It’s one of the most controversial aspects of the game, yet as necessary as updating your armor or building a more substantial base. When Funcom first showcased the thrall mechanic of Conan Exiles to the public, it made quite the stir.
Putting slavery in a game is one thing, but putting slavery in a game that the player benefits from is pretty taboo. Add in the hands-on approach to capturing and breaking other humans, and you’ve got a mess of a PR situation.
Fortunately for Funcom, the attention was short-lived. Part of this was due to the majority of the public being distracted by the game’s adult-rated character creator, and you could blame the rest on the gamer population’s short attention span.
Funcom themselves chalked the mechanic up to being based in Conan lore, and the issue seemed to fade away completely.
Regarding gameplay, the Conan Exiles thralls mechanic made it possible to re-create successful aspects of other survival games in a way that made sense for Conan. Turning enemies into allies (once you are powerful enough to do so) is a fun and addictive addition to any game.
The world of Conan Exiles relies on its manpower, willing or not. Venture into the world of thralls by learning the thrall taker feat at level 10, building a lesser wheel of pain, and crafting a truncheon and bindings. Head out into the world with your truncheon and bindings to find and knock out your first NPC.
After dragging them back to your base, pull up your lesser wheel of pain’s inventory while the bindings are still attached, and your thrall will be automatically added to the wheel’s inventory. Simply add gruel or other low-value food for the NPC to begin “crafting” into a thrall.
Thralls come in two types: combat and crafting. Combat thralls can be placed in the world to defend your base, carry your things, or follow you into battle. Crafting thralls must be placed at their profession’s bench.
Thralls also come in four tiers. The higher the tier, the better bonuses a crafting thrall will add to their station. They may even unlock new recipes otherwise inaccessible to the player. Tier four thralls are unique named NPCs and often dangerous to acquire. Tier four combat thralls taken from the purge can start with even more valuable stats!
My Experience with Thralls in Conan Exiles: The Great Dance Off
While I personally prefer animal followers to human followers, it is nearly impossible to succeed in Conan Exiles without participating in thrall-taking. I use them to crew my crafting stations, carry my things, and fight my battles for me.
I have managed to capture a few best-in-game thralls, but to be honest with you, it’s not usually my priority. I like a pack of diverse and creatively named heroes, and I get overly attached to every single one.
It’s always a party back at my base because I usually pick up an excessive amount of entertainers for fun. I like odd-looking dancers the most, so don’t get confused about the type of party it will be. I like hunting the Exiled Lands for their outfits and accessories and placing them over and over again until they’re doing the right dance on the right beat.
Some may claim the point of Conan Exiles lies in its end-game content, but I say you haven’t made it anywhere until you have a base packed full of mismatched dancers.
Preparing for Your First Thrall
Before heading into the desert in search of your first thrall, there are a couple of things you’ll need to do to prepare. This isn’t an over-exaggeration; your hard-won thrall could very quickly get up and walk away if you don’t have a wheel of pain in place when you drag them back in your base.
Before you hit the sand, you’ll also need a club to knock them out and a rope to drag them back home.
Your first task will be to construct your first wheel of pain. This “crafting station” turns captured NPCs into thralls. The first wheel of pain that you will be able to learn how to build is the lesser wheel of pain.
Once you hit level 10, check your feats page for the Thrall Taker feat. This feat will also teach you how to make a truncheon and bindings. The wheel of pain is a relatively loud station once it’s in use; I suggest you place it well out of the way or may end up driving you nuts.
Go ahead and craft the truncheon and bindings now that you’ve learned the feat. Once crafted, you must station them on your action wheel and equip them like a weapon.
The truncheon is used to knock thralls out instead of killing them. You won’t see their normal health bar decrease but will instead see a knock-out bar increase as you hit them with the truncheon. Once your NPC is knocked out, you’ll use the bindings to drag them back to base.
Practice equipping the truncheon quickly and switching between your weapon and it so that you will be comfortable in a fight.
You may have to kill several other NPCs before focusing on knocking out your intended NPC, so it’s best to be familiar with your weapon, truncheon, and healing solution before you head out. I would suggest crafting an extra set of bindings if your trip to capture a thrall is exceptionally long.
How to Capture and Break a Thrall
Now that you’ve built your wheel of pain (or lesser wheel of pain, more likely) and crafted a truncheon and some bindings, it’s time to go looking for a thrall.
