earlier articles from Dragon, and some created whole cloth. That's what playing D&D was like during my formative years in the hobby -- a crazy mix of stuff all drawing inspiration from the same base and then running off in whatever direction one deemed most fun. Consequently, I can't help but chuckle at all the folks decrying the existence of "so many retro-clones," since, to my way of thinking, what we have now is pretty much what we've always had. The only difference is that, nowadays, it's easy to print up, prettify, and sell your interpretation of D&D to others, whereas, in the past, each referee had a photocopies and stapled collection of house rules he shared with anyone willing to listen.
Perhaps because no single alternative to AD&D's execrable rules emerged, it was inevitable that the redoubtable Roger E. Moore would eventually offer his own unarmed combat system. His article, "How to Finish Fights Faster," appeared in issue #83 (March 1984) and takes up only four pages, one of them being a humorous illustration of four rotund halflings attempting to bring down an eyepatch-wearing humanoid, who looks more annoyed than inconvenienced by his diminutive opponents. Moore divides unarmed combat up into three modes: pummeling, kicking, and grappling. Pummeling is straight up fisticuffs, with or without the use of aids, like dagger pommels or metal gauntlets. Kicking is, well, kicking and grappling is attacking to subdue. All three modes are fairly simple to use, working more or less like the normal AD&D combat system but with certain modifiers and special cases unique to them. This is particularly true of grappling, which has a number of different moves detailed, each of which has further modifiers and effects.
I never used Moore's system, so I can't comment on how well it plays in practice. I suspect it probably works better than AD&D's official system, but not as well as others. I say that, because it includes a lot of specificity in certain areas (grappling, for example) that necessitates either a good memory or referring to the article to adjudicate. That's not a bad thing in itself; there are lots of rules in D&D that require reference to a rulebook to handle. However, I'll admit that I find it baffling that unarmed combat rules so often wind up being much more complicated than armed combat. Why is it that we can accept that all it takes to adjudicate an armored fighting man's attack against an opponent is a 1D20 roll compared to a chart, followed by a damage roll if successful but we demand saving throws and percentage chances and so forth if he wants to throw a punch or wrestle someone to the ground?