The protagonist can do magic.
But not just any magic, no siree. And to do it, they have to negotiate with hallucinated personifications of ideals. Or what they'd look like if they lived up to that ideal.
There are sixteen ideals.
Justice (Holding others to a system of fairness) magic would be based on the principle of 'what goes around, comes around', including stuff like sympathy
Honour (holding yourself to a system of fairness, chivalry, and respect) magic would be about binding things together
Erudition (seeking knowledge and understanding) magic would be about cataloguing and linking
Honesty (not deceiving) magic would be about seeing the world as it truly is
Triumph (beating opponents) magic would be about resisting or inverting forces acting upon you
Thrill (revelling in pleasure) magic would be about holding onto sensations (but also things like ideas, emotions, etc.)
Levity (Inflicting misfortune on others for own amusement) magic would be about holding external things in a particular state until it is broken
Forgiveness (letting go of the transgressions or others, not maintaining a grudge or hatred) magic would be about repairing or resetting objects or injuries
Safety (Protecting yourself, mentally and physically) magic would be about moving away from danger, fortifying yourself for danger, etc.
Creativity (Coming up with original works) magic would be about changing aspects of things to make them into a new thing
Assimilation (becoming part of a group, removing the parts of your identity that get in the way of co-operation) magic would be about bridging the gaps between separate identities so they can work in harmony
Individuality (Remaining uninfluenced by others, and discovering who you want to be as a person) magic would be about separating yourself from others, and understanding who you are and what you want
Maverick (Going against the grain, doing things that others haven't, shaping the world around you) magic would be about ignoring limitations, and throwing everything you have into doing one thing
Mimicry (Copying those around you) magic would be about reproducing in yourself things you've observed in others
Dignity (Self esteem, self respect) magic would be about masking your inner self, and influencing others
Humility (Recognising your flaws, refraining from boasting) magic would be about weaponising your inabilities
The mechanism is going to be left fairly ambiguous, but I want to impose clear limitations and distinctions of each branch, with some things being clearly impossible with any of them, such as going back in time, seeing the future, etc.
Also, I want them to be roughly equal in power. Being the most honourable person ever must not make you objectively more powerful than the most peer pressured individual in existence. Powers may occasionally interact to do new things, but that is not the focus.
Conservation of energy is not really a thing that should be worried about too much, assume the protagonist is drawing from a constantly-refilling well of energy, but creating new matter from nothing is almost completely out of scope.
When considering things such as luck, assume lack of fate.
How then do I maintain balance between these, while presenting them as entirely distinct?