My wife and I go to a local Farmers market Thursday nights, it has been kind of damp here in sunny so cal the last couple of days and as expected market night was cancelled. The wife and I took a long walk around downtown to kill some time before dinner, which got me thinking about toughness, which southern Californians are not, and the make up of our new Castles and Crusades party.
Yes we have two warriors (ranger and paladin), and a monk ... which I think of as somewhere between a warrior and a cleric if measured by martial prowess but it kind of shocks me that our C&C party lacks a fighter. I'd like to say we have three women in the group and that's probably why there are no fighters, or lowered the probability of there being a fighter in the party, but I'm not sure how to say it without sounding like a sexist ass-hat, (so there I said it) although our ranger and paladin are played by women.
Which got me thinking about the evolution of the fighter in AD&D. 1e pre Unearthed Arcana the combat might of a paladin (and rangers up to level 6 at which point the other warriors get another attack every other round your ranger gets it at level 7) was the same as a fighter yeah the fighter levels up a little quicker, but is it worth it? Weapon specialization introduced in Unearthed Arcana gives the fighter a huge combat advantage, but rangers can specialize too so once again the fighter is shorted. 2e weapon specialization is limited to the fighter and finally a dude that wants to kick ass in hand to hand combat now has a clear choice of a class that is the master of the battle field. In C&C the fighter is the only character class that starts with a +1 Bonus to hit, combined with weapon specialization like the 2e fighter they are ass kickers.
As a player I tend to play clerics or fighters so when I look at our party composition:
Pink = Female Elf Illusionist/Druid
Black = Male Elf Rogue
Zianna = Female Elf Paladin
Yoda = Human Dude Monk
Kel = Female Elf Ranger
And seeing my two favorite classes missing, I think about what I can throw at the group. Now I know they will be able to handle most things, but in our last session if there was a fighter or a cleric in the party the lizardmen encounter could have been a lot quicker or less bloody. Without a cleric's undead turning ability are they going to run away or trudge through the zombies? Pink can do a little healing, but she is no battlefield medic, so do I load them up with healing potions, ointments, or a wand ... not going down that road. I'll see how they get through the caves of chaos before making any of those decisions, and there may be some attrition in the caves.
One thing for sure based on the make up of the party they are better suited to wilderness adventuring then spelunking, which I have no problem with. Actually I prefer the wilderness, I've always had a tuff time with dungeons, and I just find most of them illogically designed. What are all those creatures doing hanging out in this subterranean complex with no food, or waste disposal?