Understanding Steel tests

Hello there !

Getting my head around the book once more as I’m about to (finally) introduce the system to new players, I’m struggling to understand how a Steel test actually works. It’s written that a test’s Obs is the character’s Hesitation, but later there are some examples of Obs with situations for advancement.

Does it mean that the Obs to succeed a Steel test is the same for a small jump scare and having to kill your own mother - the scale provided only serves the advancement ?

Thanks a lot :slight_smile:

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Consider the example penalties on page 363. The base Ob is Hesitation; add penalties as appropriate. Advantage and Disadvantage is a universal aspect of the system that applies to all tests.

The situational tests can be used when no dice are rolled. Consider that in order to roll dice, there must be a good failure condition. Being jump-scared by an assassin may be lethal; roll dice. Hearing that your mom died is a blow, but failing your Steel test probably doesn’t complicate things; don’t roll.

Conversely, if there is something at stake, feel free to use Steel as any other ability in the game: Set an obstacle and roll the dice. Hesitation needn’t be the base obstacle all the time.


Hi Gatien!

There’s two ways to advance Steel: tests as generated by combat or other circumstances where the degree of Hesitation matters; and nerve-affecting situations as determined by the GM and laid out in the examples.

When making a test, Hesitation gives you the base Ob, and is modified by the Advantages and Disadvantages for the circumstances. For instance, “being startled by something mundane” gives a +2D advantage, which will lower the relative difficulty of the test. “Committing Murder” gives +2 Ob and will increase the test’s difficult accordingly; if it’s your own mother you’re killing, I’d imagine an even higher penalty is in order!

The circumstance examples at the end of the chapter give alternate Obs to use for the purpose of logging tests for things that happen in session but aren’t rolled for. Witnessing a friend being killed clearly tests your resolve, but it might be that the situation in game didn’t require to know how long you sit there unable to react to the event. If that’s the case, you bypass the roll but log an Ob 4 test to your Steel at the end of the session


You’re confirming what I thought ; I think it’ll all fall into place once in the game in an actual situation. Thanks a lot for those quick answers :slight_smile:

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Happy to help!

Here’s an example of other Steel tests: Steel tests as their own conflicts


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