Xevyr's guide to Thralls

Introduction

This guide aims to go through some of the more useful information related to the thrall system as it is currently implemented in the game. (“currently” being the Age of War - so be aware that some of these might have changed since if you’re reading this in the future).
It contains information that can be useful to new players and seasoned veterans alike.

First of all…

What are Thralls?

In Conan Exiles you can “recruit” certain NPCs to be your followers. This includes non-human pets as well, however, given that in the current iteration of the game most pets are the equivalent of garden gnomes that people place on their lawn for decoration (meaning they’re just too weak in most cases) this guide will be focusing exclusively on humanoid thralls.

Humanoid thralls have several professions, they can be crafters (like carpenters or blacksmiths that you would just assign to a crafting station) or followers like Fighters, Archers, Bearers and Dancers. (plus the new barkeeper)

They also come in several flavors… they have their faction, their race (different races can belong to the same faction in most cases, with exceptions such as the darfari cannibals who probably ate all the competition :man_shrugging: ) and they also have something called a Tier level.

Thrall Tiers

Thralls can range from Tier 1-4, which are shown via roman numerals at the end of their name, For example
“Exile Fighter I”, II, III… with the exception of Tier 4, where thralls will most often have an actual name instead. ex. “Dalinsia Snowhunter” OR a more generic descriptor, but still a “name” such as “Cimmerian Berserker”.

In most cases T4 thralls will have a healthbar with a golden border on their nameplate when you look at them, with a few exceptions such as the Exile faction T4s (which have a 1 skull healthbar) or “Relic Hunter Treasure Seekers” which are in fact T4 but have a regular healthbar.

Here’s an example of the golden border healthbar most T4 thralls have:
image


How to get a thrall?

The game currently offers multiple ways of obtaining thralls, these are:

  • The “classical” way… of beating them on the head with a truncheon until they pass out, dragging them with bindings to a wheel of pain where you break their spirit so that they become submissive slaves (fun times)
    If you opt for this version, currently the “taming” times are 15 minutes PER tier, making a T4 thrall take an hour to be converted to a follower (if your wheel has a taskmaster thrall, this time can be further reduced)

  • From the purge: Age of War replaced the purge with an on-demand Stygian invasion of your base at the end of which you get to face the Hand of War in charge of the NPC forward operating base.
    Once defeated he drops some keys which can be used to open the thrall cages inside their camp.
    Thralls freed from these cages will be instantly converted into followers.

  • From the Tavern: Age of War Chapter 3 introduced a new mechanic where you can build your own tavern. This will attract random NPCs, including ones you can hire for gold. Upon hiring these thralls they will also be instantly converted into permanent followers.

All 3 of these methods will result in the same thing… a permanent follower.
There is no benefit or downside when it comes to the actual thrall itself regardless of which method you used to recruit them (they’re not going to get dumber or more loyal just because you bonked them on the head rather than paying them 50 gold :stuck_out_tongue: )


Note on concussive damage

If you use the good ol’ reliable method of capturing them as slaves, then you should be aware of the process required to knock them out.

Thralls have a consciousness bar - represented by a thin grey line - which appears above their healthbar as soon as they take concussive damage. It looks like this:
image

You need to use weapons with concussive damage (truncheons) to deplete their consciousness bar in order to knock them out.
If for some reason the NPC cannot attack the player and they leash, their consciousness bar will almost instantly reset. (This was a mechanic introduced to prevent “cheesing” them from rooftops with ranged concussive weapons etc)

You can attach a blunted fitting to your truncheon to cause additional concussive damage (quite a lot)

While most truncheons will have the same attack animation on light and heavy attacks… the heavy attacks will actually do more concussive damage and even more concussive damage if you have a blunted fitting on your truncheon.

So it’s recommended to use heavy attacks (since the stamina revamp, they do cost slightly more stamina, but still worth it)

Putting points in the Authority attribute of your character will also increase the concussive damage you deal (by 6% per point) and the game also has various armor and consumables increasing your concussive damage. These can all help knocking out some of the more stubborn thralls.


Another alternative to knocking them out is via Purple Lotus Orbs the recipe for which you can unlock by completing the Thrall Taker journey chain. Throwing this orb will release a gas cloud that will slowly deplete the consciousness bar of nearby NPCs, ultimately knocking them out.

There is an interesting “bug” regarding this item. Because its “damage” isn’t actually linked up to the character throwing it, neutral NPCs will completely ignore the player who threw it, and since their consciousness bar would only auto-regenerate upon leashing - in contrast to never actually entering combat - it’s possible to fully knock out neutral NPCs with these (for example in Sepermeru) without the player being attacked by them at all.

The reason I say “bug” is because it’s still unclear whether this was intentionally done like this or whether it’s an accident… it is certainly weird to say the least, especially after the developers went through the trouble of implementing anti-cheesing mechanics for the other methods.

The same lack of connection to the player means that damage from this orb will also ignore any concussive damage bonuses the player might have.


Thrall stats

So now we come to the question of… “Okay… but which thralls should we try to capture?”

In this section we’re interested in the thralls you would want to adventure with, so your followers, since crafter thralls are just staying at home, doing their thing.

Even so, this is the point where the guide will start leaning from straight up information a bit more towards recommendations for beginner-friendly “easy gameplay” or optimized and efficient combat thralls.

