The main challenge to efficient skilling in Ironman mode is the inability to use the Grand Exchange as a tool to make training more convenient. Because of this it pays to plan ahead and train skills in ways that will facilitate training other skills later. For example chopping ivy may give better experience per hour that some trees in Woodcutting, but if you plan to train Firemaking or Fletching with logs later, you may have to cut trees anyway. In many cases there are ways around this and the best plans will include them wherever possible. For example, one way to get maple logs without cutting them yourself is through Managing Miscellania.
Another key to efficient ironman levelling is balance. Running ahead in some skills gives diminishing returns as you don't have the levels in other skills to skill using the most efficient method. For example, without either high enough combat or Mining to obtain gold ores, crafters are stuck with leather or silver as their primary way to train Crafting. Some skills, such as combat and Runecrafting, benefit in efficiency much less from higher levels in other skills and these are generally the ones you want to train first.
Dungeoneering is perhaps the most well-rounded way to gain experience, and to target specific skills that fall behind. Smithing has that problem, and is still expensive in dungeons, but can be surprisingly quick experience. Crafting is really fast if you only craft protoleather bodies. With Magic level 55, you can cast High Level Alchemy on the bodies to purchase more hide, resulting in fewer dungeons. If you buy a few feathers at the start of the floor, you can also level Fishing and Cooking alongside each other. Outside of these benefits, you can expect extremely useful rewards from your tokens or the various resource dungeons, and you're going to need everything you can get your hands on.
Early money makingEdit
Skills such as Summoning and Construction require money to level efficiently. Other things, such as boss instances and Miscellania will also come in handy for the future. Some of the no-requirement money-making methods are going to be used here, as ironmen cannot access the Grand Exchange.
- Fletching logs into arrow shafts and selling to the General Store (this rewards 1,260 coins per inventory of logs).
- Opening the Stronghold of Security chests for the first time for 10,000 gp.
- Killing level 1 trolls in the Abandoned Burthorpe mine. These monsters drop a drape, which sells for 75 coins in the store, along with bronze 2h swords, and chainbodies. This is a good place to start training, as you can kill the trolls fast, along with getting a cape with designated stats.
- Corpse Spiders (Level 4) can be killed in the Lumbridge Catacombs for their spider silk, which can be crafted into spider silk robe bottom at 23 Crafting and sold to the General store for 450 coins.
- Cockroach soldiers (Level 36) can be killed in the Stronghold of Player Safety for their Carapace, which can be crafted into carapace legs at 34 Crafting and sold to the General store for 1,050 coins.
- Daily shooting star will generate 50k a day.
Mid-level money makingEdit
- Gargoyles are a fantastic moneymaker, with many alchables, averaging 300,000 coins and over, along with noted bars, providing a good source of smithing experience.
- Mature grotworms are a great source of Saradomin brew (2), along with alchables.
- Aberrant spectres are a great source of seeds, herbs, and alchables.
- Turoths are a good and fast slayer task, consisting of consistent adamant alchables, herbs, seeds, and uncut gems.
- Mountain trolls are a good source of nature runes for high alching, along with seeds, and occasionally, a granite shield.
- Aquanites are a good, constant source of medium to high level seeds, herbs (especially ranarrs), water battlestaves and occasionally, sirenic scales.
- Exiled kalphite guardians have a great Blue charm drop rate, along with many alchables and herbs.
Ironmen aren't able to simply buy their gear from the Grand Exchange, so generally your equipment path is going to be different than normal. Below is a compilation of the more viable equipment paths.
- Pathfinder equipment, obtained from following the Path. Potentially the best gear you'll have for many levels.
- Tuska warpriest, obtained from the Tuska Comes minigame. This is hybrid armour and can, once having the matching defence level, be changed from level 25 armour, to level 50 and 75. The minigame also gives some nice experience to a variety of skills.
- Fremennik armour, made from the raw materials dropped by monsters in the Waterbirth Island Dungeon. This is power armour, and is potentially the best armour until. The Fremennik Trials quest is required to wear the armour.
- God Wars Dungeon armour (Armadyl equipment, for example). This armour is almost best in slot for most purposes. It's the highest level power armour that doesn't degrade.
