Creating a challenging and emgaging combat scene can be hard for any number of reasons. Myself I like to add in dice rolls to add a bit of a random aspect to combat and give players a sense of accomplishment when they roll a succes.
The problem is dice rolling can increase a simple encounter into a long ten turn war between the hero of the land and a mook with a baseball bat.
So I made a quick and handy chart for deciding when the hero defeats their enemy.
Quite simply you give your villain a set number 'challenge' to roll for, if you roll that number or higher, they are either killed, knocked out or gravely wounded or simply defeated depending on the scene. For every roll they survive add +1 to their dice roll, further increasing the chances of defeat next turn.
Step 1: determine the length of the battle. Use a d12 for longer encounters, a d20 for shorter fights. Dice can be rolled by the player or you behind the scenes.
Step 2: determin the challenge.
8 Nameless Mook: bulk of your army. Expendable with out a single tear.
10 Skilled Minion: Made to last a round or two.
12 officer: A minion you are more attatched too and wish to provide a challenge to the heroes. Chances of him being defeated easily are low.
20 villain: an important character to the plot.
Step 3: promote. If your minion manages to survive 5+ dice rolls in a single battle, promote him to officer or villain for the next. Villains dont get promotions.
Step 4. Refresh? Choose whether or not you wish to keep your minions scores for the next battle (The number modifying the dice)