Have other DMs found this AP to be particularly deadly?


Iron Gods


I'm currently running Iron Gods. My players are about halfway through book 3, and so far there's been one TPK, and 4 other single character deaths.

This is more dying that we typically see in an entire campaign.

Have other DMs had a similar experience with this campaign? Are you finding it killing a ton of PCs?

This is the first AP I've run using Pathfinder rules. I've run several other APs in the past, however I've always run them under 3.5 rules. In the others I ran, I always had to increase the difficulty of most fights because they were too easy for the players. In a lot of cases I had to make them significantly harder. And I still never had this many deaths. This time I'm playing everything as written, I haven't made any fights harder yet.

So are Pathfinder characters just that much weaker than 3.5 characters, and this is how the APs should be? Or is Iron Gods in particular a lot deadlier than most?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder was made to increase the power of the core 3.5 classes, not decrease it.

We've had 1 PC death and 1 cohort death. There's been a few times that others have been close, but nothing like what you're reporting. We're just about through the Aurora. Had the cohort death from the hungry fleshes while the frontliners were fighting the deformed androids. They kept tossing the grenades over by the sealed tube...

What characters do you have?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

There are parts that can be especially brutal, especially if your party doesn't like to rest all that much.

Book one:

:
The advanced gremlins and blindheim at 1st level can devastate if you roll s#%&ty (we didn't have much trouble with the blindheim as only 1 person failed their save) Hetuath is a killing machine and same with the first few robots (literally)

book two also looks pretty tough but we aren't there yet.

maybe dumb down the tactics a little:-)

Hope it works out for you:-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Iron Gods is the first AP for me, and I am roughly at the same spot as you are. There have been no fatalities yet, though we came close several times.

I have four players with 20-point buy characters, and two of them probably count as highly optimized and recently reached the pay-off of their early feat and class ability investments. I have noticed that unless I add a few nuisance creatures or play the opponents extremely smartly* and carefully enforce every rule about cover, terrain, and light, combat can be over in two rounds.

I get the feeling that these two are hogging the spotlight. But all the players seem to be enjoying the ride at the moment, so I am going to just observe the situation.

*or at least as smartly as I can.

Significant or unusual encounters:

Book 1
Blindheim: 3/4 of team blinded by magical frog. Panicking and flailing ensued.
Skulks: diplomacy prevailed.
Gremlins: hide-and-seek ended by movement-related attacks of opportunity.
First ghelarn: bottleneck and bad terrain caused problems, lucky rolls ended them.
Hetuath: fought twice, both times two PCs dropped to negatives. Very challenging.
Robots (all of them): hardness caused minor problems, but 2h-weapons won the day in all cases.
Rats & halforcs: grinding battle of cover, envelopment, movement and fear effects. Party badly dispersed. Battle ended when the party was pushed back to lift chamber and the enemy pursued. They were caught without cover and exterminated.
Meyanda: defensive positions on the reactor platform, plinking enemies and channeling negative energy with good effect. Interesting fight, all PCs down to single-digit HP and two or three were out when Meyanda finally dropped.
Book 2
Smilers at the fort: I failed gas grenade 101 and the battle turned comical. And short.
Dinvaya's golem: ohgodsitswarms! And wrong guy had the swarmbane clasp. Interesting fight, illuminated some party weaknesses.
Birdfood: storming the castle was painful for the PCs. Healing resources were taxed, and in some cases depleted. Very close.
Mutant manticore: made it to round 3 and died after inflicing about 12 hp to PCs.
Smiler HQ: the battle with Gunshy and smilers was confused, fun but not dangerous. Rustrisens were a speed bump. Marrow lasted about 4 rounds thanks to zombies and gas grenades, but was locked in melee and taken down. No significant danger to PCs.
Helskarg: this was the first fight I reinforced with low-level minions. Harpoon gun caused some amusement, but ultimately the fight was short.
Nalakai and the temple: slightly reinforced, turned into bloodbath but drained party resources.
Dark folk: amped the paranoia settings of the players. "Danger in every shadow."
Command deck: slightly reinforced. Orcs went down in 1 round despite being dispersed. Kulgara was tripped and hindered, and managed only one hit (but a critical with near maximum damage). Her self-immolation with the plasma grenade only delayed party victory. Draigs intervened at this point and nearly pulverized another player before being blinded and taken out.
Zaagmander: only very lucky saving throws prevented a TPK to this lone foe. SR protected Zaagmander. Interesting fight.
Hellion: almost every SLA was useless, and plasma cannon failed to terrify fire-protected PCs. Unless those three scrapyard robots had been there, action economy would have doomed Hellion. With those robots to block movement and threaten casters, the fight was even, even threatening, until the very end.
Book 3
Bionanite cloud: ohgodsanotherswarm! Horror and panic turned to eleven. 7 rounds to take it down, with half the party down the well and half above running and screaming.
Foundry ambush: grenade-induced confusion, running around, and general annoyance. Difficult terrain in spots, enemy at different elevations, scattering grenades, darkness, and Seerath popping out of a wall to pursue the casters made for a very entertaining and very long fight. This has been my favorite this far. Three PCs down to low hp, one managed to drop unconscious three times in a single fight (positive channeling saved his bacon).
Gearsman guardpost: grinding, no real threat.
Warden robot: reinforced by a Technic League scout team. Successfully ambushed the PCs and split their efforts, allowing the robot to be an actual threat. The robot was eventually devastated by evocations, but the fight was very close. Subsequent betrayal by the hill giants was almost comical, and did not cause real problems.

