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Karma Meter

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So, what will it be? The Stairway to Heaven, or the Highway to Hell?

"It seems as though the floodgates are beginning to creak open on inFAMOUS, including the revelation of Karma Moments — a tracked morality system with effects on player progression. It wasn't meant to be funny, but for some reason we found it very funny, because like many mechanisms of this kind your choices tend to come down to being an omnibenevolent supercherub or the Goddamned devil."
Penny Arcade's Tycho Brahe, on inFAMOUS

Some games employ a type of morality in their gameplay. Actions taken within the game affect the player, and sometimes how the player is treated by the plot and Non Player Characters. This happens even if there were no witnesses to the action and no circumstances that point to you. Some games will make it impossible for one to continue if their Karma Meter is too low, or give a bad ending. Others will simply result in the character having an "evil alignment" and playing this way.

In some games, it doesn't matter whether you're good or bad but how far you lean to one side is rewarded — there are bonuses for being very good or very evil but not moderate. This has the annoying side effect of rewarding if not forcing the doing of completely pointless acts of malice, killing beggars and robbing empty houses just to be "more evil", and punishing an evil player for doing good quests or deeds (depending on how harsh the meter is) and vice versa, stifling any real choice altogether.

Furthermore, games with a Karma Meter often include a Golden Snitch decision that will heavily push you towards (or even lock you permanently in) one extreme of the morality gauge regardless of your actions up to that point. This means that in a game with Multiple Endings, your ending is decided more by that one single choice rather than an accumulation of all of your deeds and misdeeds.

Except for the Golden Snitch event, typically no act is more than three to five times more evil or good than any other. This leads to the odd situation where a character with a perfect record of finding lost pets and helping old ladies with their groceries can bludgeon a school bus of Girl Scouts to death and pour napalm on their corpses while singing hymns to Satan and scarfing down a stack of Kitten Burgers and at worst go from "saintly" to "very good" on the Karma Meter. And unless the Karma changes are limited to plot events, go right back to "saintly" by killing some monsters or giving money to beggars.

Despite its flaws, the trope has its purposes, not least of which is maintaining consequences to the player's actions in the absence of Story Branching. The player makes hundreds or even thousands of choices over the course of a game, and developing the game to include direct, ongoing consequences for all those decisions would be extremely taxing from both a writing and programming perspective. Thus, for the sake of feasibility, many developers just stick with this trope, having the Non Player Characters and game world react less to each specific choice you're making and more to your current position on the Karma Meter instead, allowing the player lots of flexibility in how they choose to play while avoiding the rigorous workload demands that the equivalent amount of Story Branching would entail. (that said, plenty of games use both tropes, and games that go the whole nine yards and log every decision you make to call upon them later, such as the Mass Effect series, aren't unheard of, either)

May be paired with Video Game Caring Potential and/or Video Game Cruelty Potential, making players more inclined to select one side. Compare Relationship Values and Alliance Meter. If your position on the karma meter is displayed on the player character, it's Character Model Karma Meter. See also Character Alignment, Sanity Meter, and 100% Heroism Rating.


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  • The Adventures of Robin Hood: Negative karma gives you the bad ending as villagers beat you to death.
  • Epic Mickey: Acting heroically will maintain Mickey's modern form, while acting like a jerk will cause him to revert to his original design... at least, that's what would have been. Instead, Mickey will attract "Guardians", a sort of Fairy Companion. Mickey will also become more blotty and drippy if you work toward the "evil" side of the Karma Meter, and will drip less if you work toward the "hero" side. The characters walking around also change mannerisms depending on how "Good" you are.
  • Overlord, perhaps surprisingly for a game where the entire premise is being evil, has a karma meter in the form of the "corruption" meter, which essentially gauges whether you're a totally self-serving, Ax-Crazy, 0% Approval Rating Evil madman or a Noble Demon Villain with Good Publicity who helps out the public to earn their support while on your quest for revenge. Overlord II switches over to a Tyranny system with the extremes of "Destruction" and "Domination." Destruction is Ax-Crazy mass murderer again, but Domination is less Noble Demon and more cruel slavemaster, treating those around you as tools and pawns — while using mind control to ensure they love you for it. Either route is balanced in an appropriate fashion; Destruction usually gives a large one-time payout, while Domination grants a continuous flow of income and equipment for your Minions. It's the difference between pillaging a town and leaving it a smoking crater, or enslaving all the townsfolk and forcing them to slave for your Evilness for the rest of their lives.
  • Samurai Warrior: The Battles of Usagi Yojimbo: There's a literal karma meter on the top of the screen that can be increased by, among other things, bowing to those of a lower social class than you. It can also be decreased by, among other things, killing people unprovoked. If your karma falls below zero, you commit seppuku. Additionally, when you die and started a new game, the meter allows you to start further into the game. In fact, it's possible to manipulate it high enough that you can start a new game at a point you hadn't reached previously!
  • Spider-Man: Web of Shadows: Your choices (which consist mainly of following the righteous path or succumbing to the influence of the symbiote suit) will affect how citizens will react to Spider-Man's presence, as well as which characters (heroes or villains) can assist Spider-Man throughout the game and the final battle.

    Action Game 
  • Dante's Inferno (loosely based on Dante's The Divine Comedy) has a gameplay mechanic that lets you absolve or condemn most demons you fight or lost souls you come across; Absolving grants you Holy XP, which powers up your Cross, which acts as the focus for your magic spells, while Punishing earns you Unholy XP, which lets you buy more combat moves for your Scythe. Neither choice has any effect on the story. In fact, in order to get the most out of your abilities, you want to do both holy and unholy actions so you can unlock all of your moves, cross and scythe.
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for NES makes progression in the game itself be the Karma Meter, specifically how far Jekyll and Hyde get relative to each other. Normally, you play as Jekyll, the Helpless Good Side who can only defend against the myriad townspeople out to get him, but if his stress meter fills up from being hit enough, he will transform into Hyde, who gets to fight off demons in a Mirror World. However, if Hyde catches up to Jekyll, a Bolt of Divine Retribution strikes him down and the game ends. The twist in this particular game's interpretation is that Jekyll's gameplay is so slow, tedious, and frustrating that players would naturally want to play as Hyde despite the risk. Indeed, the game actually encourages playing as Hyde because the Golden Ending for the game requires him to make it all the way to the end (otherwise, you get a boring A Winner Is You screen).

    Adventure Game 
  • The Adventures of Willy Beamish: You have a trouble meter to watch. Misbehaving tends to make it go higher, and if it approaches the maximum, you're sent off to Military School in a Non Standard Game Over. Notably, there's only one easily-missed action which lowers it back down at all: helping your little sister Brianna back into bed.
  • I Damiano has a meter always present at the top of the text field labeled "good" and "evil" at opposite ends. This also functions as your Hit Points bar and is affected by things that would reduce that; taking too long or being injured by wild dogs pushes you towards evil, and if you become too evil, Satan claims your soul. This is probably the least common way to die, and it's definitely better to ding your Karma Meter if the alternative is death.
  • I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream: The adventure game adaptation has the "Spiritual Barometer". Keeping it high by performing good deeds (or at least not performing many bad ones) allows you to end each character's scenario on a relatively high note by dealing with their personal demons, dying with dignity, and frustrating the efforts of Master Computer AM at torturing them.
  • Kings Quest (2015) features three possible routes for karma which could be summed up as the virtues of "bravery", "compassion", and "wisdom". There's usually more than one way to resolve a problem during the game's flashback sequences, leaning towards one of these virtues, and the one Graham chooses most often influences how characters react to him (some characters are more receptive to displays of a particular virtue and others less so), and also influences Gwendolyn, his granddaughter, and how she behaves in her own story. Notably, around the 3rd chapter, the morality choices become less frequent, as Graham is more set in his ways, disappearing entirely in the 4th chapter, preventing you from making further changes.
  • Metamorphoses: You play as a slave girl who needs to complete a series of tasks to obtain a MacGuffin for her master. Each task has multiple solutions, and the hidden Karma Meter is based on whether you choose to solve them by destroying things or placing yourself in harm's way, or in more creative ways. The Karma Meter doesn't really affect any of the Multiple Endings, but it does noticeably change the tone of these endings, as well as the girl's overall attitude after claiming the ultimate MacGuffin: a girl who solves all problems in non-destructive ways is happy to return home to her master and travels to other places only because of wanderlust, a girl who solves some (but not all) problems with violence and/or self-harm is more conflicted between returning home to her master or fleeing to a place where she won't be a slave, and a girl who uses destruction all the time hates having to return to her servitude and is all too glad to escape to another world or even commit suicide.
  • Quest for Glory: Starting at the end of the second game, there was a special class (Paladin) instead of the standard three (Fighter, Mage, Thief) for individuals who made the right decisions in previous games and transferred their Old Save Bonus. Notable in that there's really no evil ending. Honor for the paladin was simply a matter of, well, honor. Killing an unarmed opponent was a hell of a lot easier, and faster (at a point in the game where you're running out of time very quickly), than letting him pick up his sword to continue the battle, but it sure wasn't honorable. Also notable in that the Paladin wasn't more powerful than the Fighter, just different, and usually with an assortment of quests or choices that weren't available to anyone else. Screwing up or refusing these quests degraded the Paladin to a weaker version of the Fighter. Of course, in every game except the first, losing meant The End of the World as We Know It, so it's not like siding with the villains is really an option.
  • Life Is Strange 2 has a variation, where it's actually reflected on the protagonist, Sean Diaz's younger brother, Daniel. Most of Sean's actions will influence Daniel, and naturally, committing bad deeds and crime on the road will make him a toxic influence. For example, if Sean steals, even if it's only necessities, Daniel will also steal, but only materialistic stuff like toys. If you call him out on such, he'll call Sean out in return. There's also a value measuring the brotherly bond between Sean and Daniel, which is determined by how strict the player is with enforcing how much Daniel has to hide his powers from the public, and how many nice things Sean does for him, such as buying him snacks and toys.
    Daniel: "If it's bad, then.. why did you do it?"
  • Secrets of da Vinci: The Forbidden Manuscript assigns not-entirely-heroic protagonist Valdo a good and evil meter. The white angelic meter monitors how good you are; the red devilish meter monitors how bad you are. Actions and dialogue choices throughout the game will affect one or the other, but you can also spend experience points on raising the bar of your choice. Although this has little impact on the ultimate outcome of the game, certain courses of action will not be available to you if one of the meters is too high; for example, being too good will render you incapable of knocking out a character and stealing his uniform to wear as a disguise.
  • Sumire: The moral choices Sumire makes concerning her friends and parents will affect the outcome.
  • Tin Star (Choice of Games): There are three separate Karma Meters regarding different aspects of a Marshal's duty. Order represents how firmly you keep the peace in Lander County. Honor represents how fairly you deal with others and whether you refrain from creaming off money for yourself. Law represents how closely you stick to the law.
  • the white chamber, an indie adventure game, has an interesting karma meter that isn't actually explicitly noted as such. In the lab, there is a blackboard, with chalk lines on it. The number of lines depend on your character answering three particular questions in certain ways, and your character's actions regarding three other things. A blank blackboard gets you the worst ending, one or two gets you the slightly less bad ending, three or more gets you the "good" ending... Getting the max of six? You get a damn hilarious bonus ending where everyone lives. Sorta... Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.
  • Zork III has a very primitive karma system designed to test your worthiness; your accessible score shows only how many times you've been tested, while a hidden second score records how many times you've passed. A perfect score is required to even access the last puzzle. This is particularly odd, since the player is only required to display trust, patience, compassion, mercy, etc. in this part of the dungeon — in the previous two games, following these virtues would be suicide.

    Beat 'Em Up 
  • Guardian Heroes: The first game features a karma meter that decides whether you'll get a "Light" or "Dark" version of certain endings. Karma is gained for not harming civilians, allowing fleeing enemies to escape, and beat up bad guys, but you can lose karma for attacking civilians or fleeing enemies, destroying inanimate objects like barrels of produce or chairs, or attacking a fallen enemy.
  • Kenka Banchō has an alignment meter in the form of Shibui vs Shabai. It is really easy to enter Shabai status as you beat up other folks with weapons, destroy property, and cause terror to the average joes, and just attacking without warning will make you hated quickly. It also determines which peons you can use in the 3rd series. The 4th game allows you to call any peon regardless of alignment. Also, of the two Sukebans you can hire, the cute one is the Shabazo while the more traditional female Bancho is more honorable.