For example there are a lot of people out there who have been playing this game for a while and developed their own playstyle, which might involve dragging around a bearer as their mobile “storage box”, with their player characters doing most of the fighting etc.

We will not be focusing on those types of setups, since those can be developed by each player in a unique fashion and some of the information could still be useful in this guide for that type of play, however our scope here is to end up with capable fighting thralls, which leaves us with the fighter / archer category mainly, you will see why in a second.

Note: Beyond their actual stats, there is no AI or other difference between Fighters and Archers, which means if you find an Archer that has better melee stats than your current Fighter, you can just give them a melee weapon and use them as a fighter, regardless of what the sign says above their head.


Thrall Stats Spreadsheet

To jump into things, I’m going to share a resource I made available a while back and have been updating ever since whenever the game updated.
It’s a spreadsheet containing most of the relevant stats of pretty much any humanoid follower thrall you could get.

The spreadsheet has notes in each column-header, explaining in more detail what the relevant column is for, to read this you can simply hover your mouse over the column header.

You will instantly notice that one of the columns is highlighted, this is the Melee Multiplier and that is also the column based on which the spreadsheet is sorted in descending order.
This is one of the two damage modifiers and the reason we care more about the melee one is simply because thralls are more efficient with melee weapons so we would try to build on that.

Damage modifiers

Why are we interested in these values?
As we discussed in the beginning, thralls can belong to various factions and generally speaking (there have been exceptions, like darfari in the first 2 AoW chapters), the further North you travel on the Exiled Lands map, the stronger the humanoid NPC factions become to try and simulate an increase in difficulty.

To distinguish these factions, beyond their regular stats, Funcom uses these hidden melee / ranged multipliers

These values pretty much do what they say on the “tin”… they directly multiply the damage output of NPCs, which is then also inherited by thralls when we capture them.

Because of that, even though it’s hidden from the user in-game, this becomes a very important stat, as it will scale damage output, which means you could have 2 different thralls that have the same amount of Strength bonus damage, use the same equipment, yet still do vastly different damage.

(It’s also why we dismissed bearers as our fighters this type of playstyle, because if you check the spreadsheet, they have some of the lowest damage modifiers in the game, despite them having more health than most other thralls - some people still utilize them with poisoned weapons with varying degrees of success. It will result in dragged out fights thou unless you’re very actively compensating)

To clarify, the melee multiplier applies to damage from all melee weapons, regardless of whether they’re Strength or Agility based weapons. (ex. A katana and a 1h sword BOTH use the melee multiplier) and likewise the ranged multiplier will apply to all ranged weapons


If you look further at some of the other stats, you will see things like “Damage bonus per Strength” (/ Agility). These stats define how much damage bonus percentage the thrall gains from 1 attribute point.

This is the stat whose result DOES show up on the thralls information page in-game.

Here’s an example:
This is a naked level 15 Thugra
image

As you can see the interface in the bottom summary shows him having 15% Strength damage bonus
and 23% Agility Damage Bonus.

If we look up the information on Thugra in the spreadsheet

We can see that he gains 0.825% Strength damage bonus PER point of Strength. Our Thugra has 19 Strength points, so this would result in 19 * 0.825 = 15% Strength Damage Bonus (no rounding for the UI, but the game does use the fractions for actual calculations rounding or flooring at various points since health points are integral numbers)

Likewise he has 28 Agility points and the same damage bonus per Agility point in the spreadsheet, which is why he ends up with the 23% Agility damage bonus (28 * 0.825 = 23.1)

This UI value will also include any bonuses from armor, or consumables directly consumed by your thrall.

If I equip this same NPC with a piece of armor giving 8% Strength damage bonus, then the display will show the following:
image
(notice the 8% being added to the previous 15% in Str damage bonus)

And if I put a piece of Salted Pork in his inventory and press the Use button to give him the 15% food buff, it will look like this (more on feeding thralls further below):
image
(notice 15% being added to the previous value)


Just to emphasize though, the thralls overall damage will be scaled by the melee / ranged multiplier, so that includes the bonuses from above.

Here’s a cool little formula for some of the number crunchers out there wishing to relatively compare thrall damage.

The formula answers a simple, commonly asked question of:
How many Strength points does X thrall with a lower melee multiplier need, to do as much damage as if they had a higher multiplier of Y.

<difference in multipliers> / <lower multiplier> / (damage per Point of Str of lower thrall / 100)
So how does that look in practice? Let’s take 2 thralls like the Cimmerian Berserker and Thugra (recently nerfed to oblivion).

We look up their melee multipliers:
Cimmerian Berserker: 2.24
Thugra: 1.56

And then we ask the question… “How much Strength would it take for Thugra to compensate for the multiplier advantage a Berserker has?” and then plug in the numbers:
0.68 / 1.56 / (0.825 / 100)
The result is (52.8) so ~53 points in Strength… this ofc does not include the 15 Str the Berserker also has to start out with.

As you can see the multipliers are very powerful and often would be very hard to balance with attributes, especially since the thrall with higher multipliers could also gain those attributes if we started off with them instead.

That brings us to the question…

How is thrall damage calculated?

The formula we have on the wiki is currently accurate, I am going to quote that and then mention some of the caveats.


