because it's a good habit
Tried searching for this, didn't find anything. If I failed at searching, you have my apologies.
There is a set of characters with stock elemental powers. They can move their elements around, possibly create some because they have Elemental Baggage
But then the earth user can make structures out of his element, the water user can do the same with ice. So, what is the poor fire user meant to do? Cue Solid Fire.
Solid Fire is basically a material which despite looking like flames, does not act like flames, but rather a solid. In Real Life, you can move your finger through a candle's flame or even your whole arm through a campfire's flame. That's because they're made of aerosol - tiny pieces of whatever's being burnt, floating on the hot air's updraft, and glowing colours from red to yellow due to being red-hot. Solid Fire candle flame, however, would stop your finger, maybe even prick it if you approached it from the upper side.
Solid Fire is usually smokeless. Even its heat emissions
can be optional at times if the fire hero decides it to be so - can't burn people if you're catching them with a giant Solid Fire mitt, after all.
of fire tend to be made of this.
Compare Hard Light
for another example of a typically non-solid element being solid.
Anime and Manga
- Portgas D. Ace. He can turn into fire. He has been frequently seen with his finger turned into fire, adjusting his hat without burning it or his finger losing shape. He has also been seen punching through ships with a giant arm of fire.
- In Fairy Tail, Macao's Purple Flare magic is essentially this - the flames he makes are essentially fire, as evidenced by Natsu's ability to eat them, but otherwise can have properties of a solid, being used as ropes on occasions, for example.
- The flame whips of Balrogs come to mind, assuming they're actually made of flame (this matching this trope) and not just merely on fire. They definitely look like the former.
- Logically, any kind of a fire elemental must be made of this. D&D fire elementals have slam attacks and are vulnerable to damage from mundane weapons. They are not incorporeal in any way.
- As with the above example, any kind of fire elemental has to be made of this. A notable mention would be the Liquid Flame of Final Fantasy V, which could freely assemble into forms of a hand and a humanoid.
- While it's called Liquid Flame, yes, it still doesn't behave like a normal flame, thus falling under this trope.
- In Dwarf Fortress, fire is a legal tissue for living (or not) beings. Fire men are made of it, as well as some randomly generated megabeasts and demons. It maintains a small bit of realism - when those are hit, fire realizes just how loosely it fits together and breaks due to nearly every blow.
- In the Play-by-Post Game Ather City, the character Andrus Sonic has frequently used Solid Fire for ropes and platforms and the like, which could comfortably hold his weight.