Do Melodrama Checks do anything?

I know the rules say that Melodrama Checks will almost never happen, provided players are roleplaying their Melodramatic Hooks... but, speaking hypothetically, if one did have to make such a roll, a few questions come to mind:

First: What's the Difficulty? It seems like maybe it's just a "1" since no difficulty is ever listed (or at least I can't seem to find any examples in the rulebook). That would mean you've got a less than 1-in-6 chance of failure, as you'd only get a "0" or less if you had an exploding "6" on the negative die and also a much lower roll total on the positive die. The rulebook states that eventually they'll fail the roll, but it seems like that could take a lot of sessions/situations before it happens. So that seems like a "hollow threat", not an actual "tool". UPDATE: The difficulty is 7, as listed on page 12 of the rulebook.

Second, there's not a single example of what happens to a PC, if they do fail it. How heavy-handed is this supposed to be? Does the GM dictate a course of action? Is the player just "on their honor" to act as if this thing they'd been ignoring now matters to them? I know the point of the rule is just to be a reminder of player buy-in on plotlines, but it seems pretty toothless as written. It doesn't feel like it would actually provide the necessary support for a GM who had a player that was playing cold and emotionless, and ignoring the plot or their own hook.

I don't think it will be an issue in my game (my players are great), and maybe it's not going to be an issue in anyone's game in practice... but it feels like it doesn't (as written) actually solve the theoretical issue it was meant to address.

Anyone have any insight I'm missing on this? Any examples from actual play where it did (or didn't) help nudge the player toward the plot / into action?

Was there a similar rule in 1st Edition?

Presumably I read about these things when I first got the book but like all the other various check types I must have instantly forgotten about it.

You're quite right that a difficulty isn't specified. Given that you're adding your die roll to 7 my thought would be to make the difficulty 7. That way you should fail around 42% of the time. The D6 - D6 mechanic produces a gaussian distribution centred around 0.

I don't think it should be about punishing or deterring the player but instead about adding a mechanism to engender a specific feel in play. An alternative would be the good old fashioned adult conversation.

Good timing for the question - I've not needed one yet, but there's a chance that this Thursday's game may require one. I'm playing a slight fork of FS, setting wise, as a longer-running series, but trying to stick to the genre. There is a risk that the demise of a PC in the last session will cause the 'heroes' to just give up on the case they're investigating, unless I remind the Masked Avenger that the entire reason he originally took up the psychotic vigilante role was to find a missing person, and how he's going to let someone go missing too? Hell no!

The Difficulty of a Melodrama Check is listed in the difficulty table on p.12, and is 7. That's also the page that says "If the above entry does not specify a base value, the base value is 7."

So Melodrama Checks have, as suggested by Matthew, a Difficulty of 7, with a base value of 7.

You are totally right about the 7 difficulty. My bad. (I had done a search of the PDF and Table of Contents for "Melodrama Checks", which didn't find the entry on page 12 because it's not an exact text match, but did bring up the section about them on page 226 that doesn't actually list a difficulty.) Thank you both for the answers! It's a higher chance of failure than I was thinking it was, and I like that.

That does still leave open the second question, though: what actually happens when you fail such a check? Doesn't seem to be an answer in the book, unless it's another case of search-term over-precision hiding it from me.