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Who is Gareth?by Hervé Musseau
This is the last post in my series of "Who is Gareth?". It lists the suggestions that were made either on the MML or to me in private email, and there are a lot of them. Some were meant as jokes (but I'll consider them seriously as jokes sometimes infer good questions), some were serious business, some were not very different from one another.
Anyway, that'll probably make quite a long post, but keep reading. And when you've finished, you can criticise/add ideas/voice your opinion now that you have the whole set of posts.
9. Gareth = uppity mortal who has found some way to remain hidden from Immortals for a time.
Probably originally meant as a joke, this suggestion was followed by various funny ideas by other MMLers. But first, it implied the following remark "It could be the first mortal who manages to gives another mortal clerical spells...".
Indeed, the concept is interesting: Since Gareth seems to be no known Immortal, maybe it's actually a mortal (obviously a powerful one, or a very cunning one). However, how could the mortal give clerical spells? How could he communicate with his priests?
One suggestion was that "maybe Gareth is a prank of some resourceful gnomes, maybe they've created a machine capable of granting spells to clerics".
A more reasonable approach would be that some mortal has in his possession an artifact, probably made by some forgotten Immortal, or given by his patron, that allows to grant clerics their spells. We know from the rules in WotI that Immortals can (and do) make such artifacts. It is easily assumed that this artifact may also be imbued with the power to communicate with those priests; alternatively, simple mortal magic could be used to communicate telepathically or in the dreams of the clerics.
Another artifact that may be tapped to produce such a result would be the NoS. Those who master the Radiance (either directly in Glantri, or indirectly for the SE shamans) can cast additional spells. Maybe someone did discover how to use it to grant other selected mortals clerical spells, and thus become as powerful as an Immortal. Although one immediately thinks to Rad, any Brother of the Radiance, or even a non-brother, may be tapping the NoS to that end, and not necessarily knowing where does the energy come from. Note that the NoS doesn't shut down on the DoD, unlike the above-mentioned gnome device, and thus could "grant" spells to clerics on that day. (See also Synn, later.)
Along the same lines of the gnomish device, one could imagine a wizard inventing a powerful magic item that would give clerics spells, and thus allow the wizard to pass for an Immortal without having to get through the proper Path and thus bow to a greater Immortal. One such wizard could be Gargantua, if IYC like in Marco's, he's trying to get to a higher state of existence then immortality without becoming Immortal first. Alternatively, it could be an undead wizard, possibly a powerful lich (like Brannart, a Brother, though it's not really in character) or nosferatu who is not interested in giving up his form of immortality to get another one, but still wishes to become as powerful. Please note that the reason why a wizard would want to start a religion must be tailored to your campaign.
Someone also mentioned a parallel between "Gareth is a mortal" and RW Jesus. There has actually been a discussion on that very subject on the MML, with many ideas sparking from it. Please refer to it.
10. Gareth = some "thing", not quite an Old One but maybe their spawn or some other vortex creature...
Since we don't know much about Old One or the Vortex, it's hard to get any working plot in that direction. However, Sinbad is referred to as possibly being an Old One or one of their messengers. The plot involving Sinbad may be found in the Gareth = an Old One post, including notes if he's only a messenger.
11. Gareth = Sitara Rohini was drunk when she heard the "voice of Gareth" and Korotiku was so amused by the results that he's granting her spells to see how this story will end...
This one was really funny.
However, it actually is interesting too. First of all, it mentions the possible involvement of Korotiku, which is more detailed in another post (Gareth = a new Initiate, IIRC).
Sitara being drunk and hearing voices can actually be a great plot and the truth IYC. This may seem like a joke in a world where Immortals do exist and manifest themselves, but in RW we don't get that many proofs of the existence of a God (trying not to offend anyone) and often simple voices, apparitions, or other miracles are taken as such and a whole religion may actually spawn from such events. Joan of Arc is a good RW example of how someone hearing voices can lead to important events (though not a new religion in that case). However, contrary to RW, on Mystara you have to actually be able to cast clerical spells to prove that there's an Immortal involved (whereas in RW we need only faith). So either some Immortal picked up the idea and started to give Sitara spells (and Korotiku seems like a good choice), or Gareth's philosophy is indeed a philosophy as per the CPH and the clerics of Gareth receive their spells not from an immortal but from that philosophy (if you use this rule IYC).
