Campaign Pitch: The Mirk

On 3/25/23, as asteroid 2023 DZ2 passed between the Earth and the Moon, all power went out from L 97° W east to L 32° W  — a zone encompassing nearly half the planet, including the eastern US and Canada, all of South America and Europe, most of Africa, and the western edges of Russia.

And it stayed out.

The power-killing effect reached high enough to knock out any satellite that passed above the affected area. Most global communications systems collapsed.  Further, light and radio waves were shifted and fell off quickly. No explanation could be found.

The zone was dubbed “The Mirk.”

Within days it was found that no electricity could exist in the Mirk unless it was part of an internal, biological process, light shifted towards blue, and broadcast signals became hopelessly garbled. Storms within the Mirk, unable to dissipate energy through lightning, began to regularly unleash hurricane-force winds, torrential rains, hail, and tornadoes. Weather patterns outside the Mirk also became more violent, thought not to the same degree, and often with massive lightning displays. 

Within weeks, billions had died. Thousands of cities and towns in the Mirk were abandoned. While the highest death tolls by far were within the Mirk, several societies “In the Light” collapsed as well, and millions of deaths were brought about by needless panic, civil war, and violent opportunism.

(Art by Cerafts)

Years passed. In the global chaos Australia, China, and Russia became the main world powers, with the Japan-Taiwan Coalition and eventually the new nation of Cascadia — formed from the west coasts of the old nations of Canada and the US — not far behind.

Reports of strange creatures and events within the Mirk were dismissed as rumor, panic, and even intentional disinformation for years. Bodies of such creatures brought out of the Mirk decomposed within hours, and were discredited as misidentification or hoaxes. All that changed six years after the Mirk arose, as massive creatures with the most dangerous elements of bars, rhinos, and spitting cobras began charging out of the murk, and surviving for 20-30 hours before beginning to die and decompose.

It’s now 2033, and the exploration of the Mirk has begun in earnest. The two largest centers of Mirk expeditions and study are at the University of Oklahoma and Bauman Moscow State Technical University, both located near one Mirk edge. New technologies have been developed, with cameras designed with modern materials but centuries-old chemical and flash powder components, vehicles driven by diesel compression and even steam engines, and a wide range of clockwork and chemical devices.

Things are definitely happening within the Mirk. Some makeshift cobbled-together devices have been found with strange functions that only work within the  Mirk, making them difficult to study with any advanced science. Bizarre creatures grow increasingly common and dangerous. But also, polluted air and water gets sucked into the Mirk, and emitted clear, without plastics, greenhouse gasses, or toxins.

And there are still people living in the Mirk. Most of them don’t like or acknowledge the authority of outsides. Some have… powers. Powers that explorers in the Mirk sometimes develop after enough exposure, but do not function outside the powerless zone. By the same token, most people from the Powered Zone who spend too much time in the Mirk get sick if they return too often. Only a tiny percentage of Powered humanity and animals seem able to sustain repeated or long-term Mirk visits. 

And reports of strange, twisted structures growing, blurry flying shapes, and horrific, calm-destroying sounds deep in the Mirk? Well, they aren’t being ignored as early monster reports were.

The Mirk is the greatest mystery and threat to the Powered world. And you are one of the few who seem to survive its environment without harm.

Medical bills continue to pile up. The main ways to support me right now is these two megabundles. Each has more than $700 of pdfs, from 16+ different companies, for a dozen different ttRPGs (including some core rulebooks!), as well as maps, figures, stock art, and so on. Each is just $34.95, and will only be available through May 15th.

Bundle #1:
Bundle #2:
You can also maintain (or even increase) your pledge level at my Patreon, or make a direct contribution at my Ko-Fi.


About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on April 20, 2023, in Adventure Sketch, Appendix O, Microsetting, System Agnostic and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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