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Incendiary Exponent
Accept no substitutes.

"I don't know the scientific explanation, but fire made it good."
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

If one encounters writer's block, there is always the option of setting something on fire. Therefore, the Incendiary Exponent combines the Rule of Cool and a Man on Fire according to the following principle:

The perceived Badassery of any given action will increase tenfold if the action is performed while on fire.

The exact reason for this is uncertain. Maybe because being on fire is very, very painful, it's assumed that quite a lot of Heroic Resolve is required to overcome it. Maybe it is due to the association of fire with hot blood. Maybe colours and lights from fire are delightful, especially when moving and when it's dark. Maybe it's just because it looks really damn cool. Whatever it is, the chances are that being set on fire for your big moment will result in a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.

Doesn't really apply to persons who are normally Wreathed in Flames anyway, like The Human Torch. When the enhanced coolness comes from walking out of a fire, it's Out of the Inferno. See also Flaming Sword, and the entire fire-related index. Just be careful about Infernal Retaliation.

Compare Awesomeness Is Volatile. Also see Lava Adds Awesome. If fire doesn't feel right but you still have writer's block, try Chandler's Law. If that doesn't work, do both at once and blow something up. Or set a gun on fire.

Examples

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     Anime & Manga 
  • Redline has a particularly impressive example, when JP and Sonoshee have Frisbee and the Old Man detonate their engine remotely, which somehow leads to them going even faster, and being little more than strapped to a hunk of metal propelled by a continuous explosion.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Lordgenome calmly fights a mecha while his head is on fire. Using his fists. And he was not set on fire by any conventional means, but by sheer awesomeness.
    • In the second movie he walks out into SPACE (aka where fire is impossible) with his crotch and arms ablaze.
    • Also worth mentioning is Kamina and Simon's MAN ON FIRE BLAZING CHARIOT KICK! in which the Gurren Lagann jumps onto the Dai-Gunzan, somehow getting hit by only one blast, which only serves to set it on fire. Then it hits Viral feetfirst, curbstomping him
  • Akane, from Ranma ˝ tries to assist Ranma in his training by wearing flammable padding on her arms (as his training required the opponent to emit a hot aura while he kept a cool one). But then, she's Akane, and her gi under the padding also catches fire...
    • Saffron, the Phoenix Emperor, is constantly shrouded in flames. Naturally. At one point, his flame aura becomes so intense as to become a Sun-like sphere of radiance.
  • In One Piece in the Thriller Bark arc. Upon learning that Absalom is going to try to marry Nami, Sanji explodes in flames of Anger for no apparent reason, and sets off to kill Absalom... which quickly becomes a Curb-Stomp Battle that gravitates rapidly between Crowning Moment Of Awesome and Crowning Moment of Funny.
    Sanji: I'm so full of anger I'm about to explode!
    Zombies: HE DID!
  • Meito Anizawa, aka Anime Tenchou, former mascot of the anime/manga store Animate. Don't believe us? Check out the image under Hot-Blooded. Features in both Lucky Star and an OVA by Gainax
  • Subverted in the first-season Pokémon episode "The Bridge Bike Gang." A Golem owned by the leader of the titular bike gang is lit on fire by Ash's Charmander. The Golem tries to retaliate, but it ends up burning the other members of the gang in a rather comical fashion. Humiliated, the leader recalls his Golem...and then the Poké Ball he returned it into lights on fire glows red-hot from the flaming Golem's heat!
  • Most unisons in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha only involve a shot of the Unison Device being absorbed into their user. The unison between Signum and Agito however, starts with the both of them being engulfed in fire.
  • In the final episode of New Getter Robo, the protagonists win their Beam-O-War by getting so Hot-Blooded that their hair, eyebrows and oversized sideburns inexplicably turn into fire.
  • Recently in Naruto, Sasuke does one with the Amaterasu, creating a Ring of Fire for protection. In defiance of the first quote up there the Raikage punches him anyway and has his arm on fire when he cuts it off to avoid the rest of him getting burned up.
    • A while earlier a flashback Nagato had his legs set on fire from a bomb while rescuing Konan, but it was put out by the rain shortly thereafter and horribly damaged his legs.
  • Jack Atlas from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds has his hand catch fire when he synchros the Crimson Devil with his Red Demon's Dragon as a part of using the Burning Soul ability. It's a miracle his cards don't catch on fire.
  • The Flame Regalia, a set of back wheels for A-Ts in Air Gear allows its user to spit flames from them.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 6, Jolyne Kujo lights herself on fire to combat a heat-draining enemy. Despite being a desperation move that no one thought would work, the sheer Bad Ass nature of the maneuver meant that it did.
    • Her great-great-great grandfather Jonathan Joestar set his own fist on fire to counter Dio Brando's heat-draining powers, making Dio vulnerable to Jonathan's Ripple.
  • Digimon Savers has ShineGreymon Burst Mode, who sports wings, a sword and a shield consisting solely of fire. Inevitably, he ends up being the one shafted with most of the victories and crowning moments of awesome from his appearance onward and certainly appears far more frequently than any other Burst Mode partner Digimon, not that that was too much of a change from the rest of the series up to that point. Similarly, BanchoLeomon Burst Mode is pretty much normal BanchoLeomon set on fire, but unlike ShineGreymon he appears for only less than thirty seconds.
  • This hand of mine is BURNING RED! Its loud roar tells me to grasp victory!
  • In Soul Eater, Tezca focuses sunlight into a beam that he shoots into Justin, burning the cloak on his shoulder and setting half of his face on fire. Not only does he survive, his face is still on fire days later, with no apparent ill-effects.
  • Loving a good fire in his belly, Natsu Dragneel prefers his meals aflame. Even his drink is on fire!

     Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman's recent "flaming Breast Plate" moment in New Frontier Classified.
  • In a JLA storyline, the League discovers that the White Martians they hypnotized into becoming normal people are waking up and remembering their alien heritage. Knowing their weakness to flame, Orion covers himself and Barda in gasoline from some destroyed cars, lights himself on fire, and punches one out.
  • In Judge Dredd, the appropriately-named Judge Fire is, indeed, on fire.
  • To quote X-Men:
    "Blood ignition a success, but worse than ineffective. For fifteen minutes Unstoppable Juggernaut is rendered an Unstoppable Juggernaut that ignites anything it touches."

    Fanfiction 
“What is it?” Torian replied, watching Tiger with a worried expression. Not too worried though, since her flaming crown had disappeared the moment she had doubled over in pain.
“The enemy temple! It's on fire!” the voice shouted.
“Huh?” He involuntarily looked down, and then kept looking, his eyes growing wider and wider. Something underneath the waves was burning bright enough to make them shine like the setting sun. “I- I can see that.” He looked up at Tiger, his expression begging for an explanation. “What are they burning?”
“The temple.”
“Yes, you already told me that!”
“You don't understand! The stone is on fire! Underwater!”
Torian blinked. So did most of the youma.
“By all the dark gods, it just crashed and now the sand is burning too! Look at it!” another warlock shouted in the background.
“I think even the water is on fire,” the first one muttered in a voice that bordered on religious rapture.
“Don't be silly,” Tiger interrupted. “The water is too busy exploding to be on fire!”
“I... I stand corrected.”
  • In the Naruto fanfiction Nin Tech, Naruto is found by Sasuke in his room tinkering with a gadget... with his hair on fire.
    • Then again he is crazy, so what does he care?
  • In the Firefly fanfic Forward, the crew is captured by an enemy crew of pirates. Salvation comes in the form of Jayne drenching a coat in lighter fluid, throwing it on, setting himself on fire, and then rushing the enemy crew with his knife in hand. Probably the most awesome Refuge in Audacity moment in the entire story.
    • This was, in fact, a Shout-Out to an example from The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. In fact, the dialogue is almost identical, but with Mal as the titular Doctor and Jayne as Dan.
    • Much, much later on, we learn where Jayne got the idea: One of the "six men came to kill me one time" did the same thing to Jayne when he used a gasoline bomb on him. It was the most righteously terrifying thing he'd ever seen.

    Films — Animated 
  • This is why the weather in The Lion King, after Scar takes over the savanna, suddenly turns from drier-than-a-bone to thunderstorm. Something must be set on fire, after all.
  • In his final fight with Shifu at the end of Kung Fu Panda, Tai Lung knocks over a torch and lights his hands on fire. There's a slo-mo shot of him flying through the air with his forepaws wreathed in blue flames. Awesome.
  • At the beginning of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington sets himself on fire, therefore having one of the most awesome entrances in Disney history.
  • The Monstrous Nightmare from How to Train Your Dragon likes to set itself on fire as a combat technique.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Freddy vs. Jason Jason is lit on fire at a rave, but unfortunately for the people there doesn't slow him down in the slightest as he continues to kill people.
  • Westley in The Princess Bride is well aware of this trope. When the heroes have to storm the castle he has Fezzik (played by André the Giant) climb on top a wheelbarrow and then sets the giant on fire. The image of a ten foot tall floating man on fire claiming to be the Dread Pirate Roberts who leaves no survivors is enough to scare the sixty men guarding the gate. Fezzik at least has a holocaust cloak which supposedly prevents a person from burning to death and even then it doesn't make it pleasant.
  • Overheard in this review of a Bollywood movie:
    Shaitan Singh has escaped from prison, a feat he has accomplished in part by means of setting himself on fire (badass). To be honest, I'm not sure that the whole setting himself on fire part was all that necessary to his escape, but the shot of him emerging from his cell in slow motion, on fire, while shooting everyone in sight was definitely necessary to me being able to make it through the remaining hour of Toofan.
  • The protagonist of the martial arts movie Ong Bak (played by Muay Thai expert Tony Jaa) kicks a mook in the head with his legs on fire. Jaa did his own stunts.
    • He also insisted on doing the take over and over again until he was sure it was right, despite having already suffered burns to his legs from prior takes.
  • The final showdown in the Hong Kong Wire Fu movie Iron Monkey is a one-on-two fight on wooden poles, which are slowly burning. All three participants catch on fire at some point, and just for extra ridiculous badass credit they proceed to use said burning poles as hand-held weapons.
  • The title character of The Terminator is on fire when he punches through the windshield of the heroes' getaway car. Granted, he isn't human, but a literal killing machine, but it's still made of plenty of win.
  • In Transformers, for a brief moment after crashing through a bus and rollerskating towards Optimus Prime, Bonecrusher is on fire. (Which he hates.)
  • Near the end of Crank High Voltage, Chev Chelios walks in slow motion towards the camera while completely consumed in flames, and gives the audience the middle finger.
  • In Avatar, Colonel Quaritch is set on fire when a missile explodes in his gunship's engine. He walks over to his mech and prepares to bail out. Then he puts out the flames.
  • In Alien vs. Predator, one predator, upon being ignited via an improvised flamethrower, kills the human wielding it but does not otherwise react to being on fire.
  • In G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, during Cobra's assault on the Joes, a random Viper gets set on fire in the background and continues as normal. He dies when he reappears, because they stick a grenade in his neck guard.
  • Oblivion (2013) : The drone on Tower 49 right after it gets reactivated by the Tet and vaporizes Victoria 49 is briefly on fire for no reason other than looking pretty scary (and floating into the room through recently-shot curtains).
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, at one points when Will is fighting Davy Jones' crew he sets his sword on fire by sticking it through a lamp.
  • Red Rackham in The Adventures of Tintin makes his entrance with his cape on fire, and he actually uses it as a weapon in his first battle with his adversary, Sir Francis Haddock.

