Thralls were a touchy subject when Conan Exiles was first released. The media was abuzz about this graphic game with a brutal slave mechanic, that wasn’t just hinted at, but actually a crucial aspect of a player’s game progression. It may be canon and in line with the source material, but it was a pretty big pill to swallow for today’s gaming media.
I suppose Funcom could have taken the opportunity then to shy away from how thralls are captured and crafted. Maybe they could have watered down the process a little; maybe make it more appealing for the masses. Well, they didn’t. You must knock out, capture, and break an exile on a wheel of pain. This wheel spins endlessly in a tight circle, while your captured exile pushes the heavy weight of it day and night. It doesn’t even power anything! Its only purpose is to turn a hostile exile into an obedient thrall.
TL:DR: How to Turn a Mean Exile Into a Helpful Thrall Using the Lesser Wheel of Pain
The process for crafting a thrall is involved, but simple. You must bonk the exile you want over the head with a truncheon until their grey (not red health) meter is depleted, effectively knocking them out. After that apply a rope, and start running back to your lesser wheel of pain.
When you open the lesser pain wheel’s inventory, the thrall will be automatically added. After that, add gruel or another applicable food and your thrall will begin pushing the wheel. When the thrall visibly disappears from the wheel, check the inventory for your new companion. If the exile stops pushing but remains visible on the wheel (lazy exile!), check that your gruel hasn’t run out.
See also: Conan Exiles Wheel of Pain Guide
Crafting a Lesser Wheel of Pain
Funcom wants you to have access to their thrall system almost from the very beginning, and a thrall truly does make traversing and settling the Exiled Lands much easier in the early game. A player can begin crafting lesser wheels of pain at level 10. It is learned under the thrall taker feat, which can be found under building structures.
This feat also teaches the truncheon, the rope, and the thrall pot. The truncheon and rope are necessary to capture exiles and bring them to the lesser wheel of pain, so go ahead and craft them with your wheel. The thrall pot is no longer necessary to keep thralls alive but has some added benefits and specific applications.
The lesser wheel of pain is not a cheap recipe for such a level. The 200 stone, 200 wood, and 50 twine are easy enough to come by, but the 50 iron bar can be a daunting task for a new exile. First, your will need to find iron ore, which spawns in hostile low to mid-level areas. After that, you’ll need to craft a furnace and process the ore into bars.
I highly recommend putting the time in to craft a lesser pain wheel, unless, of course, you’d rather craft an animal pen and find a cub. Exiles are much easier to come across than baby animals, but the lesser wheel of pain is harder to craft than the animal pen. Either way, you don’t want to adventure the Exiled Lands alone.
Take my word for it, it’s worth placing your lesser wheel of pain collection a little out of the way of your normal day-to-day operations. The sounds the exiles make while crafting are annoying, to say the least.
See also: Conan Exiles How to Make Hardened Steel
How to Use a Lesser Wheel of Pain
Once your lesser wheel of pain is crafted in place and your truncheon and rope are on your quick wheel, it’s time to go looking for an exile to bonk (capture). You must knock an exile out with a truncheon to capture it, not kill it with a normal weapon or fall damage (oops). Hostile exiles will still attack normally while you wield your truncheon, so it can be quite frustrating to knock one out before they kill you at lower levels. When capturing meaner thralls or trying with sub-par gear it’s important to set yourself up for success.
There are a couple of tactics that can be deployed in your favor. Firstly, you can wield a truncheon with a shield, which will help with blocks and stat boosts. Secondly, strength affects concussive damage as well, so upping your strength will help knock out exiles faster. Lastly, once you capture a thrall, you can equip them with a truncheon as well for double the damage when capturing better exiles.
After the exile has fallen, equip your rope and apply it to the sleeping cook, blacksmith, archer, etc. Once attached, the exile will drag calmly behind you back to your lesser wheel of pain. Just kidding, the exile will bang around wildly and with no regard for gravity, but shouldn’t shake loose of your rope. Seriously, the physics on what’s supposed to be a human-weighted item is absolutely wild, make sure to look behind you.
When you arrive at the lesser wheel of pain all you should have to do is open your inventory for the exile to be loaded into the crafting station. Once there, you’ll need to also add an applicable food to start the crafting process. You’ll know you’ve achieved success when the exile starts spinning the wheel in real-time.
