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The world in Don’t Starve is a messy, complicated, and dangerous place. Hostile spiders make their nests everywhere they go. Tentacles wait for their prey to wander into their abode. The shadows amidst the Darkness slowly try to grab you into harm as you lose your Sanity. It is difficult to survive, but thankfully the characters in the game have unique special abilities that can help them.
According to the game’s lore, many of the playable characters were dragged into the Constant against their will, and now they have to survive. It can be difficult to choose because there are a whopping 24 characters throughout the franchise. Some characters first appeared during the introduction of DLCs like Shipwrecked and Hamlet, and some are not playable in separate games like Don’t Starve Together.
If you are having issues in picking a character to play as you do not have to worry; this guide will help you choose. If you are playing a character that you are not too sure how to handle, this guide will be useful. May it be Wilson (read our full Wilson guide) with his magnificent and hairy beard or Wes, the “best” character in Don’t Starve; this ultimate Don’t Starve characters guide is ready to answer all your questions.
Bottom Line Up Front
Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together boast 24 playable characters. Ten of them debuted in the base game (Wilson, Willow, Wolfgang, Wendy, WX-78, Wickerbottom, Woodie, Wes, Maxwell, and Wagstaff) while two debuted in the Reign of Giants DLC (Wigfrid and Webber).
Shipwrecked DLC introduced four new characters (Walani, Warly, Wilbur, and Woodlegs) while Hamlet DLC introduced three (Wilba, Wormwood, and Wheeler). Don’t Starve Together has 13 existing characters from the base game and introduced five new characters (Winona, Wortox, Wurt, Walter, and Wanda).
Who are the characters in Don’t Starve?
There are 24 playable characters spanning Don’t Starve, its DLCs (i.e., Reign of Giants, Shipwrecked, and Hamlet), and Don’t Starve Together. Not everyone appears in every game; for example, Wilba, introduced in the base game’s Hamlet DLC, is not playable in Don’t Starve Together. However, some do appear in every entry, like Wilson, who the players consider the game’s protagonist.
Below is a list of all the characters in the game as of the time of writing. I have also included a checklist that details if the character is playable in Don’t Starve (and its DLCs) and Don’t Starve Together. Note that players introduced in the base game and the three DLCs (Reign of Giants, Shipwrecked, and Hamlet) are compatible with each other if you want them to be.
For example, if you start a new game on a Reign of Giants savefile, you are given a choice to make it compatible with Hamlet or Shipwrecked. When you do so, you can play the characters in the mentioned DLC inside the save file.
Meanwhile, DLC save files is automatically compatible with the previous DLCs. For example, if you start a new game on a Shipwrecked savefile, it will automatically be compatible with the Reign of Giants DLC and the base game. So, you can play the characters introduced in Reign of Giants inside the Shipwrecked savefile.
Don’t Starve Characters List
Note that DS in this context means Don’t Starve along with its DLCs, and DST means Don’t Starve Together. If you are looking for their respective abilities, they are in the other section below.
|Introduced in||Playable in DS||
Playable in DST
|Wigfrid||Reign of Giants DLC||Yes||Yes|
|Webber||Reign of Giants DLC||Yes||Yes|
|Winona||Don’t Starve Together||No||Yes|
|Wortox||Don’t Starve Together||No||Yes|
|Wurt||Don’t Starve Together||No||Yes|
|Walter||Don’t Starve Together||No||Yes|
|Wanda||Don’t Starve Together||No||Yes|
Don’t Starve Characters’ Abilities
Below are the detailed descriptions of each character’s abilities. Note that the developers altered some of the abilities in Don’t Starve Together to make the multiplayer experience more balanced. Since there are too many characters to explain, I will only be explaining the characters in the base game and the Reign of Giants DLC.
Wilson’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve
He can grow a beard over time. If you shave the beard, it will yield Beard Hair depending on its length. Having a short beard (four days of growth) will yield one Beard Hair that can insulate for 15 seconds. Having a long beard (eight days of growth) will yield three Beard Hair that can insulate for 45 seconds.
Having a magnificent beard (16 days of growth) will yield nine Beard Hair that can insulate for 135 seconds. Other than insulation, you can use the Beard Hair to make a Meat Effigy. Meat Effigies resurrect you when you die.
Wilson’s special ability in Don’t Starve Together
His special ability in Don’t Starve Together functions similar to the base game.
Willow’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve
She has a lighter that does not break but has a lower light radius. You can use it to set things on fire. She is immune to fire damage, and fire makes her Sanity regain faster (up to 10 Sanity points per minute). When her Sanity is at 60 or lower, she will randomly light things up with her lighter.