    Driving Game 
  • Big Mutha Truckers has the Notoriety Bar, which shifts on one way or another depending on how the game is played. On one side, you can drive carefully and earn the respect of people by taking part in side-quests for them. The cops will leave you alone. But the trade-off is the player may be attacked by bikers who jump on the truck and hope to detach the trailer and steal it for themselves. On the other side, you can play more agressively, where you can smash into cars and objects, earning money from this. The bikers would be too scared to mess with you. But on the other hand, you may be pursued by cops.
  • NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup, in a rare sports game example, has a career mode with a Karma Meter ranging from Hero to Villain. Where you land on the scale depends on your actions during races — for instance, deliberately crashing other drivers will move you to the Villain end. This has the effect of royally pissing them off and making them want to take you out when they get the chance. However, if you can win enough races, the fans won't care whether you're a Hero or a Villain.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • BioShock
    • BioShock:
      • If you manage to take down a Big Daddy that's guarding a Little Sister, you can chose to either kill the Little Sister, or "rescue" her by removing the symbiote that allows her to harvest ADAM. The first option earns you twice as much ADAM from each Little Sister, but the second option nets you occasional gifts from a benefactor who wants you to save them, in the form of ADAM and special plasmids. Whether you save or harvest Little Sisters also determines which of the Multiple Endings you get. This meter is terribly unforgiving: harvest just two of 21 Little Sisters and you earn the game's opprobrium. There are, however, two voiceover files recorded for the bad ending in Bioshock. Both have the exact same text, but the tone of voice is entirely different; if you only gave in to your lust for ADAM once, Dr. Tenenbaum sounds weary and resigned when describing your descent into evil, but if you've killed multiple Little Sisters, she's filled with righteous fury at you.
      • The aforementioned gifts actually render the karma meter meaningless, because it actually makes the choice mathematical rather than ethical — killing the Little Sisters gets you more ADAM now, but freeing them gives better rewards in the long run, in the form of more ADAM, plus plasmids and tonics you either no longer have to buy, or couldn't buy to begin with. Not to mention you can also break the system by causing a pair of extra Little Sisters to spawn, allowing you to reap the immediate rewards of harvesting two of them and still go for the good ending.
    • BioShock 2: Your Karma Meter gets a bit of an upgrade. Your ending/alignment is determined by your decisions with the Little Sisters (whether you saved them all, killed them all, or mixed) and with several key Non Player Characters. Rescued Little Sisters will provide gifts similar to the first game, while only one of the other Non Player Characters will give you a (comparatively minor) reward for sparing her. Your karma ends up affecting not only the player character, but Eleanor as well. This also affects Sophia Lamb's fate, as it will determine if Eleanor will rescue her mother or drown her.
  • Cry of Fear more or less uses this idea, in the same manner as Silent Hill, to determine which ending you get. There are technically two endings, one good and one bad. In any case, the bad ending has Simon killing himself, and just how bad it gets depends on two choices. If Simon chooses to avoid fighting Carcass after it apparently influences Sophie into committing suicide, Simon kills Sophie so nobody can take her away after he's gone, and apologizes to his doctor Purnell for being too far gone to be saved. If Simon chooses not to trust the Doctor, who has so far done nothing but get in the way, with the only gun he can find after losing all his items in a train crash, Simon kills Doctor Purnell in the ending, realizing that all Purnell did was give him the push he needed to end it all but asking whoever finds their corpses to not let Sophie know what happened. If Simon both avoids fighting Carcass and refuses to trust the Doctor, he kills both Sophie and Purnell, hoping that the scene he leaves behind traumatizes whoever discovers it. If, however, Simon chooses to stay and fight Carcass and trust the Doctor, he staves off of suicide — but he still suffers a horrific hallucination and guns down a pair of police officers during it. It crosses over with Earn Your Happy Ending as well, as the "good" choices in both cases make something more difficult about the game. The former is the more immediately-obvious one, as Carcass is one of the most difficult bosses in the game, so it's nice for you to be able to skip it. The latter takes a while to fully play out, as the Doctor shoots Simon in the shoulder after he makes his decision, permanently cutting the player's total health. If you refused to give him the gun, you lose less health from it, and you get to use it after defeating him in a boss fight. If you trust him, though, he cuts your health bar further, and deals greater damage per hit in the later fight, but you get his .357 Magnum revolver after the fight instead of the gun he wanted you to give him, which deals twice the damage. There's also a joke ending you can get in a New Game Plus for finding a package early on and setting it in a mailbox, which locks you into that ending regardless of your choices — Simon ends up going through the normal finale from the dev's previous release Afraid of Monsters, and learns that the person behind the wheel of the car that crashed into him in the introduction and set off the entire series of events was none other than AoM's protagonist David Leatherhoff — still appearing in his Half-Life style and speaking in text rather than voice, having gotten stoned before heading out to drive.
  • Dark Watch offers a moral choice system where vampire hero Jericho encounters several victims infected by vampires and he is offered the chance of either curing or feeding on them. This system affects mostly gameplay than the story, since it unlocks "good" and "evil" powers depending on your choices, although it does come to a head in the climax where you confront the Big Bad and you are offered the choice of curing yourself of vampirism or claiming his power and becoming the new Lord of Vampires after defeating him. Either choice you make, your path is fixed and it will lead to either the good or bad ending.
  • Jedi Academy,seems to have a karma meter, based on what Force powers you pick — after each "upgrade" between chapters, Luke Skywalker muses on your future — but, even if you go all Dark Side, it comes down to a single choice — whether or not you decide to kill The Scrappy.
  • Jedi Knight: Your Karma Meter results in an either-or ending. You either resist the urge to kill Jan, your best friend, with no goddamned prompting whatsoever, or you do kill Jan, your best friend, with no goddamned prompting whatsoever. After that point, the path is fixed no matter what you do. You either preserve the Valley of the Jedi or take over the galaxy, becoming a new Emperor. One of those endings, by the way, isn't canon. There aren't many ways to affect your Karma Meter negatively; you're relegated to either selecting Dark Side powers (which unless you do so exclusively generally won't turn you dark), or killing every civilian and noncombat droid you come across, or some combination of both. Believe us when we say that not killing every civilian in the game is harder than it sounds.
  • Metro 2033 and its sequels Metro: Last Light and Metro Exodus all have a Karma system that will affect the ending that you get. This system is influenced by how you interact with NPCs; for instance, giving a beggar some extra money will net you good karma, while seeking revenge on an NPC that has wronged you will net you bad karma. Interestingly, Last Light confirms that the bad karma ending of 2033 is canon, while Exodus takes place after the good karma ending of Last Light.
  • Red Faction 2 has a morality system of sorts. The only impact it really has is allowing you to get 4 slight dialog changes during the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. Completing hidden bonus objectives helps boost the meter up, but accidentally (or not) killing civilians spikes it down a bit.
  • Red Steel features many one-on-one sword duels. If you defeat the opponent, you have the option of killing them or sparing them. Sparing them gives you Honor points. After learning Focus, you can choose to shoot an enemy's weapon to disarm them. Sparing them after disarming them will give you honor points.

  • Galactic Civilizations II features a unique example of a Karma Meter in a 4X Game, with a 100-point scale measuring alignment (0 is Evil, 50 is Neutral, 99 is Good). Each race starts out with a default value (although this can be adjusted by the player in the Expansion Pack), and throughout the game, the player's choices in random events will allow him to "tweak" it towards his alignment of choice. Eventually you're able to choose your ultimate alignment permanently from among the three options, with each one receiving its own unique bonuses as well as boosted relations with other races of that alignment. You can choose your alignment no matter what actions you've taken. However, choosing an alignment contrary to your actions costs more. Interestingly enough, most players will pick Neutral or Evil, as the Good choices in the random events are always painful, and Evil grants access to the Mind Control Centre and Psionic Beam.

  • Pathologic: The Reputation meter is an interesting and realistic variation on this. It's actually, for all intents and purposes, another health meter, and one of the most important ones at that. If you squander your Reputation, an already Nintendo Hard game will become even more difficult, as important Non Player Characters will refuse to help you or provide shelter, most likely resulting in your unavoidable death.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires has the ability to use certain cards to do good or evil. Giving money to the people or at least going around listening to their concerns makes your character good, while taxing them excessively makes your character bad and unlocks further bad options like robbing graves. If you are attacked and sufficiently good or evil, peasants will rise up to protect you if you were good to them or help your attacker if you were bad to them. This doesn't affect gameplay much, since the peasants are weak and most of the player's battles will likely be on the offensive where it is the other side's good or evil that matters. This is also played on smaller scales at various points in the games, with generals betraying you if you perform specific, horrible actions during missions. This also comes into play during modes like DW4's Xtreme Mode. It does take a somewhat larger amount of bad acts, but constantly doing things like capturing girls to be taken as sex slaves, or randomly killing your allies (that usually don't do any fighting anyway), will cause your recruited party members to gradually lose respect for you, until they eventually get sick of you and turn. Of course, saving peasants from monsters and generals from bandit raids will make them love you, and it's generally it's these good deeds that nab you more party members and good items to begin with.

  • City of Heroes has Fame Points as part of its Going Rogue system. Characters receive fame for completing tip missions, and each point of fame pushes them toward one of the four alignments (Hero, Vigilante, Villain, or Rogue). Upon accumulating 10 points of fame toward an alignment, one can complete a morality mission to finalize the change. Interestingly enough, contacts have no effect on alignment. A Vigilante can team with a villain and run Westin Phipps's story arc without a blip on his alignment meter, despite the fact that he's poisoning children and murdering school teachers.
  • Grand Theft Auto Online: Mental State, introduced in The High Life Update, tracks the player's aggression in-game. Killing other players/NPCs, destroying cars and other such carnage will raise the stat, whilst avoiding violence will reduce it. Increasing Mental State reddens your player blip and increases the Reputation other players get for killing you, putting a target on your back.
  • Nexus Clash: Every character has a Morality score, adjusted in small or large ways by most of the actions they can take. The Elder Power Namm, the god of justice and morality, maintains the Karma Meter and requires that Angels stay on the side of Good to keep using their powers. His archrival Tlacolotl also pays attention to it, requiring that Demons remain Evil to use their powers. It's a trap. Namm defines "Good" as whatever will help him win the war no matter who gets hurt, and Tlacolotl is all too willing to egg his enemy on so long as Namm's zealotry produces an unending stream of wounded souls willing to turn demon for vengeance. Player characters have shed a great deal of blood, ink, and tears trying — often unsuccessfully — to find definitions of good and evil that don't simply play into the agendas of the aforementioned deities.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic, much like its predecessors, allows players to play light, dark, or grey, with each karmic alignment allowing the players to equip certain kinds of gear, as well as showing that the Republic and Sith in this world have Grey-and-Gray Morality at best.
  • Trade Wars 2002, in addition to an experience-based rank, also has a good/evil alignment scale. Alignment affects a number of things, such as whether an attacker's alignment will go up or down, whose corporations you can join, whether you're allowed access to Federation facilities or the Feds will go after you, whether you can rob ports, and of course, whether you're called a Lieutenant or a Dread Pirate.
  • Ultima X, a cancelled game, was planned to use an eightfold karma system similar to Ultima IV (see below in RPG) where the different morals would frequently conflict. An example the developers gave is a quest where you are tasked with hunting down a thief, and learn that he stole to buy food for his starving family. You could then follow Compassion or Justice by letting the thief go or having him face the punishment for his crime. To further muddle the issue, if you returned the stolen item, you would learn that the quest-giver is not the legitimate owner, which in turn gives the choice between Honor in sticking to the original agreement or Honesty in delivering the item to its proper place.
  • Warframe adds a Karma Meter in the form of the White and Black meters once the player Operator begins to be personally active during The War Within. Rather than good and evil, the meters tend to more fit the distinct natures of Yin and Yang in fitting with the Japanese Space Opera feel of the game. White tends to be more optimistic, empathetic, and poetic, but sometimes the choices can be hot-headed and poorly thought-out or place moral superiority over pragmatism. Black, on the other hand, is more cynical, realistic, and pragmatic, but can also be prone to making power-hungry decisions and being merciless when mercy is an option. At the moment, though, there's no usage of the karma meter besides changing minor details at the moment of the choices.

