OPINION: The Best Pathfinder Build is a Coward GM
Coming from D&D 3.5, PF1e, and now Pathfinder 2e, I used to spend hours theory-crafting the best builds and multiclasses that would ensure effectiveness and survivability. I now realize that that time was wasted, when all it really takes is a game master who is too much of a coward to kill your PC. I’ll admit that it’s somewhat disheartening to realize that all those hours giving myself myopia could have been better spent fostering the appearance of a dependent relationship with my GM. The best tactic I’ve found is to convince them that if your character is killed it will absolutely devastate you. Sticking a pencil into my palm will make my eyes well up, and I find a good stab or two as my PC drops into the single digits gives the group a good idea of what kind of waterworks I could let loose if things got worse.
There are some people who will tell you that Pathfinder 2e is far more balanced now than D&D or Pathfinder have ever been. That the linear fighter and quadratic wizard have finally been brought to the same level. That the CR system actually works, and that every fight is going to mean something now. But all of that crumbles in the face of a GM who isn’t willing to attack you while you’re at 0 HP. And all you have to do is keep them in line. Even the hint that an adult will have a temper tantrum is enough to stop the more persistent game masters.
If other players insist that they want the danger of combat to feel real, bring your stabbing pencil up to their necks and ask if the lead feels real. Maintain eye contact and breath heavily into their eyes, so that they blink first. If this kind of behavior gets you kicked out of the group, then congratulations! Your characters are no longer in any danger of dying. They have transcended the earthly need for a campaign to give them life and now rest immortal. Unchanging. Unyielding. Safe.