Was curious to harvest the board's wisdom: In your experience, what kind of bonus does a starting first-level fighter have on a to-hit roll in TSR-era D&D? In other words, when you total up things like a STR bonus, weapon specialization (if you use it), and so on, what are most fighters adding to the d20 roll? This isn't a "what's the mathematical average according to a set of rules" question but rather a "what's your gut feeling given the fighter PCs you've seen and played" question.
For OD&D, a +2 is possible but not likely. This depends, of course, on whether you use the M&M or Greyhawk rules.
On the "alternate" combat charts (M&M, p.19) all characters get +0 at first level. (The fighter gains his first plus at level 4, cleric at level 5, MU at level 6.) Using Chainmail combat, however, the Fighting Capability of the first level fighter is "Man+1."
As far as strength bonuses, the M&M fighter can't get a plus at all. The Greyhawk fighter could technically go as high as +4 with exceptional 18(00) strength, but more realistically would get a +1 with strength in the 13-16 range. A few 17's and 18's, but they wouldn't be the norm.
OD&D didn't have those fancy weapon specialist rules.
So, if I had to guess for a typical OD&D fighter, I'd guess a +1 or +2.
Marv / Finarvyn DCC playtester (2011) S&W WhiteBox author (2009) C&C playtester (2003) Builder of the TrollBridge for T&T; Amber Diceless player since 1993 OD&D Player since 1975; Metamorphosis Alpha since 1976
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!" - Dave Arneson
+2! (B/X D&D). a 13-15 is common enough by the book.
In B/X 13-15 is only a +1 bonus, 16-17 is +2, 18 is +3. There isn't any weapon specialization or anything else. Halflings (which are technically halfling fighters) get a +1 bonus for missile weapons.
For my games +1 is the most common modifier you'd see for NPC brigand leaders or town watch serjeants and whatnot. Using 4d6 drop low/arrange as you like, players usually end up with a fighter with +2 STR. 18s are pretty rare even with 4d6 drop low. I had my current group of 4 roll up 2 characters each when we started and no one had an 18.
Last Edit: Aug 13, 2013 8:18:13 GMT -6 by barrataria
Yes.... but in B/X, you start with a +1 automatically (Thaco = 19). Therefore, with the common +1 bonus for having 13+ in strength (easy enough to roll), a starting fighter will often have a +2 melee. It is pretty easy to get the +2 (+3 at short range) in missile attacks too.