I've got the core of a magic system, speaking very heavily to the Challenge and Discovery aesthetics (http://angrydm.com/2014/01/gaming-for-fun-part-1-eight-kinds-of-fun/
). I want to bolt it onto a system that it would work well in. Players are on board for the core bits of fun if I can make a good system+campaign out of it.
The basic idea is that players play characters who have unique and new magic, expressed by channeling intent and power through a (mental?) crystalline structure. At the table, these structures are Zendo sculptures and players must build them. Please take it as given that I have a way to translate stated intent and concrete sculpture into a spell effect, and that the effect is in some sense "smooth" (small changes in sculpture usually have small (or no) change to effect). A major part of play will be discovering sculptures which produce useful effects and using those to do more, faster, better, etc.
Here's what I was picturing, for a start. Use Dungeon World. Make some new moves, like "when you take a few days to meditate on / practice with a crystal..." and "when you try a new crystal in the midst of need..." available for choosing after level 1, or maybe give one to everyone at the start. Have a really-quite-impossible campaign front of maybe a demon lord taking over the continent with armies upon armies. Have PCs come from a bitty village, with the intent "somehow discover enough about magic to keep saving your fellow non-demons from slaughter until you are strong enough to take on the front in some way".
Thoughts? On how it would work with DW (or not work), on other systems to think about using?
I my main desiderata are
a) must be a cost to explore a new sculpture, otherwise just explore forevers
b) must be incrementally harder things to tackle once new magic is available that give sorely needed benefits upon successfully tackling
c) must have a super-bad danger that seems impossible to deal with but that players do have a good shot at eventually dealing with if they're smart/fast/clever enough - the final payoff