Massive noob here. I'm new to the world of RPGs. I've been trying to learn about it as much as possible, reading Player Guides and watching videos(Chris Perkins). I'm still not 100% on it.
Skull and Shackles has gained my attention... I'm a big pirate fan. But, once again, I am completely lost. While I can buy all the products and go from there... I wouldn't know what to buy.
*What should I buy that is ESSENTIAL to playing?
*I have THREE people(not including myself) to play with... is that enough?
*I've noticed this game has miniatures. Are there PLAYER miniatures? I know D&D(or some versions) have player miniatures.
Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.
The only thing that is essential to play Skull & Shackles is the Adventure Path books themselves (in either print or PDF) and a couple of sets of dice. For longterm investment you'll want to pickup a copy of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, but when you're just getting started the d20pfsrd or Paizo's own PRD are just fine.
If you're planning on running it then having 3 (active) players is enough, but the APs are generally designed for a group of 4, having 3 is a slight handicap but you can help them out by either giving the players a slightly higher point-buy at the start or running a DM-PC to help them out (and the AP has a number of them available from the start). Get them started by directing them to download a copy of the Skull & Shackles Player's Guide and I highly suggest running character generation as a group to get an idea of what kind of party you'll have on your hand. Miniatures are in no way required for this game and it can all be run through the power of imagination, though the miniatures help out a bit.
If you want to just run the campaign as written you'll be just fine but there are a number of additional products that you can get that will help enhance it:
* Pathfinder Player Companion - Pirates of the Inner Seas
* Pathfinder Campaign Setting - Isles of the Shackles
* Islands of Plunder series of mini-adventures from Legendary Games (they slot right in)
* Pathfinder Module - Plunder & Peril (when it comes out)
After that, check out the various threads here in the forums for advice on tweaking the campaign or adding stuff to it.
I might recommend starting with the Plunder & Peril module before tackling the Skull & Shackles AP. Skull & Shackles has a lot of moving parts and could be a tough one for a novice GM to cut his teeth on. Subsystems like ship-to-ship combat and infamy and disrepute and so on could be daunting for a new person to keep up with. See how the module goes and then once you've had some practice, go for the AP.
In order to play in general, you'll need dice, paper, and either access to the Pathfinder Reference Document (free and online) or the Core Rulebook ($10 as a PDF, more in hardcover) and Bestiary (the first one, $10 as a PDF, more in hardcover). Reading through the Getting Started section of the PRD or Core Rulebook is a great starting point for learning the rules.
A whole Adventure Path takes at least a year to play, so you might want to start with a stand-alone 1st level adventure instead. If you want to dive right in, you'll need the Skulls & Shackles adventure path books (the six books explicitly called out at the top). The free player's guide for the campaign will also come in handy. Play works best if you have and read through all six books before you start, but if you're new and okay with a few unexpected plot twists that's not necessary.
Three players plus the GM is pretty close to the ideal of four. You might need to go easy on them at some points, though. If your players are up for keeping track of everything but are having a hard time staying alive, you can try having them play two characters each, but that can be a lot to juggle.
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "PLAYER" miniatures, but you can have miniatures to show the placement of both the PCs (players) and NPCs (everyone else). You can get these as simple or as fancy as you want, from just using pennies to painting them yourself. Paizo sells a set of cheap paper miniatures that work well with the Skulls & Shackles adventure path.
Essential - the Skull and Shackles adventures. The core rules and bestiaries are online. There are both monster and PC miniatures. In fact, there are miniatures specifically made for Skull and Shackles. You can use something else (dice, etc) but the minis are nice. You might want to pick up a battle mat and some markers to draw maps on.
as the others have said but I also recommend trying out a module or 2 first to get the feel of the game. Skull and Shackels is great but it does require a GM with a little experince under his belt, its not noob frindly, there are a lot of NPC's to keep track of and as Shaun says subsystems that you may get lost in. I thnk you would get very lost in book 1 if you ran it with no previous Pathinder experience.
Maybe go with the corebook and bestiary then try out the module Crypt of the Everflame. Its a nice beginning adventure that is built for starting players and GM's. If you like the game then...give it a go. Be warned though running an AP is a BIG commitment. Its very time consumming and will take you at least a year if not more finish from book 1 to 6.(my group meet once a week for 3 hours and have just finished book 3 after about 40 weeks, im currently on gm leave due to burnout lol).
As well as what the others have said you will need the isles of the shackles as well as this gives info on the area and is very useful but that is pretty much all you need to be honset.