On Grinding Worms

Recently I have, after almost a year of endless repetition, the exhaustion of second chances, and an almost MCU Thanos-getting-the-Soul-Stone-like sense of irrational loss from selling almost all the scrip-earning items in my inventory to cover the last few hundred scrip needed, obtained a Hellworm. An accomplishment matched only by the sense of despair at Hell charging extra for the saddle and boots, apparently.

For those of you who have also somehow purchased this elusive beast, what are YOUR favoured grinds for gathering what feels like enough Scrip to buy all the Hinterlands? I’ve been using the Parabolan War with truly, truly endgame stats coupled with the weakly selling of Licentiate skeletons to an extremely morbid but austere priest at the Bone Market, and am seriously considering more complex grinds to get the saddle quicker.

I’m still trying to figure out how the worm is worth the effort.(Admittedly, it is a Hellworm, and SHINY, even without a saddle and boots.)

The Hellworm’s (frequent) card is something like 14 EPA. More if you have the saddle.

It’s cheaper and more useful than a Heptagoat, which is the other goal I could be working towards.

I’m still far from the worm itself, being unwilling to liquidate years of accumulated items, but my preferred method is selling Fossilized Apes. Quite complex but it’s easy to turn the profits into other forms of currency, like Rat-Shillings or Khaganian Coinage. Just make sure to use the FL Favorites extension or equivalent to make all the skeleton-building less maddening…

I will certainly have enough to purchase the Worm after the current Bird Week is over. My preferred scrip grind is putting Bright Brass Skulls on Bouquets of Eight Spines and declaring them to be Birds, for the 10% bonus.

I make no claim that this method is faster or better than any other method. I just feel clever when I get a 10% bonus on a hugely expensive skeleton, and this is as expensive as it gets. And I enjoy the process of gathering ingredients to craft something, which I understand some people hate. I amassed 69 Bouquets of Eight Spines before I did the math and saw that I would have enough to buy a Worm once they were all converted. Last bird week I did 25. This bird week I’ll do a similar number, which will put me over the top.

Each skeleton requires me to liquidate 500e worth of items to buy Bright Brass Skulls, which sounds like a lot, but the Goat Farmer extension tells me that I’m within 8000e of a Heptagoat, so I have echoes to spare.

(If you were wondering, the odds of selling the 8-brass-skulled skeleton are 14% to the Author of Gothic Tales, or 24% to Mrs Plenty. I’ve been selling to Mrs Plenty. She pays 30e less, so maybe I should do some math to figure out how many extra failures would be worth it before I decide where to sell the next one.)
edited by PJ on 1/13/2022

Discussing my own situation with maybe getting a Hellworm.

So I have over 81,000 echoes and 68,000 scrip, with 88,000 warm amber in reserve for making a pricy skeleton. I know that turning echoes to scrip takes much longer to do than the reverse, so I’m wondering if I should just go for a Cider since it is quicker, or for a Hellworm and then a saddle.

I’m about 60% of the way towards a Hellworm, but I might complete it by the end of the week because I’ve finally decided that years of Bone Market Exhaustion is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. The only hesitation is whether it’s even remotely feasible to commit decades of Bone Market Exhaustion and get all the way to the Boots in one shot. I’m concerned that popping for the worm now will impede my ability to get the saddle and boots afterwards.

I have lots of cash resources and I’m willing to spend them, but I also have principles that preclude the use of Brass Lollipops. As such, I’ve been trying to get creating to convert items into Scrip, and I’ve had to grind Scrip from scratch more than I would like. Here’s where the bulk of it came from:

  • Moulin is close to one of the top-tier grinds. I also really like the expeditions, and that fun is worth more than the few percent extra I might have gotten by exploring Mammoth Ranching or Fossilized Apes.[/li][li]Completing Parabolan Warfare for Concentrate of Self, converting to Scrip via Curatorial Cocktails in the Station VIII kitchen. I’ve done some investigation that shows Parabolan Warfare can be played for higher efficiency than the commonly-accepted Morale strategy. But I end up getting too frustrated trying to get Fillip of Effervescence.[/li][li]Cover Identities in Balmoral to use in the Clay Highwayman’s camp for Fabulous Diamonds and Prismatic Frames. Sell the latter on Fish Week. Most Backstory comes from the Khanate.[/li][li]Play cards for Someone is Coming, get Bone Fragments from the Relicker. Convert to Ivory Femurs and sell on Insect Week.[/li][li]I got 30,000 scrip that one weekend that you could buy Fabulous Diamonds in the Rat Market.

