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Character Model Karma Meter

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Guess which one's good and which is evil.
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Many karma meters are simply a gauge with "bad" on one end and "good" on the other that you can view while the game is paused. A character model karma meter is less exact but provides an instant rough estimate of a character's morality that the player can ascertain simply by looking at the character during normal gameplay. It may or may not be used in conjunction with a standard karma meter.

This trope commonly overlaps with Beauty Equals Goodness and Evil Makes You Ugly.

A Sub-Trope of Karma Meter.

Compare Evil Makeover, Evil Costume Switch, and Good Costume Switch.

See also Angel Face, Demon Face (where one's personality is reflected in his pets or Bond Creatures).


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Examples:

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     Action Adventure  

  • Overlord changes the appearance of the Overlord's armor based on their Corruption (steel-grey with a red cape at 0% corruption, dark grey with a black cape and Spikes of Villainy at max corruption), as well a changing some aspects of the tower lair such as the color of the sky and how many spikes jut out of the ground around it.
  • In Mega Man Legends, Volnutt's color depends on how many good deeds and bad deeds you have done, becoming lighter with good deeds and darker with bad ones. Stealing a briefcase full of money in one of the later sections of the game — instead of returning it to the city hall — will permanently paint Volnutt black for the rest of the game.
  • In Epic Mickey, Mickey's body has more floating ink blots on his skin the more bad his actions are.

     Eastern RPG  

  • Mega Man Battle Network 4 and 5: The Karma mechanic in this game is related to your usage of the Dark Chips. If you just use them wholesale (i.e., not using it for Chaos Unisons), you're going to the "dark" side; use them enough and Mega Man's body will become darker in hue. By contrast, if you spend enough time fighting without using them (wholesale), Mega Man's body will turn into a lighter hue.
  • Done subtly in some Shin Megami Tensei games. In many games, the character model for the overworld map is just a spinning ball and triangle. In some games, like the first two, the way the model spins tells alignment: clockwise for Law, counter-clockwise for Chaos, and if it tips back and forth, the alignment is Neutral.

     Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games 

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     Simulation Game  

  • In Black & White:
    • A god's karma affects the appearance of many aspects of the game world: The hand you use to interact with the world will turn golden or burnt red, your temple will turn into pure white marble or sprout Spikes of Villainy, and your territory could become lush and full of butterflies or degrade into a volcanic Mordor.
    • A god's Creature has its own karma meter, which can give it a Holy Halo or clouds of flies, along with more dramatic shifts to its appearance. This can have some weird effects, like a Good wolf turning fluorescent purple.

     Stealth Based Game  

  • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the shrapnel embedded in Snake's skull will grow or shrink with "good" or "evil" actions respectively.
  • Yandere Simulator: The more insane you become (due to murdering people, for example), the more erratic your idle animations are. In-game, this can alert NPCs to the fact that there's something very wrong with you and can even cause a Game Over.

     Turn Based Strategy  

  • Might &Magic: Heroes VI measures alignment in Blood and Tears, with heroes earning Tears points for peaceful actions and defensive tactics and Blood points for aggressive actions. A hero will eventually be offered the chance to gain a Prestige Class tied to their alignment, changing their appearance accordingly; for example, neutral knights wear armor that is blue/grey, tears knights become paladins wearing white/silver armor, and blood knights become vindicators wearing gold/red armor.

     Western RPG  

  • In Mass Effect 2, Paragon actions cause Shepard's scars to slowly heal and eventually disappear entirely, while Renegade actions cause them to grow deeper and glow red.
  • In the Fable games:
    • Heroes take on appearances which reflect their alignment. Good heroes will have traits such as a Holy Halo or being followed around by butterflies, while Evil heroes will sprout Horns of Villainy, get Glowing Eyes of Doom, and give off black/red smoke when standing still.
    • Fable II adds a Purity-Corruption axis on the Karma Meter, where a Corrupt hero gains discolored eyes and skin that can sometimes approach a full-on Undeathly Pallor if they're also Evil.
  • In both Knights of the Old Republic games, the further a character falls to The Dark Side, the paler and more gaunt his face becomes. Force users like the Protagonists additionally gain Tainted Veins and feral yellow eyes.

     Wide Open Sandbox  

  • inFAMOUS series:
    • In the first game and its sequel, Cole MacGrath's appearance will differ depending on his Karma status. With Good Karma, Cole's clothes are yellow and white, and he has an average skin tone. While with Evil Karma, his clothes are black and red, and his skin turns inhumanly pale; and in the first game, he also gets covered in what is either tar or blood.
    • In inFAMOUS Second Son, Delsin Rowe's look also changes a little bit; the symbol on his jacket will change depending on his Karma, and his hoodie slowly turns from grey to white (if Good) or red (if Evil). If Evil, he also starts to look more sickly.
    • While not a part of the character model, their powers also change color; Good Cole has blue lightning, and Evil Cole has red lightning (red and black if he chooses to reactivate the Ray Sphere). Delsin's Neon and Video powers are blue or red, Smoke gets a bit darker if Evil, and Concrete is always Karma-neutral.
  • Red Dead Redemption has certain clothing available based on the Karma Meter. Naturally a play with good Karma will net you a "White Hat" look while evil play gives you a "Black Hat" look. Actually, the good play is a bit more on the grey side, as the protagonist does freely admit he has a criminal past.

     Non-Video Game Examples  

  • Vampire: The Requiem uses "Humanity" as a karma meter; vampires with low Humanity slide straight into the Uncanny Valley as they come to look more and more like the walking corpses they are. This has the in-game effect of an escalating penalty on social interaction with humans, who start to realize that the vampire is something very wrong and they need to get away.

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