Using the Independent trait against yourself

At first glance, this seems like an easy thing to do, and I suppose it is. However, from the description of the trait, you’re not only taking a -1D (let’s just use Impede), but you can’t accept help dice.

Is this right? If so, it’s pretty damn brutal. You get screwed when you use it against yourself, as well as when you use it to give yourself a +1D advantage because you also can’t accept help dice (though it’s handy enough in a situation where help isn’t available).

Thoughts? My mouse’s traits are Bitter and Independent, and I’m finding it a bit tough to earn any checks with Independent that don’t utterly screw me over. Bitter plays a lot better and feels more natural to use within the context of the game’s story.

Playing MR BAD ASS LONER MIRRORSHADES KATANA LONER MOUSE LONER is difficult in a game about team work? It’s a roleplaying challenge? I am SHOCKED to hear this. Truly shocked.

… so Independent shouldn’t be in the list of traits?

He’s not a badass loner, but more of a grizzled guard with an ill-founded reputation that keeps him, despite his age, from advancing beyond patrol guard. Unfortunately, the incident that earned him the reputation spread and few mice will work with him.

At the start of play, Independent seemed to make sense, but I ought to have chosen Suspicious instead, since Independent is a pain in the arse and basically applies double penalties (unless someone corrects me on that). I’ve used it before (against a Health test with a help die from a failed poultrice which he rejected and went off to a corner to tend his own injuries), but it’s highly situational – moreso than other traits (I find).

…a character concept we didn’t fully explore during playtest!

Now I’ve got a powerful urge to doodle up a Shadowmouse hack.


In our playtests, that trait was a gold mine.


Any examples to share? Also, was there the issue I mentioned re: not receiving help dice on top of impeding/hurting oneself for checks. True, not true?

I don’t mean to be dense. I just want this trait to work for this character and I’m having a tough time using it against myself without being reduced to 1 die for just about any check in which I do.

What does the book say?

Ergo, no help dice, as I read it. That’s the root of why I posted looking for ideas and examples of using Independent without suffering additional penalties, so to speak.


I suggest taking the helping dice and then simply narrating some instance through the course of the help that the character’s independence got in the way:

Example 1:
Theo (who is independent) and Melvin are trying to navigate out a path through a set of tunnel near the Darkheather. Theo rolls his Pathfinder, and Melvin lends his helping die for Tunnel-wise. Now, Theo’s player describes how despite Melvin’s advice and expertise, Theo simply goes with his gut and tries to find his own path separate from Melvin. Here, you could accept the helping die (reasoning that maybe Theo begrudgingly listened to something Melvin had to say, but then set off on his own), and still take the penalty for your trait.

Example 2:
Theo and Melvin are ambushed by some weasels and must fight them off to try and escape. Theo will roll his Fighter skill, and Melvin will lend a helping die from his own Fighter skill. As Melvin’s player hands Theo a dice, he describes Melvin moving behind Theo and covering his rear with his shield, so the duo can’t be flanked as easily. Theo’s player uses his Independent trait against himself by saying that although Melvin is able to cover him for awhile, Theo isn’t used to fighting in tandem with someone else, and the two get seperated in the melee.

In my mind the two above instances would work. The helper still lends at least a little assistance within the narrative, but the Independent character’s trait still gets in the way. At least, this seems to make sense to me.

Is this helpful?

Yes, those were helpful examples. Thanks, Charlie!

I just need to be thinking more outside the box in terms of Independent. It doesn’t mean “Loner;” it means I accept help and then make my own decision and go. Hell, my GM might let me use a refused help die as the Impede, if I roleplay it as I’m so focused on my own thing that I don’t notice others attempting to help.