Willow’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve Together
You can now craft the lighter and use it for cooking food, but it breaks after 10 minutes or cooking 100 times. She carries an additional starting item known as Bernie, a stuffed teddy bear. You can also craft it. When equipped, Willow will receive warmth and Sanity, but it will slowly lose its durability. If a character’s Sanity is below 15%, a Bernie on the ground will transform into a large sentient creature.
The BERNIE! can attack other Mobs other than bosses. Willow is 50% more efficient in fueling fires and cooking than others. She takes longer to Overheat and takes less damage from the effect. She gains Sanity 10% faster than others too. However, she is more vulnerable to Freezing and loses more Health and Sanity when cold.
Here’s our full guide with everything you need to know about Willow in Don’t Starve.
Wolfgang’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve
Wolfgang becomes stronger the fuller he is but becomes weaker, the hungrier he gets. If his Hunger is at 100 points or below, his maximum health and damage output become lower, movement speed becomes slower, and his Hunger will decrease up to 50% faster. These modifiers depend on how low his Hunger is.
If his Hunger is between 100 and 225, his maximum Health is at 200, and his damage output and movement speed are normal. His Hunger will steadily decrease 50% faster. If his Hunger reaches 225 and above, his maximum health and damage output becomes higher, movement speed becomes faster, and the rate his Hunger decreases is three times faster than normal.
When he changes between forms, he becomes vulnerable for a few seconds. His Sanity drains 10% faster than other characters from Monsters and being in the dark.
Wolfgang’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve Together
Wolfgang’s Health, Hunger, and Sanity are capped at a maximum of 200 points. He has a “Mighty Meter” that slowly decreases but can be increased by lifting weights, attacking, and doing chores like chopping down trees and mining. He is at his weakest at zero to 25 mightiness on the meter, normal at 26 to 75 mightiness, and at his strongest at 76 to 100 mightiness.
His mightiness drains at a rate depending on his Hunger. The hungrier he is, the faster the meter drains. At his strongest, Wolfgang can deal twice the normal damage and carry heavy items at a steady pace without losing mightiness. He also does chores faster, but his movement speed does not change depending on his form.
Wendy’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve
Wendy can summon her dead sister Abigail as a ghost when the wilted flower in her inventory starts to bloom within two to four days. Placing the flower on the ground and having a mob’s death nearby will make the summoning successful. Abigail will follow Wendy and attack hostile creatures.
The flower drops if Abigail’s ghost dies, and it becomes fully wilted again. Her Sanity drains 25% slower from the Darkness. However, she is 25% weaker than most characters.
Wendy’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve Together
Wendy can summon Abigail instantly, which gives her 15 more Sanity points. Abigail, in her Soothe State, will attack hostile mobs, while in her Rile Up State, she will attack any mob near Abigail, may they be neutral or not. Attacking Abigail or clicking on her while dragging her flower will dismiss her, which loses 15 Sanity points to Wendy.
Abigail’s Health starts at 150 and increases to 600 after two days. However, this process becomes faster when a fully-decorated Sisturn is present on the surface. Abigail’s Health goes back to its initial state after she dies, but thankfully she has a protective shield that activates after the first hit against her. Wendy can make Ghostly Elixirs that will make Abigail stronger or more resilient.
Wendy can also create a Sisturn, and she does not lose Sanity in the Darkness and among Ghosts, Pipspooks, and Ghost characters. Additionally, Ghosts are neutral towards Wendy unless she attacks them first. She is still 25% weaker than most other characters.
WX-78’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve
WX-78’s movement speed becomes 50% faster when hit with Lightning. Additionally, light emits from them, and they gain immunity to Freezing. This process also grants them 100 Health points but takes away 33 Sanity points. This effect lasts for a day. They can eat Gears to increase their maximum stats.
Each Gear increases their maximum Health by 20 points and maximum Sanity and Hunger by 6.66 points. They can eat a maximum of 15 gears for a full upgrade. They do not suffer from eating stale or spoiled food. They lose 0.5 Health points every three to five seconds when it is raining.
After the Shipwrecked DLC, WX-78 can take less damage by using water-resistant equipment. Additionally, they will still take damage if the Wetness meter still contains points, albeit lesser than the damage when in the rain. WX-78 is immune to Poison, but the Gas Rainforest still harms them.
WX-78’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve Together
WX-78’s initial maximum stats are increased, but each Gear adds 16.66 maximum Health points, 3.33 maximum Hunger points, and ten maximum Sanity points instead. Upon death, they will lose their upgrades and drop some Gears.
