James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

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James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by Havard » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:28 am

This article on the D&D Beyond website has a fairly long article by James Haeck (co-author of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and the Critical Role Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting etc) on Giff. He starts out with his own experiences with Giff in campaigns, but I also like the details given towards the end of the article with ideas on Giff society etc. Spelljammer also gets name dropped even if the article focuses Mordenkeinen's Tome of Foes and various non-SJ campaign settings.

Has anyone taken a look at this?

https://www.dndbeyond.com/posts/399-how ... -bombadier

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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by GMWestermeyer » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:29 am

My default is annoyance with these sorts of articles, especially when they act like old settings like Spelljammer are obscure or 'dead'.
But this wasn't too bad. A bit on the nose, but not too bad.

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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by Digitalelf » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:06 am

GMWestermeyer wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:29 am
not too bad.
Yeah, it was a fun read. Makes me want to run a Spelljammer campaign, or at least start introducing SJ elements into my existing campaign (set in GH).
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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:41 pm

It's nice to see that some of the people involved in 5th Edition have a genuine interest in Spelljammer. And it's nice to see they are attempting to get things like Giff right.

There are a couple of things that James Haeck says that I wouldn't personally go with:
James Haeck at D&D Beyond wrote:Of course, you could edit out the spacefaring stuff altogether and make giff seafarers or skyfarers with Eberron-style airships. That’s an easy way to incorporate them into a setting without even glancing at science fiction. But if you’re sticking to their spacefaring roots, you’ll want to think of how that fits with your campaign setting. If you’re playing in the Forgotten Realms, just snag the Rock of Bral. Easy! If you’re playing in a homebrew setting, you can use Spelljammer as connective tissue to link your campaign setting to the broader D&D Multiverse. A Spelljamming craft descends from the heavens before the characters, and a hulking, hippo-headed humanoid swaggers out in full military uniform. Silly? Oh, certainly. But we’re here to have fun, aren’t we?
Firstly, and you will have heard this before, Spelljammer is not science fiction.

Secondly, the Rock of Bral was set up to be an asteroid that you locate anywhere you want. It's not locked down to the Tears of Selûne. That's just one possible location.

They are both minor issues in an otherwise excellent suggestion.

I bring the first thing up because anyone looking for "science fiction D&D" is probably going to be disappointed with Spelljammer. Setting things in space does not make them sci-fi.

The second one is more a thing of both of James Haeck's options being more flexible than he says they are.

You can put the Rock of Bral in your homebrew crystal sphere.

And you can also use James's "homebrew suggestion" in Realmspace (if you are using the Rock of Bral in the Bralspace/Spiralspace crystal sphere...or somewhere else).

So both those suggestions he made are twice as flexible as the first sound.
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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by AxesnOrcs » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:24 am

SJ is pretty science fictiony.
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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by AuldDragon » Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:15 am

AxesnOrcs wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:24 am
SJ is pretty science fictiony.
Pretty sure air envelopes naturally surrounding everything, natural gravity planes, and magic powering ships is pretty non-scientific. ;)

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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by Digitalelf » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:58 am

AxesnOrcs wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:24 am
SJ is pretty science fictiony.
The term that describes SJ, much like Gamma World as well as certain elements of Call of Cthulhu, is Science Fantasy.
Last edited by Digitalelf on Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by AuldDragon » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:56 pm

Digitalelf wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:58 am
AxesnOrcs wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:24 am
SJ is pretty science fictiony.
The term that describes SJ, much like Gamma World as well as certain elements of Call of Cthulhu, is Science Fantasy.
Is it, though? Where is the science in Spelljammer?

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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by GMWestermeyer » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:31 pm

AuldDragon wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:56 pm
Digitalelf wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:58 am
AxesnOrcs wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:24 am
SJ is pretty science fictiony.
The term that describes SJ, much like Gamma World as well as certain elements of Call of Cthulhu, is Science Fantasy.
Is it, though? Where is the science in Spelljammer?

Jeff
Spelljammer is fantasy, set in space. I've become annoyed with people creating myriad subgenres for things, so I won't call it 'space fantasy' but it is NOT science fiction by any definition of the term, nor is it science fantasy, which is another of those subgenre catagories that should not exist.

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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by AxesnOrcs » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:19 pm

Ok
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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by Digitalelf » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:19 am

GMWestermeyer wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:31 pm
science fantasy, which is another of those subgenre catagories that should not exist.
Wish in one hand and... well, you know the rest. ;)

The fact of the matter is that the term DOES exist, and does a fine job of describing things which do not wholly or fully belong within a single category. Much like people, stories don't always fit comfortably within a single broad-terminology box.

Rod Sterling is credited to comparing science fiction vs. science fantasy as "the improbable made possible while the latter was the impossible made probable", weather this is true or not, I do not know, but regardless, it certainly defines the term.
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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by Digitalelf » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:31 am

AuldDragon wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:56 pm
Is it, though? Where is the science in Spelljammer?

