So at the end of an investigation last night three of my players broke into the hab of the person they thought was behind things in order to search through his cogitator. Well 2 broke in while one covered them, the fourth was watching the mark to ensure he didn't come back while they were inside. As they spent slightly too long there they were discovered by the actual big bad of the mission, a pink horror wearing a man's skin. Since one of them is a distant relative of the Haarlock line it didn't actually want to fight them and gave them the chance to leave, but they decided to fight being the loyal little things that they are. This would have been fine, the fight would be hard but not impossible for them (I'm using the stats from BC), except that all three facing it failed their fear checks miserably.
One passed out, one is sobbing uncontrolably and the third is running away.
Now the creature has been discovered and can't really carry on what it was doing, they can't be summarily killed because that is a pretty poor way to go (I think) so I'm going to have the creature destroy any evidence of what it was doing and then flee to its true master (The Beloved). I'm also going to have it mark the scion in some way to freak them out and see what they do. This is all fine and the players really enjoyed the session as they blew the case wide open and discovered a lot.
My real question here is I have often found fear to be a massive issue for groups, one or two failed rolls and a fight you set up to be hard suddenly becomes impossible, or if you go the other way it is too easy if everyone is lucky. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Any new ideas for handling it? Most people, I have found, get ways to pass fear checks as soon as they can but until their careers allow them to buy such talents etc. it can be a problem. I would quite like this group, for example, to banish a daemon quite soon as they will really enjoy the challenge and will feel it to be a big victory. But at the moment a couple of bad rolls and they simply can't do it. They are rank 4 at the moment IIRC.