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I'm running an anime style campaign using Savage Worlds: Super Powers Companion 2nd Edition.

I've mastered SW for a while, but I've never been able to handle one-on-one fights satisfyingly, as the Shaken results can make them completely one-sided, and they often take either too long without achieving anything interesting, or are too short (way too short) thanks to the exploding die mechanic.

My players want some anime-style scenes like "Fighting my rival on my own" and all that, so I'd love to know how to handle 1 vs 1 fights without breaking the system or using too much homebrew.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Its not really SWs strenght playing out duels, you could look up duels in deadlands but these are also pretty fast. Some possibilitys are allowing fighting vs fighting rolls instead of fighting vs parry. Wound Cap of course is always helpful for keeping characters alive. \$\endgroup\$ – ChoTimberwolf Sep 20 at 6:00
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Perhaps the Dramatic Task rules would do the trick. Possibly it could be modified as an opposed task where the first to reach five successes wins the duel.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Along similar lines: I've used the Social Conflict rules in the past to resolve duels, using a combat or arcane skill instead of Persuasion, and applying a modifier for player narrative. The "Margin of Victory" at the end represented how quickly, easily and stylishly the winner defeated their foe. \$\endgroup\$ – Zadmar Aug 31 '14 at 12:38
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Both problems can be alleviated by making sure that both sides have enough Bennies. You can spend a Benny to immediately get out of Shaken (even when not on your turn or after you make a Spirit roll at the beginning of your turn to get out of Shaken). You can also spend a Benny to soak damage, limiting the effect of exploding dice.

That said, Savage Worlds is designed for fast combat so if you're wanting battles that last for an extended period of time (some anime fights last for an almost absurd amount of screen time), you're going to have to dip into house rules. At one point I saw a melee duel subsystem floating around that was intended to simulate long lightsaber duels, but I can't seem to find it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please, notice that in 2018 Savage Worlds changed the rules related to Shaken condition. Now it's easier to remove it, so you can completely avoid the "stun lock" situations. Good luck with your next SW Anime-like combats! I use it successfully for that kind of play. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrea Parducci Nov 7 '18 at 23:00
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with SWADE, the wound cap is great to keep down the 1 shot kills, adding a little bit more attrition to the game. in addition making sure your heroes take combat reflexes so they can shrug off shaken easier is always a good thing in a brawler...

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you expand on your answer to support it by citing the relevant rules and/or explaining why you think this is the best way to handle one-on-one fights, based on your experience? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Sep 19 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wound Cap is on Site: 141 and Combat reflexes can be found on Site: 41 \$\endgroup\$ – ChoTimberwolf Sep 20 at 10:33

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