Considering getting some stuff at GC and starting to learn PF or Star Finder. None of my friends have ever played it either... is this something that is easy to pick up on as a noob group? what all is needed besides a core rule book?
As far as desktop roleplaying games, Pathfinder is pretty rules-heavy in my experience, however if your group has experience with D&D 3.0 or 3.5 it will be much, much easier to pick up. Barring that, I'd think that just picking up the Core Rulebook and trying to read through it would be fairly daunting, particularly if no one in your group has any experience with the system.
Paizo (the publisher for Pathfinder and Starfinder) does have a Beginners Box that is supposed to be a "rules-lite" version of the game that more walks you through how to play the game. I haven't had the chance to look through it, but others have given it very favorable reviews.
Beyond that I'd recommend trying to catch of demo game at Gen Con to see what you're getting into. My home group has played Pathfinder for years and really enjoys the system, so I'd recommend giving it a try if you can.
Finally, at the convention Paizo is releasing a beta version of Pathfinder 2.0 rules so be aware that there are going to be two different versions of that system out there.
Paizo has their Pathfinder Academy events, but they're only for people 18 & under, as a way to get younger gamers locked into their system & get their money for life :-)
I don't know if they have any similar "learn the game" events for adults, but they do have hundreds of events, many of which start at level 1, and don't require any game knowledge or materials. Even though many have been sold out, you can often get in the events with generics.
There are also a lot of non-Paizo run Pathfinder events, again at starting level. It would probably be best to maybe try to get into one or more of these events, play the game, and decide if it's something you want to pursue further.
Just be careful about the Pathfinder Society events (anything starting with PFS #...) according to their descriptions no knowledge of the game is needed, but you do need to bring your own materials as none are provided.
We did an SFS (Starfinder Society) event last year. The only mats we needed were dice, pencils & paper, and there were people that didn't even have those & borrowed. We didn't need the core rulebook. I'm guessing the PFS events (at least the level 1's) might be similar.
Not sure if things changed since last year or if they're just trying to encourage people to bring their own things, but check out this level 1 - 2 PFS event:
The Consortium Compact
Under materials they list none as being provided, you must bring your own. All the society events I've looked at say the same thing. No idea if that's actually the case, but it's what they're advertising at least
Considering the core rule book is about 600 pages, for an event saying that rules will be taught, what could a newbie even do with that brick? Even if a lookup was required, someone that's never used it would take forever to find what they need, so having the book really wouldn't help much.
To be sure, you can write the email address on the event.
I wouldn't be worried about bringing the CRB as much as I would about not having pregen characters and things like that available. Even as an experienced player, it would be a huge (and quite likely insurmountable) issue to draw up a PFS-compatible character in the few minutes before a game.
Definitely agree that emailing them directly would be the best bet to figure out exactly what you need.
I'm pretty sure they have pregens available for the event. You wouldn't want 6 people showing up with barbarians. :-)
LOL... I am talking about buying a core book... and trying to learn on my own with my small group.
Should I look to something different? Shadow run? Malifaux?
@dkrantz... 6 barbarians might be doable, but the thought of a party of 6 bards... shudders
Since you are going to Gen Con, take advantage of the literally dozens of Pathfinder events. Try it out, see if you like it before you invest the money & time.
In my opinion, 5e is much better. Less rules heavy, more focus on role playing than rules. My wife loves pathfinder though.
Exactly, you may love it, you may hate it, or you may "meh" it. Gen Con gives you a perfect try-before-you-buy opportunity.
I'll point out that Pathfinder will be playtesting the second edition of their system at Gen Con this year, so in the exhibit hall there will almost certainly be short demo scenarios running. A lot of people will want to try it, so there may be a wait for a slot. Honestly, since Pathfinder 1e is near the end of its run, if you want to start, I'd try to get in on the ground floor of 2e. Also the playtest rule book will be a free pdf download on the Paizo website so you can peruse it for free to see if it's your kind of game.
Pregen characters are always an option at PFS (Pathfinder Society) events; if you decide to play one, pick a level 1 event and just let the GM know you aren't familiar with the system. Mostly, with a pregen, things will be "roll a d20, add a number off your sheet, and tell the GM your total." Obviously it can get a lot more complex than that but it doesn't have to be; there's a lot of potential complexity in character building but level 1 pregens won't have any of the crazy stuff.