One of my Gaming Resolutions this year is to give Pathfinder 2.0 an honest go. I am curious what folks who are familiar with (and like!) the game think are "essential" materials. besides the Core rulebook and the Bestiary, are books like Advanced Player's Guide and Gamemastery Guide essential for a good experience? What about additional Bestiaries? And if I plan on running an adventer or AP set in Golarion, is the campaign setting a must have?
Speaking of adventures: which is the best to get a real feel for PF2? I am not going to commit to a full AP, but I could commit to the first couple volumes. I own both Fall of Plaguestone and the first volume of Abomination Vaults from the last time I was going to do this but then we only played Plaguestone for a couple sessions before my players balked and wanted to go back to 5E.
Thanks for your advice and input.
Hmm, if you like dnd-esque horror, then Malevolence was good from what I ran before the group fell apart for other reasons, its more polished than plaguestone and is very vibe heavy, it also learns from the hardness of the early adventures and is more moderate in that respect. Its a one book adventure module and crosses a couple of levels, and should be plenty of fun for a party of experienced TTRPGs who want to try a new system.
Its also a James Jacobs original, I won't cast shade on the others at all, but Jacobs is one of the classic paizo adventure writers, and his horror adventures just drip with love for the genre and his level of experience writing adventures.
I strongly suggest just using Archives of Nethys
since it compiles all the rules content, you can buy things for collection and reading and art purposes of course-- but you're trying it so why not save money till after you like it? The Game Mastery Guide is more useful for homebrew adventures than published modules (like, free archetype is cool I guess, but things like the research subsystem are printed in the adventure) the APG and SoM and BoTD and Guns and Gears is essential... in terms of like, character options, its much more intuitive to see the full list on Nethys then maybe collect the cool stuff later. The three core bestiaries are a very 'complete' feeling total section of creatures, but Book of the Dead, the undead specific follow up is neat too... but if you're doing a published adventure I think that supplies all the creatures? you can look them up on nethys in any case.
If you do choose to play Malevolence and want to buy a splat book specifically to go with it, I'd say Dark Archive could very well add to the experience by giving the players spooky options that can reflect adventurers specializing in the strange and uncanny. it also has a set of extra adventures which would keep up the mystery and spooky vibes from Malevolence, tucked into the case files... culminating in a secret case file adventure we had to solve an ARG before they released.