Creative Characters – Sarissa the Skilled


Welcome to Creative Characters. This is where I indulge myself a bit and create an unusual character, based on a concept, idea, theme, feat or whatever else catches my fancy. These characters are NOT supposed to be optimized, but they ARE supposed to be INTERESTING. For the sake of reference, and consistency, all characters here are created with the Elite stat array (15,14,13,12,10,8) and all hit points are rolled as averages (and rounded down). They are also written so that they can be used as either NPCs or PCs as the reader chooses, and are written with all special abilities typed out, so as to ensure a minimum amount of book flipping throughout your game.

This is a recurring series, and you should be seeing installments of it each week. Should you wish to see a particular build or idea featured here, then please don’t hesitate to comment

This time around we’re looking at making a skill monkey, who can use their abilities while within combat (Acrobatics and Bluff), while also being useful outside of combat. At the same time, I want this to be a “mental character”, so unlike most rogues, this one will NOT have a high dexterity (at least naturally). Please welcome Sarissa, the samsaran rogue.

Sarissa the Skilled CR 4

XP 1,200
CG Medium female samsaran (humanoid, samsaran)
Rogue 5 (acrobat, burglar)
Init +1; Senses low-light vision.; Perception +11


AC16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +1 dexterity, +1 dodge, +1 shield)
hp 31 (8 (from class) +4d8+5 (favored class bonus))
Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +4


Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 rapier +3 (1d6, 18-20/x2))
Ranged shortbow +4 (1d6/x3)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th; concentration +6)

1/daycomprehend languages, deathwatch, stabilize


Str8, Dex 12 (+2 magic item), Con 10 (12-2 race), Int 18 (+2 race,+1 level), Wis 16 (+2 race), Cha 13
Base Attack +3; CMB +2; CMD 13
Feats Armor Proficiency Light, Canny Tumble, Combat Expertise, Dodge, Mobility, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Weapon Proficiency (hand crossbow, rapier, sap, shortbow and short sword).
Skills Acrobatics +11, Bluff +11, Climb +7, Diplomacy +9, Disable Device +9, Escape Artist +11, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +12, Knowledge (history) +9, Knowledge (local) +12, Perception +11, Sense Motive +8, Stealth +11
Languages Auran, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Infernal, Samsaran
Combat Gear arrows (20), boots, daredevil softpaws, buckler, belt of incredible dexterity (+2), rapier +1, shortbow, studded leather armor; Other Gear backpack, bedroll, 2x explorer’s outfits, hammock, hat of disguise, light horse, riding saddle, saddlebags, 100 ft. of silk rope, thieves tools (masterwork), 7 days of trail rations; Coins: 632 gp, 3 so (these remaining coins can be spent at the GM or player’s discretion before the start of the game session).


Careful Disarm (Ex)

Whenever Sarissa attempts to disarm a trap using Disable Device, she does not spring the trap unless she fails by 10 or more. If she does set off a trap she was attempting to disarm, she adds double her trap sense bonus to avoid the trap.

Expert Acrobat (Ex)

Sarissa does not suffer any armor check penalties on Acrobatics, Climb, Fly, Sleight of Hand, or Stealth skill checks while wearing light armor. When she is not wearing armor, she gains a +2 competence bonus on Acrobatics and Fly skill checks.

Evasion (Ex)

Sarissa can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if Sarissa is wearing light armor or no armor. If Sarissa is helpless, she does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Lifebound (Ex)

Sarissa gains a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws made to resist death effects, saving throws against negative energy effects, Fortitude saves made to remove negative levels, and Constitution checks made to stabilize if reduced to negative hit points.

Samsaran Magic (Sp)

Samsarans with a Charisma score of 11 or higher gain the following spell-like abilities: 1/day—comprehend languages, deathwatch, and stabilize. The caster level for these effects is equal to the samsaran’s level.

Second Chance (Ex)

Sarissa can reroll any Acrobatics, Climb, or Fly skill check she has just made. This reroll is made at a –5 penalty. She must take the second result, even if it is worse. She can use this ability only once on any given skill check. She can use this ability once per day.

Shards of the Past (Ex)

Sarissa’s past lives grant her bonuses on Acrobatics and Bluff—she gains a +2 racial bonus on both of these skills, and they are treated as class skills regardless of what class she actually takes.

Sneak Attack

If Sarissa can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Sarissa’s attack deals extra damage any time her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when she flanks her target. This extra damage is 3d6. Should she score a critical hit with a sneak attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet.

With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), she can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack, not even with the usual –4 penalty. Sarissa must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. Sarissa cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment.


Sarissa adds 1/2 her level to Perception skill checks made to locate traps and to Disable Device skill checks (+2), and can use Disable Device to disarm magic traps.

Rogue Talents

Coax Information (Ex): Sarissa can use Bluff or Diplomacy in place of Intimidate to force an opponent to act friendly toward her.

Combat Trick: Sarissa gains Canny Tumble as a bonus feat.


Sarissa is all about opportunity and flanking. She will use her daredevil softpaws and then use her acrobatics skill to move through threatened squares to flank her opponent together with any other melee fighters in the group (she will wait with moving into position till that person is in place), using her full +15 (at that point) Acrobatics check. Should the check succeed, she then gets a +4 bonus to hit for that attack, hopefully ensuring that her Sneak Attack lands. (And in the process increasing her own dexterity against any possible attacks of opportunity by +4)


Sarissa was a troublesome youth, wanting to know EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING, and she picked up a number of tricks as a child. However, she always found society to be stifling, so at a young age, she ran off to join the circus, but she did not remain a naive youth, as the circus life was hard, and they often resorted to stealing. Sarissa was not a natural at these things, but unlike many of her associates, she was patient, smart, and she picked up on little hints that they often missed. Soon, her own skills, through training, surpassed their natural abilities, and she was the normal pick for tricky burglaries.

Eventually, she was caught, causing her to serve time in jail, but again, here she was a natural fit. Learning how to be friendly with other, and striking when the opportunity offered itself. Once released, Sarissa vowed that no one would ever imprison her again, and the best way to do that was to go legit. She’s been looking for an adventuring band to join ever since, hoping that her skills will prove useful in a dangerous environment. And if not, well, she’s always been a quick learner.

About Kim Frandsen

Kim is a freelance writer for various companies (including Publishing, Fat Goblin Games, Flaming Crab Games, Outland Entertainment, Purple Duck Games, Rusted Iron Games and Zenith Games) as well as an editor of the Pathfinder and D&D 5th Edition product lines for Publishing. Hopes to one day rule the world!

View all posts by Kim Frandsen →

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