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Nymphs are a type of Nature Spirit resembling beautiful women, and typically serve as protectors of nature and the wilderness.

They originate in Greek mythology, where "nymph" generally referred to any minor female deity of the wilderness. Numerous distinct types of nymph were recognized in association with specific environments and landmarks, some of which have become recurrent creatures in modern culture in their own right, sometimes as subtypes of a broader nymph "species" and sometimes as independent types of creatures in their own right.

  • Dryads, nymphs associated with trees and forests, are the most commonly used, and are typically depicted as beautiful women, sometimes with green skin or hair or as outright Plant Persons, who exist to protect the wilderness, or plant life specifically, from civilization. A subtype exists in the form of hamadryads. Those myths that distinguished between the two depicted hamadryads as so strongly associated with a single tree that they would die if it was cut (unlike dryads, who had the run of any forest they felt like); modern fantasy fiction sometimes inverts this, depicting dryads as life-bound to a single tree and hamadryads as the stronger, unbound variant.
  • Nereids, naiads, oceanids or undines are nymphs associated with water, living within and protecting aquatic environments. They may be related and/or similar to mermaids.
  • Oreads are a variant associated with mountains, stone and earth. They're not as commonly seen as dryads or water nymphs, and typically appear in works which already include a variety of nymph types.

In Classical myth, nymphs of all stripes were an Always Female One-Gender Race; when they had male counterparts, these were generally either satyrs or male river gods. Some modern interpretations still use this version, generally treating their nymphs as either arising from nature itself in some form or as depending on humans, satyrs or other species for reproduction, but some works choose to discard the Always Female angle and include male nymphs, dryads and the like alongside their female counterparts.

See also Nature Spirit, Earth Mother, Mother Nature, and Water Is Womanly. For the other type of "nymph", see Really Gets Around.

See also Our Elves Are Different, Our Fairies Are Different, and Our Mermaids Are Different.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: The spirit form of the Wood Card resembles a dryad.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Dryads' main bodies are their actual plants, and their humanoid selves are actually their mobile flowers. Anatomically, they’re basically hollow skins filled with stamen and pollen, and pollinate each other by kissing. They're also monosexual, as there are male and female flowers. They don’t appear to be sentient, and are in fact mindlessly hostile, turning their hands into sharp points to attack intruders. Pollinated flowers later turn into pumpkin-like fruits with human faces on them.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Dryads. They have two horns that can be used in powerful healing potions. The horns are often poached with the dryad being sold into slavery. We only see one called Shirobe who can transform into a "Tree Dragon", lengthening her horns and growing wooden dragon-like wings.
  • Overlord (2012): Dryads have wood-like skin and leaves for hair. They get weaker the further they move from their tree, but the tree can be moved — Pinison Pol Perlia, for example, had hers moved to Nazarick.
  • Rosario + Vampire: The Monster of the Week in "Curry and a Vampire" is Ms. Apsara, Yokai Academy's Home Ec. teacher. She is a literal Apsara (a water nymph of Hindu/Buddhist mythology) with a particular obsession with traditional curry. When Kokoa ruins one of her dishes out of spite, Apsara turns her into a yellow-skinned zombie obsessed with curry before deciding to do it with the rest of the school.

  • A classic Stock Pose interchangeable with the Reclining Venus is the Sleeping Nymph, a depiction of a woman (the eponymous "nymph") sleeping in a similar reclining position.
  • The Birth of Venus (Bouguereau): Inspired by Grecorroman imagery, the three nymphs illustrated are Nereids/Oceanids. Nymphs whose domain is the ocean and, as a result, can effortlessly swim long distances. They appear here to attend Venus' birth.
  • Hylas and the Nymphs: The naiads are all portrayed as relatively human-looking (if somewhat identical) women, nude in the pond. They are also presented as Femmes Fatales. This one is probably one of the most famous artistic depictions of nymphs.
  • Nymphs and Satyr by William-Adolphe Bouguereau is an oil painting depicting a quadruplet of nude nymphs frolicking with a satyr in the woods.
  • The Return of Spring: The description provided on the Joslyn Art Museum website describes the female nude as a nymph, presumably a lesser goddess of the titular season.
  • Satyr Satisfies Nymph by Arthur Fischer is an oil painting depicting a nymph being given oral sex by a satyr.
  • Ninfa en el estanque (Nymph in the Pond) by Gabriel Grün features a red-headed woman (presumably the nymph) staring at her own reflection in a pond.
