I used some of the material from the White Lotus Academy adventure in Dungeon and adapted it to be used in a 4e conversion of Age of Worms. I reflavored it to be Hestavar College (Ioun, Pelor, Erathis) since the PCs have taken it upon themselves to be worshippers of Erathis. Anyway, the first encounter takes place when some wooden practice mannequins go crazy and start attacking students in the dueling yard. The PCs intervene to save the students, but I wanted to add another dimension to the combat - the ability for the PCs to use their skills to rally the students to aid them in the fight.
The students of Hestavar Academy are suitably cowed by the malfunctioning mannequins. Can you rally them to use their burgeoning arcane and divine talents to assist you?
Diplomacy (DC 20): As a minor action, you inspire the acolytes of the church to pray for your victory.
Choose yourself or an ally to gain a +2 bonus to defenses until the end of your next turn.
History (DC 20): As a minor action, you make it a teachable moment and the students respond with helpful advice. You or an ally can stand up from prone.
Intimidate (DC 20): As a minor action, you goad the nerdy arcane apprentices into blasting the
mannequins with magic missiles. One enemy takes 10 force damage.
Religion (DC 20): As a minor action, you implore the divine scholars to channel their healing powers
to help turn the tide. You or an ally regain 10 hit points. You can choose to have the clerics restore a dead student to life instead of regaining hit points. Taking this option eliminates Diplomacy and Religion checks as an option for the remainder of the encounter as the acolytes are spent.
Special: If you fail any check by 5 or more, one of the students meets his fate in some tragic way (you
describe it). If three students die, the pep rally ends.
So this was another "not-quite-a-skill challenge" skill challenge. There are no specific conditions to victory, but there are consequences for failure. The enemy combatants were able to knock prone fairly regularly, so I threw in that History check to allow them to stand from prone as a minor to encourage them to interact with the students during the battle. The extra damage and free healing didn't go unnoticed either. (I should note that I frequently run my game with just 2 people so I try to build in fun ways for them to regain hit points and do extra damage with small action cost.)
The result was the players were really engaged in the scene, showing off in the fight (trying to win over coeds), and playing up a lot of great college movie tropes. This bravado carried over into other scenes and kept the whole session very energetic and light-hearted. Having just finished some pretty serious chapters in the campaign, I wanted to give the PCs a chance to kick some ass and show off their growing power. This added a nice touch to an otherwise boring fight with four controllers and set the mood for the rest of the night.