    Literature 
  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Thud!!, Commander Samuel Vimes fights several dwarves wielding flamethrowers, with only two axes and a sword, while on fire.
    • What's more awesome than a seven-foot-tall skeleton rushing into a burning building to save a small child? A seven-foot-tall skeleton walking out of the inferno, after the building has exploded, on fire, carrying said child. What's even more awesome than that? Said seven-foot-tall skeleton is Death, in the novel Reaper Man.
  • In Larry Niven's World of Ptaavs, a character lights the planet Pluto on fire with his rocket's exhaust. And yes, it was still a planet at the time.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final installment to J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Neville is stuck in a body-bind curse with a flaming hat on his head. Once freed, he's still able to take out the snake holding the last piece of Voldemort's soul. Any wonder he's become the Potterverse's Chuck Norris to the fans?
  • Crowley, the friendly demon from Good Omens, makes a good chunk of the trip between his offices in London and the site of Armageddon (a sleepy little town called Tadfield) with his vintage Bentley on fire, held together through sheer force of will.
    • Including when he stops and asks for directions. The result is too hilarious to describe here.
  • In The Shining by Stephen King, Dick Hallorran reaches his Crowning Moment of Awesome when in desperation he sets his gasoline-soaked arm on fire and punches into the possessed hedge lion.
  • The Bible has so many example of this...
    • Flaming Swords.
    • Fiery Chariots.
    • God's holiness being described as an "all-consuming fire"
    • Burnt offerings.
    • Burning bush.
    • Hell
    • Several judgments from Revelation.
    • Pillar of fire by night.
    • Fire and brimstone.
    • Burning hail.
    • And so on and so on...
  • In the third Empire from the Ashes book, Stomald douses the "demon" Sandy (who had an invisible personal force field on) in holy oil. Sandy issues forth a booming laugh, uses a nearby torch to set herself on fire, and then keeps going toward Stomald, laughing and ranting about Stomald's sinful nature. Stomald shits bricks. Great success!
  • In The Hunger Games series, this is basically why the outfits Cinna designs are so awesome. The dress originally Katniss's wedding gown, bursting into flames and turning into a mockingjay dress in particular comes to mind.
    • Katniss isn't called the "girl on fire" for nothing.
  • The Ramayana has the villainous Rakshavas set fire to Hanumann's tail. He escapes and leaps from building to building, setting the entire city on fire with his tail.

     Live Action TV 
  • The CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "The Theory of Everything" has a drunk man escape custody and wreak havoc all over the station, overpowering many police officers. When he's finally cornered, Brass orders a deputy to drop him with a stun gun, saying "Light him up!" When the pins strike the man, he flashes into flame in the most awesome manner possible. (Most of the rest of the episode is devoted to finding out why he caught fire from a taser hit, including a cameo from the MythBusters, who would later test that very myth on their show.)
  • An episode of The Tick features a dolphin show where the dolphin jumps through a ring and such, following which the announcers say "But can he do it... ON FIRE?" Soon the dolphin gains human intelligence and some henchmen, and turns the tables on them.
  • This is how Minbari decided caste dominance in Babylon 5, at least in the old days. More would be spoiling. Never has deciding to become a priest been so badass.
  • The Daily Show/The Colbert Report's Indecision 2008 has a Man on Fire voting. And then the booth explodes.
  • Duff of Ace Of Cakes will put fireworks into a cake if given half an excuse.
  • In Kamen Rider Double, this happens to Double himself when Shotaro executes a twin maximum drive to defeat the Weather Dopant. To quote John Doe, it didn't work.
    • Kamen Rider OOO has a habit of doing this when he performs a Finishing Move in TaJaDor Combo. His Prominence Drop Rider Kick involves him turning his legs into a set of flaming talons and crushing the opponent with them while his Magna Blaze Giga Scan involves him being surrounded by a huge phoenix made of fire and flying through the opponent.
  • Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear is a strong believer in this trope. He once outlined plans for an Olympic opening ceremony in which everything was on fire. Including the spectators.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: One of Gile's most awesome moments is when he beats the crap out of Angelus with a bat that's on fire.
  • Ultra Series
    • Ultraman Taro has his Ultra Dynamite Finishing Move, which involves igniting into explosive flames, charging the opponent and triggering a massive explosion on impact.
    • Ultraman Mebius has his own variation, which involves grabbing the opponent then lighting on fire, burning them severely for a few moments before triggering the explosion.
  • At least one or two challenges per episode on the Spanish game show El gran juego de la oca involved either setting something on fire or putting a fire out.

    Music 
  • Rammstein has long since learned that if your audience doesn't understands your German, that's not a problem if the entire stage is on fire! Till Lindemann not only has a habit of setting himself on fire during live shows, but he even went for a certification in pyrotechnics just to have a better view of the shows.
  • The codifier for this trope in music is likely Arthur Brown, who made his name by arriving on stage, on fire. with walls of flame toward the sides of the stage, sometimes with a backing singer swinging a (presumably empty) petrol can around, then breaking into a song named... Fire!
  • Spoofed by "Weird Al" Yankovic in "Perform This Way", a parody of "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga.
    I'll wrap my small intestines round my neck and set fire to myself on stage."
  • The music video for "California" by Wax defines this. A guy running down the street? Lame and boring. A guy running down the street, on fire? The greatest music video ever made.

