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Faux Flame
Unlike witches, miko can't be burned at the stake. Especially when they're Friendly Foxfire-Proof.

My flame is but an illusion, but it will burn you if you believe it to be real.

It looks like fire, it crackles like fire, and it even burns like fire. However, it isn't really fire.

It looks like fire because that's what the Master of Illusion wants you to see. Despite crackling, it consumes no air, burns no fuel and creates no smoke. If it generates heat or burns victims, it's because it's magical or because Your Mind Makes It Real. Even if it can incinerate a chair, it rarely spreads to the rest of the room. It probably deals less damage than straight-up pyrokinesis, too, though it can likely bypass resistances to fire. And a quick Tap on the Head to the creator likely puts them all out.

Faux Flame can also be produced by holograms or other sufficiently advanced technology: it will look like fire, and sometimes will even produce heat, but in reality it's just an image.

In combat, the caster can make the Faux Flames Friendly Fire Proof and not worry about harming allies. This property has the added bonus of letting casters wreath themselves in flame to look cool.

Can be related to Cold Flames, although it is equally likely to be hot.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Shippo and his father in InuYasha can use foxfire. In that series it also has defensive properties, having protected Kagome and Shippo in the page image from a deadly attack.
  • Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas has Ignis Fatuus as an attack for the Cancer Saint, who, appropriately enough, uses Soul Power to create "soul flames" (or something).
    • The flames around in Yomotsu Hirasaka are basically will o' wisps that use souls as fuel to sustain themselves. This attack is just the weaponized form of this.
  • In D.Gray-Man one akuma had the ability to shoot ice fire, which it used to trap Allen when he and Lenalee were fighting against him and 2 other akuma in an alleyway. Oddly, he said it burned hotter than normal fire despite the fact that it could clearly be seen freezing around Allen's leg like ice.
  • Certain species of Digimon utilize this for different reasons. Some, like Gabumon and his evolutions, use it as a theme for their attacks. Others, like Kyuubimon and her counterpart Youkomon have it covering their bodies, be it as part of their attacks or simply as part of their design.
    • Interestingly, Gabumon's seem to change based on the form. As Gabumon, he once started a normal fire with his blue flame attack (remember, in real life, blue means the fire is hotter than when it's yellow.) As Garurumon, it just seems to blast stuff. Metal Garurumon, on the other hand, has ice blasts (and regular blasts.) And ice missiles (and regular missiles.) Some Flavor Text from his Japanese trading card says that "an attack at full strength turns the surrounding area into a world of fire and ice!"
  • Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss uses them, not surprising considering he is a kitsune. In fact, he has developed a rather interesting, and rather sadistic, use for them by combining them with Baleful Polymorph. First he will transform his opponent into a game animal of some kind (a trout, an ostrich, etc...) and then use his fox-fire to cook them alive.
  • One variety of mushi featured in Mushishi feeds off human body heat by appearing to its victims as an open flame. If a person huddles close to it for warmth, it saps their heat from them until they freeze to death. Interestingly, these mushi - called "kagebi," meaning "shadow fire" - can also be used to boil water and cook food, which if then ingested cause internal frostbite.
  • Becomes a plot point in Ao No Exorcist when Rin is trying to control his blue Hellfire so that it only burns what he wants it to. He eventually succeeds. Interestingly, Rin and Yukio appear to be invulnerable to each others' flames.
  • According to Word of God , this is essentially what's in effect with Marco of the Whitebeard Pirates, the blue flames that identify his Phoenix fire doesn't burn or even spread. Instead, they're what allow him to instantaneously heal and keep fighting akin to his devil fruit's namesake.
  • One of the signature illusions of the D.D. Girls near the end of the first season of Sailor Moon is a large wave/orb of rolling flame that is more than capable of burning people alive.
    Sailor Mercury: It's an illusion, but it's producing real heat!

    Film 
  • Sheikh Suleiman in the 2009 Clash of the Titans could heal wounds with his flames as well as burn enemies.

    Folklore 
  • Also known as Ignis Fatuus (Latin for "foolish fire") and "jack-o'-(the)-lantern" (until the latter term hijacked the function formerly held by "turnip ghost").
  • Kitsune in Japanese folklore have this ability.
  • Most versions of Tam Lin require the heroine to hold onto her lover in some form that's burning, trusting that he will not hurt her. In the related story "The Faerie Oak of Corriewater", when the rescuer takes fright and lets go, she does burn to death, implying Your Mind Makes It Real.

    Literature 
  • In Terry Pratchett's Thief of Time, Kaos has a sword which generates Faux Flames. Literally. The flames in question freeze the air. When he's not wielding said sword for its intended purpose, he uses it to chill dairy products.
  • In Quest for the Fallen Star, Earthpower manifests itself as green flames (or yellow ones, if Ill-creatures are using it). Subverted in that these can actually set stuff on fire.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Gods of the North", Ymir uses this.
    The girl's ivory body was suddenly enveloped in a cold blue flame so blinding that the Cimmerian threw up his hands to shield his eyes from the intolerable blaze.
  • Jarlaxle from the Forgotten Realms possesses a wand that shoots out illusionary fireballs. What makes them different from other illusions is that Jarlaxle practiced with it so much that it was almost indistinguishable from the real deal, to the point where several goblins actually died from it.
  • In the Coldfire Trilogy, the Hunter is skilled in the creation and usage of "coldfire" which is as cold as real fire is hot. He warns Damian that it is just as volatile and dangerous as true fire. The Hunter wields coldfire because part of the price he paid for his form of immortality is that he can no longer manipulate normal flames.
  • In the universe of The Hunger Games, technology has advanced to the point where Katniss can be covered in harmless "fire".
  • Mages who can control Fire in Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters books can call up illusory fire as well as the real thing.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Stannis has an enchanted, flaming sword. But it is noticed that it doesn't seem to give off heat or actually burn anything, and is suspected to be merely a 'glamour' cast by Melisandre.

