Heroes & Hardships Magic
Heroes & Hardships is universal RPG system with a d10 roll & keep dice pool system. One of the best ways to learn about the system is to download the 96-page Quickstart Guide
But let's go over our magic systems here so you can understand how to cast spells and activate powers. This article assumes you have read System Basics.
Heroes & Hardships has two spells systems that are nearly identical, but different enough to offer a vastly different experience. They are Traditional Magic and Super Powers. Traditional Magic is what you might think of as a wizard casting a spell, and Super Powers could be the powers used by super heroes, but also are those that are sourced by a creature's innate abilities. An elf's ancestral trait to use nature magic is a power, but their sorcerer's skill to throw lightening bolts is magic!
Any spell or power uses a baseline Manifestation. Manifestations are the mechanical details of what a spell or power can do. Spells and powers use Manifestations differently. All Manifestations have certain categories that explain how they work. However, some of these categories can be upgraded.
Example: The manifestation Energy Attack has a range of Touch. That manifestation can be enhanced to 2 hexes/units, 4 hexes/units, etc.
Spells and powers enhance manifestations differently. Spells are very flexible. They can enhance valid effects on the fly, based on what is needed in a situation. If a target is far away, a wizard can enhance the Energy Attack's range to whatever is needed. Just remember that with each enhancement, the difficulty of the casting goes up!
Powers on the other hand are stagnant. You must set your power's maximum range (and other categories) when you purchase the power. The good thing about this is the power is no more difficult to activate than it would be any other time.
Traditional Magic Example
Troy casts Energy Blast. He decides for more range, targets, and damage! He raises the damage from 5 to 10 (1 Level), the targets from 1 to 3 (2 Levels), and the range from Touch to 4 hexes/units (2 Levels). That's a total of 5 levels of Enhancement. That means the difficulty is going to be a total of 6 Levels. For each Level of Enhancement the spell gains 1 Hardships on the casting.
Troy activates Energy Blast. When he purchased it, he paid more Ability Points to increase damage 2 levels, and range 2 levels. When he uses it in play, he can never increase any other category above baseline. The power's range is 4 hexes/units or less. Powers don't take Hardships for activating at higher levels, and instead, the defender actively resists on any activation you make based on what Active Resistance of the manifestation.
You might be thinking that "there must be more to this!" You are right, there is, but we can't let all our secrets out of the bag. You've learned that Traditional Magic is flexible, Super Powers are rote. Traditional Magic is cheaper to acquire. Super Powers are more expensive. Traditional Magic is more difficult, and defenders never actively defend. Super Powers are easier, but the targets always actively defend.