    Pinball 

     Tabletop Games  
  • Several spells and a few feats in Dungeons & Dragons allow the user to light his weapon, his fists, or even his entire body on fire. These generally aren't especially effective, but damn if they don't look cool.
    • D&D 3 also has the rule that ordinary fire does only d6 damage per round — fairly little to a high level adventurer and easily negated by moderate damage reduction or energy resistance (never mind a host of creatures which are immune to fire to begin with). It's entirely possible to cast Protection from Fire on an ally, cover him in cotton and oil, set him on fire and use him as a distraction.
    • A third-edition druid can take a T. rex as an animal companion, and cast a spell that engulfs its target in flames that do not damage the target itself. It's not as effective as some of the other combinations available to high-level druids, but still. Flaming T. rex.
    • At level 14 the Totemist class from Magic of Incarnum can bind the Phoenix Belt soulmeld and set himself on fire for continuous Fast Healing 1. Yup, you can set yourself on fire to HEAL. Actually a decent idea in a grapple-focused build.
    • 4th edition updates the ordinary fire rule. It does ongoing, static damage. 5 per turn in some cases. Which is how much resistance to fire Tieflings have. Ideas are forming.
    • 2nd edition's rings of fire resistance gave perfect immunity to non-magical fire, this coupled with falling damage being capped at ten six sided dice led to people eventually doing orbital insertions. Eventually Spelljammer would address this and add a critical failure point on fire resistance leading to a sort of red hot chunky salsa rule.
    • Forgotten Realms has even more of fun with magical fires, such as Flamespin, Darsson's Fiery Cube, Firestaff (sticks balls of fire to a staff's ends without burning it) and others. There are also fiery versions of existing spells from pyromancer Daltim. Bigby's Hands spells? He designed Daltim's Flaming Fist. 3e version of Shining South adds Daltim's Fiery Tentacles — which, you guess it, is just like old good Evard's Black Tentacles, but on fire.
  • In d20 Modern, a Tough Hero with the Energy Resistance (Fire) talent, and a Constitution of 22 is immune to being on fire (being on fire deals 1D6 of fire damage, and the character described above has Fire Resistance 6).
    • In Urban Arcana, a high level character could use the Fortify incantation seed to grant someone an inherent resistance up to 5 to any element. It can apply to fire, and then, see above...
  • In a similar example, the typical munchkin characters in Rifts could take minimal damage from being on fire, and in a situation where they are fighting in the darkness against opponents who could see in the dark, the cost of being on fire was more than offset by the bonus the player received from the fire providing the light for them to see.
    • Speaking of Rifts, at least two independent factions have each developed a Power Armor that uses plasma and forcefields to make it appear to be on fire.
  • Warhammer 40,000 example: the Ork Mekboy/biker/Warboss/raving lunatic Wazdakka Gutzmek once found himself up against an Imperial Warlord Titan, a Humongous Mecha protected by powerful energy shields and armed with enough firepower to level entire cities. Undaunted, Wazdakka ramped his bike off a cliff and rammed the Titan with it, overloading the energy shields and setting both him and his bike on fire. The bike continued on its trajectory and slammed into the Titan's head, whereupon Wazdakka, still on fire, proceeded to butcher the Titan's pilot and bridge crew.
    • "Since that day Wazdakka has treasured the still-flaming skulls of the Titan Princeps and his crew as a grisly reminder of his biggest ever kill."
    • Warhammer 40,000 again - 2nd Edition this time. The rules for weapon effects and combat were horrendously in-depth, concentrating on having different effects on individual models in an army - however, this did mean that flame weapons could set infantry alight, who then ran around panicked whilst their squadmates tried to beat out the flames. Unless they were Frenzied, of course - in which case they charged screaming at the enemy, ignoring the fact that they were covered in burning chemicals. If you avoided rolling the "goes out" result, you could theoretically have a squad of insane, howling madmen, running across a battlefield and cutting down their enemies whilst all the time being human torches.
    • The fluff from those days also mentions the Flame Falcons Space Marine chapter.
    • 40k also has Doomrider, a Demon Prince of Slaanesh with a flaming skull head who rides around on a motorcycle. His fan-made theme song sums it up nicely:
  • Some (read: the more powerful) Avestites in Fading Suns can shroud their whole body in holy fire, from which they do not suffer damage themselves. Of course, the symbol of the Templar Avesti church is a flame, and their inquisitors use flame throwers...
  • In Changeling: The Lost, there's a school of powers called Contract of Elements. You choose an element to master (in this case, fire) and at level 2 you can have Armour of Fire and at level five you can be fire!
  • In Genius The Transgression this trope is mentioned in the section on Storytelling, along with High-Altitude Battle.
    For a location, the simplest thing to do is to imagine a fun place to have a fight[...] If there's not enough excitement inherent in the location, light the whole thing on fire. Or drop it from a great height. Something that is on fire and falling is more or less ideal.
  • In the rather obscure diceless RPG Everway, starting characters have easy access to a power called Sweat Fire. It's more useful for providing light than for dealing damage, but hey, you're still on fire!
  • An aggressive mage in GURPS can set not just his weapons one fire but also set his clothing on fire, intelligent fire that actively attacks people who strike at the wearer. And if that's not enough he can turn himself into nothing but fire!
    • According to a strict reading of the rules, the penalty for being on fire is less than the penalty for being blinded, making self-immolation an effective (for at least a brief time) alternative to being caught in total darkness. On the other hand, it would be reasonable to say a burning human is a lousy light source.
  • Exalted features the Fire aspected Dragon-Blooded, who light themselves on fire as they expend Essence with their special ability Charms.