    Platform Game 
  • Iji: The kill counter has some elements of this, given that it affects some events in the game. Also, unlike the other counters, there is no unlockable reward associated with it, aside from a few friendly Tasen and an entire level of not getting shot at, with bonus stuff accessible in that level.
  • Oddworld: Except for in Stranger's Wrath, "Qarma" has only one variable — whether or not you save the NPC Mudokons, Fuzzles, etcetera. Its only plot impact is on the ending, but in the later games, Abe would act and sound depressed if he'd failed to save enough of them.
  • Shadow the Hedgehog: Each level has its own Good, Neutral, and Evil goals, and which you complete determines your path through the game and your ending. Also, there are power meters for good and evil that fill depending on which enemies you defeat in the level, and once they are totally filled, Shadow will be able to use a special ability (Chaos Control if the good meter is filled, Chaos Blast if the evil one is.) Not only that, but there are separate point scores for each alignment — when you reach the good or evil goal, that side's points are added to your score, and the other side's points are subtracted from it.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Catherine: You have a meter that swings between Order/Commitment and Chaos/Freedom. It changes based on how you have Vincent answer his text messages in the Stray Sheep and how you answer the questions in the confessional between stages of each level. It mostly only affects Vincent's inner thoughts, but it also affects which of the eight endings you get in story mode.
  • Diversity gives you a number of different ways to complete certain actions. While the actions yield the same result, the selected one will cause a shown Karma Meter to slide towards the white (good) or black (bad) end. Not only does the meter determine the final puzzle and ending you get, it also increasingly affects the look of the rooms you encounter: if you perform enough good actions, the rooms remain bright and clean, but if you become bad enough, the rooms become progressively darker with furniture tipped over and plants dead.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising had a Corruption meter, which allowed you to use certain Chaos-tainted equipment and would rise depending on fulfilling actions in certain missions. It also affects the ending you get in the game. Each of your fellow Space Marine also had their own Corruption meters, which also granted them access to Chaos-tainted gear and Chaos powers. Failing to take them along on certain missions or failing to fulfill certain mission objectives would also increase their Corruption, such as with Cyrus if you left him behind when the chapter's scouts were being attacked (since he personally taught most of them). The one with the highest Corruption score would also turn out to be a traitor and have to be fought before the final boss. If everyone was entirely pure the traitor role was dumped on Martellus.
  • Europa Universalis: Buddhist nations get a literal karma meter. In this case, the goal is to try and keep it neutral; ceaselessly cruel and ruthless leaders will not be trusted by other nations, but overly benevolent ones become too detached from the world to maintain the discipline of their armies.
  • King Arthur The Roleplaying Wargame has the two axes of Religion (Christian versus Old Faith) and Morality (Rightful versus Tyrant) representing yourself along the alignment compass, which is changed based off the actions that the knight in your stead is performing within it. Naturally, actions reflective of or favoring a particular religion increase its respective meter. Rightful is increased from merciful or even-handed actions while Tyrant is increased through brutality and under-handedness. The two axes together progressively make more units, spells, and bonuses available to the player, so one should generally avoid taking actions contrary to one end of each axis they're choosing to go down.
  • Knights of Honor has Kingdom Power, a scale that roughly translates to your reputation, popularity with the people, and the grasp you have on your kingdom. Actions like breaking alliances (both political ones as well as ones formed through marriage), attacking nations with the same religion, and spies being found out have a negative influence. Increasing your Kingdom power is only possible by spending gold and piety on it. If your Kingdom Power is very low, rebels will emerge, marshals will revolt, and if it's low for a long time, entire provinces can declare independence or join other nations.
  • Medieval II: Total War gives a Karma Meter to each general in your army. The good side, Chivalry, is cultivated by things like freeing prisoners and keeping cities happy. This is rewarded by increasing happiness and population growth of a city when the general is managing it, and increasing the morale of all soldiers under his command. The evil side, Dread, comes from executing prisoners, excessively taxing populations, arranging many assassinations, and more. This increases public order when garrisoned in a city and decreases the morale of all troops fighting against him. Given that soldiers that flee are likely to be captured and executed when facing an evil general, you'd think it would be the other way around… Unfortunately, Dumb Is Good is in effect here. "Chivalrous" tactics seem to consist of sending your army head-first against the enemy, but if you decide to skirmish, out-flank, or God forbid attack your enemy from the rear, your generals will quickly pick up "Cruel and Cunning" or similar traits. And for some reason, using Spies to keep tabs on your enemy's movements is also evil. You certainly can have multiple generals throughout your forces, so there's nothing wrong with having your maximized Dread general sweep aside your opposition while a maximized Chivalry general arrives on his heels to build the new territory up. Even more annoying is how your diplomatic reputation works on the world map — you can go the entire game without starting a single war, but if you fight back against your enemy or take their cities in retaliation, you'll quickly be saddled with a reputation as an untrustworthy monster.
  • The Wandering Village: The game is set on the back of a huge beast called the Onbu, and a mechanic keeps track of how much the beast trusts the tiny beings living on its back. Trust is gained primarily be feeding it and giving it medicine, and is lost by drilling into its back to harvest minerals or blood. Building trust with the Onbu makes it more likely to obey your instructions in choosing paths and when to move or rest, while low trust will make it ignore your commands.

