Nicolas Cage is a fascinating actor who has managed to cling to the zeitgeist across numerous decades, thanks to his memorable, over-the-top acting performances, wacky antics, and his genuine likeability. He’s a wild character, frequently baffling, and willing to lampoon his own legacy with parody appearances as himself in flicks like The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, and in video games via Dead by Daylight. Now, you’ll be able to dive deep into his strange and unfathomable charms in a brand-new tabletop roleplaying game.
Uncaging Nicolas is an upcoming one-page TTRPG developed by Jes The Human. In it, you and your friends will embody a variety of Nicolas Cages from across the ‘Nic Cage Multiverse’ – a realm populated by every character played by Nicolas Cage in the world of cinema and beyond.
Your role, as an individual Nicolas Cage, is to find a ‘prime’ Nicolas Cage lost somewhere in the multiverse, and figure out which movie he belongs to in order to send him back. Jes describes this romp as ‘rules-lite’. Anyone will be able to participate in Uncaging Nicolas, regardless of experience level.
‘Uncaging Nicolas is a rules-lite system using 2d6, where Nicolas Cage has recently become imprisoned somewhere in the cinematic multiverse of Nic Cage films for unknown reasons,’ Jes told GamesHub of the upcoming TTRPG adventure.
‘You and your squad of Nic Cages have been hired to uncage him, figure out what movie he belongs in, and send his ass back there. The rules are less inspired by other TTRPG systems and more by Nic Cage quotes from his life and movies he’s starred in.’
Players will have a range of set Nicolas Cage characters to choose from in Uncaging Nicholas, with each having unique statistics and abilities. Ghost Rider Cage can summon fire at will, and Kick-Ass Cage is skilled in combat and gets a +1 to all combat rolls. There are several other famous Cages listed in the TTRPG, but players are also free to develop their own favourite Cage, with the help of a ‘Cage Master’ – the game’s version of a Dungeon Master (DM).
‘Players can expect lots of Nic Cage quotes, Cage faces, and overall weirdness from the game,’ Jes said. ‘The rest is up to the Cage Master and the Nic Cages.’
A recent playtest has revealed some of the upcoming insanity players can expect in Uncaging Nicolas. In the version played by Jes and their team, a group of frenzied, unique Nicolas Cages (from G-Force, National Treasure, Kick-Ass, and more) must work towards saving the Nicolas Cage Multiverse with their joint abilities.
As you’d expect, National Treasure Nicolas proved to be one of the most useful characters in this playthrough, grappling with the Cage Master’s puzzles, and utilising his special heist-themed abilities to overcome a range of challenges. His hamster counterpart, Speckles from G-Force, also managed to utilise a range of spy-like abilities to get past the many obstacles facing the multiversal travellers.
Regardless of your knowledge of Nicolas Cage’s film history, Uncaging Nicolas seems to allow phenomenal and ridiculous plays in equal measure. Really, just like the vast majority of Nicolas Cage films – which have directly inspired the action and storytelling of this unique game.
According to Jes, it was Cage’s strange filmography, and his sheer dedication to being weird that formed the basis of the idea for the game.
‘Every night before we fall asleep, my partner and I tell each other what we think we’re going to dream about, and one night at the start of 2023, I briefly described a dream where a bunch of Nic Cages come together to save Nic Cage, and the concept stuck with me,’ Jes said. ‘So much so that I decided to write it down and expand upon it until I ended up with Uncaging Nicolas.’
‘Nic Cage embraces the weird and I think that is something that everyone has come to love about him. There’s a lot to respect out of someone who just does what they want without worrying about how others will perceive them.’
‘Whether he’s making his signature face or screaming into the abyss, he’s putting it all out on the line and keeping us entertained throughout the process.’
The power of TTRPGs
It’s only through the power of TTRPGs that embracing Nicolas Cage’s power for yourself is really possible. TTRPGs are transformative games that allow you to embody anyone you desire – whether that’s an all-powerful wizard, a deranged monster, or even your favourite Nicolas Cage. TTRPGs can be solo experiences, or they can bring together whole groups of players, who forge friendships in imaginary worlds made real by talented storytellers and willing players.
For Uncaging Nicolas creator Jes, their first experiences with TTRPGs were extremely formative – and led them to start creating their own adventures, buoyed by a real sense of freedom.
‘I went on a rugby camping trip in 2019 and we played Dungeons & Dragons 5e, my first TTRPG. I was instantly hooked,’ Jes said. ‘I loved the act of going on a weird little adventure with my friends and getting into or out of trouble as our weird little guys.’
‘Soon after, I started writing supplements and adventures for the DMsGuild, which took more weird little guys on more weird little adventures. Thinking up ideas for adventures eventually turned into thinking up ideas for systems, until I finally got to work on my first one-page TTRPG: Hotdog Princess, a goofy game where you play as dogs in a puppy pageant.’
Jes describes their TTRPG career as boiling down to ‘making up silly stories with friends’ – something they always enjoyed, particularly in childhood. Creating, writing, and producing these tabletop adventures allowed them to express their love for storytelling, and, of course, for Nicolas Cage.
‘Whether it was spooky stories about ghosts by the campfire or epics about princesses saving knights, storytelling has always been a part of my life. Now it’s just in a slightly more structured form.’
Uncaging Nicolas is ready to fly free
Following a number of internal and public playtests, Jes The Human is now on the cusp of releasing Uncaging Nicolas, the wild, weird, and totally wonderful TTRPG adventure where you play as your favourite Nicolas Cage romping through a multiverse of other Cages.
Those keen to check out the game for themselves, perhaps with a crew of fellow Nicolas Cage enthusiasts, can look forward to the game officially launching via itch.io on 18 July 2023.