Derro (5e Race)

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The derro are degenerate Underdark humanoids that resemble small dwarves in stature. Cruel and insane, they take delight in tormenting others — even their own kind.

Physical Description[edit]

By Jim Holloway

Derro are small humanoids that have blue-gray skin. They usually have wild or straight hair that is white or yellow in color. Their uniformly pale white eyes lack both irises and pupils, but sometimes are tinged with yellow as they age. They have a good deal of years on their appearance, no matter how young their age is. Their haggard, decrepit appearance, coupled with their usually ruined clothing gives them a pathetic appearance that tugs at the heartstrings for the good-willed.


Derro believe they were created by their god, Diirinka. There are two opposing theories about how they came to be. One theory is that they are actually the result of cruel experiments on dwarves by mind-flayers. Like duergar, the derro were a slave race to the mind-flayers, but eventually freed themselves. However, because of their dark genesis, the derro are afflicted with a form of racial insanity as a price of freedom. This manifests as murderous impulses, sadism, xenophobia, and delusions of grandeur. The second theory is that they were once normal beings from the surface world, possibly of human or dwarven origin from the times of the twilight of the sarrukh. They supposedly forced open a portal to the Far Realm, angering the World Serpent, a primal deity who dwelt there. As punishment, the derro were cast into the Underdark, where their bodies and minds became twisted from fear and depravity.


Derro create no magnificent cities of their own. Instead, they often form small, isolated enclaves or settlements, called warrens, in non—derro settlements throughout the Underdark, where they are usually treated as vermin or slaves by drow and duergar. They are rather widespread in the Underdark, and have their greatest independent strongholds in the heart of the deepest of the chasms. People are wary to go near those areas, for they have scouts and marauders who take after the practice of drowic enslavement. Only, they don't use slaves for work; they just torment them. Their dwarven inventiveness is twisted, resulting in their invention of deadly torture tools and weapons like the repeater crossbow.

Their own cutthroat politics prevent the derro from mounting any effective resistance against exploitation by others. Their clever stealthiness is washed out by their murderous insanity, making them a strange and sadistic race. Many call them monstrous humanoids not only because of their appearance, but because of their mental cages. It is very common for derro to devote themselves to some strange quest, usually in line with their sadism and bloodlust, such as collecting only certain types of gemstones and slaying as many members of a particular race as possible. Savants are derro who have manifested their insanity into greater power, though they are not any less insane. They lead the derro communities, assigning specific missions with the possibility that they might even join a company of comrades to fulfill some irrational goal. Sometimes, this ends in mass murder of the group even.

Derro Names[edit]

Derro names have a shortened dwarwish feel. They have some drowic influence.

Male: Arikom, Baenn, Bharik, Dodrak, Krigran, Migrim, Quindal, Ranis, Sadek, Thoregg

Female: Ankra, Biza, Gwistra, Matta, Mirdis, Narri, Luuva, Stalja, Visine, Zanndryn

Derro Traits[edit]

Underdark humanoids that resemble dwarves
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and either your Constitution or Intelligence score increases by 1.
Age. Derro mature quickly, reaching adulthood at around 7 years of age, and can live to see 80 if they don't fall victim to another derro before then.
Alignment. Derro are invariably insane and demented, thus almost always Chaotic. They tend towards cruelty and avarice, so they are usually evil. Some neutral individuals aren't uncommon. Good derro have been known to exist, but they are usually quickly exiled from their enclaves or murdered outright by their kin.
Size. Derro are short, stunted creatures. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Magic Resistance. You have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, you have disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
Xenophobic. Distrustful and suspicious of others to the point of paranoia, you have disadvantage on all Wisdom (Insight) checks when dealing with non-derro.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write in Common and Undercommon.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

3′ 0″ +1d10 50 lb. × (1d4) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

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