Nyarlathotep, the Black Pharaoh, seeks to enter the realm of Earth to rule over mankind. Unfortunately, he is prevented from doing so by a barrier that blocks eldritch deities from crossing over. To get around this, he breaks his soul up into thousands of pieces and seeds them into thousands unborn children. These kids become immortal avatars of Nyarlathotep called Nylanders, who do battle with each other over the centuries through one-on-one engagements to the death. When one is killed, the other "eats" the loser and gains their power and memories, absorbing them into themselves. When all pieces of the deity have joined, Nyarlathotep will become whole within one body and would be reborn on the mortal plane. In the end, there can be only one.

As each child is killed/destroyed, the remaining Nylanders gain that power equally. As the Nylanders are killed over the centuries, the rate of power absorption would increase each time, with the final two battling being the strongest of their brethren. These warriors also possess a piece of the deity's consciousness hidden deep within their minds. As the souls merge with each other, the collective consciousness of Nyarlathotep gains more self-awareness, regaining its memories and sense of self. The remaining warriors become more deity than human, until the final battle in which the full mind of the god emerges within the body of the winner. However, the god that emerges has been "corrupted" by human emotions. As he gained the memories and knowledge of the Nylanders across thousands of years, it has caused its personality to change from the being it once was. Its eldritch side, which seems to dominate and enslave, must constantly battle its human feelings.

Characters with a blue and orange morality mindset often have a warped logic and see the world very differently from normal people, even when they try to be good. These characters' moral framework is so utterly alien and foreign to human experience that we can't peg them as "good" or "evil". As a result, we would see their actions as appaling, even though they are perfectly rational and arrive to their conclusions based on their own reasonable logic. They may even find our actions as horrific as we find theirs, with both sides unable or unwilling to understand the other due to their reasoning being built on irreconcilable perspectives. We can see this to some extent in the polarizing of politics today, although nowhere near as alien as to humans and elder gods. Seeing as most writers are human beings, it is hard for use to write from the perspective of a deity in a way that makes sense to the reader.

How can you overcome this block?

  • 4
    Do you mind explaining further what blue and orange morality means? I'm not familiar with the term.
    – Sciborg
    Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 21:00
  • 3
    There are currently 3105 people named Nylander in Sweden. Wonder if I should worry about them.
    – pipe
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 14:43
  • It's really a fiction that anyone has a blue/orange ethical system. We all have a good-evil ethical system, we just use different words to describe it.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 19:18
  • 3
    This is actually quite a good question but it is buried under a lot of unrelated information. Your story concept is cool and interesting but I think it might be distracting from the question you are asking. I think it would benefit your question if you could expand on your last paragraph and perhaps condense some of the story background information to only what is required to provide context for the question. Good luck and happy writing!
    – linksassin
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 23:28

2 Answers 2


DISCLAIMER: This is going to be more of a way to help you understand how other places have a blue and orange morality and how the main character's goals still make some sense using a children's movie. I won't be able to link everything from your story to the example, but I'll try my best to explain.

WARNING: Spoilers for The Nightmare Before Christmas

Think of it with The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Just in case you have never watched the classic movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas takes place in Halloween Town, where Jack, also known as the "Pumpkin King", scares children every Halloween. However, he grows "tired" of scaring children "every year". Sometimes they even physically harm humans or animals:

Robin Thomas (Mayor): ... most of the blood drained in a single evening.

This was rewarded to the vampires, so as you can see, their morals are certainly more alien than ours, which is the point of the Blue and Orange Morality concept.

So why do we root for the main character, Jack, if he's scaring children, or understanding his morals?


One of the reasons that Jack is such a great example of a well-created Blue and Orange morality character is because his motivations are reminiscent, but not complete, with our (human) motivations.

For example, Jack tells his dog Zero that he is tired of scaring children. This is the core of his motivation for the whole movie. I'm going to write this down to resort back to for this section:

Jack the Pumpkin King has grown tired of scaring children year after year, and wants to do something new.

