|For an overview of the game mechanic across titles, see karma.|
Karma joins reputation as a game mechanic, using a 2000-point linear scale with -1000 being the most Evil, 0 Neutral, and +1000 the most Good. Unlike reputation, where one can only gain fame or infamy (with a single, scripted exception), Karma can be both gained and lost.
Karma does not determine which companions can be recruited. However, when opening a conversation with Cass after she has joined the player character and when they have substantially negative Karma (-100) she will complain about their behavior. The player character will get a second warning when their Karma is even lower (-150). After that, she will not complain anymore, as long as the player character stays neutral. Upon continue on the path to "the dark side" and talking to her again while having evil Karma (-250) she will leave for good. Note that Cass does not grant the player character any grace period to improve their Karma, making it possible to alienate her in the space of minutes by making three attempts in a row to converse with her. Even though she will agree to accompany an evil character, the first attempt to talk with her (which one will need to do in order to tell her to travel with them) will result in her telling the player character that they "can be a real asshole sometimes" and the first of three strikes will be used up on the spot.
If one faces Legate Lanius at the battle of Hoover Dam and the speech or barter checks cannot be passed, or the wrong dialogue is selected at the near-end or the beginning, he will prepare to engage combat, and the player character will have a unique "good" Karma dialogue option that will convince him to fight them alone, "honorably," regardless of whether the player character has followers with them.
The values for Karma gain may be bugged; currently killing very evil NPCs (such as Vulpes Inculta) gains the player character only two Karma, yet killing some Fiends and Feral Ghouls grants 100 Karma. Some ending narration in the game's epilogue will also depend upon the player character's Karma.
|Getting positive Karma points in FO3 and FNV||Getting negative Karma points in FO3 and FNV|
One begins the game with a value of zero, which increases or decreases based on the player character's actions. There are 5 levels of Karma:
- Very good: +750 to +1000.
- Good: +250 to +749.
- Neutral: -249 to +249.
- Evil: -749 to -250.
- Very evil: -750 to -1000.
One's Karma status is defined by a "Karma title", depending on one's Karma points level. The base level cap is 30 and the add-ons raise this cap for five levels each, but titles do not change past level 30.
|Level||Good Karma||Neutral Karma||Bad Karma|
|7||Ranger of the Wastes||Vagabond of the Wastes||Pirate of the Wastes|
|9||Desert Avenger||Desert Scavenger||Desert Terror|
|11||Vegas Crusader||Vegas Councilor||Vegas Crime lord|
|13||Mojave Legend||Mojave Myth||Mojave Boogeyman|
|14||Shield of Hope||Pinnacle of Survival||Sword of Despair|
|15||Vegas Legend||Vegas Myth||Vegas Boogeyman|
|16||Hero of the Wastes||Strider of the Wastes||Villain of the Wastes|
|18||Wasteland Savior||Wasteland Watcher||Wasteland Destroyer|
|20||Guardian of the Wastes||Renegade of the Wastes||Scourge of the Wastes|
|21||Restorer of Faith||Soldier of Fortune||Architect of Doom|
|22||Model of Selflessness||Profiteer||Bringer of Sorrow|
|24||Friend of the People||Loner||Consort of Discord|
|25||Champion of Justice||Hero for Hire||Stuff of Nightmares|
|26||Symbol of Order||Model of Apathy||Agent of Chaos|
|27||Herald of Tranquility||Person of Refinement||Instrument of Ruin|
|28||Last, Best Hope of Humanity||Moneygrubber||Soultaker|
|29||Savior of the Damned||Gray Stranger||Demon's Spawn|
Obtaining Karma Points
- Giving Med-X to Boxcars, the injured Powder Ganger, inside Nipton General Store. This can only be done once.
- An additional +5 Karma can be gained by killing him.
- Wiping out the criminal inhabitants of Vault 19.
- Killing feral ghouls (any kind).
- Freeing the prisoners in Vault 3 (Karma can still be gained by simply unlocking the cell door even if the occupants are killed).
- Killing a Very Evil character or creature (Vulpes Inculta, Philippe, Mortimer, Duke, Cook-Cook, or Jackal Gang leaders): +100 Karma
- Some quests will give positive Karma if one declines any rewards offered for completing them, including Bye Bye Love, and Someone to Watch Over Me.
- Convincing Oscar Velasco to let go of his hate and join the Great Khans at Red Rock Canyon during Climb Ev'ry Mountain.
- Informing Lieutenant Hayes about Tyrone selling chems to the Great Khans.
- Giving healing powder to Daniel.
- Agreeing to keep Westside's siphoning of NCR pipelines a secret in exchange for Anderson turning himself in for Cpl. White's murder during The White Wash.
- Untying Benny at the Fort if he is allowed to live.
- Convincing Diane to make more helpful chems.
Maintaining Neutral Karma
- Kill Fiends or Powder Gangers if one's Karma is too low.