  • Ancient Domains of Mystery has a Karma Meter that is only partially visible — your alignment can change and the game display will reflect this, but unless you have the (otherwise useless) Law skill at a fairly high level, the game won't tell you whether a certain act was considered lawful/chaotic... and that skill only informs you after you've committed the act. Shuffling around within an alignment (for example, NL to N+ to N= to N- to NC are all considered Neutral) isn't much of a problem, but woe betide the player who accidentally changes alignment (such as from NC to CN — you're now considered Chaotic) late in the game... because the nicer you've been to one god, the more the other two will hate you. There is also an artifact which is only granted to players that reach the bottom of the Caverns of Chaos without ever committing one chaotic act or letting one lawful creature die. Since there is no indicator for this, the artifact is nearly impossible to get.
  • Elona has a visible Karma Meter explicitly named "Karma". Positive karma reduces the monthly taxes you have to pay, and an extreme enough negative karma will cause the City Guards to attack you on sight. You gain karma by completing repeatable Irrelevant Sidequests (even helping a farmer gather the harvest or cooking food for someone increases your karma), and lose it by failing on delivery and escort sidequests, attacking talkative neutral Non Player Characters (murdering silent NPCs is fine), or from pickpocketing.
  • Lords Of The Realm 3, a real-time strategy game, introduced three types of karma meter: chivalry, Christianity, and honor. Using knights, building churches, and fighting honorably will build the meters, allowing you to attract champions, templars, and even four archangels to your cause. Using mercenaries, burning churches, and executing captured knights will make the meters plummet, allowing you to recruit various villainous types, and eventually some friendly chaps named Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death. Do try to go for one or the other, because being neutral gets you nothing.
  • NetHack uses an odd variation where the meter doesn't measure how lawful or chaotic you are, but rather how well you're doing at being lawful/neutral/chaotic. While there are some actions that affect the meter differently based on your alignment (chaotic characters get a bonus for sleeping with Succubi and Incubi) and role (knights get a penalty for attacking fleeing or sleeping monsters), the biggest impact is the same for all characters: killing hostile monsters usually boosts (and never penalizes) the meter, and killing peaceful monsters always penalizes it. That's right, the game considers a chaotic character bathing in the blood of innocent bystanders a bad thing (since letting chaotic characters get away with killing peaceful monsters would break Competitive Balance with regards to players choosing which alignment to play).
  • Wayward has a reputation meter that represents how well you're respecting the island's environment. Cutting down trees or mining tunnels causes it to drop, but planting trees causes it to increase (or, to be more precise, you have "benign" and "malignant" scores that can cancel each other out). Letting it drop too low increases the amount of monsters that spawn.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura has a Karma Meter ranging from -100 to 100, with the protagonist starting out at 0. Many different things within the game affect this meter, mostly your actions in regards to quests and other similar things, like killing evil monsters or going on a rampage through some town. Depending on the value, certain characters might want to (or refuse to) join you, you might get offered different responses in dialogue, and if you commit certain acts (such as attacking a Good aligned creature with a Good character in your party), it may result in them getting upset and eventually leaving the group. For some reason, evil actions include killing people in self-defense, fighting dirty cops who just murdered a civil rights activist, and honoring a demon-possessed man's request for you to kill him before he goes on another homicidal rampage.
  • Avernum has "reputation". Performing quests and other good deeds would raise it. Stealing or killing friendly people would lower it. Having a good reputation results in some Non Player Characters being more helpful. There's no benefit to having a low reputation. But then, you start the game with a fairly low reputation and are almost certainly going to end the game with a high one.
  • Baldur's Gate has reputation. A higher reputation results in some stores offering discounts, while a sufficiently low reputation might result in the random appearance of guards to hunt you down. Reputation also determines which sidekicks would stay on your team and which powers you develop (healing or damage-based). If your reputation drops below 10, you also become Fallen if you're a Paladin or Ranger. It's also possible to change your alignment without altering your reputation, in the Hell demiplane you go to at the end of the second game, which may exist primarily in your own head. For example, yelling at Sarevok that you'll transform into the Slayer turns you evil — even if you don't actually do it. And this doesn't have the same effects as reputation. You can spend the entirety of the Throne of Bhaal as an officially Lawful Evil paladin, retain all paladin abilities against the rules of the universe, had a reputation of twenty, and have never really done anything evil. Throne of Bhaal also has another, minor karma meter going on when the Solar tests you in the demiplane and the sum of your answers to her determines what one of your two alternative ending options means in practice.
  • Bleeding Sun: Yori's choices can determine the ending he gets based on the number of honorable or dishonorable choices made throughout the game, though the choices also affect skills and minor events. In the progression tab, left-side choices are considered honorable while right-side choices are considered dishonorable.
  • Corruption of Laetitia: Celeste has a corruption level that increases or decreases based on her actions. Even minor Pet the Dog and Kick the Dog actions can slightly affect her corruption level. If Celeste lowers her corruption level to 0, she can become a half-angel again and regain Gungnir.
  • Dark Souls:
    • All three games have the "Sin" mechanic. Every time the player either kills a non-hostile NPC or Invades another world and kills another player, they accumulate one point of Sin. This has no effect on the main game, but in multiplayer, it has consequences: players with high levels of Sin are targeted by a Covenant that seeks to punish evildoers, meaning they will get Invaded more often themselves. Although, many PvP'ers see this as a good thing, since it means more multiplayer action. Sin can be cleansed by praying to a specific NPC (or a statue in Dark Souls III) and spending a very large amount of souls as penance.
    • Dark Souls II: Sin has another consequence. Normally, a player will never fall below 50% of their maximum health due to Hollowing. A player with a large amount of Sin will lose health more quickly and can fall below 50% health, making the game much more difficult for them while Hollowed.
  • Demon's Souls doesn't just have a Karma Meter for your character, but for each region of the game world. Pushing either in one of the directions will alter character stats under certain circumstances and trigger events. In addition, altering an area's Karma Meter has an influence on enemies — pushing it towards the good end will weaken them, while pushing it towards evil will strengthen enemies and cause new types of enemies to appear... but will also increase the amount of Souls enemies give you, which act as both the game's currency and Experience Points.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution: An invisible, completely secret karma meter (based on how many people you killed) will flavor Jensen's ending monologue along good, neutral, or evil lines. For example, if you do a Pacifist Run (or killed very few enemies besides the bosses), he'll say something about how he resisted the urge to abuse his power. The kill count will also affect some NPC dialogue and actions throughout the story.
  • Dragon Age: Origins is one BioWare game that notably doesn't apply a Karma Meter. While certain events will only happen if you've picked "good" or "bad" choices, the game still doesn't actually track your morality visibly. The closest thing it has is a friendship meter for each party member. Doing bad things will gain the approval of the more evil-inclined party members, and vice versa with the heroic ones.
    • Dragon Age II also has a Friendship/Rivalry gauge for your party members, and getting far enough along either side grants a bonus for them.
    • Downplayed in Dragon Age: Inquisition, where the party members' approval doesn't affect the game as much. On one hand, they will have an opinion of your actions even if they're not there to personally witness them (compared to Origins where you could just leave Morrigan at camp if you don't want to hear her complain every time you do something heroic). But on the other hand, it takes very specific circumstances to make someone leave the party or end a romance. Makes sense since every party member in the game specifically seeks you out and asks to join.
  • Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu is another early example of the Karma Meter, released at around the same time as Ultima IV. Xanadu, which codified and popularized the trope among early Japanese RPGs, was also the first known game to refer to it as "Karma", possibly making it the Trope Namer. Each enemy killed is either good or bad, and if the player kills too many good enemies, the Karma statistic will rise, at which point the temples will refuse to level up the player. The sequels Dragon Slayer Jr: Romancia and Sorcerian also feature Karma meters.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion features both a fame rating and a notoriety rating for the player. The former is increased by doing deeds that make you popular, and Non Player Characters tend to like you better the higher it is. The latter is increased with doing crimes and getting caught, and by completing theft and assassination quests. Though it makes no sense, Non Player Characters will dislike you for doing these quests even if you were never caught or even seen, because they somehow know that you are a criminal even if you have never been arrested or even implicated in anything. Although there is a way to remove all infamy (it's necessary for a certain quest chain) as well as an item that gives you a new identity, preventing you from gaining any for real if you're wearing it, although it does set your infamy to 250 while you're wearing it, and all guards attack you on sight.
  • Fable:
    • Fable has your character go "light" or "dark", depending on their choices. (Including their choices of wardrobe!) However, unlike most of the other examples, the meter doesn't actually do anything to affect the game, and is actually quite uneven in its distribution (for instance, marrying someone and then killing them only netted you around 60 evil points; marrying and then divorcing them gave you a whopping 600 evil points). Somewhat annoyingly, your alignment had absolutely no effect on gameplay, except to allow you to use certain spells. This is particularly grating when Twinblade's bandits send assassins after you late in the game, whether you spared his life or not.
    • Fable II: Purity versus corruption are added on. Based on the foods you eat and the rent you charge... okay... It gets sort of odd when you own all the property in Albion, though — essentially running a feudal state. Not to mention that, ironically, it got there because of your capitalist supremacy.
    • Fable III: You become the ruler of Albion and get to make decisions that affect the entire country. Given that the shadow-army of an Eldritch Abomination will invade in a year's time and you need to finance your own army to save the lives of its people, those decisions are closer to being Idealism vs Pragmaticism; you can either keep your promises to the people who got you into power and make life better for your people, but deplete the treasury in doing so, or break them and install immoral but lucrative policies that will fill the royal coffers. The game still sees these choices as Good and Evil respectively, so you can end up with odd situations where people will worship the ground you walk on if you've ensured their annihilation, yet loathe your guts if you've done everything in your power to save their lives no matter the cost.
  • Fallen London: The Magnanimous and Heartless quirks sort of function as this with certain actions/choices raising one of them at the expense of the other. It's not a complete black-and-white meter, however; the description for the Magnanimous quirk acknowledges that it's perfectly possible to do good deeds for selfish reasons, and it's the very rare Magnanimous player who hasn't nonetheless done something morally questionable at some point in the Grey-and-Gray Morality-filled depths of the Neath.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout only offers a general karma meter. Fallout 2 has the karma meter, plus an Alliance Meter. They also feature a series of status elements such as "grave robber", "child killer", and "slaver", depending on the choices made. Certain characters will react differently to different combinations of these — for example, some stores will only sell to people with negative karma, but still balk at selling to a child murderer. The only truly bad effect of negative karma turns up in Fallout 2, in which towns will pay for bounty hunters to attack the player — but killing bounty hunters results in a further drop in karma, creating an unstoppable downward spiral…
    • Fallout 3 has drawbacks for both negative AND positive karma — Talon Company Mercenaries will begin randomly spawning to attack you if your Karma hits Very High, while Regulators will start gunning for you if your Karma hits Very Low. Talon Company mercs are rather nasty, spawning with energy weapons, Combat Armor, and high-quality assault rifles, even if you're level 4 (then again, having better equipment means better loot to pilfer off their corpses). If there's a single subversion in Fallout 3 of this trope, it's the Impartial Mediation Perk that offers +30 Speech… so long as you are Neutral. This is the only benefit offered in the game for staying Neutral, if you don't count the ability to recruit a few Neutral-only companions and avoiding energy weapon death at the hands of Talon Company Mercs or Regulators. Of course, any given trip through the subways of DC is going to result in some unintentional added saintliness for the simple fact that killing Feral Ghouls, which are everywhere in the metro stations, adds a little bit of positive karma.
    • Fallout: New Vegas retains the karma meter from 3, and it adds a faction system similar to 2. The karma meter, however, really doesn't do much; one companion will leave you if you get too Evil, and it changes the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue very slightly, but that's it. The Alliance Meter is far more important. It actually takes a considerable effort (generally through stealing owned items or repeatedly attempting to hack an owned computer and backing out without actually hacking it) for your karma to be anything besides "Very Good", as you get loads of good karma for killing feral ghouls and Fiends, which always attack you, and Powder Gangers, which you're likely to be on the bad side of. This actually seems to be due to a mistake by the devs, as cracking open the GECK shows that the karma reward for killing someone who is merely "Evil" is 100, while the reward for killing someone "Very Evil" is 2. It's highly likely that they accidentally put these values in the wrong places and just never noticed.
    • Fallout 4 completely removes karma, partially because your ability to play as an evil character is pretty severely limited (except in Nuka-World) and partly because the devs realized it wasn't being used very much in 3 or New Vegas.
  • Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 features the "Judgement" system, which is built upon two values: "Empathy" for if Malt aims towards co-operation and caring for his crew members, and "Resolution" for if he makes choices focused on working towards a goal. As a result, Malt gains different skills to use during gameplay, while also changing the way he develops as a leader to the other kids in-story.
  • Geneforge has a karma meter that determines what the factions think of you based on your words and actions. It essentially comes down to whether you support creation rights/the Rebels or creation control/the Shapers. Factions that share your view will be helpful to you and let you join them. Factions that don't will distrust you. This interacts with the Sanity Meter in interesting ways as well. The Shapers are opposed to shaping yourself and using the Geneforge or canisters, and although the games give them reasons to come to an accommodation with your protagonist, some of them will still treat you with loathing, disdain, or fear if you show up with the characteristic Glowing Eyes of Doom of a canister user.
  • Hydlide II is yet another early example of the Karma Meter, released in the same year as Ultima IV and Xanadu (in Japan only). In Hydlide, the player can be Aligned with Justice, Normal, or Evil. Killing humans or good monsters can lower the player's morality, while fighting only evil monsters can help them increase it. If the player has an Evil alignment, the townsfolk will ignore the player, denying access to certain clues, dialogues, equipment, and training. The sequel Hydlide 3' also featured a Karma Meter and was released as Super Hydlide in North America.
  • Jade Empire had "The Way of the Open Palm" and "The Way of the Closed Fist" stand in for good and evil. They were presented as based on more subtle moral principles: the Open Palm stood for harmony, accepting one's position in life, and helping others accept theirs by supporting them, while Closed Fist stood for chaos, seeking to rise above one's station, and encouraging others to do the same by teaching them self-sufficiency (harshly if necessary). However, with a few exceptions, this still comes down to being a goody two-shoes or an amoral bastard. Not to mention that your final karma score depends on a single action near the end of the game...
  • Journey On: Shirley can gain more MP and other magical power-ups in exchange for corrupting her soul. Her soul's total corruption can be measured by the number of nodes in the Dark Sanctuary, ranging from zero to seven nodes.
  • Knights of the Old Republic features a Light/Dark side meter, influenced by specific choices you make over the course of the game. Being Light or Dark changes which Force powers you can use most effectively, as well as your character's appearance and the way your crewmembers treat you. However, regardless of your Karma Meter, your final side is chosen in one action right near the end of the game, as is rather typical for SW games.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords was on the whole a lot more ambiguous than its predecessor with the Light Side/Jedi = Pure Good and Dark Side/Sith = Pure Evil dichotomy. While in the first game, you were pretty much either a paragon of virtue or a complete monster, it was a lot easier to play a flawed, almost anti-heroic light side character or a dark side character who was closer to being a Magnificent Bastard. Or really pretty much anything on the scale. It also features a mild deconstruction: On Nar Shaddaa, a beggar approaches you, and asks for a few credits. You may choose to give him a small amount of cash, or threaten him note . A brief dialogue with Kreia about unintended consequences follows; if the player chose to give the beggar money, the player sees the price of his benevolence (the beggar is now a target for a mugging). You still get light side points for giving to the beggar. A similar scene, in reverse, plays out if you threaten the beggar; he's frustrated by the way you treated him, and when another beggar talks to him, he snaps and attacks the guy. Additionally, your crewmembers have their own Karma meter that is influenced by the protagonist's own... with special events unlocked for pushing theirs to the extremes. The funny thing is that if you make them hate the protagonist, their karma meter pushes to the opposite extreme of the protagonist's, which can also unlock the special events... i.e. Force sensitive characters like Atton Rand can be trained to be Light Side Jedi if you're Dark Side, or vice versa... which allows for a much more varied array of skills in the party.
  • Lioden: Your lion's karma is effected by your actions while exploring- kind actions towards other creatures increases your karma, cruel ones decrease it. Some encounters are only possible if you are in a certain karma range, and what title your king holds also depends on how good or evil your karma is. The exact value that these encounters effect your karma is hidden by default, though by giving some beetles to the Karma Snake all subsequent encounters will show their effects.
  • The Lost Heir uses a simple Good/Evil karma meter. The Lost Heir explores it more thoroughly, with many classes that can only be accessed by evil PCs, cases where your alignment can be affected by events that are not your personal actions, and an ending where you go to Heaven or Hell after death. There are a lot of oddities, particularly the loophole that Assassin's Guild contracts do not affect your alignment.
  • Mass Effect uses the Paragon/Renegade system. Rather than good and evil, the meter represents idealism and cynicism. As Yahztee put it, Paragon represents Captain Picard and Renegade represents Dirty Harry. What makes it flexible is that each morality works on an independent meter: you can be halfway down the Paragon bar, then do a Renegade action and not be outright punished for it. This gives the player greater flexibility to divert when they feel the situation calls for it. Regularly "playing both sides" however leaves your character weaker overall in the Charm and Intimidate departments than if you'd specialized, but it's a big improvement over other games that effectively penalize you for not picking one side all the way.
    • Paragons tend be rather nice people. They seek diplomatic and peaceful resolutions to situations, save innocent people whenever and wherever possible, even if it means letting the bad guy get away, and they believe in co-operation with alien races and the Council. However, Paragons show little mercy to corrupt or brutal individuals.
    • Renegades tend to be more edgy, tough, and morally ambivalent, preferring to go in all guns blazing, and a "humans come first" view to galactic politics, favouring the Alliance and Cerberus. Renegades are ruthless, pragmatic, and they get the job done no matter what. In the second and third games, Renegade actions will also cause Shepard's face to gain deep scars with a red glow behind them (although you can surgically remove them).
    • The problem with the series' morality system, however, is that the Paragon choice is almost always the right choice to make. While the Renegade options tend to be more immediately satisfying, they offer no long-term gain. Do you let the hostages die because you can't be arsed to save them, or spend little extra time in taking out the bad guys so that their captives live? Do you kill the mysterious alien creature in cold blood because it might pose a threat, or let it live so that it becomes an ally? This is reflected in Mass Effect 3, where the Galactic Readiness Rating will be much higher for a Paragon Shepard thanks to all their hard work in the previous two games. The only choices where there's no definite right answer—like deciding which party member to save—do not affect the Morality mechanic. As well, the overall story of Mass Effect 3, where Shepard stresses over humanity and trying to unite all of the races, doesn't really make sense if you spent the past two games being a xenophobic bigot who had no qualms gunning even their fellow humans down for no reason.
    • With the original Mass Effect, progressing down the Paragon or Renegade meter would eventually unlock an Assignment, one for each Morality. The dialogue wheel does feature Charm and Intimidate persuasion options associated with either Morality, but unlocking them isn't actually tied to the Morality bars are all; you just spend Talent Points on them as you level up through combat. This gives the player the bizarre ability to play as a Renegade Shepard who can pick the Charm persuasion options with ease.
    • Mass Effect 2 ties the ability to use Charm and Intimidate options directly to your Paragon and Renegade meters, respectively. Specifically, it checks not only your total points, but how many you SHOULD have considering the levels you've completed so far (so the biggest conflicts require total dedication to either Paragon or Renegade if you want to pick them). This has the unfortunate result of penalizing you heavily for not committing down a single Morality path, and even moreso for playing Neutral and not picking either. Dedicated Paragon players, particularly, tend to have a few favorite Renegade choices that are just too satisfying to miss, and Renegade players have similar moments where they can't help but be compassionate.
    • In Mass Effect 3, Paragon and Renegade occupy a single "Reputation" meter that represents Shepard's clout with anyone they're talking with; Charm and Intimidate are therefore based around your total Morality points, allowing these choices to be made purely based on situational personal preference without penalization. The Charm/Intimidate options check for how much you've filled the meter, so doing side content will increase Shepard's clout by helping allies and defeating enemies. This does however punish players who don't do the side content: if you haven't done enough of them, the meter may not be high enough for you to talk your way out of trouble. Mass Effect 3 also solves the odd issue from 2 where a player would be awarded both Paragon and Renegade points for completing a core story Mission so as to reward both sides: now the player gets Reputation points, which simply scale up the amount Paragon/Renegade points they already have.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda averts this by ditching the Paragon/Renegade system altogether. Instead the player can choose from one of four mental approaches: Creative, Logical, Casual and Formal. It allows the player greater freedom to roleplay as a specific personality or character, however it is quite difficult to work this into evil choices especially. However Andromeda does include binary choices and still keeps track of all your decisions as the series always had, so the idea of choices and consequences is still present throughout. The main difference is that the two choices you get may not be entirely cut-and-dry, with Catch 22s and moral ambiguity abound.
  • Mega Man Legends: Mega Man's armor turns light or dark through certain actions. Kicking pigs and donating to the church are the biggest ones. It doesn't affect the plot, except for some dialogue and weapon opportunities. This was later elaborated on in the Mega Man Battle Network games from 4 onwards, where Dark Chips ("evil" Battle Chips) darkened MegaMan's soul and lowered his HP by one point for every time he used one, in return for making them more readily available the more you use them (at positive karma, they only appear when you're really in a bind; at sufficiently low levels, they're available whenever you want) and making them incredibly powerful, on par with Program Advances.
  • Might and Magic has this, ranging from Notorious to Saintly.
  • Miracle Warriors from the original Sega Master System uses a very primitive version of this. In addition to running into monsters in the field, the player could also encounter Merchants, White Mages and Travellers (as well as evil counterparts of the same). The characters were subject to the same "Attack" and "Talk" commands available in the player's menu. Under normal conditions, talking to said characters yielded beneficial results such as the merchant selling you monster items, the White Mage healing the hero and his party, and the travellers offering up advice. Surprisingly these characters were also fountains of exp if the player could kill them, something that starts out easy because said characters will waste turns demanding to know what you're doing. The catch was, the more you did this, the more word of your misdeeds gets around, causing the in game population to question how much you and your crew can be trusted. This results in the good characters attacking you on sight (the White Mage packs a wallop) and the towns actively tossing you out on your axe. While the evil counterparts do become friendlier (the actual monsters could care less either way) their boons are often just less useful versions of the good guys' (with the evil merchant even taking advantage of your inability to enter towns to gouge you for more mundane items). The only way to restore your karma to good is to go on a very long killing spree against the bad characters (and like his good counterpart, the Black Mage packs a wallop, but only offers up a tenth of the exp) and there is an overlap where neither side is willing to help you.
  • Nethergate had a few spots where you could perform good or evil acts and eventually be granted a reward based on your choices.
  • Neverwinter Nights has a two-way Karma Meter to fit with the Dungeons & Dragons Character Alignment system.
    • The main campaign, however, focuses exclusively on good vs. evil choices; acting purely lawful won't do a thing to Always Nonlawful bards and barbarians, whereas behaving like a full-bore rebel won't make a paladin lose their abilities.
    • This problem is fixed in the expansions and sequel. Subverting the law (usually by going back on your word or by stealing things) shifts your alignment to Chaotic, while upholding it (keep your word) shifts to Lawful. Good and Evil meanwhile shift depending on if you're good and evil, naturally.
  • Octopath Traveler: Downplayed, with there essentially being four different Path Actions with Rogue-type and Noble-type variants. Rogue Path Actions have a chance of failure, which will cause your reputation to suffer, further reducing the odds of success in that area until you pay to have your reputation restored. By contrast, their Noble counterparts don't have a chance of failure, but do require either currency or for the character to be at a sufficiently high level.
  • Perpetual Change, an adult RPG, has Eclair's actions affect her maturity levels; if you choose to act more immaturely, not only will the characters around her treat her as such (especially her mother), but Eclair's own mental state and how she sees the world around her will also become much more childlike (i.e. words she'd normally be able to read becoming more and more like ineligible squiggles). And no, there is no possible way to lower the immaturity meter back down once it rises.
  • Planescape: Torment has a two-dimensional meter based on the Dungeons & Dragons alignment concept (the familiar Good-Evil and Lawful-Chaotic scales). The hero begins as a True Neutral and adjusts depending on your actions. The most notable feature in Torment was perhaps that dialog options had such diverse elements as "Truth: 'Tell me, or I'll kill you!'" and "Bluff: 'Tell me, or I'll kill you!'" which would affect alignment differently, but NPCs similarly. The next-most notable feature was how evil you could actually be.
  • Rakenzarn Frontier Story uses a point system for Lawful and Chaotic options, with certain answers adding or subtracting more points to one category than another. Gameplay-wise, this mostly influences how other characters interact with Makoto or how certain sidequests turn out. Interestingly, there's no neutrality option at all. Once the system is opened up, you'll always lean just slightly to one or the other and treated as such.
  • Rakenzarn Tales uses one to determine how you interact with others and which party members will join you. You can't go full evil, as Kyuu is an inherently good person and your goal is to save the world, so you flit between lawful, neutral and chaotic good instead.
  • Romancing SaGa uses a Karma Meter to determine one of the three area before the final dungeon you can access. Being good locks you with the Trial of Elore. Being evil lets you get to hell. And being neutral sends you to a giant village. Romancing SaGa 3 also has a Karma Meter, but this one was blatantly unfinished — it only affected the availability of a single side quest and had no other purpose in the entire game.
  • Shin Megami Tensei I and II had a Order Versus Chaos Karma Meter that affected how the story unfolded and which demons you could recruit. Later games in the metaseries tend to either only keep the latter aspect or a variation thereof, or drop the Karma Meter entirely.
    • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne had five endings, each based upon a different philosophy. At certain points in the game, the main representative of each philosophy straight-out asks if you agree with them, and later asks for a confirmation. Answering in the affirmative twice locks you into that ending, unless you do it with more than one path, in which case the game looks at how you answered certain questions posed throughout the game and tallies up your affinity score for each philosophy. There is also a sixth ending that you get locked into if you complete the Bonus Level of Hell.
    • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey returns to the classic Order Versus Chaos Karma Meter, though it only affects how easy it is to recruit certain demons (it is no longer impossible to recruit demons of the opposite alignment, just harder) and the Demon Co-Op feature. If you're heavily tilted towards Law or Chaos, then you're locked into that ending; otherwise, you get some questions at the end of the game to determine your ending (which basically boil down to, "Hey, you want this ending or what?").
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse downplays this trope. Getting the ending you want is a simple matter of picking obvious dialogue choices: Joining Merkabah for Law, joining Lucifer for Chaos, opposing Dagda's offer in the Cosmic Egg for Bonds, accepting the same offer for Massacre. Instead, the morality check is used to slam a massive penalty onto you if your dialogue choices don't match with the ending you want: joining Bonds when the game deems you a Jerkass will cause all of your demons to be confiscated, while joining Massacre when the game deems you a Nice Guy will cause all of your items to be taken away. Other than that, you're entirely free to choose whatever ending you want.
    • Shin Megami Tensei V takes the Apocalypse example and further reduces its relevance; the game does keep track, but (with the exception of the Golden Ending) the game decides your route with a single decision 30 minutes before the end of the game. However, if you pick a route matching your alignment, you get a nice prize in the form of an exclusive Miracle that carries over to New Game Plus. Conversely, a sidequest in the final dungeon will force you to pay up a hefty Macca fine to complete if you picked a route counterproductive to your alignment. In addition, the Golden Ending itself has nothing to do with alignment whatsoever and only requires you to complete a specific quest line and fight the Superboss.
  • Skies of Arcadia has the "Swashbuckler Rating", which measures not just your karma in the traditional sense, but also your adventurousness and leadership skills. The rating was underused in the game itself, as it only affected one or two sidequests. It's an interesting example even though it's underused, as it's not really a decision between "good" and "evil" so much as "good captain" or "bad captain". The game encourages a balance between daring and consideration of your crew — you have to consider each question carefully, as too far along the scale of "bold and daring" becomes "foolish and reckless", but too cautious becomes "cowardly".
  • Space Siege sets this up as something of an Emotions vs. Stoicism meter, with emotions as "good" and stoicism as "bad." You start at full emotion, and drop downwards as you get more cybernetic augmentations.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World: Throughout the game, there's a few choices, and choosing wrong nets you points on the meter. 9 points and you can't get the "Good Ending". Of course, there's other ways to get points added... like getting hit with lightning in the temple of lightning. You'll know if you can't get the good ending if Lloyd gets a core besides Lumen. You can always get the "Bad End" though.
  • Ultima: Beginning with the fourth game, the series codified and popularized this concept for Western RPGs. In Ultima IV, there were eight Karma Meters, one for each virtue. The Path of Virtue was a type of Secular Humanism. Remarkably, this first use of a karma meter is still one of the very few where the choices are not just between good/evil, but also between different types of good, as all virtues weren't entirely compatible with each other. The later games in the series played around with this concept some more, introducing alternate virtue systems that were incompatible both with the original one and each other, yet still all being good.
  • Undertale features this as a central game mechanic. The game is advertised as an RPG where no one has to die, and during battles, the player can choose to either "Fight" an enemy and potentially kill it, or "Spare" it and reach a peaceful resolution. The story has Multiple Endings and routes based on how many enemies you spare or kill, with a full Pacifist Run being completely possible (and encouraged). It is revealed near the end of the game that EXP actually stands for "Execution Points", and LOVE stands for "Level Of Violence". These stats essentially act as the game's Meter. The game's save files have hidden "Murder Level" (MDR) flags that range from 0 to 16. They indicate the player's progress through a Genocide Run if one had been started during the saved game. They also indicate story branches for aborted Genocide-type Neutral runs, including the Near-Genocide a.k.a. Alphys ending which is achieved if less than 40 Hotland encounters are killed before moving on to Mettaton NEO, therefore MDR stops at 14. In this ending, Alphys picks up the phone right after Sans starts the call. She states that she takes care of what is left of the underground, hates the protagonist yet has been made a better person because of them, still doesn't want to talk about her past mistakes, then ends by saying "I should have killed you when I had the chance!"
  • Uplink has a "neuromancer" rating, which starts at neutral and ranges from revolutionary (the best) to morally bankrupt (worst), and are analogous to Playful Hacker and The Cracker, respectfully. Actions that destroy or steal data will push you towards Hacker, while actions that hurt people (especially fellow hackers) or mess with their personal data push you towards Cracker. The meter has little actual effect on the game itself, beyond affecting how clients think of you (people interested in data theft won't hire Crackers, while people interested in hurting people won't hire Hackers). There's also one action you can take stealing the data containing the identities of your fellow Uplink agents and selling it that will mark you as a Cracker and lock you there, no matter what actions you take thereafter.
  • Valkyrie Profile had a Seal Rating and an Evaluation Rating that affected certain aspects of Lenneth's personality. While the Evaluation Rating didn't have any major effects, having the Seal Rating at a certain level at a certain point in the game unlocked the best ending, if certain other actions were also done. This was so specific and non-intuitive that many complained that one could only get the best ending by reading how to do it. However, this has less to do with good and evil and more to do with how subservient/rebellious Lenneth is to Odin.
  • Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume is entirely based around a much more straightforward karma meter based on how many of your teammates you're willing to sacrifice for power. Sacrificing even a single one after the tutorial, though, makes it impossible to get the best ending.
  • Wilfred The Hero divides spells into the ethical and unethical categories. Ethical spells increase your morality when used and require a sufficiently high morality rating to learn, and vice-versa for unethical spells. Unlike most examples, this has no effect on the plot.

