Vs. Derro (PFRPG)

One of my favorite series of DRAGON magazine articles was the “Vs. …” series in 2001, which dealt with amongst other things “…Duergar, “…Elves”, “…Goblins” and even “…Psionics”.

They were short 1-2 page articles designed to help players overcome some of the iconic monsters using strategy and common sense.

Derro Band (Tome of Classic Horrors)
Derro Slaver Mob (Tome of Classic Horrors)

This is my attempt at a similar article for PFRPG Derro.

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Weapons: Fauchards, Aklys et al.

The derro are noted for their unusual weapons, specifically weapons designed to subdue or capture rather than kill opponents to haul them off to slavery and experimentation. The canonical examples are the aklys, the fauchard (see below the jump for these).

Their poisoned repeating light crossbow bolts are infamous but Derro poison is probably worth a whole other post…

However, any weapon with the ability to trip, grapple and/or impose pin, tie and entangle effects may be substituted, particularly when combined with feats like Improved Disarm, Improved Grapple, Improved Trip and Net Adept for any derro with combat class levels.

Enter the Derro…

Suggested (Exotic) Derro Slaver Weapons

The following weapons used to disarm, trip, grapple and entangle are all considered Exotic Weapons unless otherwise noted in their descriptions. At the GM’s discretion, any or all of these may be considered martial weapons by standard derro and encountered as armaments of a derro slaver mob.

Further details for each weapon can be found in the d20PFSRD, as well as specific rules for the various special attacks.

Axe, Hooked

Technically a martial weapon (equivalent to a battleaxe) unless used to disarm, this makes a good substitute for the otherwise inspiring standard short sword. It just looks more evil for a start.


Technically only a martial weapon, the bill is somewhat inferior reach weapon when compared to a fauchard and is used to disarm rather than trip. Unlike a fauchard, it can also be used to brace against attacks.

Bolas, Brutal

A trip attack weapon but with less range than the traditional aklys and no melee attack, it provides a reasonable substitute option.

Derro with guisarme?


Also technically only a martial weapon, the guisarme is a reach weapon similar to the superior fauchard that can be used to both trip and brace.

The derro in the insert picture is probably using this weapon rather than a fauchard. Not to be confused with a glaive or a glaive-guisarme…


A great candidate for a derro melee weapon, the lasso cannot trip opponents but can force them to become entangled. As essentially a length of rope with a knot at one end, it can also tie up opponents.


An uncommon and unwieldy weapon but one well suited to potentially capturing either Small or Medium opponents with a grapple combat maneuver after a reach touch attack. Without the Improved Grapple feat, this presumably still provokes an attack of opportunity.

Net / Snag Net

Able to cause an opponent to become entangled (and for a snag net, provoke a trip attack), these weapons are well suited to derro slavers.

Steadfast Grapple / Grappling Hook

Although more a tool than a weapon, this Wondrous Item, and its non-magical equivalent can be used to move throughout the environment or attack an opponent, fixing the grapple to the opponent with a successful attack. Like a lasso, it’s line can also be used to tie up grappled opponents.

Continue reading “Weapons: Fauchards, Aklys et al.”