Nymphs are embodiments of natural magic, beautiful beings who reflect the landscape around them. Of note, they may be extremely masculine or extremely feminine (depending on what guise has garnered them the most success in the past and their own personal tastes) but always posess genitalia that other humanoids would call 'female', since they all capable of bearing children.
All nymphs reproduce by siphoning the life-force of mortals, variously leaving them dead, catatonic, or strangely hollow and beholden to the nymph and her new child, depending on the nymph.
Nymphs lure their mates/prey with sweet music, dancing wisps, or glimpses of flesh which lays a supernatural compulsion on anyone nearby.
A nymph's pregnancy lasts only a week, during which time her environ will exhibit a display of fertility regardless of season. The new nymphet grows to adulthood within a moon's cycle, and thus subadult nymphs are rarely seen. The child often reflects characteristics of the mortal donor, while being thoroughly a nymph. Rarely, a nymph will have an extremely difficult pregnancy that results in a mostly-mortal child known as a cambion. Even more rarely, nymphs will produce twins, and they are always either identical nymphets bound to each other as much as the earth, or fraternal pairs of one nymph and one cambion.
Upon attaining full growth, nymphs enter a period of their lives known as 'maidenhood' or 'rootlessness', where they rove the land seeking a place that suits them. A nymphs maidenhood may last only a few days, as she walks over to the next forest, or years as she seeks exactly the right place. Maiden nymphs do not breed, and are not as powerful as rooted 'matron' nymphs. They may be tolerated or terrorized depending on the area. (The Mage's School has a thriving harem of maidens curious about humans, ruled by a Kissiae matron.)
Nymphs are very social, and happy to live in groups as large as their environment can support. They live forever unless killed or their home is irrevocably altered or destroyed.
Nymphs appear to only be able to use adults for their mating rituals. Children and adolescents can pass through a nymph's territory unmolested, and in fact will be fiercely protected from harm.
In fact, certain nymphs have further types or preferences, which often become well-known to the local population -- "Oh, don't mind Chloris. Unless you're a troll, she has no interest in you." This, combined with their great power and infrequent need to breed, often makes it easier to avoid a nymph than oust them from their territory.
Nymphs are grouped into breeds or categories, but this is an informal and blurry grouping used by Styllic scholars rather than the nymphs themselves. After all, where does a bog nymph end and a lake nymph begin?
Nymphs of plants and the earth, the most common and commonly encountered kind of nymph.
Anthousai, or flower nymphs, are frequently deceptively docile. One must remember that these are wildflowers, not garden roses, and their sweet smell leads to a poisonous source.
One of the most common nymph breeds, the nymphs of trees and forests are also one of the most well-documented. Of particular note are hamadryades, old matron nypmphs who occupy a large forest with their offspring and rule over them, and the Hyleoroi, a truly unusual phenomenon. The Hyleoroi are an organization of maiden dryads who maintain communication between the disparate and isolated nymphs, and defend woodlands from mortal incursion.
The rocky nymphs of mountains and caves, oreads are hardy and often muscular. They are encountered frequently by the Hrduk-Ur, who associate them with sources of precious metal and stone. Whether this is a true correlation, or simply another kind of lure is unknown.
Meadow nymphs have pin-straight hair, ranging from long wheat-gold locks to short, green and spiky. With their magic affecting crops, it is not unknown for them to revieve tribute from local farming communities, developing fertility cults with varying degrees of sinisterness.
'Ivy nymphs'. Technically a misnomer, since they can also be affiliated with moss, mushrooms, or any plant capable of thriving on limited resources, these are the only nymphs which can be found in urban areas, and then only rarely. Their hair is curly and tangled, sometimes even dreaded. Urban Kissiae often look indistinguishable from an extraordinarily beautiful citizen of their city.
Water nymphs of all kinds, this is the second largest group of nymphs, though it contains what is by far the most common breed of nymphs, the naiads.
The most common and varied breed of nymphs, some scholars give them their own subcategories. There are the Crinaeae of wells, fountains, and waterworks (which some argue is actually a breed of Kissiae -- the Crinaeae couldn't care less), the Eleionomae of wetlands, lake-dwelling Limnatides, Pegaeae (springs), and river-maiden Potameides.
Salt-water nymphs, they tend to frequent coastlines rather than the open sea. They are the most group oriented of nymphs, having been found in pods of up to fifty individuals, and there is anecdotal evidence that their temperaments are strongly affected by the weather. Jetsam Brackish is a notorious maiden nereid adventurer.
The 'other' or 'foreign' nymphs embody concepts that are more unearthly or less natural than other nymphs. It is something of a catch-all category, for asteriae have far less in common with maenads than the varied Hydriades do with each other.
Scholarly star-nymphs, they are the rarest kind of nymph, but also the least hazardous to deal with. They consider mortals more valuable as sources of information than anything. Asteriae are lorekeepers, though they are not sober -- they revel in being secretive and confusing when they deal with mortals. They seem to have fixed numbers within their individual covens, and only reproduce if one dies. They live either in sites of great religious import, or at high elevations where they can see the stars. Physically, they often resemble statuesque Oreads, though like all nymphs they are keyed to their surroundings.
Half-mad nymphs born of environments that have been altered by magic, any nymph can be turned into a lampade if their domain is affected by powerful magic. The Wastes in the east and the deep caverns under the earth are home to countless lampades. They are attended by, and were once thought to spawn, swarms of wisps hence the source of their name, which means torch.
Predatory stalker-nymphs, who hunt in troupes and partake heavily of mind-altering substances. After mating with a mortal, they slaughter them and ritually bathe in their blood. Except for their fearsome, feral appearance, they often do not have unnatural coloration to distinguish them from mere mortal women.