I just stumbled on this elegant way to add flavor to combat. It was posted back in July by Joshua at Tales of the Rambling Bumblers.
Here is the system in a nutshell:
If your player wants to perform a maneuver, say disarm an opponent, they make a normal roll to hit. A critical hit results in the maneuver being successful. A normal hit means the opponent has to make a choice: be disarmed or take the damage from the hit as normal.
This is really a clever little rules hack. It allows for players to try to do things in combat that might be beneficial and interesting besides just whacking away at an opponent. It also allows me to have monsters try things like pushing players around or swarming over them, with the player having to make a decision about what happens.
I'm going to try it in play. I'm hoping this will add a little zest for people that consider fighters "boring." My one worry is that by codifying this it will limit players from a try-anything approach. On the other hand, they seemed to have been trained out of that open mindedness by later rule sets anyway, so maybe Joshua's system will act the opposite, as sort of training wheels.