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Who is Gareth - the full answer

by Ann Dupuis

The fact that fans keep asking me "Who is Gareth" blows me away. :-)

Tonight I got an email from a fan asking just that. This time I took the time to answer in full. Here it is:

Gareth is/can be whoever/whatever you wish him/her to be. :-)

There's some Fanon material regarding Gareth you might be interested in:

Who's Gareth?

Option #5 is the closest to what we were thinking of when we mentioned Gareth in the Almanacs

There's an entry for Gareth in the Codex Immortalis as:

Patron of Mortals and Freedom

It's an interesting take on Gareth. :-)

In my campaign, Gareth is not any of the existing Immortals. And yes, he has indeed returned from beyond the Vortex.

I created him so my husband's cleric PC would have an Immortal to follow who promoted peace and freedom and truth. :-)

Our campaign is actually still in AC 1001, before Gareth is revealed. Misha's patron Immortal at this time is Zirchev, especially in his role of promoter of balance....

(We took a 15-year hiatus when life was too busy and are VERY glad to be back playing the "Hardhands Campaign" with BECMI / Rules Cyclopedia and a mix of published Mystara modules and home-brewed adventures.)

So far in just a little over a year of game time (many years of real time due to our hiatus and busy lives), Priestess Misha Mananov has pacified:

The Orcs of the Caves of Chaos by Castellan Keep (they're now trading partners with Castellan Keep and beginning to venture, cautiously, into human society)... after the regime-change that got rid of the evil cleric

A colony of "killer bees" (now referred to as "giant bees" they are living in Threshold in the basement of the Iron Ring warehouse / stronghold the Company captured, producing magical honey in return for protection from their predators)

The "Death's Head" gnolls (now the Wolf's Head gnolls, converted to following Zirchev over Ranivorus and trading with / helping defend Verge)

The Hutakkans and Traldar (living together peacefully after some regime-change and an influx of Hardhands Company allies who are protecting and rebuilding the Lost Valley)

The Black Web Orcs (from the Gold Mine encounter in B10) who provide them with their 2nd secret valley

Goblinoid tribes in the Dymrak Forest who have become allies and trading partners with Sukiskyn and with the village of Rugalov (after some regime change and ally-building in our recent exploration of a heavily modified version of Agothokles's Dymrak Dread work).

By the time we get to AC 1010 Misha may not need a patron Immortal designed specifically for her any more. ;-)

If we'd done subsequent Almanacs (my husband Paul was my "idea man" for a lot of those entries) we would have revealed more...

From a game design perspective, Gareth provided us a way to sow seeds for Immortal-level adventures. Either he could be used to gather together a bunch of really high-level characters (levels 30+) or as an adventure for Immortal characters (more likely low-level). The purpose: Find a way to open the barrier/shield/cloak that's keeping the 6th Sphere hidden. ("Creation" is what Paul calls it, the direct opposite to Entropy: in some Fanon it's called Principium -- see Who Is Gareth #5, linked above.)

Another idea Paul was exploring, based on the Staff of Elemental Power: Gareth may have been something sent by the Old Ones that could literally have an influence in / draw power from all four spheres of the Immortals. Leaving him "unassigned" to (or able to influence) any of the specific spheres could make for an interesting Immortals campaign.

So, again, Gareth can be whoever/whatever you need him to be.

Who knows who he'll really be in our campaign, when he first appears?

by Paul Dupuis

My actual idea with a "lost" 6th sphere (creation) is that is not so much locked away or walled off, but "hidden", perhaps by the Old Ones, perhaps by something else I had planned on which is personification of primal forces like "Death", etc. The 6th sphere is the source of magic - the power to create (or create destruction for some PCs!) and life itself. This power still flows from the 6th sphere - it is why Mystara is so magical, and why so many mortals rise to immortality in this special place in existence, and yet, the very existence of a 6th sphere and how to find it is lost/hidden/missing for powerful PCs (mortal or immortal) to discover before Entropy destroys the few deeply hidden clues to deny anyone or anything access to the one thing that might balance entropy (because with all the wars and killer creatures and vile undead in Mystara, you must admit Entropy is winning!)

With regard to Gareth, he/she/it was essentially intended to be a mystery for high-level mortals or immortal PCs to "solve" - who is he? where did he really come from? what does he want? etc. As Ann noted, our intent had been to eventually reveal is was something "more" - an old god, an manifestation of a primal elemental force ( like a personification of "Death" or in the Marvel Universe there are cosmic entities like Infinity and Eternity and Death, etc. What elemental force (if any) he was hadn't been determined. Nor whether he was an Old One or something else sent by the Old Ones or yet something different still. We'd just decided that he was a "real deal" and not some new or existing immortal simply in disguise - of course folks are very welcome to play him like that! The reason for being a "real deal" was so that he could also - eventually - be used to challenge even high-level immortal PCs or aid them - against something even they couldn't handle without help!