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An indispensable part of the World Building process for an epic fantasy world or Space Opera universe is a timeline showing when all the events described in the stories and back stories happen, and how many days, months and years pass between them.

They go nicely with a Fantasy World Map, and often make appearances in Universe Compendiums and Universe Concordances.

See also The Trope History of the Universe. And check out our Grand Unified Timeline.

Examples of Universe Chronology include:

Comic Books

  • The Unauthorized Chronology of the DC Universe[1], despite being unofficial, does a much better job of sorting out the continuity of DC Comics than the company itself has despite having had THREE massive retcons in less than 20 years precisely for that purpose.



  • Tolkien must have loved doing these, which kept turning into narrative on him. The Tale of Years in The Lord of the Rings appendix is an excellent example, covering all major events of the Second, Third and early Fourth Ages. The Annals of Valinor and Annals of Beleriand cover events from the creation of the world to the end of the First Age, but Tolkien never completed a definitive revision of them. The omission of official chronologies from The Silmarillion led Robert Foster to compile his own for The Complete Guide to Middle-earth from the few relative dates in the text. Tolkien's actual drafts were published in the History of Middle-earth series.
  • Forgotten Realms[3]
    • Forgotten Realms had an entire sourcebook for this in late 3.5. It even included the first time Elminster crossed over to Earth and told 'Ed of the Greenwood' about the Forgotten Realms!
  • Eberron has one in the Campaign Setting book which list from when the world is created to present (2 years after the Last War).

Live Action TV

Video Games

  • The Legend of Zelda finally had its' oficial timeline divulged with the release of Hyrule Hystoria.
  • Mass Effect has one in the in-game Encyclopedia Exposita, which thoroughly explains details and the previously unanswered.
  • Odin Sphere, by virtue of being really non-linear storytelling, being told in non-chronological order, and mixing it up with The Rashomon, has this as a flowchart.
  • Although a much shorter version, Metal Gear Solid 3 has one in the end credits.
  • The video game Halo Wars has a Halo Universe Timeline, though it is far from complete. Mostly only events relevant to the game itself along with some character backstories and details about the early years of the Human-Covenant War. There are also a few major events from the Halo Trilogy.
  • A major part of Xenogears' Universe Compendium, Perfect Works, is dedicated to showing the game's sprawling history and timeline.

Web Comics

  • Here is Drowtales' timeline (apparently requires cookies to be enabled).

Western Animation

  • Takara has produced a definitive timeline of the Japanese G1 Transformers continuity (which is not the same as the American continuity); This includes the G1 cartoon as well as Headmasters, Masterforce, Victory, Zone, Kiss Players, Beast Wars, Beast Wars II, Beast Wars Neo, Beast Machines and Robot Masters, and which also tries to jam in Robots in Disguise.
    • Oddly enough, because of it's... unusual choices and elements either made up exclusively for it or only briefed touched upon in obscure, non-translated Japanese stories, this may be one of the few examples of a timeline that makes things that much more confusing.
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