Did Grognardia stir up this old chestnut again? I know there's already a ten page or so thread on Dragonsfoot about it just within the last couple days (although it's been semi-hijacked by a debate about whether using hirelings makes you a 'wuss gamer' or not).
How can a 1st level Magic-User survive to 2nd level? And find ways to be useful while doing so?
And of course, all these people are either stating how there's nothing to do but fire your one spell then run away to rest so you'll be 'effective' again. Or on the other side, bringing out the old standby of 'prepare lots of flasks of oil, marble bags, 10' poles, Swedish-made penis enlarger pumps, garlic, wolfsbane, catnip, spare socks, iron spikes, reading glasses, and cooking pots to make yourself useful.' Then of course, the idea of hiring meat-shields to protect your AC 11, 1d4 HD ass which touched off the near derailment of that DF thread. [Sorry, no link today. Just got back from grad school, and don't feel like hitting DF tonight just to snag a link. It's in the General Discussion section if you want to track it down yourself.]
Anyway, words of wisdom from old Jack Burton. Er, um, I mean Lord Gwydion.
ALL CHARACTERS SUCK AT 1ST LEVEL.
No, your Fighter cannot beat down goblins all day long. He can take one hit if he's lucky, then he'd better retreat.
No, your Cleric (even if using AD&D where they get spells at 1st level) is not going to be casting spells and turning undead all the time. He's got better than 50% odds to turn skeletons, but the first time he botches that roll, he's done for that encounter. And even with an 18 Wis, he's still got a limited number of spells. And remember, in Classic (my preferred game), he's got no spells. Just the ability to take one hit if he's lucky and maybe turn some undead.
No, your Thief is not gonna be finding every trap, unlocking every door, and if he gets really lucky and actually manages to sneak up on someone, likely is gonna miss that backstab roll and get his AC 6, 1d4 HD ass handed to him.
They all suck. That's kinda the point. And EVERYONE should be getting all that miscellaneous equipment and using it at every opportunity. First level characters get to become second level characters by being smart, not by acting like 6th level characters.