I can't wait/impatient to work on a magic system after listening to so much Earthsea.
I'm imagining a simple one where the level of Activity is an account compared to the Endurance Threshold. A very simple work model - similar to HP is a threshold vs Damage.
The more "Work" I accumulate I compare it against my Endurance, and it represents how Tired a character is.
- For example - the endurance threshold is 14 hours of Light Activity.
- Moderate Acvitivy = Medium Load = x2 Light Activity of Work.
- Strenous Activity = Heavy load = x3 Light Actvity of Work.
- exceeding the threshold calls for Rolls which may result in Damage, and damage results in penalties.
As for the Magic - A basic Concep-Affinity System. the Feat of magic has a Cost and margin of success and failure determine both Costs and Consequence/Outcome. With thresholds where various damage and magical tradeoffs occur.
The thing about ANY magic system is that GMs cannot just RUN it without knowing. They are always inherently going to be about more intense and condensed rules. The few things one can do to make magic easier is to use existing mechanics - like Fatigue, concentration, skill checks, damage, conditions, etc...
the only way it becomes easier to learn a magic system if it BUILDS over existing rules and uses existing rules in special cases.
When I think of this kind of design I keep thinking of Global Maxima vs Local Optima. we tend to go back to Fundamentals over and over again and happen to learn ways to SCALE-UP fundamentals instead of creating new Global Maximums.
For those of us not born with Talent - Engineering - the application of Science is our edge. The great thing about Engineering is that those who dont have talent can participate in it in some degree. Science is not supposed to have Gate-Keepers, so are TRPGs (better the more accessible it is).
One of my design philosophies is USE EXISTING KNOWLEDGE - the use of many real world heuristics in my TRPGs instead of specialized or EXCEPTION mechanics.