Friday, December 12, 2014

I've Got Your Dervish, Right Here

Well, I went and did it. Here is the Dervish class for Dungeon Crawl Classics. I've take from a variety of sources, for inspiration, including the Ranger class from Crawl! #6, the Thune Dervish from the I-series of modules (thanks, +Jon Hershberger!), but mostly I was trying to figure out what kind of skillset an implacable hunter of men might have, particularly if that hunter was on a holy mission or quest.



 This would be an interesting class to play, but its applicability is somewhat narrow. It would not, for example, fit in well with your gang of murder-hobo tomb raiders. It would, in fact, have to kill them for defiling holy ground. That said, I think that having a whole crew of these guys hunting a powerful necromancer would be a hell of a fun romp.

Give it a look and let me know what you think.

The Dervish
A Player Character Class
for
Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG

The Dervish is, at heart, a warrior; but it shares some aspects of the ranger and paladin classes, and even a bit with the monk class, for it is a, most importantly, a holy warrior. The dervish is on a quest for perfection of self, through addition of those traits that are praiseworthy, and purging of those that are corrupt. They believe that all gods are but aspects of a unified godhead, and that through study, diligent practice of bodily disciplines, and asceticism, they may attain unity with the godhead in life. It is of no small consequence that such an attainment leads to extremely long life (for a human), and perhaps, it is said by the greatest dervish master, Larkun Ba'Davi, immortality. However, dervishes are best known to outsiders as implacable holy assassins, men and women who track and bring to justice any who transgress against the godhead, in any of its worldly aspects. Those who defile a holy site, destroy a holy artifact, or loot a tomb on hallowed ground (no matter what weird cult might consider it "holy") should be careful to remain anonymous, lest a dervish band undertake a geas to bring the miscreants to account for their blasphemies.

Hit Die: A dervish gains 1d10 hit points at each level

Alignment: Dervishes are of Neutral alignment in their dealings with those outside their orders, but that's only in matters of religion. They have a very strict code of ethics regarding the sanctity of religion, worship practices, and things and places considered holy, by whatever religion they are considered to be so. Should anyone desecrate, destroy, or otherwise defile something holy (including any burial places), a dervish from the order will swear an oath to bring that person to account. In that sense they are Lawful.

Weapon Training: Dervishes may use any melee weapon, but specialize in the weapon of their particular order. Swords are most common, but some orders use axes, spears, polearms, or even whips or nets. They may use a Deed Die when using this designated weapon, but not when using any other. However, they shun missile weapons, as ranged weapons separate the dervish from the visceral experience of divine justice. Dervishes may wear any armor.

Holy Rite: Each dervish order (there are many) has a particular Holy Rite sacred to its physical disciplines. Some engage in self-flagellataion, some in martial practice with holy weapons, some dance their sacred dances, and some seek the Divine through musical performance. Any player who decides on the dervish class must designate such a physical discipline has his or her Holy Rite.

Lay on Hands: A dervish may Lay on Hands as a cleric, once per day, per level. If the attempt fails, the dervish may not use this power again until he or she conducts a Holy Rite for an hour. Successful attempts will always be applied as if the target is the same alignment as the dervish. However, a dervish also may do so for him- or herself at will, but must take an hour's time to perform his or her Holy Rite (see above). Doing so allows the dervish to heal 1d6 damage per level, or restore 1 point of ability damage per level.

Thieving Skills: The dervish may choose two Thieving Skills from the following list: Sneak Silently, Hide in Shadows, Climb Sheer Surfaces, Pick Lock, Find Trap, Read Languages, Handle Poison, and Cast Spell from Scroll. When attempting these skills, the dervish character applies his or her Deed Die to the roll.

Tracking: A dervish is adept at tracking, and may add the Deed Die to any roll to track a target of divine retribution. Such tracking may involve a physical search for tracks and traces of passage (Intelligence mod applies), but it also might involve inquiries among those who might have seen or encountered what the dervish seeks (Personality mod applies). Tracking doesn't just apply to attempts to track down a defiler of something holy, but to any attempt to seek out a place or thing.

Survival: Dervishes are adept at determining location, finding shelter, starting a fire, and seeking out food and water, even the most desolate and inhospitable climes. They may add their Deed Die to any attempt to do so.

Asceticism: A dervish cares little for material possessions, and what possessions they retain are of a utilitarian nature, usually their holy weapon, some useful equipment, and simple foodstuffs. They do not retain wealth beyond what is required for sustenance, at a meager level, and give away any surplus wealth to those in need (e.g., the poor, an impoverished temple or shrine, a library or repository of knowledge, etc.). A dervish who covets wealth will have his or her Luck reduced by 1 per day until he or she is able to dispose of the treasure in question, and may not simply give it to another party member.

Languages: Dervishes are found in every land, and are renowned travelers. As such, they are able to learn 1d3 additional language per level, beyond those granted by their Intelligence.

Table D-1: Dervish

Level
Deed Die
Crit Die/Table
Action Dice
Ref
Fort
Will
1
d2
1d8/III
1d20
+1
+1
+1
2
d3
1d10/III
1d20
+1
+1
+1
3
d4
1d12/III
1d20
+1
+2
+2
4
d5
1d14/III
1d20
+2
+2
+2
5
d6
1d16/IV
1d20+1d14
+2
+3
+3
6
d7
1d20/IV
1d20+1d16
+3
+3
+3
7
d8
1d20/V
1d20+1d20
+3
+4
+3
8
d10
1d24/V
1d20+1d20
+4
+4
+4
9
d10+1
1d30/V
1d20+1d20
+4
+5
+4
10
d10+2
2d20/V
1d20+1d20+1d14
+5
+6
+5


Dervishes do not use titles, though each is a student to someone who is his or her master. He or she will call that person by the title "master."


Also, in furtherance of my own, personal holy mission, I give you another Zappadan miracle: This fantastic guitar work from that dervish of American music, Frank Zappa.

This is what my dervish character would look like.