    Live Action Television 

    Real Life 
  • In Australia we have the Min-Min Lights, little balls of cold fire that scare the bejeezus out of people. Explorers and such used to believe they were spirits. They're just lights refracted around the curvature of the Earth. That's how flat parts of Australia are.
  • The Doing in the Wizard explanation for marsh lights is that they're actually caused by phosphorescent gases escaping from the marsh.
  • St. Elmo's fire.

    Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has both Will O Wisps as enemies and one rare spell called Ghostfire, which deals Non-Elemental damage... and is invisible.
  • Exalted (natch) has Pyre-flame, one of the five Corpse Elements of the Underworld. It's green, burns through anything despite lack of fuel or oxygen, and behaves like a viscous liquid. It also melts away instantly in sunlight—which isn't much of an issue in the Underworld, which has no sun.
  • Orpheus gives us the Wisps, ghosts/projectors who have the innate ability to produce ghostly flames. Not only do they do a number on ghosts, they can also be used to distract mortals.
  • The Ghostbusters Tabletop RPG classifies this as a Class 1 ectoplasmic manifestation.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, making illusory fire is one of the favored tricks of the Ravnos clan.
  • Faerie Fire in Dungeons & Dragons wraps the target in flames - harmless, too dim to blind, but outline prevents concealment via invisibility or Blur spell, let alone normal darkness.

    Video Games 
  • Will o' Wisp is an attack in Pokémon, which causes the burn status and nothing else. No other attack does that as its main effect, only as a side effect.
    • Interestingly, although it is classified as a Fire-type attack, barring the Vulpix/Ninetails line, it is used by Ghost-types instead.
    • And in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Lucario's Aura looks a lot like blue flames emanating from his hands (Snake actually calls it blue fire.)
  • Will O'Wisps are medium-level enemies in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
    • The violet torches in the mages guild don't harm the player.
    • Shivering Isles gives us The Cold Flame of Agnon, a mystic orange and green fire that can be literally worn, is kindled by the willing self-sacrifice of two Daedra and is used to light the Great Torch of New Sheoth.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time features magical blue flames which can be stored in a bottle. The potion shop clerk says you can use them "to feel refreshing coolness", but their only real in-game purpose is to melt the red ice you find in some areas.
    • Spirit Tracks brings the blue flames back, and they freeze stuff - their first uses are to make the boomerang burn with them to freeze paths on water.
  • This is an element in The Powder Toy, called CFLM. Its temperature is comparable to that of liquid nitrogen, thus it can be used as a coolant.
  • In World of Warcraft Lord Marrowgar, the first boss of Icecrown Citadel, spawns lines of blue fire known as Coldflame that deal frost damage to anyone who stands in them.
    • Mages can also cast Frostfire bolts, which act as either frost or fire depending on which the target is more vulnerable to.
  • Most of the fireball attacks in Street Fighter. Even Dhalsim's fire blasts are illusory.
  • Suika Ibuki from Touhou has this in the fighting games in the form of an alternate special attack. The name of the attack? Ignis Fatuus.
  • In Chrono Trigger you have the Triple Tech Frost Arc/Arc Impulse, with Crono Frog and Marle, it involves Marle the ice mage causing Crono's sword to burn with a weird coloured flame. Said flame is from the Ice2 spell.
    • The sequel, Chrono Cross, takes this trope to literal proportions with the Frozen Flame.
  • Manifests in two different attacks in Final Fantasy VI, both used as dances by Mog. Will o' the Wisp (previously Elf Fire) causes direct damage, while Apparition (previously Spectre) induces confusion.
  • A humanoid Will o' the Wisp occasionally combats you in Soulcalibur III, utilizing random weapon stances.
  • The Powder Toy has these as an element, along with an explosive that only a Faux Flame can detonate.

    Webcomics 
  • A creature made of this shows up in a late 2010 story arc in El Goonish Shive. Justin and Elliot note his lack of actual heat.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Antimony Carver primarily uses her blinker stone to produce flames like this, even being capable of starting fires that provide heat and light while being undetectable to electronic sensors. Possibly also a power of the fire elementals that Annie is apparently descended from.

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • The Tick: This was one of the inventions showcased at the Mad Science Fair in "The Tick vs. Science".
    Scientist: Look - the marshmallows aren't even roasting. They remain at a comfortable 68 degrees.
    Tick: Egad man, what's the point?!


Electromagnetic GhostsHaunted IndexFearless Undead
Alchemy Is MagicIndex of Gothic Horror TropesHermetic Magic
Eye BeamsStock SuperpowersFlight
Fatal FlawAdded Alliterative AppealFaux Fluency
Facial MarkingsImageSource/Anime & MangaIris Zero

alternative title(s): Faux Fire; Fiery Illusion
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