We live in a world of magic.
Planes that can get us across a continent in a few hours. The personal round-edged rectangles that we all carry around that let us communicate, find info, and put on cat ear filters in limitless permutations. The laptop that I'm using right now that can do even more. Unless you're involved in the technologies that comprise all this wonder, it may as well be magic.
But what is its cost?
There are certainly a lot of macro answers to that. Waste, carbon emissions, mass social isolation, and on and on.
But what about you as an individual?
Maybe your attention span. Maybe your ability to empathize with others. Almost certainly not some physical harm as long as a random fluke or disaster isn't involved. And definitely not forgetting how to do a task immediately after performing it, Curse of the Magi AD&D 2nd edition style.
That brings me to my philosophy on magic in my Players of the Game series.
Magic in my story line does indeed have a cost. It's the same as any other science-based application. It requires knowledge, physical conditioning or devices, and the energy to do it. The same principles that apply to a plasma rifle also apply to a Burning Beam hex.
That's why I don't call it magic. I call it mancy. Yes, I know mancy is technically another root word for magic. Yet, uncommon enough that a spell checker thinks it's not a real word.
It's as much a science as physics or chemistry in this fictional universe.
And its cost is the investment in time to master it. Aligning the practitioner's body's connection to etherea, the non-electromagnetic energy source behind all the mancy hexes. And the caster's capacity to hold etherea within their own body or an external artifact or device.
It gets mentioned when there's a story or character-based need to call attention to it. Otherwise, it's humming in the background, working reliably and predictably.
Just like any other proven science.