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Don't Starve Together - Maxwell Character Guide

Written by Phodom   /   Nov 6, 2019    


Maxwell, The Puppet Master. My favourite character in the game. Since I wasn't able to find any guide about him here, I chose to make one. Now, let's get started!

How to Play Maxwell the Puppet Master

The Basics

In this part I will talk abouit his stats, pros, cons, etc.


Maxwell starts out with 75 Health, 150 Hunger and 200 Sanity. His low Health is his biggest con, which can become rather problematic.

Starting Items: The Codex Umbra, that allows Maxwell to summon Shadow Puppets.

6 Nightmare fuel, used In the making of Shadow Puppets.


Maxwell can craft Shadow Puppets to do work for him. That is his biggest Pro and we will be talking about them later.

He also has a very big passive sanity gain, which can be seen as a downside (6.75 per minute).


He only has 75 Health, which makes it hard to fight early game.

His sanity gain can also be seen as a downside, becouse it makes farming nightmare fuel (A resource very important to Maxwell) very hard.

Also A fun fact, Maxwell's voice Is a Harmonium.

How to Deal With Health Early and Mid Game

If you ever played Maxwell, you sure noticed his biggest downside: His health. It sits at a maximum of 75 and can be a real pain in the a** early and mid game. Early game you can pick blue mushrooms at night (20 health, some hunger and -15 sanity which dosent matter because Maxwell has very good sanity restoration) or you could kill some spiders (or as I like to call them spooders) for a 25% chance for a spider gland.

You can use it right away for 8 health or craft a torch, burn some grass, twigs, logs (basically anything flammable) for ash, grab some rocks and craft a healing salve at a science machine with 2 ash, 1 rock and 1 spider gland. The healing salve Heals 20 health (same as the blue mushroom but has no downsides (even though -15 sanity is nothing for Maxwell) and in my opinion Is very worth it.

Early game there's also Trail Mix which restores 30 Health, 12,5 hunger and 5 sanity. It can be easly made with a roasted birchnut (just cut some birchnut trees and cook the birchnuts they drop) and 3 berries in a crock pot. In the midgame (or early game if you can) you can use honey poultices that you can craft with 2 honey and 1 papyrus (Go to the swamp or "marsh" and pick cut reeds. 4 Cut Reeds is 1 papyrus) at an Alchemy Engine. You can also craft some farms and pray to the gods that you get a Dragonfruit which you can throw in a crockpot with some twigs to create Dragonpie - A food which restores 40 Health, 75 hunger and 5 Sanity. You can also Imprison a bird, give it some meat so you get eggs then throw 1 Egg, 1 Meat, 1 veggie, and 1 filler into a crockpot to get Pierogi - Also a 40 Health food, just giving less hunger.

The Shadow Puppets

Maxwell's Main ability: The Shadow Puppets. As Maxwell, You spawn with the Codex Umbra. When you drop it on the ground a new crafting Tab opens: The "Shadow" tab. Here you Can craft the Puppets, but be careful becouse they remove a part of your maximum sanity. Now we'll discuss each of them.

  • The Shadow Chopper: Crafted with 2 Nightmare fuel 1 Axe and 20% of your maximum sanity. They can be used to well...Chop trees. Be careful, becouse they will chop not fully grown trees too.
  • The Shadow Miner: Crafted With 2 Nightmare Fuel, 1 Pickaxe and 20% of your maximum Sanity. They will destroy rocks, Gold veins, etc. Pretty useful.
  • The Shadow Digger: Crafted with 2 nightmare fuel, 1 Shovel and 20% of your Maximum Sanity. The least annoying one. They will only dig Graves and stomps up, Which isnt a problem becouse no one want to have them lying around any way.
  • The Shadow Duelist: The worst one, by far. Crafted with 2 nightmare fuel, 1 Spear and 35 % of your sanity. They have 75 Health and deal 40 dmg. They arent really good at fighting so don't use them.


You can Chop and entire forest in record time using 2 Choppers and 1 Digger. Just remember to replant the pine cones!

When killed by an enemy, the shadow puppets die and drop nothing. If you force attack them however they drop 1 Nightmare fuel making it easier to make more of them later.

I said it earlier, but Shadow duelists just Aren't good. They usually just die without getting a single hit in. Also they cost more of your maximum Sanity so you can only have 2 at a time.

Random Tips

Here I'll just write down some random tips that are still useful.

  • As soon as you can, get a Football Helmet and/or a log suit. They will help a ton in the early game.
  • He can read every Book Wickerbottom can, and With his Huge Sanity gain he can do it with practically no downside.
  • You might find It hard to farm Nightmare fuel as Maxwell, which is Pretty bad since his main pro Needs tons of it. 

Here are some easy ways to stay insane:

  1. The lazy Deserter just Use it untill you're insane. It'll drain your sanity pretty quickly with no downside.
  2. This is pretty boring, but just spam wormholes. - 15 sanity per jump.
  3. Craft the nightmare amulet. It makes you Insane untill it runs out and while using it, Nightmare creatures spawn way faster.
  4. Thanks to his Sanity gain and the ability to have an endless durability Pickaxe with his Shadow miner, he's in my opinion the best ruins rusher.
  5. Watch this video below.


So in summary, Maxwell is a very unique and A pretty good character. He also is the best resource gatherer Early game, and can rush ruins very quickly.

Written by Phodom.