Jeff
Wikipedia wrote:a science fantasy world contains elements which violate the scientific laws of the real world. Nevertheless the world of science fantasy is logical and often is supplied with science-like explanations of these violations
The science in Spelljammer is in how the planets, regardless of their shape or location (e.g. Greyspace) work within the solar-systems within the various crystal spheres. The campaign setting's boxed set goes into great detail of tracking the orbits of the planets and their locations at any given time within the crystal spheres.
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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by AuldDragon » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:23 am

Digitalelf wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:31 am
AuldDragon wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:56 pm
Is it, though? Where is the science in Spelljammer?

Jeff
Wikipedia wrote:a science fantasy world contains elements which violate the scientific laws of the real world. Nevertheless the world of science fantasy is logical and often is supplied with science-like explanations of these violations
The science in Spelljammer is in how the planets, regardless of their shape or location (e.g. Greyspace) work within the solar-systems within the various crystal spheres. The campaign setting's boxed set goes into great detail of tracking the orbits of the planets and their locations at any given time within the crystal spheres.
Just because there are planets that usually* move in a logical manner, doesn't mean they move scientifically, or in a "science-like" manner. The gods are often why they move, or magic, or because they're on the backs of enormous creatures, or just because. It's pure fantasy.

Jeff

* They don't have to move in a logical manner, despite the material in the book, which only covers "standard" systems.
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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by Digitalelf » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:15 am

AuldDragon wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:23 am
They don't have to move in a logical manner, despite the material in the book, which only covers "standard" systems.
This is true.
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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by GMWestermeyer » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:08 pm

Digitalelf wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:19 am
GMWestermeyer wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:31 pm
science fantasy, which is another of those subgenre catagories that should not exist.
Wish in one hand and... well, you know the rest. ;)

The fact of the matter is that the term DOES exist, and does a fine job of describing things which do not wholly or fully belong within a single category. Much like people, stories don't always fit comfortably within a single broad-terminology box.
The term exists, but it is moronic and it encourages people to think in ways that are not helpful.

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Re: James Haeck: How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

Post by Jaid » Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:22 am

eh, if we're going to give it a subgenre, i prefer space fantasy. whether or not enough space fantasy exists that it rates a subgenre is another question entirely, but i think it far more accurately describes spelljammer; it is fantasy in space. as for science, well, you could do limited amounts of science within the setting, but it really isn't a major part of the setting. there's a whole lot of "some sages think this", and very little "after rigorous testing of their theories, sages have proven this".

and that doesn't even consider the fact that sages in general are rare; any of the things that you might consider to be *close* to filling the role of science in a science fiction setting (you could, for example, argue that wizards are a bit like scientists in some ways, as are sages and engineers) tend to be rare, scattered, have conflicting opinions/beliefs on how things work, and don't really do any general science; a sage on the spelljammer equivalent of astrophysics has probably read lots of stories and studied lots of books, but has probably never cared to bother devising a device to measure exactly how strong gravity is, or whether there are tiny variations in the gravity of larger objects as compared to smaller objects, etc. i mean, the sage might have a belief that there are such things, but actually doing objective experiments to prove their theories, that doesn't really happen. and while the rules for magic are fairly clearly defined for us players, the same cannot be said for those within the setting; even within the same style of magic, consider the fact that a transmuter's understanding of magic is so different from any other wizard that they cannot even comprehend the most basic elements of necromantic or abjuration magic, no matter how hard they try; that isn't anything like two scientists, one of whom is a chemist and one of whom is a physicist, where they just haven't studied the other discipline to the same depth... a chemist who studies physics doesn't have their knowledge of physics hindered by their knowledge of chemistry. this is something rather different; a transmuter is using a fundamentally different system of rules than a diviner or an invoker, not just a different part of the same set of rules.

so, as paul says... it is fantasy in space. age of sail fantasy in space, if i was to get more specific. science fantasy just doesn't really describe it adequately at all... it isn't just that the setting is inconsistent with our science. the setting is not consistent with *any* science. it is a place where the fantastic can happen, and there is either no explanation at all, or if there is an explanation and you somehow found it, that explanation does not have to be consistent with any other piece of the setting. i mean, the default setting tells you that going into the phlogiston to try and reach another sphere essentially gives a completely *random* amount of time. today's trip from realmspace to greyspace can take 21 days, the return trip could take 23, and then going to greyspace second time could take 95, even if you leave from the exact same gate as the first time and take the exact same flow rivers. then coming back to realmspace could take 42. two identical ships that leave from the same sphere through the same gate trying to take the same route to the same destination could end up arriving weeks or even months apart from each other.

(note: that isn't to say that spelljammer itself has stayed consistent to that... i recall in one of the published adventures, an entire fleet flies separately to a sphere, and seems to have few if any problems getting there at more or less the same time, for example... but that isn't what the core books say happens when you try to go from sphere to sphere).

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