude of an animal (such as a badger or a tallstrider). The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly. The dryad must be within thirty feet of the target animal and under normal conditions. A dryad can use this ability to influence a magical beast with low intelligence (such as a darkmantle or a girallon).[24]

Notes and trivia

  • Young dryads are referred to as fauns.[32]
  • Cenarion Circle considers dryads sacred.[33]
  • A Warcraft III manual map shows a place called Dryad Shrine in eastern Ashenvale.
  • Concept art for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos refers to the dryad as the "Huntress" and featured a great amount of detail — including additional armor and foliage in the dryad's hair — which couldn't be implemented in Warcraft III due to that game's low polygon count. These concepts were later used as inspiration for Lunara's model in Heroes of the Storm.[34]
  • The nymph was likely an early dryad.
  • When the dryad model was first added in Warcraft III, the texture for the dryad's chest was flipped during creation, resulting in the model having two sets of breasts, one in front and another on her back.[35]
  • In the E3 2006 trailer a dryad is shown in Ironforge something not seen in-game.
  • In Heroes of the Storm, Lunara is referred to as being the First Daughter of Cenarius and the first of the dryads. However, this information has not been mentioned outside of Heroes and is thus not considered canon.
  • Eternal Conservators appear to be dryads living on the planet Bonich, though since dryads are the children of Cenarius this is likely just a case of model reuse.
  • The Warcraft III Dryad unit is referenced by the  [Dryad Spear].


In Greek mythology, dryads (from Anc. Greek: δρῦς/drŷs 'oak') are tree nymphs, specifically those of oak trees.




  1. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 183
  2. ^ Dryad at or the Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual
  3. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
  4. ^ The Well of Eternity, chapter 4
  5. ^ N Druid [10-45] Join the Dreamer
  6. ^ H [29] The Sacred Flame
  7. ^ Stormrage, chapter 24: "dryads, also forest protectors and the powerful daughters of vanished Remulos."
  8. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
  9. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
  10. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 121
  11. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 120 - 127
  12. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 374
  13. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 145
  14. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 128
  15. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 132
  16. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 159
  17. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 329
  18. ^ Aranelle#Notes
  19. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 332
  20. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 135
  21. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual
  22. ^ Ask CDev Answers - Round 4
  23. ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Volume 2 Issue 1, pg. 92
  24. ^ a b c Borgstrom, Rebecca; Eric Brennan, Genevieve Cogman, and Michael Goodwin. Manual of Monsters, 22. ISBN 978-1588-4607-07. 
  25. ^ a b c White Wolf. Alliance Player's Guide, 206. ISBN 9781588467737. 
  26. ^ a b White Wolf. Alliance Player's Guide, 28. ISBN 9781588467737. 
  27. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 187
  28. ^ Manual of Monsters
  29. ^ Alliance Player's Guide
  30. ^ Bennie, Scott; Richard Farrese, Bob Fitch. Horde Player's Guide, 209. ISBN 9781588467720. 
  31. ^ Arthaus. Shadows & Light, 149. ISBN 9781588469731. 
  32. ^ A [7-30] Playing Possum
  33. ^ Traveler: The Shining Blade, chapter 6
  34. ^ Medievaldragon 2015-12-28. BlizzCon 2015 Heroes of the Storm Deep Dive Panel Transcript | Page 2 of 7 - BlizzPlanet. Retrieved on 2017-11-29.
  35. ^ Abelhawk 2017-05-27. Warcraft III Easter Eggs Bonus: Models (Part 2) - YouTube (4:48). Retrieved on 2017-11-29.