Once you have built the first station of your Great Hell-Bound Railway, you get access to the Upper River Exchange.
There you can buy Your Very Own Miniature Hellworm for a measly 200,000x Hinterland Scrip. If you are willing and able to invest that same amount of money once again, you can upgrade it to Your Very Own Miniature Hellworm, Saddled and Bridled. Equipping either adds a fun and profitable card to your Upper River opportunity card deck.
Why Should I Bother?
A good question, with many possible answers, like:
- Because it's a hard-to-get item. For some players that's motivation enough.
- Because it's just so darling, it's like a big fuzzy puppy and it loves you
- Because it gives access to more unique items, such as
- Hellworm Milk, which you can turn into Ripened Wheel of Hellworm Cheese through the Whitsun festival
- Sap of the Cedar at the Crossroads, otherwise only available by spending FATE
- Vial of Cantigaster Venom, a pretty good weapon otherwise only available by spending FATE
- Because it adds a very profitable card to the Hinterland opportunity deck
- Because it is a Crime against the Chain, and a rejection of the authority of the Judgements
- Stupid question. "Because I can".
How to Obtain Your Hellworm
Once you have the required Hinterland Scrip, you can buy your Hellworm from the Upper River Exchange.
Typically, obtaining enough Scrip is a months-long process. See Hinterland Scrip-Making for advice on how to go about that efficiently.
To give you an idea of the scale of the task: even if you are a Licentiate, and have enough money (nearly 81 thousand echoes) to buy Bright Brass Skull from the Bazaar, and you have enough Nevercold Brass Sliver, simply turning your Skulls into Scrip through the Licentiate Brass Lollipop grind takes 5164 actions. If you typically spend 100 actions per day playing Fallen London and devote those fully to grind, it still takes over 51 days.
On the other hand, if you start with zero echoes and assume a 10 Scrip-per-Action grind, it takes you 200 days under the same assumptions, or more than half a year.
Upgrading Your Hellworm
After obtaining your Hellworm, equip it and draw cards at the Upper River. Sooner or later you will come across Your Very Own Hellworm. There you can invest another 200,000 Scrip and play Purchase a hellworm saddle, which exchanges your Hellworm for Your Very Own Miniature Hellworm, Saddled and Bridled, a pretty awesome item in the Transportation slot.
There are further options to spend Scrip to obtain more Hellworm accessories, namely the Hellworm-Riding Boots with Brass Spurs and Hellworm-Riding Boot Polish. The Hellworm-Riding Boots are worn in the Boots slot and give +8 Dangerous and +1 Dreaded. Those stats are no better than that of several other boots you probably already own and only add flavor text when riding your hellworm. The Boot Polish does nothing. There's no reason to buy these accessories, but if you have the money, why not spend it? (Additionally, there is no lock on purchasing the polish, so you can own multiple tins!)
Equipping your hellworm (upgraded or not) grants the In the Company of a Hellworm quality, which allows you to draw the Your Very Own Hellworm card in the Upper River deck.
There you can play options to increase The Disposition of your Hellworm:
- Play with your hellworm, increases Disposition by 1 point, and decreases your Nightmares by 1-7CP
- Ride your hellworm requires the upgraded Hellworm Your Very Own Miniature Hellworm, Saddled and Bridled, increases Disposition by 1-2 points, and also gives you a profitable 2x Aeolian Scream, but also raises your Scandal by 1 CP.
Once Disposition reaches 7, you can Milk your hellworm, which reduces Disposition by 7 points again, and gives you random liquid (see below).
Hellworm Milking Rewards
Milking your hellworm randomly gives you one of 31 possible rewards, ranging from annoying to highly profitable.
Adding up just the milking rewards that can be straight-up sold to the Bazaar or the Upper River Exchange and dividing it by the number of possible rewards gives an average 73.03 reward for milking.
If you raise your Disposition through Play with your hellworm, you need to do that seven times before you can milk (and you need draw the card 8 times total). That gives you 9.16 EPA. Plus lots of Nightmares removed, if you have any.
If you have the saddled hellworm, you ride it on average 4.67 times before you can milk it, giving you just as many CP of Scandal, and giving you an extra 4.67 * 2 Aeolian Scream worth 23.35 . If we add one extra action for getting rid of the scandal, that's 73.03 plus 23.35 for 6.67 actions (and 5.67 card draws), resulting in 14.45 EPA.
You can raise the EPA further by transforming some of the other, high-value rewards into items that can be sold to the Bazaar or otherwise used for your own purposes. A full analysis of this is nearly impossible, because it depends on too many factors. Instead, here are a few ideas on what to do with some of these items:
- Assemble a Tasting Flight of Targeted Toxins (worth 1562.50 ) can make use of several Hellworm products. It requires:
- 50 x Emetic Revelation, dropped from your Hellworm
- 125 x Discriminating Aconite, dropped from your Hellworm or indirectly from Distillation of Retribution
- 625 x Holy Sanguinarine Ointment from Salve of Righteousness
- 500 x Hand-picked Peppercaps from A Disillusioned Fungiculturalist, which you encounter anyway when drawing cards in the Hinterlands
- 625 x Venom-Ruby Let's just hope you have these left-over, otherwise see Curiosity_Grinding_(Guide)#Venom-Ruby
- Oil of Companionship can be used in Lead an expedition to the strangest point on the horizon together with 98x Rumour of the Upper River. This is a good way to turn Rumours from Sainted Spider skeletons (or simply from touring the Upper River a lot) into a Prismatic Frame, which you can then use as a high-value basis for further Bone Market adventures.
- Concentrate of Self can be used (with other items) to Prepare a Curatorial Cocktail at Station XIII:
- Touring the factory at Station XIII, mark crates to randomly get either Fillip of Effervescence or Halcyonic Tonic (you'll need both).
- Also at the factory, Offer to collect materials to be experimented on. When next in London, Acquire an 'Obliviscere Mori', then back at Station XIII convert it into Crystallised Euphoria.
- At the university, exchange the Halcyonic Tonic into 5 x Dark-Dewed Cherry (plus other items).
- In the Station XIII kitchen, Steep a Dark-Dewed Cherry Liqueur, then Prepare a Solacefruit Champagne Royale, and then Prepare a Curatorial Cocktail,.
- In addition to the above, each such Curatorial Cocktail will need: 1 x Bottle of Broken Giant 1844 (which also drops occasionally from the Hellworm), 100 x Memory of Distant Shores, 1.6 x Extraordinary Implication, 5 x Solacefruit (can even be bought at the Rat Market). If you have those specific items, then creating the cocktail should take 16 actions on average (including travel cost between Station XIII and London).
- Serve up the cocktail for 789 (plus up to 6 more if you've upgraded your Train's Luxury). 730 of which come from the value added by the Concentrate of Self.
On the other hand, you also tend to draw and play other cards and have to travel to London now and then, which lowers your overall EPA.