Derro are a degenerate race of dwarven stature. They have been skulking in the
Underdark for ages, but they were discovered by the mind flayers only five
centuries ago, and by the drow but shortly before that. The derro have made a name
for themselves by their marked cruelty. It is said that a derro lives for just
two things: to witness the slow, humiliating death of surface demihumans, and
especially humans; and the perversion of knowledge to their own dark ends.
Derro are short, with skin the color of an iced over lake (white, with bluish
undertones), sickly, pale yellow or tan hair (always straight), and staring
eyes that have no pupils. Their features remind dwarves of humans, and vice versa.
Derro have rough skin, spotted with short coarse tufts of hair. Most derro
wear a loose costume woven from the hair of underground creatures and dyed deep
red or brown. Their armor is leather, studded in copper and brass. Leaders wear
tougher, kather armors, made from the hides of beasts far more rugged than
Combat: Derro are one of the most dexterous of humanoid races (averaging 15-18), and
their Armor Class must be adjusted for this. Normally, a derro party is
well-equipped with weapons and spells. All derro carry small, ornamental blades, called secari, which can be treated as daggers, but most use other weapons as well.
Half of all encountered derro carry a repeating light crossbow (12 maximum
range, two shots each round, six-bolt capacity, 1d3 points of damage). Derro
crossbowman usually coat their bolts with poison. If a derro wants to simply bring
down his prey, he uses a poison that causes an additional 2d6 points of damage
(successful saving throw for no additional damage). If he desires to prolong his
target's suffering, he uses a poison that has the same effects as a ray of enfeeblement spell (asuccessful saving throw indicates no poison damage).
Twenty-five percent of derro carry a hook-fauchard, a long (6'+) pole arm that
causes 1d4 points of impaling damage and can pull a man-sized or smaller
creature off-balance 25% of the time. It takes one round to regain balance.
Fifteen percent of derro use only a spiked buckler. This small shield,
improves the derro's AC by 1 against any one opponent. It is armed with a central
spike, which can be wielded as a second weapon (no penalty because of the derro's
high Dexterity) for 1d4 points of impaling damage. The derro will also have a
hooked aklys, a short, heavy club that can be thrown for 1d6 points of crushing
damage. It is attached to a thick leather thong so that it can be retrieved.
Thanks to the hook, the aklys also pulls an opponent off-balance but it has only a
1-8 chance. These derro are considered brave by their fellows; they are
awarded the rarer, heavier armors (AC 4).
The remaining 10% of the derro are the sons and daughters of derro leaders.
They are given heavier armor and trained in the use of the spear and the military
pick. They use bucklers (sans spikes) when not using the spear with both hands.
For every three derro encountered, there is one with 4 Hit Dice. For every six
derro, there is one with 5 Hit Dice. If 10 or more, there is a 7 Hit Die
leader with a 6 Hit Die lieutenant. If a party encounters 25 derro, they would be
accompanied by eight 4 Hit Die derro, four of 5 Hit Die, one with 6 Hit Dice, and
one with 7. The leaders always wear the thicker armor and usually wield
well-made (and occasionally magical) weapons.
If 20 or more are encountered, they are accompanied by a savant and two
students. Savant derro are able to use any sort of magical item or weapon. Savants
know 1d4+5 of the following spells, learned at random: affect normal fires, anti-magic shell, blink, cloudkill, ESP hypnotic pattern,
ice storm, invisibility, levitate, light, lightning bolt, minor creation,
paralyzation, repulsion, shadow magic, spider climb, ventriloquism, wall of fog,
wall of force. Savants have 5-8 Hit Dice, and carry two or three useful magical items.
Typical magical items are any potion, any scroll, rings of fire resistance, invisibility, protection, and spell storing, any wand, studded leather armor +1, shields, weapons up to +3, bracers of defense, brooches of shielding, cloaks of protection, and so on. Savants can instinctively comprehend languages and read magic (as the spells).
Savants are capable of acting as sages in one to three areas of study. Derro
raids are often inspired by a savant's research.
Student savants know only 1-3 spells, have 4-7 Hit Dice, they know only one
field of study, and one minor magical item.
In combat, derro fight cunningly, with good tactics. They keep spellcasters
from effectively using magic, and inflict minor wounds until they eventually kill
their opponents. Savants use their powers to confuse and frustrate, rather
than to simply kill. Derro have poor infravision (30-foot range) but keen hearing
(treat as the blind-fighting, nonweapon proficiency).
Derro keep slaves and attempt to capture intelligent opponents, when possible.
Habitat/Society: Derro live in large underground complexes, nearer the surface than the
kuo-toans and drow, but deeper than goblins and trolls. They never expose themselves
to direct sunlight; it nauseates them. Sunlight will kill a derro if he is
exposed to it for several days. Still, derro do visit the surface at night, raiding
for humans or carrying out a savant's plans.
Derro are never encountered singly. From their combat tactics to their choice
of spells, derro demonstrate a mob mentality. A lone derro is a desperate
derro, seeking at all costs to return to his home.
