|Brendan Green RPG Venture-Captain, Alaska—Fairbanks aka Relmer|
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I am signing this as well. I like running PFS games, but running them can be a chore without proper prep going beyond just "reading though" the scenario. As GM you have to spend the time somewhere; either before the session clock starts or during it. I find players are happier when the game runs smoother due to the prep work being completed ahead of the session.
My usual prep involves lots of highlighting and notes in the margin. Sometimes description text for a room/person/object or important event trigger are buried in the middle of a paragraph. If I dont highlight them I often skip over them. This is especially true for some event triggers that the scenario notes as "If at any time a PC does X, then NPC Y automatically responds with action...". That really seems like the kind of text that should get highlighted or pulled out somehow.
I think players expect a certain format as they go from area to area (Description of the area w/ important details, a chance to roll automatically allowed rolls, automatic text from any present NPCs, automatic rolls in response to the NPC's tirade, etc.) Unfortunately each area of a scenario can have that information spread out in a random order over several pages requiring the GM that runs the scenario to manually stitch together the actual sequence of events in an area.
The same problem (and worse) can occur with encounters. With multiple tiers and templates a GM can use 4 Bestiaries or other resources during the encounters of a scenario (Destiny of the Sands I am looking at you). Even if you dont haul around physical books it can be a chore to switch between PDFs which is why I usually make a supplemental PDF/printout for each scenario with all the monsters/template info compiled so I only have to consult 1 other source when running. The prep work for monsters goes even further if they can cast spells; DCs are given (even though the dont list the TYPE of save) but you still have to calculate durations, ranges, etc. manually.
Scenarios that were more logically laid out and included more essential information would encourage new GMs to run more often, in my experience. I have had GMs only willing to run if I gave them a scenario I already prepped because it still took them at least a few hours to read through and understand it, even if they did not have to dig up and compile all the additional research themselves.
If getting "better" scenarios means moving to PDF only so be it.