Wickerbottom’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve
Wickerbottom can craft and read books that grant magical powers. These books’ effects when read are as follows:
- Birds of the World: it summons 20 to 30 Birds around Wickerbottom.
- Applied Horticulture: most Plants nearby will grow to their next stage.
- Sleeptime Stories: it puts all nearby Mobs to sleep.
- The End is Night: it summons 16 Lightning strikes at random places nearby.
- On Tentacles: it summons three tentacles at random places nearby.
She can read each book five times at most and drains 33 or 50 Sanity points every time. Thankfully, she has a higher maximum Sanity than most characters. She can make every recipe in the Science Machine without the need to build one, but she does not gain Sanity after building one. Recipes requiring an Alchemy Engine would instead only require a Science Machine.
However, Wickerbottom cannot sleep, and her Sanity loses greatly after eating spoiled food. Stale food does not take or give Sanity and restores less Hunger and Health than fresh ones. In the Shipwrecked DLC, the “On Tentacles” book is replaced with a “Joy of Volcanology” book, which summons four Dragoon Eggs upon reading.
Wickerbottom’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve Together
Wickerbottom’s “Applied Horticulture” book is replaced with two other books:
- Horticulture, Abridged: up to ten edible plants grow to the next stage, and farm plants fully grow but cannot become gigantic.
- Applied Silviculture: up to ten non-edible plants grow to the next stage.
Woodie’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve
He starts off with Lucy, his sapient ax, that does not break. Woodie transforms into a Werebeaver when he chops a tree with an Axe if it is a full moon or too many times too quickly. The Map and three main stats disappear, and everything in his inventory drops. This transformation’s duration decreases as time goes on and when he takes damage but increases if he eats wood-like items like logs.
Woodie will appear at where he transformed after the transformation stops. He wakes up the next day with 50 Health, 37.5 Hunger, and 50 Sanity. The Werebeaver cannot swim in the Shipwrecked DLC, and transforming while on a Boat will drown him. He wakes up the next day on the closest island with resources to make a Log Raft. The Werebeaver is immune to Poison, Hay Fever, and Fog.
Woodie’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve Together
Woodie can now transform into either a Werebeaver, Weremoose, or Weregoose when eating two Monster Foods within four minutes or during a full Moon. Eating a Kitschy Idol would make Woodie transform into the corresponding monster. The transformation still has a duration and reverts back to normal after the Wereness Meter hits zero.
Woodie has a bonus to a recruited Pig’s, Bunnyman’s, and Rock Lobster’s maximum loyalty time. His beard gives him 45 insulation points against Freezing, and he has a 50% more chance to spawn a Treeguard and a Poison Birchnut Tree.
Wes’ Special Ability in Don’t Starve
Wes can make a Balloon at the cost of five Sanity points, and when someone attacks the Balloon, it will explode and deal five damage to anyone nearby. Balloons can cause a chain reaction with other Balloons. Wes is weaker than the other characters; his stats are lower, he deals less damage, and his Hunger drains 25% faster than normal. You rely on audio cues because Wes does not talk.
Wes’ Special Ability in Don’t Starve Together
Wes’ abilities in Don’t Starve Together are similar to the base game. However, his Hunger drains normally like the others. Wes is also more vulnerable to Freezing and Overheating, and it takes longer for him to recover from grogginess. Hounds will target Wes, and Lightning is more likely to strike him. Wes is also less efficient when doing chores using tools.
Maxwell’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve
His Sanity goes up by 20 points per minute, and he starts with several items, i.e., a Dark Sword, Night Armor, Purple Gem, his Codex Umbra, and four Nightmare Fuel. Reading the Codex Umbra will summon a shadow puppet at the cost of 15 Health, two Nightmare Fuel, and 55 maximum Sanity.
He can spawn up to three puppets, resulting in a maximum of 35 Sanity. These summoned shadows will assist Maxwell during combat and chores and die after 2.5 days. After dying, he regains 55 points of maximum Sanity. However, his maximum Health is only 75.
Here’s everything you need to know about Maxwell in Don’t Starve.
Maxwell’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve Together
His starting items are different in this game; he starts with six Nightmare Fuel and the Codex Umbra. The Codex Umbra works as a portable crafting station, and he can create one of four shadow puppets that have different functions at the cost of two Nightmare Fuel, one Shovel, Axe, Pickaxe, or Spear, and a portion of his maximum Sanity depending on the shadow. He can craft the Codex Umbra if it is lost.