TL;DR Lone enemies are a cakewalk at the moment. To survive they either need high saves, lots and lots of hp, or a reliable method to absorb or negate evocation magic. If the monsters can survive the first couple of rounds, the combat usually turns more interesting. The optimized characters are glass cannons and depend on the other two characters to survive their miscalculations or lucky enemy rolls.

One thing I frequently forget is that every fight does not need to be an epic struggle. Still, setting up the board and rolling initiative for a two-round whackfest is boring. Especially when the players start wondering whether they should rest to recover their precious spells after every second encounter. Chickens.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've only had one character die so far, but I technically had a TPK against Hetuath. He's a machine, and he ended up dropping the entire party, minus the swashbuckler. I ended up using that to tell a side story to get the main PCs back into the action, but other than that, they've survived. So far, the most dangerous foe my PCs have encountered is Furkas Xoud, and that's because he refuses to fight fair. They're genuinely afraid of him, mostly because they haven't found a way to deal with his spectral miasma ability.

How many characters are in the group? What sort of stat generation system did you use for them? Have you modified the creatures in the encounters at all, or are you using them as printed?


Misroi wrote:

How many characters are in the group? What sort of stat generation system did you use for them? Have you modified the creatures in the encounters at all, or are you using them as printed?

The group is 4 PCs plus a cohort, though the cohort is a recent addition. Stats were 20 point buy.

Encounters are being run as written mainly as written, with some changes in enemy tactics when called for.

The original party was a wizard, a barbarian, a bard, and a gunslinger.

Current party is wizard, cleric, ranger, alchemist and rogue (cohort).

Deaths so far were (IIRC):

Gunslinger was killed after he attacked the Skulks in book one while the party was trying to negotiate with them. He expected the party to back him up and they didn't.

Book two, the party rested in one of the rooms halfway through Hellion's excavator. Hellion gathered all the remaining enemies in the cave together to ambush them when they came out of the room they had locked themselves in. TPK ensued.

Book three, alchemist got killed by the nanite swarm.

Book three, alchemist got killed by one of the giants.

Book three, rogue got killed by Furkas's ghost casting cloudkill.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Groups and experiences with APs vary a lot. The casualty threads around here in all APs make me wonder if there are a lot of GMs far more blood-thirsty than I or players far more foolish than mine. Or a mix of both.

The important question is: are the players having fun? If not, something should change. And as GM, the onus is mostly on you to make sure the players are playing the game try want. If they are underpowered, help them power up or time back the challenge.

The Exchange

3 people marked this as a favorite.

My group has had two deaths negated, we use the additional rules from Skulls and Shackles about losing body parts. That way people are encouraged to use cybernetics not to enhance themselves but to replace lost limbs.

At any point they can choose to negate any attack but they are left at -1 HP and bleeding out. This doesn't work against disintegration or death effects.

So, we had a player at 5 hp at one point and they took a 78 damage crit. They invoked our rule and was at -1 hp and had to roll on the lose a limb table.


