Step 1. Pick up a copy of the Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Moon, at your friendly local games store. It, another softcover Player Companion, and the contents of the Beginner Box are the only Pathfinder books that you own.
Step 2. Discover the Lunar mystery for Oracles. Decide that it looks neat. However, it’s for a class that your books don’t cover, and it grants a lot of weird spells.
Step 3. Discover the following paragraph right at the start of the book:
This Pathfinder Player Companion refers to several other Pathfinder Roleplaying Game products and uses the following abbreviations. These books are not required to make use of this Player Companion. Readers interested in references to Pathfinder RPG hardcovers can find the complete rules from these books available for free at Paizo.com/prd.
Step 4. Go online and get the rules you need to play your character. Show up at the Pathfinder event your friend told you about, at your local games store, with a Lunar Oracle.
Step 5. Confess that you’d much rather be playing a Kitsune.
Step 6. Find out that Kitsune do in fact exist, and are in fact a legit choice for Pathfinder Society. However, you need to have a “boon,” which is essentially a signed permission slip from your parents, I mean the Venture-Captains, saying you’re allowed to play a fox instead of a crow. The only ways to get these are to go to a convention in another state, which you wouldn’t be able to afford unless you sold your own body parts, or to go to a certain thread on the Paizo forums to trade a different boon for the Kitsune one.
Step 7. Remember that you have an honest-to-Daikitsu signed “get out of death free” boon because you participated in the Beginner Box Bash a few years ago.
Step 8. Offer it up for trade, and get a response surprisingly quick.
Step 9. Receive, via US mail, a sheet of paper that looks suspiciously like a photocopy or computer printout, which contains the following sentence:
This Chronicle sheet must be the first Chronicle sheet for the given character, and you must bring a copy of one of the above-listed rulesbooks [the Advanced Race Guide or the Dragon Empires Gazetteer] to all sessions in which you play this character as if access to this race selection were granted by the Additional Resources list.
Step 10. Ask yourself, “WTF is the Additional Resources list?”
Step 11. Oh.
Step 12. Read the following sentence from that link:
In order to utilize content from an Additional Resource, a player must have a physical copy of the Additional Resource in question, a name-watermarked Paizo PDF of it, or a printout of the relevant pages from it, as well as a copy of the current version of the Additional Resources list.
Step 13. Track down all the books that you need to duplicate the content relevant to your character from the Pathfinder Reference Document, which is an official resource published by Paizo itself and explicitly endorsed by a prominent paragraph on page 1 of Blood of the Moon, which says that those books are not required to use it.
Breakdown of expenses:
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. Rules for creating and playing a character. Not required; your GM is assumed to own a copy.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary. Game stats for the animal companion one of your revelations grants, and for creatures that your spells can summon. Not required; your GM is assumed to own a copy.
Advanced Player’s Guide. Game stats for playing an Oracle, and for three of the spells in the Lunar mystery’s list. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.
Advanced Race Guide. Game stats for playing a Kitsune, along with the awesome Magical Tail feat. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.
Ultimate Magic. Game stats for four of the spells on the Lunar mystery’s list, the first of which you obtain at level 2 after three sessions of play. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.
Ultimate Combat. Game stats for one of the spells on the Lunar mystery’s list. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.
Step 14. Realize that you have to pay a minimum of $40 to play a character you like, using rules that you bought and paid for and contained a large notice from Paizo itself telling you where to fill in the blanks. These PDFs would contain a prominent watermark with your email address, which is not information you want to disclose to men that you're casually acquainted with. Adding insult to injury, the PDFs themselves would be basically worthless for tableside reference, because it’d take much longer to look up rules text in them compared to in the PRD, on your phone. Even though that is the stated reason why you have to bring them on the Additional Resources page:
[…] we cannot assume that every Game Master will have the products listed below. As such, it's up to players to bring these items in order to familiarize their Game Masters with the rules.
Step 15. Realize that if your Kitsune character ever dies, you’re going to have to go back and repeat the whole process of finding another boon, if you want those $40 worth of PDFs that you don’t want to buy to do you any good.
Step 16. Go on the Paizo.com messageboards, to see if there’s any sign of the PRD being added as a legit “additional resource.”
Step 17. Find a ton of people like (and like-ing) this guy, who condescend to people who asked about it, dictate their own priorities to them, blame Paizo’s mixed messaging on them, ignore the fact that Paizo’s policies burden some players a lot more than others, and in general infantilize and insult them even more than Paizo already does by requiring things like signed permission slips.
Step 18. Give up and play other games instead, using books that you bought at the local games store that welcomes you and treats you like a person, instead of PDFs that you bought online from a company that doesn’t.
This is only a partly fictionalized account. I already knew about Kitsune and the Additional Resources list going in. What I didn’t know was that there’s a boon trading thread (i.e. that I had any hope of playing a Kitsune ever), and that newer Pathfinder Player Companions were explicitly telling people to go to the PRD to fill in the blanks, instead of burying the reference in legal text like they used to. So I tried to imagine what it would be like, for a newb to go into it this way.
Also, I’m still playing in Pathfinder Society, and buying Pathfinder Player Companions that I think are cool and want to use for my character (like the Animal Archive), instead of selling my Pathfinder stuff on eBay.
Because my PFS GM lets me use the PRD.