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|The Puppet Master|
|"Freedom suits me"|
|Is dapper but frail|
Can split his mind into pieces
On a first-name basis with the night
Maxwell (AKA William Carter) is one of the two playable Characters that are not unlocked via Experience in the Don't Starve base game. The de facto antagonist of the game, if freed at the end of Adventure Mode, returns to his dapper human form, being sent to one island of the Don't Starve world.
In addition to his journal on "Them", which allows him to fragment his mind, Maxwell starts off with his own fighting gear and valuable items. Being a dapper fellow, his Sanity constantly increases over time. To make up for that, Maxwell only has a maximum Health of 75 points. Maxwell's playstyle revolves around his Sanity, being able to manage it very easily, and the aid of his Book.
Players can only unlock Maxwell by completing Adventure Mode. After beating five consecutive Chapters (escaping from five randomly-ordered and themed Adventure Worlds), the player will find themselves in the Epilogue Chapter. Once there, if the player chooses to take pity upon Maxwell, they can attempt to release him from imprisonment in the Nightmare Throne by inserting a Divining Rod into the throne's Nightmare Lock. Once this happens, Maxwell becomes a playable Character.
Codex Umbra acts similar to Wickerbottom's books, but has an infinite durability. Upon reading it, a Shadow Puppet with the silhouette of Maxwell will appear. Using the Book costs 15 , 2 Nightmare Fuel and 55 maximum Sanity . Due to this the player may have up to 3 puppets, at which point Maxwell will have 35 Sanity and will be unable to spawn more. The Shadow Puppets will live up to 2.5 days before dying off. They will aid Maxwell in combat, and assist him in mining and chopping down Trees. Upon death of a Puppet, Maxwell's maximum sanity will be restored by 55 points.
Maxwell's maximum Health is only 75, making fights very dangerous if the player doesn't have good armor available. His Sanity regeneration bonus can also make it hard to stay insane and reap the benefits of that state.
In the Shipwrecked (SW) DLC, Maxwell's Puppets will aid him when hacking things with a Machete and they will have their own shadow version of the Row Boat making it possible for them to follow him across islands, unlike other Followers.
Don't Starve Together
In Don't Starve Together, he starts the game only with his Codex Umbra and 6 Nightmare Fuel. His Sanity boost has been reduced from 20/min to 6.67/min. The Shadow Tab was added, in which one can craft the Codex and different types of puppets. Puppets cost 2 Nightmare Fuel, a tool matching their action, and 20% (worker) or 35% (duelist) of Maxwell's maximum sanity. Maxwell is also able to read Wickerbottom's books.
- Maxwell's starting items are some of the most powerful and rare in the game giving him an easier start than most. The Armor and Sword provide a great deal of survivability and allow him to keep his Sanity regeneration in check.
- Summoning multiple Puppets to reduce the maximum Sanity is a good way to get Maxwell to stay almost insane for long periods of time, which is not easily obtained normally due to his Sanity regain buff. Coupled with the fact that when equipping his Sword and Armor he loses 10 /min, it is possible for him to become insane and sane back at will and very easily since there's only 5 points of sanity between the two thresholds.
- Due to Maxwell's low max Health, it is recommended to use his starting Night Armour when fighting dangerous creatures such as Hounds or Boss Monsters early on, reducing damage against him by 95% when worn.
- Maxwell also has the advantage of being capable of building a Shadow Manipulator quicker than other characters, as he starts with a Purple Gem and Nightmare Fuel, shortening the time needed for gathering materials. This can allow players to quickly rebuild Night Armour and Dark Swords early in the game.
- Normally the Shadow Puppets stop aiding with their Tools after Maxwell stops doing the act, but if they are close to the target and the player quickly cancels the action by moving or quickly switching to another hand slot item, the Puppets will still carry it out, essentially getting the resources without using the durability of the Tool. This means that it is a waste of resources to craft better versions of those Tools when playing as Maxwell.
- Due to the low maximum Health and the cost of the Codex Umbra it is advised to only rely on Life Giving Amulets to revive from death instead of Meat Effigies as the latter will leave him at only 45 maximum Health. This means that Beard Hair is largely useless to Maxwell.
- In DLCs, thanks to his Sanity regeneration, Maxwell will not lose Sanity even with 100 Wetness while holding wet Items.
- In Don't Starve Together, Maxwell can read Wickerbottom's books. This can be helpful for when Wickerbottom is not present to do so.
- Maxwell's voice is played by a harmonium.
- Seeing as Maxwell's real name is William, all playable characters technically do start with W.
- Maxwell's playable character appears to be named "Waxwell" in game's files. This suggests that he was likely named Waxwell in the game's files to avoid any file conflicts between the NPC Maxwell and the playable Maxwell.
- The playable version of Maxwell was also nicknamed by fans "Waxwell" prior to his release.
- Maxwell is currently one of five characters that can not be unlocked by gaining Experience, the others being Wes, Webber, Wilbur and Woodlegs.
- Maxwell is not greeted at the start of new world. Instead he'll wake up by himself and claim "Freedom, at Last!". This may imply that the character who rescued him from the Nightmare Throne doesn't yet have as much control over the world as Maxwell previously did.
- His Curio Cabinet description from The Forge beta is "Formerly the Shadow King, lately Maxwell finds himself reacquainted with life among the commonfolk.".
- Maxwell breaks the fourth wall by talking about Don't Starve itself; for example, he comments on "game logic" when examining an Opulent Pickaxe.
- Maxwell examination quote for Tallbirds reveals that he created them by accident through a failed experiment.
- At the end of the trailer for the End of the Beginning update, Maxwell has a rounded chin, but in the game version, he has a flat chin.
- After the All's Well That Maxwell update the Codex Umbra was added to the game as Maxwell's perk and his sound when engaged in a fight is different.
- When struck by Lightning in DLCs, Maxwell is shown to have bones in his sleeves.
- He is one of the only five characters that have no skull in the game files, the others being Wigfrid, Walani, Warly and Woodlegs.
- Maxwell is noticeably shorter than his NPC version, for gameplay reasons.
- When Maxwell is rebound to the Nightmare Throne, he will revert to his NPC appearance.
- If one dies to the Night Monster while playing as Maxwell, the Morgue will show the cause of death as "Charlie" rather than "Darkness".
- Maxwell's perks description used to be: Is dapper but frail; Can fragment his own mind; Brings his own sword. His starting items and perks were kept though.
- Maxwell is able to read Wickerbottom's Books in DST.