Any force on the move, whether it's an army or an adventuring group, needs information about what's ahead and what's behind and, more important, time to prepare for battle. A scout can navigate difficult terrain at good speed, and she specializes in seeing her foe before the opponent ever detects her presence. In a dungeon or in the wild, a scout is seen only when she wants to be.

Adventures: Scouts adventure for numerous reasons. Many have a role in a military organization. Whether serving as outriders for a large army or as foresters for a small border fort, these scouts venture into the wilderness under orders. Although more common than other scouts, those attached to the military are unlikely to have the time or permission necessary to undertake regular adventures. Instead, adventuring scouts come from rural villages, having honed their skills over a lifetime of wandering the woods. Others have left their military service behind and find themselves attracted to the adventuring lifestyle. Many adventuring scouts begin their careers as guides hired to lead other adventurers through the wilderness. Those who find the excitement and challenge of adventuring to their taste then seek out a group of their own.

Characteristics: A scout has some training in weapons and a unique combat style that favors fast movement and devastating attacks. She excels in performing during running battles, which allow her to maximize her special fighting techniques and high movement rate. Although a scout can hold her own in a fight, she's at her best before combat begins, when she can use her powers of stealth and observation to find an enemy and give her companions accurate information about what they face. The scout is a backcountry expert, exceeding even the ranger's ability to navigate rough terrain and lead a group of companions through the wilderness.

The scout also excels in a dungeon environment, and she can find and disable traps as well as any rogue. As a scout advances in level, her senses become amazingly acute, and she can eventually operate normally even in total darkness.

Alignment: Scouts can be of any alignment, and a scout's alignment is often shaped more by her personal background than from any training. The notable exceptions to this are the many scouts who receive their training in a military organization–such scouts are carefully and rigorously taught, and are almost always lawful in alignment. Outside of military organizations, more scouts are neutral than any other alignment, but every alignment and philosophy is represented within the class.

Religion: Scouts have varied and individual takes on religion, and no single religion stands out as typical of the class. Scouts occasionally pay homage to deities of nature, but these devotions are more a personal choice on the part of an individual than any outgrowth of their training. Scouts don't see nature as a force in its own right, and this belief is one of the most profound differences between the scout and the ranger classes. Where the ranger sees nature as something to be revered and protected, the scout sees it as the terrain over which she must do her job. Although a scout might love nature for its beauty or for the solitude she can find within it, she'll never draw power from nature the way a ranger does.

Background: Many scouts receive military training and serve for a time as outriders for an army. They perfect their techniques while trying to spot and hide from large groups of foes. The crucible of military service turns out tough, independent scouts accustomed to working on their own or in small groups. Such steady individuals make great additions to adventuring parties, and their expertise is often sought by members of other classes.

Other scouts come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some train with foresters and rangers serving a rural lord, and others simply grow up among the common folk of the countryside, spending month after month exploring the wild in their leisure time. Scouts from such diverse backgrounds often take up adventuring to leave their home communities behind. Having exhausted the potential for exploration in their home region, they seek a wider variety of experience and wish to see a broader portion of the world.

Races: Humans make excellent scouts. Their adaptable nature allows them to perfect a wider variety of skills than most other races, and they make good use of the scout's many abilities. Elves and halflings are the most naturally gifted scouts; both races have produced nimble scouts with amazing abilities of stealth and observation. While halflings have more innate talent for sneaking than elves do, the greater speed of elf scouts gives them advantages of their own.

Dwarves and gnomes make respectable underground scouts, and the scout's bonuses to speed offset one of these races' greatest weaknesses. Combined with the dwarf's knack for operating in areas of earth and stone, scout training can turn dwarves into impressive underground explorers–although most dwarves prefer a more straightforward approach to combat and dislike the skirmish fighting style of the scout.