No, he did not have a change of heart and decide that it's morally wrong to continue to torment innocent mortals. Instead, he just got tired of doing it. It became repetitive, a chore that he has to do every year. Notice how the concept itself, on a literal meaning, is really insulting to the children themselves. He gets bored of doing something that could leave a child traumatized for life. But, really, if you think about it a little more, the situation he's in is more relatable.

The situation for the reader who is (probably) human isn't getting tired of scaring little kids. Maybe it's just being tired of school or work. Maybe it's feeling like your schedule is the same one over and over again. Even though a human wouldn't like the torturing aspect of it, they can relate to feeling like they're forced into one thing forever.

Moreover, Jack is looked up to by the Townspeople because he's by far the most frightening. Obviously, not many humans look up to being frightening, but maybe they can relate to the concept of the feeling. For example, a child may feel like they relate to Jack because their family looks up to them to be the next best doctor when really they feel like doing grades is a chore. Both characters feel backed up into a corner. It's just they both have different morals or "extremes".

Overall, when trying to pull off motivations with an Orange and Blue morality, don't think literally, think more abstract. Find the theme of their motivations.

The surface-level motivations for Jack would be that he has grown tired of scaring children year after year, and wants to do something new.

The surface-level motivations for the student are that she has grown tired of working on her grades for her parents, and wants to try new things.

However, at their core, they both share the want to do something they've never done before, instead of feeling trapped to do one thing forever.


Let's go back to The Nightmare Before Christmas. When Jack finds Christmas Town, he reacts to everything like he had been transported to a brand new world. He has never seen festivity before, so of course, he explains how interested he is in it. What this results in, is him trying to understand how to use something so foreign, and jumping to conclusions as to how to do it. In fact, I'll go through the two that really explain his judgment, and how well the writers did what they did.

1. He thinks he can just steal Christmas

Once Jack realizes that Christmas spreads positivity to children every year by giving them presents, he thinks he can do it himself with the help of Halloween Town. Now, this may sound stupid on his end, but the audience can actually see why he would do this. It's paired with his judgment and motivations. We already know that Jack wants to try new things, so motivation is down. However, his judgment is clouded.

Jack has been known as the 'leader' of Halloween Town for years. He had no prior knowledge of the doors and therefore doesn't understand how each place has its own ruler. He has just learned about Christmas. Jack has been put on a pedestal for years and never really told to stop, so he thinks that it'll be the same for Christmas. He thinks that, like those in Halloween, that he can direct what goes on in Christmas Town. He vaguely knows there is a man in charge (Santa Claus), but he thinks he'll treat him just like his Mayor, who also puts Jack on a pedestal and listens to whatever he (Jack) tells him.

This isn't surprising, though. While it's hardly to this degree, this is one of the causes of narcissistic, "bratty", or whiny behavior: having no real respect for authority because you were never taught to.

Therefore, we can see why his judgment is this way here.

2. He Tells Three Children to Kidnap Santa Claus

This goes with #1, but I felt like this really reflects more of the Orange and Blue Morality in this particular action. You can really see his judgment is clouded when he tells Lock, Shock, and Barrel to get Santa Claus and tell him he's going on a vacation this year. We know that Jack is in the wrong, of course. This is Santa Claus' holiday. But when you think about it, it makes sense! He lives in a world of Halloween, where the torment, stealing, and killing are real. This is what he thinks is right. It's no different than a child screaming at their mother to let them use the shopping cart in a store. Just to a degree that most humans wouldn't agree with.

So, what about judgment? It can be (humanly) morally irrational, but make sure it's supported by motivations, character upbringing, etc so that your character isn't viewed as plain evil.

Hopefully, this helped answer some of your questions!


If I understand correctly, you're asking roughly the following:

In most fiction, characters may be broadly classified as "good" or "evil." A good character is by default helpful, friendly, kind, and refuses to kill without good cause; an evil character is hurtful, deceitful, and does not value human life.

