Professor Maxwell is an older man, an academic. (In my head I picture him as 63 years old, because he is based on a friend of mine, also an academic, who is that age.) He is wise, but physically perhaps not in the peak of condition. (My friend is in fine shape, by contrast.)
Maxwell certainly is unimpressive to start with – an attack of 1d4, toughness 2, and health of 5. He does get 7 starting luck. His real talents kick in later.
Professor Maxwell’s Old-School Discipline ability lets him control and recruit patrol troopers of more than one kind – something no other hero can do. He still has to lay down ambushes in which all the troopers are the same, but he can drop off ambushes more than once during his turn. For example, say he had 2 volunteers and a cop on patrol with him. He could drop off one volunteer before he moved, then move two areas, dropping off ANOTHER volunteer en route, then leave the cop in his final area.
In fact, the reason he starts with 7 Luck isn’t just so he can use Luck-based gifts. It’s so he can spend it as courage in his early recruits! Thus starting off with a bang.
His two earned abilities are Ballistics and Mentor, both of which are highly useful and enable him to kill enemies even despite his puny attack. Ballistics lets him spend courage to help an ambush’s attack. Again, no one else can do this. And Mentor is amazing – it lets him help another player’s attack even when he’s not in the same area! He can use it to help an ambush in another area, too, if he has Ballistics. He may want to save his large supply of starting luck to use as courage for helping, because of this. Or since he is able to ensure lots of courage in the pool thanks to his application of trooper ambushes, he could just use that.
Professor Maxwell’s flaw is Arthritis. If he moves more than 1 area on his turn, he takes damage. So usually he wants to move along at a snail’s pace. This also means that he may want to stay near the start area, where he can recruit. But if he doesn’t foray further, then he can’t use his ambushes to full value. It’s a puzzlement, and sets up Maxwell’s basic paradox. Which is of course what makes him fun to play.
How Prof. Maxwell works
Professor Maxwell mostly relies on courage in the pool, gained by ambushes, to earn abilities and move forward. His health & toughness aren’t too amazing, so he should try to carry a trooper or two around with him to soak up damage. Fortunately, his tech tree is particularly useful in this regard.
Maxwell’s tech tree is composed of two separate three-step tracks. One track is super-cheap (the first purchase is only 3 courage!) and gives him 4 cost worth of troopers right off the bat. It’s not uncommon for Maxwell to take this at the start of the game, using the courage in the pool to pay for it. This means he starts play with 4 cost of troopers, plus his 1d4 roll for his starting recruit, meaning he has at least 5 points, enough for a Special Forces should he want it. Of course, he also has that fat pool of Luck to draw from and bump it up a bit if necessary. Because of his Old School Discipline ability, one option might be to take a Special Forces along with a couple of Volunteers, and use the latter to soak up damage for him. Then place the Special Forces where he can do the most good, planning to reinforce him later.
Two of his tech tree slots give him more patrol troopers (respectively 8 and 10 points of them!) which usually are taken in the mid-to-late game, when you really need that boost – you may be going up against the demon lord by that time, and need a bunch of cops to soak up those hits! To Serve and Protect, folks.
Besides his earned abilities, his only other option on the tech tree is his extra attack die, which is a mighty 1d8. When he gets that, he starts being able to earn courage on his own (besides scraping up an occasional pittance by killing a limbo minion with his crummy 1d4).
In summary, Maxwell depends heavily on troopers, and helping others. This means when he’s in the game, the courage pool is usually heavily loaded. If you’re playing Maxwell, you’ll need to remind the other players that the reason they have all that courage in the pool is because of you. So you deserve to get some, to improve your hero.