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"OSRS" Ironman Guide: Quest Order, Gear Progression, Slayer and More

Paul is very knowledgeable about "Old School Runescape," with a maxed Ironman as well as a maxed regular account!

Learn how to max your Ironman in "OSRS" and gain the uniques needed for Raids 1 and 2.

Learn how to max your Ironman in "OSRS" and gain the uniques needed for Raids 1 and 2.

How to Max Your Ironman in Old School RuneScape: Efficiency Guide and Grinding Tips (PVM)

Welcome to my Old School RuneScape Ironman guide. I will assume you have played OSRS before and know the basics of the game and how it works. Before we get into the guide, there are a few things I must say.

  • Firstly, I update this guide as regularly as I can; that being said, there are often things I may miss, so please let me know in the comments if you feel I have missed something!
  • Secondly, this guide is written with the 'end game' defined as being at a fully maxed combat PVM account with all the uniques required for Raids 1 and 2.
  • Finally, I will frequently say 'get 99 . . .' in the guide—putting 100+ hours of grinding into a single line. The most important part of Ironman Mode is enjoying yourself! So don't feel you need to max your skills in the most efficient order; the guide will have a lot of room for change according to what you want to do with your account. Make sure you are always enjoying it!

What if I Just Want to Max My Account?

If your goal is to max your account, then all I would add is to make sure you always do your Herb Runs and your Birdhouse Runs! You can easily get 99 hunter entirely through Birdhouses, and you'll wish you had done your Herb Runs when you come to max after having finished PVM.

Make sure you always do as many Clue Scrolls as you can, too! You could get lucky with Ranger boots and not have to grind them out, and a lot of best-in-slot items come from clues, too, like Blessed D'hide, Blessings and more!

Your can change your character into a Hardcore, Ultimate or Regular Ironman.

Your can change your character into a Hardcore, Ultimate or Regular Ironman.

Starting Out: Early Game

You've made your account, completed Tutorial Island, and changed your character into an Ironman—Hardcore, Ultimate or Regular. Now that you've spawned in Lumbridge, the whole world is teeming with possibilities, and it can be overwhelming to know what to do!

Early in the game, you have several options for where to go straight away. There are three very popular early grinds that many players choose to do, in addition to one that's less popular but still worth considering. However, these are by no means necessary for the rest of the guide. These are the options:

Head to Wintertodt

Go to Wintertodt to get a high Firemaking level. This gives you lots of loot crates, which can be very useful in the early game for Ironmen!

Head to Barbarian Fishing

Getting 99 Fishing here will give you around 73 in Strength and Agility, effectively zero timing both of these skills to a fairly high level!

Level Thieving to 99

This gives over 10m GP, as well as allowing you to never fail Master Farmers—the best way of obtaining Herblore seeds! You can get around 20 Ranarr seeds per hour here. That's roughly 120 4-dose Prayer potions!

Train Mining at the Motherlode Mine

Achieving 99 mining gives you roughly 26k gold ore, 30k mithril ore, 20k adamant ore and 3k rune ore. Smithing the gold will give you around 1.4m Smithing exp! Then you can smith Mithril platebodies, yielding 18M when alched, as well as 400k Magic experience.

This is obviously a long grind, so many choose to unlock Kingdom of Miscellania before beginning—this is usually used to gain extra coal, allowing you to smith all your ores! A lot of Ironmen unlock the dragon pickaxe before heading here to improve the experience rates.

Also, with the introduction of Prifddinas, specifically the Zalcano boss, lots of Smithing exp can be banked without needing to mine it yourself—so mining can be leveled in a much faster way, such as 3-ticking granite!

Head to Wintertodt

If you choose to go to Wintertodt first, there are a few requirements. Firstly, you will need 50 Firemaking, and you will also need some warm clothing to protect yourself from the cold of Wintertodt. Beginning in Lumbridge, thieve men until you have 200gp, then head just south of Lumbridge Castle to buy a steel axe from Bob's Brilliant Axes.

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Next, you should chop regular trees and light the logs until 15 Firemaking/Woodcutting, then repeat with Oak logs until 30 Firemaking/Woodcutting. Then head west to Draynor Village and do the same with Willow logs until you reach 50 Firemaking.

Where to Find the Clue Hunter Outfit Pieces

The next step is to acquire the Clue Hunter Outfit as this counts as warm clothing in Wintertodt. The locations of the places are shown in the screenshots below. Head to each of them (Client of Kourend must be done to get to Kourend) and dig with a spade to get the piece.

