View Full Version : Dervish Help

2010-07-16, 12:47 AM
So, I'm starting a new game at level 3, and I'm starting as a swashbuckler, and planning on going into dervish. Specifically, the really fast, TWF, type dervish.

So what's a better leveling plan? Swashbucker 5 with the Arcane Stunt (blur) and Shield of Blades ACFs, or Swashbuckler 3/Scout 3 for the skirmish damage? Or something else?

2010-07-16, 01:16 AM
With all the feat prereqs, I'd suggest something like Swashbuckler 3/Fighter 2. Maybe throw a level of Swordsage in there for the free Weapon Focus. Barbarian 1 is also pretty nice; you don't need the Pounce, but Fast Movement itself is actually pretty useful for a Dervish. Unfortunately, Rage doesn't work with Dervish Dance (and thus neither does Whirling Frenzy), so it's not an auto-dip.

One of the problems of Dervish is that you'll have trouble dealing damage, especially if you use TWF (and not 2-handed + Power Attack). You can solve this using maneuvers like the Burning Blade line, as well as weapons with abilities like Collision or Wounding (though with TWF, that gets expensive fast). Getting Sneak Attack somehow (like from Sneak Attack Fighter) and taking Craven can also help.

2010-07-16, 01:21 AM
Try to do Swashbuckler/Rogue and get some fighter in there for the bonus feat or the S.A. from Thug fighter.

The Pre-reqs suck and I know how you feel bcuz I did a Scout/ranger/dervish into an epic campaign and I suffered completely for it.

If this helps I don't know if its any better than what PId6 suggested but here is my build

Ranger 6/Scout 4/Dervish 10

Use swift hunter and get expeditious dodge instead of dodge since you are moving constantly. Take Undead,Plants,Constructs,Elementals, and Oozes as your favored Enemies so you can hit them with Skirmish. Helps with fighting anyways. Unless there is a Fighter/Rogue thing that is better that lets you keep the bonus feats.

2010-07-16, 01:48 AM
I've got all the feats covered actually. Weapon Finesse from Swashbuckler, Expeditious Dodge from the Shaky flaw, Mobility from being human, Combat Expertise for 1st, Weapon Focus (slashing weapon) for 3rd. Done, no sweat.

It doesn't seem to be a heavy-optimization game so far (the DM's going to brutally murder the characters anyone who over-cheeses anything), and being human's non-negotiable, as I'm collaborating backstory with someone else. I took the quick trait, so every time I move my full speed, Expeditious Dodge activates. I've got 12 Con, my HP won't be suffering.

My idea currently is take the Arcane Stunt (expeditious retreat) ACF, grab the scout levels, go for dervish as my 7th level, and hit as many times as I can, dealing skirmish damage each time.

Would a Daring Outlaw swashbuckler/rogue/dervish be better or worse than the above?

2010-07-16, 02:01 AM
I've got all the feats covered actually. Weapon Finesse from Swashbuckler, Expeditious Dodge from the Shaky flaw, Mobility from being human, Combat Expertise for 1st, Weapon Focus (slashing weapon) for 3rd. Done, no sweat.
Oh getting the necessary feats isn't hard; it's getting feats for anything else that's the problem. You do want feats for other things besides just qualifying for the PrC (such as the Two-Weapon Fighting line if you're planning on using it), and spending two levels on fighter instead of swashbuckler (which doesn't really give you much past 3) really is preferable.

I took the quick trait, so every time I move my full speed, Expeditious Dodge activates. I've got 12 Con, my HP won't be suffering.
Eh, I don't think that's a great idea. HP is something that you really can't have too much of, so another method of gaining movement speed is preferable to dropping HP for it. What about dipping a level of barbarian and getting Fast Movement instead?

Would a Daring Outlaw swashbuckler/rogue/dervish be better or worse than the above?
Depends. You'll deal more damage, assuming you've someone to flank with (Island of Blades stance will help immensely with this), but you'll be even more feat-starved than before. I'd rather go with something like Swashbuckler 3/Sneak-Attack Thug Fighter 1/Barbarian 1 and taking Craven.

Swift Hunter is an alternate option that's fairly decent. Scout 3/Ranger 2/Scout +1 makes for a good entry, giving you a lot of skill points, faster movement speed, a bonus feat (which should be spent on Swift Hunter), Skirmish +2d6/+1 (+4d6/+2 if you take Improved Skirmish), Two-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat, and two Favored Enemies (which you should place in some combination of undead, constructs, elementals, plants, and oozes). You'll lose out on Craven and Insightful Strike, but otherwise it's better than Daring Outlaw for this build.

