Karma is basically a vague representation of how good or evil you are. You gain Karma for doing tasks which are perceived as good and lose it for doing things which are bad. The normal upper amount of Karma you may have at any one time is 20, and the lower limit is -100.
For every 5 points of Karma past 0, you receive a 5% discount on your monthly taxes, up to a maximum of 20% (40% if you have the feat granted by the Secret treasure of saint). Negative karma does not increase your taxes; however, at -30 Karma and below, guards will attack you, preventing you from safely visiting any cities other than Derphy. Additionally, shopkeepers (except the ones in Derphy and your home) will refuse to deal with you unless you talk to them while disguised, although you may still purchase certain services (Restoration from healers, meals at Inns, buying animals etc.). Karma can be recovered in Noyel for a high price. Be aware that Noyel has guards as well.
You may also Wish for Redemption to remove 50% of your negative Karma, as long as your Karma is lower than -1.
The Secret Treasure of the Wicked will reduce most karma penalties by 25% (greater discount for using a Nuke, eliminates -1 penalties), but also reduces maximum karma by 20, so you can only reach up to 0 karma (as of 1.14). In a similar manner, the secret treasure of the saint increases maximum karma by 20, but also increases karma penalties by 50%, rounded down. The two don't stack - using one will erase the feat granted by the other, replacing it.
Methods of Gaining Karma
- Completing certain quests. (Usually +1 Karma)
- Completing the quest "Wife Collector" with a monster wife. Repeatable. (+2 karma)
- Giving money to the beggars that randomly show up at your house after hiring a maid. (+2 karma)
- Casting Resurrection on NPCs. (+2 Karma) This can be abused by killing NPCs that do not cause a karma penalty (e.g. the children in Noyel; the Young Ladies and Silver Cats in Sister's Mansion), then resurrecting them.
- Buying an indulgence, which is very expensive, from the Sister in Noyel while at -30 Karma or less. (cuts negative Karma in half)
- Wishing for "redemption" while at -2 Karma or less will cut negative Karma in half.
- Finding a Lost Suitcase or Lost Wallet on the ground and turning it in to a guard unopened. A reliable source that can be stockpiled until needed. (+5 Karma)
- Finding the "dead body" random event. Burying the body will increase your karma. (+5 Karma)
- Completing the quest "Lost Kitten". Repeatable. (+10 Karma)
- Getting killed by a guard while at -25 Karma or under and level 6 or higher. (+10 Karma)
- Giving a Potion of Cure Corruption to Pael's Mom <Lily>, after the Pael and Her Mother subquest is completed. Works until she is cured. (+20 karma)
Methods of Losing Karma
Note: The Secret Treasure of the Wicked reduces all Karma losses by 25% (rounded down), and makes it so that actions that would cost 1 Karma cost none.
- Waking NPCs in town with bash. (-1 karma)
- You can avoid this by using a whistle; be aware, however, that occasionally if you remain in sight of the NPC you awaken using this method, the NPC will get angry and attempt to attack you. Hide behind a wall before using the whistle.
- Performing will also awaken any sleeping NPCs in sight with no karma penalty, but watch out for rocks.
- Pickpocketing has a random chance of decreasing karma. ("You feel the sting of conscience") (-1 Karma)
- Prostitution. (-1 Karma)
- Picking the "treat" option during the Halloween event. (-2 karma)
- Finding the "dead body" random event and looting the body. (-2 Karma)
- Attacking any NPCs you can talk to (citizens, unique NPCs like Shena/Mia) in towns. (-2 Karma for the first blood drawn "(character) glares at you) and -2 karma for when you actually kill them. If you can kill them in a single hit only -2 will be deducted, as per if they die via Word of Death expiring. The penalty is worse for killing shopkeepers/salespersons.(-10 karma))
- Attacking Ebon the fire giant in Noyel when he is chained. (-2 karma per blow landed)
- Killing Tourist NPCs. (-3 karma)
- Finding a Lost Suitcase or Lost Wallet and opening it. (you take the contents automatically once you do) (-4 Karma for wallets, -8 for suitcases)
- Getting caught while pickpocketing. (-5 Karma)
- Bringing an empty Lost Suitcase or Lost Wallet to a guard. (-5 Karma)
- Bringing too many Lost Suitcases or Lost Wallets in a short window of time to a guard in 1.17b or Elona+. (-5 Karma, this may be done to prevent abuse)
- "How can you eat a cat?!" (-5 Karma)
- Cheating at Blackjack and getting caught. (-5 Karma)
- An NPC dying from food poisoning because you gave them rotten food and they ate it while you are still in the same map. This applies to the food you provide them from job quests as well! (-5 Karma)
- In very rare cases, usually trainers or guards are the only ones with HP high enough to survive it. If you give them rotten food and they survive, they get penalties like if they had been PCs who ate human flesh. (-2 karma), as if you had attacked them normally. Once they regain their footing they'll come after you like you did, too. May also happen in an I Want It! quest where you trade rotten food to receive the item in question, should it be junk or a low-yield potion or simple cloth/leather item. They will begin eating immediately as if you had just completed a cooking quest, but do not seem to take as much damage.
- Killing a Noble child. (-10 karma)
- Killing a shopkeeper/salesperson. (-10 karma)
- Reading a Scroll of Return or Escape while an escort or delivery job is active. (-10 Karma)
- Failing any quests involving the quest giver entrusting something/someone to you. (escort missions, delivery missions) (-10 or -15 Karma for escorts, -20 Karma for delivery).
- Having somebody eat food that you mixed a love potion with. (-10 karma)
- If they are drunk when they eat it, it increases the penalty. (-20 karma)
- Completing the quest "Wife Collector" with a human wife. Repeatable. (-15 karma)
- Killing a Rich person. (-15 karma)
- Eating the corpse of a guard. (-15 Karma)
- Selling Pael's mom Lily to Moyer the Crooked, after the Pael and Her Mother quest is completed. (-20 Karma)
- Killing a dog or a hound in "No Future" mode. (-30 Karma)
- Failing to pay four months worth of taxes, when your fourth unpaid bill becomes due at the end of the month. (-60 Karma)
- Loading a save from outside your home in "No Future" mode. (-100 Karma)
- Detonating a nuke anywhere. (-100 Karma)
- As of version 1.14, karma loss is reduced to -10 outside of a town (radioactive fields are still condemned, see). If the player has used the secret treasure of the wicked, using one in town is only -20 (which is further reduced to -15 by the treasure). Note that damage from the fires generated by the explosion still counts as an attack from the player, so any NPC who somehow survived the blast that touches the fire will cost additional Karma.