     Video Games  
  • Alone In The Dark 2008 gives the player the ability to set pretty much anything on fire. And shoot bullets that are on fire. In fact, said flaming bullets are one of the game's best weapons, and are never in short supply.
  • In the Subspace Emissary of SuperSmashBrosBrawl, R.O.B. makes his appearance in this manner when the robes he wore as the Ancient Minister are burned off him.
    • As well as any other character who consumes the Spicy Curry item.
  • In the Let's Play of Dwarf Fortress "Boatmurdered," a legendary engraver ex-mayor slaughtered four dwarves while on fire. Then he beat up a dwarf who came to stop him so hard that dwarf caught on fire... and then the fort burned to the ground while the remaining inhabitants slaughtered each other in paroxysms of grief and rage until only the current ruler and a little girl were still alive. Dwarf Fortress does not handle fire well handles fire perfectly.
    • Dwarf Fortress: the only game in which the logic goes "I'm on fire. Man, I need a beer!"
    • 2012 updates have removed most issues with dwarven fires.
    • This can become literal "Incendiary Exponents", given that severed body parts are indicated by a squared sign.
    • War elephants, with their thick hides and high health, can survive being aflame for a long time, unless they exacerbate it by spreading it to something more combustible. One of the few things that aren't better on fire is a barrel of booze.
  • In the Destruction Derby segment of Full Throttle, Ben (wearing an asbestos suit) gets lit on fire and ejected from his car as part of a distraction. You then have to provide further distraction by running around the derby on fire, setting the stadium ablaze, so that the resultant inferno causes an evacuation.
  • In Pinch Mode, No More Heroes' Bad Girl spits out alcohol all over her bat. That's when the lighter comes out.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog spends pretty much the entirety of Sonic and the Secret Rings with a head cold and a flaming arrow lodged in his chest, neither of which slow him down in the slightest.
    • In Sonic Chronicles, party members can be equipped with Chao that give them elemental attack power. The element is displayed swirling around them, meaning... yes, that's right. You can set Sonic's entire body on fire this time. And if you consider the extreme boost to your ATK that said element provides, then yes, it's pretty badass.
  • When Exdeath, the Big Bad of Final Fantasy V, imprisons Krile, the granddaughter of Galuf, in a slowly closing ring of fire, Galuf jumps right into the flames and, still ablaze, picks up and tosses Krile right out of the ring before it closes in on him. He then shrugs off the flames and proceeds towards one of the most Badass Heroic Sacrifices to date.
  • In Left 4 Dead, getting pounced by a Hunter is scary and potentially frustrating. Getting pounced by a Hunter that's on fire? Straight into the land of awesome, my friend.
  • Jinpachi Mishima from Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. It kinda makes sense in context, since he's a demon and all.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing at one point, you could travel back in time, get the caveman equivalent of Santa Claus Uncle Crimbo to invent fire by rubbing two sticks together, and then wear it as a hat. Of course, this all makes perfect sense.
  • In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion of World of Warcraft, the conclusion to a Howling Fjord quest line for Alliance characters dealing with harpoon launchers involves launching yourself from such a weapon, and flying through the air while surfing on a spear that is on fire. And you land right in town, smack in front of the quest giver who agrees that it was insane for you to do so...
    • Warlocks have the Hellfire spell to burn enemies around them... and themselves. It's actually known to be a useful trick in situations of certain doom since killing yourself with it doesn't damage your equipment.
    • In the Rage of the Firelands expansion, the reward for unlocking all the merchants and questgivers on the Molten Front is a Flameward Hippogryph, which has orange feathers and is on fire.
  • The Source engine allows you to set things on fire and the fire can spread to other flammable things. The latest versions of the engine updated the flame effects to be quite pretty.
    • Garry's Mod gives you a Toolgun mode that sets anything you aim it at on fire. You can set things which are not flammable on fire with it, as well as other players.
    • An Addon for Wire Mod (which is itself an Addon for Garry's Mod) allows you to create Fire Field Generators that set everything in an area on fire. This includes Grenades, Missiles and Crossbow projectiles (which are superheated pieces of rebar).
  • Syphon Filter. Two words: Air Taser. Hit someone with this, hold the button down and you've got yourself a flamin' Mook!
  • Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy had a scene where one of the bosses sets two soldiers on fire to stall the hero, though it seemed rather ineffectual.
  • The King of Fighters: Kyo Kusanagi and his various clones love this trope; one of Kyo's supers involves lighting himself on fire, with anybody stupid enough to touch him going up as well. His clone K' has an attack where he creates a small explosion then kicks a fireball at the opponent, and Nameless' strongest attack has him rip off his Power Limiter and engulf himself in flames.
  • One of the minigames in Saint's Row 2 lights you on fire, gives you a quad bike, and tells you to follow a course through the city, all the while making cars explode and lighting pedestrians on fire (gaining you extra time for each ignition). Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Two words: ''FALCON PUNCH!''
  • Mega Man 2 boss Heat Man (shaped like a giant lighter, no less!) lights himself on fire and then charges at you between each of his fireball attacks. Before that, Fire Man had torches on his head and arms in the first game.
  • Several enemies of The Legend of Zelda universe, particularly Fire Keese (burning bats!) and Torch Slugs.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War features flaming penguins the the special secret "after game" party at Club Vox, and a special gun (besides the normal flamethrower)that can set people on fire.
    • In the original Deus Ex Gunther Hermann attacks you with the near-unavoidable flamethrower. The simplest solution is to kill him while on fire, then put yourself out with a nearby extinguisher.
  • Resident Evil 4 brings us Oven Man, a soldier Ganados who stuffs himself in an gas oven, just so he can attack people while on fire. Of course, if you're quick enough to dodge his initial charge, he drops dead after 30 seconds.
  • In Prince of Persia (2008), during the final battle with The Warrior, he flings himself into a lava pit and then emerges shortly afterward, on fire. Naturally, in this state, he is immune to all attacks, though his health bar drains steadily.
  • In Lugaru you can do this at any time just by running into a fire. If you hit an enemy, it then lights them on fire. It's probably a good idea to roll on the ground and put it out quickly, though.
  • There is a unique pair of gloves in Neverwinter Nights, which has an item description describing a tavern brawler who lit his hands on fire, liked the intimidation it caused in his opponent, and spent the rest of his life trying to recreate the effect without the pain.
  • One of the Husk types in Mass Effect 2 is the "Abomination," a fast-moving Husk suicide bomber that happens to be on fire, to boot.
    • In the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3, this happens offscreen to former teammate Grunt - not in a combat situation, but because he stole a C-Sec hovercar after setting it on fire with a bottle of ryncol (which can apparently serve as a Molotov Cocktail even without lighting it first). This experience leaves him none the worse for wear.
  • Borderlands gets bonus points for actually calling it incendiary. Marcus puts it best:
    Marcus: Normal bullets not cool enough for you? Get a Mailwan and set some people on fire!
    • Not to mention all of the flaming enemies who play with this trope.
    • Borderlands 2 has DLC character Krieg, who actually has a skill tree all about getting buffs when he's on fire.
  • .hack//G.U. Azure Flame Kite certainly lives up to his name. He travels about as a flying ball of blue flame, and is often seen wreathed in blue fire seemingly for no reason other than it makes him look incredibly Bad Ass.
    • Whenever someone activates "Beast Awakening", they appear to be surrounded by dark red flames for the duration of the attack.
  • Yukimura's special in Sengoku Basara X involves screaming loud enough to set his foot on fire and then kicking his opponent in the face with it.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the Goomba Storm special has Bowser bombarding the enemy with flaming Goombas.
  • The Soldier in Team Fortress 2 gains an achievement for killing 20 opponents while on fire.
    • This is why Pyros are the best Spychecker. Friendly Fire is in effect so trying to burn a bonafide teammate does no damage and doesn't ignite them. If a "teammate" lights on fire, they're an enemy Spy.
    • With the introduction of Unusual items, you can fight your enemies while wearing a flaming hat!
  • The LittleBigPlanet level boss for The Islands, the "Terrible Oni", is basically a mass of Basic Wood with a fire log emitter and a sword. What makes him scary? He's on fire. Which also means Collision Damage to any Sackperson stupid enough to jump at him. He really becomes tame if you use the Delethalize Tool on him in Create Mode, or flood the level with water, which puts out flaming objects. Yup, the second-most-scary boss of Story Mode can be made wimpy with a few clicks of the Popit.
  • TimeSplitters has a multi-player character named Crispy, which is a zombie constantly on fire.
    • The sequel has a multiplayer mode called Flame Tag, in which the person who's "it" is on fire.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, if a mage uses the "Flaming Weapons" spell while Dog is in the party, Dog's entire body will catch on fire. That's right: you can have a flaming war hound in your party.
    • One of the Fade shapeshifting forms in the Fade Dream is the "Burning Man". You turn into a fireball throwing flaming zombie who is also immune to fire (letting you get past pesky flame barriers).
    • And if you thought Steel Golems were bad enough, in Awakening you get to fight an Inferno Golem. That's right you have to fight a giant Golem THAT'S ON FIRE!
  • You get a "Flaming Insane Stunt Bonus" in Grand Theft Auto III-era games, if you perform a jump in a vehicle that's on fire.
  • In Dead to Rights, the Big Bad Hennessey attacks with flaming fists for the second half of the final battle. Ironically, you defeat him by knocking him into the furnace.
  • In one mission of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, you have to remove crates of explosives from a burning warehouse, with the fire blocking one path after another, creating a sort of Mobile Maze.
  • In Halo 3 multiplayer Bungie employees had access to a Spartan chest-piece which set their heads on fire. note 
    • Halo: Reach sets even more things on fire (perhaps to compensate for the lack of fire-based weapons). The Legendary Edition armor effect sets the player's head on fire like the Bungie armor from Halo 3, in Headhunter mode players collect flaming skulls from the dead, in Oddball mode the "ball" is a flaming skull, and in Juggernaut mode the juggernaut's entire body is set aflame.
      • The "Eternal" armor effect (gained by downloading the Bungie app for Ipod) sets your helmet on fire. The fire is blue. It's pretty cool.
  • City of Heroes encourages this, as there is not only a powerset that makes you stronger and tougher by being on fire (Fire Armor) but another powerset that buffs your allies by setting them on fire. (albeit there's also equivalents for ice, energy and sound. The game covers all the bases.)
  • Viewtiful Joe must set himself on fire in order to defeat certain bosses.
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards: The Spark + Fire power weaponizes the Incendiary Exponent by having Kirby set his own head on fire via static electricity and charge into the fray, killing the enemies he touches (except for the normally invincible ones).
  • Kirby's Return to Dream Land introduces Mr. Dooter, a genie-like thing that juggles skulls. Said skulls are on fire in EX mode.
  • All of the physical Fire type attacks in the ''Pokémon series involve the user hitting the target while on fire.
  • The second-to-last boss before Bowser in the game Super Mario Galaxy is actually a fiery version of Dino Piranha, the game's first boss.
    • Also, the second-to-last boss of Super Mario Galaxy 2 appears to be a fiery version of Gobblegut, the end boss of World 1. Since Gobblegut takes on the appearance of a big, green dragon, Fire Gobblegut will actually be both a dragon and The Dragon to Bowser!
  • Dead Space plays with this with the flame thrower. It's best used against the little swarming fuckers.
  • Bioshock (1 and 2) played with this by giving you a plasmid that turns your hand into a flamethrower.
  • Fallout: New Vegas's DLC Honest Hearts has a flaming mutant bear called "The Ghost of She", which evidently can survive constantly being on fire. Or it may have been the stuff the village shaman made you take.
  • Speaking of flaming bears, League of Legend's Annie, an 8 year old pyromancer, summons her teddy bear, Tibbers, for her ultimate ability. Except he's not actually a teddy bear, but a giant ferocious shadow bear Annie turned into a teddy bear. He's on fire, of course.
  • In Cla Dun, stumbling into fire is one of the hazards of the dungeons, but while you're on fire, your weapon does fire damage! This is great against enemies weak to fire, but it's bad if you're fighting enemies made of fire.
  • Ken in Super Street Fighter II has a flaming Dragon Punch.
    • Fei Long has this for his vertical anti-air kick.
      • Ryu and Ken began it all though in the era of early versions of Street Fighter II: Sometimes the graphical engine would fart and create a red-tinted Hadouken on release. Despite Word of God saying that this was merely a graphical glitch and had no game mechanic relevance, fans kept spreading ideas that it dealt more damage, or was slightly faster, or stunned the adversary for a slightly longer period. Come Super Street Fighter II, the red-colored Hadouken was implemented as an actual signature skill of Ryu's (and Akuma's), the Shakunetsu (Scorching-Hot) Hadouken, with Ken's becoming his worldwide well-known Flaming Shoryuken.
  • Certain opponents in the Dynasty Warriors series will have flames flickering around them, denoting that they are a lot stronger than normal. Lu Bu typically fights you with this in effect at all times.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has "cloak" spells, which wreathe the caster in flame (or frost or shock) for a time, dealing damage to everyone that's in melee range to the caster.
  • Newgrounds hit Dadgame makes beautiful use of this. By striking enemies and destroying objects, Dad's carnage meter rises. When it is over 100%, Dad becomes invincible and gains a new tornado attack. This new rampage form is referred to as 'Dad on fire' in the game's manual, and yes, he is on fire for the whole duration of the invincibility. AND SMILING THE WHOLE TIME.
  • Robot Unicorn Attack: Heavy Metal Edition is basically the original Robot Unicorn Attack set in Fire and Brimstone Hell. Naturally, it manages to turn the original's awesomeness Up to Eleven by setting most of the game ablaze with hellfire, even the Tears of Blood the Robot Unicorn sheds during the Game Over screens. And then crowning it all with Blind Guardian.
  • Castlevania games such as Castlevania II Simons Quest allow the player character the use of a flame whip or any other weapon imbued with the power of fire.
  • Upon being set on fire, Wario becomes almost uncontrollable (save for jumping), but can break certain obstacles.
  • A good deal of the altered artes throughout the Tales Series are basically the original arte, but with fire.
  • The life philosophy of Ignus from Planescape: Torment. Being turned into a conduit to the elemental plane of fire was the best thing to ever happen to him.
  • Magic archers in Dragon's Dogma have a skill where they light themselves on fire to deal fire damage to enemies that get too close and to badly burn and damage any large enemy they choose to cling to. The trope image quote "because they can't grab me if I'm on fire" seems to be how magic archer Arisen's see it too.

