Only when you approach the concept with priors I don't share.
Looking objectivelly at the concept as applies to RPGs. It doesn't define anything, really. Most people use the term to refer to characters' relative combat prowess, but in a game where killing opponents is activelly discouraged, this has diminished importance at best. It's often articificially achieved by a series of spurious, at best, correlations, and the mechanics of it almost always have next to nothing to do with the realities of events in the game.
You say "priors", I say "unmeasurable assumptions" I guess
In other words, the term "balance" has no specific meaning regarding RPGs, only assumptions from particular points of view
So how does 100 pts in Social Skills work out compared to a 100 pts in Energy Blast?
Balance is an illusion, there only being consistent with how the setting is described.
And I already explained in my prior response why I don't think that's true.
You can balance powers and skills by assigning different point costs to them but ultimately it’s up to the GM how balanced anything will be.
Well, no, you said "[your] feeling is that once it becomes obvious the terminological usage doesn't match up, then you can go back and see where they don't",, whereas I am stating it doesn't matter how you are using that terminology, it's meaningless until you define what you are actually talking about, because there is no default concept of balance.
It’s not even that. I’m thinking more of a GM who has Aquaman as one of his PCs and all the adventures are on land.While a GM can absolutely do what I call "top end balance" (that is to say, making sure everything is balanced by making sure events and opponents only favor everyone relatively equally) I don't find having to distort the kind of things you want to do as a GM to make sure an otherwise interesting and reasonable looking character isn't left in the dirt because the system designers couldn't be bothered to do some basic playtesting.
It’s not even that. I’m thinking more of a GM who has Aquaman as one of his PCs and all the adventures are on land.
So you simply don't want to talk about it. OK.
Like in life there are circumstances in a RPG campaign that render various skill sets useless. The old adage of "In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king." comes into play. In this case what constitute "blindness" changes from group to group from session to session. If the Duke's Dress Ball (from Thieves Guild III) is never part of the campaign then the 100 points in the social skills effectively wasted. Likewise if the campaign is nothing but a series of the Duke's Dress Ball, then combat skills is effectively wasted. Throw in all the "ifs" "ands" "buts" situation how is a 100 points in social skills balanced against 100 points of combat skills?Another prior I disagree with (the first part or the second sentence that is). That doesn't mean its easy to manage (as your first sentence shows) but that's not the same as being illusory.
And yet it was your choice to respond in post #102 and when challenged you pull the above crap.I've not found talking to people who consider balance illusory on the subject of balance particularly worthwhile, no. As I said, their assumption sets usually clash enough with mine that it requires the always tiresome process of drilling down to basic principals.
If I had two players in the same game of DCH and one wanted to play Superman and one wanted to play Batman, there’s no way I would expect or want balance (I believe there’s about a 7,000 HP cost difference between the two). Superman would be horribly nerfed or Batman would be buffed beyond belief. I would just cater the adventure to their particular talents and give them each their moments and know that one will outshine the other at times. It’s gonna happen.
May I add “in some situation that occurs relatively commonly in the game”that one or more aspects of a game, whether it be a particular character class, a particular combination of spells or abilities, a particular high statistic and/or a particular combat maneuver, gives a disproportionate advantage to the lucky characters that employ or own them.
It depends on what you're playing for. If you're role-playing to discover how a world with such a spell would operate, what people or your character would do, etc. the spell is a prerequisite for the whole campaign to happen. If you're playing to see if your character and his companions can make their riches by delving into dungeons and uncovering treasures, the spell makes reaching the goal possibly trivial & uninteresting. The question of balance only makes sense if there is an agreed to area of conflict or contention, and we want the players to have a fair chance of winning or obtaining or contributing to the obtaining or winning of whatever thing.So, if balance "objectively" does not exist, no one will object to the introduction of the following spell in D&D, right?
"Super-wish: 0th level cantrip. Castable at will, instant, no verbal, somatic or material component. The wizard can make anything he wants to happen. No restrictions whatsoever".
I mean, after all, balance is illusory.