    Simulation Game 
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War has a literal Karma Meter in the form of a sliding gauge (called your Ace style) depicting you as one of three types of aces: Knight, who faces combat honorably and protects the innocent; Soldier, who can adjust his flying and combat strategy according to the tides of battle; Mercenary, an ace who flies solely for money. In game terms, this means the Knight will never attack yellow (neutral or fleeing) targets, while the Mercenary will always attack them, with the Soldier striking a balance in between. Your wingmen and enemy pilots will have various things to say about you depending on your position on the gauge, certain missions have different ace enemies based on your Ace style, and it's even given a nod in the New Game Plus by your first wingman commenting on your Ace style at the start of the first mission.
  • Black & White: This is a large part of the mechanics: your actions towards your villagers and your Creature affect the Creature's powers and behaviour. Even the landscape changes to match: light and bucolic for good treatment, dark and blasted with gnarled trees for evil.
  • Darkstar One rates you on trader vs. smuggler, bounty hunter vs. pirate, and so forth. In a strange way: it's possible to be a pirate (i.e. criminal) and a bounty hunter (i.e. criminal hunter) at the same time, depending on your reputation with specific factions and your actions. There were bonuses for maxing out your rating in a particular field, however, and it's not possible to do so at cross-ends (i.e. you can't max your pirate and bounty hunter rating at the same time). In reality, it's possible to max out three of the six available ratings, but you can choose which ones, resulting in the incredibly unlikely pirate-smuggler-protector, for example.
  • In Let's Build a Zoo, you gain good morality points when you perform certain actions that benefit your employees, animals, customers, and the environment, and evil points when you perform actions that harm them. The more points you have in a given side, the more of its facilities you can use.
  • Long Live the Queen is similar to Princess Maker with its various parameters. But Elodie's actual karma meter is a hidden parameter called Cruelty. It naturally increases if she chooses to deal with uprisings and manipulating nobles by executing them and it can influence the ending.
  • MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries has "nobility" and "infamy" scores for your company, representing your reputation as honorable warriors and cut-throat lowlives, respectively. It's virtually impossible to get through the game with no infamy (or no nobility, for that matter), and it affects only a few optional missions, but it was still nice to know. They also kept track of your recognition by the two major powers. While the nobility and infamy ratings played this trope straight, the faction ratings were actually subversions. Technically, it is possible for players to lock themselves into one faction or the other a mission or two "early" if certain missions are played in a specific order, however on the vast majority of play-throughs, the player will have one specific point where they choose which side to join for the rest of the game, regardless of their prior approval ratings.
  • Princess Maker has both a "Sin" and a "Faith" meter (among many, many, many other stats), though events that raise your Sin ranking tends to diminish Faith and vice versa. Being too high in one or the other locks you out of some of the endings and makes it more difficult to complete certain types of jobs.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Dishonored keeps track of the amount of kills you make, recording it as a Chaos stat. Your Chaos will have various effects on the gameplay, particularly as the story continues, such as the guards becoming a lot more cautious, or the increase in dead bodies leading to more flesh-eating rats wandering around the city, spreading the plague, also leading to more people becoming weepers, and eventually leading to the final mission having two distinct versions, based on whether your Chaos is considered low or high, the ending you get being based on whether you played the Low Chaos or High Chaos finale.
  • Hitman has a notoriety meter, which is filled up whenever someone sees you commit a highly suspicious act and gets away to tell someone. Filling it up too much will make it easier for random people to recognize you and call for help, and in Hitman: Blood Money, the newspaper report you get at the end of each level will slowly start to build up a description and composite ID picture of Agent 47, becoming more accurate the higher your notoriety is. You can bribe people to lower your notoriety, though.
  • Manhunt 2 focuses not on whether you kill, but on how sadistic you are in your killing. Being professional in your slaughter leads to a Battle in the Center of the Mind, while killing in more sadistic ways results in a Split-Personality Takeover.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Players have a "Heroism" score, as well as an unseen "Demon" score. Heroism is accrued by completing missions and sidequests, rescuing prisoners, and expanding Mother Base; while Heroism is lost by being caught by enemies, having your Buddy get critically wounded, or having soldiers in your employ die or leave. A high Heroism score attracts highly-skilled volunteers to your army, and once you netting 150,000 points of Heroism, you'll gain the "Hero" status, allowing you to infiltrate nuclear-armed FOBs. On the other hand, Demon points are earned by killing soldiers or animals, critically wounding your own comrades, and having wounded enemy soldiers die when attempting to Fulton extract them. The more Demon points you build up, the more demonic your appearance becomes. One of the biggest ways to decrease Heroism and increase your Demon score is to develop nuclear weapons, while disarming your nuclear arsenal decreases your Demon score and builds up Heroism.
  • Splinter Cell: Double Agent: The main focus: Sam Fisher has to curry the favour of both his native NSA and his target organization, the JBA. Interestingly, there are only a small handful of choices in the game that add to your trust with one faction while also taking an equivalent hit to your trust with the other, so it's neither difficult nor time-consuming to gain 100% favor with both the JBA and the NSA through the majority of the game. As seems to be the case with a lot of these games, your "good and evil" rating ended up depending on one action: whether you kill your old friend and handler Lambert or the somewhat sympathetic but still entirely evil new friend in the JBA. This is not possible in "Version 2" of the game (the version on sixth-generation consoles), which has a "classic" tug-of-war meter, meaning you can't please both the NSA and the JBA. Also one of the few examples which discourages playing to extremes, since doing so means that you're either "in over your head" or in danger of blowing your cover and being exposed as a double agent (i.e., complete a loyalty test within a time limit or you fail the mission).
  • Yandere Simulator utilizes a "Reputation" gauge to measure Yandere-chan's standing among her fellow students. Complimenting her fellow students, or calling in favors from Info-chan, will increase her rep, making it easier for other students (including romantic rivals) to trust her. On the other hand, doing suspicious things around other students (carrying weapons, being covered in blood, acting insane, being witnessed committing murder, or taking up-skirt photos) will harm her reputation. Getting away with a murder to which you were witnessed may also result in said witness spreading rumors about you and cause continuous damage to her reputation until they are dealt with. Other students also have reputation meters that can be raised by calling in favors from Info-chan, or lowered through spreading gossip. If you find out something demeaning about another student (like the fact that they engage in Compensated Dating) and gab about it on social media, it will deal a major blow to their reputation. At -100 reputation, Senpai will reject their confession. If you're feeling like a monster, you can continue to damage their reputation after that point until they are Driven to Suicide.

