If you can get the The Riddle of Steel Combat Simulator from their support page http://www.driftwoodpublishing.com/support/ to work, then that gives a an overview of how text-based combat can work. It's certainly skill based but with a whole bunch of dice involved so it's random as well. Like Poker.
What kind of "dice rolls" are you trying to avoid? For example, is rock-paper-scissor ok? I choose attack A, enemy (randomly!) chooses attack B. A beats B so I win. As an extra bonus, with markov chains you cam make an AI for it if you want tougher opponents. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/science/rock-paper-scissors.html?_r=0
I like the King of Men's talk of resource management. Let's say a swashbuckler has stamina, health, durability of his sword, four hidden daggers and two pistol shots. Stamina regenerates quickly, health slowly, sword not at all until you find a new one. Health loss in swordfights is inversely proportional to the amount of stamina expended. Throwing a dagger gives you the opportunity to run away. Pistol shots are instakill but rare obviously.