An increasing number of roguelikes are implementing the cyclical nature of its own genre into the lore of their games, and it's really cool.
I want to bring attention to Moon Hunters specifically because its explanation for cyclicality and randomness is actually a very user-friendly way to help people understand the concept of the ontotheological synthesis. Its mechanics are a really good analogy for Augustinian rhetoric & how discourse could form a new age for us IRL after modernism. (Not postmodernism, but rather a lens of ontology that's more of a callback to good ol' medieval thought.)
[Before we begin: if you already know about Dupré, Heidegger, Augustine and friends... sorry for oversimplifying everything.]
So the premise of Moon Hunters is that a priestess is weaving stories about something that happened a long "time" ago. You start out in what feels like the end of the universe (à la Chrono Trigger), where you hear her talking about trying to understand the truths of a particular historical event.
As the player, you'll take the form of a champion and play through the days leading up to the rise of the antagonistic Sun Cult. Throughout this time, you'll take actions that retroactively grant you personality traits. And once you complete your run, you'll get a cute little story written about you based on what you did. It's decently well-done, embellishing aspects of your personality and highlighting memorable choices from your journey.
In Moon Hunters, the goddess continually emphasizes the plurality of truths in this universe. In fact, one of the primary ideas of the 'evil' Sun Cult is that there could only be one objective truth. But as a champion of the moon goddess, every playthrough you do - including unsuccessful ones - is just one more story to add to the truths of what happened that day. You can swap characters, you can have a different personality, you can save or betray different people... no matter how you play, your playthrough remains a true telling of what happened.
This concept is easy enough to understand, but a lot harder to actually believe. For one, how could two contradictory statements be simultaneously true? How could the great hero be, for example, both a spellblade and a druid?
A modernist would solve the conundrum by figuring that only one of these playthroughs are accurate to what actually happened. "Any other playthroughs are what other people thought were true," the modernist would say, "but had lost accuracy over many retellings."
The Moon Goddess, to paraphrase, would reply "nope".
A postmodernist might solve the conundrum by interpreting each playthrough as true to the person telling it, and nobody else. "It wouldn't invalidate other people's stories," the postmodernist might ponder, "but this allows for each storyteller and listener to accept whatever version is most true for themselves." [Postmodern scholars out there, feel free to yell at me for my oversimplification.]
Anyway, to roleplay a bit more, I think the Moon Goddess would say: "kinda, but not quite."
So how does the game untangle these contradictions? Weirdly, and maybe counterintuitively, it doesn't. They're just... all true, even though they don't make traditional sense.
Ontotheological synthesis as a general lens of viewing the world has a lot of facets. At its base, the idea is that the Divine realm, the realm of humans, and the realm of nature all share the same sphere of existence. It's very similar to the Trinity, except applied to all of reality instead of just father/son/holy ghost.
So who cares if God, Humans and Nature share the same realm of being? Well: a 'little' side effect of nature participating in humanity's reality - and of humans participating in God's reality - is that just like how God has the ability to shape reality and make stuff, humans also have the ability to give meaning/truth to the natural world.
At its most basic level, think of how by defining mental illnesses, humans are able to isolate particular patterns of behaviour in order to provide treatment for diagnosed individuals. Humans were the ones who "artificially" drew some lines and defined what a particular mental illness is, and by doing so, shaped reality a little bit to allow for better treatment of XYZ symptoms if desired.
The other important bit about an ontotheological synthesis is that there's actually no such thing as an "objective" truth anymore. The reason why is that, if divine/human/natural realities take place in a venn diagram, it's literally impossible for a human to separate their biases from their perception of nature. With ontotheological synthesis, as soon as literally anything in our physical world gets interpreted by a human, it's already lost objectivity. But, because the divine is also in this reality, everything still has a direction and an inner truth to it (under the assumption that God is purposeful).
So looking back to Moon Hunters, you can kind of see where this is going. All these characters, the subsequent stories their actions inspire, and your own interpretation of these stories as a player... they're all truths, and they all contribute to the greater truth of the Divine. A Divine who is conveniently a named entity in the game!
So far, this doesn't sound too off the mark from Postmodernism. And it's not - but there are two key differences. One is that, underlying it all, there are a few aspects of nature [as in, the physical world] that remain consistent and inspire a predictable set of interpretations. The other difference that rather than each person sticking with their isolated realities like islands, everyone's actually sharing each other's interpretations and having dialogues to bring out the inherent truth[s] of the world.
This is why art and writing is important, because creative human interpretation of nature is therefore a genuinely productive revelation of truth. For example, a new poem about love will give a new perspective on it. Or a new telling of the moon champion will grant insight to what happened. Everything has an infinite amount of truth, and so every new creative work helps uncover more of its subject matter's inner reality.
So aside from Modernism [everything is objective, only one truth] and Postmodernism [everything is subjective, infinite truths] there's actually a third option! This third option is that there is a natural world that shapes the direction of humanity's multiple truths. This is why most humans can agree on the number of apples on a table: the natural world has provided us with some baseline stuff that we're likely to perceive together. But humans also layer interpreations upon this reality. This is why humans can quite easily disagree on the value or taste of different apples.
Similarly, in Moon Hunters, there's a ton of similarities across playthroughs. All of the characters in the game fight and kill enemies. The Sun Cult exists in every telling of the story. The moon being swallowed up happens every time. The Baba Yaga event has similar dialogue every time. Etc.
Under ontotheological synthesis, while sometimes your character is a druid and sometimes it's a spellblade, both of these truths likely arose from humans interpreting a hero who was powerful and well-respected.
At this point, hopefully you can see why it's so important for the Moon Goddess to tell these stories, and for you as the player to go through these cycles. Your playthroughs don't erase each other! Indeed, every time you play through the game, you're actually uncovering more angles of the infinite inner word[s] of reality. In one playthrough you learn what happens in the desert; in another, you learn what happens in the swamp. In one playthrough you learn what happens if you flirt with an individual, and in another you learn how that person acts when disappointed.
Your multitude of playthroughs allow you to uncover more dimensions, more angles of truth on reality. And if you succeed, you allow these truths - these wholesome realities bridging humanity and the Divine and nature - to remain a nourishing existense for all.
...Otherwise, the Sun Cult will rise up and bring in their Objectivity and their calculations and their singular truth. In a funny meta-narrative twist, this kind of means that losing to the Sun Cult implicitly invalidates all of your other playthroughs as being false. In order for everyone's story to be valid and true, you must forge onward to write the next happy ending and make everyone's stories valid again.
Anyway, I just thought it was cool how this game made great use of its cyclical and randomization mechanics to [accidentally?] portray a lens of viewing reality that's otherwise really opaque and difficult to understand.
Thanks, Moon Hunters!