Other Underdark Races

While creatures such as drow, grimlocks, and svirfneblin are the most prevalent and iconic of the Underdark races, many other intelligent creatures also inhabit the Realms Below. Some are so alien and bizarre that it would be difficult to imagine playing one as a character, while others are simply so powerful that they are suitable only for the highest levels of play.

Other major races


The races presented here are reasonably humanoid in form and could fit in with an Underdark-themed campaign relatively easily.

Of the races noted below, the orog and tanarukk are described in the FORGOTTEN REALMS sourcebook Races of Faerûn. Also see the derro, mind flayer, minotaur, and troglodyte, quaggoth.

The table below lists the starting Hit Dice, level adjustment, and favored class for each of these monstrous races. A general description of each race and its effective character level (ECL) is below.

RaceStarting Hit DiceLevel AdjustmentFavored Class
Mind flayer8d8+7Wizard
Orogby class+2Fighter

Derro (ECL 4)

Derro are widespread and likely to be found in small bands almost anywhere. Derro warrens exist in the middle of many drow and duergar cities, and independent derro holds fester in the darkest reaches of the Realms Below. Scouts and marauder of this race scour the tunnels near their settlements in search of unwary victims to enslave and torment.

Clever, stealthy, and murderously insane, derro are not likely to take up adventuring for its own sake. However, it is not uncommon for a solitary derro to devote herself to some strange quest, such as collecting particular sorts of gemstones for some fanciful magic device or slaying as many creatures of a particular race as possible. Other derro are assigned to specific missions by the powerful savants of their race. Such mission-driven derro might attach themselves to any convenient band of comrades to accomplish their irrational goals.

Mind Flayer (ECL 15)

Illithids hunger for knowledge, and many of them travel widely in search of arcane secrets and lost lore. They explore forgotten tombs, spy out the ways of other races, and plunder the magical storehouses of their rivals - the same sorts of activities that surface adventurers delving into the Underdark generally pursue.

Cold, calculating, and completely self-serving, illithids make dangerous allies and unreliable companions. Few mind flayers regard any cause or comrade as worth dying for. Due to their diet, if nothing else, most mind flayers are simply incapable of becoming truly good, but the occasional exceptional individual who restricts its feeding to the brains of nonsentient creatures might become neutral, or possibly even good in extreme cases.

Orogs (ECL 3)

The orogs, or deep orcs, are warlike beings who rival dwarves in their skill at making weapons and other machines of war. Unlike their surface orc kin, orogs gather in great cities and consider themselves a martial race, not a savage one. Isolated orog cities are often found in volcanic areas, since the deep orcs are inured to extremes of temperature and favor thermally active sites for their mighty forges.

Orogs are cruel, strong, and domineering, but not nearly as sadistic as the derro or as universally hostile to other creatures as the mind flayers or the troglodytes. Therefore, orogs tend to take up adventuring fairly often. Strong and skilled in battle, an orog mercenary has little difficulty finding work in the Underdark. Orogs are nothing if not courageous, and they can be counted upon to strive tirelessly toward any goal they deem worth achieving.

Minotaurs (ECL 8)

With the exception of the vast region known as the Labyrinth, minotaurs control few realms of their own in the Underdark. Most are found elsewhere, often serving as marauders, mercenaries, and slaves in the great drow and duergar cities. Minotaurs tend to be cruel, dimwitted, and violent, but they are loyal to their comrades and fearless in battle.

A minotaur adventurer can travel freely through the domains of most Underdark races, selling his sword to the highest bidder. Minotaurs who turn to good often strive to break the power of slaveholding races and fight furiously for the emancipation of captives.

Quaggoths (ECL 5)

Feral bands of quaggoths haunt many of the lonelier portions of the Underdark, existing as roving bands of marauders who prey on anything they can catch. Bloodthirsty and savage, quaggoths can descend into a screaming animal frenzy at the slightest provocation, losing any semblance of reason until they destroy (or are destroyed by) whatever foe they happen to encounter.

Like minotaurs, quaggoths are frequently found as slaves and warriors in the cities of more civilized folk. Quaggoth mercenaries can find work almost anywhere. While few actually become adventurers, some have risen above the bloodlust and senseless violence of their kin to become the stalwart companions of adventuring parties. Good quaggoths often pit themselves against the tyranny of those evil races that hold their kinfolk in slavery.

Tanarukks (ECL 8)

Planetouched creatures bred from orcs and demons, tanarukks are strong, hardy, and fierce in battle. Most tanarukks in the Underdark are found in the North, amid the ruins of the ancient dwarven realm of Ammarindar. Thousands of these creatures make up the iron-fisted heart of Kaanyr Vhok's Scoured Legion, a fierce army that has yet to taste defeat in the endless feuds and skirmishes of the Underdark.

Tanarukks often strike out on their own as adventurers, hoping to make a place for themselves by dint of their fighting skill and ruthlessness. They favor settling in orog and orc settlements, where their heritage is an advantage rather than a drawback, but tanarukks can be found as elite bodyguards to drow nobles, mind flayer merchants, and demon warlords.

Troglodytes (ECL 4)

Loathsome and repulsive, troglodytes are universally disliked by all other Underdark races. Because of their ferocity in battle, however, troglodyte skirmishers and raiders often find employment in the House armies of drow cities or as mercenaries in the service of other races. Troglodytes view other creatures as either "tribemates" or "meat." Thus, they rarely remain loyal to an ally or employer for longer than it takes to fill their bellies and sate their lust for blood and treasure.

Like the svirfneblin, troglodytes often know little-used ways through the Underdark and can be extremely capable guides. Few travelers, however, care to follow where troglodytes are likely to lead.

Races of Faerûn
Character Creation