Karma, Weapons, Armor, and Schematics
Just as they did in Oblivion, Bethesda included a stat meant to keep track of whether you are a “good guy” or a “bad guy”. A players Karma is determined by their actions, such as stealing, murdering, and pillaging. Karma affects gameplay in a few ways, such as available quests and how NPC’s react to your character in-game. For instance, having a high Karma led our player to be given gifts randomly, while having a bad Karma allowed us to recruit Jericho, a former raider who can aid the player in his travels.
Weapons and items
As previously mentioned, there is a whole arsenal of weapons in Fallout 3, catering to the tastes of many different gamers. Weapons and items like armor and clothing have condition levels however and will break down over time. The player can repair their own items or pay an NPC to do it for them in the event they lack the requisite skill level. Repairs are accomplished by essentially combining two identical parts, such as two Chinese assault rifles. As items and weapons degrade, they become less effective until they eventually break and are unusable. You must keep your weapons and armor in good working condition, otherwise they have a tendency to break at the most inopportune moments. This became very apparent to us when our sniper rifle snapped in half after we antagonized four super-mutants, each one armed with a mini-gun.
Fallout 3 includes a new addition the series in the way of schematics, or weapons plans. Schematics allow the player the build special weapons, each one an interesting amalgamation of objects that are available in-game. Once the player has access to a set of schematics and a workbench, he can build these weapons, while his repair level determines the condition of the resulting item. Each weapon is unique and functions a little bit differently than the standard weapons. For example, the Rock-It Launcher allows you to turn just about any object into a projectile, while the Shishkebob is a sword that sets targets aflame.