Now that I’ve committed to Bone Market shenanigans, any Skeletons get sold for Amber rather than Scrip. At this point that has a leverage of a factor of three. While I never committed to it, I used Hephaesta to make a few spare Cartographer’s Hoards when the lab rework came out; those were converted into Five-Pointed Frames (requires Upwards) and sold on Bird Week, depleting my reserves of bone fragments.

I’ve been making small fashionable Skeletons for the Bone-Market. My process is to sell to the dual-feature buyers with a 6-Amalgamy-3-Menace Bird (or whatever the fashionable attribute and type are) to capitalize on both Trends and avoid any exhaustion. Probably sub-optimal, but a nice bit of direction and variety, and if the bones run low I can ride off and source some materials at Moulin or Balmoral or Ealing.

[quote=The Curious Watcher]So I have over 81,000 echoes and 68,000 scrip, with 88,000 warm amber in reserve for making a pricy skeleton. I know that turning echoes to scrip takes much longer to do than the reverse, so I’m wondering if I should just go for a Cider since it is quicker, or for a Hellworm and then a saddle.[/quote] I was in a similar position (more echoes, less scrip) and opted for the Cider this New Years. Haven’t been dying to use it yet (sorry), but decided I wanted to get all my Renowns to 55 first which requires drawing Mood Cards in London, which would rather trivialize the hypothetical Worm. Plus, London has some exciting Cards now with the Calendrical Confusion, the post-Clearing Out one, and the newly revitalized Favours-into-Tribute stream. Not Hell-Worm exciting, but a nice consolation prize for now.

Thank you all for sharing. Old habits die hard and I’m quite attached to ParaWar, just plagued by the nagging feeling I could be getting more of it, so I’m going to try fighting myself for Concentrate of Self. I also experimented with Cover Identities back in the day but don’t you lose a bunch of actions zailing across the zee?

I’d mark the post with bullet points as &quotaccepted answer&quot but from what I can tell most folks seem to think the &quotaccepted answer&quot colours are a bit harsh on the eyes.
edited by Captain Blood Storm on 1/13/2022

[quote=The Curious Watcher]Discussing my own situation with maybe getting a Hellworm.

So I have over 81,000 echoes and 68,000 scrip, with 88,000 warm amber in reserve for making a pricy skeleton. I know that turning echoes to scrip takes much longer to do than the reverse, so I’m wondering if I should just go for a Cider since it is quicker, or for a Hellworm and then a saddle.[/quote]

The lore enthusiast in me encourages you to go for the Cider, because it actually does come up in a handful of ESes and because even if Mr. Hearts itself does criticise the methodology in Skies, having bottled immortality is pretty cool. The lore speculator in me on the other hand encourages you to go for the Hellworm-not for any rational reason, but because as new content with it’s unique card I have a worry the team may be more keen to release new stuff for which it’s relevant. Be it ES/special story interactions or something else.

On the other hand, while I haven’t played with the Hellworm card very much yet the utilitarian in me would recommend the Cider purely on the basis that 1. it’s a reliable source of Extraordinary Implications as long as you have any wounds at all, and 2. it’s a free get-out-of-chess-with-the-Boatman ticket, which can save on a lot of actions if you for whatever reason find yourself racking up more wounds than you expected.