    Webcomics 
  • Girl Genius: Gilgamesh Wulfenbach received a Nice Hat as a gift that is, among many other things, on fire.
  • This page and this page of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.
  • Subverted in 8-Bit Theater: Red Mage willingly lets himself be set on fire after casting about fifty resurrection spells on himself. This prevents him from being burned to death (well, he does die, but he is immediately resurrected, still ablaze). However, he admits that the process is extremely painful (saying that the resurrection spell is actually even more painful than the burning) and runs out of resurrection charges at the worst possible moment.
    • Earlier, the team defeated a mob boss by flinging burning ninja corpses at him.
  • Parodied in the robot tournament arc of Bob and George, where Quite On Fire Man completely fails to be awesome.
  • Dan in Another Gaming Comic is obsessed with fire and his standard attack is to cast fireball centred on himself.
  • The Order of the Stick: Vaarsuvius makes an enlightening demonstration of the proper use of a Fire Shield spell in this strip. It doesn't stop the mother dragon from swallowing him/her whole, but this ends up being a bad idea...
    "Six attacks per round doesn't seem like such a good idea, does it?"
  • Are you questioning Rocky's logic?
  • Axe Cop Fire
  • Art in Sequential Art pondered how one can return "a raisin-filled ball of foul-tasting hatred". Seems to be a natural solution, this.
  • Mentioned in Boy Meets Boy: "On a related note, boss, 'fire ants' are not ants on fire."
  • Neithe in Get Medieval loved the trebuchets assembled to besiege a castle held by the English. "The only way this could be any cooler is if we set the projectiles on FIRE!" On cue, she saw a soldier hold a torch to a projectile. "Hot DOG!"
  • In Looking for Group, Richard the Warlock wipes out the Evil Empire soldiers guarding a portal that threatens the fledgling kingdom of Kethenica with invasion by lighting the dragon he's currently riding on fire and raining fire down on the hapless troops below.
    • Richard is pretty much this personified. His solution to about 90% of the obstacles the group faces involves lighting it on fire. And that's when he's not doing it just for his own amusement in the first place.
  • In Boxjams Doodle, whenever Boxjam is telling a story, and he can't think of a good ending, he just has everything suddenly catch fire.

