With knacks and wounding done, and combat using the same basic resolution system that knacks use, I'm ready to stat up some characters and have them go at it. Yeah yeah, I have no weapons and no armor and don't know exactly how either works yet, but I can at least use the rules to have myself an MMA brawl or something.
I'm particularly fond of the pools mechanic from Shadowrun 2. In a nutshell, you had pools for various types of actions, like combat. Throughout the round, you could draw extra dice from this pool to add to your attack and defense rolls. Once you spent the pool, it was gone until next round, when it refreshed. Because it came back so easily, people rarely hoarded it, and it added a player controlled tactical element to managing your character. One of my players is a big fan of them as well.
I want something like pools in this system, but I'm not sure handling them the same way is the answer. Remember, I'm shooting for smaller die pools. I do like the simple resource management pools add however.
As a compromise, I'm borrowing a rule from Wushu: when you roll your action, you split your successes into yang dice (attack) and yin dice (defense). Your yin dice cancel out your opponent's yang dice, and if you clean him out entirely, he misses.
This sounds like an opposed roll, doesn't it? It is, sort of. But I'm thinking that you split your successes into yin and yang on your action, and you hang onto your yin dice until your next turn. Thus you roll your offense and defense on your turn and hang onto that result throughout the round. Technically this is an opposed roll, but the only person rolling is the one who's acting on a turn. Should speed things up while still granting that tactical element.
Post Playtest Note
I ran a simple combat all by my lonesome. After having two mock characters smack each other around for a bit, I can say that as far as a basic resolution system I'm happy with it. It took forever for one side to put the other down, but I'm thinking the addition of weapons will change that.
At first blush this might leave empty hand enthusiasts without a good game options, but I figure anyone who really wants to do his best Bruce Lee impression will invest in abilities that give him additional hand to hand options (adept powers or cyberware), neither of which I've created yet.
Going all out and leaving nothing for defense can really hurt your opponent, but if you don't put him down, having no yin dice hurts you pretty badly too.
Side note, the d8s for wound penalties seems pretty cool. I'm succeeding with them more often than I expected, but I'm also using mock characters designed to fight (high Razor method).