Magical research is hinky, because magic itself is hinky.
The ACKs system included different rules for being a mage ruling a kingdom. Involving towers, and literally building dungeons and stocking them with monsters to send adventures into to get components.
Magic research, in our SKM system though, works a bit differently than the normal SKM Research. It works differently insofar as well..
There is no base 5% chance for discovery. Your people aren’t doing research into these fields.
It requires a sage, who is our Magical Research Sage, he has the same upkeep as a normal sage, but he is always some variety of spellcaster.
Wizard rulers may ask why they can’t do the research themselves, and the answer is that they can’t because they’re busy ruling. That’s an old excuse, but I think a fair one.
The way magic research works is that funding for magic research is not funneled into RTs, they have no RTs, it is instead funneled into one of three categories.
Wonders: This represents kingdom wide magical effects, that may be temporary or not. Stronghold walls become protected by ghosts. Higher crop yields. All of the cows milk production being increased. Etc.
Artifacts: This represents magical things. Generally this stuff is limited, quasi-consumable and/or limited in scope.
Creatures: This represents the creation of strange magical beasts, constructs, or undead. Or alternatively, represents the capture of similar beasties.
There is a side area though. Disasters. Magical research is intrinsically unpredictable and dangerous. And therefore, there is a base 5% chance that a disaster occurs during the magical research. The creatures created are monstrous vampires. The wonder is a perpetual rain of blood. The artifact is a cursed weapon that makes whoever bears it mad, and so forth.
Magical funding has a 25% chance of producing something when funded. Its benefit, or severity, is determined by how much cash you throw at the sage. Unlike normal research, excess cash expended on this is wasted as there are no RTs to fill.
There is an idle hands rule though. A magical research sage who is not funded, will still produce something (choosing a category at random), but his chance of causing a disaster increases to 50%. He’s taking increased risks to try to get his funding back and to impress his leader. The severity of a potential disaster is based on the funding he received two months prior, and assuming the kingdom has gone cold turkey, by the third month he will still continue hunting for discoveries or disasters, but they will be minor.