2010-07-16, 02:05 AM
I'd say that considering your feat prereqs that using Daring Outlaw to get just a few more d6 of damage on SA damage isn't worth it. If you do have feats to spend on the other hand I'd instead look into getting Educated and Knowledge Devotion for extra damage. Use it with ranger and get Favored Enemy bonuses as well, and it'll all stack with your crits (unlike SA), along with some finessed Scimitars you'll be needing a calculator whenever you dervish dance to figure out your damage.

The bonus to hit from Knowledge Devotion will help compensate for the TWF penalties you'll face as well.

Thrice Dead Cat
2010-07-16, 02:23 AM
If you have the stats for it Swashbuckler could help you get the extra damaged you need, but you'll be fighting to get those feats on time for the earliest entry. I'm with PId6 on taking at least one level in Swordsage to nab the Weapon Focus, returning later for Assassin's Stance. With Shadow Blade, you also get your Dex mod to damage, which helps. Alternatively, you could go Warblade instead for some INT synergy with Swashbuckler, but that eats more feats to get Dex to damage.

The handbook suggests taking levels in Champion of Corellon Larenthian to get Dex to damage, which honestly would mesh well, if you're an elf, but that eats up another two feats on Mounted Combat and Weapon Focus (Longsword) or EWP (one of the two elven blades). Then there's the Revenant Blade in Player's Guide to Eberron, which meshes well with Exotic Weapon Master, too, but these two are more about Power Attack and high Str.

My suggestion is to go Arctic (whatever the subrace from Frostburn is) Elf, as that nets you +2 Dex +2 Con -4 Cha for a race. If you can't get the Arctic template, at least take the subrace to save on Con. For feats, grab Expeditious Dodge from Races of the Wild instead of the regular, as it meshes extremely well with Dervish.

As I just realized you're in the same game as me, I hope you don't mind some of my suggestions.:smallredface:
Breakdown would probably go something like this:
Stats: 13 Str 17 (19 after racials) Dex 15 (Assuming you can't get the template, otherwise throw the 13 in here so this will be 15 after the adjustments) Con 13 Int 12 Wis 10 (8 or 6 after race) Cha. You could finagle these a little, but you'll want at least a +2 Con, which is a little difficult without the template.

Breakdown probably as Swashbuckler 3/Fighter 2/Dervish 2/Champion of CL 1/Swordsage 1/Champion of CL +1/Dervish +8/Whatever 2.

Grab Expeditious Dodge and Mobility at first level with the one flaw allowed. At 3rd level, grab Combat Expertise. Fighter 1 nets you Mounted Combat, and Fighter 2 gets you Weapon Focus (Longsword), which qualifies you for both Champion of CL and Dervish. You're 6th level feat should probably be TWF; you're 9th Shadow Blade. The rest should either go to better TWF feats and probably Craven at some point.

Sadly, this is kind of a late bloomer, as you're not getting Dex to damage until 9th (and 10th) level. I'm trying to think how you could do a more strength based build using Revenant Blade, but it would probably suffer from similar problems.

Talk with Nanoblack to see if you could switch to 32 PB, as that would allow you to go (8-16-16-16-8-8), which gets you more from both Swashbuckler and Dervish.

EDIT: Just saw that you're going human.

EDIT EDIT: +1 to Knowledge Devotion!

2010-07-16, 02:35 AM
Barbarian 1 is also pretty nice; you don't need the Pounce, but Fast Movement itself is actually pretty useful for a Dervish. Unfortunately, Rage doesn't work with Dervish Dance (and thus neither does Whirling Frenzy), so it's not an auto-dip.
Well, for a TWF Dervish, it almost is.

The most important feature of the Dervish Dance - even more important than the bonusses to attack and damage - is the ability to full-attack your opponent while denying them their own (regular) full attack. But since you have to move after each strike, this eats up a lot of movement. Getting another 10' helps a lot, although Barbarian doesn't really fit with a finesse-Dervish when it comes to style.

Sneak attacks are not that easy to pull off as a Dervish because you can not hold a good flanking position while in Dervish Dance. Skirmish OTOH is a lot easier, although I wouldn't want to sacrifice to many BAB by taking Scout levels.

Swordsage has already been mentioned; I suggest Swordsage 1, Fighter 1-4, Swordsage 2 to qualify for the Dervish. Use daggers as weapons and focus on the Shadow Hand discipline. You'll get free weapon focus with all associated weapons (which includes daggers) and can get Weapon Specialization and Melee Weapon Mastery (Slashing). Weapon Specialization may not be the greatest feat out there, but especially on TWF and with Mastery it adds up quickly. The most important feat, of course, will be Shadow Blade to gain DEX to damage while in a Shadow Hand stance - and both low-level Shadow Hand stances work really well with the Dervish Dance: one gives you concealment while moving, the other lets you flank easier.