Codanous wrote:

My group has had two deaths negated, we use the additional rules from Skulls and Shackles about losing body parts. That way people are encouraged to use cybernetics not to enhance themselves but to replace lost limbs.

At any point they can choose to negate any attack but they are left at -1 HP and bleeding out. This doesn't work against disintegration or death effects.

So, we had a player at 5 hp at one point and they took a 78 damage crit. They invoked our rule and was at -1 hp and had to roll on the lose a limb table.

Could you tell me which adventure its in? I'm playing S&S so don't want to spoil anything by flipping through them. I like the idea of needing to replace body parts.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I think it's actually either in the player's guide or possibly Pirates of Golarion, maybe The Wormwood Mutiny.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
eakratz wrote:
Codanous wrote:

MStuff I said

Could you tell me which adventure its in? I'm playing S&S so don't want to spoil anything by flipping through them. I like the idea of needing to replace body parts.

Yeah I am pretty sure we got it from the player's guide. Once we found it we just printed it off.

Our rule is that every time you have to roll on the table you add 1 to your roll for each time you've rolled.

So if someone has invoked the option twice already the next time they do so their roll on the table is a d20 + 2.


Well, we had two more deaths in the most recent session.

The alchemist died again. He got torn to bits by the aurumvorax.

And the rogue cohort died again. She got killed by a particularly nasty combination of wall of force and cloudkill from Furkas's ghost.


Thanks.


What jumps out at me is that unless your alchemist is spending most of his time with mutagen up or your cleric has a major combat focus your line melee strength isn't very good. What's the ranger's combat style?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I have a 25 point buy party, and we had one person get permanently blinded by the Blindhelm (actually a crit card from the deck, not from the eyes), and we also had a PC go -9 from Hetuath.

Should be interesting, I want them to have the fear of god a little bit, they have been walking through our other campaign (homebrew way of the wicked), so I want some stress. :-D


I've had one PC death so far, only a little ways into Lords of Rust. Party of four (human pistolero gunslinger, human paladin of Iomedae, human cleric of Brigh, android magus), 15-point buy. Birdfoot confirmed a critical against the gunslinger and rolled for nearly-max damage across the board: from full-health to dead in only one round. And then two of his pet birds confirmed critical hits on the (already wounded) paladin in the same round, dropping him to -5 but not quite finishing him off.

One Color Spray later, the rest of the fight was a pushover. Had Birdfoot failed his save, though, that could easily have been a TPK.

Quite a few PCs dropped to negative hp and stabilized (at the blindheim, the first ghelarn, Hetuath, the warehouse (which, to be fair, happened slightly differently than as written), and at the first Smilers encounter. It feels more lethal than Kingmaker or Legacy of Fire -- the other two APs this group of players has gone through (although with LoF only part-way)-- but I'm not sure if those comparisons are fair. Kingmaker, in particular, tended towards once-a-day combat with a lot of pre-planning possible, so that tended to make combat easier than it otherwise would have been.

Grand Lodge

1 death so far and it was in book 1 to Meyande and her gargoyle pet. They shut down the robots before dealing with the Gargoyle so when she came out to investigate she brought him with her.

Fast forward to a brutal fight and the Andriod slayer went down and was pushed over to dead with her last channel. Pretty epic fight overall.


DM Carbide wrote:
What jumps out at me is that unless your alchemist is spending most of his time with mutagen up or your cleric has a major combat focus your line melee strength isn't very good. What's the ranger's combat style?

The ranger dual wields with a hammer and shield. I'm not sure if she chose weapon and shield or two weapon combat as her fighting style, it's kind of a combination of the two.

She's definitely the toughest of the party, and hits very hard against certain enemies (constructs mainly), but against a lot of other things she doesn't do enough damage to draw aggro.

The alchemist does a lot of the dying because he does tons of damage (he can throw 3 bombs a round) and only has about 50 HP, and unless he buffs, a fairly poor AC.


It sounds as though the alchemist would be much more effective with another meat shield between him and the bad guys. Maybe your wizard needs to use Summon Monster to get one or two--anything that'll take the heat off of the alchemist and give him a chance to throw bombs around.

