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I have a Strix Character that I am building. In Pathfinder, all Strixes HATE Humans, and even get a racial attack bonus against them.

Since they hate humans so much, they see no issue with harming them and even torturing them (as human children do with animals like dragonflies).

However, most other humanoids are treated the same way that Strixes treat each other (ususally).

Is this hatred for humanity enough to force an evil alignment, or can a Strix still be made a good character or neutral character and be made playable?

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Most human children do not torture animals; just saying. That’s one of the stereotypical/Hollywood warnings signs of a sociopath. –  KRyan Aug 21 '13 at 20:07
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OK, quick nitpick: strix are listed as Neutral on the PF SRD, so far as I can tell. Where are you getting that they’re Evil? –  KRyan Aug 21 '13 at 22:28
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What makes you think they have no issue with torturing humans? –  Jonathan Hobbs Aug 22 '13 at 23:18

7 Answers 7

up vote 16 down vote accepted

For an analogy, Gnomes have a long time enmity with humanoid reptilian, possibly due past aggression, and have developed tactics to fight against them more efficiently. Are gnomes evil due to that? Not every lizard man out there is evil, but some of them are, and gnomes may have very good reasons to act paranoid and aggressive when lizard men are around.

Now replace gnome with strix in the former paragraph and lizard man with human.

According to the Strix racial background, it is stated that humans invaded their lands and killed their fellow strixes. Even if the humans are acting that way due to ignorance (they think strixes are some sort of devils or monsters) they are effectively driving them to extinction, and from strixes' point of view, humans ARE the monsters here.

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The question is a bit inaccurate: the monster entry for strix lists the example strix as Neutral. So, in this case, Paizo seems to agree with the question asker. That said, the remainder of my answer assumes that the entry did make them Evil, since plenty of creatures are marked Evil for similar reasons.

Don’t try too hard to make alignment make sense. It doesn’t. There is no way for us to answer this question; it’s really a question for your DM or your whole group. Does it make sense that dwarves and gnomes can “hate” kobolds and orcs to the point that they receive combat bonuses against these races, and are “Often Lawful Good” and “Usually Neutral Good,” respectively, but strix “hate” humans to the point that they receive combat bonuses against them, and are therefore Evil? No, it does not. But that’s how the game was written: in a super-simplistic, doesn’t work if you give it any critical thought, incredibly black-and-white morality.

There are a lot of ways you can deal with this:

You can play it straight, where you are the heroes and there are monsters, and no one thinks too hard about the unfortunate implications of the system. This works well for a casual game, a dungeon crawl (which is, after all, what the system was originally designed for), and so on.

You can ignore it entirely. In this case, your character’s morals are what they are, and alignment doesn’t have mechanical weight. Requires a bit of houseruling for things like detect evil and blasphemy, though. Well-suited both for casual games (where you don’t worry about things like morality), as well as for serious games where questions of morality are far too complex to fit into the nine bins that are available.

You can consider “[Good]” as distinct from “good” – the former being an alignment, while the latter is actually a statement of morality. “[Good]” creatures may tend towards “good” acts, but ultimately being “[Good]” is more about “[Good]” acts than it is about “good” acts. This works pretty well because it doesn’t require houseruling any mechanics, you just have determine which sides have which alignments.

But all of these require group input, because you cannot decide them for yourself; these fundamentally are questions of the tone of the game.

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There are many races/classes with a combat bonus against a specific race due to enmity. Why should the Strix be viewed as necessarily evil because their chosen race is human?

In a little more depth - if a Strix hates humans, will attack any he sees, and hurt them as badly as possible before finally killing them, then that's probably evil. If, however, he avoids humans, fights them when they are acting "evil" (or otherwise against the Strix's morals) and kills them when necessary with great efficiency, then they are no more inclined to evil than a human or elf who kills orcs well.

Hatred does not define evil. Actions do.

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If Drizzt Do'Urden can be a good-aligned drow, you can play a good-aligned strix.

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As Kryan says, the alignment system was really made for dungeon crawls and doesn't stand up under scrutiny.

But to answer your question, I would say No, that isn't enough. Imagine a Strix who truly hates humans, but has adopted a religion with some version of "Love thy neighbor as yourself." He might hate humans, but remembers his religion and constantly forces himself to act kindly towards them (so long as they don't attack first). This Strix is constantly at war with himself and in an introspective game this can lead to some fun (or at least interesting) play. But for the purposes of your question, this Strix is almost certainly good even while hating humans and gaining his racial bonus when justified to fight humans by them attacking first.

Another possibility is to accept culturally relative morality*. In that case, the Strix culture does not find it evil to hurt humans. Things can be immoral for a human while being morally acceptable or even good for a Strix. In short, you can be a "Good Strix" while doing things that would make an "Evil Human".

Which route you want to go depends on what type of character you want and what type of game your group wants, but in every scenario other than a "I'm the GM and I say all Strix are evil aligned" it is fully possible to construct a good Strix.

*For the record, I do not believe in culturally relative morality, however, it is taken seriously in the philosophical study of ethics. And its application, or lack thereof, to the real world doesn't really impact whether you can accept it in a game.

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It's not what you think that makes you evil, its how you act.

If they actively try to hurt humans, they are evil.

If they think about hurting humans but do not act unless provoked or have good reason, they are not.


That said, alignment can be a very subjective topic and will probably vary from group to group. Have you checked with your GM/Players about their feelings on the topic?

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Well if he hates humans enough to gain a bonus to killing them, he will obviously act with malice in all actions that involve them, that's why I'm asking... If I always harm 1 race when the choice comes up, does that make me evil, or just misguided? –  Flotolk Aug 21 '13 at 19:55
    
I am making this more black/white than it actually is, but is the choice: hurt this human or hurt someone else, or hurt this human or do not hurt anyone? The former would not be evil, the later would. –  Colin D Aug 21 '13 at 19:58
    
I know you say you are simplifying, but you are really simplifying. The same action can be judged as good or evil based largely on motivation. If John shoots Jack for the pleasure of watching him die that is evil. If John shoots Jack because Jack is threatening him right now, that is probably neutral. If John shoots Jack because Jack is threatening a child, that is probably good. –  TimothyAWiseman Aug 21 '13 at 20:40
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@Flotolk As a minor note, having a bonus towards doing something doesn't mean you always have to do it, it just means that should you choose to take that course of action you are more apt at it for whatever reason. Think of the bonus this way, if the Strix character decides to take hostile action against a human they just won't have the same mental hangups against harming them as other races, just like we IRL can choose not to kill spiders and the like, despite it being quite easy for us. –  Lunin Aug 21 '13 at 21:02

The racial trait from Strix is called Hatred, but it's explained as a militaristic training to fight against Humans who consistently try to invade their lands, this training translates into a racial bonus on attack rolls. An what makes humans so special that disliking them makes you I here try evil? A Strix could just as easily own an all-Halfling orphanage, caring deeply for the children kept there. It's irrelevant anyways, since Strix don't have to actually hate humans, just just using it to clarify.

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