The first caveat here to mention is that “Weapon Damage” is NOT the number that you see written on the weapon when you inspect it in your inventory. When we put that formula on there, we did not want to further complicate an already somewhat complicated formula.

As some of you may know, when Funcom revamped the weapons for Age of War, they also started utilizing the separate “Heavy damage” field of weapon definitions. You can see these on the wiki if you look up any weapon, for example here are the stats for Momentum:
image

This is not yet visible on our ingame UI, since previously there was no need for it. Light and heavy damage were set to identical values and they were merely increased from within the combo multipliers (more on that soon) for heavy attacks.

Depending on whether the thrall uses a light or a heavy attack, the corresponding raw number is used to start out with.

However, this is STILL not the final weapon damage we use :slight_smile: and this is where it gets a bit messy… based on which attack of the combo chain is currently being executed and with which weapon… this damage will gain a hidden combo multiplier.

I will not list all of these, as while they’re relevant… they’re not important enough and there’s just too many of them to where it would just get more confusing

For the sake of example though, let’s look at the one-handed mace.
The first light opener has a multiplier of 1.33x, second light attack in the chain: 1.1x, third: 1.2x, fourth (light finisher): 1.5x
Heavy opener: 1x (double-hit), heavy second attack: 1.5x, third: 1.7x, heavy finisher: 2x.


Second caveat here would be that since then, Funcom has changed the default server setting for thrall damage to 0.5x, so this whole thing will be cut in half - though this is a server setting and subject to adjustment, which is why it’s not directly included in the formula, just something to keep in mind.


Third caveat is that when it comes to ranged attacks that use a projectile (bow) the base weapon damage that all calculations start from will be the damage of the bow + the damage of the arrow and in the case of charged attacks, proportional to the amount charged, an extra 0-100% bonus (double damage at max charge)

Currently there is a bug in the game that I pointed out a couple of times, which will make it so arrows “spawned” out of thin air won’t apply their damage at all.
Because of this, even if you give regular flinthead arrows to thralls, they will still do more damage, than not giving them any arrows and having them auto-generate the same flinthead arrows.

And finally there is yet another bug in the current version of the game that causes any ranged leg shots (crippling shots) by NPCs to not do damage at all, except for the 1 damage targets suffer on the expiration of the cripple debuff)


Attribute priorities

While it is very common advice out there to pursue Vitality at all costs and have the “beefiest” high HP thrall, it’s important to stop for a second and ask ourselves the question whether that’s always the right course of action.

Fact of a matter is… in combat… the effects of health are BINARY
What does that actually mean?.. it’s very simple…

Your thrall either has enough HP to survive the fight… or it does NOT… there is no third option :thinking:

Once you get past the point where your thrall has enough HP to survive the encounters you wish to do… HP becomes a very “niche” stat and acts only as a safety-buffer “in case something goes wrong” type of thing…

Damage on the other hand… it keeps on scaling… in fact, it will scale other things with it… such as the health requirement to survive the encounter in the first place…

Doing more damage → the target dies faster → it hits the thrall fewer times since the fight is shorter → You spend less time and consume less food healing → requires less time to heal up after → etc.

As you can see it just keeps on going…

Because of this, I don’t recommend blindly going for max health at the cost of damage after a certain threshold.

Currently I would say that if your thrall reaches over ~3k HP without any Well Trained bonus, that’s comfortably enough for most encounters if it’s a high damaging thrall (like a Berserker / Dalinsia / etc.)

This value ofc is not set in stone and it will vary based on your experience and server conditions (if your server is lagging and your thrall isn’t attacking then ofc the above gets a wrench thrown in the gears :wrench: )

Tip: Perks can boost attributes by a LOT and while they’re randomly assigned when thralls reach certain milestone levels (10, 15, 20), you can re-roll your followers perks with the Elixir of Rebirth, unlocked via Sorcery, in hopes of getting better perks for them

I’m going to leave here an old video as a demonstration of how this looks in practice… This is outdated as the thrall in question has been nerfed since, however it’s still a really good example illustrating how high damage cuts down on the HP requirement, if you notice the thrall with its setup only needed about ~1.3k HP even thou this is one of the hardest encounters in the game. Had it been doing damage slower, this requirement would’ve massively increased.


What about the random stuff?

When a thrall gets placed / spawned they will have a randomized “growth chance” in each attribute.
These values aren’t totally random, each faction / tier can have its own templates regarding total amount of growth chance and their slightly weighted distribution.

Obviously you would want your thrall to have as high of a growth chance as you can get in the attributes you deem important, but this part is just gambling and these chances are locked in when the thrall appears in the world for the first time (whether placed or rescued / hired).
Some people choose to discard unlucky “rolls” and get new thralls, while others still level them… It’s really up to you.

The relevant part here to the guide is that you can influence these by giving your thrall certain foods… As you can see in the picture below, by giving my thrall Gruel, they gained a 14% bonus chance to increase in Strength upon leveling up.
image

On the wiki you can find a table with which attributes the various foods increase.

Now… do I recommend that you actually bother micromanaging your thralls and making sure you get this extra 14% chance after every levelup?

My simple answer would be a No:man_shrugging:

It’s entirely up to you though… just remember, you would be trying to influence something totally RNG with a measly 14% extra :slight_smile: it’s just realistically not enough to make a dent when it comes to a single thrall.