As someone who decided to work on Scholar of the Correspondence immediately after liquidating everything to buy Cider and found himself without any of the required materials, I can say that Cider is a reliable source of Extraordinary Implications even if you don’t have any wounds at all

No worm yet, but as I’ve mentioned before, I’m betting big on preparing bulk stocks of big-ticket Rat Market sellables, which I intend to cash in whenever fabulous diamonds or some other conveniently scrip-convertible goods are finally on offer again. It’s a strategy with a lot of uncertainly to it, but I’m hoping it’ll pay off.

You basically have to prepare a bulk stock of every sellable, since you can’t predict when Fabulous Diamonds will come again. So far you’re looking for just Fabulous Diamonds, too, since I don’t think we’ve seen anything else that’s convertable to script without a loss.

Not every sellable, no. Like I said, big-ticket sellables. Even if you want guaranteed coverage on any given week, you still only need a spread to account for each week with one item. So you could, for example, just prepare a bunch of the four 312,5-echo ones, so on any given week one of them will always be up for sale.

You can also just choose to leave a gap or two. For example, corresponding sounders are a bit of a pain because they involve so much time outside London. Ivory organza grind has kind of a similar problem, though the trips to and from the city are quicker, and upriver at least HAS a card deck, unlike khanate and parabola. So I probably won’t focus on all of them equally. More on parables and hoards. Can also partially patch up gaps by including items off another tier, like night-whispers.

The way I figure it, time is the great equalizer here. When you consider the worm and all its accessories, this is a very big and slow grind, of an order similar to cider and on a scale of years for me to complete. And unless the devs decide to pull the diamonds from the market, then sooner or later, each of my prepared sellables will eventually coincide with the diamonds being available. I’m counting on it all evening out in the long run, just have to be patient.

An update on the Curatorial Cocktail method: I have quickly discovered the biggest limit to it, other than occasionally spending echoes for more Memories of Distant Shores, is how danged hard Sworn Statements are to gather. I know there’s a certain Sculptress at the Viric Jungle who provides a repeatable grind but I accidentally overshot on a few tries. Plus gathering Filip of Effervescence is purely luck-based, which is frustrating on other levels.

…on the other hand, with my maxed out train luxuries gathering 795 Scrip per round is a VERY good feeling.

Seconding this approach. I’m slowly exchanging Stygian Ivory from ape-grinding for Crackling Devices via the Khanate. Unless we see a new wildly-profitable item in the Rat Market, there’s only a 23% chance that diamonds line up with devices each three-month cycle. Will this delay my acquisition of a worm? Quite possibly! But I’ll be much closer to the worm accesssories overall. My only concern is being able to sell every Crackling Device in one weekend.

I already have too many Night Whispers to sell in a single weekend. It’s surprisingly easy to do. They’re sellable for three weekends in a row, but I’m not going to sell any this weekend. All my actions have to be dedicated to making eight-spined skeletons into birds while they’re in fashion

Indeed. Still, I have a ways to go before I hit 150 each on parables and hoards, so that should keep me busy for a while.

It has recently come to my attention that the Feast of the Exceptional Rose offers an interesting opportunity here: Custom-Engraved Skulls.

The mechanics are basically the same as Brass Lollipops. The economics are substantially different: A Custom-Engraved Skull costs materials worth e20, and gives 200 Hinterland Scrip, plus 2 Bone Market Exhaustion. My Bone Market is exhausted until March 2024 anyways, so a few hundred extra levels isn’t going to bother me much. And Inklings of Identity are actually very easy to obtain: The Rat Market.

Anybody here interested in some exchanges? (Unless FBG decides to rebalance this in the next few weeks.)

I got 100 or so extra last year and burned through them 2 per week, they are a nice little bonus. Assuming the mechanics don’t change, I’ll be getting another batch for the year. I think I just used an alt to reject my mainline offers if you don’t want to coordinate with someone in real time and have an alt to spare (assuming that mechanic doesn’t change either!).

But PSGarak, isn’t the option to affix the skull locked at exhausion >=4? Not sure you can use them if you’ve already exhausted the market, but not sure about that.
edited by Shaerys on 1/17/2022