Food for Thought: Canon Timelines

Today’s Question: How do you generally treat the passage of time in your roleplay? In particular, how do the active story-lines in World of Warcraft content affect your character, in terms of their timing and in-world duration?

I was thinking about this as Shadowlands nears its release date. A few of my characters have deep ties to the lore surrounding Nazjatar and N’Zoth, so it became important to me and them to more clearly pinpoint such things as when Nazjatar opened up, when the conflicts there were considered “under control”, when N’Zoth began to rise and send out visions, and when he then died. Some players tie this to the dates of the patches, but as roleplay is malleable, and some roleplay plot-lines can span months even though in reality they would only take a few days, I’ve found these things are pretty chaotic.

Boss deaths and new content aren’t the only thing you could consider here, either. For instance, a lot of characters have children, who then grow up faster than they would in real life, as it’s not much fun to roleplay being pregnant for 9 months…! A player choosing how quickly their child characters age works pretty well when you’re roleplaying them with just your immediate friends, but it quickly becomes more complicated when you broaden that out to the rest of the roleplay community. One person claims their child character has aged to a teen within six months, while another’s child character has remained five-years-old for eight years of real time. Are either of them “wrong”? Did one of them go through a time warp ICly? Or what other ways would make sense to reconcile something like this? How generally would YOU handle this situation?

Honestly, I tend to just ignore those kinds of conflicts entirely, and just focus on keeping track of my own timelines, and let others do their thing.

Jon is the only character whose age I actually have strictly defined, and he’s the one whose age I actively track on his TRP profile, advancing according to the Official Timeline, which has been one year per expansion (including Vanilla), except for Cataclysm which lasted two.

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  1. The passage of time for my characters are usually penned over the actual weeks I play them, so it ends up being right around major patches and they go “What the h-e double hockey sticks is THAT!”. It’s a nice little thing.

  2. For children, I tend to let them grow over the weeks as well, with the usual passage of time. However, for any event thrown into the future, they may be scaled up in age to fit that. I don’t personally see an issue with that.

  3. For other RPers, just let em do their own thing so long as it isn’t strictly breaking canonical lore. If they want to push their age up to get more RP out of it, that’s fine, they have their own wishes for the time passing. But, take into account of other races and what ‘time’ they hit maturity.

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