There exists a prestigious academy with a history going back hundreds of years. Graduates are highly skilled and very much sought after for employment. For purely traditional reasons, the academy requires its students to become proficient in a skill or area of knowledge that has no use in the modern world. This could be Ancient Egyptian, an antiquated form of writing such as shorthand, knowledge of building or repairing antique steam engines, programming COBOL, etc. PCs who graduated from this academy must be sure to have this skill in their repertoire.
Believable magic, like ordinary physicis, operates according to some invariable laws that always result in some kind of cost or "bounce back". The grater the magic, the more it should cost the character physically, emotionally, and spiritually.