  • Young Hylas with the Water Nymphs: Dryope and the other nymphs seduce Hylas behind Hercules' back. They are depicted as attractive young women that play the role of a Femme Fatale.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Nymphs and dryads are separate creature types in-game.
    • Dryads are the most common of the two types and strongly aligned with Green, the color of nature. They're reclusive forest dwellers and wardens of nature, usually appearing as humanoid women with pointed ears and sometimes green skin and hair. Other times they're out-and-out Plant Persons. They're bonded to individual trees that their lives depend on, and some believe them to be the dreams of trees. They're present on multiple planes, including the Gothic Horror-inspired Innistrad and the City Planet of Ravnica, where they're strongly associated with the Selesnya Conclave, the guild responsible for maintaining Ravnica's green spaces. The founder of the Conclave, Mat'Selesnya, was formed from the fusion of multiple dryads, and the guild's current leader, Trostani, is a group of three conjoined dryads acting as Mat'Selesnya's "face".
    • Wrenn is a dryad planeswalker with a unique situation — she pulled a forest fire that was devouring her home forest into herself, granting her the ability to move from tree to tree at the cost of burning her alive if she goes too long without a partner. As a result, she forms symbiotic relationships with trees that she physically fuses herself with; Wrenn provides the plant with intelligence and molds it into a mobile Treant, while the tree allows her to contain the fire within her and gives her the ability to planeswalk. She has gone through seven trees over her life, changing partners when old ones die or become tired of traveling, but can't bond herself with just any tree — she needs to find a specifically suitable partner, which she describes as finding one whose "song" matches hers.
    • Nymphs are a rarer creature type with no clear color identity, and are most strongly associated with the Greek mythology-inspired plane of Theros, where they are divinely-created servants of the gods. All dryads found on Theros, notably, are typed as both nymphs and dryads and serve Nylea, the goddess of the hunt and the wilderness. Besides them, White nymphs are called alseids, inhabit meadows and are closer to the civilized races than other nymph types; Blue nymphs are called naiads and inhabit streams, grottos and isolated beaches; Black nymphs are called lampads, live in the Underworld and aid the god Athreos in guiding the dead; Red nymphs, called oreads, live in mountains and volcanoes and are more aggressive than other nymphs, and are creations of Purphoros, the god of the forge. There is also the unique Green/White/Blue nymph Kestia, who oversees agriculture and irrigation.

    Comic Books 
  • JLA: A League of One features two Nympths called Zoe and Athlea, a Nereid and Dryad respectively, who live around Themyscira and shown to have been Wonder Woman's childhood friends growing up. Both are depicted as in the forms of little girls (Zoe all blue and Athlea all green) who have powers associated with their respective domains.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: In the Marston stories, Nymphs are the all-female residents of the lunar forest, who are ruled by and worship Artemis.

    Fan Works 
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: The non-canon spinoff Mature Edition has Kleodora. She's a dryad, and has the standard wood-like skin and green hair, as well as the ability to teleport herself or others.
  • Paradoxus: The nymphs of Winx Club already show a fair amount of discrepancies with the Greek nymphs. Instead of being very minor deities (if they can even be called that) tied to some natural aspect such as trees or water, these nymphs are the most powerful fairies across all dimensions and the rulers of said dimensions' fates after the Great Dragon's disappearance. Also, all of them harbor the Dragon's Flame during their lifetimes. In Paradoxus, however, the nymphs draw more from the Ainur of Lord of the Rings than their canonical counterparts. They were still created by the Great Dragon's thoughts, but they also represent one aspect of magic (light, time, shadows...). Furthermore, their souls are immortal and will reincarnate from time to time (mostly to fix messes) while remembering each iteration unless they are in peace with themselves so they can choose not to.

    Films — Animation 
  • Allegro non Troppo: The Prélude à l'après-midi short has an elderly fawn chasing a green-skinned nymph.
  • Barbie Fairytopia has a dryad called Dahlia. They don't seem to be much different from standard winged fairies but can fly through trees like they aren't there.
  • Hercules: Hercules meets Philoctetes as he is peeping on a group of nymphs lounging by a river. When his cover is blown, Phil is quick to try and catch one, only for them to turn into a pile of flowers and a tree. When he claims the nymphs were chasing him, the tree slaps him.
