So my current WIP features a magic system that I would call squishy. It is not quite hard and not quite soft. Before you suggest it, rest assured, I have read Sanderson's laws. I'll give you the rundown of the system as it exists now and would love some feedback.
Context- High fantasy with elves, dwarves and humans in pretty much their standard roles. Humans are nomadic hunter gatherers, elves are very magically advanced, and Dwarves are excellent business men who lack magic, but have just reached a stage of development that resembles the early industrial revolution.
1) Source- the idea behind it is that everyone has Aether, basically your life force, or soul, and that by channeling that aether and speaking in one of the "languages of power" you can cast spells that do cool stuff: fire balls, illusions, etc. The lore of the world i am creating states that there are thousands of languages of power that can be used seperately or in combination to weave spells into an almost limitless number of possible effects.
2) Cost- The cost is perhaps obvious, but I will state it anyway. In order to use magic in this world, you have to expend a little but of your life force, so if you over exert yourself magically, you will become extremely weak, and might even die.
3) Limitations- without getting into too much science in the book, I try to gently introduce the idea that the most basic rules of physics still apply to magic. Conservation of mass and energy, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, etc. For example, some mages cast spells on seeds to make it so when the plants grow, they emit light rather than absorb it, but they discover that this makes it so the vines emit "bitter air" if they use them in tight spaces like mines (the plants are releasing CO2 instead of Oxygen, because the magic reversed their metabolism) obviously i am not going to get into the science in the book, as my characters wouldn't know what oxygen was, but i wink at it there, and use it as an example of the limitations of magic. You can't create something from nothing, and anything you change is likely to change something else with it.
4) Other crap worth noting- some artifacts can house aether and allow you to use a spell that would normally kill you, but the most powerful of those artifacts are sentient, and tend to have a pretty steep cost of their own before they will allow you to use them.
I see a lot of very hard magic systems in this sub, and wonder if something like this woukd turn you guys off as readers? All questions and feedback are welcome!