Wagstaff’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve
Wagstaff can craft different kinds of goggles and three gadgets, and each item grants a variety of abilities. The items are as follows:
- Spectoggles: He uses them to negate his nearsightedness. It serves as a basis for the other goggles, and it can reveal hidden secrets. It can last for ten days. In the Hamlet DLC, it can identify Peculiar Objects.
- Infroggles: He uses it to view the world in infrared. He can use it to negate the darkness’ danger, and it can last for two days.
- Visor: It can absorb 85% of the physical damage received, and it has a durability of 600. It narrows his vision, however.
- Fryfocals: It can shoot a fireball at a creature when Wagstaff attacks it while not equipping anything. The fireball deals 50 damage, sets the target on fire and reduces the goggles’ durability. He can fire ten fireballs with it.
- Telebrella: It can teleport him to the nearest Telipad within range. He can teleport up to 10 times.
- Telipad: It serves as the receiving end of the Telebrella and allows Wagstaff to teleport to it using the item.
- Thumper: It slams the ground upon activation and creates a shockwave that obliterates trees and nearby structures. It also deals 30 damage to nearby mobs.
Wagstaff has 225 maximum Hunger, but he is hindered by his nearsightedness. He will also suffer from three damage when eating raw or dried food. Wagstaff’s headwear protects him from Fog in the Hamlet DLC.
Want to know more about Wagstaff? Read our comprehensive Wagstaff guide.
Wigfrid’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve
She starts with a Battle Helm and Battle Spear, and she can craft them with the appropriate materials. The Battle Helm absorbs 80% damage and has long durability. Meanwhile, the Battle Spear inflicts 42.5 damage which can be used up to 200 times.
Wigfrid deals 25% more damage and receives 25% less damage than normal. She also gains Health and Sanity after killing an enemy. Wigfrid only eats meat, and she has relatively low maximum Hunger and Sanity stats.
Wigfrid’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve Together
Wigfrid can eat “goodies,” and her Health and Sanity bonuses after killing an enemy is different. She has an Inspiration meter that makes her perform Battle Songs, and the meter goes up every time she deals or receives damage. She can sing up to three Battle Songs at once, which can buff other nearby players. The Battle Songs are as follows:
- Weaponized Warble: it makes the weapons’ durability drain 25% slower.
- Heartrending Ballad: it provides bonus Health every time other players hit an enemy.
- Clear-Minded Cadenza: it gives bonus Sanity every time other players hit an enemy.
- Bel Canto of Courage: Sanity drains at half the rate for nearby players.
- Fireproof Falsetto: nearby players receive 33% less fire damage.
- Rude Interlude: it forces enemies to target Wigfrid.
- Startling Soliloquy: it stuns nearby enemies for four seconds.
Webber’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve
Webber can eat Monster Food without any health problems, and he can befriend Spiders by giving them meat. He starts with two Monster Meat and Spider Eggs, which he can use to make a Spider Den. He can grow a beard like Wilson, but his beard is made of silk. However, it grows faster than Wilson’s, and it yields silk instead of Beard Hair. The number of yields is still the same for each level of length.
After three days, a short beard will grow, which grants one silk with 11.25 insulation. After six days, a long beard will grow, which grants three silks with 33.75 insulation. After nine days, a silky-smooth beard will grow, which grants six silks with 67.5 insulation.
Pigs, Bunnymen, Catcoons, Bottlenose Ballphins, and Wildbores will be hostile towards Webber, and it is impossible to befriend them. He also has a relatively low maximum Sanity. In the Hamlet DLC, Webber starts with the Shamlet Mask, which prevents Royal Guards and Pogs from attacking him on sight.
Want to learn more about Webber? Check out our complete Webber guide.
Webber’s Special Ability in Don’t Starve Together
He has the same perks from the base game, but he has an additional crafting tab that allows him to make several items, such as:
- Spider Eggs: he uses it to create a Spider Den.
- Den Decorating Set: he can decorate up to five regular Spider Dens with it.
- Webby Whistle: blowing into it calls out spiders from Spider Dens nearby, and it has 50 uses.
- Shoo Box: it pacifies all the spiders in a certain area and dismisses his befriended spiders. He can use it up to ten times.
- Healing Glop: it heals all spiders nearby, including Webber.
- Warrior Switcherdoodle: it can transform a spider into a befriended Spider Warrior.
- Dangler Switcherdoodle: it can transform a spider into a befriended Dangling Depth Dweller.
- Cave Switcherdoodle: it can transform a spider into a befriended Cave Spider.
- Spitter Switcherdoodle: it can transform a spider into a befriended Spitter.
- Shatter Switcherdoodle: it can transform a spider into a befriended Shattered Spider.
