A note from the author,
This archetype is delving into untested ground, as it modifies an NPC class, the expert. I personally believe the expert to be a viable player character, though it can be difficult and trying as I also personally believe that even with an enhanced expert they are still bellow the bar of many PC classes. Also because of the nature of this class, I strongly suggest allowing the use of the tomes presented by Frank Gori earlier in our week of H.P. Lovecraft madness. But without further ado the Flying Pincushion presents to you the aletheian scholar.
Aletheian Scholar (Expert)
What thing is all at once the most powerful weapon, most deadly poison, most useful tool, and most seductive drug known to all men? There are many answers to give, but to some there is but one true answer, knowledge. As a weapon against it there is little defense, it easily poisons even the truest of hearts, as a tool there is nothing in this world that knowledge did not create, and as a drug, none is more addictive, as the hunger for it can never be truly sated. For those who feel this in their very being there is a name, the aletheian scholar. They are willing to risk death and madness to relearn what we have forgotten, and discover that which we are afraid to. To them there is no greater calling then truth, no knowledge too dangerous or taboo, for knowledge is neither good nor evil. If knowledge is the sword and men the hand, should it not be the hand that terrifies us then, for like the sword, without the hand knowledge has no will, and can do no harm of its own. It would stand to reason then that exposing the worlds many secrets to the harsh light of truth is worth any cost. For truth should be unbound by the shackles of morality. No matter their ethical standings however, all aletheian scholars share the belief that truth and knowledge are mans keys to unlocking reality, and our place in it.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency Same as a standard expert plus the following; fire arms (both one and two handed) and one martial or exotic weapon of your choice. Aletheian scholars are also proficient with bucklers and small shields as well as light armor.
Skills In addition to picking 10 class skills, Linguistics, Perception, and Knowledge (history) are always class skills for the aletheian scholar.
A Use for All Things: Sometimes the search for knowledge leads to dangerous places, and sometimes you have to adapt to the situation at hand. Because of this at 1st level the aletheian scholar receives Equipment Trick as a bonus feat and may pick one item and use its associated tricks, you must still meet the requirements for using the specific tricks in each item category. Every six levels attained (7th, 13th, and 19th) after 1st you gain this feat again as a bonus feat and may choose an additional item from the list. Also this ability reduces the penalty to hit when using improvised weapons from -4 to -2 for an aletheian scholar. This reduction also applies to using a fire arm as a melee weapon, such as pistol whipping or stock bashing, as these attacks are being considered improvised weapon attacks.
Candle of Truth: Because of the boundless curiosity and unending appetite for knowledge aletheian scholars often know at least something about many subjects, they simply need to recall that knowledge from the library of their mind. As a result beginning at 3rd level you may add a bonus of ½ your class level in this class (minimum 1) to any knowledge skill check you wish. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your intelligence modifier.
Harbor No Secrets: Because bringing to light all the knowledge of the world is an intrinsic part of the aletheian scholar’s philosophy, finding that which is hidden in words comes as second nature. As a result at 3rd level whenever the aletheian scholar attempts to use the Linguistics skill to decipher a code or unfamiliar language or the Perception skill to investigate books and documents in any way they add a bonus to the die roll equal to 1/2 of their class level (minimum 1) in this class.
Right Tool for the Job: Long hours spent in seedy taverns waiting for contacts and battling strange horrors have honed the everyday tools and items aletheian scholars carry into an effective means of self defense. At 6th level the aletheian scholar gains Improvised Weapon Mastery as a bonus feat. For the purposes of applying this feat melee attacks with a fire arm, such as pistol whipping or stock bashing, are also considered to be improvised weapon attacks, and are subject to this feat.
Rune Foil (Su): Because runes are simply an attempt to hide knowledge behind archaic mystic symbols aletheian scholars delight in deciphering and unraveling them. At 8th level the scholar gains a +5 insight bonus on all Perception checks to find magical glyphs and spell runes. Additionally an aletheian scholar can attempt to dispel such runes (symbol spells, sepia snake sigils, glyph or warding, etc). For the purpose of dispelling a rune the scholar’s class levels count as his caster level, if this meets or exceeds the rune creator’s caster level, then the rune is dispelled. Using this ability is a full round action.
Unravel Scroll (Su): While aletheian scholars do not gains spells or spell-like abilities, they do have an amazing knack for deciphering writing. Because of this at 10th level the aletheian scholar may attempt to use spell scrolls even if they have not invested skill ranks into the Use Magic Device skill. In this case the scholar’s class level is considered their total modifier for the skill check. However if the aletheian scholar has ranks in Use Magic Devise then they may roll their skill check twice and take the better of the two results when attempting to use a spell scroll. Using a scroll remains a standard action, and all scrolls are covered by this ability regardless of if arcane or divine.
Read Weakness (Ex): An aletheian scholar may not seem to be a dangerous opponent, as spectacles and ink wells are rather no threatening. However many that have tried to stop an aletheian scholar’s pursuit of knowledge has found otherwise. At 12th level the scholar has gained an almost supernatural ability to spot the weaknesses of their foes. As a standard action a scholar may attempt a Perception check against an opponent. If this skill check result meets or exceeds the targets Armor Class, the aletheian scholar has found a weakness. As a result for 1d4 rounds the target of this ability losses the benefit of their armor and or shield to their Armor Class. Magic pluses and enhancements are not lost, only the armor’s base defense value. You may only affect a given target once with this ability in a 24 hour period, and those not wearing armor or carrying a shield cannot be affect by this ability.
Dangerous Knowledge (Su): The greatest strength of the aletheian scholar is their mind, and the stores of lost or taboo knowledge contained therein. As a result a 15th level the aletheian scholar may choose a special class feature of another class and use that ability for a short time. The class feature may not be spell casting. A short list of choices includes; evasion, wild shape, channel energy, weapon training, armor training, monks unarmed strike, and uncanny dodge. When using this ability you gain access to the chosen class feature for a number of rounds equal to your intelligence modifier. Also for any class feature that scales by level, your level in the “class” is considered to be 3/4th of your aletheian scholar level. Also if you happen to have the class feature already from levels in another class, when using this ability you gain the improved version of the class ability (such as improved evasion or improved uncanny dodge) if one exists. Class features that do not have an improved version are not affected in this way and are used normally if selected. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your intelligence modifier. Using this ability is a full round action. Feats cannot be taken and used by this ability.
Master of the Mind (Ex): An aletheian scholar’s mind has become so strengthened by knowledge, and so strong in will, that few can sway them from their goals. As a result at 18th level the aletheian scholar becomes immune to all charm or mental domination affects.
Ascended Scholar (Su): At the pinnacle of their studies, the aletheian scholar has gained so much knowledge and delved so many secrets that they are often compelled by posterity to record for all time the truths they have learned. This takes the form of a special book, which can be a standard magical tome, grimori, or manual. Also any one of the Lovecraft themed books presented in “mishelved; H.P. Lovecraft” by Frank Gori would be appropriate. Additionally an aletheian scholar may roll twice and take the better of the two results whenever they are forced to make a save or percentile role regarding a negative effect of a tome or book. It should be noted that books that only function once still disappear after use, so chose carefully.