I should really talk about rules more, but generally I avoid it because writing up rules to the blog takes far more time than setting material.
This thread on rpg.net made me think about what past editions of D&D have done really, really wrong. One of my pet peeves is situational modifiers. Technically, in 3rd edition and 4th edition you rolled a dice, added your attack modifier (Base Attack Bonus + Strength or Dex) and compared it to the target number. However, in practice everything could either add or subtract from your roll: spells, feats, your positioning, class abilities and so on. This made resolving rolls really annoying. If you can’t tell at one glance if you hit or not, there’s something wrong.
SotE uses a system where everything goes into your roll, and rolls are 95% of the time only modified by your gear and possibly your combat disciplines. The combat disciplines should get neat cards which you have for reference, so you don’t have to stare at your character sheet and try to remember what some esoteric word means. Looking at you here, feats.
About combat paradigms: I’m a really bad amateur sword fighting hobbyist but even I know that there’s no such thing as a pure attack or parry when it comes to actually trained fighters. Rapier fighters used to call an attack without a defense “a blow of two widows.” In the Fiore school which I practice myself, attacks have defenses, defenses have counters, counters have counter-counters and so on, and of course every defense can turn into an attack. However, this is pretty hard to do in a game while keeping it interesting. Beyond my skills anyway. Instead, there’s fighting skills and a couple of defense skills, and the dice pool system guarantees that only a good fighter can fight without opening themselves to counterattacks. Which I like, because it allows really good fighters to shine in duels.