The lone survivor from his village on the Planet Namek, Dende was rescued by Krillin and Gohan. Unlike Piccolo and other Namekian warriors, Dende does not possess strong fighting abilities. But he does have another crucial capability: the power to heal. Dende is thus important to the good guys during the battle with Frieza. Trustworthy and caring, Dende is loyal to Guru and his fellow Namekians. Later in Dragon Ball Z, Dende replaces Kami as the guardian of the Earth.
Dende first appears during the Namek Saga in Moori's village on Namek, whichFrieza and his henchmen, Zarbon and Dodoria, are terrorizing in their search for the Dragon Balls. After putting up a brave stand against Frieza's henchmen, Moori is brutally killed by Dodoria, who then kills the fleeing Cargo, while Dende looks in horror, and Frieza's soldiers retrieve the village's Dragon Ball. Angered by Dodoria closing in on Dende, Gohan kicks Dodoria into a Namekian house, and with the help of Krillin, Gohan saves Dende, and they fly away from the village. Even though they manage to escape from most of Frieza's henchmen, Dodoria is sent to chase after the three, and is almost successful in killing Krillin, Dende and Gohan until Krillin blinds Dodoria with a Solar Flare, and hide behind an island. After escaping from Dodoria's Maximum Buster, they sense Vegeta killing Namekians in Tsuno's village. Dende, grateful for his rescue and confident in their good intentions, guides his saviors to the Grand Elder Guru. After the grand elder reveals Krillin's true potential, Krillin leaves Dende with Guru and brings Gohan for Guru to reveal his true potential. Grand Elder Guru later reveals Dende's potential, allowing him to use his healing ability, and sends him to help Gohan and Krillin to summon the dragon Porunga because they cannot speak the Namekian language to make their wish.
Dende eventually takes part in the battle against Frieza. He mostly watches, but at times assists by healing the fighters, and saves all of their lives with his healing ability; such as Krillin after he gets impaled by Frieza, Gohan after Frieza brutally beats him, Piccolo after Frieza almost destroys him with hiscrazy finger beams, and Vegeta who wants to get a Zenkai to become a Super Saiyan. Reluctantly, due to the fact Vegeta had slaughtered a lot of Dende's own race, Dende heals Vegeta under Piccolo's orders. Though, he pays a serious price when Frieza transforms into his final form and kills him with a single shot, in order to prevent him from healing anyone else. Later on, duringGoku's battle against Frieza, Dende is revived from death by a wish made from Shenron and makes the wish toPorunga to transport everyone except Goku and Frieza to Earth. When on Earth, Dende realizes that Nail has fused with Piccolo. Dende lives on Earth for a while until it is time for the Namekians to be transported to New Namek.
- Flight – The ability to fly with the use of ki.
- Ki Sense – The ability to sense life energy.
- Far-Seeing Arts – Technique which allows those who live in the godly realms to see everything that happen in the lower realms. He uses this technique to watch the earthlings from Kami's Lookout at top of the Korin Tower.
- Healing – The ability to heal wounds. Dende's power to heal extends beyond the victim's wounds, as he is capable of restoring tattered clothes.
- Magic Materialization – The Dragon Clan's ability to create objects from nothing. Since he is a prodigy from the Dragon Clans, he also has the ability to create Dragon Balls.
- Namekian Fusion – Dende has the choice to fuse or not to fuse with Piccolo before the battle against Frieza in Super Saiya Densetsu. He can also use Namekian Fusion in the Dragon Ball Collectible Card Game to fuse with any Namekian in the game.
- Portal Opening – Dende and Piccolo can open the portal between Hell and Earth, but it requires one of the two Namekians to be on the other side in Hell.
- Unnamed fire ability – Dende shows the ability to create fire with his hands in a fashion very similar toki.