I have been thinking over the idea of playing Pathfinder for a couple of months now. This will be my first table top rpg. My concern is that the BB uses pregen characters and cuts out a lot of the more confusing rules found in the core rulebook. I would like to get started on my own characters asap and want to use a class not in the pregen selection (sorcerer). I have read the rules extensively and have been watching youtube games / tutorials from various people. The rules section of this forum has also been a wealth of knowledge that cleared up a mountain of subtle problems I was having(sorc spell mechanics etc). I would be much happier just jumping into core rules where I can interact with more complicated ruling such as attacks of opportunity so that I learn things the right way instead of being babied into them. Is this the right way to go about things, or is the BB experience so much better that it is worth the extra monetary and time investment?
No, you don't have to buy the Beginner Box. And even if you do buy it, you don't have to use the pregenerated characters in it - it has all the rules necessary to create a new character on your own.
I'd suggest you check the core rules in the Pathfinder Reference Document, and, if you feel that they're not too complicated, pick up the Core Rulebook. If, on the other hand, they do seem complicated, get the Beginner Box
Really since paizo is very supportive of the SRD (God I love them for it.) you don't need to buy anything as all the information needed is available. You could grab some graft paper and some pebbles and play if you had the mind to.
Though I would suggest buying some stuff to support the company since they are upstanding enough to make it all open to you. I do like the beginner box though. The pawns and the playmate (Granted it does not like to stay flat.. pro tip-blue tack.) only are worth he price.
Like Stome said, buying Pathfinder books is an optional part of being a Pathfinder player.
Everything you need is in the PRD. Most players choose to buy the books because they prefer reading on the page to reading on the screen, but if you have an internet connection and a laptop there are significant advantages to using the PRD during play (though some GMs frown on computers at the table).
In light of this knowledge, being a Pathfinder player is really more of a state of mind, rather than ownership of the books.
Though flipping through the books feels like a necessary part of tabletop RPGs. I bought the Core Rulebook, Bestiary 1, and APG. I never use the bestiary (far easier to used tabbed browsers) but it is fun to have it for the pictures and the feel. We still do use the CRB for looking up rules and equipment at the table, though unfortunately it isn't always up to date with errata like the PRD or SRD are (oddly enough, my book never seems to automagically update the printed pages with updated data, heh).
As for the question; of course the BB is not required. However, you may not be ready for the density of rules that Pathfinder has if you have never played D&D before. There is a lot to the game and jumping right into the core rules can cause some information overload. The BB lets you get the concepts down before adding advanced concepts into the mix.
What I would say do is find some local shops that are running tabletop gamings and ask as a beginner to sit in for a session. Pathfinder (and table-topping in general) is more about how you as players (dare I say, as friends?) interact with each other to tell a compelling story or live an unrealistic experience.
Oh, and then you throw in a bunch of dice and numbers...
But the point is, that if it's completely new to you, sit in a session. Get a feel for it and say "Is this something I think I could pick up and run with?". For some, it's a yes, in which the CRB and online guides will get you into creating goodness knows what beastly adventurer is soon to cross the fields of battle. If not, hey, it's all good. Everyone thinks monopoly is just some guy with a mustache until you sit in the drivers seat. The BB will be like the first few rounds; just getting you warmed up and set off on a scripted adventure or two before you ignore the clear signs that this game will inevitably make you question your desire to play such a cruel yet rewarding experience...
Regardless though. The outcome is usually totally worth it. :)
I have watched about 6 hours of Rp including the full BB and different rise of the runelords campaign and it seems to be something I can follow easy enough and enjoy. The main problem cropping up seems to be finding a group (I'll need a more casual group not so strict on the somatic or verbal casting in actual RP or keeping an altered voice). I tried looking for Pathfinder society events in my area but they turn out to be 1-3 hour rides through metro Atlanta ( traffic heavy). They also only meet once or twice a month. I may end up having to find an online group that can meet a bit more regularly. All in all though I am still very excited to start. I'll be drafting characters and reading more environment info today so I can get my back story as tight as possible before I release it to be critiqued.
Atlanta huh? :) Same here lol. I'm sure there's a few areas around, don't know if you're north side or south but titans does every Sunday (on the north side).
Online groups sound promising, I'm debating if I will start (I already have a homebrew group every sunday as is), but I'm sure the market there is quite open.
EDIT: Absolute worst case senario, there's always D*Con :D. Just a year to go
after some searching on the forums I found the pathfinder society online collective. the google group seems promising so I think I'll be trying to join over there and use their forums to get a game. They use online rpg table tops so which look pretty simple.
after a few days in the advice section it seems my melee sorcerer will be pretty rounded out. I'll be grabbin a core book and some dice online later tonight or tomorrow.
Hoping for the best!
If you ARE going to join the Pathfinder Society Network Campaign..
Then what you own is going to be an issue. You get a free skate on the Core Rulebook, but if you plan on using other resources you need to either purchase the relevant book or the applicable PDF.
Isn't Atlanta PFS Campaign Coordinator Mike Brock's old stomping ground? IIRC, he had one of the largest PFS communities in Atlanta. Not familiar with Atlanta myself (Aussie, here) but I'd be surprised if you couldn't find a PFS group playing near you.
Search the following for games in your area:
PFS Events page: paizo.com/pathfinderSociety/events
PFS Grand Lodge forum:http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/pathfinderS ociety/grandLodge
or shoot an email to your nearest Venture Captain or Lieutenant and I'm sure they'll help you out:
|Nani O. Pratt|
Whether or not you purchase the Core Rulebook, I'd probably also recommend the Beginner Box to new GMs, as it contains a lot of useful stuff.
The carboard pawns (monster and player stand-up counters) are great to have if you're just starting out and don't have a large collection of miniature figures yet.
And here's a tip: if you're trying to encourage friends to play Pathfinder, unless they're already avid RPG gamers, DON'T show the the Core Rulebook - 595 pages of rules manual will scare most people away from the game that no persuasion can undo - take my word on this, sadly I've seen it happen too many times.
OTOH: the Hero's Handbook contained in the Beginner Box breaks things down nice and easy for new players to understand, not overwhelming them with too many options. If for no other reason than for recruiting new players to the game, ALWAYS have the Beginner Box handy to ease them into the game. You can always have a mix of Beginner Box and Core Rulebook characters play at the same table.
Cheers, and good luck with your game :-)
If you want to play Pathfinder Society, you don't need the BB.
If you want to create your own group and GM then I strongly recommend the BB, especially if your players are also new to tabletop RPGs. Even if your players are experienced Pathfinder players the BB is still worth having as a GMing aid; ignore the Heroes' Handbook and the rest of the box is still great value for what you get.