The Imiriaran Cycle (Old)
War, in the Imiriaran Cycle, will be conducted through the use of extended skill challenges. The DM will begin by creating a narrative arc for the battle. This describes how the battle will proceed if the PCs take no actions. Typically, this will not end well, and describe what the skill challenge will look like in abject failure. The players will then try to present clever ideas that will turn the tide of the battle in their favor. These might involve motivating troops, executing tactics, or targeting key enemy personnel (or any other clever plans the party might produce). The DM will then assign a skill appropriate to that tactic. If the player would rather use a different skill, they can make a case for it, although this will likely be at a higher DC than if they’d chosen what the DM sees as the most “appropriate” skill.
If the check is a failure the battle continues on its original course (or might even get worse). If the check is a success, then the PC’s tactic is at least partially successful. The DM alters the narrative of the battle accordingly, changing the upcoming events fluidly in his own mind.
Single powers aren’t usually helpful in a battle scales, but a clever enough use might garner a free success. Individual set-piece combats might break out in the middle of the larger battle, and the course of these fights will affect the narrative as well.
Most battles are large, complex skill challenges, with stages representing the various phases of the battle. For instance a battle might begin with an approach phase, where the attackers close ground with a defending force. It might then move into a melee phase, where the bulk of the two forces tangle. It might end in a climatic final phase, where the defenders make their last stand on their most secure ground.
The DM should allow for successes to be pre-garnered. For instance a general who makes a great plan to put his own men on dying ground could earn a success before the battle starts, even though that success isn’t applied until the final phase, when the plan comes to fruition.
Clever thinking should be rewarded. Bold actions can take the day. The worst thing you can do, is nothing.