Other Classes: Scouts work well with members of almost any other class. Skilled and adaptable, they thrive when they can complement a slower and louder group of adventurers or soldiers. Scouts move ahead of such a group for brief periods, stealthily checking the next room or forest clearing for foes, and then circling back again to ensure that enemies are not sneaking up on the group from behind. When combat is joined, however, the group remains as a stable base to which a scout can fall back when pressed. Clerics, wizards, and others willing to cast spells that enhance a scout's mobility or stealth make her job easier, and are welcome companions in combat as well.

Conversely, a scout also welcomes a group made up entirely of stealthy characters such as rogues, rangers, ninjas, and fellow scouts. This group moves much more quietly than a normal adventuring party, and it is seldom surprised.

Role: A scout plays several roles in most adventuring groups. First and foremost, a scout excels at detecting an enemy or creature before being detected herself. Whether moving well ahead of the group or guarding the rear, a scout is the character most likely to discover a potential threat and be ready to act in combat. Serving as a backup melee combatant or ranged expert in battle, she provides support for the more straightforward fighters in the group and confuses and distracts the enemy. A scout's stealth and trapfinding ability make her the natural choice for entering and searching dangerous areas.

Game Rule Information

Scouts have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Dexterity helps scouts become stealthy and overcome their lack of access to heavy armor. Wisdom also is important because it affects many skills, especially Spot and Listen, that most scouts consider vital to their ability to survive in the wild and to detect enemies efficiently.

Alignment: Any. Scouts in military service are usually lawful.

Hit Die: d8.

Starting Gold: 5d4 ×10 gp.

Class Skills: A scout's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (Geography) (Int), Knowledge (Nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Int/Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (n/a), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (8 + Int modifier) ×?4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 8 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the scout.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Scouts are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the handaxe, throwing axe, short sword, and shortbow. Scouts are proficient with light armor, but not with shields.

Skirmish (Ex): A scout relies on mobility to deal extra damage and improve her defense. She deals an extra 1d6 points of damage on all attacks she makes during any round in which she moves at least 10 feet. The extra damage applies only to attacks taken during the scout's turn. This extra damage increases by 1d6 for every four levels gained above 1st (2d6 at 5th, 3d6 at 9th, 4d6 at 13th, and 5d6 at 17th level).

The extra damage only applies against living creatures that have a discernible anatomy. Undead, constructs, oozes, plants, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to extra damage from critical hits are not vulnerable to this additional damage. The scout must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. Scouts can apply this extra damage to ranged attacks made while skirmishing, but only if the target is within 30 feet.

At 3rd level, a scout gains a +1 competence bonus to Armor Class during any round in which she moves at least 10 feet. The bonus applies as soon as the scout has moved 10 feet, and lasts until the start of her next turn. This bonus improves by 1 for every four levels gained above 3rd (+2 at 7th, +3 at 11th, +4 at 15th, and +5 at 19th level).

A scout loses this ability when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load. If she gains the skirmish ability from another class, the bonuses stack.

Trapfinding (Ex): A scout can use the Search skill to locate traps with a DC higher than 20, and she can use Disable Device to bypass a trap or disarm magic traps.

Battle Fortitude (Ex): At 2nd level, a scout gains a +1 competence bonus on Fortitude saves and initiative checks. This bonus increases to +2 at 11th level and +3 at 20th level. A scout loses this bonus when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a scout cannot be caught flat-footed and reacts to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so.

Fast Movement (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, a scout's gains a +10 foot enhancement bonus to her base land speed. At 11th level, this bonus increases to +20 feet.

A scout loses this benefit when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.

Trackless Step (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, a scout cannot be tracked in natural surroundings.

Bonus Feats: At 4th level and every four levels thereafter (8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level), a scout gains a bonus feat, which must be selected from the following list: Acrobatic, Agile, Alertness, Athletic, Blind-Fight, Brachiation, Combat Expertise, Danger Sense, Dodge, Endurance, Far Shot, Great Fortitude, Hear the Unseen, Improved Initiative, Improved Swimming, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Quick Draw, Quick Reconnoiter, Rapid Reload, Shot on the Run, Skill Focus, Spring Attack, Track. She must meet all the prerequisites for the feat.

