I have identified two different fundamental approaches to the concept of Magery that game-masters may take. The first is the "is you is or is you ain't" approach, such as Force Sensitivity is treated in the SWRPG. In this approach, a character is either sensitive to magickal forces or not. The second approach allows for some to be more magickly adept than others, using Magery as an attribute.
This pattern makes magickal pursuits rather expensive and thus rare. It is unlikely to run into an individual with more than a couple of dice in spell abilities who is anything other than a serious student of magickal arts. Most mages will focus their studies into certain highly specific areas of application, as well. During character creation, a player must decide whether the character is "mana-sensitive" or not, even if no dice are allocated to magickal skills at the time. Campaign control is easily exercised by considering just how few people would be willing to expend the necessary amounts of time and energy required to attain a degree of success in the magickal arts. As PCs advance in ability, there will be ever fewer individuals capable of training them and the costs involved (monetary, travel-time, favors owed, etc) will steadily increase to reflect this.
Magick is far cheaper and likely to be much more common than in the "Mana-Sensitive" pattern, but if the MAG attribute is not bought during character creation, a character cannot later in s/his career begin studying the magickal arts. Magic may be much more widespread in everyday life, with minor magicks routinely used in everyday occupations. In this pattern, it is much more common to encounter mages who command a much wider variety of spells. Campaign control may be a little trickier in this pattern, as the costs of advancement are much lower. Training requirements based on the level of MAG for basic, initial instruction are quite reasonable as are requirements of attaining a certain level of faculty with existing abilities before undertaking further studies.
For additional thoughts on options that can provide control measures as well as provide distinctive flavor to campaigns, see the Options chapter .
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