You know, quite some time ago I had a dream that Tawyn had the chance to get the most rare and most awesome flying mount ever. She could get an owl mount, one that looked just like Tux.
And in the dream, I turned it down. My reasoning? It wouldn't be in character.
I woke up and thought "Dream-Pike you dorkchop! Giving up a super awesome mount like that in the name of roleplaying! You don't even roleplay all that often! Real-Pike is much more sensible than that."
Or so I thought.
This is Althalor:
When he was a wee young lad, he and his high elven merchant parents were traveling down Southern Gold Road in the Barrens when they were attacked by some particularly nasty beasts. They fought gamely but they were tired and weary and couldn't much fight back. With their dying breaths they managed to conjure up a spell that made it so the creatures did not see, hear, or smell little Althalor who was hiding in the caravan.
It was the Tauren of Camp Taurajo who found him and took him in. He was raised in Mulgore as an adopted Tauren, as a hunter, because of his uncanny skill with a rifle and his odd rapport with the lions of the Barrens. Today he fights for the Horde, passing himself off as a Blood Elf, although deep inside he feels that he really is a a Tauren in spirit.
So clearly he needs to ride a Kodo. This was the plan from day one. And for that, (unless you want the war mount)... you need to be exalted with Thunder Bluff.
At the tender level of two I ran him all the way from Sunstrider Isle to Mulgore. He cleared the place of quests and this led him to Crossroads, Camp Taurajo, and eventually Freewind Post in Thousand Needles. Considering the fact that I began with a distinct disadvantage (blood elves begin the game as Neutral with Thunder Bluff, not Friendly... and on top of that, a rather long questline in Mulgore is apparently Tauren-exclusive), I didn't think I was doing too badly. Tawyn was exalted with Stormwind at level 37, why couldn't Althalor be exalted with Thunder Bluff at level 40? Easy, I figured.
Then came the change to the mount level. I worried about my rep grind but hoped for the best; turning in as much cloth as I could at my low level and scouring WoWHead for quests I hadn't finished yet.
Today Althalor dinged 30.
Now don't get me wrong. I like the chicken mount. I like it a lot. I was so excited when the Warstrider was announced and then so crestfallen when I found out my taurengirl Lunapike couldn't get it. (She has some MgT farming in her future I think.)
But Althalor, I thought, no, he can't ride one. It would be obscene. In his story he hasn't been to the Eastern Kingdoms since he was a baby. Him on a hawkstrider? It would be So. Out. Of. Character.
So I said "Forget getting the mount at level 30. I'm not getting one until I'm exalted with TB."
I went to work today and realized I'd turned into Crazy-RP-Mount-Dream-Pike.
And I thought about it and I thought about it and I thought about it and I thought about Aspect-of-the-Cheetah-ing all over Desolace and it was this horrible dilemma, you have no idea.
Then I had an epiphany. He's trying to pass himself off as a Blood Elf right? So maybe his Tauren friends decided to help him out by obtaining a Hawkstrider mount for him... and he rode it around for a while because he was very grateful for the thought but it just made him so uncomfortable that he got a Kodo later?
...that sounds viable.
So I went and got the chicken mount.
It still feels awkward but at least my OOCometer isn't buzzing off the hook and blinking red anymore.
There are two morals of this story. One is I think Blizzard has really succeeded if they managed to create a world so immersive that at least some of its players are willing to do crazy things like forego mounts in the name of their fictional character's backstory. Two is that Pike is completely insane. But you all knew that I'm sure.