However, after our first session I spotted a rather large flaw in my plan. The PCs had all stocked up with healing potions, as many as they could afford with their 3d8 x 10gp starting money, and they'd got through quite a few of them in the course of the adventure. Those who made it out of the dungeon were now hauling a significant sum of treasure, and, of course, their reaction was: first stop more healing potions! This isn't something I'd anticipated at all, and is probably something that takes a player's point of view. The trouble is though, with healing potions costing 50gp (they have to be cheap otherwise 1st level characters, who are the ones who really need them, can't afford them), and with most characters needing to amass 2,000 or more gp to reach 2nd level (give or take a few hundred for creatures defeated) they'll be rolling in healing potions before the second session is out! This equates to basically infinite hit points, which isn't quite the vibe I was going for... Especially not at 1st level.
So I concluded that the cleric had to return, somehow. But how to make a holy man fit in with the bunch of chaotic rogues the PCs had rolled up for characters? I considered several possibilities, from a complete re-skinning of the class as a new race (perhaps some kind of faun) naturally blessed with healing magic, to giving magic-users access to healing spells. Neither of those options felt quite right however. The healing race would become essential in any party, and I want to keep it so that no demi-humans are essential, however beneficial their presence may be. And the healing wizards option would most likely relegate the magic-user to the most boring class -- a walking healing machine with no other abilities (what 1st level fighter would let his wizard companion memorize any spells except cure light wounds?).
At last I came up with another option, which is what I'm going to go with now in subsequent games (and let the days of 50gp healing potions be quietly forgotten). I thought about things the other way around -- what kind of cleric would fit in with a bunch of rogues? Of course, followers of roguish deities who support thieving and slaying and treachery. Not that they'd all have to be on the totally chaotic / evil end of the spectrum -- a god of underworld delvers, for example, presumably a fairly neutral deity, would be perfectly willing to support a party embarking on an expedition into a dungeon. I'm thinking petty gods here in scope. Here's a few ideas of the kind of deities I'm thinking about allowing clerics to follow:
- The god of tomb robbers
- The god of scavengers
- The goddess of insane danger
- The god of underworld delvers
- The goddess of impending doom