- Amulet of Defense
- Amulet of Accuracy
- Amulet of Magic
- Amulet of Strength
- Amulet of Power
- Amulet of Glory
- Amulet of Fury / Fury (t)
This is a table of viable capes for an ironman, in order of worst to best. For a more complete list see Capes.
|Ardougne cloak 1||-||-||7||0||2||7||7||7|
|Ardougne cloak 2||-||-||11||0||3||9||9||9|
|Cape of legends||-||-||11||0||0||13||13||13|
|Ardougne cloak 3||-||-||16||0||4||15||15||15|
|Cape of accomplishment||-||-||33||0||0||21||21||21|
- Asylum surgeon ring - This is the best in slot ring. It's from the quest Broken Home, which has no requirements, however the ring requires 85 defence to equip. Along with +21 Magic/Strength/Ranged bonus, the ring has a 10% chance to prevent a threshold from using any adrenaline.
- Dagannoth Rings. These consist of the warrior ring, seers' ring, berserker ring, and archers' ring. Berserker and Warrior are the easiest to get, as you can safespot Dagannoth Rex after the rework. This is one spot where you will get a dragon hatchet as well.
- Ring of potency - Reward from the path, when first making your account.
Legacy combat is recommended to be used until roughly level 40 in Attack/Magic/Ranged due to the lack of abilities available.
This is a brief list of viable options for ironmen. For a full list see Weapon/Magic weapons.
- (Tier 6) Caitlin's staff - Reward from The Blood Pact starter quest. Nothing special, can be seen as a tool to get the mindspike.
- Gnome Shopkeeper's Armoury alternatively sells basic weapons.
- (Tier 10) Mindspike - Dropped by troll shamans in the Abandoned Burthorpe mine. Or rarely from the wolves south of the bank. It can be switched to any element.
- (Tier 20) Spider wand/orb set - Made from spider silk at level 26 Crafting. Spider silk can be obtained from corpse spiders in the Lumbridge Catacombs.
- (Tier 30) Batwing wand/book - Made from batwing at level 37 Crafting. It's dropped by warped bats in the Lumbridge Catacombs.
- (Tier 40) Splitbark wand/orb - Obtained by trading 5 bark and some coins to Wizard Jalarast in the Wizard's Tower. Bark is cut from hollow trees in Haunted Woods at 45 Woodcutting.
- (Tier 50) Iban's staff - Obtained as a reward from The Underground Pass. Comes with the special attack Iban Blast, which may deal significant damage.
- (Tier 60) God staves - Obtained from the Mage Arena in the Wilderness. Guthix staff is recommended because it's special attack is extremely useful even at the hardest bosses in the game.
- (Tier 70) Blisterwood staff - Fletched from blisterwood, this staff allows damage to vampyres. The Branches of Darkmeyer is required to obtain this.
- (Tier 75) Greater runic staff - At 90 Runecrafting this staff can be purchased with 25,000 points at Runespan. One ironman strategy is to rush 90 Runecrafting immediately, as it unlocks Player-owned port. So to some ironmen this is a great option.
- (Tier 78) Sunspear (magic) - This is a great weapon to have, but it has a heavy skill requirement. The weapon is obtained from River of Blood, and the best part about it, is it can switch from a magic weapon, to a melee/ranged weapon on the fly.
- (Tier 80) Chaotic staff - Requiring 80 Dungeoneering, these can be bought with 200,000 dungeoneering tokens.
- (Tier 85) Cywir elders Wand/orb set - Dropped from the boss Helwyr in the Heart of Gielinor. This weapon has the damage of a Tier 80 weapon, but the accuracy of a Tier 90 weapon.
- (Tier 90) Noxious staff - Parts to build this weapon are dropped from the solo boss Araxxi.
This is a brief list of viable options for ironmen. For a full list see Weapon/Melee weapons. The beginning tier of weapons can be skipped after completing Waterfall Quest, which rewards enough experience to level your Attack and Strength to level 30 if done at level 1.
- (Tier 6) Reese's sword/off-hand - Reward from The Blood Pact starter quest. Nothing special, can be seen as a tool to get the keenblade.
- Gnome Shopkeeper's Armoury alternatively sells basic weapons.
- (Tier 10) Keenblade - Dropped by troll brutes in the Abandoned Burthorpe mine. Or rarely from the wolves south of the bank.
- (Tier 20) Steel 2h sword - Can be purchased from Gaius's Two-Handed Shop for 1,000.
- (Tier 30) Mithril 2h sword - Can be purchased from Gaius's Two-Handed Shop for 2,600.
- (Tier 40) Adamant 2h sword - Can be purchased from Gaius's Two-Handed Shop for 6,400.
- (Tier 50) Rune spear - An un-wieldable rune spear is a reward from Tai Bwo Wannai Trio quest after talking to Tamayu. He also sells the cleaning cloth used to make it wieldable.
- (Tier 50) Leaf-bladed spear - Purchased from a slayer master for 31,000. The downside is 55 Slayer is required to weild it.
