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i am running a campaign that starts at 2nd level, i am using only the players handbook so i would like to know how the following builds that my players are making are compared.
-monk, becoming dragon disciple, new player
-wizard/cleric, becoming mystic theurge, not that good at optimizing
-ranger, becoming arcane archer, new player
-fighter, new player
-bard, new player
-barbarian, new player
They'll all be around the same power level in general. The monk will likely fall behind after a while and not be improved enough by Dragon Disciple to actually pump out dps like everyone else. The Mystic Theurge if actually entered with a Wizard 3/Cleric 3/Mystic Theurge X won't be too far ahead of the others in spell levels to completely override them.
The bard will help a lot when singing since there are lots of melee + ranged damagers and it should round out the party's need for a skill monkey.
Looks okay, but would really depend on the builds and how the players play the characters.
If they're all new players, I wouldn't worry about comparisons. If, later in the campaign, someone seems to be falling behind or not having fun, they you can choose to address the issue. Otherwise, it's their first time: they'll have a blast.
If someone does start to lag, subtly manipulate things in their favor. e.g. character-specific magic items, NPC favors/boons, fortunate circumstances, or just plain ol' fudged dice rolls.
It's all about fun. Keep it fun for the most people without making it appear you're doing anything but hiding behind your screen.
"Rest in reason; move in passion." - Kahlil Gibram
If nothing, else, though, give the monk full BAB. Even with low optimization.... especially with low optimization, it really isn't fair. Other than that, yeah, power level shouldn't be a big concern for new players at low levels.
Seems a fine party but I agree with the point about the monk later on.
However since they're new characters they would likely not care since usually the first time you try d&d you care more about doing stuff rather than how well you do that stuff.
At low op, they should all be fine. Once they hit higher levels the Bard and Theurge will start to pull ahead, but not by much unless they know which spells to pick, and even then the best spells are force multiplication for the physical types. Just watch the CR, low op won't be able to keep up at higher levels.