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-How much knowledge of Golarion is required? (or better yet, expected by players and GMs) We've played Pathfinder, but only in homebrew settings, and none of us have time to really get to know the setting intricately.
Players: None, however the more the merrier. GM: None, however the more knowledge the GM has the better the world sounds, looks, smells and so on. A read through Inner Sea World Guide will give most of the answers you might need.
-What do the adventures tend to look like? More action-adventure, or heavier RP?
Both. Some are more action oriented, some are RP oriented and some are used to clean tables (Hardness 10 vs lv1 party and such). Usually the scenarios have more combat than RP.
-What level of optimization is generally expected by players or balanced around in adventures? We want to make characters who are good at their jobs, but we don't want to play in a game of all summoners and druids.
You should not do characters that are waste of space or dead weight. If the character can provide something meaningful to the party, it should be OK. This means that a skill monkey Rogue is a good choice (has skills for everyone) as is a 7 Int Big Stupid Fighter (with 22 Strength and a greatsword). A 20 int 7 cha 7 str melee fighter with social feats is something you shouldn't take to the table.
-Is there a best way to find a game locally? I know I can find some games on the forum. Do most PFSers play that way?
Depends on your location. I don't know about others but in Finland many games are found on local forums.
-Should we just hop into any first level game? Or do we have a sort of official location for our characters? Is it better to start at the beginning of a "season"?
Yes. No. No. You can start at any time with any scenario - even those that are for higher levels since you can add them to your character either to wait until it grows big enough or attach them to lv1 for X amount of cash. Check the guide for this.
If anyone has any other tips to give us, that would be great.
Torches hit swarms. Swimming helps in swimming. Pots are good for launching traps.
Edit: Found this; https://sites.google.com/site/grandrapidspfs/. Seems to be pretty dead, but could be read that there have been players. Apparently there is a place called "Excelsior Comics and Games" that has hosted at least one event last year.