In D&D, characters may also be broadly classified as "lawful" or "chaotic." A lawful character values predictability, and will try to learn and follow society's rules all the time (even if those rules seem personally disadvantageous to him at the moment). A chaotic character values unpredictability (even if the "unpredictable" course of action involves personal risk), and does not value society's rules at all.

In Nyarworld, characters may be broadly classified as "blue" or "orange."

As the writer, how do I get my readers to understand what a blue character is like? How do I get my readers to understand what an orange character is like?

See the problem? Without knowing what you mean by "blue" and "orange," we can't possibly explain to you how to explain it!

Step 1 is for you yourself to have some mental idea of what you mean.

Step 2 is to come up with some concrete examples. Pick a scenario from the plot (or just invent one), and explain in writing what a blue character would do, and then explain in writing what an orange character would do. In particular, explain what Bob would do, assuming that this was the moment that his blueness really chose to assert itself; and explain what Alice would do, assuming that this was the moment that her orangeness really chose to assert itself.

Do Step 2 a few times.

Step 3 might be to read over those scenarios and try to extract the commonalities and express them in English. Or, you might just take those scenarios and put them into the story, so that the reader ends up seeing what blue and orange characters do.

In short: Show, don't tell.

UPDATE to add: Clearly some concrete examples would help. Perhaps your "blue-morality" characters all agree on the innate moral value of shiny objects. Er... well, that's just Gollum, I guess, so you don't need my help to write that. Well, it's Nyarlathotep, so maybe what he wants is to return to a primordial state, recreate his ancient dominion — er, that's just "nostalgia" or "desire for the comforts of home," so you don't need my help to write that. Maybe he wants to Kill All Humans, like the Daleks? (There's an example of characters that are hard to relate to!) Well, figure out Nyarlathotep's personality as it relates to his underlying motivation to Kill All Humans; are we to him as ants are to us? Can we use words like "nuisance" or "disgust" to frame his attitude?

Then, the trick is, once you the writer know that key idea that explains his motivation, don't tell the reader in those words. Keep those words your writerly secret, and show his attitudes — basically, make him act "in character."

When all else fails, the Rule of Cool still applies; I don't think anyone ever complained that they couldn't grok Dracula's motivation.

  • 4
    "Alternatively, if you're asking StackExchange to invent some interesting blue/orange axes and then explain them to you so you can try writing them: No." Huh? Isn't the whole point of this site to help with technical writing? The blue and orange morality is a writing term. If somebody needs it to be explained to them so they can write it, that's fine. Also: Nobody is asked that. They clearly asked how to make morals and motivations relatable if your character at face value would be considered crazy to us. This extra comment is just unnecessary. Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 15:01
  • 1
    @linksassin: thanks for undeleting. FWIW, I think we're still talking past each other re: meaning. To me, "the reader believes in your world" and "the reader relates to characters in your world" are synonyms in this context. The only thing OP is asking is, "How do I make the reader [believe-in/suspend-disbelief-in/grok/understand/relate-to] my world's weird moral system?" and the main problem I have is that OP has not evinced any effort at coming up with that weird moral system. One cannot [explain/convey/cause-reader-to-grok] a system that one hasn't actually designed yet. Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 3:08
  • 1
    @Quuxplusone If that's the case your answer should explain that is what you mean. That is not the impression I get from it. It currently reads like you are answering a different question. I line that says "to relate to your character they must understand your world." or similar would help explain your reasoning.
    – linksassin
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 3:15
  • 1
    Basically I completely disagreed that your quoted section is what the question is asking. If I were to summarise the question it is asking "how can make my alien character relatable?" I think Sister Student does a fantastic job of explaining how this can be done.
    – linksassin
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 3:17
  • 2
    Maybe it's because I'm familiar with "blue/orange morality" as a phrase from TVTropes, but I also think it's clear the OP isn't asking "how do I develop an alien morality" but "given an alien morality, how can I make it the character with it palatable to the reader". As such, I'm downvoting because this doesn't answer the question.
    – Tau
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 7:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.