One of the many things to keep in mind is if you move away too much from "Constant Damage" in favor of effects and effect-based skills, you will absolutely start running into another problem: Defense bloat.This has got to be my favorite possible way to truly solve the damage bloat issue, not to mention it directly addresses the other issues with "fighter skills." I appreciate you bringing up Hamstring and "Throat punch" from my first post in the new rules forum. I think that something like them should be introduced to keep things interesting for fighters. I have 9 per day abilities not counting racials as a high-teens fighter. Now yes, I get higher damage all day, but I'd gladly sacrifice base damage in favor of having more per days in both offense and defense.
Let me give an example. I'm picking Disarm because it is the cheapest Fighter/Rogue Skill, has one of the lowest Requirements to buy at 15 XP spent required, and in my experience it is also, by far, the most memorized 1st level spell for Celestial scholars (some E. Casters will pick it too).
Say you have 5 Fighters. This is a relatively low number, but it will illustrate my point nicely. Each of those 5 Fighters can have, say 15 Disarms (with the current 2.0 rules, you can buy two Profs and then nothing else but Fighter Skills and Stun Limb). You can hit the 15 Disarm mark around the 160 Build mark. That is 75 Disarm effects that only those 5 Fighters can do, per day.
Now let's throw in some Scholars.
Say you have 5 Celestial Scholars who only want to focus on Battle Magic spell slots. At 157 Build (including pre-reqs), each Scholar can have a 6-Column. So that is 6 Disarms per Scholar for a total of 30 more Disarm effects. But wait, we're not done with the Scholars yet! They can, if they want, choose to use all of their Second level spell slots and memorize 1st level spells at a 1:1 ratio! This means that each Scholar can now have 12 Disarms each! That brings our total to 60 Disarm effects!
Now let's add in Rogues!
Say you have 5 Rogues. This, again, is a relatively low number. Let's say that each of those 5 Rogues also have, say 15 Disarms (like Fighters, with the current 2.0 rules, you can buy two Backstabs and then nothing else but Rogue Skills). You can hit the 15 Disarm mark around the 160 Build mark, again, light Fighters. That is another 75 Disarm effects that are coming from those 5 Rogues, per day.
From just those 15 people, we now have 210 Disarm Effects in total.
Now put yourself in the shoes of a Plot team who needs to scale encounters, modules, town fights, etc. for those 210 Disarm effects.
Do you want your PC's to have an easy time of it? Great! Send your NPC's out with Swords and Shields and let the PC's Disarm their gear and pillage and kill to their hearts' content.
Now what about that one Special NPC from the Encounter? Or those 5 Special NPC's from that encounter? You want them to be tougher, so now you have to think about how you're going to deal with those 210 Disarm effects. DO you want to have to deal with those 210 Disarm effects? Will you make your 5 Special NPC's immune to Disarm so you won't have to worry about it? What about the PC's who spent all of that build on Disarm? At least the Scholars can pick other Spells the next day, but Rogues and Fighters are stuck with their Disarms (Still 150 if you take out our 5 Celestial Scholars). How do you make sure that those players don't feel like they have wasted their build by buying Disarms instead of Constant Damage? At least Constant Damage is nearly always useful to one degree or another (at least in theory).
So now will you send out waves and waves of NPC's who are susceptible to Disarm so the PC's can feel useful? With 15 NPC's, that's 10 waves...will your PC's get bored of doing the same thing over and over? And more importantly, will your NPC's get bored or frustrated because they can't fight the PC's like they want?
What about PC's who save their Disarms for the 5 Special NPC's, only to find that the 5 Specials are Immune? Or what if your PC's save them only to find they need to use 10 of their 15 Disarms on each NPC just to get through the Cloaks/Dodges/Banes/Effect Guards that are on the NPC card?
And make no mistake, this problem gets worse at high level, not better.
My point is that Constant Damage has its place and there is a need for it, we just need to find a happy medium that isn't 1.3 and one that doesn't go as far as the current 2.0 goes.
Defense Bloat is another very real concern - make it too easy to get lots of Defenses, or make a Class feel like it has to stack defenses just to be playable, and you're doing to have to stat your cards with more offense to get through, and while that is happening, more defenses so that the NPC can stay alive because it has to take so much time in taking down just one target. (Think of it like Body Bloat, but instead of having tons of Body to Constant Damage your way through, you now have Defenses that you have to get through in the same way.)