Shivnarine Chanderpaul rescued Derbyshire from disaster on day one after Stuart Broad had helped Nottinghamshire reduce their opponents to 75-6.
England paceman Broad finished up with 4-57 from five spells, including taking three early wickets, to put the visitors firmly on top after they had won the toss and opted to bowl first at Derby.
However Chanderpaul proved an obstacle the Nottinghamshire attack could not remove, though their cause wasn't helped by the loss of seamer Andre Adams due to a calf injury.
The West Indian left-hander made an unbeaten 87 to help the Division One new boys to 256 by the time they were bowled out in the final session.
Chanderpaul shared a seventh-wicket stand of 96 with Jon Clare (49) and then added a further 68 in partnership with number 10 Tony Palladino, who contributed 39 to the cause.
Left-arm seamer Harry Gurney helped clean up the tail to finish with 4-86, leaving Chanderpaul all alone after spending just shy of four hours at the crease during his 153-ball knock.
Derbyshire came into the match off the back of last week's batting debacle at Lord's when they were shot out for 60 and it seemed a repeat performance could be on the cards when their top order crumbled again.
Opener Billy Godleman did make 31 before he became Broad's second victim of the morning session, offering a catch behind to wicketkeeper Chris Read.
Left to face 11 overs, Nottinghamshire reached the close on 28 without loss. Ed Cowan - named in Australia's squad for this summer's Ashes series in England - was unbeaten on 18 with fellow opener Alex Hales 10 not out.