You might see some minor statistical difference if you were to compare thousands of thralls, (2.8 points more on average in theory), but when it comes to a single thrall, you could do the best job of micromanaging your thralls eating habits and still end up with horrible luck and fewer attribute points… while another person could not bother at all and still get lucky and gain significantly more attributes.

In fact, I think this is yet another major contributor to people losing thralls… trying to feed them that low healing grilled steak for the extra 14% vitality and forgetting to replace it with better healing food for combat, resulting in the death of the thrall.

Personally I just give them a stack of Gruel while leveling, since it stacks to 100, it’s durable (expires slowly) and the 6 hp/s is decent enough. If they happen to accidentally win a roll or two and get an extra Strength point, that’s perfectly fine.

@Wak4863 actually has a pretty good video on the topic where he leveled a couple of thralls micromanaging them and then a couple of them instantly leveled and pretty much ended up at largely the same conclusion.

However, if you want to do that, I am certainly not going to stop you :slight_smile: In fact, I’ll help you by explaining how to feed them properly in the next section.


Feeding / Buffing your thrall

How do you actually feed them?

This can be quite confusing at first… BUT, once you realize the core concept behind it, it’s simple.

Thralls have not one… but TWO different ways of eating food.

  • The first one is eating food automatically via their hunger system.

    • They will automatically eat food whenever they’re missing health so they need to reapply the heal over time effect (20 second duration) OR whenever they need to reapply the “Well Fed” buff, which will also happen when you put food in their inventory for the first time (so careful that they don’t auto-consume the piece of salted pork you wanted to buff them with as it will be wasted)

    • This type of auto-eating is what actually applies the growth chance bonuses, it’s also what provides thralls with passive healing during combat and lastly, it also applies a “Well Fed” damage bonus to them for a full hour. (more on that below)

    • Items that can be consumed via this system include the ones listed on the thralls Diet OR as a fallback in case none of those are present, any item that has a nutritional value declared in its item definition (FoodAmount field)

  • The second type is the “force-feeding” where you put food or other consumables (bandages / potions) in their inventory and press the Use button on those items while they’re in the thrall inventory.

    • This is how you would buff your follower with damage bonus foods / elixirs etc. as well as apply an additional active “Sated” healing based on the nutritional value of the food. (this type of healing breaks on receiving damage)

    • Only items that are consumable (also by the player) can be used with this system.
      (this is less relevant to thralls as their diet consists only of consumables, but for example in the case of pets, while the other method through their hunger system and diet allows for a Gazelle to consume Fiber, it is not possible to force-feed them Fiber via this system, since Fiber will simply not have a Use button. Nice to keep this in mind for that beastmaster challenge where you need to use the force-feed system to complete it, so feed that gazelle a steak!)


The above means that if you want to apply the previously mentioned growth chance bonuses after every level up, you will need to ensure that your thrall is below max HP so it auto-consumes the correct food from their inventory. Keep in mind that the healing buff they receive lasts 20 seconds, so this consumption of food can only happen after 20 seconds from when they ate the last piece.

You can very easily accomplish this by force-feeding them a piece of raw meat :man_shrugging: giving them food poisoning, which ensures they’ll eat their food even when they’re at full HP, since the poison will be slowly damaging them, retriggering the auto-feeding.

A friendlier alternative is temporarily equipping some Health bonus armor on them, temporarily increasing their max HP, until they eat the food.


Healing from food (very important)

As mentioned above, thralls will gain passive healing over time effect when they automatically consume food through their hunger system, this effect does NOT break when they take damage, allowing them to be healed during combat.

The various kinds of foods on your thralls Diet provide different amounts of healing, while food items that are not on their diet will always heal for 1 hp/s

This is one of the points where a lot of newbies and even seasoned veterans fail when it comes to thralls.
Because the advice to “feed them grilled steak for Vitality” is so popular… they often don’t realize that grilled steak is one of the worst foods possible for combat healing…

It heals thralls a measly 2 HP/s… compared to that, even standard Gruel heals THREE times more… 6 HP/s and Enhanced Gruel 9 HP/s (probably the best cost-efficient endgame food)

So how can you tell which foods heal good? This method is universal to every follower btw. so I will use a picture from a Frost Giant as an example that we can then translate to humans.

You open their inventory and you can see their diet in the center bottom area… I added some labels to show how much each of the foods heal based on their LOCATION in this grid
image

If you open the inventory of any other follower, the foods presented there in the same grid position will have the same healing values.
To demonstrate that here’s an unedited picture of what this grid looks like for humanoid followers:
image
You can probably already see how the various foods fall into place… previously I mentioned that grilled steak heals 2 HP/s… as you can see it’s in the top row, third position, which is the 2 HP/s one :slight_smile:
same with Gruel and Enhanced Gruel… etc.


