Dungeons & Dragons: Who Are The Giff

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  • Graceful Brutes
  • Confusing Origins
  • The Average Life Of A Giff
  • Relations With Others

There are a plethora of unique and interesting races in Dungeons & Dragons. From the often misunderstood drow and changelings to the ever-popular dragonborn and high elves, there is no shortage of races to choose from when starting a campaign. This is especially true with the inclusion of Spelljammer, which introduced a slew of exotic races for players to choose from.

With the plasmoid giving people the ability to finally play as a slime and the thri-kreen with their extra set of arms, the diversity of D&D has expanded exponentially. However, out of all of these races, one stands out. The elephant in the room, if you will. Or, in this case, the hippopotamus.

Graceful Brutes

In a world of giant, fire-breathing dragons and floating eyeballs with delusions of grandeur, it's hard for a creature to truly be abnormal within D&D. However, the giff are truly something extraordinary. They don't have an overabundance of features like some other creatures from the bestiary, but these creatures can still stand out.

Giff, to put it simply, are a bipedal hippopotamus race. Commonly referred to as hippofolk, these creatures range from eight to nine feet in height and are incredibly graceful despite their size. As one would expect from a two-legged hippo, giff are incredibly strong; their strength is comparable to a hill giant.

Much like dwarves, the giff have an innate resistance to magic, and most are unable to cast it themselves.

Confusing Origins

Scholars of Wildspace have tried to discern the origins of these large creatures, but even the giff seemed to have forgotten their home after traversing through Wildspace for so long. Some giff reported that their home planet was destroyed in a freak accident, while others have stated that they sold their planet for an unspecified amount.

Whatever the true fate of the planet was, the legends that the giff passed down state that their home was a beautiful lush jungle filled with fruit trees and swamps. The mountains that covered their world were said to have been ripe with metal and smoke powder.

The fact that smoke powder was, and still is, a crucial component for their favorite types of weapons- firearms and explosives- make the belief that they somehow blew up their whole planet seem far more feasible.

The Average Life Of A Giff

Giff tend to live fairly simple lives. They have very little desire to rule or form any sort of empire, nor do they hold money in high regard. That said, these hippofolk aren't without structure.

In fact, they live their lives under an incredibly strict hierarchy, similar to positions in an army. All giff designated to the lower rank on this proverbial totem pole can only rise through the ranks with the permission of their superior.

Furthermore, giff enjoy following orders. They see being able to complete an order from a figure of authority as the greatest honor. It's for this reason that giff were popular within the mercenary community as they would fulfill any task given to them to the best of their ability.

Despite enjoying the act of taking orders, giff typically have an air of refinement about them. While they don't necessarily look down on other races, they do see themselves as superior in many ways.

When their race adopted the Common tongue, the names they chose for themselves often reflected the upper class with lofty-sounding names.

Fighting Is A Way Of Life

While their immense strength makes the giff formidable opponents on their own, weaponry is a crucial part of any giff's life. From a young age, giff are trained in the ways of both ranged and close-quarters combat, though many favor the destructive might of smoke powder weapons. That said, should a giff be rendered weaponless, they're not above crushing their opponent with a well-placed headbutt.

For giff, the act of fighting is something the majority of them see as enjoyable. Many go out of their way to start fights with one another to take challenging jobs as a way to both test and show off their strength. They even lace their bodies with tattoos that showcase their accomplishments. That said, a giff will never draw a weapon in a simple brawl. To them, drawing a weapon means that someone or something will die.

Relations With Others

Unlike a great many of D&D's races, giff don't hold hatred for any other race. While they do prefer the company of other giff, they aren't xenophobic by any means. They are willing to work with any race, especially if the other race is paying them for a job or they share their militaristic lifestyle.

However, they tend to look down on races smaller than they are as they see them as fragile or a liability. On the opposite side of the spectrum, they are cautious and distrustful of those larger than they are.

Additionally, most giff have a deep-seated fear of magic, most likely due to a lack of understanding given their magic-resistant bodies. They tolerate the arcane to a degree, as it's needed for spelljamming, but they are immediately distrustful of any magic user that crosses their path.

However, a select few that embrace magic and use it for themselves, but this has only been documented in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.

More often than not, giff are employed as bodyguards for rich merchants or as mercenaries. As giff care very little for monetary wealth, they typically request food, smoke powder, or exotic weapons as payment for their services. Many will seek out a giff specifically to employ as the race's loyalty is only second to their incredible strength. Promises, to them, are a commitment that shouldn't be broken under any circumstances.

Work Is Work

While giff are loyal to a fault and enjoy following orders, this has led to them being on the 'wrong side' of the law. You see, giff don't see good and evil in the same manner that others races do.

To them, the orders they've been given are just another job to be completed. The moral implications of their task mean nothing so long as they can complete their orders.

While this doesn't make the giff inherently evil, this has put the giff in a negative light from time to time. Their willingness to take up any job, so long as they're compensated appropriately, makes them incredibly dangerous, especially with their possibly world-ending supply of smoke powder. That said, a giff will never take a job that will directly endanger or harm one of their kind.

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