The Golden Apple by Luciella Elisabeth Scarlett is an adventure that instantly takes me back to my childhood. As a child, I loved the works of Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl, and L. Frank Baum. Oh, who am I kidding? I still like to read Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from time to time (having kids helps). If the likes of Gregory Maguire or Tim Burton decide to put their spin on an old classic I usually wait for it with wild abandon. In The Golden Apple, the author has provided us with an adventure that throws us headlong into familiar whimsy and intrigue.
The Golden Apple
This is a 3 to 4 hour module for 1st tier characters (1st to 4th level). The ideal number of PCs for this module is variable; it is based on “average party level”. So as long as your group’s APL is 4 or lower they’ll be fine. You will find simple difficulty adjustments for each APL within the module.
This adventure opens in the middle of a chase scene. The party has just recovered a magic item (The Golden Apple) for an elven woman named Riva. They are certain she used trickery, enticing them to retrieve the apple from a dragon-guarded tree. After they confronted her, she disappeared through a portal she opened. Given their situation, the party had little choice but to follow her through the portal. Consequently, they are now in the Feywild amid talking trees.
The journey continues with the party engaging with fey creatures (good and bad) and a whole host of personalities. After seeking the court of Queen Tatiana, the ruler of the Summer Court, the party learns that a potential war has been brewing. So now they have a conundrum. Do they do their best to prevent war? Exacerbate it? Or just turn tail and book it back home? That will depend on your players and their goals and ambitions.
“Hush! Everyone be quiet; they’re waking up!”
The Golden Apple provides opportunity for role-play and for combat. However, not all the role-playing seems to have much consequence. Regardless of how your group plays pivotal moments, they’ll find themselves at the same climactic scene at the module’s end. In fact, they will find themselves in the same situation in the next scene. The only scene where their actions seem to truly matter is in the final showdown. If they let things escalate to war, people will die. Important people. If they deescalate the tension then they may become heroes. Although I wouldn’t go so far as say the adventure is on tracks, there could be some players that would feel it’s railroaded. Nonetheless, this is a great story with good writing.
The author has included original artwork in The Golden Apple. Personally, I found the art well-matched for an adventure in the Feywild. Each sketch has all the charm and nostalgia of the works of Carroll, Dahl, or Baum. They are simple sketches that are more on the anime side than I ordinarily care for but, by and large, they leave a lot to the imagination. So, they’re perfect for this.
This adventure would work particularly well if you are looking for some reason to enter the Feywild to start a longer campaign there with your PCs. Otherwise, I think it will appeal to a narrower group of players who appreciate whimsy or a dip into something different. All in all, this is a solid adventure and I’d recommend it.
Direct link on DMs Guild to The Golden Apple by Luciella Elisabeth Scarlett.