We love playing with Super Powers companion 2nd Edition since it gives us all the flexibility for character creation we want while preventing the usage of the simplistic Powers found on the base core book.

Even though we're enjoying blasting through normal Extras and small monsters, I can't seem to build boss battles fitting for Street Fighter Power Level, specially since my characters are "legally" over powered. The problem is that having characters that hit from Str+d6 to 6d8 a round, even on Large-Mid Templates, becomes too much when we consider every die CAN be an exploding die. It's happened before, with my players getting anywhere from 5 to 7 exploding dice and hitting 45+ damage in a single round. Not even soaking I can come around this, and rules such as Fanatics do nothing for the combat either since Extras are doomed to be fried immediately.

I feel the main problem here is that the exploding dice prevent any mook or boss from even moving, no matter the bennies, and I also feel taking the exploding mechanic away would hurt more than help... But this game became too furious and fast to be even fun for everyone in the table.


A lot of people run into this problem when using Savage Worlds, and it can be encountered whether using the Super Power Companion or not.

On a fundamental level, given the way Savage Worlds is designed, it is extremely difficult to design an encounter with a single enemy foe that doesn't end quickly. This issue is exacerbated with the size and number of dice and modifiers that can get flung around if you have certain superpowers.

There are numerous threads on the official forums, which discuss ways of mitigating this problem and still keeping a single bad guy (e.g. here, here, here, here). However, I personally feel that the vast majority of the approaches discussed in those threads are not required if you change the way you think about climactic encounters.

You might think that simply increasing a foe's Toughness would do the trick, but the extent you need to do this often just ends up making a fight dull as your PCs regularly hit but almost never do the required amount of damage to make a permanent dent. Likewise, having an extremely high Parry has similar consequences, making fights very 'whiff and missy'.

The way Savage Worlds is designed, one of the most effective approaches is to add henchmen/mooks/whatever to the encounter. These really don't have to be particularly strong or effective, but by the time you use tactics such as ganging up, tricks, intimidation and taunts, they can really complicate things and make the encounter significantly more interesting and challenging. Adding environmental effects or weaving in a Dramatic Task and/or time limit of some sort can also help a lot.

Focusing on the fact that you're using Supers, one thing to use (reasonably sparingly depending on yours tastes as GM) is each PCs weaknesses. This is far more important than when Supers are not being used, as character strengths are so strong that they tend to dominate. For example, if you have a speedster, then the typical counter is area of effect attacks, as these ignore the penalty to hit the PC.


Exploding Dice mechanic has little to do with your problem.

You see, for a N-sided die an average roll is (N+1)/2. Whereas for an exploding N-sided die an average is (N+1)N/2(N-1) - just N/(N-1) times more.

For d6 explosions increase an average roll from 3.5 to 4.2, or 20% increase. For d8 explosions increase an average roll from 4.5 to ~5.1, or ~13% increase. For greater dice the increase is even less.

So while the exploding dice certainly add a measure of efficiency, they do not add that much. You could very well disallow them without overly hurting player characters' capabilities, though for solving the problem you need another way to limit them.

Clever challenge which does not support being thrown a bucketful of dice at could help; see this question for some ideas.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To add to this, if your character is rolling 6d8, you can expect on average for them to be rolling 30.6 points of damage. Not building encounters that can handle that is probably more of an issue than the characters getting lucky with exploding dice and dealing 45 damage. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 30 '14 at 14:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ add mooks, lots of mooks to keep the PCs occupied \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Oct 30 '14 at 17:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phil, that sounds like the basis of a great answer. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 2 '14 at 10:14

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