Location of Clue Hunter Gloves and Boots

Location of Clue Hunter Gloves and Boots

Location of Clue Hunter Garb (Body Slot)

Location of Clue Hunter Garb (Body Slot)

Location of Clue Hunter Cloak

Location of Clue Hunter Cloak

Pre-Grinding Preparation

Once you have obtained the Clue Hunter Outfit (note that you only need four pieces, not the whole set) and have 50 Firemaking, you're almost ready to begin Wintertodt.

  • Thieve Cakes: At 10 Hitpoints, you will be taking minimal damage, but you will still need some way to heal! When in Ardougne, head to the Cake Stall in the market and thieve cakes and bread until you have around 400 cakes (or as many as you want). This should get you to the 90s in Firemaking, and you can always come back here at any time to get more!
  • Buy a House: Now you're ready to head to Wintertodt. It is a very good idea to buy a house first as this will allow you to gain Construction experience in Wintertodt! You can thieve silk in Ardougne after 20 Thieving and sell it back to the Silk Trader after 5 minutes to gain the 1,000 coins required to buy a house.
  • Collect Planks: Also note that you can head to the Barbarian Outpost and collect regular planks to get your Construction level up before you start. This will give you even more experience from Wintertodt! Personally, I would recommend getting to level 50 Construction and then soloing Wintertodt. This will get you around 74 Construction, which is a massive bonus so early in the game for Ironmen!

Grinding in Wintertodt

Then simply head to Wintertodt and start grinding! Each 500 points will give you a roll on the loot crate, which grants seeds, ores, logs, herbs, coins, runes and pieces of the Pyromancer's Outfit, which you should wear immediately for bonus experience (it counts as warm clothing).

You also have a chance to receive the Tome of Fire, Dragon Axe and the Phoenix pet! The Tome is a brilliant item for Ironmen, and some choose to stay at Wintertodt until they get it (sometimes getting upwards of 20 million experience).

As soon as you have achieved all that you want from Wintertodt, it's time to move on in the guide!

Note: Don't open your crates until you need them, as higher skilling levels give better loot!

The Location of Barbarian Fishing

The Location of Barbarian Fishing

Head to Barbarian Fishing

This is probably the second most popular early game grind to kickstart your ironman account. Barbarian Fishing until 99 will net you around 73 in both Agility and Strength! That gets an incredible grind out of the way early, and by completing your Graceful Outfit, you will be nearing 80 Agility already!

There are a few requirements for Barbarian Fishing, of course. They are listed below:

  • 15 Agility: You should get this in Draynor Village in the early stages of your account. It won't take very long at all!
  • 15 Strength: You can get this easily by doing the Waterfall Quest early on. Alternatively, you can kill some chickens around Lumbridge; this will also help you get some feathers for fishing!
  • 48 Fishing (58 recommended): This allows you to catch leaping trout (leaping salmon), and you should get this in the Barbarian Village just west of Varrock. It's worth it to cook the fish you catch here for some brilliant cooking experience, as there is an everlasting fire right beside the fishing spots! You will need a fly fishing rod and a good amount of feathers to fish here as well, which you can buy from the Port Sarim fishing shop.
  • Feathers: You need bait for Barbarian Fishing, and feathers are the easiest to get (from the Port Sarim fishing shop). For 99 Fishing, you will need around 1m gp worth of feathers, so most Ironmen choose to do some Wintertodt or Thieving first to make the money needed. Alternatively, you can bring a knife and cut up the fish you catch into roe and fish offcuts, which can be used as bait. This reduces the amount of feathers required and gives a good amount of cooking experience!

Once you have everything you need, you can head to the Barbarian outpost and begin Barbarian Training at Otto's Grotto. He will give you a heavy fishing rod, which will let you begin training!

3-Tick Fishing

One way to drastically increase your exp per hour is to use 3-tick fishing. This allows you to have a chance at catching a fish every 3 ticks instead of every 5 ticks! The idea is to begin a 3-tick action, then quickly start fishing—the fishing will only take 3 ticks as a result. Once you have caught a fish (or 3 ticks have passed and you haven't caught a fish), do your 3-tick action again and repeat! Some 3-tick actions are as follows:

  • Adding swamp tar to a clean guam, marrentil or harralander with a pestle and mortar in your inventory to make their respective tars. Note that if you don't fish in time or make a mistake, the herb will turn into the tar and cannot be turned back, so you may need several herbs and lots of tar (it takes 15 tar per herb). Also, you should only have one clean herb in your inventory at a time; otherwise, a menu will appear asking how many herbs you wish to turn into tar—ruining the 3-tick action.
  • Adding kebbit claws to any vambraces (requires 32 crafting and 23 hunter)
  • Using a knife on teak or mahogany logs
  • Best Method: Using a knife on any of the caught fish in your inventory, then eating roe or caviar. This will not only act as a 3-tick action, but it also provides cooking experience and a chance to receive fish offcuts, which can be used as bait over feathers. This reduces cost and improves experience, but it's slightly random in nature and requires strict tick timings. I have included a video below demonstrating!
The rotation is knife-fish-roe/caviar-fishing spot. It may take some getting used to, but be persistent! It improves experience per hour by 66%!

