Elder Is Better


(permanent link) added: 2011-01-10 20:40:30 sponsor: Ghilz (last reply: 2011-01-14 17:52:31)

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That's why you should not buy dragons for your kids. They start off cute, but they never stop growing!
"I kill where I wish and none dare resist. I laid low the warriors of old and their like is not in the world today. Then I was but young and tender. Now I am old and strong, strong, strong, Thief in the Shadows!"
-Smaug, the dragon, The Hobbit

Everyone knows a child is more durable than a newborn, and that an adult is tougher then a kid. However, for some creatures this keeps going with age. They never grow decrepit. Arthritis never settles in. They keep growing stronger, faster and more resilient with each passing year. What is to note is that the older creatures are not simply more powerful due to having more experience: they are literally tougher than any younger specimen of the same breed.

Vampires and dragons are two of the most common species to exhibit this. Ancient dragons and elder vampires are beings of terrible power. This can cause a bit of Fridge Logic if the creature is stated not to be immortal: if dragons become more resilient as they age, then just how do they die of old age?

A subtrope of Older Is Better. See also Monster Lords, who are often older members of their species, and contrast Evil Makes You Monstrous (for the latter, they get eviler with age and thus get uglier and stronger). For the human equivalent, see the Old Master and Badass Grandpa.

Related to this YKTTW for Monster Progenitor

Examples:

  • Dungeons & Dragons has this happen to many creatures. Vampires, Dragons, Liches and others tend to grow more powerful as they age. So much that in 3rd edition, a new age category of "Ancient" was added to Dragons in a supplemental book, surpassing the former maximum age of "Great Wyrm". Pictured above are red dragons. For the record, the second largest one is an "adult". The top one is an ancient.
  • Fallout 3 Super Mutants grow stronger with age. Super Mutant Masters are younger and weaker than Overlords, who are weaker than Behemoths, who are the oldest. Not that this particular trait is not (explicitly) shared with their west coat counterpart.
  • In the Munchkin Card Game, "Ancient" is a +10 monster buff.
  • Dragons in Tolkien's writings do this. Smaug provides the page quote.
  • The Maestro, the future version of the Hulk, who is stronger and smarter than present day Hulk (even when PDH is in smart mode).
  • Truth in Television: Gustave the Crocodile is over 66 years old, believed to be over 20 feet long and 2,000 pounds heavy, and is still killing people up till today.
  • Similar to D&D, dragons in Dragon Age only get more powerful with age.
  • The undead in The Dresden Files universe grow stronger the older the remains that went into their reanimation are. This culminates with Harry using a Tyrannosaurus' skeleton to turn into a zombie.
    • The Dresden Files also plays with this trope concerning Black Court Vampires. On the one hand, it is noted that since Mavra is such an old vampire she is likely to be mobile and capable of defending herself during the day where younger vamps would be forced to sleep. But then they toy with it by pointing out that the reason Black Court vamps in general are such major Badass types is because of basic survival of the fittest since Dracula was published. To get to be that old, they have to have been Badass to begin with, or they'd have been killed (again) years ago.
  • Some of the monsters in darkSector are stated as getting larger and stronger with age. Just before a boss fight, an ally warns you, "This one is very old!"
  • In an early episode of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Joey/Jonouchi defeats an opponent by allowing his Baby Dragon to age a millenium into the much-more-powerful Thousand Dragon.
  • In Kingdom Come Superman is said to be undergoing this. After so many years under earth's yellow sun, he's stronger than ever, and immune to kryptonite.
  • Vampires in The Elder Scrolls grow more powerful as they age. Vampire Ancients are the oldest and strongest.
  • In Japanese folk thought, foxes (Kitsune) grow a new tail for every hundred years they live, with a proportional growth in power, to a maximum of nine.
  • Dragons in The Inheritance Cycle never stop growing, some were as big as mountains.
  • Vampires work this way on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When Spike is first introduced Giles initially dismisses him as a big threat when he discovers Spike is scarcely over 100 years old (shortly after he discovers Spike's full history and reconsiders). Kakistos was noted as being an extremely old vampire and thus a bigger threat. His age meant he had lost most traces of a human appearance and a standard size stake wouldn't do the job, so Faith had to use a two-by-four to finish him.
  • The basilisk from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is apparently still in top form at the age of one thousand. And if the shed skins are any sign... She's still growing too.
  • The Asari in Mass Effect are said to show this, at least with regards to their biotics, who grow in power as they reach the matriarch part of their life cycle.
  • In the Dark Eldar codex in Warhammer 40,000 Haemonculus Ancients have better thats than regular Haemonculi. They have the same strenght and toughness but more wounds and attacks.
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