Creative help

I'm going to be starting a D&D with some other graduate students here in my department. Only one has played before. As of now I know that I'll have at least a Paladin, a cleric, and a bard. There will probably be 3-4 other players.

I'm building a world from scratch. I'll be focusing on their beginning area, and building outward from there. I will, however, need to have some general ideas for the world up and running earlier.

I have a few ideas, and honestly I can put together what I need to run without a problem - but it seemed like this could be a great time to allow others on here to flex their creative side. I can't promise to use anything, in fact, most likely your ideas will spawn ideas from me that I'll use - and I'll be bastardizing your ideas

For background, I'll be using pathfinder core books. Beyond normal things you imagine in a fantasy setting (warriors, thieves, paladins, clerics, etc) there are a couple you should know about. Wizards learn magic by careful study over long years. They memorize specific spells ahead of time. Sorcerers on the other hand come by their magic innately, typically due to a strong (or tainted) bloodline. Bards can perform some magic as a sorcerer, and druids use magic as a priest (except based on nature). I don't plan to change the core classes.

So my initial setting thought is to set the campaign in a small to large town (a couple thousand or less) in a temperate setting. I don't want them to know everyone, but it won't be large. I'm thinking a community based on mining (and of course farming) - though I wouldn't mind another unique aspect to the town. Somewhere in the mountains I want to have a monastery based on the ones in Belgium that make Chimay beer and cheese. I'll need to figure out if they farm their own malt/hops or import them. I want the settlement to feel a little secluded, but not completely cut off.

I'll then need to figure out some initial adventure to get them together, and the overall focus for the heroes. I want this to be a gritty, low magic campaign.

What I'm thinking is to have this set in a kingdom where sorcerers and the druidic orders have been exterminated. Bloodlines were hunted down. This happened far enough in the past that most people aren't aware that they are gone, or existed. The history was rewritten. Perhaps the tale is of a scourging of demonic magic generations past, or simply nonexistent. Wizards are typically trained at one university, and gain a license there. Or perhaps a wizard can train another with a particular license and registration.

The current priesthood is corrupt. I want an order similar to the ones in Wheel of Time - I believe they're the Children of the Light. An order of knights/priests/paladins that profess to be good, but are corrupt. Within that order I want a sect who's job it is to hunt down and "suppress" sorcerers that appear - though perhaps they did their job so well years ago they aren't as good at it anymore. Instead they spend their time hunting down unlicensed wizards.

At any rate, this innate magic cannot remain suppressed. This is the generation where it manifests itself again. If a PC wants to play one, by all means.

I'm trying to figure out how to tie religion into this large deception. What god(s) do I want?

So I'll start them in this town. I'm also thinking this town was once a refuge for those that protect the true history of things. The truth of what the current government did/is doing, how the foundation of religion for this civilization is a lie. Perhaps an old scroll locked away written in a forgotten language. I'm a little unsure on this point. A group of heroes retired in this town (or helped form it) to protect this knowledge/tome. They would be the current elders of the village, or perhaps the elders are descendants of those - maybe they had a secret order (I like this better, and it explains why so many "heroes" could come from this small place if it's in their blood). I'm picturing starting the paladin out being trained by an extremely old blind man that's partially crazy instead of in the corrupt order, for example.

so I'll start them on some lower adventure, get them together (maybe something to do with traveling to the monastery). Then eventually bring trouble to the town. Maybe something simple like persistent and very real orc raids, where there haven't been any in years. When things seem grim this order of "noble" knights show up to help (their leader is behind the orc raids to begin with - forming a dependency from the town on their help) and slowly takes more and more control of the town. The PCs will start out fighting the orcs, then alongside these knights, then eventually come to realize what the knights are up to. They'll need to either form a rebellion, flee, or help the townsfolk flee.

Obviously the knights are here to find the tome/whatever. I think if after many sessions there is a moment where the PCs get to flee and protect the townsfolk as a few of the elders hold off the main contingent of knights (all at a complete surprise) it could be really cool.

So I need to polish all of this up, and then decide where I want things to go from there. I don't just want a civil war, and I'll need to bring other countries in. I also don't want a "go gather a shitload of artifacts to stop the ultimate evil" type of campaign. I want things to stick around in the town, I want the setting to matter. I want them to feel attached.

So, any ideas on this, the religion, the potential lies - lets have it!

Also, any unique ideas for a town like this would be amazing. Unique culture points, festivals, traditions, etc. Or hell even if you just want to design a unique NPC to be in the world. Maybe you've always had a great idea for a one legged wheel-wright.