Evasion (Ex): Beginning at 5th level, a scout can avoid damage from certain attacks with a successful Reflex save.

Flawless Stride (Ex): Starting at 6th level, a scout can move through any sort of terrain that slows movement (such as undergrowth, rubble, and similar terrain) at her normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment.

This ability does not let her move more quickly through terrain that requires a Climb or Swim check to navigate, nor can she move more quickly through terrain or undergrowth that has been magically manipulated to impede motion.

A scout loses this benefit when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.

Camouflage (Ex): Beginning at 8th level, a scout can use the Hide skill in any sort of natural terrain. She loses this benefit when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.

Blindsense (Ex): At 10th level, a scout gains the blindsense ability out to 30 feet.

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex): Beginning at 14th level, a scout can use the Hide skill in natural terrain even while being observed. A scout loses this benefit when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.

Free Movement (Ex): At 18th level and higher, a scout can slip out of bonds, grapples, and even the effects of confining spells easily. This ability duplicates the effect of a freedom of movement spell, except that it is always active. A scout loses this benefit when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.

Blindsight (Ex): A 20th-level scout gains the blindsight ability out to 30 feet. Her senses become so acute that she can maneuver and fight flawlessly even in total darkness. Invisibility, darkness, and most kinds of concealment are irrelevant, though the scout must have line of effect to a creature or object to discern it.

Level Progression

Level Base Attack Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 +0 +0 +2 +0 Skirmish (+1d6), trapfinding
2 +1 +0 +3 +0 Battle fortitude +1, uncanny dodge
3 +2 +1 +3 +1 Fast movement +10 ft, skirmish (+1d6, +1 AC), trackless step
4 +3 +1 +4 +1 Bonus feat
5 +3 +1 +4 +1 Evasion, skirmish (+2d6, +1 AC)
6 +4 +2 +5 +2 Flawless stride
7 +5 +2 +5 +2 Skirmish (+2d6, +2 AC)
8 +6/+1 +2 +6 +2 Camouflage, bonus feat
9 +6/+1 +3 +6 +3 Skirmish (+3d6, +2 AC)
10 +7/+2 +3 +7 +3 Blindsense 30 ft.
11 +8/+3 +3 +7 +3 Battle fortitude +2, fast movement +20 ft., skirmish (+3d6, +3 AC)
12 +9/+4 +4 +8 +4 Bonus feat
13 +9/+4 +4 +8 +4 Skirmish (+4d6, +3 AC)
14 +10/+5 +4 +9 +4 Hide in plain sight
15 +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +5 Skirmish (+4d6, +4 AC)
16 +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 Bonus feat
17 +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +5 Skirmish (+5d6, +4 AC)
18 +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +6 Free movement
19 +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +6 Skirmish (+5d6, +5 AC)
20 +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +6 Battle fortitude +3, blindsight 30 ft., bonus feat

Starting Packages

Race: Half-elf.
Armor: Studded leather (+2 AC, armor check penalty –1, speed 30 feet, 20 lb.).
Weapons: Short sword (1d6, crit 19–20/×2, 1 lb., light, piercing).
Shortbow (1d6, crit ×3, range inc. 60 ft., 2 lb., piercing).
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 8 + Int modifier.

Skill Ranks Ability Armor Check Penalty
Balance 4 Dex –1
Climb 4 Str –1
Hide 4 Dex –1
Jump 4 Str –1
Knowledge (nature) 4 Int
Listen 4 Wis
Move Silently 4 Dex –1
Search 4 Int
Spot 4 Wis
Survival 4 Wis
Swim 4 Str –2

Feat: Track.
Gear: Backpack with waterskin, one day's trail rations, bedroll, sack, flint and steel. Hooded lantern, 3 pints of oil. Quiver with 20 arrows.
Gold: 5d4 gp.

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