I've written before about my home-brewed Emphasis System that aims to make spells more diverse and less cookie-cutter. In a nutshell, the system provides classes that use spells a small bonus to research new spells. To get the bonus(es) to the successful spell research roll, the character needs to incorporate one or more emphases. An emphasis is a noun, chosen by the player, used to represent a specialty or specific area of magic a character enjoys. So if a character has the emphases of Fire, Entanglement, and Plants, the character would get the largest bonus to spell research by incorporating all three. Using the Web spell as a template, the character names his or her spell the Flaming Tendrils of the Macava. This spells entraps characters for 3 turns in fiery tendrils that emerge from the ground. The GM rules that if the flaming tendrils do damage, the spell will need to be a higher level. If the flames are simply and illusory effect, it can remain a 2nd level spell.
The thing I enjoy about the Emphasis System is that the nouns chosen can cut across classes. Fire works for a Priest, Magic-User, Psionicist, and any other sub-class of these three. Here's a compiled list from posts and other sources so far:
Air, Acid, Alchemy, Alteration, Animal, Artifice, Astral, Blades, Chaos, Charm, Combat, Creation, Conjuration/Summoning, Dimension, Divination, Earth, Enchantment, Entanglement, Evocation, Fire, Force, Geometry, Guardian, Healing, Ice, Illusion, Law, Metal, Mind, Moon, Necromancy, Numbers, Plant, Protection, Shadow, Song, Sun, Thought, Time, Travelers, Void, Walls, Water, War, Wards, Woods, and Weather.
I had wanted to include emphases for psionicists, but outside of Clairsentience, there isn't much not covered by the list. Thinking in 3.5 terms for types of abilities, an emphasis called Telepathy and ones I've already listed called Mind and Thought would function about the same. Meta creativity is the same as Creation. Psychometabolism is the same as Alteration. Even Psychoportation would work better as the Travellers emphasis I have listed above.
In one sense, I had hoped that Psionicists would contribute more to the list of emphases. However, seeing the list and realizing that items on the list could apply just as much to psionicists as they could to priests or wizards, I am happy to see the possibilities for all classes.
Sure, the Wards emphasis makes sense with my version of the psionicist. In my version, psionicists fight against incorporeal foes like ghosts and shadows. Having wards against shadows or vampires in gaseous form are quite handy and fit the concept well. What is interesting, though, is applying a War emphasis (think Psychic Warrior) or a Song emphasis (think Bard). For something really different, start a psionicist with either Artifice or Creation emphases. Having a psionicist that builds things is a really interesting concept.
This will be it for the emphasis system for now. I hope to put all this in a PDF for everyone to use or deride in their own game.