For those seeking an exciting career in service but who do not wish to join the armed forces, the Scouts provide a fascinating alternative, and if exploring and mapping space is your delight, this is the place for you. This book sets out to expand on the basic Scout career in the core rulebook, with a wealth of new options, equipment and ideas to build and play Scout characters, active or retired.
The first section is Creating a Scout Traveller. Begining with some words of explanation about the nature of Scouts, what they do and the organisation behind them (in general terms, the IISS of the Official Traveller Universe are detailed later on) and presents the five main branches of service in the Scouts: Contact, Courier, Exploration, Special Operations and Survey. Each branch has a different role and outlook, but characters may change between them (providing that they qualify) each re-enlistment. The Scouts are one of those organisations you never really retire from, even retired Scouts are often asked to do just one more mission... which can provide focus to a party which includes a former scout, and it pays well too. Of course, there are penalties for refusing. It's all in the original employment contract.
The next section is Scout Missions, and discusses the sort of tasks you can throw at the retired Scouts in your party. There's a lot of detail here, beginning with the ways in which retired Scouts are tracked and approached when a mission they'd be suitable for comes up, and continuing with plenty of material about the missions themselves including tables for you to generate such missions if you don't have a clear idea of what you want them to do... and just reading through ought to spawn some ideas and get your creative juices flowing. In time of war, retired Scouts are also needed for covert missions, so if a war is brewing you might want to consider that as a campaign concept. This section also has extensive information about Scout bases and the services that they can provide, a fully-detailed sample mission and quite a few serving and retired Scouts your characters might encounter.
This is followed by a section of Equipment and Ships. There's all manner of interesting and useful items designed to make the Scout's life easier. There are various ingenious land vehicles for on-planet use as well as details on an array of space-faring vessels that go far beyond the standard 'Scout ship' familiar to most Traveller players.
Next comes the section First Contact and Survey. Classic Scout operations, they also make for good adventures, and suggest possibilities for a game involving serving Scouts rather than retired ones. The Scouts have built up extensive protocols for making First Contact designed to minimise harm to all concerned, and there's plenty of information here to enable the running of a First Contact scenario. Survey is another good area in which to involve a party, and one that can be run almost as a background whilst they 'enjoy' other adventures during their travels. Detailed tables for determining what a Survey finds are included, for when you do not already have a system designed ready to be surveyed.
The nect section is about the IISS Scout Service, the 'official' one you'd find in the Imperium of the Official Traveller Universe. (If you prefer your own universe, it still may give you some good ideas.) Here you can learn everything about the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service and the Imperial Grand Survey (originally a separate body in its own right but now part of the IISS), organisation, operations, and facilities.
Finally, there is the Survival section. By their very nature, Scouts tend to be good at it and have amassed a lot of skills and knowledge about staying alive. This section mixes lore and game mechanics to enable the Referee to adjudicate any survival situation. Different environments are discussed and there's plenty to give the Referee some excellent ideas for survival scenarios.
Overall this is an excellent analysis and resource to make Scouts an important part of your Traveller universe, even more so if you have Scout characters in the party.
[5 of 5 Stars!]