Rigging without bones - possible?

Is there a way to rig without bones in Blender? I personally prefer to use empties (or as they are called in 3ds Max “Dummies”) because the system involved is far more flexible and easier for me to use, especially since I do deal with games which don’t use bones in armatures.

I just imported a battleship model from Max, resulting in all the dummies becoming parented empties in Blender. What do I do to go about converting the empties into a full-fledged armature?