- (Tier 60) Dragon weapons - A couple places these can be purchased is from Jukat's Dragon Sword Shop, and Daga's Scimitar Smithy. The quest Monkey Madness is required to wield dragon weapons.
- (Tier 70) Blisterwood polearm - Fletched from blisterwood, this weapon allows damage to vampyres. The Branches of Darkmeyer is required to obtain this.
- (Tier 75) Sunspear - Main-handed only, this weapon is obtained from The Lord of Vampyrium.
- (Tier 75) Korasi's sword - Main-handed only, this weapon is obtained from The Void Stares Back.
- (Tier 75) Off-hand blisterwood sickle - Off-handed only, this weapon can be made with partial completion of The Lord of Vampyrium with level 70 Fletching.
- (Tier 78) Sunspear (melee) - This is a great weapon to have, but it has a heavy skill requirement. The weapon is obtained from River of Blood, and the best part about it, is it can switch from a melee weapon, to a magic/ranged weapon on the fly.
- (Tier 80) Chaotic weapons - Requiring 80 Dungeoneering, these can be bought with 200,000 dungeoneering tokens.
- (Tier 82) Khopesh of the Kharidian/off-hand. The main-hand drops from monsters requiring at least 89 Slayer in the Sophanem Slayer Dungeon - While the off-hand is found in chests in Shifting Tombs.
- (Tier 85) Dragonrider lance - Dropped from the boss Vindicta in the Heart of Gielinor. This weapon has the damage of a Tier 80 weapon, but the accuracy of a Tier 90 weapon.
- (Tier 90) Noxious scythe - Parts to build this weapon are dropped from the solo boss Araxxi.
This is a brief list of viable options for ironmen. For a full list see Weapon/Ranged weapons.
- (Tier 6) Kayle's chargebow - Reward from The Blood Pact starter quest. Nothing special, can be seen as a tool to get the quickbow.
- Gnome Shopkeeper's Armoury alternatively sells basic weapons.
- (Tier 10) Quickbow - Dropped by troll chuckers in the Abandoned Burthorpe mine. Or rarely from the wolves south of the bank.
- (Tier 20) Willow shortbow - See the Shops section of this page for locations to purchase these items.
- (Tier 30) Maple shortbow - See the Shops section of this page for locations to purchase these items.
- (Tier 40) Yew shortbow - Dropped from Dried zombies at the ruins of Ullek.
- (Tier 50) Magic shortbow - Dropped from various monsters in the Heart of Gielinor.
- (Tier 60) Red salamander - Caught with 59 Hunter, and considered a crossbow for the purpose of monsters' weakness. Tarromin tar is used as ammo, the downside is swamp tar isn't easy to get and herbs are a luxury.
- (Tier 70) Crystal bow - Requiring 50 Agility, this bow is a quest reward from Roving Elves.
- (Tier 70) Black salamander - Caught with 67 Hunter, and considered a crossbow for the purpose of monsters' weakness. Harralander tar is used as ammo, the downside is swamp tar isn't easy to get and herbs are a luxury.
- (Tier 70) Blisterwood stakes - Fletched from blisterwood, this weapon allows damage to vampyres. The Branches of Darkmeyer is required to obtain this.
- (Tier 78) Sunspear (ranged) - This is a great weapon to have, but it has a heavy skill requirement. The weapon is obtained from River of Blood, and the best part about it, is it can switch from a ranged weapon, to a melee/magic weapon on the fly.
- (Tier 80) Royal crossbow - Built at 70 Smithing with weapon parts obtained as drops from the Queen Black Dragon.
- (Tier 80) Attuned crystal bow - Requiring 50 Agility to wield, and 90 Smithing to create. The Eyes of Glouphrie is required to make the bow, and The Light Within to obtain the attuned weapon seed.
- (Tier 80) Chaotic crossbows - Requiring 80 Dungeoneering, these can be bought with 300,000 dungeoneering tokens.
- (Tier 85) Shadow glaives - Dropped from the boss Gregorovic in the Heart of Gielinor. This weapon has the damage of a Tier 80 weapon, but the accuracy of a Tier 90 weapon.
- (Tier 90) Noxious longbow - Parts to build this weapon are dropped from the solo boss Araxxi.
This is a list of items that are mainly kept in the inventory and equipped for a brief moment (called a switch), or activated to re-buff stats.
- Dominion marker - Obtained from the Dominion Tower with a number of low requirements, this banner can be placed to give a significant boost to combat stats from +11 at stage 1, to +15 at stage 4.
- Excalibur - Obtained as a quest reward from Merlin's Crystal, when operated this weapon will raise your Defence by 8 levels.