Silver Crusade

I think we have had like 10 characters die in various ways. The most epic way Hellion fell into a pit spell, and someone jumped in on top of him with a bag full of 10 grenades. Others ways varied from lame to funny, and we are currently in the choking tower


1 person marked this as a favorite.

In my group we had one PC death so far (tomorrow beginning book 5) and that was in book 2, orc barbarian plus chainsaw is a frightening opponent, we also had a couple of close calls with the big four armed skeleton in book 1.


My group is currently on Palace of the Fallen Star with a mix of veteran and newer players. Party ranges from 4-6 player depending on RL issue with Cohorts to bring the party up to 5 when needed. I had them start with a 25 point buy build.
So far the only deaths were from either bad luck or REALLY bad luck, though there has been a few close calls. I have also ghosted the Obituaries to see where most deaths and TPK happen and try to plan the party’s encounter with those encounters to give the players a fair edge and my few house rules are aimed at helping the player where I feel the rules are the weakest for the player.

Such as:

Breath of Life is renamed to Cure Mortal Wounds and is subject to all rules regarding cure spells (Clerics can spontaneously cast it and Oracles get it as a free spell and other such rules).

Everyone can stand up from prone as a Full-Round action and not provoke or as a move action with a DC 15 Acrobatics check and not provoking an attack of opportunity but both are considered movement and will not allow a 5ft step in the same round or any other similar restrictions.

Enchantment can be moved for 10% of the difference value but are limited to same type. Example you can move a +1 from any weapon to any other masterwork weapon for 200g.

All player earned the Technologist Feat for free at level 5 if they took the feat beforehand they got a free feat in return and Knowledge Engineering is a class skill for all the classes I allowed.

I made sure my party had hit level 2 before reaching the Hetuath encounter including increasing the Exp that they gained from specific encounters and throwing in a Random Encounter in Torch. I have since made sure to keep the party 1 level above the expected level the AP suggests

I upgraded the Trauma Packs that dropped to Trauma Pack Plus and made sure to get the party a Cardio Amp.

I also made sure to keep an eye on player wealth and change loot drops to fit what the party uses or needs at the time

There was quite a bit of struggle during Book 4 Valley of the Brain Collectors. A lot of enemies have confusion as a Spell like Ability and most of my Players have weak will saves. I eventually had to add a new house rule that Protection from Evil work on all Mind Affecting spells from evil sources.

Really out side of Book 4, some bad luck or player's being stupid my party hasn't had much of an issue.

Grand Lodge

Lord Tobies wrote:

My group is currently on Palace of the Fallen Star with a mix of veteran and newer players. Party ranges from 4-6 player depending on RL issue with Cohorts to bring the party up to 5 when needed. I had them start with a 25 point buy build.

So far the only deaths were from either bad luck or REALLY bad luck, though there has been a few close calls. I have also ghosted the Obituaries to see where most deaths and TPK happen and try to plan the party’s encounter with those encounters to give the players a fair edge and my few house rules are aimed at helping the player where I feel the rules are the weakest for the player.

** spoiler omitted **...

Large party, with higher point buy, and many favorable house rules do not make for a normal experience. I am glad your party is not having any issues but you have made many exceptions. So with that in mind you are slightly off topic of what the OP wanted to express that this is indeed a harder module.

Like I said earlier it's certainly a harder one but I think the tech is supposed to make up for some of it at least. Just having the grenades have saved lives many times already.


I'm running for 6 players, all veterans, and a couple of optimizers, so as a baseline I typically add 2 to the CR of most encounters, and 4 to 'big' encounters.

With that in mind, we've had some casualties. I've had 4 character deaths spread out over the course of the first two books, but I'd say part of that was because of party makeup. The group is very martial heavy. They have a lot of damage output, but are beginning to struggle with only a bard and a sorcerer picking up all of the magic slack.

Last night things came to a head in the Choking Tower with a TPK near miss. There were three deaths before they managed to escape and regroup, but again, I'd attribute it to some mistakes, rather than the AP in general.

Spoiler:
They let the invisible stalker go when they found him in the ship under the town, and he returned to Xoud, so Xoud and the stalker have been harrying them throughout their exploration of the Choking Tower, hitting them during other encounters, then retreating. Last night, they were busy trying to deal with the haunt, and Xoud popped up and used a wall of stone to split the party, with 2 PCs on one side (the sorcerer and a gunslinger, and the rest on the other.

