Pathfinder 2E Essential PF2 Books and Best Adventure


I'm definitely thinking about this harder now with current events.

Has anyone played Abomination Vaults? Is it a good dungeon crawl? Does PF2 work for dungeon exploration?

I've run the first book of Abomination Vaults (and several other first books of APs in Pathfinder 2e).

First, here's a link to my group's experience in Abomination Vaults... Pathfinder 2E - PF2: Second Attempt Post Mortem

My post-mortem and complaints about the system are more nuanced now that I've run two more campaigns in PF2. I'll try to put some quick views about each.

Abomination Vaults
I don't think it's a "good" dungeon crawl compared to others I've played:
  • The maps are small (-)
  • There aren't many opportunities for roleplay or exploration (-)
  • Encounters are very close together (-)
  • Like all APs I've tried, too many fights too challenging, and players get discouraged. You might want to adjust for your group (-)
  • There's little motivation for the group to continue to explore (-)
  • However, the enemies are varied (+)
  • The dungeon is flavorful (+)

Dungeons in Pathfinder 2
I think the system has its pros and cons for dungeon exploration:
  • Limitless healing outside of combat is very effective, so resource management isn't as much of a thing (-)
  • The math is so tight that dynamic battles (guards coming in to reinforce allies, etc.) can quickly become a TPK (-)
  • And woe to the party that attempts to face a challenge above their level (-)
  • The fights are exciting, dynamic, varied, and well-balanced in a way that I haven't seen outside of 4E D&D (+)
  • There are good rules for exploration activities (even if they're not used to a great extent in Abomination Vaults) (+)
If you do run Abomination Vaults, I'd recommend pairing it with the Beginner Box adventure and the compilation Trouble in Otari - just to present some changes in pace and tie the group into caring about the nearby village. I think it can be amazing with some ground work.

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I'm definitely thinking about this harder now with current events.

Has anyone played Abomination Vaults? Is it a good dungeon crawl? Does PF2 work for dungeon exploration?

I am currently running Abomination Vault’s and my group is really enjoying it (details of how I am running it are here if you are interested).

I think that, for my play style, pf2e is an excellent system for running dungeons and I have no complaints. However, if you want a more static kick-in-the door type experience or a more long term grind-down experience (pf2e can do attrition dungeons, and I’ve run a bunch in my Legacy of Fire conversion, but it requires constant pressure exerted on the PCs) you might want to try different systems.


He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
The more I am looking at stuff, I am being drawn back to Starfinder. I ran a pretty successful campaign a number of years ago...
I never jumped into SF because I use Traveller for my sci-fi. How is it?


I never jumped into SF because I use Traveller for my sci-fi. How is it?
Very Pathfinder-y, but a pretty good time. I like the Starship combat because it is exactly the right level of fiddly for me, and the setting is just a kitchen sink of everything sci-fantasy.


Small Ball Archmage
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.

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