We've been looking for a system that fits our current requirements for a while and we seem to be failing miserably at it... Does anyone know of a system that fits the following?
Freeform magic system: A mage creates spells/effects by combining his skills. So if I have earth + fire of the right level I can make a volcano erupt.
An important note here is that the system can't be too free. If I just finished creating my character I shouldn't be able to cast the most powerful spell. Some games like Desolation allow for that, and even if the chance is very low, my players end up doing it...
Magic system must support progression: In the form of skill advancement or of collecting premade spells that are easier to cast, some sort of progression is important.
Decent amount of fantasy source material available: I don't want to have to adapt a modern system into a fantasy setting. While I like Mage: The Awakening system, I would have to create lots of stuff to make it work on a fantasy setting, which I don't have time for...
Balanced Combat vs Roleplay
The game can't be too rules heavy or too rules light. Pure roleplaying systems tend to have too little mechanics and we like to feel progression in the way of stats, gold, items, spells, etc. We don't need progression on all those categories if that's the price to pay to not be rules heavy like GURPS or Pathfinder/D&D
The systems we've tried/analyzed are:
- Pathfinder/D&D 3.5: Fails at magic system (it's spell and memorization based) and at being too rules heavy
- Mage: Fails at not being in a fantasy setting, so a lot of work has to be done to create materials
- Desolation: Fails at not having a large community or materials and at being too loose, there's no sense of progression
- GURPS 3rd and 4th: Very rules heavy, and while we can choose not to use the rules it's too easy to fall into the "lets check the rules" trap
- Fate Core: Haven't played it yet but it seems very light on stat progression, we're counting on waiting to see if any book gets released in a setting we like
Is there a system that fits our criteria?
Thanks in advance!