I have always been fascinated with the idea of magical research, but no D&D campaign I've played in has really done it justice. Some flavors of D&D give rules for crafting magic items, but that doesn't do it for me. I want magic to have mystery, power, and unpredictability.
Here's a magical research move. It's totally stolen from Vincent's Savvyhead rules for Apocalypse World. I don't invent, I steal.
When you go into an arcane library, laboratory, and workspace trying to get to the bottom of something or make something magical, tell the DM what you want. The DM will answer "Sure, no problem, but..."
- It's going to take days/hours/weeks/months of work
- First you have to acqurie _____ (magical reagent)
- You need some information you can get from ____
- You're going to need ______'s help with it
- It's going to cost you a lot of money
- It's going to mean exposing yourself (and maybe others) to significant danger
- You're going to have to take _____ apart to do it
For easy stuff, pick just one.
For medium stuff, pick one AND another OR another.
For seriously hard stuff, it's one AND another AND yet another.