Signs Wrought in Silver
Magic can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. In Harry Potter magic is easy- be the right bloodline, hold a wand, and say a magic word, and that’s it. Theoretically, most of Hogwart’s teching staff is just there to teach pronunciation. Other settings place magic as the result of years- decades, possibly centuries- of endless study.
I’ve always preferred Lovecraft’s magic. It’s fairly easy, as anyone with a grimoire and a relatively small time investment can pick up a spell or two. But the true cost of magic comes from the soul- by learning magic, the prospective wizard becomes both more and less a human being. Being able to control reality removes one from their fellow man.
This is what Mage: the Awakening is for me. Fans of either World of Darkness are too quick to point out that Mages are more or less normaly people who happen to know magic. I disagree. Especially in the new system, where Mages have a different Morality trait from man, the Awakening changes one on a fundamental level, giving the Mage great power but at the cost of having to reach across the Abyss. This is my modus operandi for Mage- that magic provides as much damnation as blessings, and taints the soul even as that soul is elevated to the superhuman.