Cross-browser way (extra markup)

Just wrap the first character of the paragraph in a span, then target the span with CSS and style away.

<p><span class="firstcharacter">L</span> orem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris tristique lobortis orci ac lacinia. Fusce eu purus eget diam vehicula auctor nec eu elit. Morbi consequat facilisis orci vel malesuada. Donec ultrices molestie sollicitudin. Aliquam pharetra libero enim. Donec et suscipit massa. Donec dui odio, dignissim non sodales et, tincidunt a sapien. Phasellus elit nibh, adipiscing sed blandit vel, interdum et arcu.</p>
.firstcharacter { float: left; 
color: #903; font-size: 75px; line-height: 60px; 
padding-top: 4px; padding-right: 8px; 
padding-left: 3px; font-family: Georgia; }

CSS3 way (no extra markup)

Target the first character of the first paragraph using pseudo class selectors. No extra markup needed, but no IE < 9 support.

<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris tristique lobortis orci ac lacinia. Fusce eu purus eget diam vehicula auctor nec eu elit. Morbi consequat facilisis orci vel malesuada. Donec ultrices molestie sollicitudin. Aliquam pharetra libero enim. Donec et suscipit massa. Donec dui odio, dignissim non sodales et, tincidunt a sapien. Phasellus elit nibh, adipiscing sed blandit vel, interdum et arcu.</p>
p:first-child:first-letter { 
float: left; color: #903; font-size: 75px; 
line-height: 60px; padding-top: 4px; 
padding-right: 8px; padding-left: 3px; 
font-family: Georgia; }