This creature appears to be a blue-skinned infant no older than a year. Its limbs flail and its head lolls with an obvious lack of coordination, and it screams incessantly.
Derro Fetal Savant CR 7
Speed 5 ft.
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attack babble, soul exchange
The sight of potential host bodies so excites the fetal savant that, as a free action, it begins to babble and giggle madly and childishly, creating an insanity effect. All sane creatures within 60 ft. of the fetal savant must succeed on a DC 18 Will save or be affected as though by confusion for 1d4 rounds This is a sonic, mind-affecting, compulsion effect. Creatures that successfully save cannot be affected by the same fetal savant’s babbling for 24 hours. Saving throws are Charisma-based.
The iron bars of the cage that holds the fetal savant provide cover for the creature. The cage has a hardness of 10 and 30 hp and is considered an attended object when borne by a derro. In addition, the cage can absorb up to 20 spell levels of spells 4th level or lower. This spell energy dissipates almost immediately and cannot be retained, collected, or reused in any way.
A derro takes 1 point of Constitution damage for every hour it is exposed to sunlight, and it dies if its Constitution score reaches 0. Lost Constitution points are recovered at the rate of 1/day spent underground or otherwise sheltered from the sun.
Derro use their Charisma modifiers on Will saves instead of their Wisdom modifiers. They have immunity to confusion and insanity effects. A derro cannot be restored to sanity by any means short of miracle or wish. The racial madness of the derro provides a +6 bonus to Charisma and a -6 penalty to Wisdom. A derro restored to sanity gains 6 points of Wisdom and loses 6 points of Charisma.
Of the madness and insanity that resonates so strongly in derro society, perhaps there is none so twisted as these premature infants, born insane and destined to lead their people further into madness. These derro are known as fetal savants. Only the rarest of derro are born with the rapidly fading, unique ability to exchange souls with other creatures, and when so discovered, the babbling infants are treated with bizarre and maddened reverence. Placed in small, intricately wrought pillowed cages and borne aloft on hooked golden staves, the wild-eyed newborns are carried standard-like behind battle lines to sow madness and confusion among enemy ranks.
Even though many derros live mere miles below the surface, few surface dwellers know much about the true terror that lurks below. Derros are expert infiltrators who work under the cover of night and skillfully hide their tracks. Underground, they quickly silence any strangers who stumble upon their settlements. Derros target undesirables, slum-dwellers, and people living on a city’s outskirts, for even the shameless derro have learned to avoid reprisal from surface authorities. On these frightful nights, a gang of eight to 12 derros led by a derro bodysnatcher infiltrate a city, quietly subdue unwilling subjects, and drag them below.
Once secured in their territory, derros fasten victims to stone slabs and prepare them for the devious white-eyed torturers who subject their captives to bizarre procedures.
Derros mend and release test subjects who survive this gruesome ordeal, though they often return for future abductions to track their weird experiments’ progress.
Derro brainwashers set upon the rare subjects who draw too much attention to their activities or audaciously attempt to trace their way back to derro enclaves. Masters of clouding memories and tweaking neural pathways, brainwashers ensure that their former guests’ recollections of their time underground remain suppressed. If this fails, or if there is no time for this delicate procedure, the derro cut ties with their specimen and send an urban hunter to terminate the experiment.