There are no scrolls in this world, but there are crystals of various sizes, colors and qualities. Every spell has a requirement on the amount and characteristics of crystals that must be held in order for the spell to be cast, crystals which would shatter should the cast be successful. Now picture a land where crystals are scarce except for high concentrations of them in specific spots throughout the land. A number of scenarios could occur, such as benign companies selling the mined valuable for cheap, a region in constant magic-intense war zone, an area of crystals in the quicksand, or an undiscovered patch next to a town...
A group of humans living in a mountainous area have spent generations mining, drinking home made liquor, and generally not spreading the gene pool around enough. The end result is a sub-race of humans who no longer have necks, rather their heads protrude from the upper portion of the torso between the shoulders. They have beards, and lacking the ability to turn their heads, can only see what they are directly facing. They are simple and to the point, and direct to the point of bluntness.