    Survival Horror 
  • Silent Hill has always had multiple endings (Known as Good+, Good, Bad, Bad+, and an extra, silly ending). In the first game, which one you got was based on your choices in two key scenes, one of which required an unintuitive Side Quest to achieve the Good endings. In later games, it was based on your performance throughout the game.
    • Silent Hill 2 took into account a number of factors during the game to deduce your ending, including (but not limited to) how often you ran around injured, how long you stayed around Maria, and whether or not you looked at certain items. It is the only game in the series that lacks a Golden Snitch event that will push you heavily towards one of the endings.
    • Silent Hill 3 introduced an event that would more directly affect your Karma Meter: Forgiving the confessor in the church is considered a severely bad thing. If you so much as spat on a demon afterward (or before), you were pretty much guaranteed the evil ending, because the Karma Meter doesn't measure good or evil, but your acceptance of your role as God. The confessor event is not about whether you're forgiving or vengeful, it's about whether you believe you have the power to absolve of sin.
    • Silent Hill 4 has two conditions that determine your ending: how infested Room 301 is, and whether or not Eileen dies during the final boss battle.
    • Silent Hill: Homecoming has three yes/no events that determine your ending.
      • Silent Hill: Downpour continued this, with scenes offering a choice of whether to behave kindly or cruelly towards other characters. The player's responses combined with the number of enemies killed during the game determined which of four endings you'd get (with a fifth silly ending unlocked by finding hidden items throughout the game).
  • Tokyo Dark: Low professionalism gives you options that are not entirely legal, for example breaking and entering; high professionalism makes others respect you more.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Reservoir Dogs has a meter that determines whether you're merely an amoral, businesslike Professional like the movie's Mr. Pink, a Career Criminal like Mr. White, or a psychopath like Mr. Blonde. This is affected by whether you shoot people at random or try to take hostages and escape peacefully. While all the other characters' fates are sealed, the karma meter determines what happens to Mr. Pink — psychopaths get shot by the cops, career criminals get arrested, but professionals Know When to Fold 'Em and escape scot-free (possibly making off with the diamonds, too)!
  • The Suffering has a Karma Meter which depends on whether the main character, Torque, helps the less hostile Non Player Characters he encounters or guns them down in cold blood. This rating determines which of three endings (Good, Neutral, or Evil) you get. While the meter isn't shown explicitly, the player can to some extent gauge their karmic state by the reactions that the ghost of his wife and children have to his actions. Not only that, but the player can see what their karma is at any time in two ways: looking at Torque, and looking at a photo of his family. If the player is good, Torque is nice and clean (save for the blood he got on him from previous fights) and looks fine, while the photo is fine. If the player is neutral, they are a bit dirty and have a couple scratches on them, and the photo is somewhat damaged. If the player is evil, Torque is covered in scars and sores, and the photo of his family is burned and increasingly faded. Torque will also change appearance based on your actions. A third way to tell is to listen to the Infernas on the occasions you meet them before they start showing up as enemies. If you're on the good route, they'll be relatively friendly and compassionate. If you're on the evil route, they'll be insulting and mocking, pretending to be afraid of you. The sequel, The Suffering: Ties That Bind has a similar system, though this time actually visible in the pause menu and having concrete bonuses, and even includes an Old Save Bonus that changes the opening depending on which ending you got in the first game.

    The original game also has a ghostly NPC symbolizing each of the possibilities on the Karma Meter: Good is represented by Horace Gage, the ghost of a minor convict driven insane by his time on Carnate and ultimately executed in the electric chair for killing his wife on a conjugal visit, who wants to stop Torque from succumbing like he did; Neutral is represented by Dr. Killjoy, a deranged psychiatrist dedicated to "helping" his patients no matter the cost, and has now adopted Torque as his latest project ; and representing Evil, Hermes T Haight, a sadistic executioner who eventually killed himself in the gas chamber so he could see death from the other side, and now sees a possible kindred spirit in Torque.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Digimon Survive has a karma system split into three categories corresponding to the Digimon Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors system; Harmony, Moral, and Wrathful. Moral focuses on justice, is denoted by red, and allows access to the righteous Vaccine-type Digimon. Harmony focuses on cooperation, is denoted by a green color, and shares compatibility with the more neutral Data-type Digimon. Wrathful focuses on achieving the objective no matter what, is denoted by yellow, and attracts the Always Chaotic Evil Virus-type Digimon. The player's dialogue choices and daily actions decide where on the spectrum they fall.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic VI uses a blood/tears alignment system, where a hero earns blood points if they use aggressive tactics, overwhelm opponents with sheer force, and solve problems with violence whenever the opportunity arises, while tears points are earned for showing mercy, using diplomacy, and endeavoring to keep the soldiers in their army alive. Eventually, a hero will be offered the chance to devote themselves to a philosophy, which will earn them unique abilities; for example, a warlock who pursues tears will become a demonist who can support their army through summoning, while a blood warlock becomes a pyromancer who gains unique destruction spells.
  • Nippon Ichi games (La Pucelle: Tactics, Disgaea, Phantom Brave and Makai Kingdom) have invisible Karma Meters that are affected by killing off your own teammates, an action that can easily be accidentally done, and a source of "easy" experience. This affects the ending in some of the games. Soul Nomad & the World Eaters allows you to follow a different path of the story after beating the game to be a bad guy. (Oddly, only demons are actually punished by the plot for doing this; humans get power-ups.)
  • Ogre Battle has three Karma Meters. One is the standard good-vs-evil Alignment trait, and each soldier has it. Each soldier also has Charisma, which represents how badass they look (kill enemies above your level, you look awesome, kill much weaker foes, you just look like a thug). These traits are used to determine what classes a unit can change into. The third meter, called Chaos Frame, is your revolution's reputation as a whole, is affected by a whole raft of things, and determines what characters will join you and what ending you'll get. Tactics Ogre averts this for characters, replacing it with a Law-Neutral-Chaos system of Character Alignment that doesn't use a meter, but has a quasi-visible Chaos Frame that only affects which way you get screwed over in one ending.
  • Shattered Union features a "political rating" that fluctuates based on how much collateral damage you cause while conquering territories. Both the good and evil ends of the meter offer various special abilities. Being the good guy earns you the ability to spawn commandos and cyborg soldiers, heal and repair units, and temporarily make units faster and tougher. Having a 0% Approval Rating, meanwhile, gives you access to things like artillery strikes, biological weapons, and nukes. Your political rating also affects the ending you get. If you're good, America is peacefully reunited, and everybody lives happily ever after. If you were evil, you become the new fascist dictator.
  • Triangle Strategy has a "conviction" mechanic with three axes — Morality, Utility, and Liberty. Serenoa's dialogue choices, as well as votes made with the Scales of Conviction, influence these three stats, and which characters you can recruit are determined by which of the three the player focuses on. On the first playthrough, you're not given much of an idea how exactly your choices influence your convictions (other than being told that they've been strengthened), but on a New Game Plus you're told which of your convictions was strengthened for doing something and by how much. It's also handled rather interestingly in that none of the three convictions are presented as inherently "good" or "evil," though having high enough values in each trait also makes it easier to convince your party members to vote the way you want them to in Scales of Conviction sessions (so you are, in a way, "punished" for neglecting or favoring one side too heavily).

