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I am interested in systems that allow players to develop a battle plan or setup strategy for the party or characters prior to entering battle. During the battle the player either cannot input commands or can choose not to.

Rule Based
In this system the player can setup a list of rules in the form of [Condition -> Action] that are then ordered by priority.

  • Gambits in Final Fantasy XII
  • Tactics in Dragon Age Origin & II
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  • \$\begingroup\$ This should be a community wiki.. there's no single answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Jari Komppa Sep 21 '12 at 10:18
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Ogre Battle (SNES) does this, with the player having the option to cast powerful spells which are of limited quantity.

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In Tales of Symphonia, Phantasia and I believe most other Tales games, you control one main character and your other characters are AI-controlled.

If you're not familiar with Tales RPGs, the battles are carried out in real-time, so the option to have other characters be AI-controlled makes battles easier to manage. In Symphonia, you can set them individually to "Auto", "Semi-Auto" and "Manual" in the battle settings (which you can also change during battle).

It is possible to set all characters to Auto and just see the AI plan itself out. It has a semi-strategy RPG feel if you periodically adjust these settings so the AI can react defensively or offensively.

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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (1998)

While a somewhat isolated case, Tom Clancy's Rainbox Six is a first-person military shooter that strived for high-levels of realism as a counter-terrorism simulation. If inclined, a battle plan can be formed before embarking on a mission. During the briefing, you are given a map on which you can plan routes, identify doors to be breached with charges and flashbangs, and complete mission objectives, such as escorting hostages. Completing a mission entirely by AI support is possible. Doing so without losing any members of your team is a real challenge.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Not exactly an RPG, but still a valuable case for anyone making one, in my opinion. \$\endgroup\$ – Marcks Thomas Sep 10 '12 at 16:00
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The PBM/PBEM Duel2 (formerly known as Duelmasters) has a detailed 1v1 combat system where all tactics are prepared before the battle.

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For non-interactive battles taken to the extreme, I can't help but mention the original 1970s RobotWar and its numerous successors such as Robocode.

They're not RPGs, and you probably don't want to go quite that far if you want your game to appeal to a broader audience than just hard-core programmers, but at least they show what's possible.

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Progress Quest has completely automated gameplay :)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you say a bit more about its automated gameplay? This question isn't about a list of games, it's asking about systems - so please describe the system. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Sep 12 '12 at 5:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ You load the game, enter your character name and minimize it. \$\endgroup\$ – salmonmoose Sep 12 '12 at 8:28

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