Derro Idol Design

Common Derro Idol Features

This post suggests a default build for derro Idols based on the RAW from Occult Realms combined with some assumptions and thematic elements discussed in the previous post. As there is an assumed default starting Ego for a single worshipper cult of 6 and each major sacrifice raises the Idol’s Ego score by 3, I’ve elected to chart the default Idol build using six “ranks” with each higher one having an Ego 3 points higher than the lower rank.

A “starting” 1st rank Idol therefore has an Ego of 6, a 3rd rank Idol has an Ego of 12 and a (likely) final 6th rank Idol has an Ego score of only 21. These “ranked” default Idols are presented as a resource here and can be customised for your use as required.

Note: higher ego score Idols with derro cults can of course exist – any Idol with more than the 10 worshippers base used in this series of posts can have a higher Ego, but the bonus is only limited and mostly mechanically irrelevant until >200 worshippers is reached and derro savants may have good reason to keep their cults limited. Even a larger cult of 101-200 derro has only another +3 Ego, which effectively just shifts it one rank higher at lower levels and a 6th rank Idol with a boosted Ego of 24 is only slightly different to an Ego of 21 mechanically for the purpose of this essay.

Derro Idol Example
A Derro Cult’s Profane Idol?


The majority of derro are chaotic evil, although possibly with some kind of Blue and Orange Morality due to their insanity, so CE Idols make the most sense as a default.

However, less chaotic or more neutrally aligned Idols could make for some interesting personality conflicts between their dedicated savant and provide some interesting plot and story motivations beyond the usual derro  behaviour.

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Savants – Bards? Yes, Bards!

Previous Post: Savants –  5th Level Sorcerer Base

“Savant with Eyeroll”

This is the first post to explore variant savants ie. savants built using classess other than sorcerer.

At first glance, a 5th level bard base savant might seem at odds thematically with the traditional concepts of a derro savant but they are the other applicable Cha based class (Paladins being excluded due to alignment issues), so I think it’s worth having a closer look at them conceptually as they also have arcane spells.

So let’s see what they have to offer us eh?

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Savants – 5th Level Sorcerer Base

Previous Post: Savants – Basics (Part 1)

In the first post int this series I looked at the basics for a “traditional” derro savant NPC as it’s come to evolve through 3.0/3.5E, PFRPG and now lately 5E – a 5th level derro sorcerer. Let’s then use this assumption to work forward and see what that might look like in the context of PFRPG and leave the 5E variant for now…

Note: this post draws on ideas from the excellent Kobold Press product Advanced Race Guide 12: Derro (PFRPG) by Nicholas Milasich and Wolfgang Bauer, available for US $3.99 in PDF from DriveThruRPG or the Kobold Press online store. Endzeitgeit’s definitive review (reprinted on various sites) details just why this product is essential for any consideration of savants, let alone PFRPG derro in general. Unfortunately it doesn’t include an example “base savant” character but does include a “Savant” bloodline which unfortunately hasn’t made it into the PFSRD to link to for reference but is available on the community site here.

vreegConsistently, the class level of a derro savant begins at 5th level (anything less being considered a “student, usually portrayed as 3rd level) so we’ll use this as a starting point and discuss 8th level, 11th level, and 3rd level “student” variations as required in two later posts as the former need further development as the BBEG and the latter fill the role of an advanced minion.

OK so let’s explore this default NPC build a bit more closely and see how it fits…

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Derro Idolatory – Introduction

Derro Idol

So I’ve been thinking about the idea of atheist derro for a while – they are after all particularly insane, so the concept of them denying the existence of divinity in the context of clear evidence to the contrary in the default Golarion setting for PFRPG or the various 3.0/3.5 or 5E DnD worlds isn’t inconceivable, just a bit of a stretch.

I mean there’s always the Athar of Planescape and their worship of the Great Beyond – but I can’t seem them welcoming derro to their ranks easily…

The again their Insane Immunity might make them potential candidates in some ways?

