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Karma is the reflection of all good and evil choices you make during the game and how they are perceived by the inhabitants of the wasteland in Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout Tactics.
Karma is, philosophically, the principle of cause and effect, with the effects of your actions but also your intentions that are take into account measured in point called "Karma points". The more an intention or action has a major impact, the more you gain or lose Karma points.
It is classified by three types: good, neutral, and evil. Players always start a new game with 0 Karma points, a neutral Karma. People will behave differently toward you depending upon your Karma, and it's also a factor to unlock certain dialogue options or able to do something specific.
Overviews per game
In Fallout, Karma is simply named "general reputation" (but have the same function as Karma in other Fallout games) and reputation titles appeared.
In Fallout 2, what was originally called "general reputation" is renamed to Karma, reputation titles are kept and a new stat called "Reputation" is added, acting as a measurement of how you are perceived in various places.
In Fallout 3, only Karma appeared. Although it is measured in points, the player never gets to see a numerical karmic value, only the status and the title.
In Fallout: New Vegas, Karma is kept (like Fallout 3, the player never gets to see a numerical karmic value) and reputation returned, and acting now as a measurement of how you are perceived by various factions and various towns.
Behind the scenes
- The Defender Vault Boy image is a reference to the comic book superhero Batman.
- The Shield of Hope Vault Boy image is a reference to the comic book superhero Captain America. Instead of having a star on the costume's chest, Vault Boy's sports a number 13, referencing Vault 13.
- The Guardian of the Wastes Vault Boy image is a reference to the British Army's Foot Guards.
- The Savior of the Damned Vault Boy image is a reference to Dudley Do-Right of the 1959 collective two animated cartoon series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
- The Demon Spawn Vault Boy image is a reference to the comic book superhero Spawn.