    Visual Novels 
  • Melody: Downplayed. Certain choices can net the player Melody points, even if there’s no reason to suspect that Melody would ever be aware enough of them to actually think more favorably of the protagonist because of them. However, in the end, the points only decide whether the player reaches the Perfect Ending or the Good Ending.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • inFAMOUS (as well as its sequels inFAMOUS 2 and inFAMOUS: Second Son) revolves around making binary moral decisions that affect the gameplay and story. As the recipient of superpowers, Cole MacGrath (and later Delsin Rowe in Second Son) have to choose whether to use them to help others, or to only help himself. Notable in the fact that helping people will usually hurt you, with a long (but temporary) effect. Hurting innocents will still give you negative Karma, but it's possible to be extremely evil just by looking out for number one.
    • Early examples in the first game include scaring off citizens to secure a supply drop of food all for yourself, or letting them take their fair share; attacking police on your own, or inciting a riot to let bystanders take some of the heat; and turning off a water supply valve which poisons you, or getting some hapless oaf to get poisoned for you. Generally speaking, evil equates to "selfish", and good equates to "selfless". Your Karma directly affects how your powers develop, and both the Good and Evil sides have unique powers as well.
    • Like several other games listed here, your final Karma, as well as the ending received, are determined by a specific choice just before the final boss. There's an interesting spin on it, though; the story event involved in taking the evil choice can leave absolutely no doubt about Cole's malevolence. Even if you make this choice with full positive karma at "Hero", the Karma Meter drops to and locks at "Infamous".
  • Red Dead Redemption uses the Honor Meter, which starts in the middle and gets filled to either side, depending on the deeds you do. Disposing of rustlers (be it by leaving them tied up for the sheriff or shooting them dead) and helping people out (in and out of missions) raises your Honor, while committing crimes decreases it.
    • The rewards for being fully good or evil are a bit skewed: Bad Marston gets the fastest horse in the game (pointless, since the 2nd fastest can be gotten relatively early in the game regardless of karma and the DLC demon horses come with Status Buffs) and attacked by posses on occasion, while good Marston becomes fucking Immune to Bullets and gets showered with gifts by Non Player Characters.
    • For extra fun, John's interactions with NPCs change depending on his Honor; being Good means he'll greet people politely when they pass on the street, while being Evil means he'll insult and threaten them. The game also has a Fame meter which goes alongside the Honor meter.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: High Honor brings rewards like increased payments for hunting, cleaner killcams, and discounts at merchants. Low Honor players get more money from robberies and gorier killcams, though even at maximum honor they're quite bloody. And not only that, but the honor system actually plays a role in the story beyond being a gameplay mechanic, with several late-game cutscenes and conversations, including both endings, having low and high honor variants. Depending on which path you take for the Climax Boss fight with the traitorous Micah Bell toward the end of Chapter 6 (either "Go with John Marston" or "Go for the loot"), Micah will kill the low-honor Arthur, while at high honor he simply leaves the wounded Arthur to die alone from tuberculosis while watching the sunrise, at peace with himself for having helped John and his family secure a better future. However, high honor, help John is considered the canonical ending.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours: The "Cop Heat" and "Gang Heat" meters gauge Tony Montana's congeniality with the police and enemy gangs. Filling either one (or both!) too much brings about various negative effects. Some of those, however, can be mitigated with upgrades or careful play.
  • Spore has a kind of karma meter for each stage based on your species' behavior. Typically, the green choices are "friendly/social", the blue choices are "flexible/mixed", and the red choices are "aggressive/violent", depending on how the player decides to reach the goals for stage completion. In early stages, where you play as an animal, these focus on your ecological niche. In later stages, where you control a culture of sapient beings, they represent social ethoses.
    • In cell stage, you start out as either an herbivore (green) or carnivore (red). Later, by using both herbivore and carnivore mouths or an omnivore mouth, you can become an omnivore (blue) creature, or you can switch to the other extreme.
    • In creature stage, the choices are social (green), adaptable (blue), or predator (red).
    • In tribal stage, the choices are friendly (green), industrious (blue), or aggressive (red).
    • In civilization stage, you start out defaulting to whichever color you had at the end of tribal stage, and can shift up or down to the other ones from there — an aggressive civilization can become religious simply by capturing a religious city and using religious vehicles to convert other cities. The choices here are religious (green), economic (blue), and military (red).
    • Upon arriving in space stage, a species "archetype" is chosen for the species based on the previously-made choices, resulting in a different special power for each choice. For example, a pure or majority "blue" run would give you the Trader Archetype, and the ability to instantly make alien planets with which you have a trade route available for purchase, while two greens, a blue, and a red would give you the Ecologist Archetype, and the power to automatically snag samples of each kind of life-form found on a planet; among other paths, the Zealot archetype grants you Fanatical Frenzy, which lets you conquer all cities on a planet instantly; the Scientist archetype grants you the Gravitation Wave, which wipes out all civilization on a planet while keeping the planet itself intact, just to name a few examples. Your archetype can actually be completely changed by taking a special mission from another spacefaring civilization of that archetype if they have a 4-5 star rating. Although it requires a hefty amount of Sporebucks to do so and sometimes the objectives are lengthy, alternatively, unlocking all of the equipment of that archetype as a captain in the Galactic Adventures expansion gives you the ability to change into that archetype. Interestingly, the Knight archetype, achieved by completing two stages in red, one stage blue and one stage as green, never occurs as a civilization and thus you can never change to it (save-file civilizations of Knights are treated as Warriors instead and there is no Knight equipment in Galactic Adventures). The final archetype is Wanderer and is there if you started the Space stage on a new file, skipping everything else. You also cannot become a Wanderer secondarily; asking a Wanderer empire to teach you their ways will cause them to give you the Diplomat mission instead.
  • True Crime: Streets of LA has a karma meter that plays on the concept of Good Cop/Bad Cop. Simply arresting random criminals (you may incapacitate them to make it easier) will raise it towards the "Good Cop" side, while shooting them dead leans you towards "Bad Cop"note . In order for you to advance beyond a certain point, you need to be at "Good Cop", which means there is no separate path or ending for playing as a Bad Cop. Not to mention that if you get carried away, it will be almost impossible for you to return to good cop without grinding for arrests in order to score some Good Cop points.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! hints at this with the "Heart of the Cards," where if a character believes in their deck, it will pull through with the right card at a crucial moment. The original manga takes this further with several instances where a card worked against its controller due to its loyalty being with another Duelist or a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal.

  • The Cretan Chronicles trilogy gives you a series of stats, your "Honor" and "Shame" meter, as measurement of your worthiness in your quest. Performing honorable deeds will add points to the former, while deplorable actions (like trying to kill an unarmed opponent or ambush someone In the Back) will increase the latter. Should your Shame exceed Honor by a certain amount, you're deemed unworthy for your quest, at which point Zeus will fry you on the spot.