The rotation is knife-fish-roe/caviar-fishing spot. It may take some getting used to, but be persistent! It improves experience per hour by 66%!

Level Thieving to 99

Thieving is great in the early game because you don't need any high-leveled gear for it, unlike Mining or Woodcutting (where you can improve experience rates by getting the Dragon or Crystal equipment).

Level 1–5

Start off in Lumbridge and simply pickpocket men until 5 Thieving. You can use this money to buy a steel axe from Bob!

Level 5–25

Next, you should head to Ardougne and thieve from the Cake Stalls on the eastern side of the marketplace. This will get you a good amount of early food as well, whether it's for Wintertodt or not. The picture below shows a safe spot!

Cake Stall Safe Spot

Cake Stall Safe Spot

Level 25–45

Head to the fruit stalls in Hosidious house in Kourend. This requires 15% Hosidious favour, but you can get this fairly quickly by pushing the ploughs around in the nearby fields. There are two locations, which are shown in the picture below.

  • The one nearer to the bank is good for banking the Golovanova Fruit Tops, which can be used to make Botanical Pies later in the game for a +4 Herblore boost—a very useful item.
  • The stall to the east is better if you choose to drop everything, as there are no guard dogs here. It may also be worth banking the strange fruits you pick up; they restore 10 run energy, which can be very useful in the early game!
Location of the Fruit Stalls in the Hosidious Market

Location of the Fruit Stalls in the Hosidious Market

Level 45–91

From here, you should begin Blackjacking bandits in Pollnivneach. This gives the fastest experience and really good gp per hour; you will earn around 5m from getting 91 Thieving here using the Rogue's Outfit (this doubles any loot you receive while Thieving)!

First, you will need to complete The Feud quest, which will give you a blackjack, then the method is simple:

  • Get a bandit into a secluded location (inside a house with no other bandits, usually).
  • Right-click Knock-out.
  • If you fail, keep trying to knock him out; otherwise, he will become aggressive, and you will have to go upstairs in a house to reset aggro.
  • Once he is knocked out, Pickpocket him two times.
  • Repeat!

Types of Bandits

There are 3 types of bandits in Pollnivneach:

  1. Bearded Pollnivnean Bandits (45–55)
  2. Pollnivnean Bandits (55–65)
  3. Menaphite Thugs (65–91)

It is recommended to go and get the Rogue's Outfit at 50 Thieving, as this will double all the loot you receive!

Another consideration is food. You will need a way to heal; luckily, jugs of wine can be bought from Ali the Barman in south Pollnivneach for very little gp, allowing you to stay here indefinitely!

Level 91–99

Here there are a few options!

  • Pyramid Plunder: Firstly, you could go to Pyramid Plunder! At 91 Thieving, this is the fastest experience in the game, but the big benefit here is the chance to get the Pharaoh's Sceptre. You need one of these to build the Ancient or Occult Altar in your Player-Owned House, and another is needed for a Master Clue requirement. Most Ironmen do this until they have two Sceptres!
  • Ardy Knights, Ardougne: Next, you can go to Ardougne and Thieve Ardy Knights. This makes a good amount of money and is very AFK. Take a break at some stage to do the Ardougne Medium Diary, as this will give you an extra 10% chance to not fail a pickpocket. With this diary, you stop failing Ardy Knights at 95 Thieving, so many Ironmen stay at Menaphite Thugs or Pyramid Plunder until 95 before coming here!
  • Master Farmer, Hosidius: Head to the small house in northern Hosidius with a Master Farmer in it. With the Ardougne Medium Diary done, you will stop failing Master Farmers at 94 Thieving! This will give you a great amount of seeds to start your account, but it yields significantly less experience per hour (around 120k) than the other methods. As stated before, you will gain around 20 Ranarr seeds per hour here!
The loot from getting 99 Mining at the Motherlode Mine.

The loot from getting 99 Mining at the Motherlode Mine.

