Okay, I've kind of noted one thing: Smarty isn't all that great really. It's kind of hacked-up. Not really good if I want great content management with some complex templating and stuff. It's not really good for parametric templating at all, unless I add tons of messy PHP code to the mix.
So I'm in the process of updating the Avarthrel site to use Forrest, which is kind of like my dreams come true.
Basically, it can do XSLT stuff using Cocoon (which is one of the coolest things ever, just that I've never found good use for it before). Then it can add navigation features. In other words, I can define my own XML document types and it will generate my web site nice and easy based on all that. It appears to be a really nice and really powerful CMS... which does exactly what I need it to do.
My Smarty templates were, shall we say, Not Fun and looked pretty complex - and this is a small website. Now, I can generate a lot cleaner stuff from a lot cleaner source files using... okay, XSLT isn't the cleanest language around, but at least it's a standard.
Things are looking bright on the publication front...