     Web Original  
  • How To Kill A Mockingbird, a mock book report, has the following things on fire constantly: flying sharks, the sentient mockingbird deathships themselves (though it's "cold fire"), lightsabers fired as artillery by the mockingbirds, and live bear ammunition. Some ninjas also morph into fireballs and volcanoes. Note that all of this fire survives rain and the void of space.
  • Subversion in Ask a Ninja: One fan writes in, asking if the saying "ninjas can't catch you if you're on fire!'' is true. The Ninja declares that there's obviously no point in assassinating this kid, he's already taken care of it himself.
  • Invoked during Zero Punctuation's description of the weapons in Painkiller.
    Yahtzee: As for the guns, I could mention the hugely satisfying penis-extension gun that pins baddies to walls with entire trees, but all you really need to know is that there's a gun that shoots shurikens and lightning. I wish I could make something like that up. It shoots shurikens and lightning! It could only be more awesome if it had tits and was on fire.
  • Dead Fantasy II has Tifa kicking the crap out of the Dead or Alive girls after having run OVER LAVA, her shoes on fire.
  • This Youtube Video takes this concept and runs with it spectacularly.
  • In chapter 3 of Nan Quest, Nan fights the monstrous Padre while in a burning room. She knocks it into the fire... the only result of which is that now it's trying to kill her while on fire.
  • The second of the Banned University Of Lincoln Adverts
    Have you ever been to a lecture?
    Was that lecture on fire?

