The skeptic accepts the existence of the occult world while challenging claims that the supernatural explains all of life’s problems. Skeptics tirelessly strive to debunk the legends surrounding possessions and spiritual hauntings, but stand prepared on the off chance a legend turns out to be true. Though these strong-willed investigators master the art of identifying and overcoming haunts and possessions, they often revel in the thrill of revealing a more mundane truth.
At 1st level, a skeptic’s knowledge of haunts allows her to notice them with ease, regardless of the methods by which the haunts make their presence known in the realm of the living. The skeptic adds 1/2 her level to all skill checks to notice haunts. If she notices a haunt, she adds this same bonus to any initiative check made as a result of that haunt activating. This bonus is an insight bonus.
This ability replaces trapfinding.
Regardless of the actual situation at hand, a skeptic naturally suspects that trickery or hoaxing is at hand. This mindset helps to set the skeptic at ease even when confronted by the most terrifying of situations, be the source of that fear mundane or legitimately supernatural. At 2nd level, a skeptic gains a +1 insight bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities used to falsely create the impression of a supernatural presence, as well as a +1 insight bonus on saving throws caused by the effects of actual haunts or incorporeal undead. This bonus increases to +2 at 5th level, and to +3 at 8th level. At 11th level, a skeptic is immune to fear effects.
This ability replaces poison resistance.
Normally, damaging a haunt is a tricky affair requiring the ability to channel positive energy or wield spells capable of doing the same, but the skeptic learns methods of using her own convictions to accomplish the same feat. At 4th level, as a standard action, a skeptic can focus her willpower to damage an active haunt. She must be within a haunt’s area to smite the haunt. When the skeptic uses this ability, she deals an amount of damage to the haunt equal to her studied strike bonus.
This ability replaces swift alchemy.
At 7th level, a skeptic can damage a creature currently possessing another without lethally harming the possessed creature. To make an exorcising strike, the skeptic must make a touch attack against the possessed creature. On a hit, she damages the possessing creature or entity, dealing an amount of lethal damage equal to her studied strike bonus damage.
The possessed creature takes this amount of damage as nonlethal damage at the same time.
This ability replaces the investigator talent the skeptic would otherwise gain at 7th level.
Pathfinder Player Companion: Haunted Heroes Handbook © 2016, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Alexander Augunas, Thurston Hillman, Isabelle Lee, Stephen Rowe, and Christopher Wasko.