Additional out of combat healing

As previously mentioned, food items will also have an active heal over time effect, in case you open your thralls inventory and actively click on the food then press Use.
This is the same as the health regen players get when eating food, it happens every 3 seconds for a total of 120 seconds and the healing will be based on the nutritional value of the food (FoodAmount / 10, floored to the previous integer, but with a minimum of 1 and capped at a maximum of 12 hp)

I will list a couple of popular examples here:

  • Feasts are all above 120, so they will all be capped at 12 hp/3s with the exception of Fiery-Hot Sea-Fish Feast which is 79 so it will be 7 hp/3s
  • Cooked pork rinds 77 so it will be 7 hp/3s
  • Gruel 9… so 1 hp/3s
  • Enhanced Gruel 33 so 3 hp/3s
  • Honeyed Gruel 45… 4 hp/3s
  • Grilled Steak 37, 3 hp/3s
  • Roasted Haunch 62, 6 hp/3s
  • Shredded Roast 37, 3 hp/3s

Basically if you need a slightly faster out of combat healing for your thrall, you could select food in their inventory and just press the Use button for some additional healing rate.
This type of healing is displayed with the Sated icon and breaks when they take damage (same as with the player)
image

You can also use healing potions or bandages from your thralls inventory to heal them with those.


Buffing your thrall

Buffs are beneficial effects, granting some form of positive effect for a certain amount of time.

Buffs from consumables

Consumables that your player character can use also work on your thrall if you force-feed it to them.
The same rules apply here, your thrall can also have one Food buff and One Elixir buff.

The amount of actually useful consumable buffs for thralls however is a bit more limited, for example well-geared thralls typically have enough armor to where armor buffs become negligible… thralls don’t have stamina, so while you can apply a stamina buff to them, it will have no effect, health is sort of similar to armor, a fixed 60 health will not really change much when your thrall already has several thousand… so basically we’re left with the damage buffs.

Depending on the type of weapon your thrall uses, you could give them the corresponding damage increase buff.

For example if your thrall is using a Strength based weapon like a mace, you could have them use an Elixir of Might and a piece of Salted Pork, each of these granting an additional 15% Strength weapon damage bonus. The effects of these will last for 2 hours, or until you override it with another buff of the same category (elixir or food)


Well Fed buff

When eating food automatically via their hunger system, thralls will also gain a buff that gives them a damage bonus.
This buff lasts a whole hour and it can be one of 2 types, a weak buff (10% damage bonus) or a strong buff (25% damage bonus) depending on the food. Only food items on the thralls diet can grant these buffs.

It is also displayed on the user interface in the active effects section of your thralls information panel, where it is called “Increased Strength”. (Note: this section sometimes doesn’t display things on servers, that does not mean the effects don’t work).

image

You will also see the same fist icon above the floating healthbar of your thrall when looking at them.

It’s important to note that this effect, despite its name, has nothing to do with the Strength attribute.
What it actually does is that it directly adds 0.1 (for the 10%) or 0.25 (for the 25%) to BOTH the melee and the ranged hidden multipliers

As such, this will work for all weapon types, not just Strength based ones.

So, which foods apply the weak buff and which foods apply the strong buff?

The simple answer is… the very first one listed on their diet give the strong buff… all others can only give the weaker one. I am not sure whether this was intended this way from the start, but that’s how it currently is configured.

(The system checks whether the item is on their diet and whether the internal percentage healing is 0. The only item that this is going to be true for, is the very first one.)

For humanoid thralls, this would mean Cooked pork rinds, since that’s the first item on their Diet grid.
image

As we know though, this is also one of their worst healing combat foods at 1 hp/s, however… the cool thing about this system is that a strong buff will never be replaced by a weak buff and as long as your thrall has food for the strong buff, it will be prioritized

So how can we take advantage of this is?

  • give your thrall some cooked pork rinds in their inventory
  • you will immediately notice that they will eat a piece on their own just to get the 25% damage buff
  • afterwards simply take it away and leave their regular combat healing food there that heals better
  • the buff will last for a whole hour and the weaker buff from the other food will not override it even if the thrall keeps consuming that for better healing.

Influence from the Player (authority etc.)

You probably noticed that lovely Authority attribute that players have since the Age of Sorcery update, this player attribute is designated to improving your active follower thralls.

I’m not going to spend too much time on it as there is various info on this all over the place and even reading the description of perks will give you a good idea, so let’s look at the highlights.

Just by the act of assigning attribute points to authority, thralls following the player will gain a bonus to their damage. (you can see the damage formula from earlier as to where this plugs into under “Player bonuses”).
This bonus is 4% per authority point, netting a total of 80% damage increase to your followers if you max out Authority.

Now here’s the kicker… selecting War Party as the final perk in the authority completely nullifies this damage bonus, along with any other follower damage bonus% coming from items or consumables used by the player.
In short, you get an extra follower (2 human thralls + a mount / 4 zombies + a mount) but lose any damage bonus that you would otherwise contribute to your followers.

(For example the bonus from a Hearty Feast or any armor piece with follower damage, like these hyena-fur boots etc.
While these would still show up in your own statistics, they would simply not be used for damage calculation as long as you have the War Party perk, even if you only take one follower with you, having the perk is what disables these)

The corrupted Frenzy perk will still apply to war-party thralls, since that is an actual active buff they gain when you attack things and it’s not an indirect passive follower damage effect.


War Party vs. Well Trained

If you choose to invest into authority all the way, this is going to be your big choice.
In theory this would boil down to: Have one strong follower, or two weaker ones.