I suggest starting with a fighter, archer, or dancer so that the thrall you end up with will be able to follow you in the real world. Crafting station thralls are very helpful, but not nearly as essential as obtaining your first follower.
Once you’ve spotted the camp, you’ll be raiding, equip your weapon and kill off any NPCs that you won’t be taking with you. Quickly switch to your truncheon and knock out the thrall that you’d like to drag back to base.
You can keep a shield equipped in your off-hand to help with your own health bar, but be very careful of their health bar. If you accidentally kill them with a weapon or fall damage, you’ll essentially need to start over.
Once your intended thrall is knocked out, equip your bindings and attach them to the body. You’ll then be able to drag them back to your wheel of pain.
You can run or even mount with a thrall attached, and while the body may fly around wildly behind you, it will stay attached until the bindings degrade on their own. You can detach the bindings briefly if you need your hands free, but be cautious of the captured thrall waking up and leaving.
Once your reach your wheel of pain, you’ll only need to open its inventory with the bindings attached to deposit the NPC into the crafting station.
Thralls on the Wheel
To start crafting your NPC into a thrall, all you have to do is feed them. Place any extra food you have in the wheel’s inventory to start the process. Unlike other stations, it doesn’t matter what you feed them as long as they’ll eat it.
Their stats are not affected by the food in the wheel. For this reason, it makes the most sense to feed them the cheapest food possible: gruel.
The NPC will start pushing the wheel when you’ve supplied appropriate food. If the wheel stops and the NPC is still visible, it means they’ve run out of food. If the wheel stops and the NPC is not visible, it means they finished crafting into a thrall. You’ll find your new thrall in the wheel’s inventory; unless, of course, someone stole them.
Types of Thrall: Crafting or Combat
Where you’ll be placing your new thrall depends on the type of thrall it is. There are two broad types of thrall to consider, ones that can be placed in the world and those that cannot. The ones that can be placed anywhere are generally referred to as combat thralls. These include fighters, archers, entertainers, and bearers.
It’s important to keep in mind that their designation out in the world will not necessarily be indicative of their stats once they are made into a follower. Just because a thrall is named an archer does not mean that their accuracy will be higher than a fighter from the same camp. Nobody knows why this is the case.
The only thing that actually does affect their stats is the tribe that they’re from. Each tribe has a long list of stats, but the general idea is the more difficult area of the world you’re in, the better your captured thrall could end up being.
Those that must be placed at a specific station are called crafting station thralls or crafters. These are every other type of thrall. Blacksmiths, cooks, tanners, and more are considered crafting station thralls.
You’ll be able to tell which thrall you’ve captured by their name in the wheel of pain. If you’ve captured a combat thrall, check their character sheet once they’re placed. This is also where you’ll be able to check their stats. Not every thrall is made the same, and some will be far superior to others for combat.
It’s helpful to know that archers and fighters are not necessarily suited for the task that their name suggests. Bearers and entertainers can also have surprising stats, but they set themselves apart from the rest by their unique skills.
Thrall Quality: Tiers
Within these different types of thrall, there is another important designation to help organize your followers. Thralls are ranked in tiers, from tier 1 to tier 4. The higher tier your thrall, the more valuable it will be to you and the more difficult it will be to capture.
T1 to T3 are pretty self-explanatory. They are the increasing order of quality for captured thralls. Crafting thralls that are T3 and up can add new recipes to their stations. Always check the recipe list after you’ve added a high-tiered thrall.
When you start hunting named thralls, or T4 thralls, things start to get a little more complicated. Tier four thralls can be spotted by their name. They go by names like Dalinsia Snowhunter or Beastmaster Tiemos instead of “fighter.”
Tier four is also split into two quality grades. If you manage to take one from the purge, their base stats are likely to be much higher than if you found them out in the real world. They are still named thralls, which is presumably why purge thralls are still considered tier four instead of having their own T5 designation.
To make things even more complicated, not every T4 named thrall is created alike, purge or not. Crafter T4 thralls are often split into types depending on their profession, making them more proficient at some tasks or stations.
Some will craft items faster, while others will make items more durable or effective. You’ll be able to look up your thralls specialization and determine the best station to place them at once you start capturing named thralls.
Not only can thralls carry your things, but they can also use their own. Every combat thrall comes with an inventory and equipment slots. You can equip armor and melee or ranged weapons.
If you’d like your thrall to switch between weapons, you can equip several for them to rotate through, depending on their combat settings. To heal themselves, they can either eat food or use bandages and potions.
