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    Default Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Word enthusiast here. Just wondering when and why the word "Gish" started being used to describe a PC that uses a mix of melee and magic.
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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Gish was a term used to describe githyanki warrior-wizards. We just took it and started using it to describe warrior-wizards in general, since there wasn't really a word for it yet.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZhanStrider View Post
    Word enthusiast here. Just wondering when and why the word "Gish" started being used to describe a PC that uses a mix of melee and magic.
    My understanding is that it comes from the (presumably made up) gith language back in the 2E planescape setting. Don't quote me on that.
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    Thumbs up Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rethmar View Post
    Gish was a term used to describe githyanki warrior-wizards. We just took it and started using it to describe warrior-wizards in general, since there wasn't really a word for it yet.
    Cool, thanks!
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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    I'm always saddened we didn't decide to use the githzerai version, "zerth".
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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Gish is really close niche. And niche means a specialized role. Soooo A Gish would be a warrior with a specialized role. Warrior wizards are very nichey

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Belzyk View Post
    Gish is really close niche. And niche means a specialized role. Soooo A Gish would be a warrior with a specialized role. Warrior wizards are very nichey
    Wouldn't it be the opposite? A gish is someone who has specialized as neither a warrior nor a spellcaster, but a bit of both. That's... the opposite of a specialist. A generalist, if you will.
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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Wouldn't it be the opposite? A gish is someone who has specialized as neither a warrior nor a spellcaster, but a bit of both. That's... the opposite of a specialist. A generalist, if you will.
    No a niche fills a specific role and is not a generalist. Pure Spellcaster are generalist and not very niche. Least that's how I see it

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Wouldn't it be the opposite? A gish is someone who has specialized as neither a warrior nor a spellcaster, but a bit of both. That's... the opposite of a specialist. A generalist, if you will.
    It's fairly common for people at the borderline of two fields to be regarded as specialists. Biochemistry is a specialization in biology and chemistry departments, etc. So "eldritch warrior" would be a specialization relative to warrior or wizard.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    It's fairly common for people at the borderline of two fields to be regarded as specialists. Biochemistry is a specialization in biology and chemistry departments, etc. So "eldritch warrior" would be a specialization relative to warrior or wizard.
    Yes so it would be a niche role. But a wizard would not be a niche role nor would a warrior. That's what I'm trying to say. To me Gish is a cool sounding way of saying g Niche and have it relevant to dnd.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rethmar View Post
    Gish was a term used to describe githyanki warrior-wizards. We just took it and started using it to describe warrior-wizards in general, since there wasn't really a word for it yet.
    This is the basic meaning; it dates back to earlier editions as well, though how far back is a question for the aeons.
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    d20 Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by atemu1234 View Post
    This is the basic meaning; it dates back to earlier editions as well, though how far back is a question for the aeons.
    It's not that hard a question to answer. My copy of the 1e Fiend Folio describes githyanki warrior-mages as gishes, and while I may be wrong about this, I think the Fiend Folio was the first book with githyanki in it. The copyright page says 1981.

    I wouldn't be flabbergasted if someone finds an earlier reference, but that's probably damn close to the original.
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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    It's not that hard a question to answer. My copy of the 1e Fiend Folio describes githyanki warrior-mages as gishes, and while I may be wrong about this, I think the Fiend Folio was the first book with githyanki in it. The copyright page says 1981.

    I wouldn't be flabbergasted if someone finds an earlier reference, but that's probably damn close to the original.
    But the question is not really about githyanki warrior-mages, it's about human and demihuman fighter-mages and the like. I doubt that anyone had or needed a word for fighter-mages in 1e or 2e. They were multi-classed fighter-mages, they were mechanically uniform. The term "gish" is useful because in 3X there are an endless variety of ways to be a guy with a sword who casts arcane spells.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    It's not that hard a question to answer. My copy of the 1e Fiend Folio describes githyanki warrior-mages as gishes, and while I may be wrong about this, I think the Fiend Folio was the first book with githyanki in it. The copyright page says 1981.

    I wouldn't be flabbergasted if someone finds an earlier reference, but that's probably damn close to the original.
    this, but I thought it came from some module.
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    But the question is not really about githyanki warrior-mages, it's about human and demihuman fighter-mages and the like. I doubt that anyone had or needed a word for fighter-mages in 1e or 2e. They were multi-classed fighter-mages, they were mechanically uniform. The term "gish" is useful because in 3X there are an endless variety of ways to be a guy with a sword who casts arcane spells.
    Good point, but I recall the term being used of fighter-mages in the days of 2E.

    What we don't have are terms for other combos - specifically Rogue-Mages, which are quite common.

    We do have the term Theurge I suppose, though I'm not sure where this comes from ?
    Last edited by nedz; 2016-03-04 at 04:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    We do have the term Theurge I suppose, though I'm not sure where this comes from ?
    I wouldn't be surprised if the PRC is actually the trope namer here.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    I'm always saddened we didn't decide to use the githzerai version, "zerth".
    IIRC, zerths are simply multiclass githzerai. Much less specific than gish, who are fighter/spellcasters.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki Akuma View Post
    I'm always saddened we didn't decide to use the githzerai version, "zerth".
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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Some people will tell you it originated in the 1e Fiend Folio (p.43) back in 1981, but don't be deceived! (It was a term used for a 4th level Fighter/magic User Githyanki).

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Most of the monsters from Fiend Folio were originally published in White Dwarf magazine (published by Games Workshop not TSR) and I think were submissions from the general public.
    I don't know if this applies to the Githyanki and Githzerai which were created by Charles Stross.