However, in practice things are not that simple… and while you might often see online recommendations of “choose X cuz it’s better” (people seem to be split in a fanatical way much like as if one was running android while the other iOS lol), the truth is… BOTH are viable… and it’s your playstyle and the conditions you play in that would determine which one would be more valueble for YOU.
(It’s actually one of the best balanced perk choices in the game)

People often forget about all the caveats involved in each of these choices… for example I’ve seen comparisons, which most often forget about the big advantage of Well Trained - which is the fact that you’re supposed to combine it with follower damage boosting items, since it’s one of the restrictions of the other option, so they proceed to test without the use of any such mechanics, severely gimping Well Trained thralls.

In reality when things work well a thrall with Well Trained AND the player utilizing the available follower damage boosting mechanics (skelos cultist master armor / tears of gullah / hearty feast) that one thrall can do even up to 150% of the combined damage that 2 identical thralls with war party can.
They will also have a larger HP pool obviously due to the increased Vitality points, so this would be an excellent single target “boss killer” setup in most cases, since the boss will die sooner, it will inflict damage only on ONE thrall (especially if it cleaves).

As a contrast to that, two thralls will stagger twice the amount :slight_smile: so it might become the better option against bosses or targets that can be staggered… and let’s not forget that your gearing will be less restrictive as you can ignore follower damage, since it won’t work with war party anyway, which means you can just focus on damage armor yourself.
Add to this the benefit of being able to level two thralls at once and yet again you have a truly powerful option. (they do NOT split XP, each thrall will gain the full XP amount separately so it will take the same time leveling 2 thralls as it would take leveling just 1)


Bottom line, based on your playstyle and the encounter you wish to do, both of these choices are equally viable imo. and “best” is very… “context-sensitive”.
(They will ofc work pretty well in the other scenario as well, just because it’s not their strength, doesn’t mean you have to respec just to kill a boss, we’re talking about small differences here and ultimately your own personal preference should decide)


Other Authority perks

We can’t have authority without mentioning the very first perk: Irritate :slight_smile:
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This is essentially a “taunt” but an active one…
The way it works is that any time the follower attacks they will overtake you on threat… meaning that regardless of how much damage you did prior, that NPC you’re attacking will suddenly hate the thrall more than you and switch targets.

Important to note here that your follower NEEDS to attack in order for this to happen, the whole mechanic is triggered by their attacks, so don’t be surprised if the target still attacks you if your follower didn’t get a chance to land a hit yet.

IMPORTANT
This perk is also the pitfall of many new players and a common contributor to the “thralls are bad” rumors.
When you start out leveling a thrall, they’re obviously going to be weak at first… and if you happen to have Irritate enabled, your thrall will draw the enemies attention and quite often get killed.

You CAN however turn this off for each thrall following you, separately :slight_smile:

After you ordered your thrall to follow you, simply hold the interact key while targeting them from a close range to bring up the radial menu. You will see the option for it under Behavior

This means you could very safely level thralls even if you completely depend on them by picking up war party for example, then having a seasoned thrall with you doing all the killing with Irritate enabled, and a new low level one with irritate disabled which would be completely safe for the most part.


Another perk surrounded by various internet myths is Commanding Presence.
Everywhere you look, you will see people saying how it’s useless and bad and to pick the other one… which couldn’t be further from the truth :slight_smile:
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While it’s true that this perk will not replace the healing capabilities of good food, here’s the reality of things… During combat even 1 HP is better than no HP… and if you check out the alternative perk, that merely provides faster healing OUTSIDE of combat (this will only activate after 10 seconds from the last time they were hit)

If you want to heal your thralls outside of combat faster, you can simply have them drink a healing potion or use a bandage… or can just patiently wait for food to heal them… since there is no rush… so Healthy Diet really loses value here.

As for the actual healing of Commanding Presence… it can be quite decent… (I’ve recorded over 500 HP being healed from it during a giant boss crocodile fight before they were nerfed, so the 12160 HP ones), but it will obviously depend on the amount of damage YOU do, so your activity matters here and atm there aren’t a lot of large HP bosses where you would accumulate high values… but it’s still better than no bonus healing during combat :man_shrugging: as such I would always pick this over Healthy Diet.


Just a quick mention here about Attentive Care.
This perk isn’t a choice, so if you put 15 points into Authority, then this will be active.
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This will increase all buff-based healing, so this includes healing from food during combat… active food healing after combat… bandages, potions… etc.


Equipment

Weapons

Let’s… start out with the weapon part, since not everything is what it seems.

First of all, thralls utilize weapons in a “Let’s pick a combo at random” fashion and they have various pools of combos to pick from. Each thrall currently has a preset for 1h weapons and another for 2h weapons.
The lower tier thralls have presets containing only shorter combos, while the higher tier ones have access to full combos.

This is also where the “favorite weapon” myths originate from… these combo collection templates are named by Funcom based on which weapons they wanted them to perform in a specific way for.
The naming looks like this for the most part… a weapon and either a Basic or an Advanced version:
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The reason I said “myth”, is because despite that naming… these presets merely contain combo chain definitions, like so:

And they’re fairly similar in a sense that… there’s only so many combinations you can come up with that are made from TWO elements… Light… and Heavy :slight_smile:

Because of this most of the profiles are very similar and in practice you don’t actually see them do in any way significantly different damage because of these, in fact most of the advanced profiles have all the possible 4 hit combos listed :man_shrugging:

TLDR: we can safely ignore the naming as it will not actually correlate to them performing any “better” objectively with those weapons.

