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...
In the days of old, before the dominance of humanity, the giants were the supreme rulers of the world and their crafts were considered to be the best. These beings venerated the god of the forge above all others and their swords and armors were the best that could be had even in the days of their decline. A hero seeking a masterwork sword might have to voyage long and hard to find a surviving giant smith or cache of rare and valuable giantcraft weapons.