- Guthix Staff - Obtained from the Mage Arena, this magic weapon's special attack debuffs a monster's defence, making your attacks more accurate. Generally this weapon is used as a switch to apply the debuff. This weapon's special attack, Claws of Guthix, is unlocked from casting Divine Storm 100 times on any of the wizards inside the arena. Legacy combat mode and a wand/orb is recommended.
- Ring of Vigour - Bought with 50,000 dungeoneering tokens, this ring is usually switched to before casting an ultimate to preserve 10% adrenaline.
As an ironman, quests should be priority. They give great experience rewards, and sometimes useful items such as the Sunspear or Asylum surgeon ring. Listed below are quests with relatively low requirements that will give you a nice boost in levels at the beginning of your journey.
- Waterfall Quest - Rewards 13,750 Attack/Strength experience
- Tree Gnome Village - Rewards 11,450 Attack experience
- Witch's house - Rewards 6,325 Constitution experience
- Mountain Daughter - Rewards 2,000 Prayer and 1,000 Attack experience
- Fight Arena - Rewards 12,175 Attack and 2,175 Thieving experience
- Vampyre Slayer - Rewards 4,825 Attack experience
- Beneath Cursed Tides - Rewards 5,000 Cooking/Fishing experience lamps, along with a 10,000 lamp able to be used in Combat skills (also includes Herblore, Summoning, and Slayer, along with unlocking a monthly D&D)
- Sea Slug - Rewards 7,175 Fishing experience
You can see the full list of the experience rewards quests give, here.
Aside from doing key quests, and quests that give notable rewards, there is also an optimal order for quests to be done to minimise the amount of training you have to do. The guide will tell you to put the experience rewards into specific skills, but as an ironman you may find it more important to always put your experience rewards into Herblore.
Later in the game, you will probably need to get skill requirements for other quests and such, and Temple Trekking is a good source of resources, such as silver bars, watermelon seeds, bowstrings, raw sharks, etc. The full list of rewards is here.
Since you can't use the GE, shops are much more important for ironmen.
- 2h weapons - Gaius's Two-Handed Shop in Burthorpe (up to adamant).
- Main-handed weapons - Varrock Sword Shop in Varrock (up to adamant).
- Main-handed rune weapons - Scavvo's Rune Store
- Helmets - Peksa's Helmet Shop in Barbarian Village (up to adamant).
- Platebodies - Horvik's Armour Shop in Varrock (up to mithril).
- Platelegs - Louie's Armoured Legs Bazaar in Al Kharid (up to adamant).
- Shields - Cassie's Shield Shop in Falador (up to mithril)
- Ranged equipment - Lowe's Archery Emporium in Varrock (up to maple/adamant arrows, also sells leather/studded armour).
- Amulet of accuracy - Wizard Mizgog
- Pickaxes - Nurmof's Pickaxe Shop in the Dwarven Mine North of Falador (up to rune)
- Hatchets - Bob's Brilliant Axes Hatchets (up to steel)
There are multiple activities to do on an Ironman for fast and free experience, and are accessible at any level.
- Nemi Forest - This is a great daily to do, as it awards Prayer, Farming, Mining, and Dungeoneering experience based on your level. The Nemi Forest community post a map of the current hosted world on the NemiForest subreddit.
- D&Ds - There are daily, weekly, and monthly D&D's that can be done for fast experience. The list of all D&D's is here. Not all D&D's are accessible to Ironmen, such as Blast Furnace, Demon Raids, Fishing Trawler, Fist of Guthix, Flash Powder Factory, Heist, Stealing Creation, Sinkholes, Trouble Brewing, and Wilderness Warbands.
- The Nexus - This is a great place to start training Prayer, as it is easy and free. From level one, you are allowed to gain a total of 37,224 Prayer experience, which brings you to 40.
- Daily Challenges - Dailies are a great source of experience, as they are quite simple, and give resources back used within the challenge. One daily that most Ironmen avoid are cooking dailies, as you lose most of your fish, which comes in handy with Bossing or Slayer.
- Shattered Worlds - If you plan on doing slayer, you want to come here first, as with this minigame, you can purchase masks of specific slayer creatures, being able to guarantee a specific task.
- Seasonal events, such as the Summer Beach Event, are fantastic for Ironmen, as it provides a great source of free and idle Construction experience, D&D teleportation, hourly Terrorbird races, and much more.
Activities (with level requirements)Edit
- At level 72 hunter, players can obtain the enhanced yaktwee stick, which provides 5% more experience in Hunter (also works in the Big Chinchompa minigame). To enhance your yaktwee stick, players must catch 1,000 charming sprites. Along this path, you will gain a small portion of charms for Summoning.
