My party and I are playing Iron Gods, and are still in the beginning chapters of the campaign. But we've been facing a fair amount of Constructs. I don't know about other campaigns/adventures, but in this one the Constructs have a hardness (typically +10). This would be less of an issue if we could deal more damage at a time, but we tend to have an issue with hitting, let alone dealing over 10 damage in a single hit.

I know there's some things that can hurt Constructs, like electricity and adamantite weaponry. But at such low levels, we don't really have any spells that're viable for the situation or money to buy a 3000+ gp weapon.

How can low levels defeat constructs, aside from trying to constantly crit or electricity spells?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Which constructs are you specifically having trouble with? Does your GM agree that these combats should be easier to defeat/that your party should know Constructs' weaknesses? I'm not specifically familiar with Iron Gods, but I know Paizo sometimes includes encounters that are supposed to be significantly harder than the norm, or that you aren't expected to have the exact tools to overcome immediately (only to be relieved when they finally do find a set of Adamantine weaponry in the next dungeon or so) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, is this Pathfinder, D&D 3.5 in a Pathfinder AP, or some blend? Paizo di away with Hardness on Constructs to the best of my knowledge. Or do you mean Damage Reduction? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso He hasn't specifically said we need to know how to deal with it, but he did suggest buying a couple adamantite bolts to use as "improvised weapons" if necessary. Right now we have a drone that we managed to ground with some tanglefoot bags that we'll smash next session. This is an official Paizo Adventure Path and the constructs do have Hardness. We're relatively close to owning at least one adamantite weapon, though. I'm hoping to get a Falchion for the extra crit chance. \$\endgroup\$
    – KGlasier
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ In Pathfinder, robots (a subtype of construct) have hardness instead of DR. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


Im very familiar with Iron Gods, its one of the adventure paths that is a high priority on my list of campaigns to GM. As such, I identified the construct you mentioned right away (Gearsmen), and I will say some spoilers about their behavior that you might not want to know, so skip ahead if you don't want spoilers:

Gearsmen will not pursue or attack enemies outside of the area they activate, so they could be tricked into being activated ("intruder detected! exterminate!") and kited to the door so the group can handle them easily. They are also mentioned as being a "tough enemy" for the group by the designers, so they are intentionally difficult so the group will thankful when they get energy weapons later in the adventure. Also note that they can repair themselves, they arent always skippable, but sometimes you simply have to handle them temporarily and later come back to try to handle them permanently, so keep that in mind. Also, the adventure does not hand you any electricity weapon, so don't expect to kill them using that unless you manage to lure them into one of the several electricity traps.

With that out of the way, the easiest way to handle high DR (or hardness, in this case) is to obtain ways to cause Energy Damage, easily available from spells, alchemical items, and certain class abilities. To list a few easy solutions (and please, this is not an exhaustive list, but merely examples):

  • Tanglefoot Bag, will entangle them and prevent them from attacking the group;
  • Alchemist Fire, 1d6 damage on a direct hit, and another 1d6 on the next round;
  • Acid Flask, 1d6 damage on a direct hit, a cheaper alternative to alchemist fire;
  • Bottled Lightning, 1d8 electricity damage;
  • Shocking Grasp, 1d6 electricity damage per caster level on a melee touch attack;

Hardness on creatures work a little differently than on objects (as explained on this answer, which is talking about Iron Gods's robots, by the way), as energy damage is not halved against them, and any energy damage caused is then reduced by their hardness value. This means that you want to use whatever energy type they are vulnerable to, as others will get reduced by 5/10 points and not really be effective.

Robots specifically are also vulnerable to electricity, so try to find a way to obtain a reliable source of shocking grasps, or bottled lightning and you will be golden. Not only they will take increased damage, but their Hardness will not apply. Acid flasks and alchemical fire won't really be a good idea against robots, as they are not vulnerable to fire or acid damage.

Constructs, in general, usually have a low Dex score, and bad reflex saves. This also means they have a low Touch AC, being easy to land touch spells and abilities on them, including alchemical items like those I mentioned (ranged touch attacks for thrown alchemical weapons).

Another spoiler about treasures from the adventure:

The adventure will give you a few energy weapons, such as grenades and timeworn weapons (flare guns), which can be used a few times and cannot be recharged. Those might help since they also bypass hardness/damage reduction. The adventure is pretty hardcore on damage, but you also get a lot of technological treasure, including a healing gun (!).

Another way to try to handle them is to group up and abuse maneuvers. For instance, disarming them will prevent them from electrifying their weapons, drastically reducing their damage output. Dropping prone and/or grappling one of them would allow other party members to have an easier time trying to land their attacks.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the info! Just a side note: the gearsman we fought went down fairly easy by deactivating it via a console, and throwing it in some sort of furnace/disassembly machine. This one is just the purple haired lady’s flying robot thing. I’ll wait a bit to see if any more answers come in before marking yours as the solution. \$\endgroup\$
    – KGlasier
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, that one is pretty tough. You guys may have fought her under the recommended level (4th). \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ We were level 3, our original encounter had someone die in it.... Then our second encounter (tried to go back to deal with it) we found a console that turned him off for a day or something like that so we could dismantle him. In To list a few easy solutions: ... you made it seem as if energy attacks circumnavigate Hardness. Is this true, or is it only one of the specific types of damage that it avoids. Ie in this case we'd want Bottled Lightning instead of an acid flask? \$\endgroup\$
    – KGlasier
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 19:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I simply had forgotten about it, I was focused on the cheaper items, since I didnt know what level we were talking about. I will clarify in the answer, but electricity damage will deal +50% and ignore their hardness, according to the info we have in this answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 19:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I see nothing in this answer that allows one to actually play a warrior with any kind of effectiveness. Alchemical weapons are expensive, inefficient, and in any event do not allow for a real warrior character. Does this answer mean to say that the adventure sidelines a massive portion of the game’s supported characters for several levels? Because that is the impression I get—and such a massive flaw should be explicitly noted up front (by Paizo, but also by this answer), if true. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 13:51

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