Working on magic for The Red Concordant, I have to fight off the new shiny idea so that I can finish this project.
The New Shiny is:
A gematria based spell research/building system. First, name the spell. Letters have a value from 1 to 9. Spaces count as 1. Total the letter values. Take the total and take the sum of the digits until you get a single digit number.
That final single digit number determines the level and relative power of the spell.
For example: Magic Missile
M(5)+A(2)+G(8)+I(1)+C(4)+space+M(5)+I(1)+S(2)+S(2)+I(1)+L(4)+E(6) is equal to 42. Four plus two is six.
This would make Magic Missile a 6th level spell. If the description of the spell is that the spell caster creates bolts that damages targets, the effect would change to something like two bolts are created per caster level, each bolt does 1d6 damage.
If you change the name to Magic Bolt and keep the same effect, you get down to a second level spell. That could give you one bolt per two levels, each doing 1d4+1 damage.
FWIW, if you want a 1st Level spell, I found the name Flaming Missile works.
This wouldn't be fun for every player, but I am discovering that I am getting less work done playing with names. 🙂