Derro lairs always have 3d4+30 normal derro, plus leaders. The members of the
lair are led by the resident savants (1-3 in number) and their apprentices (2-5
students). Derro obey without question the puzzling, even suicidal, dictates
from their savant leaders.
Also to be found in a derro lair are 5d6+10 human slaves. If any of the
lair's savants or students know the charm person spell, each slave has a 90% chance of being charmed. Derro hate humans more
than any other race; they use humans for the most demeaning manual labor, and
Derro do not appear to worship any powers, but the savants treasure knowledge
and the rest seem to worship the savants.
Derro usually scour their territory for magical items, stealing them, or, if
necessary, purchasing them from more powerful creatures. Derro do not share the
love of gold common to their dwarven relatives, and they have been known to pay
exorbitant prices for a few potions or for a magical item with a missing
Every 20 years or so, the derro mount an all-out war against the other
creatures of the Underdark. This is known as the Uniting War, and no savant really
expects it to be won. The War is a means of winnowing out the weakest of the derro
lairs, a focal point for racial identity, and a chance to really create some
terror in the Underdark. It also serves the purpose of starting rumors. Humans
will certainly hear that a war is being fought in the Underdark, and they will
send hundreds of scouting and adventuring parties to the underground to
investigate. The derro welcome this new source of slaves.
Ecology: Derro can live on a diet of underground fungi, but use it only for spice. They
seek out other sustenance whenever possible. A derro hunting party usually
pursues large, dangerous prey that will feed an entire lair, rather than smaller,
simpler food. The derro tendency to torment prey also holds when for hunting
food. They also raid other races for food.
Duergar, or gray dwarves, are a malevolent breed that exist at extreme depths
underground. Duergar may be fighters, priests, thieves, or multi-classed
fighter/priests, fighter/thieves, or priest/thieves. Thieves are proficient in the
use of poison.
Duergar appear to be emaciated, nasty-looking dwarves. Their complexions and
hair range from medium to dark gray. They prefer drab clothing designed to blend
into their environment. In their lairs, they may wear jewelry, although such
pieces are kept dull.
Duergar have infravision to 120 feet. They speak the duergar dialect of the
dwarven tongue, "undercommon" (the trading language of subterranean cultures),
and the silent speech employed by some subterranean creatures. Intelligent
duergar may speak other languages as well.
Combat: For every four, single HD duergar encountered outside a lair, there is one
with 2 HD+4 hp. If a band of nine are encountered outside a lair, there will be a
tenth, with 3 HD+6 hp or 4 HD+8 hp always leads the group.
Duergar are armed as follows:
1st level: pick, hammer, spear, chain mail, and shield;
2nd level: pick, light crossbow, chain mail, and shield;
3rd-6th level: hammer, short sword, plate mail, and shield;
7th-9th level: hammer*, short sword*, plate mail*, and shield*;
3rd-6th/3rd-6th-level priest/thief: any usable*/any usable*;
7th-9th/7th-9th-level priest/thief: any usable*/any usable*
* 5% chance/level for magical item; for multi-class, add one-half of lower
up) to the higher level in order to find the appropriate multiplier.
There are noncombatant, duergar children equal to 10% of the total number of
duergar fighters encountered.
The duergar's stealth imposes a -2 penalty to opponents' surprise rolls; the
duergar are surprised only on a 1 on 1dl0. Their saving throws vs. magical
attacks gain a +4 bonus. They are immune to paralysis, illusion/phantasm spells and
All duergar possess innate magical abilities of enlargement and invisibility. They can use these spells as wizards of a level equal to their hit points.
Duergar can use enlargement to either grow or shrink themselves, as well as anything they are wearing or
Daylight affects the duergar as follows: their enhanced ability to gain
surprise is negated, Dexterity is reduced by 2, attacks are made with a -2 penalty to
the attack roll, and opponents' saving throws are made with a +2 bonus. If the
encounter occurs when the duergar are in darkness, but their opponents are
brightly illuminated, the duergar's surprise ability and Dexterity are normal, but
they still suffer a -1 penalty to their attack rolls while their opponents
gain a +1 bonus to saving throws against attacks. Duergar are not adversely
affected by the light given off by torches, lanterns, magical weapons, or light and faerie fire spells.
There is a 10% chance that any duergar are accompanied by 2d4 giant steeders, used as mounts (see Spiders).
Habitat Society: Duergar society is similar to that of other dwarven cultures, although life is
much harsher because of the hostile environment deep underground. They do not
venture to the surface except at night or on gloomy days. Duergar life spans
can reach 400 years.
(See also Dwarves, Player’s Option: Skills & Powers)
||Very to genius (13-18)
||Average to genius (8-18)
||Lair: B (magic only), F
||Lawful evil (Neutral)
||2-9 or 201-300
||5 or 4 (8)
||3 (see below)
||17 (see below)
|NO. OF ATTACKS:
||1 or 2
||Save with +4 bonus
||S (4' tall)
||S (4' tall)
||975 and up
||2 Hit Dice+4
||3 Hit Dice+6
||4 Hit Dice+8