So as mentioned previously, I plan on trimming down the combat system in Pathfinder. I started with the low hanging fruit of removing the delay action, theoretically reducing the wait time during some combats. I have yet to try it though, my last game was entirely political in nature and the players avoided combat in the city. Next game however there should be a fight.
So, with that rule still needing play testing, I plan on simplifying another part of the combat rules. Namely the Combat Maneuvers section. In the core rules there are 6 combat maneuvers, Bullrush, Disarm, Grapple, Overun, Sunder and, Trip. There are an additional four in the Advanced Players Guide, Dirty Trick, Drag, Reposition and, Steal. All of these maneuvers use the same bonus (combat maneuver bonus, CMB) and target the same threshold (combat maneuver defense, CMD). They also all have the same basic rules set of: meet or beat CMD with your CMB check. For every 5 you succeed by they can be moved/conditioned for one more square/round. If you fail by 10 or more then the maneuver backfires and is done to you.
These maneuvers also all have an individual feat tree, meaning that it is impossible for a character to become proficient at more than 2 before 8 level, other than the fighter. So the burly, behemoth of a barbarian can be good at bull rushing people and dragging people, but not at repositioning them. He also can not Overrun them well. This is odd since they all use the same bonus of Strength modifier to the CMB. Yes special training from feats would help but at such a slow rate that by the time a Barbarian/Ranger/Paladin/etc can easily use three different combat maneuvers casters are bending reality. I plan on changing this both by boosting melee options while toning down caster options. Since Pathfinder is basically a power trip fantasy, doing both of these shouldn't be to difficult, there is a lot to cut from casters while still leaving them very powerful, and options/ease to add to melee to make them more versatile.
So, after side stepping the point a bit, here is what I plan on doing with combat maneuvers:
Bullrush, Reposition, Drag, Trip and Overrun will become one maneuver named Positioning. Positioning covers your ability to move opponents and yourself about the battlefield. Your opponents movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity unless you have the Greater Positioning Feat. You may move with or through your opponent if you have enough movement left in the round to do so though you may not exceed your total speed in the round of combat, and your movement does provoke an attack of opportunity, unless you have the Greater Positioning Feat. For every 5 that your CMB check beats the opponents CMD check you may move your opponent 5 additional feet. If this movement is in any direction other than directly backwards, you may not move your opponent out of your reach except for on the last 5 feet of movement. If the opponents movement is straight backwards then they may move as far as the check allows without you following them. This maneuver also allows you to knock the target prone, but at the cost of all potential movement in maneuver. If the check is 10 or more lower than the CMD you fall prone. The intent of the maneuver must be stated before the roll is made.
Sunder will remain as it is. Grapple will remain as it is.
Dirty Trick and Disarm would become Dirty Trick. This would cover any underhanded methods of combat, and allow you to apply one condition of the following, blinded, dazzled, deafened, entangled, shaken and, sickened or disarm your opponent. The condition last for one round plus one for every 5 you exceed the CMB by, unless you have the Greater Dirty Trick Feat, in which case is lasts 1d4 +1 round for every 5 you exceed the CMD by. When disarming an opponent, their weapon lands within 5 feet of them plus 5 feet for every 5 you exceed the CMD by, unless you have the Greater Dirty Trick Feat, in which case it lands 1d4+1 square for every 5 you exceed the CMD by. If the check is 10 or more lower than the CMD you drop your weapon or randomly contract one of the aforementioned conditions, based on a d8 roll. The intent of the maneuver must be stated before the roll is made.
Steal will simply be taken over by the Sleight of Hand skill, since they cover the same basic thing. The only difference is that the opponent will know if something is stolen immediately unless you exceed the CMD by 10 or more. EDIT - I may also roll it into Dirty Trick, going to get some feed back first.
So there is my take on combat maneuvers. Instead of having 10 maneuvers, with 20 feats. I will have 4 maneuvers with 4 feats, as in my game any feat that is an Improved feat, such as improved Trip, automatically progresses to the Greater version one the prerequisites for it are met. And we get a little more use out of the skills in game by combining the steal maneuver with sleight of hand.
Hope every one enjoyed this after my week long break from posting, I hope I can be a bit more consistent in posting in the future, but no promises.