weekly Greytalk chatroom, we discussed among other topics, The Underdark, Derro and the maligned 2nd edition adventure The Doomgrinder by Steve Miller. One area of great interest that was briefly mentioned was Oerth Journal editor, Nathan Irving's long discussed concept of the "Darks", five subregions of what we normally refer to as the Underdark. I dug up a simple yet cool map he posted on the subject of the Darks, and not knowing any particulars except the location of canon sources like the Vault of the Drow, one can easily draw their own ideas about these regions.
derro race. The derro first appeared in the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. Roger E. Moore later wrote an article in Dragon Magazine #241 titled Legacies of the Suel Imperium where it was learned the derro were a slave race created by breeding experiments with dwarves and humans. I believe it was Russel Taylor (Paizo freelancer) who then brought up that Derro in the Pathfinder setting are altered Pech. I like that idea alot better than human-dwarf hybrids actually.
The derro's involvement in the 1998 module The Doomgrinder then tangented to author Steve Miller whom I learned anecdotally blamed the Greyhawk community, then new to this thing called the Internet, for his being fired from TSR over his adventure. Miller was accused of being a sort of in-house freelancer with little direction (or knowledge of the setting), so it wouldn't surprise me today to hear the fans rose up over this literally campaign-crushing storyline. In fact I'm more surprised it doesnt happen more often. Fair warning for any future Greyhawk authors at Wizards.
At any rate that was turn of the century internet rage, now look at fandom today, most recently the popular uprising over the video game Mass Effect 3 and its despised endings. These people should know their setting yet the outcry has prompted the creators to take action. It slightly reminded me of the outrage by long time fans over the Forgotten Realms setting being blown up in a Spellplague to make way for 4th edition. I doubt anyone lost their job over this one but it's still left to be seen how Wizards will address FR in their next edition. Real time fan input is something Gygax and company luckily never had to deal with, or in my opinion, half the stuff put out for Greyhawk would've been panned and the setting for better or worse might've died long before the 21st century.
For more on the Under-Oerth check out Denis Tetreault's maps HERE.
And here's an old Greyhawk comic about the Doomgrinder from my archives.