The Pararomantic is one of four new classes that was added with the Tome of Mysteries expansion to Monster of the Week and the pararomantic playbook/class is an interesting one that can open up some fascinating roleplay and in-game plot options, but does require a good amount of work by the Keeper and a table with a good level of maturity to pull off.
The Pararomantic is a hunter who has a supernatural guide they are deeply connected to, likely intimate, and this forbidden love drives them while putting a tragic pall over the background because it is doomed. The guide could be a ghost, a monster, even another hunter if they qualify as Supernatural and agree to that.
While there are some potential landmines with this class at some tables, for tables without problem players and a good DM who can adapt and improv, it opens up some amazing gameplay possibilities for the player and the team in general.
The Pararomantic class is a strange blend of the romantic and the terrifying, a connection to a supernatural guide that can move from Ghost to a horror movie in an instant, or go the other direction to outright tragedy. The time is limited, this is a hunter class more than any other that is likely doomed, but in the meantime you have an ally to help you, and by extension, the party investigate mysteries but woe to all of you if your secret gets out in the open.One Keeper’s thoughts on how to handle the Pararomantic in story of a MOTW campaign
Let’s dive into this strange and different class and see everything there is to know about this new addition to the Monster Hunter family…perhaps literally in this case.
What Is the Pararomantic Class In Monster of the Week RPG?
The base Pararomantic is charming and something else, and this likely explains how they found themselves in this relationship to begin with. How this plays out depends greatly on what type of supernatural being the Pararomantic is involved with and you need to work with the Keeper to make sure what you choose works with the game.
Is it a ghost? A vampire? Something out of Call of Cthulhu that for whatever reason fell for a mortal? There are many options here and the Keeper should be able to help you brain storm ideas. This relationship, what type of creature it is, and also in what ways your Guide might be a threat to you, themselves, or others.
There are benefits to this relationship which take form in many different ways as the secret love attempts to help and keep you safe, but the theme of this class is what really sticks out.
What Type of Pararomantic Will You Be?
Obviously you’re charming, but are you also very sharp? Cool? Have a mish-mash of basic abilities that make you a decent face as a Hunter who also has other skills? There are five playbook ratings for this character class, which are listed below.
The Pararomantic Playbook Ratings for MOTW Are
- +2 Charm & Cool, 0 Sharp & Tough, -1 Weird
- +2 Charm, +1 Cool & Weird, 0 Sharp, -1 Tough
- +2 Charm, +1 Cool & Sharp, 0 Weird, -1 Tough
- +2 Charm, +1 Sharp & Tough, 0 Weird, -1 Cool
- +2 Charm & Sharp, 0 Cool & Weird, -1 Tough
While Charm is the main stat, the way other ratings are formatted means there are several different ways to build a character. They can be cool under pressure and up for supporting in a fight, sharp as a tack and discovering mysteries, or a little bit of both.
What Sets The MOTW Pararomantic Playbook Apart
Well this is usually the section to talk about what small things make a class unique or stick out, but in this case the theme of the entire class is different and makes it very unique compared to other things we’ve seen from this system. The relationship with your supernatural guide is going to be a key part of how this all plays out.
This means the initial developing of the Supernatural Guide with you and your Keeper is crucial since this will directly play into how certain situations in-game can play out, what you’re capable of, and what the consequences might be if you push the give side of that give-take relationship too far.
Which brings us to one of the mechanics that does very much set apart the Pararomantic class from others in MOTW and that’s the Fate of Your Love and Bond Abuse mechanics.
Bond Abuse Mechanics
Whenever you do something to abuse the bond with your guide like acting against them, not giving them enough attention, or failing a roll where this is a penalty, roll +Charm.
- On 10+, your action has no effect beyond the exchanging of some angry words.
- On a 7-9, choose one of the bond abuse options below.
- On a miss, the Keeper may choose two of the bond abuse options below, or something worse.
Bond Abuse Options
- Mark off a box in your Relationship Status track.
- You may not channel the power of your bond for the rest of the mystery.
- You gain the unwelcome attention of others of your Guide’s kind.
- Someone who shouldn’t know finds a clue about your relationship with your Guide.
These are each interesting potential problems that not only play right into the “Fate of Your Love” mechanics but also can help to create some very interesting in-game moments at the table both for the individual player and for the table at large.
Fate of Your Love Mechanics
There’s a reason why your love with your Guide is either doomed or forbidden. You can either invent this reason yourself or leave it to the Keeper to add that bit of potential in-game story surprise. Whenever you mark off a point of Luck, the truth of your love’s Fate starts to slowly unfold.
Mark off a box in your Relationship Status track.
When your last point of Luck is used it becomes clear you cannot be together. Your Guide might even end up as an enemy, depending on how things go and how that revelation plays out in the game itself.
However, anytime when you put yourself of somebody else in serious danger in order to conceal the truth about you and your Guide, mark experience.
What Do Pararomantic Moves Bring To The Table?
The moves that come with the Pararomantic playbook fit in very well thematically and help players to further develop that story and how it is going to work in both a roleplaying and practical way in-game. These moves are solid and allow a lot of moving of rolls from one stat that might not be that good for you to one that provides much better odds.
