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Someone suffering from Laughter of Despair believes life is nothing more than one big joke—and he is in on it. Driven past the brink by seeing the innocent and good perish while the sinful and evil thrive, the afflicted can do nothing more than laugh at the plight of the world, his friends, his family, and himself.[1a]

The person cannot stop laughing, chuckling, and snickering, even in the most serious and dire of circumstances. When times are bad, his laughter is one of irony. When times are well, he feels the universe is just setting him up for some horrible punch line. His most boisterous laughter is reserved for both those without care—such as new lovers, the wealthy, and the saintly—and for the most wretched—such as lepers, the destitute, and war victims. A person suffering this insanity is incapable of sympathy for the downtrodden or respect for those that deserve it. His speeches with other people become filled with cruel, cutting jokes and observations, followed by cackling laughter.[1a]

Because of this disorder, the victim reduces his ability to work with others significantly. Also, it is almost impossible for him to refain from giggling to himself for more than a few moments at a time. At first, the person’s laughter may seem delightful and amusing, but it does not take long for his incessant chuckling and sharp barbs to rub others the wrong way. In addition, when a victim of this disorder is confronted with a truly dangerous encounter, a meeting with someone of substantially higher status, or witnessing a scene in which others would be filled with remorse or deep pity, the victim must have a very challenging test of willpower. If he fails at this test, he is nearly doubled over from a powerful, hideous fit of laughter. If he succeeds, he merely laughs and chuckles more than usual.[1a]

Victims of the Laughter of Despair are quickly banished or tucked away in jails, sanatoriums, or other solitary locations where their endless cackling can no longer be heard by the sane. A notable number are simply killed by angry individuals for their insensitive, cruel taunts, or by superiors that take umbrage for their insolence and lack of respect.[1a]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Tome of Corruption
    • 1a: pg. 61

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