The Electric State RPG: An Interview with Nils Hintze

The Electric State Roleplaying Game is coming to Kickstarter December 5 (at 3 pm CET). The new tabletop RPG is based on the internationally acclaimed narrative art book The Electric State by artist and author Simon Stålenhag, soon to be adapted into a major motion picture by the Russo brothers (Avengers: Endgame), starring Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy). The lead designer, Nils Hintze, was kind enough to talk to me about the upcoming, exciting new RPG: The Electric State Roleplaying Game.


Charles Dunwoody (CD): Thanks for talking with me, Nils. If you had one paragraph to explain The Electric State RPG, how would you describe the game?
Nils Hintze (NH):
As it says in the title, it is a road trip game, taking place in a world falling apart as an effect of an AI taking control over humanity, rebuilding the world as we know it. The player characters are people yet not controlled, and they venture out on one last journey. What happens to them, as they go from location to location, is the game.

CD: What types of characters can players look forward to playing in The Electric State RPG?
Ordinary people, such as doctors, a traveling salesperson, an artist, but also more uncommon types such as a religious devotee or a robot. Anyone, really, who has a reason to hit the road.

CD: What kind of adventures do PCs go on?
The game is more focused on location based threats than traditional scenarios. There are no scenes and no pre-written ways to handle the dangers that will occur. In that way, it is very much a collaborative game even though it has the traditional roles of players and a Gamemaster. The player characters will face dangers that happen where they are forced to stop on different locations along the road.

CD: What threats, adversaries, and NPCs will GMs draw from when creating adventures?
There are lots of conflicts and threats to be found inside The Electric State such as: state agents, armed loonies, cults, and even robotic threats and creatures made of flesh and metal. Anything really that can exist in a state that is falling apart. There are also personal threats, things related to the past of the player characters.

CD: What tools will GMs get to help in creating adventures and bringing the world to life?
The idea of the game is that it will provide all that is needed to plan and create journeys to play. There are a number of suggestions and tables the Gamemaster can consult to come up with a whole campaign. There is also a prewritten location with readymade characters for anyone who wants to try out the game.

CD: Many readers of EN World are D&D and Pathfinder players. What would you say if they asked what might interest them into checking out the Electric State RPG?
Perhaps this game has a little different approach to playing RPGs, with a bigger focus on collaboration and exploring themes and conflicts that are closer to home? And, which is important to say, without taking away the fantastic and horrifying.

CD: Where can gamers go to find your work?
Most of what I write has been published by the Free League, games such as Vaesen – Nordic Horror Roleplaying and Tales From The Loop RPG. But there is also, for example, a campaign for Odd Soot (first adventure: The Red Star) written by me and Erik Hyllander (interview).

CD: Any final comments you’d like to share with the readers of EN World?
I think the The Electric State RPG will turn out to be a little quirky and different game, possibly in parts related to games such as Wanderhome and Under Hollow Hills, and I am very excited to see how it will be received.

Charlie Dunwoody participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program and the Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG and Noble Knight Games.
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Charles Dunwoody

Charles Dunwoody


Most post apocalyptic games and media have a hopeful tone, as the players are fighting to bring humanity back from the brink of extinction. Mutant Year Zero certainty has a positive tone. Did he mention if Electric State will also?

Most post apocalyptic games and media have a hopeful tone, as the players are fighting to bring humanity back from the brink of extinction. Mutant Year Zero certainty has a positive tone. Did he mention if Electric State will also?

Good question. I didn't ask him about the tone exactly. The PCs go on a journey through a world falling apart, so more moving toward extinction than away. But he did say it is more about the journey than anything else. I would suppose if your PC is trying to reunite with an absent loved one for example, and your PC actually succeeds or at least has a real chance that would be hopeful. Just small small scale hopeful.

I’ve read the book, and I would not call it hopeful. The book is about a teenage girl and a robot that are trying to get to a small town on the coast of central California. They start somewhere in the Arizona wastes. While they are traveling it becomes more and more clear that there is an AI-apocalypse going on. But one that is so slow moving most people arent aware of it. Oddly things seem fine in cities, but little towns in the middle of nowhere, like where the characters are from and where they are headed, have really messed up things going on. Which is to say the main part of the apocalypse hasn’t happened yet. So we havent hit the part to bring humanity back, because it hasn’t fallen yet. But it’s going to happen soon.
If you want to know more get your hands on a copy of the graphic novel, my local library has one, which is how I read it. It is amazing, the world building Is very interesting, and the RPG should make the vague parts of the book clear.

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