I was roleplaying with my siblings, and one of them had selected the Shaman Class I devised. A Shaman's power over the elements comes from their connection to said elements, so their place of origin determines what elements they can control.
As a joke, since this sibling had selected the Island background and the Earth & Air Elements, I told him that he had grown up in a very small village out on a barren, windswept rock out in the middle of an ocean. He laughed, and we went on with things, but lately I've been thinking about the feasibility of living in such a way.
First up, I know something of how islands form. Even out in the ocean, isolated islands of rock are slowly but surely colonized by plants as they break down into sand. This makes what I'm thinking of-a huge, brown, rough square of stone protruding from the ocean like a floating brick-seem unlikely at best.
Secondly, temperature extremes. Even accounting for how water tends to moderate temperatures, rock is horrible in this category. People cook on sun-heated rocks, and as any camper will tell you, after dark the Earth loses heat and becomes cold very quickly. This would seem to make the island inhospitable.
Thirdly, food. I'm not sure this will be a problem, actually, as the sea can be a reliable source of both meat and veggies (Japan indicates seafood can sustain life, and seaweed is another viable source of nutrition). Summed up, my question is: Can Humans Survive On A Barren Rock?
Namely, can a group of humans, limited to medieval technology, survive on a barren, windswept rock out in the middle of the ocean?