Derro (Dungeons & Dragons)

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First appearanceThe Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1982)
TypeMonstrous humanoid

The derro are a fictional species of monstrous humanoids in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. They were first published in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition adventure The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.[1]

Derro appear in both the Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk campaign settings.

Publication history[edit]

The derro first appeared in the first edition in the adventure module The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1982),[1] and was reprinted in the original Monster Manual II (1983).[2]

The derro appeared in second edition for the Greyhawk setting in the adventure modules Greyhawk Ruins (1990) and Flames of the Falcon (1990), and the boxed set From the Ashes (1992). The derro then appeared in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[3] The derro mutants appeared in Dungeon #81 (July 2000), including the multi-armed derro mutants, the grimlock-derro conjoin, and the derro with eyestalks.

The derro appeared in the third edition Monster Manual (2000),[4] and in the 3.5 revised Monster Manual (2003).[5]

The derro made an appearance in the fourth edition Monster Manual 3 (2010).[6]

The derro appeared in fifth edition in Out of the Abyss (2015).[7] The derro appear in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (2018).

Physical description[edit]

Derro appear to be a degenerate subspecies of dwarves, augmented and twisted by ancient dark magics. Their rough skin is white with bluish undertones and is spotted with short tufts of coarse hair, which is well tended and trimmed in highly ritualistic tribal patterns. Their hair is straight and tends to be tan or pale yellow, and is often worn with weaves or tribal braids. Their eyes are most disturbing, as they are a uniform pale yellow in color and glow with a faint sickly yellow light, lacking in both iris and pupil.


Derro are widespread and are likely to be found in small bands throughout the Underdark. Derro warrens exist in many drow and duergar cities, and independent derro strongholds lie in the deepest reaches of the Underdark. Derro scouts and marauders search the areas near and around their settlements for victims to enslave and torment.

The derro are a strange and sadistic race; they are clever, stealthy, and murderously insane. It is very common for a derro to devote his or her self to some strange quest, such as collecting only certain types of gemstones for a magical device or slaying as many members of a particular race as possible. Other derro are assigned specific missions by powerful derro savants. These mission-driven derro might join a company of comrades to fulfill their irrational goals.


The two known gods of the derro are Diirinka and Diinkarazan.

In various campaign settings[edit]

In Greyhawk[edit]

In the World of Greyhawk setting, derro are thought to be the result of breeding a race of slaves from dwarven and human stock by the Suel Imperium.

Other publishers[edit]

The derro is fully detailed in Paizo Publishing's book Classic Horrors Revisited (2009), on pages 4–9.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gygax, Gary (1982). The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. WI: TSR. ISBN 0-935696-72-5. Search this book on Logo.png
  2. Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II (TSR, 1983)
  3. Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  4. Williams, Skip, Jonathan Tweet, and Monte Cook. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  5. Williams, Skip. Monster Manual. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2003
  6. Mearls, Mike, Greg Bilsland, and Robert J. Schwalb. Monster Manual 3. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2010
  7. Mearls, Mike and Jeremy Crawford. Out of the Abyss. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2015
  8. Jacobs, James, Rob McCreary, and F. Wesley Schneider. Classic Horrors Revisited (Paizo, 2009)

Further reading[edit]

  • Boyd, Eric L. Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark TSR, 1999.
  • Cordell, Bruce R; Gwendolyn FM Kestrel; and Jeff Quick. Underdark (Wizards of the Coast, 2003).
  • Gygax, Gary. Sea of Death (New Infinities, 1987).
  • Miller, Steve. The Doomgrinder (TSR, 1998).
  • Moore, Roger E. "Legacies of the Suel Imperium," Dragon Magazine #241 (TSR, 1997).

External links[edit]


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