In our campaign, our party was supposed to meet a crew on their ship who were sailing in search of a relic for the king. A psionic in the party used timehop and we ended up on the ship an hour into the future, and when we appeared there, all of the crew had been killed.
They were killed in a very specific way: their eyes were burned out and their muscles had been effectively set on fire and melted their skin.
Our DM said the cause of death is in the PHB, and he wants us to figure it out in order to progress the story. He wants us to use our knowledge to try to figure it out. I have been reading the PHB but I just don't know where to start—maybe evil subtypes or a relic of some kind—since the world of D&D is just so vast.
So essentially instead of reading the entire book (which I should really do...) I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction. Maybe not necessarily in the PHB itself, but in the Monster Manual or Magic Compendium.
What creature/spell/item/etc. would cause that effect?
My PC is level 12, but I don't think that our party’s level is really relevant as it’s not necessarily a level-appropriate thing. Knowing this game and the DM, it’s likely a clue to something in the future. It could be very high level because we have been working with the king's men and sometimes they will fight alongside us to kill harder things. Anything is fair game.