The Scout (not to be confused with the Scouts of the Space Marines) is a class from Dungeons and Dragons that is something of a mix between the Ranger's archery and the Rogue's sneakiness. While most would consider a Scout type class to be rather pointless given that its basic themes can already be handled reasonably well by the Ranger and the Rogue, Dungeons & Dragons has never been shy about putting the spurs to a horse no matter how tired it is, and so there's been a few encounters with in over the editions.
In 1st edition , Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, the Scout appeared as a character class on Dragon Magazine #161 (sept/1990) on the "Scouting for New Options" article by Kim Eastland. Basically a thief without pick pockets, backstabbing, set trap or read languages but with the thief-acrobat tight-rope walking and tumbling & falling plus the barbarian back protection and an exclusive illusion detection ability.
In 2nd edition, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, the Scout appeared as one of the Kits in the Complete Thieves' Handbook, and was literally nothing more than a "wilderness rogue"; a rogue who gained a boost to mobility-related thieving skills in wilderness environments, and had a better chance of launching ambushes, but who suffered a penalty to all their thieving skills in urban environments.
In 3rd edition the Scout was designed around moving fast while shooting at the enemy with deadly aim. It was a complete class in its own right released in the Complete Adventurer, alongside the Ninja and the Spellthief. Think of them as 60% Rogue, 30% Ranger, and filled out with equal parts Druid, Barbarian and Monk. Though they only have 15/10/5 BAB, one good save (REF), a limited D8 HD and not too wide a weapon selection, they possess a staggering 8+INT skills and can be used as competent melee fighters as well.
The Scout's main class feature is Skirmish: if they move at least 10ft they get a bonus to both their AC and get an extra d6 Precision Damage. These abilities grow as the character levels up: every odd numbered level the damage or the AC go up by 1, taking turns until they max out at 5d6 and +5 AC at level 19. This makes moving around very important in order to deal lots of damage. Remember: the more damage you deal, the quicker a fight will be over and the less damage will be dealt to you. Note that Skirmish is not limited to ranged attacks and that your melee attacks also get the bonus if you can close the distance. The fun thing about Skirmish is that while it deals precision damage (and as such can only be triggered once on a creature per turn), it is not limited by on how many creatures per turn it can be used. Take Greater Manyshot and with a good roll you can deal your precision damage against multiple enemies in one shot.
The Scout also gets a large number of class features pilfered from a variety of core classes: Trapfinding, Battle Fortitude, Uncanny Dodge, Fast Movement, Trackless Step, Evasion, Flawless Stride, Camouflage, Blindesense (Blindsight at 20) and Hide In Plain Sight. They also get a permanent Free Movement effect at level 18 and get a bonus feat (from a limited list) every 4 levels. What should be noted is that many of the Scout's class features are limited by their encumbrance: if they hit a medium load they immediately lose a good chunk of them including the excellent Skirmish.
Various races can play an effective Scout: Humans work as always, as do Elves. Halflings can pull it off too: while their smaller weapons deal less damage, Skirmish does not scale to size and manages to deal enough damage to make up for the lost damage. The Xeph from the Expanded Psionics Handbook make for an interesting addition as well: they get a bonus to DEX, have a racial ability that speeds them up even more (allowing for 80' movement per turn at level 12 in combination with Fast Movement) and they are psionic to allow for things like Speed of Thought and Up the Walls. Warforged Scout is probably the funniest race to combine with this class, because then you're a "Warforged Scout Scout". This also combines extremely well with the Mithral Body racial feat, which provides most of the benefits of medium armor while only counting as light armor and therefore permitting the use of scout abilities.
Scouts have a notable list of skills taken from a mix of the Ranger and Rogue lists: they have plenty of stealth and nature skills alongside movement skills and a few odd ones like Sense Motive (perfect for spying) and Disable Device (added via Errata: note that a Scout cannot disable magical traps). Hide, Move Silently, Tumble are the most important ones: Disable Device, Spot, Listen and Search make for good others. Investing in Use Magic Device as a cross-class skill is very useful: not only does it allow interaction with magical items it also allows for using the Sparring Dummy of the Master to turn the Scout's 5' step into a 10' step, making it even easier to trigger Skirmish.
