The Vault - Fallout Wiki

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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
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Overviews per game

Karma's a real bitch, you'd be wise to remember that.

Michael Masters, Fallout 3

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. Karma is not only the effects of your actions, but also your intentions that are taken into account and are measured in points called "Karma points". The more an intention or an action has as an impact, the more you win or lose karma points.

Karma affects a variety of elements, as you gain or lose Karma over the course of the game, people will behave differently toward you, it will unlock certain dialogue options or actions, open up certain areas of the wastelands, it can even affects which companions agree to join you in certain games.

It is classified by three types: good, neutral, and evil. Players always start a new game with 0 karma points (neutral).


In Fallout, karma is simply named "general reputation" (but has 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 Tactics, reputation titles and reputation are removed, only karma is kept. Also, a new specific stat called "rank" is added, indicating your rank in the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel.

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.

Karma titles

In Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout Tactics, your karma status is defined by a "karma title", depending of your karma points and in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, also on your level.

For Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics, specific Vault Boy images were to appear to represent each karma title, but probably due to an oversight, they don't appear in-game and a specific image that includes all the karma titles is put in their place.

Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics

Neutral Karma

Good karma

Bad karma


  • Fallout 3Gametitle-FO3.png Some of Three dog's news will be based on the player's karma.
  • Fallout 3Gametitle-FO3.png If the player's karma ever becomes good, they will be targeted by Talon Company mercs (even if their karma subsequently drops back to neutral or evil). Likewise, if the player's karma ever becomes evil, they will be targeted by Regulators, even if their karma later raises to neutral or good. A player that has been both good and evil (i.e. in order to recruit all followers) may sometimes find themselves attacked by both Talon Company mercs and Regulators at the same time (though they may attack each other first). Keeping a neutral karma level will result in neither Regulators nor Talon Company mercs bothering you.
  • Fallout 3Gametitle-FO3.png Fallout: New VegasGametitle-FNV.png Since you never gets to see your karmic value, you can use the console command player.getav karma to get your current karma points.
  • Fallout: New VegasGametitle-FNV.png When attempting to steal drained energy cells, casings, or any type of ammunition ingredients from non-player characters there is no risk of failure, karma loss and the non-player character 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 you take casings for free from their shops.
  • Fallout: New VegasGametitle-FNV.png Sneak attack kills of feral ghouls grants good karma while "loud" kills grant none.
  • Fallout: New VegasGametitle-FNV.png There is a house in Nelson on the West side of the barracks which has approximately 157 small books (in a bookshelf to the left of the bed), all of which will cause negative karma when taken. If stealing an item gives -5 karma points (needs confirmation), then the player has the potential to gain -785 karma points, thus allowing the player to be recognized as evil in an extremely short time.
  • Good characters can still be good with the cannibal perk since you only lose 1 karma point.
  • Fallout 3Gametitle-FO3.png For good Karma points, you can give purified water to the homeless beggars, of which there are three: One is at Rivet City near the catwalk; one is sitting up next to a tree not far from the entrance gate to Tenpenny Tower; and the other is up on a small hill right outside of Megaton.
  • Fallout 3Gametitle-FO3.png For good Karma points, you can donate money to Confessor Cromwell at the bomb in Megaton. One karma point per cap.