The first step was how counterspells work. Wizard's don't like to share, magic can never work as technology.
But then came the second part: Wouldn't wizard's live in cities? Hire guards? That seems a better way to keep other thieving wizard's from getting your precious spells than hiding in the middle of nowhere. And while it should be a valid option (hence the court wizard), it should still be logical to move into an old abandoned tower in the middle of nowhere. Rather than use the Carcosan "People will kill you for using magic" route, I went with the "Magic dies in lands of reason and civilization"
From the upcoming release of Neoclassical Geek Revival:
Mana points slowly regenerate over time, similar to luck points. The rate at which mana points regenerate is based upon the elf or wizard’s level and the type of area they located in. Magic is inherently disorganized and chaotic, and is strangled by the march of civilization. The first blow against the unrestrained power of magic is the naming of things. It is why names hold such power to magical beings.
Orderly City 0
Rural 1 per week
Frontier 1 per day
Wilderness 3 per day
Uncharted 5 per day
Mystic Wastes 1 per hour
Vortex* 1 per minute
The amount of mana regained per day is multiplied by the elf or wizard’s level. In each type of region there will be unstable locations that count as one type lower. These are things like haunted houses, ley-lines, meteor impact craters and dragon graveyards. Another risk is of mutation; individuals who critically fail a healing or traveling check in Mystic Wastes may cause a mutation if the GM has some horrid mutation table. A Vortex will likewise cause mutations, slightly overshadowed by the fact that death will result within a few minutes. It would be a totally rad looking corpse though.