When dealing with magic items, things that increase your Dexterity take the priority, followed by things that increase your mobility, items that allow you to deal more damage, items that increase your skills like Hide and Move Silently and items that protect you against magic.
While you can take the class for a full 20 levels, there is a sweet multiclass feat with Ranger called Swift Hunter that makes a pretty neat build. Its big draw is that you will always apply Skirmish damage to Favored Enemies, so pick undead and/or construct to slap them with that delicious bonus damage.
Like the Rogue it's largely based on, Scout is a Tier 4 class. It's capable of doing a broad number of things, but none particularly spectacularly and it suffers from how some of the most common monsters are immune to their main class feature. As a multi-class build, even though it's officially supported, Swift Hunter isn't really considered for tiering often. Working out a way to move and full attack consistently would give it the spectacular in a single area part needed of a tier 3 via very solid damage, but it would still be pretty low in power there.
Pathfinder made them a rogue archetype, with the ability to always trigger sneak attack on a charge replacing Uncanny Dodge and the ability to always trigger sneak attack if they move more than 10 feet replacing improved uncanny dodge. Essentially, this means that the AC bonus is gone, but the scout now gets full Sneak Attack progression, but can't make Sneak Attacks at once.
|The Classes of Pathfinder 1st Edition|
|Core Classes:||Barbarian - Bard - Cleric - Druid - Fighter - Monk |
Paladin - Ranger - Rogue - Sorcerer - Wizard
|Alchemist - Antipaladin - Cavalier |
Inquisitor - Oracle - Summoner - Witch
|Arcanist - Bloodrager - Brawler - Hunter - Investigator |
Shaman - Skald - Slayer - Swashbuckler - Warpriest
|Kineticist - Medium - Mesmerist |
Occultist - Psychic - Spiritualist
|Ultimate X:||Gunslinger - Magus - Ninja - Samurai - Shifter - Vigilante|
A mix of Ranger and Rouge. An archetype that any class can take. Helpful when moving on the map and prevent ambushes, while you can jump out of the bushes to distract the enemy then vanish back into them. see more
The 4e Scout is one of the two Essentials Variant Classes for the Ranger, introduced in "Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms" as a "simplified" take on the Ranger, built entirely from the Two-Weapon Fighting archetype/subclass of the ranger. Its counterpart was the Archery-based Hunter.
|Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Classes|
|Player's Handbook 1:||Cleric - Fighter - Paladin - Ranger - Rogue - Warlock - Warlord - Wizard|
|Player's Handbook 2:||Avenger - Barbarian - Bard - Druid - Invoker - Shaman - Sorcerer - Warden|
|Player's Handbook 3:||Ardent - Battlemind - Monk - Psion - Runepriest - Seeker|
|Heroes of X:||Blackguard* - Binder* - Cavalier* - Elementalist* - Hexblade* - Hunter*|
Mage* - Knight* - Protector* - Scout* - Sentinel*
Skald* - Slayer* - Sha'ir* - Thief* - Vampire* - Warpriest* - Witch*
|Settings Book:||Artificer - Bladesinger* - Swordmage|
|Others:||Paragon Path - Epic Destiny|
*·: Non-AEDU variant classes
In 5e the Scout resurfaced as a new Fighter subclass, in the Unearthed Arcana article "Classics Revisited/Kits of Old", in which it was essentially a beefier, non-magic-using take on the Ranger. This incensed many Ranger fans since even with its comparative limitations, it was still a lot better at being a ranger than the actual ranger class.
Post-Ranger rework, the scout was again released as a rogue archetype, that gets the ability to run away as a reaction if an enemy closes in, free proficiency *and* expertise in the Nature and Survival skills, a lot of extra speed, the ability to support your team while ambushing an enemy, and, at level 17, the ability to make an extra attack on a second target as a bonus action. With Sneak Attack.
|Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Classes|
|Barbarian - Bard - Cleric - Druid - Fighter - Monk |
Paladin - Ranger - Rogue - Sorcerer - Warlock - Wizard
|Tasha's Cauldron of Everything:||Artificer - Expert - Spellcaster - Warrior|
|Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft:||Apprentice - Disciple - Sneak - Squire|