Would you be opposed to using plain stat checks as opposed to dice rolls? Maybe for more variety, 3 stat check variations (failure, medium success, high success) instead of 2 (failure, success)?
I think plain stat checks rely more on the stats itself rather than randomness, so if you pick a choice which relies on a stat you’re proficient in, you can somewhat sure of how successfull it’s going to be. With dice rolls there’s always some uncertainty.
Also maybe bonus damage if you pass two high success checks in a row, sort of like a combo?
Though that system is probably only more usefull if the battles are drawn out due to the possibility of having one bad dice roll after another and as such dealing minimum damage, making the battle last longer.
I just read through your post again and saw that this wasn’t the problem. I think. If I understood correctly. I’ll still leave it there.
I’m also not familiar with the “3 strikes out” method, but I have this foreboding feeling it might be what I’m describing here? If that’s the case just igonre me haha orz.
For a different feeling in tougher vs easier battles, maybe just adjust the damage output generally. Like the same attack does 20 damage against an easy enemy and 10 damage against a tougher one. The same for the damage an enemy does to you.
And I think a lot of variation on how a battle feels can be added by the text itself.
Like if you fail a defense check against a weak enemy that’s 10 damage, that’s not too bad and the text can describe how you almost shrug it of. Same for attacks. Attack “A” knocks them out/kills them instantly.
If you fail a defense check against a strong opponent, that’s 20, maybe 30 damage, and the flavor text can describe how you have trouble getting to your feet again. For Attacks, maybe attack “A” barely even fazes a strong enemy.
Even successful defense checks: Against a weak enemy, you block their attack easily. Against a strong one, not so much, maybe you even still take damage.
Ah but that’s enough of me rambling. I don’t even know if I’m making sense anymore orz. I’m also pretty sure I let my bias against dice rolls shine trough. Others may be perfectly fine with it.
Also I’ve never written a battle scene so I have no idea and all my advice may turn out to be garbage. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