The heroes returned to Red Larch with the remains of the pig and the bear carcass. The butcher was grateful to find out the fate of the pig and happily accepted the bear meat and the suggestion to supply that to the feast in compensation.
Retiring to the Swinging Sword they are regarded as heroes by a lot of the locals, who seem eager to share rumours of other local strange happenings, including a possible bandit hoard, a strange skull stuck to a tree, and a plague infected ravine.
As the only one that someone was actually paying for them to investigate the heroes decide to look into the plague ravine the following day. As they make their preparations Tim suggests they get cloth bandana’s to cover their nose and mouths as a precaution.
The journey to the ravine is peaceful enough and they find the signpost warning people away, then being adventurers total ignore it and head down the sloping path into the ravine. Strangely, only Brandon’s Earth Genasi loses his footing and slides down the path on his butt.
Reaching the bottom they find a cave entrance behind some bushes, not intentionally hidden, just overgrown. Peering in they see a figure lying on the cave floor unmoving. Investigation reveals it to be a zombie which attacks and is swiftly put down. Following the cave further they spy a chamber with a table-like stone, Brandon rushes in to look and a load of stones are thrown at him, swiftly followed by a quartet of zombies leaping down from the shelf above the doorway to attack. Despite a couple of them being reluctant to drop the heroes still win out. As the last zombie hits the floor (and stays there this time) they hear faint music coming from one of the chamber exits but decide to check out the quieter one first.
They come to chamber with a pile of rusty blades in the centre and corpses laid against the walls. Spotting something shining under the blades Brandon strides forward to investigate and is attacked by a group of skeletons. Daniel’s maul proves of great advantage against their bony foes and they easily overcome them. The shiny object is revealed to be a small metal buckler, its straps long rotted away but the outer facing carved into a laughing face.
So now they followed the music, coming to another cave where they see a bizarre sight. A bear in a tutu is playing piano while a pair of figures dance.
The music is really beginning to get to them so Daniel charges the piano and smashes into it – and then feels the urge to dance along! Brandon gets KO’d by the dancing Harley and in an effort to end the madness Tim uses Burning Hands to ignite the remains of the piano and the bear (which turns out to be another zombie in a bear suit). Eventually the heroes prevail and have a choice of two more exits , which they let Adam’s pig decide their course.
Following the tunnel they come to a chamber with bodies (several incomplete) on slabs and a cloaked figure standing by a table of tools. At the side of the room is a staircase up to a ledge, and at the far end a quartet of skeletons guard another exit. Knowing how effective his maul is against the skeletons Daniel charges down the room to engage them. Tim and Brandon engage the cloaked figure. And then several of the dismembered hands beginning attacking!
Adam seems to have an unatural fascination with the hands and tries grappling one to hold on to it but Tim and Jack have other ideas and each time he picks a fresh one up they shoot it out of his hands.
Once their foes are down they investigate the ledge finding a lever and peepholes viewing a pair of large coffers. As one of them pulls the lever it causes a rockfall over the coffers. After waiting to see if anything else happens they head further up the tunnel the skeletons had been guarding, eventually coming to a chamber with a pedestal made of intertwined arms holding a globe with a glowing sigil above it, lined with purple curtains.
As they enter a voice calls out telling them to begone or suffer the wrath of the Lord of the Rock. they spot that the voice is coming from a figure hiding behind one of the curtains and before it can attack they smush it with blade, mace and maul. Searching the remains of the room they discover the globe is a driftglobe and a hidden shelf behind one of the curtains holds a wand of magic missiles which they happily take.
Returning to the dancing chamber they decide to investigate the other tunnel which brings them to the rockfall chamber, spending a while unburying the coffers they are rewarded – with nothing, the coffers are empty.
The heroes head back out and return to Red Larch.
A great session, several players will forever detest that tune (which I kept humming/singing whenever not describing anything).