It's heartening to see continued support for the OGL 3.5e system, particularly in the light of the release of the 4e GSL. And it's particularly heartening to see new publishers jump in to support this edition, meaning that those that enjoy and play the 3.5e OGL game will continue to enjoy healthy support from 3rd party publishers. One such new publisher that's recently entered the market is War Games South, and their first offering is a short 13 page pdf adventure, Dinner Guest, for 4th to 6th level characters. This adventure sees the PCs investigate the disappearance of a young boy, only to find much more than they'd bargained for in the process.
Dinner Guest comes as a single pdf file. It's clear from the outset that this is not a particularly professionally done product, and the quality of the presentation is fairly mediocre. Essentially it looks like a document converted straight to pdf, which is somewhat disappointing as a first offering. Some attempt has been made to create an appealing cover, which is commendable, but even that does not save the product's presentation. Spelling and grammar errors abound across the product, and the writing is generally not the best. One positive, though, is that the maps look fairly decent and some effort has gone into them, although I wish more effort had gone into the product itself. Single column layout is used throughout, and the product has fair organisation. Also, while I may not be an expert in all things OGL and the OGL license, the least this product could do was include a copy of said license! Mediocre presentation from a new publisher.
The adventure takes place in the city of Port Rath, a city that's recently been ravaged by plague with the net outcome that those survivors in the city now live in an infested, lawless, and dangerous place. The adventure starts where the PCs are approached in one of the dockside taverns by a crying girl, desperately asking for help to find her missing brother. As the PCs investigate, they uncover much more than they'd bargained for. The background for the adventure and the backdrop itself is fairly compelling. However, the product provides no real motivation or reason for the PCs being in a plague infested city, nor enough detail to support the concept itself. A lot could be done to portray the city, and the product doesn't do enough to paint a true picture of the horrors of the city, and indeed the impact this would have on the surrounding areas and the people within and without the city walls.
The adventure itself is largely a dungeon crawl through one of the local abandoned houses. As one would expect for such a locale, the place crawls with undead and other nasties. Creatures are provided with references to pages in the core rulebooks rather than with statistics in the product, although the two new monsters provided come with full statistics. Even then, the mechanics is poor and strewn with errors, and no proper write-ups are done of each of the new creatures. Indeed, much of the work is left to the DM of this product - in one instance the product says that you need to apply a template to a base creature yourself. The creatures and the combat encounters, though, are logical and make sense within the adventure, and the encounters themselves are fairly challenging. The idea and concept at least has some merit, although from the start most experienced players will realise fairly quickly what's going on.
Overall, though, this product has the appearance of one hastily constructed with little thought gone into it, and unfortunately resembles more pre-game notes than publishable adventure. Mechanics were poor or incomplete for the creatures, presentation was not up to standard, and while the premise was interesting and had promise, not enough was done to turn it into something memorable. Dinner Guest showed some promise, but failed in the delivery. Disappointing product.