  • Mavka: The Forest Song is about a Ukrainian variant of nymphs, from Slavic Mythology. The eponymous protagonist is a Nature Spirit in human form who watches over forests, and several other nymphs like her watch over bodies of water etc.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Guardian (1990): The villain, Camilla, is a dryad who poses as a babysitter, abduct babies, and feeds them to her tree.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Dryads are tree spirits who only become visible as patterns within blowing leaves, flower petals and other plant material.

  • The Belgariad: Dryads live in southern Tolnedra, within the Wood of the Dryads. They're all female and reproduce with human males, and are bonded for life to a tree and live as long as it does. They're also strict vegetarians, and experience sexual euphoria when they eat chocolate. Ce'Nedra is the daughter of a man and a dryad, and is often described as very pretty due to her exotic looks.
  • Book of Imaginary Beings: Nymphs are minor goddesses of nature, although no temples were built for them. They haunt wild places and are given different names depending on their homes: dryads (or hamadryads) are bonded to trees and live and die alongside them; oceanids and nereids live in the sea; naiads in rivers and lakes; oreads in mountains and caves; napaeae in glens; alseids in groves. Seeing one will strike a man blind, and seeing one naked will strike him dead.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Dryads are among the numerous fantastical creatures native to Narnia, and Lewis describes them in great detail. Birch dryads look like slender girls with showery hair, dressed in silver and fond of dancing, beech dryads look like gracious, queenly goddesses dressed in fresh transparent green, and oak dryads look like wizened old men with warts, gnarled fingers, and hair growing out of the warts.
  • Daughters of the Moon: The nymphs that appear in The Choice, Azera, Zonda, and Lizelle, can disguise themselves as humans, but their true forms have reptilian wings, talon-like claws, snake-like tongues, golden scales covering their skin, and black snakes for hair.
  • "Death, Dust, and Other Inconveniences": One of Margle's magical prisoners is a dryad kept imprisoned inside a Magic Staff, its description being not unlike a human skeleton made of wood, flowers and grass spontaneously growing on anything she touches.
  • Discworld: Dryads appear in The Colour of Magic, where they live in pocket dimensions within trees and are extremely protective of their homes. Since they're stated to be vanishingly rare, it's possible that their absence from later books is because they've gone extinct. They look like greenish humans, don't wear clothes and have a Hive Caste System with smaller, intelligent females and Dumb Muscle males. (Rincewind is surprised by the latter, and is asked "Where do you think acorns come from?")
  • Everworld: The protagonists are guided by a nymph named Idalia after they save her from being gang-raped by satyrs. She's four feet tall, green, unable to leave the woods, has Super-Speed and is a thousand years old. She flirts with Jalil, but the more he talks to her, the more he realizes she's basically sapient furniture—she can't remember any of her many past lovers or even add two plus two. Apparently nymphs are just created to serve their patron deity (Idalia's is Iris) and help/fall in love with mortal men.
  • Everybody Loves Large Chests: Dryads are powerful spirits present in the elven Ishgar Republic. Each one is tied to a mighty, magical Hylt tree, which acts as an extension of their own bodies, and vice-versa. Dryads are seldom seen, if ever, because they spend thousands of years at a time asleep until something rouses them, but once awake they're so powerful that appealing to their wants and needs is a good way to get an eternally protective ally, and angering them is likely to be the last mistake you'll ever make.
  • "The Hardwood Pile", a short story by L. Sprague de Camp: In upstate New York, Aceria Jones is secretly the spirit of the tree whose lumber was used to make the floor of her workplace, and seeks another tree of the same species to bond herself to. Although she specifically identifies herself as a sphendamniad (maple spirit), and not a dryad (oak spirit), her green hair (which changes to red in the fall) found its way into the Dryad entry of the Dungeons & Dragons Monstrous Compendium.
  • The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus: Wood nymphs are one of the races inhabiting the Forest of Burzee, ruled over by Queen Zurline. One of them, Necile, is somewhat discontented with only caring for the plants, and winds up adopting the human baby who becomes Santa Claus.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Nymphs appear fairly often as supporting characters. A large population of dryads inhabits Camp Half-Blood's forest alongside the satyrs, while naiads live in its lake. In the early books they looked like human girls, even wearing modern clothing, though later they're described as somewhat elfin. Other nymphs appear inhabiting rivers throughout the series, including the Mississippi. Nereids are part of Poseidon's court, and while naiads do not serve him directly they still honor him.