But derro don’t exactly make for great clerics in any case, regardless of the potential existence atheist clerics, so I had another thought while reading through the Occult Realms rules for Idols and I think there’s something in them worth exploring that fits with the overall derro themes explored on this site…

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Pathfinder Playtest Announced

So I only recently noted the announcement of the Pathfinder Playtest, the open announcement of fan contributions to what will become PFRPG 2.0 – great news to many I’m sure, but I did wonder what this would mean to the way I look at this blog, which is primarily intended to be Pathfinder based mechanically when I do delve into actual mechanics (although it does delve into 5E at times sure).

I really don’t want to have to learn and revise to a whole new system…


But maybe that’s not actually going to be the issue – in fact maybe there are some good ideas to be had looking at some of the initial Paizo blog material…

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The Trouble with Theiwar (Krynnish “Derro”)

Theiwar, along with their more brutish cousins, the Daergar, are the Krynnish (Dragonlance) version of derro, collectively sometimes referred to as Dewar or “Dark Dwarves”. There’s a third potential “derro” race on Krynn, the Zakhar, a Khalkist mountain living clan affected by a terrible mold plague (maybe more on them later).

I’m just not convinced they’re “real” derro… at least not in the thematic sense.

Theiwar (DQ2 Flint's Axe)
A pair of Theiwar “derro” from DLQ2 Flint’s Axe

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5E Derro – More Resources (Unlikely Heroes)

Y, a “sane” savant possibly?

So I’ve tracked down some additional 5E resources across various source pages for use in accompanying Out of The Abyss and to continue some of my thoughts in an earlier post

The following PDF title is drawn from DriveThru RPG and in effect this post is the beginning of a series of mini-reviews skewed towards the derro aspects unsurprisingly.

So the first in order of historic search appearance:

UNLIKELY HEROES for 5th Edition (Kobold Press)

This supplement from Kobold Press features a 3-page section on Derro (pages 4-6) written by Dan Dillon with additional material by the great Wolfgang Bauer. Adding resources for playing derro as player characters, it adds to the minimal 5E information presented on pages 224-225 of the 5E supplement Out of the Abyss. 

My comments relate specifically to the derro content and are not an overall review.

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Hiatus: Planning the Uniting War

Derro (Dungeon 241 LotSI)
The Ranting Savant?

So 18 posts in, not a bad effort for this theme…

I’ve done minimal spruiking of this site, and it’s not linked to any major forum in particular but I think I’ve got a few decent posts out and generated some ongoing concepts and themes that will keep me going for the month to come.

Due to some family issues, I’m going to take a short break for a few weeks, generate a few prescheduled posts to sustain a weekly update schedule and then try and return once the ground beneath my feet has stabilised.

Then hopefully I’ll be back with a vengeance…


Cameo: Edge of Anarchy (CotCT)

Vreeg, derro necromancer (Edge of Anarchy)

The first module of the second Adventure Path” “Curse of the Crimson Throne”  written by Nicholas Logue back in 2008, before the advent of the PFRPG proper, this module is set in Korvosa, in the northern country of Varisia.

The adventure features a small derro contingent at the finale, the first appearance of the race in the Pathfinder series. As such, it’s a seminal work and set the scene for a lot of the thematic flavour of the derro of Golarion, casting them in sharp contrast to their previous incarnations as former Suloise slaves in the 2E Flanaess or the irrevocably warped escaped mind flayer thralls of the 3E Forgotten Realms setting.

Yes, the derro beneath Korvosa are something different again…

Potential spoilers follow.

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Derro Lair: Abandoned Shrine

This is the first in a series of short posts about possible derro lairs, guard posts, enclaves and other settlements, based on maps I’ve sourced.

Abandoned Temple Lair
Abandoned Shrine (from a Megadungeon original)

I’ve modified this map using just Preview as I haven’t got the hang of GIMP and currently lack access to Photoshop – it’s based on the excellent Dyson style “Mountaintop Science Facility w/ Temple Facade” (link in image to original) from the guy over at Megadungeon. I’d originally intended to use unchanged but on reflection feel that splitting it into different themed sections works better as I’ll explain below.   

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