The Dervish

Dervishes are wild warriors, moving in a blur of speed, dodging blows rather than blocking them, and striking repeatedly with light weapons to wear an opponent down. Some romantically inclined people describe the dervish's fighting style as like a dance. More practical types point out that it leaves their enemies just as dead.

Adventures: Dervishes adventure for the thrill. They do not like being tied to one place, so many of them travel, and travel looking for trouble.

Characteristics: Dervishes do not wear armour, but they fight in the heat of battle. This tends to engender a certain general recklessness among the members of the class, which extends beyond combat. Although they are highly skilled fighters, it is very rare for them to serve another, as they find obedience constricting. On the other hand, they are just as capable of loyalty to their friends as anyone else.

Because dervishes tend to be as good at climbing as any rogue, and many are also stealthy, it is common for them to become involved in larcenous pursuits.

Alignment: All dervishes are chaotic. No-one else can summon the necessary wildness and disregard for personal safety needed for their distinctive fighting style.

Religion: Dancing Cloud and Shaskal Torin are the most popular deities with the dervishes. Lawful deities are, obviously, unheard of, and Grandin is a rare choice, but not completely unknown. Although mountains are usually thought of as unchanging, those dervishes who worship the Divider remind people of the fury of avalanches and flash floods.

Background: Dervishes are normally trained individually, travelling with a single master while they learn the techniques that set them apart. This training often takes them far from their homelands.

Races: The dervish is a popular class among the elves, particularly the green elves, and similarly among half-elves. There are a fair number of halfling dervishes, and a few human and gnomish representatives. Half-orc dervishes are incredibly rare, as are dervishes among the savage humanoids. Dwarven dervishes are unheard of.

Other Classes: Dervishes tend to clash with fighters, rangers and monks, because they are very similar, but different enough to cause tensions. They get on well with other classes, and particularly well with rogues and bards.

Game Rule Information

Abilities: Dexterity is the most important ability for dervishes. They are warriors who cannot wear armour, so a high Dexterity bonus to Armor Class is almost essential. Strength covers a number of the class's distinctive skills, and helps in melee combat.

Alignment: Any chaotic.

Hit Die: d10

Class Skills

The dervish's class skills (and key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Intuit Direction (Wis), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Rope (Dex)

Skill Points: 4 + Int modifier

Class Features

The following are all features of the dervish class.

Special abilities marked with an asterisk are lost if the dervish wears any sort of armour.

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: Dervishes are proficient with all light simple and martial weapons. They are not proficient with any kinds of armour, nor with shields.

Ambidexterity*: The dervish gains the Ambidexterity feat for free at first level.

Two-Weapon Fighting*: The dervish gains the Two-Weapon Fighting feat for free at first level.

Unhampered Movement*: From second level, the dervish suffers no reduction to her movement rate from bad terrain or conditions, such as undergrowth, snow, mud, or slopes she can walk up. If she needs to climb, she must still climb at the normal rate, and similarly if she must swim. Narrow and otherwise precarious surfaces still require Balance checks, but she moves at her full movement rate without taking a -5 penalty. This is an extraordinary ability.

Uncanny Dodge: From second level the dervish can react to danger before she would normally be aware of it. From second level she does not lose her Dexterity bonus to Armor Class when caught flat-footed or attacked by an invisible enemy. She still loses the bonus if she is immobile. From tenth level, the dervish cannot be flanked, except by a rogue at least four levels higher than the dervish.

Fast Movement*: From third level the dervish moves faster than normal. This speed increase is lost if she wears armour or carries a medium or heavy load. From ninth level this is a supernatural ability.

Bonus Feats: The dervish gets a bonus feat at fourth level, eighth level, fourteenth level, sixteenth level, and twentieth level. These bonus feats must be chosen from the following list: Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Quick Draw, Run, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Precision (see below).

Evasion: From fifth level the dervish gains evasion. If she is exposed to an attack which normally allows a saving throw for half damage, she takes no damage on a successful save. This is an extraordinary ability.