The rest of their inventory is for you to use as you see fit. Thralls have no encumbrance limit, so load in your heaviest items and save your inventory for random, lighter treasures.
If you are on your very last spot in their inventory, try loading in something while their weapons are in their hands. When they return their weapons to their inventory, they’ll create a new extra spot for their sheathed weapons.
Leveling Your New Thrall
Now that you’ve chosen the appropriate type and tier of thrall, you may be wondering what to do next. If you’ve chosen a crafting thrall, then the only thing left to do is to choose a crafting station to place them at. If you’ve chosen any type of combat thrall, you’ll need to set them on follow and then take them out into the world to level with you.
Before you leave, rustle through your chests for any spare weapons or armor that might be lying around. What you equip your new thrall with makes a huge difference in their performance.
In fact, if you don’t feel like messing with additional equipment, you’re better off taming an animal follower to a thrall. The equipment is what makes thralls the best follower type overall, but animal followers are more effective with minimal effort.
After you’ve replaced their rags, it’s time to feed them. While it is no longer necessary to keep the thrall pot full to keep them alive, there are some benefits to keeping food in their inventory.
The food you feed your thrall may give them a slight growth chance on one of their stats. You can find longer lists elsewhere, but there are really only three stats you’d be interested in growing at this point in Conan Exiles, so those are the ones we’ll focus on here.
Cooked fish adds a 14% growth rate to accuracy. Accuracy increases ranged damage and is used for thralls that will be primarily using bows.
Gruel adds a 14% growth rate to strength. Strength increases melee damage and is great for high-damage combat thralls.
Grilled steak adds a 14% growth rate to vitality. Vitality increases your thrall’s health pool and is a nice stat to level for thralls meant to take most of the damage.
Your new thrall will also consume this food to heal themselves. The last food they consume will be the one that applies the bonus the next time they level.
Personally, I am firmly on team gruel. I like my combat thralls to hit like a truck, and I don’t mind healing them on the fly. You can place food and bandages in their inventory or shoot them with healing arrows to keep them in the fight. I’ve certainly lost more thralls than someone that focuses on vitality, so there’s always a cost to going this route.
Advanced Concerns: High Tier Thralls and Their Benefits
The game starts to change as you become the powerful desert overlord you were destined to be and thralls start to get a little more complicated. You’ll start looking for the best of the best, and that requires a little know-how.
Combat Thralls: Stats and Bonuses
To understand how to choose the best combat thrall, you’ll need to understand a little bit about how their stats work and about the differences between the types of combat thrall.
Thrall stats work the same way that character stats do, so if you’re struggling to remember the difference between accuracy and survival, just take a look at the hints on your character page.
Don’t worry about diving too deep; the only stats you really need to worry about for thralls are strength (melee damage), vitality (health pool), and accuracy (ranged damage). Which of these stats are important to you depends on your play style and what you’ll be using the combat thralls for.
Base stats are important, but what’s most important in a potential thrall is the growth percentage listed next to these stats. The growth percentage determines how likely a thrall is to add a point to its corresponding stat at each level.
As stated, you can affect what stat you grow by what you feed your thrall, but their designated growth percentage is far more influential.
Combat thralls are your base’s most effective defense system, especially if you level some strategically placed archers. For the best possible archers, you’ll need to start with a thrall with the highest accuracy growth rate combined with the highest base accuracy you can find.
What you look for in a sidekick depends on your play style. There are arguments for either vitality (to give them a large health pool) or strength (to increase their damage). What’s important is that you chose the right base thrall for the task.
Let’s get the messy part out of the way first: there are no reliable differences between archer and fighter NPCs. You may assume that an archer would come with a high base and growth accuracy fresh off the wheel, but it is just as likely that a fighter will.
The only thing that affects a thrall’s base stats (aside from their tier or name) is the clan they come from.
There are some distinct differences between entertainers, bearers, and the other combat thralls, but they may not be obvious in their stat tree. Bearers and entertainers can have surprisingly good stats, in addition to their built-in bonuses.
Bearers have the largest inventory of any thrall, and you’ll be able to spot them in a group by their extra-large pack. T1 bearers have a 10-slot inventory, T2 bearers have a 15-slot inventory, T3 bearers have a 20-slot inventory, and T4 bearers have a 25-slot inventory.
They come standard with this inventory, and there is no need to leave their signature pack equipped once you’ve pulled one off the wheel. A T4 bearer with good combat stats is considered the most valuable thrall in the game.
