Then I got back into the first roleplaying game I'd ever played: Dungeons & Dragons. I'd started with 1st edition, and by the time I came back, it was 3.5. This was a new take on D&D and it had some interesting cohesion that drew one in and made buying dozens of books appealing. This I then did...
But they too introduced a 4th edition and sent me on my way, not wanting to burn several shelves of books.
And then there was Pathfinder. The I've told the story before, so I won't do it again, but what I would like to do is talk about the new shelf. First off, Paizo offers a very attractive deal on subscriptions. You buy a subscription to one of their product lines and you get each hard-copy book along with a downloadable PDF. You can also buy their books on Amazon, but don't expect that they're getting a fair cut from the big A.
So, here's how I recommend going about building a shelf for both the campaign world (Pathfinder Chronicles and the world of Golarion) and the core game itself:
- Subscribe to the Adventure Parths. This is essentially the monthly magazine about their setting. It always has a few articles in the back about the deities, nations, cities, monsters or unfolding story of the world and the rest of each issue is a fully realized campaign that sets the stage and can provide excellent ideas for running a game.
- Subscribing to the Adventure Paths gets you a 15% discount on everything else, so I follow up with two other subscriptions: Pathfinder Player's Companion and Pathfinder Campaign Setting. These are essential resources and you can't go wrong with them, in my opinion. Make sure you go to your subscription settings after subscribing to both and tell them to send all three subscriptions together each month so you pay shipping once!
- Grab the core books from Amazon: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Player's Guide, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: The Pathfinder Bestiary, and Pathfinder Campaign Setting World Guide: The Inner Sea (Revised Edition)