- At level 30 Smithing, you can begin making iron burial armour at Artisan's Workshop, which is great for idle skilling, along with the use of ores, rather than bars.
- At 35 slayer, along with 20 crafting, players can do the Smoking Kills quest, which gives players twice as many slayer points per task, along with allowing a player to craft a slayer helmet (after learning the technique).
Tasks and notable rewardsEdit
The task system is very beneficial towards some of the more difficult skills, such as Herblore, so it is recommended to do these tasks for rewards that will benefit you down the line.
- Wilderness Tasks - Easy and Medium tasks are very easy to get requirements for, and give a large amount of experience to lower levelled skills. Completing the Easy tasks rewards you with two 10,000 experience lamps to any skills above 30, and Medium rewarding two 40,000 experience lamps in any skill over 52, as well as the Wilderness Sword, which can provide free teleportation to Edgeville, and the Forinthry Dungeon which is useful for greater demon slayer tasks.
- Seers' Village Tasks - Completion of the Hard tasks grants you with the Enhanced Excalibur, which (along with the defence bonus), gives a passive healing effect of 4% of your maximum health, 5 times, over 20 seconds. This also acts as a tier 70 off-hand weapon, with stats similar to an Abyssal whip. If lost this item is very simple to replace by talking to The Lady of the Lake, and paying her 500 coins. This weapon can also be augmented, so it is great for Invention.
- Varrock Tasks - Completion of any level of tasks rewards the ability to buy more battlestaves from Naff, becoming a good source of daily crafting experience. Also, the hard task rewards doubles the charm drops from Bork.
- Slayer and Divination is your friend on Ironman. Slayer rewards players with coins, along with supplies for future skills. Divination is another skill to focus on, as this can help with some fast daily experience, such as Woodcutting or Fishing, with Divine locations, as well as making other useful items, such as a sign of the porter.
- Depending on your level, try and avoid Cooking daily challenges, as this results in you losing all of your food. If it's for lower levels (Shrimp, Anchovies, etc.) it will not be as consequential as losing Cavefish or Rocktail.
- Ironmen can make vis wax, which is used to reroll/extend daily challenges, extend auras, or allow quicker teleportation, so it would be viable to go to the magic shops around Gielinor (or create the runes) to make vis wax for future use. To create vis wax, you need to use the Rune Goldberg Machine, located in the Runecrafting guild. 50 Runecrafting is required to enter the guild.
- To begin prayer training, players should consider looking into unlocking the cremation ability, which allows players to burn bones on fire, for Firemaking and Prayer experience, which is an alternate to the gilded altar, Chaos Temple, or the Ectofuntus. To earn this ability, players must kill Ghost monsters. When a player gains this ability, it will show as a game message: "You have unlocked the ability to burn bones on bonfires!"
Ironmen can't purchase most of their equipment so they may kill bosses outside of the recommended stats and gear. To make up for this different strategies are sometimes used.
Out of all the Dagannoth Kings, Dagannoth Rex is the easiest to safe-spot. This makes it possible for lower levels to get easy kills. His notable drops are, warrior ring, berserker ring, some pieces of rock-shell armour, and mithril plateskirt which is used for clue scroll (medium). Not only those drops, but all Dagannoth Kings drop dragon hatchet, and dagannoth hide.
- Magic power armour
- Any utility items
- Fire spells
- High Level Alchemy
- Shield for Resonance
- Emergency teleport (Ectophial recommended)
To start a Dagannoth Kings instance, it's recommended to use the fastest spawn speed as only one of the Kings is to be killed. Upon entering the instance, quickly move to spot 1, surging along the way. Attack Dagannoth Rex when he spawns with Combust, and move back into spot 1, wait, and use Resonance to heal off his first, and hopefully only successful hit. Move into spot 2 once Rex is in range, indicated by his hitting the player. Kill him without worry, as the other Kings won't come into attack range. Once Rex is dead, collect the loot and either wait in the complete safety of spot 2 for around 10 seconds then move to spot 1, or move directly into spot 1. Either way, before Rex spawns again, use Regenerate to convert your remaining adrenaline into health, or stall your adrenaline for the next kill by killing the minions in the water or using Anticipation, Freedom, and Preparation. If done right you shouldn't end up using any food besides the occasional agro by one of the other two Kings. If that does happen, it's advised to quickly exit via the entrance while using protect from ranged, or protect from magic if the more damaging, Dagannoth Prime happens to attack on the way out.
- The RS3Ironmen subreddit is a place to socialise and has a few guides available. Some information in this guide came from there.