  • Portals Of Infinity: In the second book of the series, the protagonists are portal-hopping through The Multiverse to make their way to a specific world. Each world operates by its own set of physical and magical rules, often populated by creatures very similar or very dissimilar to humans, and the travelers find their physical forms changed to reflect the current world's rules. After traveling through one portal, the entire party suddenly strips nude on the spot and degenerate into a massive orgy that lasts several days. When they have finally messed around enough to exhaust themselves, they gain barely enough self-control to realize this world is populated by satyrs and nymphs, and that when the two species come into contact, they are Overcome with Desire.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: Dryads are connected to elves, appear to be Plant Persons with plant manipulation powers, and are at least mentioned a few times:
    • In the second episode, Princesses Are Never Lost: (Everything Else Is Simply Misplaced), they're called "fey tree-women".
    • In the eighth episode, Princesses on the Broken Sea, it's revealed that elves exploit them by turning them into items.
  • The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries has a Maenad called Callisto. She can cause madness and lust in people, she has Complete Immortality and is stronger than a vampire. She can also turn he thanks I to claws that can poison your blood if she scratches you.
  • Tales of MU features, among standard river nymphs, "cereal nymphs," the Anthropomorphic Personifications of their fields, summoned by a ritual that involves local farmers, ah, seeding said field. Such nymphs are Ethical Sluts who believe in sharing their divine beauty with the world and having lots of sex, which strengthens both their humanoid bodies and the fields they're bound to, ensuring an ample harvest.
  • Ravirn: Cybermancy: One spam email header seen is “Totally Nude Nymphs.”, fitting the Greek Mythology basis of the series.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Charmed (1998): Wood nymphs use their magic to make nature grow, and their presence causes flowers to bloom. They're also guardians of the Eternal Spring, whose waters make the drinker immortal.
  • The Magicians has an episode featuring a dryad who is an ambassador for a forest of talking trees. This Dryad is a man and is in fact quite sexist. He considers it an insult that two females (one of which was the High Queen) would come to negotiate instead of the High King.

    Myths and Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: The Trope Maker and Trope Namer. Nymphs — nymphe — are a major class of semi-divine creatures, essentially minor female deities who watch over landscapes and natural landmarks. They're often depicted as the lovers, mothers or daughters of various heroes and divinities, and come in a staggering variety of types associated with specific landforms and environments.
    • Alseids were an obscure type associated with glens and groves, and only mentioned by Homer.
    • Aurae were nymphs of winds and breezes; some texts treat them as a singular being, Aura, the daughter of the titan Lelantos.
    • Dryads (druas) were the nymphs of trees. Originally, the term specifically referred to the nymphs of oak trees (drys, in Ancient Greek), before expanding to tree nymphs in general; the nymphs associated with other trees had their own specific names — meliads for ash trees, for instance. Hamadryads were a subtype who were associated with one individual tree, rather than forests and trees in general, and perished if that tree was cut down.
    • The Hesperides were the nymphs of the twilight and the West, who guarded Hera's golden apples in a garden in the utmost west of the world. They're usually considered to be the daughters of the titan Atlas, although some myths have them as daughters of Zeus or of Nyx and Erebus. There were only a few of them, though the exact number (either 3, 4 or 7) and their names are Depending on the Writer.
    • The Hyades were a group of nymphs who brought rain.
    • The Lampads were the nymphs of the Underworld, and accompanied Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft and magic, in her nightly travels.
    • Naiads presided over freshwaters. They were further subdivided into numerous types associated with specific water bodies, such as limnads (lakes), potamides (rivers) and pegasides (springs). They were often associated with river gods, who were either their fathers, their sons, or just generally their male equivalents.
    • Nereids were the nymphs of the seas. They were strongly associated with Poseidon, whom they often accompanied. Some myths describe them as the daughters of the sea god Nereus, hence their name, and the Oceanid Doris.
    • Oceanids, contrary to what you'd assume, were the nymphs of rivers and springs.note  They numbered three thousand and were the daughters of the titans Oceanus and Tethys, with three thousand river-god brother. Styx, the nymph/goddess of the Underworld river that bears her name, was the oldest of their number.
    • The oreads were the nymphs of the mountains, and were associated with Pan and Artemis.
    • The seven Pleiades, another group of daughters of Atlas, were companions to Artemis and were at some point transformed into the stars that bear their name.