- Steal items if one's Karma is too high.
- The level 50 perks added by Lonesome Road (Ain't Like That Now, Just Lucky I'm Alive, and Thought You Died) all reset Karma to 0.
- Stealing from a non-evil character or faction: -5 Karma per instance (note that when when stealing from owned (red text) containers, such as cabinets or lockers, the Karma change applies once per activation of that container. Meaning, if a container is opened once and two items are stolen, one will lose 5 Karma, but if the same container is opened twice, and one item is stolen each time, one will lose 5 Karma each time, making 10 Karma lost in total).
- Planting an explosive through reverse-pickpocketing.
- Repeatedly hacking an owned (red text) computer terminal (Classified as stealing, but can be done over and over again) -1 Karma per hack attempt. NOTE: even accessing the terminal will result in negative Karma.
- Sabotaging the rockets during Come Fly With Me.
- Crucifying Benny at The Fort.
- Lying to Alex Richards that one cannot find the thief during Medical Mystery.
- Accepting the bribe from Private Stone during Medical Mystery.
- Attacking the Boulder City Memorial and insulting Private Kowalski (killing him does not grant an additional loss of Karma).
- Disabling or killing Mr. House: -50 Karma.
- Enslaving Arcade Gannon for Caesar during Et Tumor, Brute?.
- Convincing Oscar Velasco to take revenge during Climb Ev'ry Mountain.
- Humiliating Grecks by taking his clothes.
- Convincing Frank Weathers to commit suicide during Left My Heart.
- Setting off the bomb collars on the Weathers family in Cottonwood Cove.
- Choosing the attack option when conversing with Private Edwards.
- Demanding further payment from Markland during Bitter Springs Infirmary Blues.
- Demanding payment from Gilles during No, Not Much.
- Encouraging Alice Hostetler to kill Mrs. Hostetler during Someone to Watch Over Me.
- Complementing Alice Hostetler on killing Mrs. Hostetler during Someone to Watch Over Me. (Once this quest has been completed Alice will relocate to Aerotech Office Park, and this dialogue option can be repeated indefinitely for infinite negative Karma.)
- Telling Lindsay that Mr. Cuddles is dead.
- Tearing Sergeant Teddy in half when talking to Melody.
- Lying to Marcus that one needs 3000 caps to pay off the mercenaries during Unfriendly Persuasion.
- Initiating the self-destruct sequence at Hidden Valley bunker: -100 Karma upon exiting the bunker.
- Lying to Comm Officer Lenk that one is there to collect payment for the Omertas.
- Calling Lenk pathetic and telling her the Rangers never should have let her join.
- Altering the Misfits records during Flags of Our Foul-Ups.
- Devouring a corpse. (Cannibal perk needed): -1 Karma per corpse.
- Killing a non-evil creature: -25 Karma.
- Killing a Very Good character or creature (Sarah Weintraub, Sunny Smiles, Julie Farkas, Keely, Bill Ronte, Jacob Hoff, Malcolm Holmes, Bert Gunnarsson, Old Ben, or Tomas): -100 Karma.
- The following below is DLC content from Dead Money, Honest Hearts and Old World Blues.
- Lying to Christine Royce, or threatening her with the Terrifying Presence perk, and making her go down the elevator during the quest Mixed Signals.
- Killing Dog/God during Put the Beast Down.
- Lying to Waking Cloud about her husband's fate at the end of A Family Affair.
- Threatening to hack into Dr. 8 during On the Same Wavelength.
Companions and Karma
The recruitment of companions does not affect one's Karma. However, Cass will permanently leave one's party if she is spoken to too many times with evil Karma.
- Since one can never get to see their Karmic value, one can use the console command player.getav Karma to get their current Karma points.
- When attempting to steal drained energy cells, casings or any type of ammunition ingredients from non-player characters, there is no risk of failure, no Karma loss and the NPC will not react to the Courier even if detected when taking them. This could be due to the drained cells and casings having no monetary value, much the same way vendors will let the player character take such objects for free from their shops.
- Even if one's reputation is "Vilified", stealing any items from NCR or Legion containers, or lockpicking their doors, will result in a loss of Karma. This occurs whether one is seen or not. However, no Karma is gained or lost if the player character steals from containers belonging to criminal groups, such as the Powder Gangers, so long as their reputation with said group is "Vilified".
- The player character will only lose Karma for killing a non-Evil creature or NPC if they are assigned to a faction that is programmed to give the player character a Karma penalty for killing its members; by default, no Karma is lost for killing Good/Very Good characters. The same is true for Evil and Very Evil characters.
- There is a random glitch where the Karma title remains at "Guardian of the Wastes" or "Scourge of the Wastes" even when the player character is well past level 20. This occurs with Good, Neutral and Evil Karma.[verified]
- When reaching higher levels, the game may "forget" one's karma at random times, then it will return without warning.[verified]