|Lau Bannenberg Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus|
1) To expand on the sub-tiers, is the eligible sub-tier is always based on average party level or each individual players? Is this the same with more than 4 players?
Selecting subtiers can be a bit confusing. The next Guide will probably be clearer, but here's a recipe for now:
Step 0: make sure everyone has a character or pregen character.
Step 1: compute the average level of all PCs in the party (including pregens). Round to the nearest whole number. If the average is at precisely .5, then let the players decide which way to round.
Step 2: if the number is clearly within the lower or higher subtier, play that subtier (with 4-player adjustment if you have 4 players). Otherwise, go to step 3.
Step 3: if the number is BETWEEN subtiers, we do different things depending on seasons.
Season 0-3 If there are less than 6 players in the party, play the low tier. If there are 6-7 players, play the high tier. If you have 6-7 players but none of them have a level in the high tier, they can choose to play the low tier instead.
Season 4+ If there are 4 players, play the low tier but without the 4-player adjustment. If there are 5-7 players, play the high tier with 4-player adjustment.
2) Am I required to distribute Chronicle Sheets to players at the end of each session, or only when there's boons or special items found in the adventure the player wants to purchase? (The session will be recorded online.)
Always, for the reasons BigNorseWolf pointed out. Also, players track gold gains and expenditures on them (important).
3) As a GM, I believe I can run any valid scenario any number of times, each time with a new group. Am I banned from playing in those scenarios as a player afterwards?
You can run them any number of times but credit only once. You can play it afterwards, but of course you're supposed not to spoiler things for the other players. So it's a good idea to tell the other players you've played this before, and will be a bit quiet when there's puzzles to be solved and such. That way, they know you're just being a nice guy, you're not mentally checking out or angry or uninterested or something. And that it's up to them to step up their game a bit when you fall silent.
4) Can I play in a scenario multiple times if it's with different characters each time?
Generally, no, but read up on GM stars in the Guide to Organized Play.
5) Can I run combat and track hit points from an Excel spreadsheet as a GM, instead of using a Combat Pad or writing out the initiatives on the battle mat? Using the spreadsheet is what I'm familiar with in my home games.
Yeah, as long as you don't change the rule elements of the scenario, do whatever helps you be efficient and organized.