You might notice subtle differences, like how the Cannibal Brute didn’t use the overhead special attack of a 2H sword… it didn’t actually result in any real world DPS differences thou.


Unfortunately this also means that based on the weapon animations / weapon specials / attack patterns / etc. some weapons will simply be more efficient than others, even if the numbers written on them would suggest otherwise.

A typical example would be shields…
Many people give their thralls shields and while it can be quite annoying to us when NPC defenders raise a shield in our face… it’s less effective against the NPCs when our thrall raises shields at them :joy:

Given that they will mainly raise their shields at random times when that Offhand combo is selected, the results can be unpredictable.

Best case scenario our thrall accidentally blocks a hit, during which he won’t attack… so we haven’t done anything except needlessly prolonged the fight (unless we as a player manage to capitalize on it, but it’s going to be rare and very luck based).
Other scenarios include your thrall wasting a bunch of time raising the shield… only to lower it exactly as they take a hit to the face… having done nothing and even wasting their potential attack… or worse… sometimes shield-wielding thralls actually bug out and remain in a passive position until attacked or knocked back.

Conclusion: shields are not for thralls.


Their best performing weapon seems to be one-handed maces without any offhand item.
2 handed swords are also a pretty great option, especially against multiple weaker enemies like Imps or humans (careful with stagger as thralls can also be infinitely staggered, so if they get overwhelemd, you need to step in)

Katanas and shortswords can be nice… but due to the movesets they’re always going to waste a lot of time doing nothing or missing their hits so while you CAN use them, they will do much less damage than the above options… Same goes for daggers… they just tend to backflip a bit too much and waste valuable time not attacking :slight_smile:

(So if you end up with a thrall with superior agility, it’s best to just give them one of the Agility based 2-handed swords, like Baal-pteor’s Razor)


Armor

Now that we established maces to be really good, if we wanted to build our well-geared endgame thrall, we’d start out with the best mace currently in the game, which is Momentum and a nice Master Weapon Fitting on it (or the best alternative weapon we can get ofc since it’s a random legendary drop)

That means we’re building for a Strength weapon, so our armor choices can reflect that.
Thralls do not suffer from the weight of armor, which means there is no sense in giving them light armor, we want to maximize both armor value and damage output.

Currently on Exiled Lands, this would be the BiS Strength damage armor set, crafted with a T4 Shieldwright armorer and fitted with Bulk Plating (since again, weight doesn’t matter for them)

Now ofc if you’re lower level and don’t have access to these, then you would simply pick the best things you have access to, like regular strength damage based heavy armor and the best crafted mace you can make for example.


Controlling your thrall

Once you have your thrall all equipped and supplied with proper food and consumables, you head out to adventure…
You enter the gates of Sepermeru a friendly city, only to find yourself in a bit of a pickle as everybody is suddenly out to get you :slight_smile:
So what happened?

By default thralls are set to the Engagement behavior of “Attack All”
You can bring these up via the radial menu of your thrall (the same place where you turned off Irritate earlier)
I recommend setting them to “Guard me” if you plan to head into places like Sepermeru, so that your thrall doesn’t try to run and attack the neutral NPCs, causing a mass brawl.

Ofc you can always change that setting so if you know you want to kill everything in your path you can turn it back to Attack All at any point, which will make your thrall actively run towards targets and quite often let them get the first hit in as opposed to taking the first hit when they’re in a “react” mode.

Furthermore you have some quick command at your disposal…
Any time you have an active follower you can bring up the Command menu by holding the interact key and NOT targeting anything.
The options are Attack / Move / Return / Stop and they’re also accessible by quick-tapping the key without having to bring up the menu.

Pointing to a direction and tapping the interact key once will order your follower to Move there OR Attack in case you pointed at another NPC, double-tapping orders them to Stop (this will make them temporarily ignore everything, good for quickly trying to prevent them from murdering a thrall you want to knock out) and triple-tap to make them return to you (or cancel the Stop command)

(shameless plug, I have a little mod that lets you change thrall engagement via hotkeys called Follower Remote)

Summary

To sum everything up:

  • Choose your followers wisely, check their hidden multipliers
  • Equip them properly before heading out
  • Make sure you give them good healing food for combat
  • Apply buffs to your followers (elixir, food buff, well fed bonus)
  • Set up their behavior and any active perks like Irritate (in case you need to disable it)
  • Help your followers in tough situations and use the control menus to issue orders.

Once you learn about all this information, you might find that your thralls are actually much better than you initially thought them to be :slight_smile:

Good luck adventuring!

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Changelog:

  • 1/23/24 Created guide
  • 1/24/24 Updated guide to be less harsh on the gambling people and included section about purple lotus orbs. (thanks to Anglinex for reminding me to add purple lotus orbs)
  • 1/25/24 Separated food / buffs from stats section and added note on consumables and well-fed bonus. / Moved “bonus note on stats” and renamed to “Attribute priorities” (thanks to Mad_Hatter_Tas on reddit for reminding me about the well fed bonuses)
  • 2/8/23 Fixed the table of contents so it’s clickable once more :slight_smile:
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Very well done, this is definitely laid out better than I could.

