The shifter Trunna was born in the northern part of the Eldeen Reaches. It seems that fate or some force conspired to bring her to the world, for unbeknownst to her parents she was conceived in a temporary Lamannian manifest zone and born in an entirely different temporary manifest zone to that plane. She was born with teeth (which is not particularly unusual for a shifter) and with a full head of gray hair (which is unusual), and at an early age she showed a strong affinity toward wolves and quickly developed the wildhunt trait (which both of her parents carried).
Twenty years passed, and Trunna developed into an apparently normal shifter. She trained as a scout and hunter for her village and settled in to what she thought would be a normal rural life, but a series of circumstances radically changed her life forever. Lamannia again became coterminous with Eberron, a full moon rose, and a rabid wolf harassed Trunna's village's animals. She shifted to hunt it, and it bit her. The combination of the planar influence, full moonlight, shifting, and the animal disease triggered something primal and feral deep within her soul. Now when she shifts, she acts like an animal, forgetting her name and true nature. Though most would call her condition a curse, it is really just an uncontrolled reaction to very old instincts held by some of her lycanthropic ancestors.
Trunna has suffered like this for three years. Her blackouts confuse and terrify her; she doesn't know if she's possessed by a demon, losing her mind, or under an evil spell. Her friends and family in her home village think she is mad, as they've seen her running around with wolves and not responding to her name. Now she wanders from village to village offering to help in any way she can, inadvertently becoming animalistic when she shifts. Sometimes she wanders as a wolf-woman for months, starting strange rumors of two-legged gray wolves and tree-dwelling beasts that hunt livestock. She is unaware that shifting is what causes her "blackouts," as the start of the curse erases her memories anywhere from a few minutes to an hour before the transition. She sometimes reacts with surprise to world-significant events that she missed during her blackouts. For example, she didn't hear about the Treaty of Thronehold until just a few months ago (between the late skirmishes after the war and her blackouts, she assumed the war was still going on), and likewise is "suddenly" confronted with a change of seasons after a long blackout.
Trunna is very lonely, exiled by her family and shunned by those who realize there is something terribly wrong with her. While in her beastlike state she is not normally dangerous to humanoids, though sickness or extreme hunger might drive her to attack a lone humanoid (such as an advance scout or someone leaving camp to take care of a personal matter). If well-fed or lacking packmates, she may approach a druid or ranger as if she were a curious animal, and even allow herself to be "adopted" as an animal companion for a while. Her greatest problem is that she is too animal-like even for other shifters, and her curse makes her unpredictable. If she could find a group of tolerant people who could accept her for what she is, she would be able to settle down again and perhaps even find out what causes the curse and how to cure it.
Adventure Ideas With Trunna
Hunter and Scout: PCs in need of a scout or hunter who works for little pay find out about Trunna, a mysterious shifter who doesn't say much about herself. During the course of her employ, she uses her wildhunt trait, which causes her to run away from the armed PCs as soon as it is safe to do so. The PCs can chase and capture her and try to figure out what is happening, or they can let her run off (which may eventually turn into the "Kill the Beast" scenario, below).
Kill the Beast: A small village fears the predations of the quiet creature that breaks into the henhouses at night to kill and eat chickens. The monster is smart enough to open door latches and pass noise-traps (like pots and pans tied to a string), but avoids humans like a wild animal and was once overheard sniffing around at night like a beast. If the PCs agree to stop the creature, they can track Trunna to her hiding-spot in a tree. She is locked in her feral state and reacts with fear and hostility if confronted, though the appropriate use of Handle Animal or Wild Empathy can talk her down. Once on the ground, the PCs have to figure out what to do with the "wild woman" who is apparently smart enough to use weapons and even wear leather armor. A more bloodthirsty group may opt to kill her if they can't help her, which at least solves the village's troubles. If the PCs don't address this problem, it may turn into the third scenario (below).
Silver Flame Seeking: Hearing rumors of a humanoid beast harassing villages, the Church of the Silver Flame sends a team of investigators to locate the cause of the problem, as they suspect a lycanthrope or something like it may be responsible. The PCs overhear the investigators asking about the attacks and can get involved either by helping (for which the investigators thank them and promise to tell their superiors about the PCs' assistance) or hindering them. If the PCs have dealt with Trunna before, they may feel obligated to do something about the situation now. The investigators are pretty sure the "creature" is a lycanthrope of some kind and (in a bit of unreasonable zealotry) insist on dragging it back to the Silver Flame to verify its nature and let the church leaders decide its fate. Meanwhile, Trunna's interactions with the plane of Lamannia are noticed by the residents of that plane, and some of the lycanthropes there want to draw her into that plane before she is killed like so many of the true lycanthropes in Eberron.
Trunna CR 2*
Female shifter Expert 4
N Medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses low-light vision; Listen +5, Spot +6
AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12
(+2 Dex, +2 armor)
hp 18 (4 HD); Healing Factor feat
Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +4
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee shortspear +4 (1d8+1) or
Dagger +4 (1d4+1/19-20)
Base Atk +3; Grp +4
Special Action shifting
Abilities Str 12, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 7, Wis 10, Cha 6
SQ wildhunt shifter trait
Feats Healing Factor (ECS), Track
Skills Balance +4, Climb +5, Escape Artist +3, Handle Animal -1, Heal +1, Hide +5, Jump +3, Knowledge (nature) +1, Listen +5, Move Silently +5, Spot +6, Survival +5
Possessions Shortspear, dagger, leather armor, 21 gp.
Wildhunt Shifter Trait (Su): Trunna can shift once per day for 5 rounds. She gains +2 to Constitution and the scent ability when she shifts. Because she has the Track feat, she can use the Survival skill to track by scent. When she shifts, it activates her "curse" (see below). She gains a +2 bonus to Survival checks at all times (even when not shifting); this bonus is included in the above totals.
Trunna's Curse (Su): As soon as she shifts, Trunna becomes like an animal. Though she retains her full Intelligence, type, and all of her normal abilities (including her shifter trait), she believes herself to be a wolf and acts accordingly. Enough residual knowledge of her true self remains that she continues to wear clothing or armor and still uses manufactured weapons instead of trying to bite her opponents, but she howls and growls instead of speaking, avoids humanoids that seem especially dangerous, is wary of fire, and prefers the company of other wolves (which for some reason accept her as a wolf despite her appearance). This curse continues even after her shifting wears off; she remains in this animal-like state until she falls unconscious due to injuries, enters a place where magic doesn't work (such as an antimagic field), or Lamannia becomes remote. This means that she may remain feral for up to a year. Once she recovers, she has little memory of her beastlike existence, remembering it as a strange dream. Trunna can be snapped out of her feral state by a dispel magic spell (the curse's caster level is equal to Trunna's character level), but this only treats the symptom, not the actual curse. Removing the curse requires that Lamannia be remote, and even then the remove curse spell is impeded when cast on Trunna, requiring a caster level check (DC 20 + spell level).
*Trunna's CR is 1 less than a typical 3rd-level expert with her skills because she carries no gear other than her nonmagical weapons and armor.
About the Author
Sean K Reynolds lives in Las Vegas and develops worlds for Upper Deck as well as running his own small press d20 company. His D&D credits include the Monster Manual, the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, and Savage Species. You can find more game material at Sean's website.