    • Individual nymphs include Amphitrite, a nereid and Poseidon's wife; Echo, who was cursed by Hera to only be able to repeat what others said and eventually faded away to only a disembodied voice; Melinoë, an underworld nymph and bringer of nightmares (though usually she considered a full fledged goddess in her own right); and Metis, an Oceanid and Athena's mother. There's also a running theme of nymphs being transformed into plants after misadventures involving the gods — Daphnenote , for instance, was a naiad who was pursued by an amorous Apollo, prayed to her river god father for escape and was transformed in to a laurel tree; the naiad Minthe tried to seduce Hades and was turned into the first mint plant by a furious Persephone; the dryad Syrinx met a similar fate to Daphne's, being transformed into a river reed by her sisters to escape Pan; the oread Pytisnote  was transformed into a pine tree under the same circumstances.
  • The Hulder/Huldra (and their male counterparts, the huldrekall) are a type of seductive forest creature of Scandinavian folklore who appear in the form of a beautiful maiden who would routinely seduce men and bring them to their underground homes. They are typically told apart by their cow-tails that they would hide in their skirts.
  • In Islam and Arabian folklore, Houri are celestial maidens created by God as rewards for pious Muslims. They're said to have Raven Hair, Ivory Skin and can grant wishes unlimitedly, transmute any liquid into honey, and sometimes change their shape without limits (depends on their husbands' desires). They also sweat musk and spit honey.
    • Hur-in, the best type of houri, have supernatural charming eyes and bodies made of saffron.
    • Kawa'ib (singular Ka'ib, lit. "busty") Atrab (singular tarba' literally "near or in her husband age") are a type of busty houri who are poured from clouds like rain.
  • In Persian folklore there's a type of jinn and fair folk called peri, which are possibly synonyms of houri or a Persian counterpart of them. They are beautiful winged women; some of them evil, but most of them good. They can also appear and disappear as will.

  • The Gamer's Alliance: Nymphs are agile female creatures with ebony skin and cat-like eyes who are in tune with nature, live in Libaterran forests and have intimate encounters with travelers, which makes books of lore refer to a nymph as the "ranger's fondest conquest". It serves as a plot point once it's revealed that the nymphs are seducing travelers because they need them to become pregnant; a magical curse makes nymphs only give birth to females of their kind and thus they need males from other races to keep their bloodline going.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dark Eye: Nymphs are fairies who resemble beautiful humanoid women with slightly pointed ears. Like all fairies, they come to the material world from the fairy realm for reasons they don't usually discuss, although they must return to their home to avoid wasting away. They appoint themselves as protectors of bodies of water and use their magic to punish humans who damage them. They're also extremely beautiful and almost always nude, and are known for seducing humans away to the fairy land and never to be seen again. There are also dryads, which are much the same but look after trees instead.
  • Dragon Dice: Naiads and Dryads are a central part of the Treefolk army, serving as the faction's cavalry and mages.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Nymphs are beings resembling beautiful elven women, and live alone in and protect places of unspoiled natural beauty. They are essentially living embodiment of beauty — in fact, they form spontaneously in places of natural wonder as a reflection of their splendor, and will sicken and perish should their homes be ruined or despoiled; likewise, if the nymph is injured or sullied her home will decay as well. They're themselves supernaturally, perfectly beautiful to such a degree that anyone looking directly at a nymph's face will be struck blind — and anyone looking at a naked nymph will straight-up die.
    • Dryads likewise resemble beautiful elven women. They are bonded to individual trees — oak trees, specifically — and will die if they spend too much time away from them or if the tree is cut down. They can meld with and teleport between trees, and serve as protectors of forested lands. Their skin and hair change color with the seasons: in the spring and summer, their skin is tan and their hair green; in the fall they both turn golden or red, and in the winter they turn white. Since all dryads are female, they rely on other species for reproduction — generally, a dryad will have children with either a magically enthralled human or elf, in which case the child will always be a dryad, or with a satyr, in which case there's an even chance of the child being either a dryad girl or a satyr boy. A young dryad will live with her mother until she reaches adulthood, at which point she will seek a tree of her own to bond to.
    • Nereids are blue-skinned marine nymphs hailing from the Elemental Plane of Water. They don't often move to the Material Plane and interact with the surface world even more rarely, preferring the company of water elementals and sea creatures. They carry seafoam-white shawls that they depend on for their lives — a nereid whose shawl is destroyed will wither and die within an hour — and unscrupulous individuals often enslave them by taking their shawls from them.
