Though derro dwell deep under most of the surface world's cities, very few know of the sadistic creatures' existence. Descended from mysterious fey that once dwelt deep underground, the derro lust for the comforts of the surface, yet the light of the sun causes them to blister, burn, and die. Derro often abduct surface dwellers to perform hideous experiments on them in their never-ending quest to divine what protects those who dwell above from the burning death, yet the intrinsic madness that plagues all derro dooms these experiments to failure every time. In the end, traumatized victims are returned to their homes, memories not quite completely wiped of their ordeal, to live the rest of their lives in vague fear of a nightmare they can't quite recall.

Physical Description: Derro are short, standing between 3 and 3–1/2 feet tall, but are trim and sturdy. They have pasty, bluish-white skin, coarse, wild-looking pale yellow hair, and bulbous white eyes. Males generally have full heads of hair, and though some are bald, they all typically have droopy mustaches which they often braid. Females pull their hair back into braids for mere practicality. Derro attire tends to be plain and dark in color, while their weapons and shields are decorated much like other dwarves, with images of creatures from the Shadow Plane and Darklands intertwined.

Society: Derro society is dominated by fighters and rogues, and ruled by a council of savants, sorcerers of tremendous powers. Their social structure most closely resembles that of a mob–a band of brutal warriors and deadly assassins, under the command of savant leaders, whom they follow fanatically. They often abduct surface dwellers to perform hideous experiments on them in their never-ending quest to divine what protects those who dwell above from the burning death.

Relations: Derro are suspicious of everyone and everything, and rely upon their inborn stealth and cunning to subdue other races of the Darklands. As a whole, they possess delusions of grandeur, of absolute rule over their kin, coupled with an overpowering urge to inflict torment on others. Though they are capable of holding their murderous impulses in check for short periods of time, this seldom lasts more than a few weeks. Despite the fact that they seek to dominate all other races, they will, at times, ally themselves with other evil creatures of the Darklands.

Alignment and Religion: Derro are cruel and bloodthirsty, and tend to be chaotic evil. While clerics are uncommon among the derro, those who choose to follow the divine path tend to revere deities of domination, tyranny, and cruelty as the source of their power. Worship of deities with bloodthirsty and vicious tendencies by warriors, rogues, and sorcerers is also prevalent.

Adventurers: Derro are rarely seen above ground, since sunlight can kill them. They are most often encountered in city catacombs or in the deep, lightless tunnels of the Darklands, where they arrange vicious, disabling traps and deadly ambushes for unwary travelers. The few derro that are encountered on the surface are typically renegades who have managed to cast off their dark impulses, and warily travel the lands of light in search of a measure of redemption. In any case, derro tend toward classes such as fighter, rogue, slayer, and sorcerer.

Male Names: Aurthan, Cathis, Durak, Ervesk, Ghaunt, Halzor, Kursh, Lomar, Lurram, Mirgon, Rhunak, Urgoth, Verve, Volgarth.
Female Names: Austreev, Belva, Cersus, Domalva, Eilak, Fometh, Gyla, Hessat, Jerza, Kaseth, Lythta, Mamel, Rothwyn, Tymar, Zevek.

Derro Racial Traits (Advanced 12 RP)
  • Type: Humanoid. (0 RP)
  • Ability Scores: Derro are agile and posses an indomitable personality, but allow their obsession to get the best of them. However, they are afflicted by a form of racial madness that gives them delusions of grandeur and a sadistic streak a mile wide. Of course, though other creatures realize this, no derro is capable of recognizing he is out of his mind. A derro is so confident of himself that this manifests as a defense for magic that attack an individuals willpower, against which their deranged minds would naturally have little defense. They gain +6 Charisma, +4 Dexterity, and –6 Wisdom. (4 RP)
  • Small: Derro are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their CMB and CMD, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks. (0 RP)
  • Slow Speed: Derro have a base speed of 20 feet. (–1 RP)
  • Darkvision: Derro can see in the dark up to 60 feet. (2 RP)
  • Derro Magic: Derro gain the following spell-like abilities: at will—darkness, ghost sound; 1/day—daze, sound burst. The caster level for these spell-like abilities is equal to the derro’s character level. The DC for the spells is equal to 10 + the spell’s level + the derro’s Charisma modifier. (2 RP)
  • Greater Spell Resistance: Derro gain spell resistance equal to 11 + their character level. (3 RP)
  • Hard Skin: Derro have a +2 natural armor bonus to Armor Class. (3 RP)
  • Madness: Derro are inherently mad, and thus use their Charisma modifier on Will saves instead of their Wisdom modifier, and are immune insanity and confusion effects. Only a miracle or wish spell can remove a derro’s madness. (–4 RP)
  • Poison Use: Derro are not at risk of poisoning themselves when handling poisons. (1 RP)
  • Sneak Attack: Derro that flank an opponent that is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC deals an extra 1d6 points of damage. This ability functions like the rogue’s sneak attack and is subject to the same limitations. This also stacks with a rogue’s sneak attack. (2 RP)
  • Vulnerability to Sunlight: Derro take 1 point of Constitution damage for every hour they are exposed to direct sunlight, and die if their Constitution score reaches 0. (–2 RP)
  • Weapon Familiarity: Derro are proficient with aklys, crossbows, and short swords. (2 RP)
  • Languages: Derro begin play speaking Aklo, Common, and Undercommon. Derro with high Intelligence scores can choose any of the following: Abyssal, Draconic, Dwarven, Goblin, Infernal, Orc, and Terran. (0 RP)

While most think of derro as a relatively homogenous race, many clans have adapted over the years to better survive in harsh and varied environments. The following options represent some of that customization, and can be taken by any derro character.

Alternate Racial Traits
The following racial traits may be selected instead of the standard dwarf racial traits. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.
  • Daylight Adaptation: Some derro venture to the surface world and learn to adapt to the deadly rays of the sun. Derro with this trait gain light sensitivity. This trait replaces vulnerability to sunlight.
  • Sane: Some derro, either as an abnormality at birth or through powerful magic, lose their insanity. Derro with this trait gain +4 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, and –2 Wisdom. This trait replaces madness and the standard derro ability score modifiers.