The Grellkin (grell-kin) are a race of large humanoid creatures who live almost exclusively on the volcanic island of Xakarah.
Grellkins are much bigger than the average human, and regularly gain heights of eight feet and more. They are also far heavier, having thick, strong bones and layers of heat-resistant fat, and can easily reach weights of three hundred pounds and over. They have a somewhat ape-like appearance as, although completely hairless, their arms are longer than their legs and they walk in a stooped manner, sometimes (optionally) on all fours. The grellkin's skin is resistant to fire and heat to such a degree that if one were to touch a red-hot sheet of metal he would not feel it for a few seconds, and not suffer permanent damage until a minute or so had passed. It is because of this and their ability to breath the toxic fumes which the magma gives off that lets them live in the tunnels within Xakarah.
Grellkins are not stupid, though they do have an unfair reputation for being so. It is true that they generally lack the mental capacity (or desire) for magical prowess, though they are able to think and reason just as well as any human can. Despite their brutish and primitive appearance, the grellkins have become adept at metalworking due to the abundant supplies of iron ore which their homeland harbours. They have been responsible for some of the most wondrous feats of engineering the world of Iiosia has ever seen. The grellkins have harnessed the steam of their land to work great bellows and engines which drive their industrial machines. They created great Sea Gates to hold back the waters to prevent them from flowing in and flooding their large inner-bay, around which most of the grellkin settlements are situated. The gates weigh many thousands of tonnes each, and are fixed to the rock cliffs by massive hinges which are operated with the shear power of steam. If their construction was not impressive enough, the entire manufacture and assembly of them had to be done largely during the night, as grellkins are nocturnal and severally allergic to daylight.
Indeed, a grellkin who is caught in direct daylight will turn immediately to stone. This is the single most debilitating factor the grellkins face, though it can be prevented if the grellkin has upon his person a Sun Stone, which is a material which somehow prevents the grellkin's petrifaction if worn in some way.
Each grellkin is born with it's individual Sun Stone, which is unique it its bearer and so can not be utilised by any other. These items are generally not very big - the size of a small pebble on average. They glow with a dull, reddish hue, and as long as a grellkin has one upon his person, the sun's rays will not harm him. For this reason, many grellkin have their Sun Stone forged into an amulet, a ring, or even a fitted as a tooth or, if viable, a glass eye, to keep it upon him at all times.
Powerful grellkin, kings and the like, have been known to be born with larger Sun Stones, around the size of a man's fist. Larger Sun Stones are said to have magical properties, especially when exposed to fire or heat, and have the potential to release powerful magical energies if harnessed correctly. Grellkin do not have the ability to harness magical energies like this effectively, as their race distains its uses as much as the dwarves, and so the stones remain dormant. Powerful Sun Stones are in demand from powerful mages, though, and they command extraordinarily high prices to the right bigger. However, Sun Stones lose their hue, and any power they may have, upon the demise of the grellkin they were born with.
Steam and metal is all the grellkin people know, and thus they have no art or music of their own, save for the art of their metalwork and the drumming of their machines. Thus they are attracted to softer, delicate things such as cloth and vegetation. Grellkins buy these goods from other races, in return for the grellkin's superior weapons and armour. Grellkins are highly secretive of their metal working techniques and outsiders are not permitted inside Xakarah's inner caves.
They have their own language and relatively primitive writing structure. Their writing has developed primarily when planning smelting projects.
The grellkin's diet consists mostly of harsh plant life and algae found around and inside their caverns, as well as the meat of fish and carnivorous beasts deep within the tunnels which are known as salamanders, and which are as much food for grellkins; as grellkins are for them.
Grellkins are long-lived, surviving to an average of one hundred and forty years. They grow slowly however, and breed infrequently. Outsiders have difficulty telling male grellkins from female, as they look about the same. There are about equal males and females in the grellkin population, but grellkins are only able to breed once every ten years.
Gellkins have also developed an unflattering nickname among the peoples outside of their homeland – trolls. A grellkin who hears this term uttered in his company will likely be thrown into a blind rage, much to the misfortune of anyone nearby, because they see it as a grave insult which sullies their very species.
They are sometimes overtaken with wanderlust and seen wandering the lands of Iiosia. Grellkin make fearsome warriors and can charge high prices for their services,.