- It must manifest as a burning liquid or putty.
- It must be sticky, so it cannot be scraped off skin.
- It frequently burns sickly green or another nonstandard color.
- Optionally, the method of manufacture may be a closely guarded secret.
- Most critically, it must be impossible to extinguish with water. Smothering it with sand or similar may or may not work.
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- Greek Fire is used by Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
- Wildfire from A Song of Ice and Fire is unquenchable by water, lights anything used to smother it on fire, and burns brilliant green. It was used in the battle of the Blackwater and was essentially the only reason Tyrion won. Its production is a secret well-guarded by the Alchemists' Guild, but there are strong implications that some sort of magic is involved. Storage is extremely dangerous, and it's eventually revealed that the Pyromaniac former "Mad King" Aerys II had thousands of pots of it buried in secret throughout the city in order to burn the whole place down if it was captured, and that this discovery was the reason Jaime Lannister killed him before he could give the order.
- Leviathan has Phosphorus rounds, which display all of the characteristics, though they're used against hydrogen filled fliers
- The Recluse saga includes Chaos fire, which is magically generated. It is especially feared because, in addition to the standard characteristics, it can be created inside steam engines and loaded cannons.
- The Council Wars series fills this role with Napalm, although after the first couple uses they get extinguisher foam on all ships, somewhat reducing both effectiveness and the terror factor
- The Akkadian fire in the Dragon Jousters book Sanctuary.
- Eldest: green fire is used on an arrow fired at Roran's ship, forcing the crew to hack away ignited portions.
- The honeyfire demonstrated by the Herders in the Obernewtyn Chronicles appears to be this.
- The blazebalm used in the Tortall Universe fits most of the requirements. It is a flamable jelly-like substance that is often used as an explosive weapon; it is particularly useful against spidrens and other immortals.
- Used literally in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and its sequel, in which Greek Fire is a magical substance that burns green and is lethal to monsters and demigods alike.
- Timeline: Professor Johnston is forced to recreate Greek Fire for Lord Oliver, he succeeds in making something that ignites when exposed to water.
- Metamor Keep: the Kingdom of Whales has Greek Fire, the name "Greek" was eventually retconned to be the name of the inventor.
- Phil, a Whalish prince who was visiting Metamor at the time of the Battle of Three Gates, attempted to assist in the fight with Greek fire, but there was an accident and he was covered in the stuff. The flames disappeared when the Curse transformed him into a rabbit, but if the Curse is ever removed or suppressed the fire returns. And the experience traumatized him so badly he reverts to a feral state every night.
- The Gentleman Bastard universe lacks gunpowder and firearms, yet "alchemy" has devised a type of inextinguishable incendiary bomb which burns white hot like blazing sun and can burn a large man-of-war in minutes. It's so destructive that warship captains avoid its use in combat since storage aboard ship would be too dangerous.
- Wise Phuul: rulion burns white, and is considered so dangerous its manufacture has been banned via diplomatic treaty.
- The Witchlands has seafire, which is basically traditional Greek Fire turned Up to Eleven in power. How it's made is not said, but it's Firewitched in some way to make it stronger, and the sheer mention of it is enough to terrify experienced sailors.
Live Action TV
- Game of Thrones, the live-action adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire shows Wildfire in all its horrifying brilliance in the penultimate episode of the second season, "Blackwater". It's portrayed as a Fantastic Nuke, complete with a mushroom cloud out the top of the massive green fireball. Ships are completely obliterated in the initial blast, and the green inextinguishable fire understatedly lingers for much longer.
- Wildfire appears again in the season six finale, "The Winds of Winter" as part of Cersei's plot to evade her forthcoming trial and destroy her enemies in one fell swoop. The blast is even more destructive than the one in "Blackwater", annihilating the Great Sept of Baelor in a blinding flash of green, along with hundreds—if not thousands—of people inside and for several blocks around.
- Fluff occasionally mentions the High Elves of Warhammer having a substance called "Alchemist's Fire" designed for use against other ships (though it can be utilised for other purposes) which burns white and whose recipe is a closely-guarded secret.
- Dungeons & Dragons has alchemist's fire, though most versions are not waterproof it is still sticky and burns when exposed to air. Some supplements do have waterproof versions.
- Age of Empires and II had fire-ships that used the historical Greek Fire, projected from hoses. Although short-ranged, they did deal substantial damage to enemy ships
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations: Ezio burns down a good part of the Ottoman navy because it was blocking the port.
- Medieval II: Total War has fire ships for the Byzantine Empire. The Crusades campaign in the expansion also has Greek Firethrower units that use it in handheld flamethrowers.
- Civilization V: Gods and kings has the fire-shooting Dromon as one of the unique units of Byzantium.
- Rise of the Tomb Raider: The Deathless Ones make extensive use of Greek Fire for fire arrows, grenades and placed explosives in the form of large jars. Their version of the stuff burns bright-blue, and their obsession with it is well-justified, given how they're undead descendants of a religious cult that fled the Byzantine Empire in the 10th century. Lara can acquire the recipe late in the game to upgrade her own fire arrows with increased damage against armored targets.
- Though Crusader Kings II has no naval combat, if you play as the Byzantine Empire you may hit an event chain where the Empire's supply of Greek fire is stolen.
- Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego? (1997): The fifth level features a siege against William the Conqueror's castle where the Anglo-Saxon are firing a ballista whose spears are tipped with Greek fire.
- The Byzantine Empire developed the Trope Namer, which proved instrumental in major naval victories, including two sieges of Constantinople. Nobody is sure exactly what the original recipe was,note and "Greek fire" seems to have become something of a catch-all term for any Fire-Breathing Weapon, but the original stuff was some sort of liquid that ignited spontaneously in contact with water. It was a complete Game Breaker in naval combat well into the early days of Wooden Ships and Iron Men, only being made obsolete when cannon that could reliably hit a target outside its very short range became widespread.
- White Phosphorus is a modern example, although it is used for smokescreens as well as incendiaries.
- The infamous napalm fits this trope all too well.
- Burning sugar fits this trope as well, which adds an extra dimension of hazard to fires in sugar refineries and jam factories. A British sugar refinery was bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1940 with few immediate fatalities - but local hospitals were overloaded by casualties with 85 - 90% burns, most of whom took days to die.