This is one of the many fire-related tropes that were identified as part of the Kill It with FireTRS thread. Name suggestions and description/definition refinement suggestions are welcome and encouraged.
Indices: Older Than Feudalism, This Index Is On Fire
Certain types of creatures are especially weak to fire. This is especially common among ice-type or water-type beings. This can take three forms:
Other weapons or attacks will do damage, but fire does more damage. These creatures can be killed by conventional (or less-than-conventional) weapons or by magic, but fire will kill them faster, which generally has the benefit of the victorious fighters being less close to death at the end of the battle.
Fire is the only thing that can harm a creature. This also means that fire is the only thing that can kill that creature. Woe betide the adventurers that stumble across such a creature when they don't have access to fire.
Fire is the only thing that can kill a creature permanently. Probably because of the devastatingly destructive nature of fire, it is often the only thing which can prevent regenerating creatures from coming back again and again. This is often part of the rationale behind Burn The Undead, and can overlap with Burn The Body if the creature is killed and then burned.
Sometimes the weakness will only be to magic fire or to mundane fire. For evil creatures, this weakness will generally be connected to Fire Purifies.
Burn The Undead is a subtrope specifically for The Undead being weak to fire.
A related trope is Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors; generally one of the elements in such a setup will be fire, and so one of the other elements will be weak to fire. See that page for examples of cases where fire is part of a circle of elemental strengths and weaknesses.
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Anime and Manga
In King of Thorn, some particularly tough octopus-like monsters prove vulnerable to good old-fashioned incineration.
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit: The Ra Runga is intangible, which makes conventional weapons useless against it. Fire is its only weakness, although one must first drink the sap from a sig salua blossom, which allows one to cross over into Nayug, in order to touch it with the fire.
In Parasyte, the eponymous aliens are almost completely defenseless against fire and acid.
In The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, also known as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, zombies are primarily killed with fire. And they go up pretty easy.
In The Lord of the Rings fire is the orcs' most useful weapon against the Ent attack on Isengard. When the valley is flooded, you can see a burning Ent rush forward and dunk itself to douse the flames.
In Tarantula the only way to destroy the eponymous giant spider is for the Air Force to napalm it.
In The Thing, the smallest part of the alien life form is capable of mutation and assimilation, so the only sure way to destroy it completely is with fire. But even then, it's not even particularly flammable. Fire is the only way to do it, but it's still not a very good way.
Subverted in, "Tomie: Another Face", one of the movie adaptations of the manga, Tomie, where the eponymous Nigh InvulnerableBody Horrorific teenage girl is burned in the incinerator by the Doomed Protagonist. However, her burned ashes gather up and create her face in the air, reminding the protagonist that she will never die and that every single one of her ashes will become a new Tomie.
In the Codex Alera fire is handy against the Vord, since the croach they rely on to keep them alive is very flammable.
The Monster Plant Beasties in The Day of the Triffids are especially vulnerable to flamethrowers, as they can't tell where the flame is coming from and panic, sometimes setting their allies on fire as well. Flamethrowers are also more effective than guns because Triffids don't appear to have any vital organs. (Following the same principle, shotguns work better than handguns or rifles.) Too bad there's a fuel shortage due to that Cosy Catastrophe...
In Terry Pratchett's Discworld werewolves can only be killed by silver or fire. Likewise, zombies, vampires and mummies are noted to be very flammable.
The Thread in the Dragonriders of Pern series is best dispatched with fire, which makes fire-breathing dragons the best defense against it.
The trolls in the Forgotten Realms world regenerate and can recover from anything... except being set on fire. The heroes in Streams of Silver take advantage of this weakness as much as they can.
In The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard Saruman uses some kind of flamethrowers against Ents, causing them to flood Isengard. Makes sense, as Ents are trees.
In the Night World series, fire is the only thing that can kill any creature, be it witch, human, werewolf, shapeshifter, or vampire. One character does freak out when another speaks nonchalantly about burning a werewolf to death (including the phrase "one of the traditional methods"), so it appears to be a less-used tactic... now.
In Michael Moorcock's The Sailor on the Seas of Fate there's a scene where the heroes have to destroy a pair of buildings. The captain of their ship is insistent that the buildings can only be destroyed by fire. It turns out that the buildings are a pair of evil alien sorcerers.
Older Than Feudalism: In Greek Mythology Heracles defeated the Hydra by using fire to cauterize its head stumps before it could grow new heads. Or, to be more precise, Heracles smashed the heads off with his club, and his nephew Iolaus cauterized the stumps.