Just my two -cents;

2010-07-16, 02:39 AM
Barbarian really just doesn't fit with my character concept. I can't see a noblewoman being trained as a barbarian. This game is really focused character concept from what I can see. I've got a confirmed ally who is Neutral at best with 6 Con for role-play reasons. I'm NG, borderline LG.

There's a person on the other side who wants to take the Vow of Non-violence, who is also a dryad who is bound to her quarterstaff.

Two-Weapon Fighting is an utter waste right now, hence why I'm putting it off till 6th. Daring Outlaw never really appealed to me, except as a source of extra damage.

Fine. So I've narrowed it down to Fighter 2, Feat Rogue 3, or Scout 3. I'm leaning towards Scout, as Uncanny Dodge and fast movement are really nice features.

Thrice Dead Cat
2010-07-16, 02:49 AM
If you don't mind the wait, Scout is probably the best bet out of everything as Improved Skirmish will help a bit. I still recommend a dip into Swordsage for Shadow Blade, even if you don't go for Assassin's Stance and Craven.

2010-07-16, 02:51 AM
Shadow Blade? What's that (don't have ToB)

2010-07-16, 02:54 AM
Shadow Blade adds Dex to damage when you're in a Shadow Hand stance (so pretty much all the time if you intend to use it). It's a good way to add extra damage.

If you want to use Scout, definitely take Ranger levels + Swift Hunter rather than Fighter. You'll end up with a much higher Skirmish, and you'll qualify for Improved Skirmish, which is incredibly helpful.

Thrice Dead Cat
2010-07-16, 02:54 AM
As long as you're in a Shadow Hand stance, you get Dex to damage with certain weapons!

2010-07-16, 02:56 AM
Gets you Dex to damage with certain weapons (unfortunately not the Scimitar). I personally prefer Ranger 6/Scout 4 (Ranger 2/Scout 4) as a lead-in since you still end up with a good bunch of feats and Skirmish works by far the best with Dervish Dance.

Swift Hunter is very useful allowing you to Skirmish opponents you normally couldn't and overall, well, fluff is infinitely mutable. Use Urban Ranger (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#rangerVariantUrbanRang er) if the abilities are an issue. I wouldn't take Scout without Ranger > Swift Hunter, frankly.

Ranger 2/Scout 3 qualifies you for Improved Skirmish (at +2d6/+1 Skirmish) which is the point where it really becomes worth your while. Just +1d6 isn't gonna really do that much, but +4d6/+3 Skirmish is actually really good and you have no trouble moving the 20' a turn.

2010-07-16, 04:35 AM
Ok so here is the exact build I went with. I took it into epic levels but this is just to show you how effective Ranger/Scout works with Dervish

Human Ranger 6/Scout 4/Dervish 10/Scout 1

Human- Able Learner
1- Expeditious Dodge
BF: Two weapon Fighting (2nd Ranger)
BF: Endurance (3rd Ranger)
3rd: Mobility (3rd Ranger)
BF: Improved Two Weapon fighting (6th Ranger)
6th: Weapon Focus (Scimitar)
9th: Combat Expertise (3rd Scout)
10th: Swift Hunter (4th Scout)
12th: Deadly Defense
13th: Spring Attack
15th: Improved Skirmish
18th: Acrobatic Strike (can take earlier up to your discretion)

After that here are some feats I would recommend thanks to Eldariel helping me with my build a while back. :smallbiggrin:

-Elusive Target [CWar]: You already fulfill the prerequisites. This gives you some use out of them.
-Improved Trip [PHB]: You fulfill the prerequisites and since your build is Strength-focused, this could be very useful indeed.
-Weapon Specialization/Melee Weapon Mastery [PHBII]: If you could somehow acquire Weapon Specialization, this line would give you nice bonuses.
-Steadfast Determination [PHBII]: Since you already have Endurance you qualify; this would increase your Will-saves vastly.
-Combat Reflexes+Double Hit+Robilar's Gambit [PHBII]: Make some good out of that vast AC of yours. Hit people upside the head twice every time they hit you once. Since you already qualify, also consider Karmic Strike [CWar], although its utility is reduced by the fact that you need to be hit for it to activate.
-Mage Slayer [CArc]+Blind-Fight [PHB]+Pierce Magical Concealment [CArc]: It's an epic game at this point. Let's face it, you better see through those illusions. Of course, if you can get Spot to +79, this will be unnecessary. I'd look towards that as you're tight on feats. Mage Slayer is probably worth it still though.
-Weapon Focus: Generic Axe > High Sword Low Axe [CWar]: Use Scimitar in your offhand with Generic Axe (Dwarven War Axe, Battleaxe, Handaxe, suit yourself) in your primary hand and whenever you hit with both, you get a free Trip-attempt which in turn results in a free extra attack and a lot of tripped opponents. A great weapon style feat.

This may be something that will help you. I know it did for my dervish build. :smallbiggrin: