I should know the answer to this, but I don’t. If I reboot my host machine with the VM still running, does the host retain the VM undamaged or should I always shut down the VM first and only then the host? Thanks.
Sorry, but really? Shutting down or restarting a host without thinking twice, thus without caring about the virtual running machines sure that it could damage them, is like "brutally unplugging the power cord". 😂
Presumably this is an ESXi/vSphere host?
Yes you should always either shut down the VM or vmotion it over to another host. Never shut down the host first. Put it into Maintenance mode which will ask you to move the VM's to other hosts if you have a cluster.