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We played this last weekend (GM Monkhound), and didn't find it to be unusually hard. We had a nodachi paladin 9, sunder-barbarian 9, falchion bard 10, support cleric 10 party and chose to round APL to 10 so we could play the high tier with 4-player adjustment.
We started out by using some vials of Djezet to finally get my paladin the level 4 continual flame he's wanted since level 6. As a result the darkness didn't bother us throughout the adventure.
We suppressed the haunt with channels and lay on hands. Got a vague clue to go to the swamp. We go there and wait and wait but with no other leads, eventually meet with a swamper. Apparently the swamper is scripted to be immune to bargaining or threats and will only sell for a fixed price. The cleric eventually caves and pays. "Yeah, we saw some people there, and would like you to hurt them for us" hardly sounds like 3000gp worth of information, so the bard wanted to kill the swamper, but paladin.
To the Elusia building. The fight with the clockwork mages was tough because they surprised us and dropped my paladin before he got to act with a lot of fire and bad save rolls. Eventually we regrouped and won.
Okay, so the dude the swampers saw wasn't actually the one (why are we paying people for these stupid leads?) and he "just knows" we should go to the lodge. Okay.
We find some passive-aggressive notes scattered accusing us of stuff. I haven't played Darkest Vengeance so this is coming across as rather silly. If the goal is to frame the PFS, why are you scattering notes saying "how does it feel" all over? Rather defeats the point of trying to make it look like the PFS did it.
The dancers upstairs were easily beaten.
Getting to the cellar we used an Invisibility Sphere to enter the room, so the bad guy is monologuing to empty air. Can't blame the writer for that. We fail to spot what's wrong and the barbarian rushes in to Greater Sunder the "knife". Which kills the diva. We rush in the cleric who Breath of Life's her. (We had a disagreement about whether a sunder attempt at something that's not even there could really damage the "holder" of the insubstantial item, but moved on.)
Everyone saved against the sacristan's scream, and after a hit from the barbarian followed by a smite critical from me it died.
The barbarian sundered the BBEG's single weapon and we resisted a few spells, and at that point the boss was all played out.
Can I just petition that bosses get at least a dagger as a backup weapon? Enemies' minimalistic gear blocks makes sundering ludicrously effective.