The story so far:
The new characters – Quigon, Slade, Reaper, and Steelaw – came to a remote farming village on the far side of the swamps south of Fallcrest to investigate stories about traders and adventurers going to Orlane and not returning. People are worried. Upon arriving in the village, they find the populace very leery and fearful of them. They go into the Golden Grain Inn to find more information and find themselves staring at the site of a massacre! A dozen farmers have been brutally slain, with dismembered body parts and blood everywhere. All are dead, against for one dragonborn clinging to life. After reviving her, they learn that she is a paladin who got separated from her party when the villagers attacked them. As they are talking, another farmer enters the inn, sees the party and all of the dead bodies, shrieks in terror, and flees. This doesn’t help the party’s reputation.
Further investigation of the site revealed a blood trail that led to a secret chamber in the basement. Through this they found recently dug caves and tunnels, where they battled giant snakes and ghouls. They also discovered a jade statue of snakelike figure with a woman’s face. This statue was estimated to be worth thousands of gp, but weighs hundreds of pounds. Nonetheless, the party is determined to get it out of there and sell it at some point. But for that, they need a cart; and as it happens, the man who owns the mill in town has a cart he is willing to loan the party if only they could find his daughter, who went missing a few days ago.
The paladin tells the party that the local temple of Pelor, an impressive building on a rise overlooking the town, would be worth investigating as the priestess there seems suspicious. So they visit the temple, and on the surface it seems to be a nice temple to Pelor, but the party sees through the priestess’s lies and attacks her. Soon a few well-trained monks come to her aid and the party has a difficult battle with them, but is ultimately victorious. They question the priestess through torture and intimidation, and she reveals to be a worshiper of one “Explicitica”, and promises that the party will meet their doom. On the priestess they found an amulet shaped like a snake with a woman’s head.
They found doors leading up to the second floor and trapdoors to a hidden lower level. As they went upstairs they were soon attacked once more, first by a challenging pack of skeletons, and then by fierce band of goblins. They also found a room that had recently been converted to a torture chamber… not typical for a temple of Pelor! Ultimate they encounter the senior priest for the temple, fighting through areas of darkness and silence and the priest’s dead spells to eventually overcome him. Beyond him, they found the miller’s daughter in a cage. The girl informs the party that she was able to resist the mind control of the beast, and was brought back here for priest. The beast herself, she says, has a lair in the swamp… and that is where the followers had recently brought their treasure.
Thus, the party did not find much gold, which upset them, but the girl gave them directions to the beasts lair in the swamp, so now they know where to go next…