"What are scout reports?"
- "Most troop leaders bring a few trained scouts along with them wherever they go. The scouts guild has particular rules about how they're to be paid, and they can get pretty uppity sometimes, but boy are they useful. They're trained specially to go scout out a region and have a look at all the troops in the area. They do a quick head count and have a look at the troops' equipment and get a sense of how prepared they are, then come back and report on how strong they figure the armies in that region are.
- They gather some more information, too. They'll let you know if any units are travelling on (though they're a little daft and can't tell the difference between real movement and faking), and they'll give you some sense of how the folks in that region like your realm. They do a heck of a lot all at once. Me, I think they maintain their own spy network, and when they say they're 'scouting', they're really just checking in with their spies and spending the rest of the day in the tavern. Lazy, overpaid bastards, the lot of 'em, even when they don't run off in the middle of a mission."
Uncle Freddie scowls at the thought. Clearly he and the scouts in his unit didn't get along well.
- "Of course, when they come back, they report verbally, and only to the master -- in your case, only to you. Takes up a solid hour of your time, too! You'll have your scribe there, and he'll very scrupulously write down everything that scout tells you, so that you can send it along to your commanders."
Scout reports are your realm's eyes when you're out in the field. They give you information on troop movement, combat strengths, and the surrounding regions. More importantly, the information is returned in the form of a scribe note.
In order to generate trained scout reports, you must have scouts. You can get as many trained scout reports per turn as the number of scouts that you have. They cost 1 gold per week each, but are generally considered well worth the gold. Scouts stick around until they are either lost, or do not get paid for a long span of time. Scouting is a dangerous business, and it is not uncommon for scouts to get killed, captured, or lost while on duty. You'll still spend the hour, and you'll lose the one scout as well. Occasionally, scouts will get captured by troops (including troops from your own realm) in the area where they are sent to scout. The troops that capture the scout will commonly beat information out of the scout, revealing the location and identity of their master.
If you accidentally close the window on a scout report you just received, you can get it back without sending another scout. Simply go to the "Scribe notes" link on the Information page, and it will be listed there.