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Whether in Triolo on warship decks or among the famed cavalry ranks of Trombei war is life in the Seven Cities.
No greater student of life was there than Signora Fiorentina Murlazzo, the Blade of Valera. Signora Murlazzo was an expert fencer and decorated soldier whose skill is still spoken of with respect in knowing circles today. In her time, prospective students journeyed far to hear Signora Murlazzo teach her brand of swordsmanship. Those same students stayed to hear her musings on philosophy as she dictated on scroll.
Signora Murlazzo’s observations led her afoul of Mavros adherents—her secular approach to the art of battle ran counter to established religious doctrine. Her fencing school was laid waste and her students scattered when she was arrested and executed on counts of blasphemy. Her recorded teachings? Burned as a public warning.
Signora Murlazzo’s legacy lives on in a scant collection of instructional texts and battle treatises her students saved from the pyre. Now scattered in fleeting periods of exchanging ownership, these lost scrolls are prized for their knowledge and historic significance.
The Lost Scrolls of Fiorentina Murlazzo is a treasure hunt side quest. For another example, see The Margreve Relic Hunt.
To begin, PCs can find their first scroll in a treasure haul or meet a collector like the Martial Scholar who wants the PCs to retrieve the scrolls. The true treasure though, is that each scroll contains a weapon option.
What’s a Weapon Option?
A weapon option is a way to use a weapon other than dealing damage. It gives you a reason to use different kinds of weapons and ways to change the battlefield to your advantage. Here’s an example weapon option from Tome of Heroes, which you might put on the Of Mares and Men scroll on the Lost Scrolls table (see below).
Prerequisite: Melee Weapon with the Reach Property
When you make an attack with this weapon, you can pull a Large or smaller creature up to 5 feet closer to you as you wrap the whip or slide the weapon’s haft around the creature. Make an attack roll with this weapon. On a hit, the target is pulled up to 5 feet closer to you. If this movement would pull a creature into damaging terrain, such as lava or a pit, it can make a Strength or Dexterity (target’s choice) saving throw, avoiding the pull on a success.
Using the Scrolls
Martially-inclined PCs might enjoy finding a weapon option in a scroll as part of an adventure. Learning a weapon option from a martial scroll, might require a short rest, a workday, or even a workweek according to the pacing you want for your game.
Instead of weapon options, you could use a scroll as a way to include feat training outside of leveling up. The standard time to train a feat in this way should remain, though the scroll would waive the need for an instructor.
Mention a Murlazzo scroll to any fencing instructor or librarian in Friula or Trombei and they say the same name. “You’re looking for Paolo Pandano. Here’s his card. He leaves them everywhere for people like you. You’ll find his manor near the Friulan Amphitheater. But be warned, he doesn’t take no for an answer.”
Paolo Hectar Stella-del-Mare is a noble used to a life of luxury, but he fancies himself a scholar of war. Pandano has made it his life’s goal to collect all of Murlazzo’s works. He offers to pay 350 gold per retrieved scroll and shares leads with agreeable treasure hunters. His first tip leads to the Great Library of Friula, where he has been denied personal access for trying to “buy” his way in. If Pandano knows you have a scroll and you won’t sell it to him, be certain that he will hire someone else to take it from you.
Each Lost Scroll of Fiorentina Murlazzo describes a battle or encounter that inspired her and the weapon techniques she gleaned from the tale. The scrolls are written in a variety of languages and some have multiple copies, as Signora Murlazzo never wrote them down, but dictated for her students from varied cultures.
The Lost Scrolls table lists the title of a scroll, a brief insight into its contents, and the theme that informs the associated weapon option and style of combat for that scroll.
|Title and Description||Themes|
|The Fencer’s Parable is a recounting of maritime dueling before the Ghostlight Reef shimmered. The protagonist outsmarts an overzealous pirate using the shallow reef itself.||Piercing swords, dueling, land combat, and sea warfare|
|Manuscript #7, Serene Isle Style examines the beautiful but deadly sword-dancing rituals practiced in amphitheater performances on Kyprion.||Slashing swords and axes, combat with two weapons|
|The Thresher from Feymott is a tale of a farmer who let himself get arrested and thrown into prison to exact brutal vengeance on an arsonist who torched his crops.||Bludgeoning weapons, brutal assaults, and shows of force|
|Of Mares and Men shares Murlazzo’s brief tour as an anti-cavalry foot soldier and the unpleasant experience of staring down a Capleon quarterhorse in a game of chicken.||Polearms, cavalry warfare, husbandry, and honorable warfare|
|Incunable del coda di fuoco is an early work adapting Spintarra mining methods to overwhelming battle strikes.||Two-handed weapons, endurance, and tenacity|
|Broken Reeds is a cautionary tale about an expedition in a region of the same name, where Murlazzo’s contingent was nearly beaten by native lizardfolk with inferior bone weapons.||Complex weapons, Outmaneuvering your opponent|
|Manuscript #20, Barding, Blocking, and Bolstering explains how to use simple methods of defense to outlast your opponent. It also extols Umbardia citizenry for their traditional values throughout the ages.||Shields, defense, and light armor use|
|The Incunable del Draga is an early treatise on a “hypothetical” exploit of Draga’s Horn Keep’s defenses. Later scholars point to this work as prescient of the keep’s eventual and current demise.||outsmarting your opponent, medium armor use|
|Manuscript #35, Dwarven Warfare goes into great detail examining the benefits and shortcomings of heavy armor as well as their expert use by dwarven legionaries.||Defeating heavy armor, heavy armor use|
|The Rose Petal Dance recounts Murlazzo’s only experience in Deapri, where a rose garden dinner shifted into a knife fight with a hidden attacker and their hunting hawk.||Piercing weapons, working in tandem with beasts|
|Septime Discipline and Honor is a code of conduct that Murlazzo drafted late in life. Curiously, it dictates surviving by any means necessary as highly as affording mercy to foes.||Thrown weapons, improvising on the battlefield|
|Shooting for Success: A Markswoman’s Guide to Warfare outlines several clever ranged techniques for stopping soldiers, cavalry, and even giants.||Ranged weapons, marksmanship|
Do the PCs find the lost scrolls as they play through the main campaign as loot or set dressing? Perhaps the PCs periodically set out to find these scrolls when they get tips to confirmed locations. Maybe one or more PCs make it a goal to collect all of the lost scrolls. The fun could be further complicated with competing treasure hunters or a Mavrosian inquisition as a campaign foe.
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