Starting out in the beginning every Pararomantic must take the Supernatural Guide move as this is the basis of the entire class. Then Pararomantic players choose two more of these moves to start out. Up to two more can eventually be picked via leveling up and choosing in-class moves as the bonus for doing so.
- Supernatural Guide – Required for all pararomantics, which makes sense since this is the crux of the playbook. You have a (generally intimate) connection to a supernatural being who acts as your guide to the world beyond. You choose now with the Keeper whether or not this relationship is secret or not. Work with the Keeper to develop all the details including powers and abilities. Because of your Supernatural Guide whenever you would roll +Weird you can roll +Charm instead by channeling the power in that bond with your Guide. When you do so and miss, in addition to the usual consequences you and your Guide suffer as if you miss a roll for bond abuse.
- Bonding Time – If you spend some quality time with your Guide instead of working on the current mystery you can roll +Charm. On 10+, hold 2. On 7-9 hold 1. Spend your hold to:
- Erase one mark in your Relationship Status track.
- Use a Pararomantic move you haven’t picked.
- Receive a gift from your Guide.
- Take +1 Forward.
- Dark Desires – You may use the manipulate someone move on monsters, as long as you are using emotional ties. This is a niche move, but in the right circumstances it could be interesting and lead to some really great scenes.
- The Power of Love – When you use help someone to help your Guide you don’t have to roll +Cool. You automatically help as though you’d rolled a 10. If your Guide is another hunter, the same applies when they help you.
- Do As The Supernatural Do – You can take an unnatural move from your Guide’s playbook (if they are a hunter). If they are a monster, choose a move from a suitable supernatural playbook. The Keeper may offer you a custom move, instead.
- I Am Theirs And They Are Mine – Whenever you are in danger, your Guide knows it. If your Guide is suffering harm (and it’s feasible), you can spend a point of Luck to redirect the attack onto yourself as if you have rolled 10+ with protect someone. If you are suffering harm, you can decide that your Guide has protected you and is suffering this harm instead. If you choose this, roll for bond abuse.
- Monster Empathy – When you try to work out what a supernatural creature desires, roll +Charm. On a 10+, hold 2. ON a 7-9, hold 1. Spend your hold to ask the following questions – the Keeper will answer honestly:
- What does it most desire?
- What would it accept as good enough for now?
- What would distract it?
- Spirit Touched – Your experiences have made you sensitive to the supernatural. When you sense magical things, roll +Weird. On a 10+ you can sense them fully. On a 77-9, choose either sense them fully but they notice you too, or you sense only impressions.
As you can see there are a wide variety of moves, most of them very much tuned into the theme of the class and what they’re about, meaning any build feels natural and right with this particular class.
Who Should Play The Pararomantic Playbook / Class in Monster of the Week?
This is an interesting one because, let’s face it, if you’ve ever had potential problem players the romance side of things was potentially one of the uncomfortable triggers for the table. That said, at a normal table where everyone is solid, this can be an intriguing pick for a player who loves the tragic backstories, the fighting against impossible Fates, and who is a good sport about being jerked around by the game master because a good Keeper is absolutely going to do that.
This is a class that will work well for players interested in being helpful with the investigation, like being an outsider to be conventional hunters, or enjoy being that player that always has the good natured in-game dumpster fire that eventually becomes everyone’s problem in-story…all in the name of a better and more memorable game.
This is one of those classes that is very intriguing, but I also feel it’s probably quite niche in both the players who would really enjoy playing it, those who could play it well, and the tables and Keepers experienced enough to make that work.
However, for the players and tables where all those stars align, there aren’t many classes or systems that give a character build like this anywhere, which makes it a great new experience, or at the very least, a great experiment.
What If You Don’t Want to Run Pararomantic as Keeper?
Then ban it early on. The Keeper has final say over what is and isn’t allowed at their table. In the D&D groups I play with, we all ban the Lucky feat from 5E for very, very obvious reasons to anyone who has played in that system. If pressed for an answer go with “I’m not confident in my abilities to improv and develop all of this from scratch in a good balanced way,” or point out the heavy work both of you would need to do creativity and wanting to avoid the gray area of who makes up which part of the story.
Or at our table sometimes we just say “too much work” when nixing an Unearthed Arcana or replacing a complex mechanic with a simpler one in a system to make it run more smoothly at the table.
At a good table this hopefully isn’t an issue, but the game’s supposed to be fun for everyone involved, Game Keeper included, so if you’re not a fan of this playbook for any reason, you’re not obligated to run it.
There’s so many good playbooks / classes to choose from that a player shouldn’t have any problem finding a 2nd or 3rd choice they’re really happy with.
MOTW The Pararomantic Class: Final Thoughts
This is undeniably one of the more unique and interesting playbooks in Monster of the Week, and I applaud MOTW for making new classes that are willing to take risks, push the boundaries of conventional classes, and yet keep them in line both in terms of power creep and in terms of having Moves, Items, and Playbooks that fit the storyline and flavor of the character.
I’m not sure it’s the type of playbook I would pick, but it was fascinating as heck to look at, study, and talk to other gamers about and I would love to watch a player who was good at that class doing their thing at an MOTW gaming table.
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.