Motes in the Serpent's Eye
Derro are a foul and vile race, bred in the dark places beneath the earth, who have emerged to travel the blackness between the stars. Cunning and treacherous, they were a minor annoyance during the reign of the metallic dragons, but as the galaxy trembles under the claw of Mezzenbone, they have emerged as a major power.
Although most derro are unrelentingly sadistic, a few individuals have turned away from the cruelty of their race, instead seeking to escape the evil reputation that seems to follow them across the galaxy. Hated and hunted by their own people, these good-natured derro often become grim loners, fighting to escape their past.
Derro live for cruelty, and by treachery. From the simplest children’s games to the most complex plots and machinations of the elders, there is an all-consuming delight in the infliction of pain. A derro will torture a prisoner who is willing, even eager, to talk – and continue to torture him after he has said all he knows.
A good aligned derro is often quiet and withdrawn, preferring to sit alone in the shadows of a tavern instead of joining his companions at a table filled with laughter and song. Such an individual often champions the weak, flying into a fierce rage when forced to witness any act of cruelty or bullying that reminds him of his own painful childhood.
Derro are about six inches taller than dwarves, and built along thinner lines. Their hair ranges from pure white to pallid yellow, and only about ten percent of the race is bearded though most of the males have mustaches. Their skin color is almost white, tinted slightly bluish, and their eyes are violet orbs without pupil or iris. Derro can live for 150 years, and reach adulthood at 25.
Derro do not get along well with anyone including other derro. They especially hate dwarves and few derro will voluntarily work with a dwarf unless there is an outstandingly good reason. They find themselves more comfortable with drow than with other races, and the rise of the drow to greater power under Mezzenbone has lifted the derro as well. Many dragons find having a derro adviser or chief interrogator to be extremely beneficial. Derro find humans tolerable, halflings disgusting, gnomes annoying, and others to be useful tools.
Good-aligned derro are much less choosy about the company they keep. Typically shunned by others, they respond easily to small acts of kindness, forming friendships with anyone willing to overlook their heritage.
Derro are usually evil. They are filled with hate towards a universe that shunned them and drove them underground. Now that their star is rising under Mezzenbone, they intend to grab for all the power they can. Still, there are a few individuals of good alignment, though they are typically outcasts and criminals in the eyes of their people.
Derro typically worship the Destroyer and the Trickster in various aspects.
A Man with No Enemies is a Man with No Character (-1): Any derro still drawing breath has at least one enemy, most likely another derro. Derro characters begin with the Enemy (Minor) hindrance, which may be upgraded as one of your optional minor hindrances. Talk to your GM.
Arcane Resistance (+2): Derro are particularly resistant to magic (including psionics, weird science, etc.), whether by nature or by heritage. They act as if they had 2 points of Armor when hit by damage-causing arcane powers, and adds + 2 to their Trait rolls when resisting opposed powers. Even friendly arcane powers must subtract this modifier to affect this resistance.
Light Sensitivity (-1): Millenia of underground life has left derro more adapted to the darkness of the underground than surface conditions. Derro suffer a –4 penalty to resist effects involving bright light and to Notice checks when exposed to bright light without eye protection.
Low Light Vision (+1): Derro eyes are accustomed to the dark of the underearth. They ignore penalties for Dim and Dark lighting.
No Mercy (+2): Derro are merciless opponents, they may spend a Benny to re-roll any one damage roll, including those made for area effect attacks.
Racial Enemy (–1): Derro do not get along well with anyone including other derro. They especially hate dwarves and few derro will voluntarily work with a dwarf unless there is an outstandingly good reason. Members of each culture suffer a –4 Charisma when dealing with each other. Unless fettered by other authorities or common goals, individuals of the two races typically attack each other on sight.
Tough as Old Boots (+2): Derro are stout and tough. They start with a d6 Vigor instead of a d4. Additionally, derro get a + 2 to any Vigor roll that involves resisting poison effects.
Weakness (Sunlight) (-2): Derro must make a Vigor roll for every hour spent in direct sunlight. Each failure results in a Fatigue level. This can lead to incapacitation and death. Fatigue from sunlight exposure fades at the rate of one level every 24 hours spent out of the sun.