Entertainers could be considered the healers of the follower category. These NPCs come with intricate dancing outfits and daggers, which will make them stand out in a group of clanmates.
After you pull them off the wheel and place them, you’ll notice a buff applied to your character. Entertainers constantly remove corruption and heal any player in range. Unfortunately, they currently do not heal other thralls. The higher tier your entertainer thrall, the more they will heal and the more corruption they will remove.
Crafting Thralls: Recipes and Bonuses
Crafting thralls may seem a little excessive when you first build your stations, but as you and your clan require more and more resources, they will start to feel necessary. There are also a couple of helpful recipes that can only be learned by stationing a T4 thrall at the bench.
There are as many thralls as there are crafting stations! Here are the crafting thralls in alphabetical order: alchemist, armorer, blacksmith, carpenter, cook, priest, smelter, tanner, and taskmaster.
You can probably guess their corresponding station by their name, but it is worth mentioning that you will have to find a specific priest for the altar that you’ve built. A priest of Derketo will not work at the Shrine of Mitra.
You can distinguish all of these types at a distance by the items that they carry. For instance, a taskmaster will be wielding some kind of truncheon and bindings, and a tanner will carry a cleaver.
You’ll get used to telling the differences between the NPCs relatively quickly, but it helps to start taking note of their differences at lower levels.
The first bonus to consider when taking a T1-T3 crafting thrall is crafting speed. In fact, this could be the only bonus this tier and type of thrall provides. Each type of crafting thrall affects a station differently, so you’ll want to browse our crafting pages for your type’s specific benefits.
As someone that prefers trial and error over research, I will tell you that a good general rule is that if the station makes items with durability and stats, then its thrall likely adds to those. If the station makes components or simple items, then the thrall likely only contributes to crafting speed.
Advanced Bonuses and Recipes
Types and bonuses start to get more complicated at T4. Some professions have specialties within their profession. For instance, if you capture a T4 blacksmith, you’ll need to look at their character icon to determine which one you’re dealing with.
An edgesmith creates weapons with more armor penetration, a bladesmith creates weapons with more weapon damage, and a tempersmith creates the most durable weapons. Check out our crafting pages for each profession’s specializations.
Additionally, some thralls unlock special recipes specific to their profession. These additions are not necessarily required to complete the game or unlock advanced aspects but are more in a convenience category. Several T3-T4 thralls contribute recipes to their table, and some professions where any tier thrall will add recipes to the bench.
A good example is adding a T4 alchemist to your alchemist’s bench. Adding any alchemist to your bench will add several orb recipes to its menu, but when you add a T4 alchemist, you’ll also gain access to recipes for oil spice and tar.
You were already able to craft these three items, but these new recipes may use more convenient ingredients than your previous methods. Check out our specific crafting pages to learn about which recipes each profession adds!
Tips for Securing Dangerous Thralls
It is no easy task to slowly knock out someone that is trying to kill you, especially when their whole village is also trying to kill you. Try these tips once your thrall hunting starts becoming a challenge.
Your best defense starts at home by making yourself a nice set of armor and a shield before you head out the base doors. If you’ve been putting off upgrading either of these items, I suggest you prioritize it before taking on a challenging camp.
You’ll also want to check and make sure you’ve crafted the best truncheon you have access to. The higher quality of the truncheon, the more knock-out power it has. Bindings are less important until you start dragging thralls over long distances.
If this is the case, you may also consider upgrading your bindings, or they may break and have to be repaired mid-journey.
Once you arrive at the camp you’d like to capture a thrall from; it makes the most sense to go ahead and murder everyone else in it. If this is not a challenging camp for you, skipping this step is always possible.
If it is a tough camp for you, then one extra dangerous NPC could spell a recipe for disaster. You’ve probably noticed that NPCs are not overly challenging to dodge one on one, but they become a hazard in numbers.
Of course, once you’ve cleared the camp, you’ll need to act quickly. The respawn timer is 16 minutes for Conan Exiles, so you’ll need to make sure you can complete your plans in this time, or the camp will start spawning again around you.
You will be able to equip a shield with your truncheon, so you may consider starting the fight with a one-handed sword to make your switch easier. This set-up will also give you more longevity in case things start to go south.
You can still block with the truncheon, and as long as you have the stamina, this should be a relatively easy way to weather your intended thrall’s string of attacks.
If you are going to take an Entertainer thrall, be aware that their daggers stack a generous amount of bleed. If you haven’t already put a stack of bandages on your action wheel, now would be the time.
