Here is my Hell's Rebels Dawnflower Dervish (note that we're using Background Skills). I make no claims about her being thoroughly optimized, but she's performed well so far (currently 4th lvl). Halfling is the optimal race IMHO.
Starting Stats: Str 8, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 16
Traits: natural born leader (campaign), resilient (optionally replace with blade of mercy)
1st: Toughness, Dervish Dance (bonus feat)
3rd: Arcane Strike (removes the need for a magic weapon for a while)
EDIT: Persuasive is a bonus feat from the rebellion rules (also one extra skill point).
Planned 5th lvl feat: Extra Traits (blade of mercy, irrepressible)
|Jane "The Knife"|
Best race for this is unequivocally Wayang. I'll fight anyone who says otherwise.
My sister actually has two of these archetypes (dawnflower dervish)...
The first one is a Halfling, her second was a Wayang. Both work like the Tasmanian Devil from Loonie Toons. "Whirling Blade of Choppiness" is a phrase that comes to mind.
She actually found that it was better to concentrate more on Dex, rather than Cha...
I agree the halfling is by far the best of the core races for it. You'll compete with fighters for your bonus to hit (not as much with secondary attacks gained) for quite a while before BAB beats it. And charisma never hurts to gain some rounds of dancing in.
I've no wayang experiance, but that bonus to rolls instead of shadow magic looks cool as an option.
I also agree focus more on DeX than charisma. Your spells will likely work best as buffs so DC isnt as big a deal. But you need to hit to work. So hit.
If you're going buffs make them last. Get rods to extend duration with Metamagic. This is great because you can always have a rod in hand even with dervish dance. They arent weapons or shields. (Some rods are but not this kind.)
The best part is you can take advanced versatility as a bard and pick up a few nifty tricks. Weapon focus for free and count as a fighter at half your level. You can do this at 6th. Free weapon foucus is huge as you'll need all your feats.
After that just get a grab bag of usual bard tricks. You'll want arcane strike (a bards best friend and yours even more). Between arcane strike, double song bonus and the option of picking up fighters weapon specialization you should hit like a mac truck.
I'd also look into piranha strike. You'll never qualify for power strike and with being unable to 2 hand your weapon you'll not be off any worse. A few more to damage, and totally offset by your song. Basically free damage that Scales.
Another option as well is to look into something like a tengu with bite and claws. You can still use dervish dance with natural attacks so you'll gain a couple of secondary attacks with the doubled up inspire courage. Nothing wrong with some minor damage boosts with no penalties to your other attacks.
As for spells I'm a big fan of swift spells for dervishes. Dazzling blade, for example, makes a perfect level one spell. Buff up with extended duration buffs and swift spells during combat and you'll always be on the attack. This wont stack with your advance strike but if you're doing standard action spells you're not attacking anyways. But now you'll have the option to do something with your swift actions, something most bards dont use at all.
Dex is definitely the primary stat.
I'd also look into piranha strike.
The scimitar isn't a light weapon, unfortunately (my build goes the designer's expected route of using a single scimitar).
A metamagic rod of extend is recommended for use with Good Hope — fantastic party buff.
Arcane Strike is a good 3rd lvl feat — it means that you don't need to worry about getting a magic weapon for a while.