>f you imagine any gameplay state as a flowchart of decisions that you navigate to get to the "win" state, I see randomness as a sort of "teleport" tool that breaks-off the causality chain of your current decision making flow, and puts you on a completely different place on this imaginary "board", whereupon you have to quickly reorient yourself and immediately figure out a new plan / change tactics. It's a way of testing the player's ability to adapt and think on their feet. If after a random event you end up in the exact same place on this "board" and your next step is the same as before the event happened, then, in essence, nothing happened at all. And you simply try again, which isn't a very interesting decision.
I really liked your description of this, but even so, I'd posit that a "win state" is not actually remotely necessary for this, depending on how broad your interpretation of a "win state" happens to be. Like yeah it should visibly change you, your tactics, your next decision, even right up into your playstyle and character build.
It's pretty much like an abstracted and then quantified simulation of how evolutionary theory ultimately works, wherein the causality chain of your decision making is ultimately what part the player's input plays the role in the game and therein lay your real agency, whereas the event itself can have the appearance of determinism and the brutal existential exposure to the cold and unfeeling whims of the universe, and yet you personally still have to navigate that path and figure out what to do in the transition from state to state.
Like for example you really could just be closing off dialogue options to talking to different characters and I would not call that either a win or lose state. It's just exposing you to different storytelling options and plausibly setting you down the path of a different narrative arc that could have its own win or fail states but not necessarily so.
I think that among the best crpgs out there are those few ones which genuinely punish you or alter your direction long down the line and hopefully in ways you never possibly could have seen. This is very different from the usual ARPG or adventure game which sorta just lets you do exactly all the same shit as you could have done before with a completely different character class and which ultimately is no different between an actual RPG and an adventure game because a lot of the outcomes are always going to be the same.
Like in a real RPG you should be from the very getgo making decisions which force the particular direction of the game before you've even started. I ended up doing Aristrocrat for Stygian and having chosen that and a few other skills I've got some avenues opened up but others like ones involving medicine and lockpicking totally locked off, and speaking of locks I used some arguing to convince a guy to let me sell him keys for the ingame currency. Now just imagine how fully an RPG can change the consequences of say letting you only trade for medicine, or doing something that has the character tell you to piss off all game which in turn makes another character like you and give you a quest.
I'm being probably both too long winded and nondescript having trouble quantifying it but basically I see it as an existential treat where the real art that happens in a video game is in that negative space between the player and game, like an expression of what the Holy Ghost allegedly is as that gap between God the Father and Christ and the geist being the love that forms and is shared within that space, and thus to me real digital art is that Holy Ghost, is what happens within that space. It should be a transformative experience, both to the game itself and to how the observer thinks about things for days or weeks on end if not longer, to have as profound an impact upon him as good literature, and frankly the RNG of a game is a good contrivance to help force certain types of decision making.
What I'm looking after is like the dialogue and narrative arc and character development equivalent of the way you can change the outcome of your entire mission in XCOM2 based on just one missed shot or one very lucky shot of theirs, which in turn can have deep ramifications later down the line. I have actually had an entire game fail before specifically because of my having missed a shot or them landing a super lucky critical one on me, which forced me to take a risky and desperate move thus activating another pod which in turn got enough of my squad killed or MIA that it gimped me forever after in that save file, and as a result, had to totally reorient my strategizing towards the game to survive; a few of these times I lived and rebuilt everything; a few of these times I have had it send me on the path to slowly circling the drain with constant attrition until I was so totally crippled there was no way left I could win the game.
I think that Fallout New Vegas was one of the most perfect examples of this negative space, because I refused to fast travel for almost the entire game with the sole savescumming being my companion always getting killed and trying to force him to hide and stay the hell away from my gun fights. In that negative it started warping me, with my increasingly taking the option not to go around people but to start taking a harder, colder, more brutal stance until eventually I'd become so jaded and cynical by the wasteland I frankly had no problem picking people off who didn't even start shit with me. I would go out of my way to murder Caesar's soldiers, I would snipe those fucking crackheads from across the map, and finally as an end result of all this I just decided to opportunistically betray Mr. House AND the NCR AND obviously Caesar and everyone else because through the total amalgamation of every decision and experience I'd concluded that everyone else was either too incompetent, evil, or both to be allowed having power there and that just left me to be the arbiter in attempting to hold the peace and maintain independence.
I think that on a fundamental level that was all the result of a bunch of concretic decisions expressing my own Reason and moral agency as a rational being, as well as being guided by it in the way a slow moving stream cuts out a canyon over time. It may not look like it's doing much at first so I'd say the real challenge is whether or not all those random things alter your entire trajectory in the game.
I think that, on a fundamental level, those dice are indeed the unironic expression of the same thing for which an existentialist or materialist might call it cold random chance and another say random numbers are proof of God, for in the end they ultimately both serve as that Sacred space, as in the real ontological concept of The Sacred, in which all the magic can happen without our obstinancy and native desire for control over our own destinies is always cruelly thwarted and at times perversely rewarded by things outside our control and, more often than not, entirely from outside our own context.
That dice roll is a space for that Sacrosanct act of the universe upon us to happen.