I'm still toying with writing an urban fantasy series, and I've been playing around with various magic systems for a while now. I wanted something flexible and fairly simple, and hope this is that, but I could use a bit of devil's advocatery to ensure I'm not missing anything obvious and maybe offer up some suggestions. Essentially everyone is capable of doing a small thing magically, but it is very unusual for people to ever uncover their tiny magical talent, and many do not ever notice it when it manifests. If someone does discover their talent they can gradually expand upon it slowly broadening it from a single use gimmick to a versatile set of abilities. The world is our world with real magic, and most magical creatures stem from interbreeding of those with similar talents to produce a new race. So mermaids were the results of hundreds of thousands of years of interbreeding by those with magical links to water and the sea, etc. For example Brian discovers he can make a spark by clicking his fingers. He eventually learns to use this to light cigarettes, and then with a great deal of practice is able to create small fires. If he is untrained this is likely all he will ever be able to do, but by following an appropriate codex he can see what has helped others with similar abilities to advance and his powers will grow exponentially faster. Brian might be able to convert his heat energy into kinetic energy broadening his abilities, learn to use other parts of his body or just his mind to apply his abilities, etc. However, there will always be certain abilities he cannot access due to the nature of his magic as his ability to make sparks remains the foundation of his magic. An appropriate codex for Brian would walk him through the steps another wizard used to develop from making small fires to being able to hurl flames. It might tell him how to think about his power, how to use ingredients and the enviroment to enhance it, etc. But a codex by a wizard who could manipulate water would be useless to him unless it was of a higher level. A weather manipulation codex might be usable by both fire and water based wizards since both would be able to achieve a level of heat manipulation with their abilities, etc. My hope is that I can have fairly homgenous wizardry at some levels with distinct factions. There can also be wizards with unusual talents who are both helped and hindered by having to develop their abilities outside the norm. The protagonist I am contemplating is essentially an illusionist from another angle, he has the ability to create and manipulate bubbles which he eventually learns to color and manipulate virtually at will. So he could create a facsimilie of a person that would move and look like a person, but it would essentially be a bubble or balloon and burst on contact. A more normal illusionist would manipulate either light or the mind. Some illusionist tricks would be open to the balloon man some would not, etc., but methods for seeing through "normal" illusions would fail against his magic because the bubbles are real illusions. Does that make sense? Any thoughts, ideas, critiques appreciated.