I think we ended up on a tangent. I wasn’t specifically referring to your game when I brought that up. I was discussing difficulty and the effect it would have on my group if I had e.g., followed that recipe.I bought the GMG for PF1 and it was a good resource for that system, and I'd likely find parts of this one useful if I were creating my own adventures. However, for all the debate about the GMG and its entry about the Dungeon Crawl recipe, it's largely not relevant to my group's issue.
The game invites GMs to make changes. What they are wanting is at odds with how the game wants you to run it.I have been tasked by my players to run PF2's Age of Ashes in as close to a scientific, controlled test as possible. They want to get the "real" PF2 experience, not something I've layered with house rules or redesigned to make it better balanced. They don't want me changing encounters.
Even the PFS guidelines for running adventures allow some variation — they aren’t that strict.Honestly, it feels like my role is more an interpreter of Paizo's team than a GM, as if I'm a referee of an Organized Play event or scientist in a playtest. There is no roleplay. There is no continuous story connection. It goes from encounter-to-encounter, precisely as written in the published module. Following any structural outlines from GMG wouldn't be useful - my only guide is the Core Rulebook and the contents of the Age of Ashes AP adventures.
Obviously, groups should play the way they want to play. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what they should be doing even if it means that certain games are poor fits for them. However, even if it wasn’t intentional, it feels like you were set up for failure.