Special Bonus*: From sixth level the dervish gets a bonus to Armor Class and Initiative. The bonus is equal to one sixth of the dervish's class level. This bonus is lost if the dervish is wearing armour or carrying a medium or heavy load.

Leap of the Clouds*: From seventh level the dervish's maximum jumping distance is not limited by her height. In addition, if she deliberately jumps down she may treat the distance fallen as reduced by the distance of a running jump. (For a ninth-level human dervish, this is ten feet plus two feet for every point by which the Jump check exceeds ten.) This is an extraordinary ability.

Improved Two-Weapon Fighting*: The dervish gains the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feat for free at ninth level.

Unhampered Climb*: From eleventh level the dervish moves at her full movement rate while climbing, she retains her Dexterity bonus to Armor Class, and opponents gain no bonus to hit her. This is an extraordinary ability.

Improved Evasion: From thirteenth level the dervish only takes half damage on a failed Reflex save. This is an extraordinary ability.

Greater Two-Weapon Fighting*: From fifteenth level the dervish can, if she takes the full attack option, make a third attack with her off-hand weapon every round, at a -10 penalty.

Light Step*: From seventeenth level the dervish can walk, run, and fight on surfaces which would not normally support her weight. This includes thin branches, the tops of a field of wheat, the surface of loose snow, and the surface of water. It does not include completely insubstantial surfaces, such as the tops of clouds. She can also climb using such things as handholds. This is a supernatural ability.

Two-Weapon Mastery*: From nineteenth level the dervish can, if she takes the full attack option, make a fourth attack with her off-hand weapon every round, at a -15 penalty.

Weapon Precision Feat

You cause additional damage through precise strikes, rather than through the force of your blow.

Prerequisites: Weapon Finesse feat with weapon, base attack bonus +4 or higher.

Benefit: You use you Dexterity bonus rather than your Strength bonus to calculate additional damage.

You may take this feat more than once. Each time it applies to a different weapon.


The Elf-knife is not really a knife at all, being nearer the size of a shortsword. It has a distinctive leaf-shaped blade, with sharpened edges and a sharpened point. This means that it can be used for both slashing and piercing attacks, although the balance of the blade means that it normally slashes.

Small, Martial 15gp 1d6 19-20/x2 3lb Slashing and piercing

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Speed Sp. bonus Special
1 +1 +0 +2 +0 20/30/40 +0 Ambidexterity, Two-Weapon Fighting
2 +2 +0 +3 +0 20/30/40 +0 Unhampered Movement
3 +3 +1 +3 +1 25/40/55 +0 Uncanny Dodge (Dex bonus to AC)
4 +4 +1 +4 +1 25/40/55 +0 Bonus feat
5 +5 +1 +4 +1 25/40/55 +0 Evasion
6 +6/+1 +2 +5 +2 35/50/65 +1
7 +7/+2 +2 +5 +2 35/50/65 +1 Leap of the Clouds
8 +8/+3 +2 +6 +2 35/50/65 +1 Bonus feat
9 +9/+4 +3 +6 +3 40/60/80 +1 Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
10 +10/+5 +3 +7 +3 40/60/80 +1 Uncanny Dodge (can't be flanked)
11 +11/+6/+1 +3 +7 +3 40/60/80 +1 Unhampered Climb
12 +12/+7/+2 +4 +8 +4 45/70/95 +2
13 +13/+8/+3 +4 +8 +4 45/70/95 +2 Improved Evasion
14 +14/+9/+4 +4 +9 +4 45/70/95 +2 Bonus feat
15 +15/+10/+5 +5 +9 +5 55/80/105 +2 Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
16 +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +10 +5 55/80/105 +2 Bonus feat
17 +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 55/80/105 +2 Light Step
18 +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +6 60/90/120 +3
19 +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +6 60/90/120 +3 Two-Weapon Mastery
20 +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +6 60/90/120 +3 Bonus feat

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