    • Oreads are women with stony skin who live on and protect mountains.
    • Grain nymphs are associated with farmland and agriculture and usually benevolent to humans (and looked down upon by their kin as city-slicker snobs). Their presence can double a farm's harvest, giving plentiful bounty to whatever community it feeds. Woe betide a farmer who tries to exploit or hurt a grain nymph, however; not only will it drive her away, she "marks" the transgressor so that farm animals (including riding horses) regard him as an enemy forever.
  • Exalted:
    • Nymphs are water elementals resembling blue-skinned women with pearl eyes. They're extremely beautiful and sometimes take mortal lovers, but these inevitably drown when the nymph takes them to her underwater home.
    • Dryads are minor deities of individual trees, charged with recording their lives but often driven to actively protect them; this is complicated for them because, as they're supposed to be passive recorders and gods aren't supposed to directly meddle with mortals anyway, they're prohibited from actively harming those who'd cut their trees. They're not bound to their trees and don't die with them, but the loss of their charge leaves them essentially unemployed until they can find another, form a cult or join a spirit court. They resemble women with bark for skin and leaves for hair, and often use tattoos or scarification to emulate wounds left on their trees by lightning or axes.
  • Fabula Ultima: Nymphs are a type of elemental which resemble elven women with green hair and branchlike horns. They're stated to live in forests, mountains, and lakes, much like classical dryads, oreads and naiads. They're immune to earth and poison damage, resistant to fire and ice damage, and possess a magical "seasonal touch" attack which inflicts different status effects depending on the current season.
  • Palladium Fantasy: Nymphs are ethereal, incorporeal faeries that appoint themselves as protectors of areas of land, favoring features such as ancient trees, springs, rivers, boulders and hills for their dwellings. They are normally gentle and good-hearted beings who willingly aid the lost and helpless, but respond with violent anger at senseless destruction of their land.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Nymphs are a type of fey resembling impossibly beautiful, pointy-eared humanoid women, and watch over and protect natural wonders; they are in fact so supernaturally gorgeous that looking at one is enough to strike a man blind. In first edition, the nymphs' traditional subtypes are treated as distinct types of fey in their own right, only similar to nymphs insofar as they're humanoid, Always Female (usually; male dryads have appeared in stories and official artwork) and protectors of nature. 2nd edition overhauls this classification to more closely resemble the Greco-Roman model — "nymph", as such, is a general category of humanoid, female fey that watch over natural landmarks, with the previous nymph-like fey being reinterpreted as numerous subtypes that watch over specific environments and landmarks. Nymph queens, rare and powerful exemplars of their kinds, take over the role of the older nymph species, to which they're largely equivalent mechanically. Common nymphs are bonded to specific areas and sicken and die if they leave them, while nymph queens are more mobile.
      • Dryads guard specific trees and cannot stray far from them without withering and dying. Dryad queens, also called hamadryads, are not bound to individual plants and watch over whole forests. Some dryads' appearances and personalities change depending on the type of tree they're bonded to; cherry tree dryads, called kraneiai, are for instance distinguished by a pink coloration and a preoccupation with the fragile beauty of life.
      • Naiads are bound to and watch over fresh waters such as rivers, ponds and lakes. They can transfer their bonds to other bodies of water, though, allowing them some mobility.
      • Lampads are the wardens of subterranean wildernesses, keeping lonely vigil over caverns and abysses. They have little interaction with intelligent beings outside of guiding lost travelers to the surface and battling evil groups like duergar and drow, and consequently tend to be very lonely and deeply morose. They are bonded to specific caves.
      • Hesperides are nymphs of sunset, and guard places from which the setting sun can be seen particularly well, and often also keep watch over precious or magical artifacts. They can manipulate sunlight to create fire and searing light, and are bonded to the specific panorama they guard. Hesperid queens often form close partnerships with gold dragons.
    • In addition to true nymphs, there are a number of similar humanoid fey that fill similar niches and roles:
      • Nereids are largely that in name only and bear more resemblance to medieval water spirits than anything else, being capricious freshwater seductresses who can spray poison and drown with a touch. 2nd Edition, they're instead Heroic Neutral isolationists who are maligned because of confusion with rusalkas, who are the actual malicious fey who prey on sailors that nereids are mistaken as.
      • Oceanids are marine counterparts to nymphs, possessing lower bodies made out of roiling water than only become legs on dry land and extensive power over the element of water.
