I am juggling an idea and looking for opinions.
I think it would be cool if there was some kind of bonus for the first class you chose to play.
in other words if you want to make a player that is a fighter / wizard. at 4th level there would be a difference to your character if you chose to make your first level wizard or your first level fighter.
as it is now a player can play a wizard for 2 levels, then gain a level and spontaneously develop feats, weapons and armor proficiencies and all that goes with being a level one fighter.
but that level one fighter does not represent some one who woke up one day and knew how to use every non exotic weapon in the book. it represents some one who had some form of standard or informal training at some time.
the exact reverse is true. a level one wizard is not just some guy who woke up one day and started shooting fire out of his hands, he is some one who spent a significant amount of time learning the language and intricacies of magic. Thats why he does not know how to use a long bow and flail accurately.
Thus I believe that the class chosen at first level should provide some kind of bonus that rewards a player for picking that first. I am not sure if it should be something new (probably not) or a midification of what you get for the first level of a class.
for example.. suppose just for the sake of argument the free 0 level spell slots were a benefit of taking the class from level 0. a character with 3 levels in fighter who has just become level 4 can chose to take a level of wizard... but he wont get the free 0 level spell and spell slots. if he would like to cast a spell like light or read magic he would have to prepare it in a 1st level spell slot (though he would still get to cast it as often as he liked it would just take up a slot)
on the other hand fighters weapons proficiencies may be a class specific level 1 bonus. if a player takes the fighter class at some level beyond level 1 they may have a much more limited weapon proficiency list. or not receive their level 1 bonus feat (as all that weapon proficiency knowlage was just dumped into their head) once again just examples.
I dont think it would work without a significant change to the game to keep it all balanced but I think it would be a nice addition
I did consider developing a system to buy class abilities with a number of character points, so you could start with something like 4 to 12 points and gain 1 to 3 for every level you advance after. This way you start out with a package deal and if you later decide to learn magic you will likely only get access to partial spell lists or limited schools at first.
I think this system would work best without any classes or a simplified division in warriors, casters and experts.
At this point I was just tossing the idea out there.
It actually began with me considering changing the weapons proficiency to a skill system similar to language. thus you had to pay skill points for weapons rather than a whole feat. (yes this would require tweeking)
then I though that a fighter for example would get their standard mass of weapons and armor proficiencies at first level but would have to pay skill point for exotic weapons (several possible ways this can happen)
with that in mind the benefit of being a fighter would be all of those free weapons proficiencies at level 1 and if any one took fighter at a later level they would have to spend skills to learn weapons as they train up on individual arms and armor.
wizards could possibly get the bonus at level 1 of having all level 0 and level 1 spells already in their spell book as a benefit of their school training. but if you took a level of wizard later in the game you would not recieve all those free spells and would have to pilfer through the books of your defeated enemies or spend time in libraries gathering spells.
Gunslingers seem easy. first character level gets a free gun but taken at a later level they have to acquire a gun on their own.
and so on and so forth.
its not something that I have thought through for every class, and to be honest if it were enacted may require tweeks and such. but I think the concept itself works and would be entertaining and I am open to suggestions and ideas.
The advantages to first level as a martial class are maximizing a bigger hit die and more starting cash and being able to take feats with +1 BAB prerequisite at level 1. If you plan to multiclass it is pretty much never advantageous to start with the less martial class. There are some exceptions involving style feats and Master of Many Styles, and Crane Style having a monk level prerequisite lower than its BAB prerequisite, but for the most part martials have their first level bonuses already.
so doesnt it stand to reason that that should be remedied.
there SHOULD be a bonus for making your first level something other than martial but the bonus should be balanced with any bonus recieved from chosing some other class at first level.
I think it works from a RP stand point and can be made to work from a mechanical point of view.
I think this concept is interesting. I account for it from the other direction by simply not allowing players to wake up one day and "decide" to be a different class. If they want to be a different class they have to spend a significant amount of time (ie, the entire prior level) 'changing' to that class. So, for example, if I've just gained level 3 as a fighter and want to become a wizard with my next level, I need to shed the armor, get a lighter weapon, and start training at spell casting. Yes, I will be gimped for most of that level (though if the player plays along, abilities usually start showing up at opportune moments), but when I hit 4th I'll be a Fighter 3/Wizard 1 and be able to level either class whenever I want.
Making the switch of class into a role-played thing both:
a) Requires a sacrifice and therefore careful consideration by the player
b) Doesn't require rules adjustments
I think that, while your concept is interesting, you're really looking to break apart the 'class' system into more of a 'skill/proficiency' system, and that will have consequences to your game that are a lot bigger than simply adjusting level 1 (as in, this idea looks like it could snowball quickly). I did something similar way back in the early 90's and ended up writing an entire game system out of it (and yes, published less than 100 copies) :x