Sylvans (Polish: Silvan), also called willowers, deovels, devils, pucks, or yakshas are exceedingly rare humanoid species of intelligent herbivores.
They live in forests like Brokilon, in which they are tolerated by the dryads along with leprechauns. At times they descend to fertile farming areas, the Valley of Flowers being a good example, because of the abundance of food.
Sylvans resemble a human with goat's horns on their heads, hairy legs with cloven hooves, and tails with tassel at the end. Because of the horns, they are referred to as deovels or devils by superstitious peasants, a nomenclature that sylvans are not particularly fond of.
In general, sylvans aren't seen as a threat by humans and are accepted as harmless. They are playful and they love tricks and pranks of physical nature, as well as riddles, more than anything else in life. Despite this, however, they are also helpful creatures that fertilise fields, scare birds away, voluntarily watch over turnips and eat caterpillars. Sylvan value peaceful resolution, when caught between the conflict of elves and humans, and despise bloodshed.
Sylvans resemble men not just in appearance but also in behavior, though it must be said they have adopted more of our vices and weaknesses than strengths. Lazy by nature, they would gladly spend every day in idleness, puffing on pipes, gorging on rich foods and downing strong drinks.
Since sylvans enjoy partaking of the fruits of others' labors without asking permission, men do not take to them kindly and at times, fooled by their awkward appearance, will try to solve this problem using force. This often ends in tragedy, for sylvans, despite their corpulent frames, are astonishingly strong and agile.
They also emit a powerful and extremely unpleasant scent which can cause even a witcher, whose line of work accustoms him to foul stenches, to gag and feel faint.
- Sylvans are cruel, greedy and treacherous. Still, I prefer them to dh'oine.
– Yaevinn, legendary Scoia'tael commander
- Sylvans and Yakshas, a kindred species, are extremely rare woodland creatures whose appearance combines traits of goats and rotund men. These beings usually pose little danger, for they limit their contact with humans to playing harmless (though often bothersome) tricks and eating crops from their fields.
Sylvans (such as Fugas, the guardian of the Bald Mountain caves) are deceptive in appearance. That they are fat, and look clumsy, hides almost absurd amounts of physical strength. Melee combat against a sylvan is difficult, even for a witcher. Evade the physical strikes from a sylvan, do not attempt to parry or counterattack. Yrden can allow a witcher time to bring a silver sword into play, but a sylvan can counter this by breathing intense flames that melt through the best armor.
If close-quarters combat is not going well, you should be prepared to make use of long-ranged options. A powerful crossbow loaded with good bolts can keep you relatively safe, while still effective at slaying this beast.
- In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, at least some of them can breathe fire if provoked. Such ability is not present in the books.