      • Oreads are that In Name Only, being otherwise regular humanoids with earth elemental ancestry.
      • Nephlei, while not true nymphs or even fey — they're a type of air elemental, strictly speaking — strongly resemble them, appearing as giant, blue-skinned, pointy-eared women with skin covered in whorled white markings. They're known as cloud nymphs in-universe and are closely connected to their element, being able to command wind, clouds and lighting to a fairly extensive degree.
  • RuneQuest: Dryads are one of the species that make up the Aldryami, a collection of sapient plants and plant spirits that most famously includes the elves, and often live alongside other Aldryami in mixed communities. They're a lithe and feminine race of protective spirits of the woods and all within their forests; they are generally incapable of harming anything except those that would harm that forest.
  • Shadowrun: Dryads are an elven metavariant that is not tied to any specific place of origin. Instead, elven (and sometimes human) children are just occasionally born as dryads. They underwent some fairly drastic changes over the game's history, but have always been Always Female, mildly allergic to pollution and shorter on average than other elves.
    • In 2nd edition, dryads are much shorter than other elves and inevitably migrate away from their places of birth as soon as they can, resettling in whatever wilderness they can find and reverting to an almost feral state. Adult dryads live in strict separation from society, speak their own language and are always shamans that follow the Father Tree totem.
    • In and after 5th edition, dryads are only somewhat shorter than elves and better integrated into urban society, in part because their being as scattered as they are prevents them from forming a cohesive culture. They are still, however, deeply connected with nature, and pointedly avoid areas of heavy urbanization and pollution — which, in Shadowrun, is easier said than done.
  • Talislanta: The Dryad Bush is a flowering shrub that, at night, turns into a green skinned forest nymph.
  • Warhammer:
    • Dryads are among the Nature Spirits native to the enchanted forest of Athel Loren. They take the form of beautiful women dressed in minimal garments, but when faced with an enemy — and they have a very generous view of what counts as an enemy — they take on their true forms as monstrous, vicious woody humanoids and tear their foes limb from limb.
    • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay further describes naiads, aquatic counterparts to the dryads of the woods, who live within and claim rulership over rivers. They resemble elven women, usually with blue or white hair and blue-tinged flesh. They also have a tendency to lure men into their realms. Much like dryads, they are immensely protective of their homes, prone to taking on monstrous war-forms when these are threatened, respected and admired by elves, hated by dwarves and greatly feared by humans.
  • We Are All Mad Here: Nymphs are supernatural female beings associated with protecting a particular location or landform, such as a river, tree, or mountain.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Mythology: Dryads and Nereids are mid-tier Myth units available to the Atlanteans. Nereids are aquatic shark-riding anti naval units, while Dryads are slow tree-like attackers that can only be summoned with a specific God power.
  • Age of Wonders: Nymphs are creatures in the elves' roster; they resemble beautiful women in minimal clothing, can befriend animals and attack by seducing enemies.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Nymphs are a type of Nature Spirit most commonly found in the Iliac Bay region. They take the form of beautiful, naked, long-haired women and attack using fire spells. Although rumored to be highly sexual beings, most are rather shy and rarely approach mortals on their own.
  • Fable nymphs are malevolent nature spirits that shift between small female bodies and intangible Spark Fairy forms. They come in Wood, Water, and Succubus varieties; have nature-themed magic; are able to summon scorpions, hobbes or undead; and are rumoured to transform lost children into goblins by eating their souls.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IX features Nymphs in two categories — antagonists who appear as enemies in battle and benevolent creatures that give the party money and AP in exchange for ore. They have tangles of roots instead of feet, and large flowers growing from their heads.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics has Dryads as the weakest Palette Swap of Treants.
  • Quest for Glory I: There's a dryad who is very protective of the forest, and if you kill or threaten the local wildlife she'll transform you into one of the local wildlife.
  • Rayman: Betilla and her sisters, who were the first of Polokus's creations and act as his emissaries. Origins gives them a more Stripperiffic makeover.
  • Terraria:
    • Nymphs are enemies found deep underground. At first sight, they appear as an NPC called "Lost Girl". Upon approaching or attacking them, they reveal themselves as they attack nearby players.
    • One of the helpful NPCs that can move into your houses is the Dryad, who can tell you how much Corruption, Crimson, and Hallow has consumed the world, along with selling you items.