  • Desolate Era: The Daoist themes include an individual's karma and it plays such a role that the purpose of one organization, the Raindragon Guard, is to perform tasks of karmic merit so that would provide the imperial family with good luck. When an immortal practitioner becomes a Primal Daoist, they are able to open their Celestial Eye, they are able to see any karma aura that a person has. Good auras emit a golden light and bad auras emit a bloody, vile light. Auras of that strength, however, are extremely rare: Ji Ning was noted as having exceptional karma in his first life, but his aura is still very faint.
  • Rebuild World: This is a key part of the protagonist Akira's Blue-and-Orange Morality. He reasons that he used up his life's worth of luck by stumbling upon his Virtual Sidekick Alpha, and does good deeds for people in the name of earning his luck back... or at least that's what he says. It's quite possible that it's an excuse he tells Alpha with his Telepathy to cover for his softening heart becoming more open to others.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Good Place: All actions humans take in life add or subtract to their point total, taking into account motivation as well (so you don't get as many points if you're doing good things for selfish reasons). If your points aren't high enough to get into the Good Place, you get sent to the Bad Place to be tortured for eternity. Of course, we find out that no human has gotten into the Good Place in over 500 years because the interconnected nature of the modern world makes it impossible to avoid causing harm somewhere.
  • Supernatural: In "Byzantium", Anubis possesses an abacus that can measure a person's deeds. If the white beads outnumber the black ones, they get to enter Heaven, while if the opposite is true, they enter Hell. This is very important to Lily Sunder, a vigilante sorceror whose magic use has eaten up large portions of her soul.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Bleak World has one for each race, although some function more as a hunger or balance meter. Humans are the only race with with a straight up karma meter, but each race's meter has something in common, they all power magic and are usually used to buy things.
  • Dead Inside has Soul Points and their generation or decay. There were five major Virtues and Vices to track behavior against, and acting in accord with Virtues generated new Soul Points for you while indulging Vices caused decay. If you indulge your Vices too much and completely decay your soul, you "husk" and become an Eldritch Abomination (and thus unplayable). However, Virtues and Vices aren't mutually exclusive, they're just how often you've acted in accord with one or the other, and so your Soul Point total is an imperfect reflection of morality, especially since you can steal Soul Points from others. The ultimate result is a setting where Power versus Karma is on a bell curve, where the least and most powerful people are the most horrible ones. Truly good people rarely graduate out of the middle ranks of power because they're just not ruthless enough to deal with the big players.
  • Deadlands has a Karma Meter that works in a largely negative fashion: committing certain, well-defined horrible actions nets certain Player Characters "Corruption" points. Once you have a number of Corruption points equal to your Spirit die type, you're in danger of losing your character to The Dark Side. This is meant to shepherd the PCs into the appropriate side in the settings' Black-and-White Morality.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In 1st Edition the Dungeon Master is advised to keep a Character Alignment chart for each PC showing how Good/Evil and Lawful/Chaotic they are. Each time a PC commits a Good/Evil and/or Lawful/Chaotic act, they're moved appropriately within the chart. If a PC ever changes their alignment due to such drift, they lose a level of experience. Certain character classes (such as Lawful Good paladins) can lose their powers if they change alignment. Magic items, spells and creatures of a specific alignment react negatively to characters of an opposite alignment (e.g. Chaotic Good vs. Lawful Evil).
    • 2nd Edition loosens these restrictions somewhat. Instead of losing a level of experience, it just took twice as many Experience Points to reach the next level. Also, the penalty was no longer automatic: it only occurred if the Dungeon Master didn't agree with the change and the change was completely voluntary.
    • Ravenloft has a variation in the form of Dark Powers Checks: If you perform an evil deed that the Game Master feels deserving, he rolls a percentage die to judge if it attracts attention from the Dark Powers, and, should the Random Number God dislike you, they start turning you into a monster. Should you perform a deed of exceptional evil, you may eventually find yourself a darklord of your own domain—too bad in both cases it's a true curse. Also rather unforgiving—although it has reservations for Pay Evil unto Evil, there are just some deeds the baddies don't deserve. There are also some rather controversial options for the rules, such as mandating powers checks just for gaining levels in t he wrong classes, which fans universally ignore. It is possible to seek redemption and remove the curses, but it's extremely hard to do.
    • 3rd Edition book Unearthed Arcana is full of rules variants, including alternate Karma Meters. Honor was one, where you could cultivate a good score by acting honorably regardless of your personal inclinations. Reputation was another, though less reliant on morality and more on the scale and perception of your deeds.
  • Exalted has a variant of this: acting against your Virtues costs willpower and gives you Limit which when full makes you go crazy for a little while. However as the virtues don't really correspond to modern morality, and resisting magical Mind Control also gives you limit, it almost doesn't count as this trope.
  • Marvel Super Heroes has Karma points. The main problem with this is that it rewards Honor Before Reason almost obsessively, and saving a life is worth only 20 Karma, while knocking down a given area of city is worth -5. So if you save a life by knocking down four squares of city, you come out even. It essentially made a Punisher character unplayable, because you lost all your Karma if you killed, even to save lives. You also take a Karma ding for mind control, owning a gun, jaywalking, missing press conferences, and letting crime go unpunished. You're better off making that date at the Town Square. Oh, and villains naturally had their own Karma system.
  • The One Ring: Heroes gain Shadow Points from ignoble deeds (from murder down to lying) and exposure to evil (like encountering a Ringwraith or traveling across Unholy Ground). They can be removed by taking some downtime to Cope by Creating, but a high Shadow score can cause a hero to suffer bouts of madness, gain permanent character flaws, and ultimately fall to darkness and become an NPC.
  • Red Dragon Inn has a paladin character, Serena the Pious, whose "Piety Meter" is affected by her cards and actions. Her paladin abilities get less effective when her Piety level goes down.
  • 7th Sea has the Reputation meter. Acts of heroism increase it, while acts of villainy decrease it (it's up to the GM whether they cancel each other or track separately). Every 10 points above or below zero, a character gains a Reputation die, which can be spent like a drama die when rolling to influence NPCs. Glamour Mages get an extra bonus; since their magic is based on the power of stories, their Reputation dice are treated as regular drama dice, and can be used for any purpose (including gaining extra XP). If a character's negative reputation drops below -30 (-50 with a specific Advantage), they become a villain—and villains are NPCs under the control of the Game Master.
  • Shadowrun uses a Karma Meter as its Experience Points — performing good acts of significance earns you (Good) Karma, which is used to advance your character. You explicitly can't get Karma for evil acts, no matter how grand or significant, and evil characters instead need to "buy" Karma with cash, representing philanthropy and good works to "buy off" their evil actions.
    • In modern editions, karma isn't awarded for being a good character, but a good player. That is, a gamemaster is instructed to award karma for good roleplaying, being funny, driving the plot along. So if someone makes the game fun, they get rewarded for it. There is a notoriety attribute, which you increase by failing or being a dick. It contributes to intimidate and penalizes negotiation.
    • In Fifth Edition, although you get Karma for any mission, you get more for morally good missions. The tradeoff is that Evil Pays Better.
  • Star Wars d6 uses Dark Side Points — as soon as they equal your Force-sensitive character's Wisdom score, you go completely off the rails. For a non-Force-sensitive character, your DSP score is just a measuring tool for how big a Jerkass you are.
  • Tenra Bansho Zero: It goes up whenever you do certain things, and goes down only rarely, when you willingly give up your character's Fates. If it goes above the Mystical 108, you become an Asura.
  • Trinités: The Mana of the game is called Karma. It basically corresponds to either of your Archont (dark Karma) or Deva (light Karma), strength. Having a higher dark Karma doesn't make you necessarily evil, as the opposite doesn't make you necessarily good, but blatantly evil acts might raise your dark Karma dots, as the archont within the player rejoices. Played more straight for Incarnate Devas and Archonts, who only have light or dark Karma, respectively.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • New World of Darkness: Every character type has a variation on the Morality rating (Morality being the human version). What happens if it hits zero depends on the character type. For a human, zero Morality is absolute, cold-blooded sociopathy, usually accompanied by insanity (since the guilt from losing Morality often causes the character to develop Derangements). "Minor" supernaturals, like Psychics, Thaumaturges, and Immortals, also use Morality. This is not good for Blood Bathers, one of the forms of Immortal — their method of immortality, at best, with a particularly forgiving and not especially vile Blood Bathing ritual, involves being permanently camped at the low end of the Morality Meter, just waiting for a really atrocious act to send them into sociopathic depravity. More commonly, it sends them unavoidably screaming off the Evil end of the Karma Meter, sooner or later. Unsurprisingly, the game recommends that Player Character Blood Bathers be constructed so they're at the former end.
      • Beast: The Primordial has Satiety, a measure of how well the Beast satisfies their Horror's Hunger through causing the appropriate sort of fear and suffering. Acts that can feed Hunger are usually morally-grey at best, but letting it fall too low usually causes more harm in the long run, as the Horror roams in search of food — at 0, the Beast becomes a nearly-uncontrolled monster obsessed with feeding its hunger at any cost and which can only be truly satisfied (and pulled back out of this state) with fairly major acts of cruelty. It also tends to fluctuate more than most, as in addition to a Karma Meter, it's also their Mana Meter. Notably, high Satiety can be just as dangerous as low. When a Beast's Satiety maxes out at 10, his Hunger falls into a glutted sleep, and the Beast is no more than a mortal until it has digested some of its feast.
      • Changeling: The Lost has Clarity, which officially isn't so much a Karma Meter as it is a Sanity Meter, representing how easily you can keep yourself centered and distinguish fantasy from reality after getting the mother of all mind rapes from The Fair Folk. Murder and theft are still sins, but so are things such as taking psychotropic drugs, spending too much time away from humanity, and experiencing unexpected life changes.
      • Demon: The Descent has a truly bizarre variation on the nWoD Karma Meter — instead of representing karma, sanity, or any more standard facet to be measured, it covers the demon's ability to hide from the God-Machine and convincingly appear to be an ordinary mortal. As such, hitting zero with it doesn't mean the character is automatically forfeit, but it is extremely dangerous, and a demon that can't establish a new cover quickly probably won't survive. It's also mechanically based on Integrity, as introduced in The God-Machine Chronicle, rather than Morality, leading to it functioning substantially differently in important ways.
      • Geist: The Sin-Eaters uses Synergy, a measure of how well the Sin-Eater and their geist get along. Acts such as murder to restore health and consuming ghosts for Plasm ding the meter, as well as dying and coming back more than once. If you reach 0, you become a soulless creature cowering in fear at the sights of the Underworld. Sin-Eaters have it even worse than most. If they die, they come back to life, but lose one point of Synergy, and two points of maximum Synergy. If their maximum Synergy is reduced to 0 by this, they're either subject to death, or go through the above, but worse; a geist who chooses to linger in its host body after the Sin-Eater's soul has been shredded is sooner or later invariably driven homicidally insane by the tortured remnants of its former host's soul — and given that they're already Anthropomorphic Personifications of Death fused with human ghosts, this is a very, very bad thing. For some reason, both these and the more moderate version above are referred to as "The Wretched."
      • Hunter: The Vigil has Morality, the standard mortal measure. However, hunters can alter their moral thresholds to be more in line with the Vigil. They'll just have to take a penalty to social actions that mounts the more their moral code skews away from the norm.
      • Mage: The Awakening has Wisdom, which reflects how prudently you use your magic. Using magic to harm a sapient being is actually a pretty bad sin, as are the standard murder, mind control, and soul theft. You can also get slightly dinged for Mundane Utility, because bending the very power of the cosmos in order to boil an egg is selfish and just plain lazy.
      • Mummy: The Curse has Memory, a measure of how much of their self-identity and past existence a mummy recalls. In addition to the standard mortal sins, a mummy must avoid destroying evidence of their mortal life and of the culture they came from, and must protect their tomb and the relics they're charged with guarding. Compared to other supernaturals, a mummy's Memory starts much lower, reflecting their limited self-knowledge (the standard rating is 7; starting Memory is 3). They can bounce back after hitting Memory 0 by dying and coming back again, which resets them to Memory 1.
      • Promethean: The Created has Humanity, with the specificity that Prometheans are trying to ape humanity, which they have relatively little experience with, rather than trying to cling to old memories of morality like vampires do.
      • Vampire: The Requiem: The moral standard is also Humanity, and dropping to zero renders them unthinking monsters.
      • Werewolf: The Forsaken has Harmony, which determines the situations in which a werewolf enters "Death Rage", where he or she turns into a ferocious monster who kills foes and friends nearby or runs for a safe location. All werewolves risk it during combat, but those with lower Harmony risk the violent version every time they are insulted, have their authority challenged, or even if they burn themselves on the stove trying to cook. In Second Edition, Harmony is retooled to represent the balance between the wolf's dual natures of Spirit and Flesh. Harmony can now range from 0 (completely controlled by the Spirit) to 10 (completely of the Flesh), with the ideal being 5 (perfect balance between the two) and Breaking Points pushing the character in either direction. The closer Harmony is to 5, the better the wolf's control of his shapeshifting (High Harmony makes it difficult to transform, while low Harmony makes it difficult to hold a specific shape), the fewer things trigger his Unstoppable Rage, and the longer he can remain in the Tranquil Fury stage of that rage where he retains some self-control and has a chance of pulling out of it or getting someplace where he can't do any harm upon going fully berserk.
    • Old World of Darkness:
      • Demon: The Fallen handles morality in an interesting way with Torment. Unlike other meters, which start high and go down as the character sins, Torment starts low and goes up. This is because, rather than representing a moral code, it represents the Fallen's memories of Hell and how well they're coping with them. A Fallen's Torment affects how their powers work (if they're on the high end, they're considerably more dangerous), and at 10 the Fallen is irretrievably consumed by rage and hate, unable to do anything but lash out. (Conceivably, a demon that reached Torment 0 would become an angel again, but the rules don't allow for this...)
      • Midnight Circus, a crossover game, features an unusual variation on this in the form of Snares and Barbs, representing the level of influence the eponymous Circus has over your soul, most of which can only be removed by powerful magic. Buying a round of drinks is usually only enough to get you a single Snare, while bargaining for new powers with Cavendish the Ringmaster will get you five Snares. Five Snares equal a single Barb; the more Barbs you have, the more control the Circus has over you, until at five Barbs, you become a NPC and join the ranks of the Circus. For good measure, some exhibits actually force Snares on you just for staying around too long: Freak City has players developing a Snare for every minute they stay, and for every Barb they acquire, they also lose a dot in Social or Mental Attributes and gain a deformity; at five Barbs, they become one of the freaks.
      • Vampire: The Masquerade: Each vampire has a Humanity score, rating how much he still acts and thinks like a normal human being; inhumane acts decrease the Humanity meter, and, if a Vampire runs out of Humanity, he becomes little more than a feral beast. The video game adaptation, Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption uses the Humanity score more as a standard Karma meter: your score at the end determines whether you join with the Big Bad as his minion, kill him and take his place, or kill him and are reunited with your lover.
      • Werewolf: The Apocalypse lacks a general one, which fits with the theme of the game — while vampires have to take care to not become too inhuman, werewolves are fighting a war for the survival of the world, with several tribes denying that there are such things as non-combatants. That being said, every character has three meters for the Renown they collect, representing Glory (which is gained for accomplishing great deeds, particularly in battle), Honor (for fulfilling your duties and being courteous) and Wisdom (mostly for interacting with the spirit world). Rank advancement is handled entirely by Renown requirements, creating a mostly meritocratic society. Other were-creatures usually have similar traits, reflecting the preferred virtues of their cultures. Notably, Honor is very much not Good Is Dumb — it only refers to honorable behaviour within your society. Challenging a great monstrosity to single combat rather than having your pack's Ragabash slit its throat while it sleeps is considered glorious, but not particularly honorable, as the enemy does not deserve anything but death.
    • Fan-made gamelines:
      • Genius: The Transgression has Obligation, representing the Genius's personal connection to "normal" humanity. Treating humans as disposable or replaceable (Mengele gets quoted) damages it; at the highest levels, surgery calls for a check, and some manner of socialization is needed to keep it high, but you're also innately trustworthy. Hit zero and you start cackling, and decide to stop at absolutely nothing to see your experiments through, no matter how many scientific atrocities are needed.
      • Leviathan: The Tempest has Tranquility, which represents the character's ability to keep his beastial self and divine self in check. The Leviathan has a Tranquility track of twelve boxes. The divine nature starts in the top box (which it will always occupy barring the intervention of an Atoll) and expanding downwards from there whenever the Leviathan treats others as pawns, deliberately uses the Wake on others, goes too long without human contact, or is criticized by an Atoll. The bestial nature, on the other hand, starts in the bottom box (which, again, it cannot be removed from without an Atoll), and expands upwards whenever the Leviathan destroys things, attacks others without a good reason, goes too long without human contact, or is criticized by an Atoll. Whatever spaces are left in the middle are occupied by the Leviathan's human mind. When Tranquility hits zero, the Leviathan's divine and bestial selves come into direct conflict and battle for control. If the bestial self wins, the Leviathan becomes a Typhon, a feral beast dominated only by its instincts. If the divine self wins, the Leviathan becomes an Ophion, a mad demigod seeking to expand its power and influence by dominating and manipulating mortal proxies. One other quirk of Tranquility is that, unlike almost all other New World of Darkness Karma Meters, the player does not have the ability to spend Experience to buy back lost Tranquility. Each School offers a specific achievement that will give you a chance to regain Tranquility, and it can be restored by positive reinforcement from an Atoll, but you cannot buy it back.
      • Princess: The Hopeful has Belief, which roughly represents a Princess' optimism, hope that the world will get better, and commitment to her principles. At high Belief a Princess's magic becomes more powerful, she has an easier time transforming, and she is better able to bear the burden of Sensitivity. A princess who hits Belief 0 loses her magic, suffers amnesia regarding everything to do with having been a Princess, and becomes little more than an Empty Shell, going through the motions of her mundane life if prompted and hemorrhaging Willpower. If she recovers a dot of Belief (which will almost always require intervention from her friends) before running out of Willpower, then she dies the next time she sleeps and her soul escapes into the Light. If not, she falls into a coma from which she can only escape by a Mercy Kill (which frees her soul), or by calling the Darkness into herself and becoming one of the Dethroned.
      • Siren: The Drowning has Stability, which differs from most New World of Darkness karma gages in that it's double-sided: A siren has a single dot of Foundation (representing their personal will to survive), 1-5 dots of Civilization Stability stretching upwards from the Foundation (representing their connection to humanity and society), and 1-5 dots of Nature Stability stretching downwards from the Foundation (representing their connection to the natural world.) If the Siren's Civilization hits zero, they are locked into their Diluvian form, while if their Nature hits zero, they are locked into their human form. If both hit zero, the Siren regains access to both forms, but it becomes possible for them to lose their Foundation dot (as long as you have at least one dot in either Stability, acts that would cause Foundation Dissonance cause you to lose Stability from the higher of the two meters). And if they lose that dot, they degenerate into a mindless Banshee, their sole remaining desire to find humans and drain them of Pneuma.

    Web Animation 
  • Unforgotten Realms has "Sins of the Unforgotten," which the main character, Sir Shmoopy of Awesometon, gets two of. The secret behind them is that he gets one for every time he cheats. Whenever Rob (the person controlling Sir Shmoopy) cheats in the game, his character has a heart attack and a mark is made on his wrist. After three marks, his character dies.

  • El Goonish Shive NP: Sometimes referenced in the video game storylines:
    • In "Rad Squirrel", Grace is attempting a Pacifist Run on Fallout: New Vegas, and is frustrated that her karma keeps getting dinged for not killing bad people.
    • In "Parable", Susan is in a Fable parody, and finds the Karma Meter entitely arbitrary (as do other characters). She's far more interested in the Purity mechanic.
  • Homestuck: Sburb has a version of this to determine whether the death of a God Tier player is Heroic, Just, or neither, killing off the player in question if their death falls under one of the aforementioned categories, but resurrecting the player if neither criteria is met. The system notably operates under Cartesian Karma — deeds done while under mind control count towards it — and can be gamed, and numerous characters end up dying an unwarranted death over the course of the plot due to this.
  • Koan of the Day has bodhi, which is used to measure a reader's zen.
  • Tower of God: On the Hidden Floor, a kind of virtual reality (and parody of video games), you're supposed to advance by completing quests that raise the karma meter on a device that you carry, until it's all white and you can summon the final Boss Fight to advance to the next level. The whole system turns out to be a ruse to keep visitors from getting to the really interesting place, which can be achieved by getting the gauge to turn all black by opposing the authorities.
  • Woo Hoo has Karma Points, a type of cryptocurrency shared by non-profit ventures and businesses in the city. Karma Points are apparently earned by good deeds and volunteer work, but the system appears to have a lot of flaws...

    Web Original 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: The colour of Doctor Horrible's goggles. In Act I, they're reflecting some light, and look white. As the story unfolds, the light gets reflected less and less often, and the goggles turn darker and darker as Horrible's personality does the same. Finally in Act III, the goggles are completely black. Interestingly, just as "Everything You Ever" starts, light momentarily reflects off the goggles again. Last trace of goodness?
  • Pact: Many practitioners use some sort of implement to measure their karma.

    Western Animation 
  • The Fairly Oddparents: In "Power Mad!", where Timmy wishes up a challenging virtual reality game in which you can die if you lose your three lives and Chester and A.J. get stuck in it, Timmy sacrifices his own last life to save theirs. The game rewards him for his Heroic Sacrifice with enough points for a 1Up, and he is able to complete the game without anyone dying.
  • In one episode of El Tigre, the titular character is judged by a literal karma meter which explodes due to his Chaotic Neutral nature.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Morality Meter, Morality System



The game is full of karma choices between "Hero" and "Evil" karma.

How well does it match the trope?

3.75 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / KarmaMeter

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