     Western Animation  
  • Transformers Animated has the Dinobots, who all wield weapons (a sword, a club, and a mace-and-chain) that are capable of bursting into flame. In the case of Grimlock, who wields the flaming sword, it's also a feature of his toy. When he's mad or excited, he shoots flames out of his collars, setting his own head on fire. As you may have gathered, Transformers loves this trope.
    • The Fallen is described as being perpetually on fire.
  • Spyke from X-Men: Evolution started off as a guy who could grow bone spikes from his body. After being Put on a Bus, he Took a Level in Badass when he came back with bone armor (which he couldn't turn off) and flaming quills that explode.
  • Samurai Jack. How do you make Big Ol' Eyebrows more fitting for the local Evil Overlord? Make them GREAT FLAMING EYEBROWS.
  • One episode of Dexter's Laboratory has a scene where Dexter's hair is on fire, made all the more hilarious by him running around in a circle screaming "MY HAIR IS ON FIRE! MY HAIR IS ON FIRE! MY HAIR IS ON FIRE!"
  • Rule of Funny means that nearly every material in The Simpsons' universe is extremely flammable, and that this trope is often invoked.
    • In Homer's Triple Bypass, an impatient Homer rams a truck hauling Edger Allen Poe's birthplace off the road. In the DVD Commentary the episode's staff note that the house bursts into flames long before there's any reason for it to do so.
  • Exaggerated in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force live-action episode. The water is "infected with fire".
    Frylock: (reading) And the enitre eastern seaboard exploded into flames. Explosions burst the world into flames, and the flames shoot high into the night lighting much of the universe into flames.
  • Futurama:
    • In an episode, Bender gets a job on Calculon's show and wants to do a scene while on fire. Later, he lights himself on fire while on air.
    Bender: Try this, kids at home.

     Real Life  
  • The notorious pirate Blackbeard tied slow match (the kind used in match-lock muskets) into his hair and beard before boarding a victimized ship or entering combat. He did it because it was as scary as hell.
  • Flaming pudding! Who cares what it tastes like, it's on fire!
  • Flaming Sambuca, the instigator for many a sloppy night.
  • "I kicked a burning terrorist so hard in balls that I tore a tendon in my foot."
  • Incendiary pigs!
  • Priests of Mithra (the Persian sun-god, who was very popular in Rome) would impress new initiates by having them drugged up, and then appearing to them as the god in the middle of the night… the priest wearing a leather cap covered with flaming pitch. Yes, they set their own heads on fire.
  • According to Dave Barry, strawberry pop-tarts will combust spectacularly if one sticks them into an old-fashioned pop-up toaster and prevents it from popping up.
    • British consumer watchdog programs investigates this claim and issued warnings that you can indeed do this if not careful.
    • Way back in 1994, Patrick Michaud (original author of the Pm Wiki engine this wiki runs on) started an early Internet meme by testing Dave Barry's assertion and posting the results.
  • Audie Murphy takes on the Germans in a flaming M-10.
  • Similar to the above, an airman by the name of Sergeant Maynard "Snuffy" Smith was serving as a gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress that was severely damaged and engulfed in flames during a bombing raid on the German submarine pens at St. Nazaire. The fire, which was beginning to engulf the plane's ammunition supply, had already burned holes through parts of the fuselage. Snuffy, rather than bailing out (as two of his crewmates chose to do), stayed aboard, splitting his time between fighting the fires, tossing burning boxes of .50 calibre ammunition out of the plane, tending to the wounds of another crewmate, and of course, using the machine guns to fend off the Luftwaffe fighter planes that were still trying to shoot the plane down. He became the first living airman to receive the Medal of Honor.note 
  • How many monster truck rallies / daredevil shows have advertised themselves with the prospect that something is going to be set on fire?
  • This is the driving concept behind flambé, a flashy cooking technique that involves setting food aflame.
  • During The Middle Ages in Europe and even before, it was a common roofing technique to use thatch (for insulation) and tar (for waterproofing). Of course this was in the age that people used torches and candles, so you can guess how well that panned out...
  • Two Words: Fire Tornado. They have these in Southern California. What more can be said? It's a tornado made out of freaking FIRE! They look exactly as pants-pissingly scary as the name would imply. One killed 38,000 in 15 minutes during the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake in Japan.
  • What's scarier than GRU troops? GRU troops that are ON FIRE.
    • Except these are signal corps academy cadets. Which may or may not make their NBC training routine more cool.
  • Watching things being chewed up by a giant shredder is fascinating and kind of hypnotic. When that thing is exploding lumps of metal it's amazing.

Impressive PyrotechnicsThis Index Is On FireInfernal Retaliation
Improbable CoverSpectacleInstant Runes
Improbable Use of a WeaponRule of CoolInstant Awesome, Just Add Dragons
Heävy Mëtal ÜmlautGarnishing the StoryInstant Awesome, Just Add Dragons
Immortal Procreation ClauseLaws and FormulasInevitable Waterfall
The GunslingerImageSource/Web ComicsMinor Flaw, Major Breakup

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