Train Mining at the Motherlode Mine

This is a less common early-game grind than the ones mentioned before, but it's still very useful, and you should consider doing it to a high level (if not to 99). Hardcore Ironmen use this method a lot more often, since the only way to get a Dragon Pickaxe is to enter the Wilderness, which is too risky for most HCIM. But normal Ironmen should consider grinding out the Dragon Pickaxe before going for 99 to improve the experience rates!

Benefits of This Grind

All the benefits of MLM are shown in the screenshot above:

  • Loads of ores, Smithing exp, and cash
  • Plenty of gems, which are really useful for early-game teleports and late-game Lava Runes/Recoils for Zulrah
  • 30k gold bars. By crafting these into gold bracelets, you will also get almost another 5m gold profit in alchs (after buying the nature runes), as well as 2m magic exp and 750k crafting experience! This is an insane amount of experience to get in the early game, though it may take you a while. Keep in mind that you should hang onto a good amount of gold bars for making jewellery in the future as well!

How to Play Efficiently After the Early Grinds

So you've done whatever grinds you wanted to do above! Maybe you've done all of them or none of them—it doesn't really matter. The next step in this guide is setting up the infrastructure to play efficiently. This means, basically, a lot of questing.

Pre-Questing Requirements

There are a few things you'll want to unlock prior to questing.

Full Graceful Outfit

Before you begin running around the map, you should get your hands on the Full Graceful Outfit. You can get this by completing laps of any Rooftop Agility Course and picking up the Marks of Grace which spawn along the way. Note that the Canafis course from level 40–60 Agility has the best rate of Marks. Once you have collected 260 Marks, you can head to Grace, under the Burthorpe Pub, to buy your outfit.

The full Graceful Outfit gives you a weight reduction of -25kg, and wearing the full set also improves your run restoration rate by 30%! It is also a requirement for a Master Clue step, so if you're going to get one anyway, it is well worth getting it before questing, especially since you won't unlock Stamina Potions until at least 72 Herblore!

Protection Prayers

Another really important unlock before you begin questing is Protection Prayers. The usual way to get 43 Prayer is to get a Staff of Air and loads of Mind Runes, then head to underneath Taverley Dungeon to cast Wind Strike on the Blue Dragons there. You will need 50,339 experience for 43, which is about 100 Dragon Bones.

If you use them on the Wilderness Chaos Altar, this gives a 50% chance to not use a bone—meaning each bone is worth, on average, 576 experience! Also note that you should look out for a Mithril Axe drop from the Blue Dragons; this is used for a quest in the future!

Note: For Hardcore Ironmen, you will have to do the Priest in Peril quest to unlock Canafis, and then use the Ectofunctus, requiring around 200 Dragon Bones!

Main Questing Goals

The long-term goal is to get the Quest Point Cape. This gives the closest free, unlimited teleport to a fairy ring until you get one in your POH. But in achieving the Quest Cape, there are several main goals that you should aim for along the way:

  • Unlocking Kingdom of Miscellania to begin getting resources
  • Unlocking the Dragon Scimitar
  • Unlocking extra herb patches and equipment for Herb Runs
  • Unlocking the Ancient and Lunar Spellbooks
  • Unlocking Fossil Island to begin Birdhouse Runs
  • Unlocking Barrows Gloves
  • Completing Dragon Slayer 2, Monkey Madness 2 and Song of the Elves

All of these are important steps in an account's development, and once these are all complete, you can pretty much begin the Slayer grind (or whichever mid-game grinds you wish to pursue).


Before I go on with the guide, now is a good time to mention Achievement Diaries. Every diary gives you something really useful on your account. For instance, the Ardougne Cape is one of the best items you can get early in the game; when coupled with the Explorer's Ring, these two items give you quick access to two herb patches!

You should do Diaries whenever you can. You will also get Experience Lamps as a reward for completing them! You get 2.5k for an easy diary, 7.5k for a medium diary, 15k for a hard diary and 50k for an elite diary (except for the Karamja Diary, which gives slightly less). It's up to you what you use these lamps for, but most Ironmen choose Herblore (as tempting as it is to put it in Runecrafting), as Herblore is one of the hardest skills for Ironmen to train.

Diary Requirements by Difficulty Level

The requirements for all the diaries of each difficulty level are shown below.

Easy Diary Requirements

Easy Diary Requirements

Medium Diary Requirements

Medium Diary Requirements

Hard Diary Requirements

Hard Diary Requirements

Elite Diary Requirements

Elite Diary Requirements

Go Questing

Now, the most important thing is to open up your account by completing loads of quests! A list of some of the most important quests is shown below. Aside from these, the Old S