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.
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Anime and Manga
- Sheikh Suleiman in the 2009 Clash of the Titans could heal wounds with his flames as well as burn enemies.
- 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.
Live Action Television
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?!