Troll Disease | E. Christopher Clark

Troll Disease


Troll Disease is a debilitating physical condition which results in the transformation of a sapient being into a grotesque physical reflection of the awful and hurtful person they have become by being deliberately offensive, provocative, and upsetting.


Though the condition is reversible in theory, most affected individuals are afflicted with a related secondary condition called Residual Self Image. In layman’s terms, most people who become trolls can‘t see what they’ve become. They only see themselves as they were before the transformation, and any attempts to show them the truth will be met by stubborn or even violent denial.


Troll Disease is the result of a supernatural curse visited upon the sapient beings of the world by the sister goddesses Mira and Phina. They sought to make their universe—Eden, in particular—a kinder place. They thought that by making metaphorical trolls turn into literal trolls, they could teach the cruel and the malicious that their actions have consequences.


They were, of course, wrong—at least in most cases.


Early symptoms include a hunched back, typically developed while leaning over a typewriter, a computing device, or a tavern tabletop to offer a stranger some “free” but unsolicited advice; an aversion to light, developed by spending so much time dispensing one’s opinion over the Inter- or EdenNet from the confines of one’s maternal basement; and the abandonment of basic hygiene because changing one’s undergarments or washing one’s body is deemed to be a waste of time.


All of that said, those symptoms can also be written off to a variety of other conditions. The first symptom to really worry about is the development of horns where there were none before. The second impossible-to-ignore symptom is the lengthening of the limbs. The third is the thickening and embiggening of the hands and feet. And the last symptom, the one generally regarded as the point of no return, is the transformation of the face.


The brow, nose, and chin become more pronounced. The expression is locked into one of permanent disapproval and disappointment, and the skin begins to sag under the weight of all of the people in the world who need to be reminded how it is, how it’s supposed to be, and what they’re doing wrong.


Tools and devices which amplify the afflicted individual’s ability to spread hate and sadness should be removed immediately. If it is possible to gag them, either physically or magically, you should do so as soon as possible.


After taking these steps, the afflicted individual should be enrolled, where available, in a course on Empathy, Listening Skills, or Basic Decency. When such measures are not available, consider providing the afflicted with recordings—mundane or magical—of their nicest grandparent, parent, or older sibling. And if that’s not an option either, lock the afflicted in a small screening room which plays an endless loop of videos capturing the exploits of baby animals.


Kittens, we have found, are particularly effective.


If the troll can be convinced that they have indeed been transformed, there is hope. Through the liberal application of cat memes and cognitive behavioral therapy, most trolls can eventually be returned to their former selves. You just need to be patient with them.


Very, very patient.


But remember: with some trolls, there is no hope at all. And when you encounter one of these, do your best to avoid and ignore them. They feed off of attention, after all. Deprive them of that, and they may be forced to turn back into a nicer person just to survive.

Chronic, Acquired


Author's Notes

Thanks to Melissa Brennan, who, during our monthly call on Saturday, November 18, 2023, uttered aloud the phrase “this is how you become a troll” and inspired this idea.

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Dec 17, 2023 18:31 by Chris L

I've been waiting for this one. You've made this funny and sad and a little real! I've lost some people who I was very close to to this IRL. Great article as always!

Learn about the World of Wizard's Peak and check out my award winning article about the Ghost Boy of Kirinal!

Dec 17, 2023 20:31 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you! Yeah, I've lost some folks IRL to this too.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Dec 17, 2023 21:59 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Haha, but also kind of sad-making.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 18, 2023 11:45 by E. Christopher Clark

Excellent! Mission accomplished. The stuff of mine that I like best is the stuff that brings about complicated feelings.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Jan 1, 2024 00:20

You are a master of presenting real-world issues in a context of a fantasy world!

Check out the worlds of Starhome and Magic Earth
If you are looking for my Worldember articles check Magic Earth or My Worldember Progress Page
Jan 1, 2024 02:44 by E. Christopher Clark

Thank you so much! I think the key is to remember to have fun with it, even as you're making your point about the real world. If it gets too heavy, I think you lose a lot of readers' interests.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Jan 19, 2024 21:20 by Tlcassis Polgara | Arrhynsia

WHAT??!!! Someone on the Eden Net was WRONG? I have to fix that IMMEDIATELY! - What is that smell?

Follow my worlds: Arrhynsia and Compendium and check out my author website at to see my latest work!
Jan 19, 2024 22:45 by E. Christopher Clark

I don't know, but be careful. It looks like you might be growing some horns, lol.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Jan 23, 2024 15:29 by Mardrena Lockehart

When I glanced at the title I had in mind something along the lines of Stonescale from GOT. This was a pleasant surprise. There's a old skit where three friends run into a Gollum-like internet troll under a bridge who banishes the two guys by angering them with comments such as "Steve Jobs uses a PC" before being banished himself by the remaining girl.   This hits a bit close to home with me since I was forced to cut ties with a friend I'd known for 20 years. We used to be creative partners and maybe in another era he would've loved this site, but his creative soul is well and truly dead. He tried forcing me to include unsavoury elements in my narrative that would make Kentaro Miura and Go Nagai blush, and true to the disease, even when confronted with cold hard facts he refused to accept the truth. He said "those are my sincere heartfelt beliefs" when I confronted him on the things I found out he'd said behind my back.   One of the last things he said to me was "this friendship doesn't mean as much to me anymore". Well it meant something to me. I'll probably ask myself for the rest of my life whether social media turned him into a monster or if he was always a monster and social media brought it out. I can never forgive him for what he said, especially how he tried to sabotage my creative vision. I'll check in on him from time to time and there is no epiphany possible with him. He still spews his hate and lewd tastes online.   But I take that anger and channel it onto writing, and I will make sure I take him to the metaphorical cleaners from now until the end of time. In one of my fav movies "A Knight's Tale", after William wins the tournament to pay off Geoffrey's debts, Geoffrey vows he will have vengeance upon the two crooks who duped him. They scoff how and he replies "in fiction. You had me naked for a day, but I shall leave you naked for an eternity, your every flaw laid bare for all the world to see". And anyone familiar with Chaucer knows how unflatteringly the Pardoner and Summoner are portrayed....

Crazy Anime Cat Lady and Gamer Nun, Proud Texan Enjoying Renaissance Faires.
Jan 23, 2024 18:29 by E. Christopher Clark

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of that old friend. Thanks for reading and for sharing.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
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