    Charles Stross is contactable, though he no longer plays D&D he is involved in the Laundry Files RPG (based on the series of book by Charles) so one could ask him if he remembers where he got the term from.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    Charles Stross is contactable, though he no longer plays D&D he is involved in the Laundry Files RPG (based on the series of book by Charles) so one could ask him if he remembers where he got the term from.
    I don't think he'd know. The term "gish" doesn't appear in either White Wolf #12 or the original Fiend Folio. (Incidentally, the term "githyanki" was purloined from George R.R. Martin's novel Dying of the Light, but Martin did not give a description.) [Edit: Apparently it is mentioned in the 1st edition Fiend Folio.]

    As far as I can determine, the term first appears in print in Allen Rogers' "Fedifensor" scenario published in Dragon #67 (November 1982). It's not explicitly defined, but from the context it refers to any "4th/4th Ftr/M-U" as a 'Gish' (in single quotes).

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    I don't think he'd know. The term "gish" doesn't appear in either White Wolf #12 or the original Fiend Folio. (Incidentally, the term "githyanki" was purloined from George R.R. Martin's novel Dying of the Light, but Martin did not give a description.)

    As far as I can determine, the term first appears in print in Allen Rogers' "Fedifensor" scenario published in Dragon #67 (November 1982). It's not explicitly defined, but from the context it refers to any "4th/4th Ftr/M-U" as a 'Gish' (in single quotes).
    The term Gish appears in the 1E Fiend Folio when describing a raiding party of Githyanki - the Gish is a 4th level Fighter/4th level Magic User: I believe this predates the Dragon Magazine.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    The term Gish appears in the 1E Fiend Folio when describing a raiding party of Githyanki - the Gish is a 4th level Fighter/4th level Magic User: I believe this predates the Dragon Magazine.
    From the same source:
    Githyanki are credited to Charles Stross (p121) so it's originally from White Dwarf.

    Apparently he got the idea from George R. R. Martin's book Dying of the Light. Now I've no idea whether the term Gish appears in that book ? Has anyone read this ?
    Last edited by nedz; 2016-03-04 at 09:30 AM.
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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    The term Gish appears in the 1E Fiend Folio when describing a raiding party of Githyanki - the Gish is a 4th level Fighter/4th level Magic User: I believe this predates the Dragon Magazine.
    Thank you. I couldn't track down a copy of the original FF, and I assumed the text was the same as the original White Dwarf article. I shouldn't have made that assumption.

    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    From the same source:
    Githyanki are credited to Charles Stross (p121) so it's originally from White Dwarf.
    Gish doesn't appear in the White Wolf article. The entry in the Fiend Folio may have been edited by someone else. I don't have a copy handy to check.

    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    Apparently he got the idea from George R. R. Martin's book Dying of the Light. Now I've no idea whether the term Gish appears in that book ? Has anyone read this ?
    Githyanki are briefly mentioned as an alien race, but Martin doesn't give them a description. As far as I know (I don't have access to the text), "gish" never appears in the book.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    Good point, but I recall the term being used of fighter-mages in the days of 2E.

    What we don't have are terms for other combos - specifically Rogue-Mages, which are quite common.
    Yeah, I remember playing a Gish back in 2nd edition. It was clumsier than what you could do in 3rd edition, but that may have had more to do with my system mastery back then than anything else.

    As a word enthusiast myself, I would be interested in having a term for a Rogue/Mage. Maybe we should humor Yuki Akuma and officially call such a character a Zerth :D

    Are there any other classic combos that we don't have words for?

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by paranoidbox View Post
    Yeah, I remember playing a Gish back in 2nd edition. It was clumsier than what you could do in 3rd edition, but that may have had more to do with my system mastery back then than anything else.

    As a word enthusiast myself, I would be interested in having a term for a Rogue/Mage. Maybe we should humor Yuki Akuma and officially call such a character a Zerth :D

    Are there any other classic combos that we don't have words for?
    Arcane Trickers, Divine Tricksters, Divine Gishes all lack single-word descriptors. Do they need them? I don't know, I never thought arcane warriors needed a single word name.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Ok, finally located a copy of the original Fiend Folio. Comparing that to the original White Dwarf...

    Both the White Dwarf article and the Fiend Folio were edited by Don Turnbull. The FF version is more extensive, and is the first occurrence of the term "gish" in print. So two theories come to mind:

    1) Charles Stross developed the backstory for the githyanki and came up with the term, but Don Turnbull had to cut it down for the magazine article. Don had more room in the Fiend Folio, so he used a more complete version of Stross' submission to go into more detail.

    2) The White Dwarf submission was originally that short, and Don Turnbull felt the Fiend Folio entry needed more detail, so he wrote up a more developed backstory for them, based on Charles Stross' original idea.

    So... contacting Charles Stross might settle the question more definitively.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    Arcane Trickers, Divine Tricksters, Divine Gishes all lack single-word descriptors. Do they need them? I don't know, I never thought arcane warriors needed a single word name.
    A Divine Gish should be called a Dish, I think that's obvious and there can be no objections.

    EDIT: Not sure if I should have made clearer that I'm making a joke. So I'll edit this in ;-p
    Last edited by paranoidbox; 2016-03-04 at 10:49 AM.

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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    We really should have a GitP terminology handbook with all these easily accessible. Probably would be good to put in abbreviations too.
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    Default Re: Where does the term "Gish" come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by LoyalPaladin View Post
    We really should have a GitP terminology handbook with all these easily accessible. Probably would be good to put in abbreviations too.
    Yes, such a thing would undoubtedly be useful. Though that was last updated in 2008, so it lacks concepts like "Rudisplorker".
    Last edited by Malimar; 2016-03-04 at 10:56 AM.

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