See also: Conan Exiles Planter Guide
Appropriate Fuel for Your Lesser Wheel of Pain
It does not matter at all what you feed an exile. It does matter what you feed a combat thrall, so don’t apply this tip across the board. Unlike the animal pen, an exile will consume several items from a stack while pushing their wheel, so make sure to put a good-sized stack in. The better the thrall the longer it will take to craft, which will require more fuel.
This means that while most foods will work, the best fuel to keep loaded up in your lesser wheel of pain is cheap and easy. That’s right, a mountain of gruel. Five plant fiber and one seeds make a 10 stack of gruel, making it incredibly easy to farm. It also takes longer to spoil than other foods, so it’s a great option to load into your lesser wheel of pain.
You’ll know an exile has run out of food if they stop turning the wheel, but do not disappear from it. When they disappear it means they are crafted, waiting in the inventory, and ready to be placed.
If they are a combat thrall, they may be placed in the world. Access their inventory to equip them with armor and weapons, name them and feed them. Set them to follow with a fat stack of gruel in their inventory and get back to your murderous ways!
If they are a dancer they may also be placed in the world, but other types of thrall need to be placed in their applicable crafting station. If you have captured and broken a blacksmith, then you’ll need to find a furnace to put her in.
See also: Conan Exiles Gruel Guide
When to Upgrade to the Wheel of Pain
The only benefit to upgrading your lesser wheel of pain is capacity. A wheel of pain has four crafting slots. A greater wheel of pain has eight crafting slots for exiles.
Unfortunately, the only thing that will speed up how long it takes to break exiles is finding and breaking a taskmaster to place in your wheel of pain. The better the taskmaster, the faster thralls will craft in that wheel.
So why not just place several lesser wheels and call it a dusty day? Well, high-tier taskmasters are difficult to come by. At some levels, any taskmaster exile is difficult to come by. Wouldn’t you rather have four exiles crafting more quickly than one? How about eight?
See also: Conan Exiles Brick Guide
To Thrall Pot or Not to Thrall Pot
A thrall pot used to be required to keep your thralls alive, but Funcom appears to have lightened up its requirements in this arena. You no longer have to feed thralls, either in a pot or in their inventory.
Food does, however, still have value when it comes to thralls. Different foods boost different stats as the thrall levels. Gruel boosts strength, while grilled steak adds to vitality. Each food also applies a healing effect, with more valuable food replenishing more health per second. A large stack of food in a combat thralls inventory will keep them from falling in battle, and grow them into better thralls overall.
A thrall pot decreases rot timers by ten times. It’s a poor man’s preservation box and an efficient tool for spreading food among your combat thralls when your base is about to be attacked. The current method is to go without a thrall pot, or only place food in the thrall pot before the purge or known raids so that thralls don’t accidentally run out and lose their healing buff.
The Lesser Wheel of Pain and You: Responsible Thrall Crafting
While it may take quite a chunk of iron bars to make your first wheel of pain, you’ll quickly find crafting it is worth the investment. A thrall makes most tasks in the Exiled Lands easier, with the exception of getting in and out of doorways. Get out of the way, Squirrely Dan.
Chasing down valuable exiles and dragging them back to your wheel of pain is no easy task for a reason. Their benefit outweighs the struggle, and when your first good thrall dies it’s customary to rage quit right then and there, at least for the evening. So stock your lesser wheel of pain with gruel, equip a shield and truncheon, and set out on a hunt for a great thrall. Give it your best shot and good luck fellow clubbers!
Lesser Wheel of Pain FAQ
Question: What feat do I learn to craft the lesser wheel of pain and make thralls?
Answer: You’ll need to learn the thrall taker feat, which can be found under building structures.
Question: How do I put an exile in my lesser wheel of pain?
Answer: You must knock them out with a truncheon and drag them to the lesser wheel of pain with a rope. These items are learned under that same feat.
Question: If I upgrade my lesser wheel of pain to a wheel of pain, will thralls craft faster?
Answer: No, the only thing that shortens crafting time for thralls is stationing a taskmaster at the wheel of pain. Better wheels just increase crafting spots in the wheel’s inventory.
Question: The thralls are really beating me down, what’s the easiest way to capture a thrall?
Answer: Equipping a shield, leveling up strength, and having another thrall help with a truncheon equipped are the best beginner-friendly ways to capture thralls.
Question: Do I need to craft a thrall pot?
Answer: No, they are nearly useless in this version of Conan Exiles.