Many half-breeds must deal with stigma from their parent races, with being seen as “lesser”. Grendles are not these half -breeds. Combining the best features of their parent races and trolls, grendles have a reputation as mighty warriors, fierce leaders, and fearless foes.
Grendles are most often born as the result of political alliances, especially between orcs and trolls, though grendles with human or hobgoblin heritage are nearly as common. Sired for the sake of the alliance, grendles are raised for, and with, purpose. Grendles are born to be political bargaining chips, tools, or leaders. Those who succeed can be found uniting disparate peoples and leading them to war and conquest with remarkable skill. Even those rare grendle raised among more “civilized” races stand out, towering above others as they rise to power in militaries, knightly orders, and even churches. It is said of the grendles that the son may become greater than the father, and they strive to prove it every day.
Grendles stand at nearly eight feet tall—rivaling half-giants for their sheer size, though not for bulk—and have skin that ranges from an ashen gray to a deep, emerald green. They typically have pointed ears and blunt fangs for teeth. Only rarely is a grendle found that is not athletic or ready for war, and they typically pay impeccable attention to their grooming and the upkeep of their equipment. As a result, most grendles project an image of competence, power, and martial discipline.
Grendle warriors tend to favor heavier armor and openfaced helms, and capitalize on their size and leverage with large, two -handed weapons. A pragmatic people, grendles tend not to bother with flashy additions to their equipment, especially those that might hinder its functionality, and grendle tools have a certain stark efficiency about them that can be beautiful in its own way. Grendles take advantage of their natural healing to embed jewels or decorations into their flesh, which they display proudly.
Confidence is the word that can be used to describe all grendles, even those who do not pursue martial paths. Grendles have an ironclad sense of self-identity that lends weight to their words and steel to their convictions. This confidence can, oddly enough, lead them to be less brutal than the society around them; a grendle leader that spares a prisoner is not afraid of the orcs or trolls he leads rising against him for “showing weakness”, because his strength is carried in his bearing, demeanor, and attitude in every minute of his life.
Grendles combine their confidence with practicality and a patient thoughtfulness that is rare in savage humanoids. Grendles have a talent for making alliances and intimidating their enemies, which they reinforce through cunning politics and an understanding of desire. Grendle-led tribes often have exceedingly good relationships with their neighbors, who in some cases get quietly absorbed to become more of the grendle’s subjects, and these relationships are carefully and patiently maintained until the grendle deems it fit to dissolve them. Many grendles aspire to create nations to lead; some even succeed in doing so.
Because they are raised in societies that revolve around strength, grendles tend to respect strength. Unlike many of their peers, grendles appreciate the strength of cooperation and often fight alongside boon companions or blood-brothers who support them both in and out of battle. This can spread to the rest of the tribe, quietly changing cultures built on ruthless bloodshed because of a single leader’s pragmatism which can, eventually, become a cultural value
Grendles tend to be born of exceptional circumstances, and that results in them being raised in tribes or societies that are atypical of the races which form them. Peace treaties are rare between trolls and anyone, but such treaties are what most often lead to the creation of a grendle, who then rises to leadership as a bridge between cultures. As a result, grendles grow up trained in leadership, versed in politics, and with a keen respect for the power of peace—which is not to say that they’ll shy away from war. The societies in which they are raised are still brutal and emphasize personal strength, and a grendle learns that strength early and adds it to his many tools of influence and interaction with others.
Grendles breed true for a few generations, with the results of their mating with either parent race producing increasingly thin-blooded grendles. Some grendles take advantage of their leadership to arrange marriages that will result in more of their kind, and grendles do breed true with each other, but these efforts have not produced enough of the half-trolls for a truly separate society to form, and such children are still raised among their parent races. Hailed as exceptional rather than rejected as half -bloods, grendles grow up with relative privilege and fight to retain their power and influence. Few things are as desperate or savage as a grendle who has lost everything and thinks he has a way of getting it back.
Grendles adventure for many reasons—as a rite of passage into adulthood, to defend their tribe, because of exile or political disaster, or to secure wealth for their war machine being very common ones. Grendles favor martial classes, especially warlord, and can also be found serving as oracles or dreads if the power comes naturally to them. Even those grendle who are spellcasters respect and favor personal strength and are unlikely to be found plumbing the depths of esoteric questions when they could instead be gaining personal, political, or economic power.
Grendles respect those who are self-reliant while at the same time understanding the value of cooperation. They tend to adventure with classes who can compliment their own talents—tacticians, vitalists, bards, alchemists, and the like. Grendles do not necessarily disrespect those such as cryptics or wizards who are less concerned about power and more about intellectual progress, but they have trouble understanding such a mindset and as a result do not often seek out the company of such people. Grendles tend to share attitudes on race with their parent races, which often puts them at odds with “civilized” cultures.
Ability Score Adjustments
Medium: Grendles are Medium creatures and thus have no bonuses or penalties for size
Humanoid Heritage: At 1st level, a grendle must choose a humanoid subtype from the following list: dwarf, elf, goblinoid, human, orc, or reptilian. They gain the chosen subtype in addition to any other subtypes they possess
Other Racial Traits
Thick-skinned (Ex) A grendle’s thick skin increases its natural armor bonus by +2.
Trollblood (Ex) A grendle regains hp every hour as though they rested for 8 hours. They also regrow any lost limbs in 1d4 days.
Mock Effort (Ex) Whenever a grendle is struck they may mock their enemy, belittling that enemy’s prowess. As an immediate action in response to being hit by an attack, the grendle can make na intimidate check with a +2 circumstance bonus to demoralize their attacker.
Darkvision (Ex) Grendles can see in the dark out to 60 feet.
Languages: Grendles begin play speaking Common and Giant. Grendles with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnoll, Gnome, or Goblin.
Alternate Racial Traits
Adrenaline (Ex) Some grendles know how to use fear to push their limits. If the grendle would be panicked or cowering, they are shaken instead. Additionally, they increase their morale bonus to Strength by +4 while they are shaken or sickened (even if they don’t have a morale bonus to Strength). This replaces free of despair.
Claws: Some grendles lack the troll’s thick skin and instead have claws, which deal 1d4 damage each. This racial trait replaces thick-skinned.
Imperious Bearing (Ex) Some grendles are more accustomed to using negative reinforcement than others. These grendles target all hostile creatures within 30 feet when using the Intimidate skill to demoralize their enemies (rather than only one enemy) and benefit from a +2 competence bonus to Intimidate checks. This replaces mock effort.
Moss-back (Ex) Some grendles are related to the secluded moss trolls. These grendles have a climb speed of 30 feet and are especially vulnerable to fire, taking 50% additional damage from exposure to it in any form.
Scrags (Ex) Some grendles are related to the aquatic trolls, the scrags, and gain a swim speed of 40 feet. Their healing only occurs if they are fully submerged in water for at least 1 hour each day, and they lose their darkvision trait.
Favored Class Options
Fighter: Add +1/2 on rolls to confirm critical hits.
Tactician: Add +1/4 daily uses of tactician’s strategy ability.
Warlord: Add +1/4 maneuvers known from the Golden Lion or Scarlet Throne disciplines. These maneuvers must be at least one level below the highest level of maneuvers the warlord can learn.
Bloodforge, © 2017, Dreamscarred Press, LLC; Author: Matthew Ryan Medeiros, Jade Ripley, based on material by Owen K.C. Stephens