Spellcraft identify checks are at +5DC for spells not on your list
Casting whilst bound requires a Concentration DC of equivalent escape artist check
Hold Person prevents necessary focusing of mind to manifest
Any caster can counterspell as an immediate action. An additional counterspell can be readied for a total of two counterspells in a round. Additional counterspells can be gained from the Arcane Reflexes feat.
A spell can be automatically countered:
If a spell is opposed the casters roll opposed Spellcraft checks applying any modifiers they may have for dispel magic (form Focus (Abjuration) or Elven Spell Lore for example). If the caster wins or the result is a draw then the spell functions a normal. If the caster loses the spell is countered. If the spell is cast by a magic item its effective spellcraft score is its caster level. Note that a scroll uses the casters spellcraft in the same way as a normal spell.
A Fireball spell is a 3rd level Evocation(fire) spell. It can be directly countered by another Fireball spell or Dispel Magic (after a dispel roll). Alternately it can be opposed by a 4th or higher level evocation spell (such as Shout) or a 3rd or higher level Fire spell (such as Flame Arrow) or a 3rd or higher level Cold spell (such as Sleet Storm).
When a metamagic feat is taken, the caster gains a (universal) metamagic spell of the same level as the metamagic modification (eg maximise is level 3). This is added to his spellbook, or spells known as appropriate. A caster can use these spells to modify a spell he is casting. Each metaspell is a full round action to cast and must be cast in sequence. First, the caster declares the spell he is to cast (eg fireball). Then he spends the appropriate number of combat rounds crafting his spell. Metamagic is declared round by round, as it is added. If the caster takes damage or otherwise is required to make a concentration check, the DC is calculated as if he was casting a spell built from metamagic in the normal manner. It incorporates all the metamagic added so far. Once he begins casting the spell, the caster can opt at any time to cast the spell by adding the actual spell as the last ingredient to the mix. He cannot choose to alter the final spell, since this is built in from the start. Additionally, the caster can choose to cancel the spell at any time, although any metaspells cast as well as the modified spell itself are wasted.
Whilst casting in this way, the final spell (eg the fireball being modified) takes its normal casting time. It takes no longer for a spontaneous caster to work this way than it does a revised caster.
Strauss the 7th level evoker decides to end an encounter early by blasting his foes with a maximised, widened fireball. In the first round, he declares he will be casting a widened fireball. He then spends a full round casting Widen. Next round he declares he is adding Maximise and spends his entire round casting Maximise. In the third round he spends the normal standard action casting Fireball and lets loose.
Meanwhile, his enemies can see him crafting an enormous ball of fire in front of him. With a spellcraft check (against a level 3 spell - the level of fireball) they can tell that this is going to be a fireball, as well as which metamagic has been poured into it. If they have any sense they will be shooting Strauss full of arrows. In the first round he will have to make a concentration check against a level 4 spell (widen + fireball). In the second round (plus against any readied actions during his third round) he will have to make a concentration check against a level 9 spell (maximise + widen + fireball).
Strauss decides after a round of being shot that he's not happy about being a target. He has cast Widen already and opts to finish with the fireball. He spends the normal standard action casting Fireball and launches it. Alternately, Strauss could have abandoned the spell entirely in favour of becoming invisible but the Widen, along with the Fireball would have been wasted. Note that if a small child had wandered into the target area, Strauss couldn't have switched to a lightening bolt and kept the metaspells already cast.
These rules do not preclude casters from using metamagic in the traditional way. Metamagic used to alter duration or casting time of spells (ie quicken, rapid, extend, persistant) cannot benefit from these rules. Traditional metamagic can be used on the metaspells (to reduce casting time, for example).
Additionally, when using traditional metamagic, the casting time for +0 spell level modifications (eg spell thaumatics, energy substitution) does not increase.
There are two axis to the alignment system, good/evil and lawful/chaotic. A spell with a law/chaos alignment tag can be cast by a character of the appropriate alignment, or by a neutral character. A spell with the good alignment tag can be cast by a good character only. A spell with the evil tag can be cast by a neutral or an evil character. The powers of good seek to keep their particular magics out of the hands of the unworthy. The darker powers use them to tempt people into service.
Exaulted spells can only be cast by characters of good alignment, and even then only after they have received special tuition. Vile spells are the same for evil characters - the forces of evil like having a store of magic to tempt people all the way.
Faelon is a strongly aligned world. Neutral characters are always at risk, and most choose a side before reaching too high a level. Casters, all of whom channel the power of the heavens in various ways, are particularly at risk. A neutral character who casts evil spells will gradually slip to evil as they are claimed, willingly or not, by the dark.