The DH2nd rules for Fear in combat situations include one d100-based table to determine a final result for a failed Fear test. Every degree of failure adds +10 to the result.
By RAW, that means that if you fail a Fear test your actual Willpower is much less important than the result of the second roll with the d100. You are a brave hero with lots of Willpower (for which you paid with lots of XP), so that if you fail a test, it is likely that it will only be one or three degrees of failure? Well, half of the time you will end up in the 61+ range of the table, no matter what. Having a high Willpower effects IF you need to roll for Fear, but once you do it is pretty much a game of chance if you will be startled or end up shitting your pants.
Since this is pretty random and my players are put off by ending up at the deep end just due to a bad roll of a die AFTER a roll of a die, I brewed up a house rule that bases the severity of the result on the Degree of Failure rather then taking an additional d100-result into account as well (see the table below).
If a Fear test is failed in a combat situation, the DoF tells what kind of effect this will have on the PC. There are always two kinds of effects. One that is applied at the beginning of the characters next turn and only comes into play once, and one that the character will suffer from till “snapping out of it” (see DH2nd core rules; p. 286). In case of the “only once effects”, only the worst is taken into account. The“till snapping out” effects are different. They form a “stack of effects” the characters most get rid off from “top” to “button”.
# # # # #
Cannot take any reasonable action
Cannot approach the source of the Fear
(-20) penalty on all tests
(-10) penalty on all tests
# # # # #
Example: a character suffers seven degrees of failure from a Fear test in a combat situation. The character will suffer 1d5 points of insanity at the beginning of his next turn (once) and will not be be able to take any reasonable action. At the beginning of his next turn, the player rolls for “snapping out of it”. If successful, the character still suffers from “cannot approach the source of the Fear” and will suffer from a (-20) penalty on all tests. The next round, the player rolls for that effect and, as Dame Fortuna finally smiles on the dice, the effect is shaken off as well… but the character still has to deal with the (-20) penalty and after that, with a (-10) penalty.
Optional rule: Taking more than one step
If a “snapping out of it “ test scores 3+ degrees of success, two effects are removed from the stack instead of one.
Optional rule: Fate points
A character can spend a Fate point to negate all effects in the stack after a successful “snapping out of it” test.