Steel Explanation needed?

There are any number of traits (Agoraphobia), skills (Intimidation) and devices (Stet Gun) that force Steel tests, and might do so outside of the context of a Firefight or Duel of Wits. However, it’s never clearly explained how such tests are to be handled.

If I were to extrapolate from the rules given for the Firefight, failing a steel test by less than half your hesitation means you hesitate for a test. That is, one action takes place that you can’t resist, if there are any such actions pending. Thus, when your bear of an Anvil Elite get hit by the stet gun and barely loses, his blurred vision clears just after the Vaylen sleepers make a test to take him to their secret lair. On the other hand, failing a test by more than that means you hesitate for a scene. In which case he doesn’t get it together before he has a new endoparasitic friend.

Does that sound right?

A related, though less important matter: Steel test failure within a Duel of Wits isn’t explained very clearly. The scripting sheet lets you select between Swooning, Drooling, etc., but none of those choices are explained in the book, though Burning Wheel explains them in detail.

Your example sounds good. The GM would still have to make tests to hull the player, though (see the obstacles on pg. 195). If the Vaylen attempted to field hull him right there, the Anvil soldier wouldn’t be able to resist if he’d failed his steel test and was hesitating for the whole scene.

Check page 458 of BE:

“If a character fails his Steel test, he may not act or help in the next volley.He is stunned or cowering. He may not use his scripted action—he may not participate in the Duel of Wits in a coherent manner. He recovers and may act in the volley following the hesitation.”

It’s always great for the hesitating player to describe how his character has been broken by the Incite. It makes getting off a successful incite more rewarding.