- Nurse Switcherdoodle: it can transform a spider into a befriended Nurse Spider.
- Strider Switcherdoodle: It can transform a spider into a befriended Sea Strider.
Webber can also shave a Spider Den using a razor to lower its level and gain one silk. He can destroy a level one Spider Den by shaving it. He can sleep in a level three Spider Den, which grants him HP and Sanity at the cost of Hunger.
Additionally, befriended spiders will remain loyal to Webber until his death, disconnection, travel between caves and surfaces, or the Shoo Box’s usage.
Don’t Starve Characters: How to Unlock
Below are the detailed descriptions of each character’s method of unlocking.
- Wilson: he is always available in Don’t Starve.
- Willow: Don’t Starve unlocks her after 160 experiences (or eight days); she is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Wolfgang: Don’t Starve unlocks him after 320 experiences (or 16 days); he is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Wendy: Don’t Starve unlocks her after 640 experiences (or 32 days); she is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- WX-78: Don’t Starve unlocks them after 960 experience (or 48 days); they are always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Wickerbottom: Don’t Starve unlocks her after 1280 experiences (or 64 days); she is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Woodie: Don’t Starve unlocks him after 1600 experience (or 80 days); he is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Wes: you must find and rescue him in Adventure Mode; he is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Maxwell: you must finish Adventure Mode; he is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Wagstaff: he is always available in Don’t Starve.
- Wigfrid: Don’t Starve unlocks her after 1920 experience (or 96 days in a Reign of Giants save slot); she is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Webber: You must bury Webber’s Skull in an open grave while playing in a Reign of Giants save slot; he is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Walani: Don’t Starve unlocks her after 2240 experience (or 112 days in a Shipwrecked-compatible save slot).
- Warly: Don’t Starve unlocks him after 2560 experience (or 128 days in a Shipwrecked-compatible save slot); he is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Wilbur: You must return the Tarnished Crown to Wilbur while playing a Shipwrecked save slot.
- Woodlegs: You must unlock Woodleg’s Cage in the Volcano using the Iron, Bone, and Gold Keys while playing a Shipwrecked save slot.
- Wilba: You must return the Royal Crown to the Pig Queen in the Palace after defeating the Queen Womant in a Hamlet save slot.
- Wormwood: He is always available in a Hamlet save slot; you must weave for 2700 spools or buy the Wormwood Chest or Hamlet DLC for Don’t Starve in Don’t Starve Together.
- Wheeler: Don’t Starve unlocks her after 3200 experiences (or 160 days in a Hamlet-compatible save slot).
- Winona: She is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Wortox: You must weave for 2700 spools or buy the Wortox Chest in Don’t Starve Together.
- Wurt: You must weave for 2700 spools or buy the Wurt Chest or Starter Pack upgrade in Don’t Starve Together.
- Walter: He is always available in Don’t Starve Together.
- Wanda: You must weave for 2700 spools or buy the Wanda Chest or Starter Pack in Don’t Starve Together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: In Don’t Starve, who is the best starting character?
Answer: The best starting character in Don’t Starve would be Wigfrid due to her starting items and overall great statistics. Maxwell and Wickerbottom are also good starting characters because of their abilities. In Don’t Starve Together, I recommend starting with Willow because of her lighter and Bernie.
Question: Who is the best Don’t Starve character for beginners?
Answer: The best Don’t Starve character for beginners would probably be Wilson, as his ability is not too confusing. He simply grows a beard that he can shave to get Beard Hair. He can then use the Beard Hair for insulation or to make Meat Effigies.
Question: Who is the easiest Don’t Starve character?
Answer: Many players consider Wolfgang as the easiest Don’t Starve character because his ability is simple to learn and master. He becomes stronger when full, so you need to plan your food resources carefully.
Conclusion: Don’t Starve Characters from Best to Worst
Note that these are all opinionated takes based on my experience, and I think Wolfgang, Maxwell, and WX-78 are great characters among the rest. They may be difficult to maintain because of their abilities, but they are incredibly strong. WX-78 starts off weak but can become powerful after eating a lot of gears. Maxwell’s starting items give him the edge in battle, while Wolfgang can fit the food for battle.
Don’t Starve Together is an entirely different matter, though, due to the different character pool and rebalanced mechanisms and abilities. Players have similar sentiments that Wortox is an easy character because of his Hunger mechanism. He can feed on the souls of creatures such as butterflies, so planting flowers can grant him food.
The worst throughout all the games would be Wes, although he is intended to be that way. The developers designed Wes to be a character for the experienced players, so the people who want a challenge can use him. Still, he is incredibly weaker than all the other characters.