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Deep beneath the earth, the derro wait in twisted cities built by their mad architects. These insane humanoids live, work, and somehow thrive in the lightless depths. They understand the truth about the uncaring gods that dwell between the stars, and they abandoned sanity long ago to save themselves. The derro hide within their insanity in the hope that the dark gods they fear will turn their attention to other, saner races first.

Despite the great distances between their Underdark cities and the surface, derro outposts can be found in the underworld and slums of many cities, both above and below ground. Occasionally, a derro discovers the wider world and finds a path out of the madness.

Physical Description

Pale and Stunted The derro are stunted, dwarflike humanoids, small of stature with wide shoulders and stubby limbs. They stand between 3 and 4 feet tall, with males only slighter taller than females on average. Their slender builds rarely weigh more than 40 pounds. Their pale skin is nearly translucent, revealing a ghostly web of blue veins. Their large, pure white staring eyes gleam in the dark.

Shorter than surface dwarves, derro are quick and erratic in their movements. Their elaborately braided or styled hair ranges from white to a pale straw color. Males take great pride in their prodigious mustaches, which are often braided and waxed.

Racial Traits

Your derro character has certain characteristics in common with all other derro.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.

Age. Derro reach maturity by the age of 15 and live to be around 75.

Size. Derro stand between 3 and 4 feet tall with slender limbs but wide shoulders. Your size is Small.

Alignment. Their naturally unhinged minds are nearly always chaotic, and many but not all are evil.

Speed. Derro are fast for their size. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Superior Darkvision. Accustomed to life underground, you can see in dim light within 120 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.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Dwarvish and your choice between Common and Undercommon.

Special Traits

Insanity. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.

Eldritch Resilience. You have advantage on Constitution saving throws against spells.

Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.

Minor Madnesses

All derro are insane, but some exhibit more extreme behaviors than others. A variety of fetishes and compulsions affects this twisted race, and with the permission of the DM, the derro character is strongly encouraged to partake from the cup of madness.

These examples of insanity are meant to be roleplaying features, but the DM or the player may add suitable ingame effects by mutual agreement. A player can also invent other forms of lesser madness with the DM’s approval.

Table 1: Minor Madnesses
d% Result
01–10 Collector; roll on subtable 1 for specific object
11–20 Pica (eats nonfood objects); roll on subtable 1 for specific object
21–30 Minor delusion; roll on subtable 3
31–40 Irrational prejudice against creature; roll on subtable 2 for specific creature
41–50 Taboo (cannot touch or interact with creature); roll on subtable 2 for specific creature
51–60 Phobia (strong fear of creature); roll on subtable 2 for specific creature
61–70 Physical effect; roll on subtable 4
71–80 Obsessed with creature; roll on subtable 2 for specific creature
81–90 Minor delusion; roll on subtable 3
91–00 Physical effect; roll on subtable 4
Subtable 1: Small Objects
d% Result
01–10 Rocks or crystals
11–20 Bones, hair, nails, or bugs (dead or alive)
21–30 Deodands (items responsible for the death of a creature)
31–40 Eyes, fingers, teeth, ears, toes, or other body parts
41–50 Dirt, dust, or clay
51–60 Rags, cloths, papers, or printing
61–70 Hats, socks, gloves, or other clothing
71–80 String, wire, or chain
81–90 Clockwork parts, jewelry, or buttons
91–00 Holy symbols, religious goods or books
Subtable 2: Living Creatures
d% Result
01–10 Tiny insect, slug, or worm
11–20 Chicken, cat, dog, sheep, cow, or other domestic animal (pick a type)
21–30 Elf, dwarf, human, kobold, or other humanoid (pick subtype)
31–40 Rat, giant centipede, gelatinous cube, or other giant vermin or ooze (pick type)
41–50 Clerics or druids
51–60 Wizard or sorcerer
61–70 Sparrow, pigeon, hawk, owl, or other bird
71–80 Rat, wolf, mole, badger, or other mammal
81–90 Construct or clockwork creature
91–00 Outsider (pick type)
Subtable 3: Delusions
d% Result
01–10 Imaginary friend; god/spirit who is friendly and encouraging
11–20 Imaginary friend; god/spirit who is hateful and discouraging
21–30 Believes she is a high noble
31–40 Believes he has fewer powers than he does
41-50 Believes she has more powers than she actually does
51–60 Convinced she has an important destiny
61–70 Convinced that an inanimate object (roll on subtable 1 above) is alive
71–80 Thinks she is a powerful polymorphed creature
81–90 Voices speak random gibberish and commands to character
91–00 Convinced that random patterns of either inanimate objects (subtable 1) or living things (subtable 2) have an important meaning and must be studied
Subtable 4: Physical Effects
d% Result
01–10 Leers and rolls eyes at some type of creature (roll on subtable 2)
11–20 Tic or tremor in body part
21–30 Mutters constantly to self in Deep Speech
31–40 Speaks inappropriate but true facts during diplomatic situations
41–50 Randomly speaks a word (chosen by GM) during combat or negotiation
51–60 Laughs at inappropriate moments
61–70 Weeps at inappropriate moments
71–80 Constantly clenches and unclenches hands
81–90 Minor hunchback
91–00 Half of face paralyzed

Character Details

You can determine the specific details of your unlikely hero’s height and weight using the guidelines suggested in the racial descriptions. Remember that these are a snapshot of the average members of these races. Outliers exist in any population, allowing for vastly greater or lesser stature, or coloration outside the suggestion norm.

If you wish to randomly generate your hero’s physical characteristics, roll on the following table as appropriate for your character’s race and gender.

Race Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Derro 3′ 2″ +2d4 37 lb. x 1 lb.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Unlikely Heroes for 5th Edition © 2016 Open Design; Author: Dan Dillon.