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Oh, if only I had such a benefit in my time! How much time it would save!

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Well done.

I think the take home message for thralls is something like: Give your followers the love and attention they deserve and they will repay you in kind.

Looking at your spreadsheet briefly I can see my favourite thralls; Nordheimers of Freya, Dina, Lian, Lanos, Varpnir (when I can find the latter two) are far from ‘the best’. But I look after them. I give them a variety of weapons (not the best) good armour (not the best), good food (the best), Food and Elixir buffs prior to battle, and they perform on the whole very well for me on a Barbarian difficulty private server with no mods (and authority 0).

Which I find really comforting. That says to me in no way do you need the best of the best when it comes to fighting followers, you just have to use a bit of common sense.

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As for short and full combos. I noticed a pattern: warriors of tiers 1-2 have short combos (1-2 hits), while warriors of tier 3 and named ones usually have full combos (usually 3-4 hits).
Exceptions are rare. There is one named warrior from the island of Siptah, Aesir Warrior, she always has short combos (at least a year ago I saw this), and there is no point in taking her, IMHO.

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What I never understood is why some thralls of the same faction and tier may have consistently different combat patterns, meaning why do some perform frequently full combos while others only do it occasionally. I’ve tested this a lot and it always mystified me. I never got an answer on why this happens. Same gear, same opponents… and it still happens. I used to test thralls to see which were those who had the best pattern and use those, leaving the others at the base. It wasn’t particularly significant back then, but they could kill an enemy faster. Now that stunlock became a hindrance, that trait might be relevant. It’s been a while since I’ve done these tests, but if it still occurs, it might be worth checking it.

Awesome!
Thanks so much! :+1::+1:

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Very good guide -

conan-the-barbarian-4102937565

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Hi, what are Berserker III (109 on the list) and Conqueror (114)? Don’t see them attacking in purges.
By the way, list is great, thank you for creating and updating it.

Another excellent resource which will be of great benefit to the community @Xevyr. Job well done! I love having all information filed away in one place.

And you would be 100% correct in current level of usefulness regarding Pets. However, many of us (myself included) still love our Pets and dream of better times for them in Conan Exiles. So, if you have it in you, I would humbly request that you cover Pets too? :pray: :cry:

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Can’t this topic be pinned? It’s the best resource on thralls available anywhere.

They have different names once you spawn them, @Majkelos34 . I think the Berserker III is the Forgotten Tribe Chieftain. Can’t remember the other. I don’t know if they are in the game. I think they are new. Spawn them and see if they ring any bell.

Very nice guide. Vote for sticky!

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Don’t forget using purple lotus orbs. It sort of its in the classic way I guess but info is info.

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Oh so I wasn’t crazy, there are some differences in behaviour. I ditched a very tanky tier 1 fighter because she was attacking half as much as other thralls for no reason.

Thanks, will try spawning them.

If you can tell me which exact NPCs you were comparing I can look them up to see the difference.
Though typically for the most part it’s kinda like @Teng said that T1-2 have mainly partial combos while T3-T4 have full ones (they will still have some partial ones mixed in)

I think the keyword here is “Yet” :slight_smile:
If you look at the document, it contains multiple sheets, you can go back to the Chapter 2 sheet and you’ll see that they’re not on there…

Which means that either my previous filter was filtering them out… or they are completely new NPCs added in Chapter 3, either way they were clearly made for the purge and their naming might change over time.

Funcom did say they plan to add more variety to the purge waves in Chapter 4, so it might be coming then (they may or may not also be start using trebuchets and stuff against your bases… fun times…)

I need to go over it again at some point to correct some of the grammar and wording mistakes as it was a very long write and I often redesigned sentences mid-writing… so there are a lot of clunky paragraphs.
When I do that, I’ll stick a mention of the orbs in there as well, cuz I forgot about them. Thanks.

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Probably RHTS or Berzerkers, @Xevyr .
Maybe Dalinsias? The usual suspects…
Keep in mind we’re talking about the same thrall with only different looks and attribute growth chance, if that.
This all started because I wanted to find out in practice how impactfull were the differences in attributes after leveling a thrall. Each attribute has the possible gain of 40 points, 2 each level. In practice that never happened, but there were some significant differences, naturally, due to their inherent attribute growth chance.
I got suspicious when a thrall that was significantly weaker on paper out performed consistently a complete beast that had a lot of luck in all the 20 rolls, plus perks (no elixir of rebirth back then).

How I tested:
Spawn several. Level them. They all end up a little diferent, but close. Use those, avoid extreme difference to excludes as much as possible unknown 3rd variables derived from said pronounced differences.

Build an arena. Place the thrall, spawn a hard enemy. Observe and time the combat several times.

Some used full combos more often than others consistently. They always averaged better.

It pissed me off because I had to test thralls even further to choose the very best, since their stats alone couldn’t be completely trusted as predictive of the best performance. This factor, using full combos often vs use full combos sporadically, was even more relevant that those differences in stats (keep in mind, same thrall, 2 versions).

I wondered why that happened. Never found out. It’s easy to test , but you’ll need to spend a few hours on it.

This is, obviously, for perfectionists. Nobody needs to worry that much when playing. :smile: