I like saving throws. Specifically, saving throws that predate the three-fold, post-2nd Edition approach. To my mind, saving throws represent a character's ability to resist his environment -- physically, psychically and magically. They also describe the sort of categorical hazards inherent to the campaign.
We usually utilize saving throws as a reactional mechanic -- meaning that saves are traditionally elicited from outside the player character. He's being bathed in a dragon's fire, or petrified by a basilisk's gaze. But, if the referee so desires, players could be allowed to use their saves actively. More on this below.
For the purposes of Thainlands campaigns, I've come up with a six-fold array of saving throws:
- vs Dweomer covers magical fields, devices and spells that do not transmogrify the body or effect the mind directly.
- vs Dragon's Breath covers all creature-generated energy attacks, be they from dragons or beholders or whathaveyou. Spells like Fireball or Lightning fall under Dweomer.
- vs Transmogrification (Transmog. for short) applies to any magic that distorts or transmutes the body, eg. vivimantic spells and the eldritch transformation magic of Fey creatures.
- vs Poison & Disease addresses illnesses, venoms, toxins and other non-magical maladies.
- vs Delusion/Charm applies to any effect that artificially alters perception -- psionics, hallucinogens, magical illusions and Fey seemings all fall under this umbrella.
- vs Fear represents a character's resistance to this powerful emotion, be it the result of natural circumstances or malicious sorcery. The referee is within his rights to call for a save vs Fear in situations where a character is severely outnumbered or exposed to something hideous and unforeseen.
Spellforking -- A dangerous spellcasting technique that carries the effect of a single-target spell to additional targets in the vicinity. As many as 1d3 additional targets can be subject to the same spell. For example, a casting of Magic Missile would strike the initial target creature and then fork to the additional targets instantly, with each creature taking the same dice of damage. The caster must make a successful save vs Dweomer to accomplish this feat. Failure indicates that the spell also forks back on himself.
Spell Rupture -- A caster can opt to "crack open" the destructive potential of even the most gentle of magics when the need arises. Essentially he purposely disrupts a memorized spell in order to damage a target with a potentially devastating touch-attack. For each level of the spell, he deals a d6 of explosive damage, with any rolls of "6" indicating an additional d6 roll. He must successfully save vs Dweomer or take a half-share of the damage generated.
These are the first two ideas that came to mind. I'd like to generate about a dozen more for vs Dweomer alone.