There have been thoughts! Many thoughts! So many thoughts that we release a ton of non-Adventure Path adventures for EXACTLY this reason!
While the Pathfinder Adventure Path series features some of our most elaborate gaming experiences, epic stories, and lavish presentations, you we know you don’t always need the deluxe experience.
Pathfinder Modules: If you want single adventures to take characters through multiple sessions and levels (sometimes just 2 or 3, sometimes many, many more) check out Pathfinder Modules. We typically have two formats for these, a host of 32-page adventures and deluxe 64-page adventures (which for about the price of an Adventure Path gives you a complete story with more adventure than an AP volume). We’ve got dozens of these guys at this point. Occasionally we even do crazy, major stuff, like the upcoming Emerald Spire Superdungeon. Click the link above to check out the whole range.
Pathfinder Society Scenarios: Don’t want to dish out $15 to $25 for numerous sessions of gaming? That’s cool! We’ve got you covered with hundreds of Pathfinder Society Scenarios. While these PDF-only adventures are tied into our Pathfinder Society organized play campaign, you don’t need to be a member to play them or know anything special to run them as normal Pathfinder adventures. Because that’s what they are: normal Pathfinder adventures. They typically cost about $3 or $4 bucks, though there’s a few special cases and freebies. We’ve got five whole seasons worth of these adventures. Check ‘em out: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5.
Other Adventures: Looking for adventures for a specific level or trying to build a whole campaign? Finding the right adventures can be a pain, we know. That’s why we created the Adventure Finder on paizo.com. This organizes not just our Pathfinder adventures, but TONS of other companies Pathfinder and Pathfinder compatible adventures by the character levels they’re meant to challenge. Paizo’s not the only game in town, so flip through the adventure finder, where there’s tons for diverse interests (and budgets!).
Free Adventures: Don’t want to spend a cent? We’ve got a bunch of free adventures from past Free RPG Days as well! Master of the Fallen Fortress, Dawn of the Scarlet Sun, the hilarious We Be Goblins (pictured above) and We Be Goblins Too! and others are all just waiting for you to download them on paizo.com. Heck! Our first Pathfinder adventure, Hollow’s Last Hope (which I was one of the authors on!) was a free adventure!
Your Adventures: Really, you never need to spend a cent on Paizo’s projects. While I think we do some pretty amazing things and, often, amazing comes with a price tag—so we can like… eat food and have shelter and do more awesomer things—one of the best things about Pathfinder and RPGs in general is that you can always make up your own stuff! I’ve posted a bunch of links recently to how Paizo gives away all the Pathfinder RPG game rules FOR FREE, so if you ever want to just grab some friends, dice, and start telling whatever cool story you want, you’ve got rules, stat blocks, and tons of options on hand wherever you’ve got an internet connection.
Hope that’s helpful. Thanks a ton for asking!
$20 for an adventure of Paizo’s quality that is going to last several game sessions is an incredible bargain.
Between them and Paizo’s others Pathfinder adventures and third party adventures, you can spend an awful lot of time adventuring for, in the end, only a few bucks an hour. The snacks and drinks you have during the game are probably more expensive than the books.