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
and our Timelines
- The Unauthorized Chronology of the The DCU , 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 
- 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).
- The SF stories of Cordwainer Smith are connected by a chronology covering more than 14,000 years of future history. Sadly, the official chronology was lost with the author's notebooks; it has mostly been pieced together by fans.
- A fan timeline for Discworld can be found here (up to The Fifth Elephant, so it misses the explanation for any oddities provided by Thief of Time).
- A brief one is present in the back of some of Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals from the Dark and Trevelyan's Mission novels (same 'verse). The timeline always starts with the formation of the United Space Forces by the leading nations of Earth in 2054 and ends with the events of the given book (The Defender currently has the most up-to-date version, dating up to 2950).
- Star Trek has a timeline on the Ex Astris Scientia fansite here,
- Doctor Who had an unofficial Terrestrial Index by Jean-Marc Lofficier, which gave the history of the Earth (original series only, since it was published in 1991), and Ahistory: An Unauthorised History of the Doctor Who Universe by Lance Parkin, the most recent edition of which is complete up to Series 6.
- The Legend of Zelda finally had its official timeline divulged with the release of Hyrule Historia. As a testament to the series' Continuity Snarl, it involves three Alternate Timelines.
- 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: Snake Eater has one in the end credits.
- 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 original Halo trilogy.
- A major part of Xenogears' Universe Compendium, Perfect Works, is dedicated to showing the game's sprawling history and timeline.
- Escape Velocity Nova's is detailed in an external PDF file.
- Here is Drowtales' timeline (apparently requires cookies to be enabled).
- 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 its... 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.