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)
ALTERNATE RACIAL RULES
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.