The party was covered in mist, and couldn't see each other, and they had positioned themselves badly with the bard at the rear of the party in a 5" hall, and the invisible stalker got the jump on him and slipped a garrote around his neck. By the time the wall was brought down, the haunt dealt with, and the stalker killed, half the party was dead, and the rest were in bad shape. It was a blast, but I thought we were going to be rolling up new characters for a moment.

But again, I think with a more balanced party, and a bit more coherent strategy, they'd have fared better.


Hetuath was almost a TPK for my party. 20 point buy, 5 players. some are optimized but hard to be very optimized at 2nd level. Everyone but the rogue/gunslinger was down. She ran. By coincidence the party had already rebooted the hologram environment so the moment Hetuath hit his desert environment he stopped and 're-died'. The other undead never never got a chance to re-spawn.

I tend to run my adventures more like a story. If it's a tough boss fight I want at least one character knocked out or low enough that they personally try to retreat. If the boss fight hasn't lasted that long then the boss suddenly gets some extra HP or does extra damage until it does. I have rarely had to downgrade bad guys but they have made tactically poor decisions of ignoring the wounded paladin and charging the caster past the rogue allowing an attack of opportunity which spread around the damage the PC's took and got more characters into the fray.

Pretty much rules 0 says The DM's word is law and all rules that follow are at the option of the DM. If a TPK happens it's because the DM allows it to happen and if the monsters are a push-over it's because the DM allowed it to happen. Some times it's not a bad decision to let the party get killed, but I find it disrupts the story.

Liberty's Edge

I second that Hetuath is a deadly foe for any parties who haven't hit level 2 by the time they meet him, and they typically would find him after several resources have been spent and they are starting to look a little winded. Hetuath nearly TPK'd my group, but a Black Butterfly-influenced deus ex machina saved the party from certain doom. We had only just started!

In book 2 I had my second death at the hands of Kulgara, and she nearly wiped the party on the second fight with her. Some karmic justice (the final blow being a crit from the weapon of the person she killed) brought it to a lovely conclusion. Hellion was a bit more than the party knew what to do with, but just as he was about to escape (will try harder to do this next run) he was destroyed by his greatest priest Meyanda, who the party had slowly been showing the larger world and one PC pursued a romantic interest in her.

Book 3 saw my third death (the above player's second character) from one too many concussion grenades being tossed at her in the Aurora.

Book 4 the PCs gained some steam, but did have trouble with the cleric deep in the base at the end.

Book 5 nearly saw a wipe of not only the PCs, but the final bosses, as the plasma ooze the PCs had contained for a minute or so finally burst into the room to devour everyone. PCs, kytons, Ozmyn Zaidow, everyone was on the menu. They all managed to escape, Zaidow headed to book 6, while Zernebeth quietly walked past the escaping PCs and cast a teleport on the ooze, who failed its save, and was teleported right about the head of the current queen of Irrisen. My players have vowed to include that moment if they run Reign of Winter.

Book 6 has seen some close calls, and the final battle is already looking pretty hairy with one near-death avoided, but we'll see if the whole adventure was for everything or for nothing!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hetuath is obviously a killing machine. As a GM I gotta say I really love having something really strong like him to play with though, it always makes my players more engaged and scared. Apathetic bunch generally get glassy-eyed on too much trash minions like ratfolk and stuff.

It was all the more funny for me when my players encountered him for the first time on low hp/low spells. They had yet to return to Torch - it was good that Hetuath forced them to go back to town to be honest.

1st Encounter: They managed to luck out and glue the door shut and run and he rolled low to get it open.

2nd Encounter: They return at max strength and the fighter kills him in 3 fortunate hits.

3rd Encounter: Yet to happen. He's regenerated because they left a bloody zombie on the floor - even after seeing the others get disintegrate when the sun came on. They're heading through the engineering deck now and I'm having him stalk them and wait for an opportunity for revenge because I'm a jerk. At least he isn't armed this time.