  • Unavowed: Galene is a dryad who once sought to prevent humanity from settling Manhattan Island and cutting its forests, until she was defeated and trapped in a small patch of woods in what would become Central Park. She's still there, and wants to magically turn New York back into unspoiled wilderness.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: The "Nymph's Robe" item is described as being "spun by pixies".
  • Warcraft: Dryads first appeared in Warcraft III as Anti-Magic units for the Night Elf faction. Rather than forest spirits, they instead look like night elf women with the lower body of a deer. Also uniquely, "dryad" is almost exclusively the name used, with nymph being a rare interchangeable term for the same creature. Variants include dryads with crystalline hair, hooves and armor who live in a forest of crystal trees; and frost nymphs, who have cooler hair and fur colors and inhabit snowy regions.
  • The Witcher: Nymphs are Always Female, pointy-eared and beautiful humanoids who watch over nature. They procreate by mating with humans or elves or by transforming humans into more of their kind — drinking the Waters of Brokilon will turn a human into a dryad, for instance. They're equated with The Fair Folk to a degree — they share some of their names with European fairies, and are known to kidnap human children to raise as their own and replace them with changelings. They appeared in the Continent long before the arrival of the first humans and elves and warred bitterly against the dwarves; the latter saw the nymphs as dangerous barbarians, while the nymphs saw the industrialized dwarves as despoilers and polluters. Numerous distinct types exist:
    • Dryads are the nymphs of forests, and may have green hair alongside brown and russet shades. Hamadryads have especially strong connections to nature and form strong bonds with individual trees.
    • Leimoniads are the nymphs of fields. They're now mostly extinct due to conflicts with humanity, who turned their prairies into arable land. They got along better with the elves, who do not practice agriculture.
    • Naiads, also called rusalkas, are the nymphs of lakes and rivers. Their hair is black or green, and their skin ranges from alabaster to greenish. Some possess webbed hands, and all naiads must remain close to water at all times — if they go too long on dry land they'll dehydrate and die.
    • Nereids are the nymphs of the sea. They're mostly found in the depths of the Great Ocean, where they live alongside merfolk and sea witches in a civilization of their own. They're close kin to naiads, and tend to have green and blue skin and hair.
    • Oreads are the nymphs of mountains, and like the leimoniads are now mostly extinct.
  • Zork: Nymphs are House Fey. Tiny Winged Humanoids summoned to act as servants, guards or exotic dancers.

  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Marcia Sutton is a dryad who typically resembles a normal human woman but can turn into a Plant Person should she choose to, and can communicate with, see through and control both natural and magically altered plant life.
  • The Legend of Maxx features a race of Dryads, expanding on the single Dryad present in Terraria. Each Dryad is based on a certain plant which they physically resemble, including the wise Elder Willow and the dementia-riddled Elder Fungus.
  • In Lore Olympus we see various nymphs, most notably Minthe, the nymph of the river of the underworld who has bright red skin and hair and pointy ears but otherwise looks like a very attractive and slender human, and Thetis, a sea nymph with a grey and aqua coloration, fin like ears, and a similarly attractive (if maybe slightly more curvaceous) figure.
  • In The Noordegraaf Files, Nereids are a species of Always Female aquatic humanoids with the lower bodies of squid. They breathe water through microscopic gill slits on their faces, and some can stay on land as long as their gills stay moist. They have eyes with colored scleras and grey irises, and live in a monarchical society where one's standing is determined by her physical beauty Naiads are subspecies adapted for life in bodies of freshwater, although "Nereid" can be used to refer to both kinds as a whole. Dryads and something called "Incindads" (fire nymphs) are also said to exist, but have not been seen in-comic.
  • Nothing Special: The first antagonist who also happens to be Callie's mother is revealed to be a dryad, though in this universe their true forms are very ethereal until they cover themselves in their element. In this case, skin made of wood and a hair made of flowers. Dryads can posses trees and use people's souls as decorations of sorts.

    Web Original 
  • In Looming Gaia, nymphs are magical, femininine beings created by Gaia, the spirit of the planet itself, to protect Her from pollution and industrialisation. They come in ten types: Hydriads (water), Isanae (frost), Pyriads (fire), Oreads (land), Aurae (air), Limniads (plant), Faunae (beast), Maenads (soul), Dryads (wood), and Pleiadae (star). They are classified as fae due to their natural magic ability, but they don't age and can't naturally reproduce.