Higher quality truncheons provide greater knock-out damage. You can also toy around with knock-out damage mods on standard weapons or tools. Blunted arrows are an excellent addition to your arsenal, especially for players that have a ranged build.
Be aware that if their normal damage outpaces their knock-out damage, you will end up killing the thrall instead of knocking them out. It can often be effective to switch to your truncheon later after their health bar gets too low from using knock-out weapons.
A Truncheon for Your Combat Thrall
The last (and best, in my opinion) tip for taking dangerous thralls is to enlist your current follower to help. You can equip your current combat follower with truncheons or blunted arrows and basically double your knock-out power.
If you need them to help you take out the rest of the camp, this can get a bit more complicated. It’s very difficult to switch your thralls weapons out mid-fight.
Instead, consider letting them start the fight with a truncheon while you do the majority of the damage. Some of the other NPCs may end up knocked out, but you can put them out of their misery once they’re on the ground.
Where to Find T4 Thralls
The last piece of your puzzle is the location of the best thralls, and I wish it was as easy as giving you coordinates. Unfortunately, it is not. There are places that have the ability to spawn T4 thralls and there are some thralls that only spawn in some locations, but there are very few reliable spawns in the game. In fact, there are only 14 thralls with 100% spawn chance.
My favorite of these is Dina, Master Huntress who spawns under the aqueduct and wanders the lower portion of the Highlands zone.
The hundreds of other T4 thralls available in the game could be in many different places. If you are looking for a particular thrall, I would suggest checking their character sheet for their known spawn locations and farming those until they pop.
If not, consider going somewhere like the Black Galleon or Mounds of the Dead that have dense T4 spawn points.
If you are lucky enough to have a T4 thrall spawn in your purge, you better go fetch the truncheon. T4 thralls that spawn from the purge have even higher stats than those you find out in the world.
Thralls to the Wall
You can try to rise to power in Conan Exiles without thralls, but it will be a difficult journey. Your new friends will help with everything from baking bread to crafting complex weapons.
They may be a little annoying; they love to get in the way and get bugged at inconvenient times, but they will make fights that you were struggling with beforehand a breeze.
Their ability to wear armor and weapons will set them apart from other NPCs and animal followers, and leveling correctly can turn them into an invaluable asset.
Thralls are also a best-in-game defense system, whether you are lucky enough to find them with high accuracy and are able to station them as archers, or they guard your gate with swords and axes. Any way you slice it, thralls are a core component of Conan Exiles, so get out your bonker and rope and start knocking some heads.
Conan Exiles Thralls FAQs
Question: What is the Best Thrall in Conan Exiles?
Answer: Assuming you’re talking about a combat thrall I would suggest Dalinsia Snowhunter. She is a T4 combat thrall found either at the Mounds of the Dead, Stargazer’s Crest, or (if you’re very lucky) the purge.
I find she has greater damage than the other best-in-game thralls and who doesn’t love a deadly lady by their side? If you can find her in the purge, she may have higher stats even still.
Question: Where do I Find T4 Thralls in Conan Exiles?
Answer: T4 thralls can be found in any high-level camp. Conan Exiles has locations where they have a chance of spawning, but it is not usually guaranteed. The two best places to farm T4 thralls are the Black Galleon and Mounds of the Dead.
The Black Galleon has the most T4 spawn spots in the densest formation, making a dangerous but an effective area to pull T4 thralls. I added Mounds of the Dead because it is often less crowded on PVP servers, which will considerably up your chances of pulling your own T4 thrall.
Question: Are there any Guaranteed T4 Thrall Spawn Locations?
Answer: Yes, there are 14 thralls that spawn in guaranteed locations. My favorite is Dina, Master Huntress, who spawns under the aqueduct in the Highlands. If she is not lounging by one of the pillars, then she is roaming the southern portion of that zone with her gang. Check out this list for other guaranteed T4 thrall spawns.
Question: How Do You Use the Wheel of Pain in Conan Exiles?
Answer: Once you’ve built your lesser wheel of pain, you must also craft a truncheon and bindings. You’ll use the truncheon to knock out your chosen NPC (instead of killing them). Once they are knocked out, attach the bindings to them and drag them back to your wheel.
You must access the wheel’s inventory while the NPC is still attached to you with the bindings for them to be added to the wheel’s inventory. After that, all you need to do is add food, and the NPC will begin pushing the wheel and “crafting” into a thrall.