Yes. This AP has been quite lethal to my players. My group has seen seven deaths so far, three of them permanent character deaths, all permanent deaths were unfortunately characters played by the same player. The party was overrun by the kasatha skeletons in book 1 that took the life of his shaman during the first session. In book 3 Seerath made a successful death attack on his arcanist after some poor perception checks and a natural 1 rolled on his Fort save... Also in book 3 the aurumvorax in the Choking Tower scored two critical hits from a full round attack on his inquisitor, thus killing him with vast amounts of bleed damage from its Bleeding Critical feat.

There have been a few other deaths as well, but they have been countered by raise dead and breath of life spells (that player now plays an oracle and takes every heal spell he can get). The most notable of these was in book 4 facing the yangethes where the party's android gunslinger was bludgeoned to death by a fellow party member who had fallen victim to confusion. The saddest part was that this fellow party member had a strong interest in his newly met android companion.

I haven't GMed any other Pathfinder book APs, but this one, with the inclusion of mythic enemies pitted against non-mythic PCs, seems to be on the more challenging side. I would personally only recommend this AP for more experienced players, but my group has been loving the challenge so far. I just hope they don't make poor decisions in book 5 and get overwhelmed by the technic league.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Yes, there are some deadly encounters.

Spoiler:

In 'The Choking Tower', Furkus Xoud is a crazily powerful ghost. He can do con damage with irradiate, divide the party with wall of force, and fight them from within a cloudkill spell. He encountered in the basement, he may well have a 20 foot high ceiling to fly up to.

In 'The Valley of the Brain Collectors', the migo priest was quite dangerous, especially with his summoned monster, migo minions, and staff of the dark tapestry. But the encounters in the dominion hive make the migo lair look like a mushroom and herb quiche. Heck, a random encounter with 8 neh-thalgu almost took down a couple PCs.

I have not run 'The Divinity Drive' yet, but in looking through it I think my players will be well challenged even at, say, 17th level.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
moon glum wrote:

Yes, there are some deadly encounters.

I have not run 'The Divinity Drive' yet, but in looking through it I think my players will be well challenged even at, say, 17th level.

Divinity Drive is the single most dangerous Part I have run yet. The threats are very diverse and intense.

Entering Divinity starts already with a big threat, the annihilator, which can be devastating if it lands a crit with its laser attack.

Then there is the radiation, which if the PCs don't detect it, can oneshot any PC on a bad Fort roll. My PCs figured out that there has to be something really important behind those blast doors, after Unity flooded that part with radioactivity, so the PCs prepared for it and pushed through, only to be met by Unity’s avatar, which was WAY out of their league (even later on after the weakened Unity, the avatar is still enormously dangerous).

Props to whoever came up with the designs of Bastion and Deacon Hope, because these encounters were very creative, dangerous and very hard to figure out for the PCs.

I'm normally not a big fan of Dungeoncrawl's, but exploring Divinity was a blast, as the PCs have very little insight about what to expect and the threats are so diverse, that it is difficult to adapt for them.


We just finished Lords of Rust. Every PC has died once. One was brought back by the scroll of resurrection earned in book one and one used hero points to not die, but he decided to retire the character. One character lost his animal companion the week before his actual PC was killed by Kulgara with an attack of opportunity, who then one-shotted Meyanda the same round.

Reading this thread, I might have to think about upping the XP.


My party hasn't died aside a single unlucky fort save vs Seerath's instant kill ability.

My party is also completely insane and does things like:

-Grapple gremlins and go for pins (and then miss them like four times because dice)
-Charm Furkas Xoud in order to effectively skip the choking tower
-Do the same with Hellion when he showed up for a refight in the Scar of the Spider dominion base area, and have him clear everything out for them
-Make friends with Meyanda
-Deal with the orcs+barbarian with a chainsaw by strapping all the plastique the party had to an earth elemental, sending it through the door, and throwing the switch. Kulgara can't do much in a straight 5v1, it turns out.
-Drop everything that can't fly down pits. Literally everything. Including a charging chariot, mid-charge, via readied action create pit. It wasn't pretty.
-Kill one guy by shoving him off of a railing and into a different guy 15 feet down
-Have a dwarf so specialized in murdering robots that two rounds of chainsaw was enough to put hellion into 'I'm getting the heck out of here' mode
-Chainsawed THROUGH THE BACK OF THE CRASHED DOMINION SAUCER to avoid going anywhere near water and risking fighting anything in there, effectively dealing with the boss first and the rest of the ship second.

