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Karma symbols, from 1 to 10.

Karma is both a mechanic and important plot element in Rain World. Karma acts primarily as a gate to the player, requiring a certain level to progress into new locations in the game. When Slugcat survives a cycle, their Karma level rises by 1, unless they are already at maximum Karma. This is indicated by a rising wheel on the hibernation screen. Slugcat's Karma decreases when killed.

The player's Karma level can be checked by holding the map button, where it appears to the left of the food meter. It can also be seen on the death screen.

Karma Gates

Main page: Karma Gate

Karma is needed to pass through the Karma Gates in between each region. Each gate displays 2 symbols on either side, indicating the required amount to pass into and out of that region. These gates open when the player enters with the required amount of Karma or higher. Karma Gates that lead out of difficult regions generally have a lower Karma requirement to allow players safe passage to a different region.

Karma Flowers

Main page: Karma Flower

Karma Flowers can be found in set locations around the world and reinforce Slugcat's Karma when consumed. When the player dies, they do not lose any Karma, instead using up the fortification provided by the Karma Flower. A new Karma Flower then spawns in the location of the player's last death. Eating a second flower with reinforced Karma yields no effect. Starving with reinforced Karma causes the reinforcement to be used up.

Karma Flowers also spawn at the location of the player's last death when playing as Monk. While Hunter's campaign does not have any Karma Flowers, a Karma Flower spawns at the location of their final death for other Slugcats.

Maximum Karma

This section contains major plot details. If you have not made significant progress in the game, then it is recommended that you read no further!

Karma 5 is Slugcat's initial maximum Karma, however, this level can be raised through two different means.

The simplest method for raising Slugcat's Karma level is to visit Five Pebbles. In addition to guidance, Five Pebbles also raises Survivor and Monk's Karma to its maximum possible level, 10. He behaves as an echo for Hunter and ✔️DLC Gourmand.

Slugcat's maximum Karma level is also raised by visiting Echoes. Upon visiting an Echo for the first time, they raise Slugcat's maximum Karma level from 5 to 7. Each additional Echo visited thereafter raises Slugcat's Karma level by 1. When the player's Karma cap is being raised this way, Karma levels 6-9 display different symbols depending on the player's current maximum Karma.

Once Slugcat has visited 4 Echoes, their maximum Karma level reaches 10, and further visited Echoes do not raise it. Visiting Echoes raises Slugcat's current Karma level to its highest possible level.

Spoilers end here.

Karma Symbol Meanings

While the meaning of the first five Karma symbols has no bearing on the gameplay of Rain World, nor the experience of each campaign, it is implied throughout the game that each level of Karma has a corresponding meaning behind it.

In the Ancient monks' philosophy, there existed five natural urges which tie a creature to life.[1] It was believed shedding these five urges cleared the path to Ascension. These five natural urges are translated into the 5 Karma levels Slugcat initially possesses. Within Five Pebbles' access shaft, 5 tapestries depict the Ancients partaking in acts tied to each level of Karma: violence, lust, companionship, gluttony, and survival.

The Karma symbols are used throughout the world, both as is and combined to create new meaning in passages, Scavenger graffiti, and the Yellow Overseer's projections.

The 1st Karma symbol Karma 1, violence, is depicted in the tapestry as an Ancient slaying another. This symbol is used in The Hunter and The Outlaw passages. The Hunter's symbol is the same one used by the Yellow Overseer to signify danger. It is combined with the 4th Karma symbol, gluttony, to signify a threat that kills to eat. Additionally, ✔️DLC Artificer's karma is permanently locked at 1 after killing the Chieftain Scavenger.

The 2nd Karma symbol Karma 2, lust, is depicted by two Ancients engaging in sexual intercourse. This symbol was also used in the originally scrapped The Mother passage, which was later reintroduced by the Downpour DLC.

The 3rd Karma symbol Karma 3, companionship, is depicted by two Ancients clasping arms. This symbol is used most frequently throughout the world, primarily with Scavengers. The Chieftain utilizes this symbol, as well as Scavenger graffiti. The Friend and ✔️DLC The Mother both utilize Karma 3, as well as the A New Friend and ✔️DLCAn Old Friend achievements. In the Downpour DLC, the Chieftain Scavenger's mask displays the Karma 3 symbol.

The 4th Karma symbol Karma 4, gluttony, is depicted by an overweight Ancient eating a cooked animal alongside Blue Fruits. It is the only natural urge to be explicitly named in-game. The Yellow Overseer uses Karma 4 to point Slugcat towards sources of food. Karma 4 is utilized in both The Hunter passage and in the Stolen Enlightenment achievement.

The 5th Karma symbol Karma 5, survival, is depicted by an Ancient shielding themselves from blades. This symbol is most notably used in The Survivor passage. Its image is also utilized in The Saint and ✔️DLC The Nomad passages. It is also used in the A New Friend achievement.

Karma levels 6-9 and their variants have no explicit meaning defined or implied in game, nor are they used outside of the hibernation screen. However, the 10th Karma symbol Maximum Karma is used throughout the game as a symbol of ascension, as it is used repeatedly in the Subterranean Depths subregion- on statues, on the faces of the Guardians, and in SB_A14, where Slugcat's Karma is raised to 10, provided they have reached a maximum of Karma 10. Additionally, Slugcat is unable to pass the Guardians without having obtained Karma 10. Karma 10 is used as the symbol for the Ascension achievement, as well as the Within Time Achivement.