12. Gareth = Synn
This is a variant of #9.
This could be used if Synn is a (the?) recurring villain IYC (just don't let her have more plots running than an actual Immortal can). Synn is a night dragon, which is a powerful creature, but that doesn't give her the powers of an Immortal. However, she certainly didn't come to Glantri for no reason; maybe she was drawn there because of the NoS, which now is an artifact of Entropy. It has never been mentioned before that she was experimenting with the NoS, but that doesn't mean she doesn't. Maybe she has finally discovered it and uses its power to create a new religion as described in #9, with obviously dark goals has been described in previous posts about Loki, Thanatos, Hel, and other Entropics. She may directly use the NoS, or use its power without knowing where it comes from. She may also have successfully used the NoS and be the first Immortal spawned by the NoS since it started to feed on Entropy (Rad is not yet back at the time to control its use). In that case, the Synn we all know is just a mortal ID, and Synn had other plots running outside Glantri at an Immortal level, in that case in Sind. In that case, the scenario for Entropic Initiate may be used with Synn.
13. Gareth = some powerful exalted being, like the one who controlled the whole planet of crystalline dragons in the Dragonlord series, the Overlord.
The Overlord indeed has great power and many followers in the Dragonlord trilogy. Whether he has the power to grant clerical spells like an Immortal is unknown though, but one can easily assume he does. The Overlord is defeated in the trilogy, but he may just have been dispersed and not killed, like an Immortal banished to his homeplane. Today he is returning, having formed a new body, and with a new, more subtle plot to take over Mystara. Alternatively, it might be another creature like the Overlord.
It also depends on what exactly the Overlord IYC. Someone said it was a Kryst, and I never heard of such a creature before so can't comment further. I've already seen people believing that he actually was an Immortal, Alphaks to be precise, who had been following the progress of Flaems from world to world, and decided to act now that they had landed on the same world that the Alphatians (hey, cool, they brought me to the place where all the factions of Alphatians live, I can crush them all at once). If Overlord = Alphaks, it's highly unlikely that Gareth = Overlord.
A Dreaden is another possible exalted creature that we don't know much about but that may be powerful enough. It should be very campaign-specific, though, but there are people out there that have very detailed histories involving the Draeden.
14. Gareth = the Forgotten One
This is based on an idea by Rick LaRue you can find here There was an Immortal long ago that tried to harness the power of the five spheres at once. He failed at the attempt, and was thought to have been destroyed in the process. Later Immortals only harnessed the power of one sphere only ever since. However, maybe he was not destroyed. Maybe he just went dormant for millennia until his body and mind could bear the power of all five spheres. Or maybe he didn't fail at all, but indeed got that much power but disappeared from the Immortal pantheon (either because he didn't want other Immortals to follow his path before he mastered his new powers, or because he wasn't interested in petty Immortals anymore). Or he attained a higher state of existence, like the Old Ones. Anyway, he finally reappeared, and decided to show mortals and immortals alike the new way, the path he had followed, the path of the 5 spheres. His teachings and his philosophy differ so much from the other Immortals' because he has a very different view on the spheres of power, not considering them as opposing each other. He mentioned his return from the Vortex either because that was the best analogy he could think of to put the Immortals on the proper path, or because he actually crossed the Vortex in his attempt to master the 5 spheres, and came back.
Note that you can add to the complexity by having him actually harness not 5, but 6 spheres of power. When he first tried to do it, there were only 5 known spheres. The equation was incomplete, and that's why he failed and became dormant. However, when the NoS was turned from Energy to Entropy, showing the existence of the sphere of Principium, he could finally try to add it to his portfolio and complete the process.
15. Gareth = the lifeforce of the NoS having gained sentience.
This is actually very close to Gareth = Rad. Most scenarios used for Rad can be used with the NoS directly. You have the added complexity that Rad is still out there after MoA, and that the NoS can be used to achieve Immortality. How does Rad relate to the new sentient NoS and can the NoS bestow Immortality as it wishes/deny Immortality to Brothers of the Radiance become important questions in that case.
I guess that's all. I've detailed all the various possibilities as to who Gareth could be and what it implies that I could think of or that were suggested to me.