From the early years of the Champions game, these super characters/creatures take more damage from fire:
Take increased STUN damage from fire: Aerion, Black Mamba, Charger, Cobra, Foxbat, Frost, Grond, Raccoon, Wyvern
Take increased STUN and BODY damage from fire: Cyborg Ant, Giant Mantis, Gratz and other vampires, The Griffin, Mechassassin, Ray, Slug
Frost has a Vulnerability to fire (takes STUN damage until unconscious, then takes BODY damage).
Trolls in most settings have a Healing Factor which makes them almost impossible to kill unless they are hurt with either fire or acid.
The following creatures from the 1st and 2nd Edition take more damage than normal from fire.
Adherer and mummy (from burning oil), witherweed (destroys), yeti (1.5 times as much).
1 additional Hit Point per die of damage: creature mummy (from magical fire), dragons (blue, bronze, chromatic/Tiamat, Platinum/Bahamut, silver, white), Elemental Princes of Evil Cryonax and Olhydra, forest giant, marid, mummy (2nd Edition, from magical fire), treant, vampire tree, winter wolf.
Double damage: adherer (2nd Edition, if it fails a saving throw vs. magical fire), bloodworm (giant), hoar fox, ice para-elemental, ice troll, shen lung (oriental dragon), tatterderanimal raggamoffyn.
Based off the Hercules myth, it's necessary to cauterize a hydra's stumps so new heads don't grow. (Save for fire breathing hydras. They need to be finished off with ice.)note Alright, yes, you canJust keep loping off heads and causing new ones to grow until the thing cannot move due to low blood pressure, but it's a very bad idea to actually do so since it takes a while to pull off (assuming you don't have a bunch of hasted gnomes with chainsaws) and every second that you take to take off a head is a second that the other heads are trying to kill you.
Dungeons & Dragons Master Set. In the DM's Book, the Immortal artifact Armet By Weyland several suggested handicaps. One of them was the wearer taking double damage from fire.
Judge's Guild modules:
Operation Ogre: Ice Toads are said to take 50% damage from fire. In Dungeons & Dragons where ice toads originally came from, this was not the case.
New monsters in Tegel Manor: The Grease Wrack and Gold Spore Fungus were said to be "highly susceptible to fire." The Grease Wrack's description added that this caused it to take double damage, so this was presumably true of the Gold Spore Fungus as well.
In Magic: The Gathering, a classic endgame strategy of mono-red exploits this: when the opponent builds an army and all other colors' offenses would stall, the red mage points a spell at the opponent's face and torches him to death directly.
In Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, the player encounters a shoggoth at one point. At first, the player attempts to dispatch it with electricity. But this doesn't work out so well. How do you kill it? Easy. Start a gas leak, leave the room, turn the power back on (there are live wires exposed in the room the shoggoth is in), and let the horrible monster be burned to a crisp by the ensuing explosion. You even get to walk through its charred, smoking, gooey remains!
In Dead Spacethe Hunter is proven to be nigh invulnerable to all of your weapons, and is only killed when it gets hit by the engine fire from the Ishimura's executive-use shuttles.
In Dragon Age: Origins, the darkspawn are weak against magical flames, along with walking corpses and sylvans. However, there are a few creatures completely immune to fire.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has several undead (including vampires) as well as trolls and high elves with a vulnerability to fire. But as the locals will frequently tell you, "a sword works just as well".
Final Fantasy: Anything ice based is pretty obviously weak to fire.
In Gears of War 3, the flamethrower is one of the only weapons that has any effect on a Berserker.
Majora's Mask: Link becomes vulnerable to fire while in his Deku Scrub form and his Zora form. If he's hit by fire while wearing either mask, he can lose as many as 4-5 hearts. Plus, the game treats it as instant death, and restarts you at your last entry point.
In Mega Man, Hornet Man's weak point is Magma Bazooka.
In the Mega Man Zero games, weapons boosted with the flame chip are extremely effective against ice opponents.
Fire weapons are the easiest and most effective way to take care of mutant outposts in Wasteland Empires on Facebook.
In World of Warcraft the tower of Karazhan has an encounter based upon the The Wizard of Oz. The Straw man hits fairly hard, and has a crippling weakness to fire, though not in the For Massive Damage sense. When a fire spell is cast on him, he has a high probability of simply running around in fear, unable to attack any of the raid. Many groups will have a caster dedicate themselves to spamming Fire spells on him.
In No Rest for the Wicked, Perrault, to alert Red, tells the witch to avoid the fireplace, because after all fire is the traditional way of dealing with her kind. The fire works to kill the witch, which is well, because Off with Her Head! didn't.
In Orion's Arm, this is one of the best ways to deal with nanotech attackers. The tiny robots can't shed heat effectively and will rapidly disintegrate when heated.
Seems to be the only way of doing any sort of decent damage to Madam Rouge in Teen Titans. She's damn near invulnerable to any kind of physical attacks.
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