How should players purchase supernatural backgrounds when using a Prelude?

Hunter: The Reckoning has a concept of of a "prelude". A prelude is essentially a one-shot or one-session adventure which tells the story of how a normal, mundane human became called to the Hunt. It’s like a superhero origin story, where the player character gains their first edges.

Two approaches to preludes are described in the Hunter rules (pg.221-223). In one case, players create their characters like in most games. They can assign all their powers and various scores before play begins. In the other, more thematically appropriate option, players create mundane characters and the Storyteller assigns supernatural powers and other benefits during the prelude.

I’d like to use this second version in a Hunter game I’m planning. During this introductory sesssion, I’ll assign powers and abilities to the characters based on their activities. However, I’m confused how to advise players to purchase backgrounds. Some backgrounds and abilities are supernatural (like patron) or more appropriate for experienced hunters (like occult knowledge). Should I allow players to purchase these before hand or restrict them?

Some options I can foresee:

  • I should allow players to purchase them before hand, even though this isn’t thematic. Doing otherwise would restrict their strategic choices in an unpleasent way.
  • Players could withhold some their points from character creation to spend later. This seems both thematic and enhances player agency, but means that initially some characters will be stronger than others.
  • Players could spend all their points on mundane options, and I can assign supernatural options as the Storyteller. This doesn’t sound ideal, since some options (like the Mentor background) are best chosen upfront. If I assign a high Mentor score to someone it would unbalance the group.

How should I handle this situation? Do the Hunter rules or some other White Wolf guidance explain this? Is there an experienced-based way to handle this?

Are Gloom Stalker Rangers better than the normal ranger subtypes that appear in the players handbook?

I am joining a campaign with some friends and they suggested that I should play a Gloom Stalker Ranger. I rarely get a chance to use things from anything other than the players handbook so I want to try something new. I want to know if it’s even worth playing a gloom stalker and still contribute to the party with both damage and role-playing capabilities because currently my friends are playing rogues and I want to fit the setting (which is a thieves guild type setting) and still do a good amount of damage to help balance out the party.

Can players choose specific points in space, down to the inch, to cast a spell so as to avoid hitting a prone character?

Say there is a character that is prone, such as if they were unconscious, and they are surrounded on all 8 square grids (assuming that a grid is being used) by other creatures. Can a player cast a spell that has a sphere effect such as fireball or shatter such that only the 8 creatures surrounding the one that is prone be hit?

Would this potentially have any adverse effects with potentially breaking or having any unintended consequences for any other spells/effects down the line if this were allowed?

Obviously when it comes to casting some spells, the caster has the option to "choose a point in space", but when playing with the understanding of a grid system that works in chunks of a given dimension does is it feasible to have spells cast in such a way so that a body lying prone won’t be affected by a spell cast just overhead?

Are Path of War classes a good fit for beginner players?

I have just recently researched Path of War, an alternative rule system published by Dreamscarred Press. It looks very interesting and, for a few reasons, looks like one of the best-fitting classes for beginner players:

  1. PoW classes aren’t too complex. You don’t need to explain too many rules, and explaining how maneuvers work shouldn’t take too long either.
  2. PoW classes are potent. They seem able to achieve what is written in their descriptions — at least my fellow players in my current game achieve what they are supposed to.
  3. "Going nova" is not an issue. Pathfinder has a plethora of classes with abilities expendable on a per-day basis, and resource management is very hard for beginners. This often leads to level 1 Wizards burning all their spells in the first combat and then being useless for the entire day. In PoW, classes refresh their maneuvers after not being in combat for just one minute.
  4. You can ready different maneuvers every day. You can change your choice — well, to some extent. You are, in any case, less stuck in the same place than a Fighter who has chosen bad feats.

However, I haven’t watched beginner players use PoW classes, and hence I want to know if they are actually a good fit for complete beginners, those who have never played Pathfinder before or only have a few sessions behind their back.

My players have a habit of always torturing enemies they capture for information, how can I make our adventure less macabre?

So I’m running the lost mines of Phandelver as a new DM and we’re about 5 sessions in. I’ve noticed a pattern that seems to repeat itself: the players defeat and capture an evil NPC character that knows some information, that character is tied up and intimidated/tortured, then that character inevitably spills the information it knows.

This cycle is getting a bit repetitive and depressing. How can I, as a DM, encourage my players to try more diverse ways of obtaining information from uncooperative NPCs without withholding story-critical information?

How to manage players who stay in the gamemaster mindset when they are only player?

The situation takes place in an online Pathfinder 2 community. Here everybody have PCs and can play on any session with a level that more or less matches the level of one of his PCs. A handful of those persons are also GMs and organize the sessions (by vocal+a VTT). There are guidelines about many aspects of the games (like the amount of xp per session so that each encounter is worth a certain amount of xp depending on its difficulty).

The problem I encounter is that when I have the most ancient members of the community as players on my games they tend to behave like they were the gamemaster, and have expectations that the game is ran as they would run it, which can be more or less troublesome. For example:

  • They ask other player for checks

  • They correct me by quoting the rules of the book when I want to enforce rule of cool

  • They look at the monster’s stats to correct me on how they work in the middle of a fight

  • They are bad sports when I correct them about a rule they got wrong

  • They grumble about the amount of xp I give to them because they think the combat encounters are worth more

Outside of those games they are nice people, but the more I play with them as players the worse it gets. What can I do? I don’t have any issue with the other players on this community.

There are similarities with this question but as here I am in the GM position and it is an online roleplaying community I think it is worth a different question.

How can I prevent my players from teleporting out to escape any dungeon?

My high-level party now has 2 casters able to cast teleport. They can now run into any dungeon and just escape freely when things get dangerous. Forbiddance does not prevent you from teleporting out and Antimagic Field is a 10ft radius spell that requires concentration.

How can I prevent my players from pulling off this cheesy strategy against smart opponents who have witnessed this strategy multiple times and can plan beforehand?

So far, I’ve only come up with Darkness spells (to prevent players from seeing each other to teleport) or Counterspells at the time of cast. Both are fairly unsatisfactory solutions, PCs can just run into another room, or behind a pillar, and teleport there. Is there any RaW way to protect the entire dungeon?

How much do I tell new players about new monsters?


Background

I am a brand-new DM, about to lead a game for brand-new players. I have a lot of knowledge of rules from playing Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights over and over, leafing through a friend’s books, and finally buying the three basic books for myself.

Question

How much information should I give to my players about monsters they encounter?

Should I essentially read the entire MM entry to them, or let them figure out how the enemies operate through experience, or (as I assume), something in the middle? Keep in mind, only one of them has even peripheral experience with D&D (they are very good sports for giving it a shot!), so they won’t be bringing background knowledge to the table. For example, do DMs generally let players know what immunities creatures have, or do they let them figure it out by trial and error? What about offensive abilities? For example, if a player has a potion of fire resistance, should I give them a heads-up about the fact that the chimera they’re facing has a fire breath attack?

One of my players “adopted” and orphan girl, how do I go about this?

I DM a game for 4-6 people. I’m a newer DM but am quite comfortable doing it.

One of my players, a dwarven princess, has decided to adopt a young orphan girl who was begging on the streets as her squire. I ultimately let her do this as I think it can be fun in the game.

She has bought her some leather armor and a small dagger, she plans on training her in combat.

Obviously the little girl will never see actual combat (or at least, not be directly involved) and I already have plans for her to potentially leave later on. Right now, I’m just confused on how to go forward with this NPC.

Should I be creating a character sheet for her? Maybe add a -4 to every stat since she is just a child?

Any input would be great. Thank you.