I think this is more 'the AP is not built for PCs this prone to doing ridiculous things' territory than it is 'the AP is not challenging,' though.


Of the three adventure paths I have run and one I played in, I would rate Iron Gods as 2nd most deadly. Rise of the Runelords, D&D 3.5 version was more deadly with its lamia and giants. Jade Regent had a lot of travel so the party often fought their most dangerous opponents while fresh. The Serpent's Skull's main difficulty was resource denial, since the party was often stuck shipwrecked on an island or deep in the jungle.

However, Iron Gods does require a change of tactics. The enemies are good both in melee and at range and can often bypass armor, so the strategy of armored fighter and cleric protecting low-hit-point wizard and rogue can often fail. The robots have hardness and lasers. Kulgara with her chainsaw had grenades, too. Alien monsters are alien. The four-armed theme running through the adventure path often meant an enemy with extra attacks; fortunately, Isuma in Valley of the Brain Collectors was an ally.

I believe that the gunslinging Smilers gang in Lords of Rust were a warning to the party about future encounters. Gunpowder firearms don't fit the Numerian setting, but the party was going to face laser firearms in the next module. Tactics developed to counter the gunpowder firearms at 4th or 5th level would help against the plasma beams and laser pistols at 7th and 8th levels.

By coincidence, my Iron Gods party had no squishy characters. It was fighter, bloodrager, gunslinger, magus, and skald. In addition, the skald was a flying strix. They adopted a mobile, skirmishing style against the Numerian opponents. That served them well. They also acqired adamantine weapons at the earliest opportunity.

The close calls in my game was Hetuath knocking the fighter unconscious, Kulgara slicking away 3/4 of the fighter's hit points in one round, Seerath in the Aurora trying her death attack against the bloodrager who was immune due to Improved Uncanny Dodge, and a 5th-level NPC with the party in the Choking Tower missing instant death to Cloudkill by sheer luck because he lagged 10 feet behind the rest of the party. If the party had time to get their battlefield control into play, then their opponents could not overwhelm them. They even nerfed the attacks of the evil solar angel avatar in the Godmind by the gunslinger repeatedly shooting it in the head via Signature Skill on Targeting Deed to Confuse it.


This was easily the deadliest AP I've ever run. My seven person party is in the 1st half of book 4 and I've had 12 permanent PC deaths already. All of them in books 2 and 3. I have one player on his 4th character and another one on his 5th.

They did have to run from Hetuath in book 1, killing it the 1st time by holding an action to close one of the automated doors on it. (They had no effective weapons to hurt it)

In book 2 I had a Kineticist detonate himself to kill Marrow, a Gunslinger killed himself with grenades on accident, Kulgara killing a Barbarian and a Brawler with her suicide grenade; and Hellion ripping a Samurai and a Fighter in half with his attacks on the same round thanks to dual initiative. That's not counting the Wizard almost dying to Helskarg in the arena after he chucked a cylex charge at her. She speared him with the autograpnel and pinned him to her spiked armor for his trouble.

In book 3 the party decided to try and recruit Ilarris and she betrayed them in short order, killing the Alchemist and another Samurai with her wand of Lightning Bolts. Xoud killed the final two, a Necromancer and an Oracle with a Fireball after they popped open his Eversmoking Bottle without healing after a nearby fight.

In book 4 they've gotten very close. Just last session the Vigilante and the Hellknight Signifier almost bought it in an encounter with 2 color-blighted Athachs.

The current party make up is: A Human Ninja who's almost died so many times he's stopped counting.

A Wrywood Rogue which is his 2nd character

An Android Wizard/Technologist who's the only other person in the party besides the Ninja to not have to replace a character, but just barely.

A Drow Samurai, this guy's on his 5th character.

A Dwarven Cleric of Erastil, this guy's on his 4th character.

A Kitsune Vigilante, which is his second character.

And a Human Wizard/Hellknight Signifier, which is his 2nd character.

That's not counting both Isuma, and Sanvil Trett, whom they successfully recruited as a point of pride. He's still a backstabbing CE dirtbag, but he's their backstabbing CE dirtbag.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Iron Gods / Have other DMs found this AP to be particularly deadly? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.