Steel tests as their own conflicts

So, I’ve been running an ongoing campaign for 9 sessions and one of the PCs is an exorcist with faith, who’s trying to prove himself and the world his commitment to the church (and so at least one of his beliefs is related to this). We’ve had already 2 situations in the campaign where the main conflict was rolling steel to find out if he was able to keep his cool in a tense situation and prove to his god how worth he is:
-First time, he had to deal the coup de grace to an opponent uncapable of defense. It was the first time for him to kill a person in his life, so I made him roll steel. He failed, so he flinched and one of his allies killed the npc instead of him. He felt guilty because he had been preparing for so long to face adversity in the name of his god, and then he flinched.
-Recently, he wanted to get himself branded with his church symbol (with a branding iron), and so many believers congregated around him, to study his reaction to pain. It was a moment where his reaction would be socially important, because it might help him build a reputation within the church and believers. Again, I asked for a steel test, and he succeeded, which might help him get a trait or reputation in the trait vote.

I was amazed at how wonderfully the steel system adapted to this new use (new to me, at least). Superficially, it might look like there’s no conflict in these cases, and there certainly might not be if the player isn’t commited to reacting to these rolls appropriately, but this particular player has in fact changed beliefs and even roleplayed a faith crisis during the campaign, in the middle of which he pretty much stopped rolling faith for a session and a half, which is awesome.

On this, a couple of questions:
-Do you think these have been appropriate uses of steel as a subsystem? Have you had conflicts where a steel test was the main roll? I thought that, instead of awarding a situational steel test without rolling, in some of these cases it might be better to actually roll and have the result influence the narrative a bit. It might look in some cases as though there is no conflict and the roll generates only color, but in these 2 situations the player took them and integrated into their character development.
-How do you handle players who write beliefs about their subjectivity? Like, a priest who wants to recover his faith, an artist that wants to find inspiration, an elf fighting with his grief, etc. I used to think it was hard for BW to turn these subjective beliefs into tests, but in this particular faith crisis scenario, I’m being convinced otherwise.


I love this. You’re definitely using Steel as intended.


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