1) Players: don't call your maximum damage (call about half of it the majority of the time)
Seems a bit harsh - If I've spent the XP to be able to call '10', but am only calling '5' for about half the blows I'm landing, doesn't that mean I've wasted a lot of my XP on something I'm not using? It's a bit different with abilities that cost Essence to use, they are clearly something that's big and special and unusual. But my grades of Strength or my Weapon Masteries are always "on".
Thus end some things that I myself think are problems, and after this, there is something in a different category, something that is just my own personal preference.
There a lot of LRP systems "out there". I've even been to a few of them.
Every system seems to have this ongoing debate about the "right" way to fight.
Some go with low hits, some with high.
Some impose rules on how often you can land blows, or how often you can use skills, or minimum lengths for weapon blows.
Everyone agrees that they want fights to feel epic and cool and challenging and fun.
Yet no one can agree on what makes that happen, and the discussions continue.
For what it's worth I think HoP does a pretty darn good job of getting it right.
They haven't bothered with too much regulation and minutiae.
Instead they've just said "go and have fun" with it.
The monster team generally fights in a way that encourages cool fighting (by doing it themselves).
The XP system works to allow players who are not fit athletes to play stonking warrior types and simultaneously rewards someone role-playing a character who is not so good at fighting.
In my experience truly Low Hit systems can compound the "tippy tappy" problem - because first blow wins the fight there's even more motivation to resort to less cool fighting styles and get your blow in first.
Truly High Hit systems, with fights lasting ages, can be less fun as there's no feel of threat/danger other than through attrition.
Of the various systems I've played Heart of Pargon and Frail Realities are the two whose style and statting come as close to feeling "right" that I've yet found: Combats don't go on for too long, there's always some level of danger involved in fighting. Everyone's there to have fun with it all, and people are not out to "win" the game by proving that they are OOC "the best"...