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Convection, Schmonvection
aka: Convection Shmonvection

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"I packed my sunscreen. I'm fine."

"Fire — as long as you're not directly touching it, it can't hurt you."

Ever stood next to, or put your hand near a fire? You should feel heat emanating from it without needing to touch anything. This applies to anything that's even mildly hot.

Most writers and video game developers, however, forget this. The hero is traveling through the Lethal Lava Land, but there are floating rocks, so he can make it across! Even though realistically, the heat from the lava should have already cooked him anyway, rocks or no rocks.

Convection, the process by which a liquid or gas (like air) forms currents that very quickly spread heat from a hot thing to its environment, apparently doesn't exist in fiction land, even though Earth would be a horrible place without it.note  Instead, heat seems to propagate more like electricity — mostly just via conduction, so as long as you don't actually touch the source, you're okay. Note that this trope covers heat radiation as well, and seeing as large explosions create shockwaves as well as fireballs, this also covers Overpressure Schmoverpressure. TV also ignores the other hazards of volcanoes and lava flows, such as toxic gases, heavy ash fall, and deadly pyroclastic flows thundering down from the volcano's summit. There is also a Fumes, Schmumes variant, where a pool of hazardous liquid that should be offgassing dangerous fumes is perfectly safe as long as you don't touch it.

Although lava is the primary offender, this also applies to any time convection is ignored for the sake of Rule of Cool, such as when a character is standing above or near a large fire, hot water, or any other extreme heat source. If you don't touch the raging inferno, boiling lake, or white-hot walls, you'll be fine. Rule of Perception also plays a role: if the viewers can't see or feel any indirect heat, then obviously there isn't any. This is especially applicable to Video Games, since having to dodge both lava and the invisible heat it gives off would be rather irritating.

Lava is also rarely found just calmly lying around, looking as fresh as when it first left the mantle — when it slows, it has time to cool and harden, progressively changing in consistency from fresh caramel, to toffee, to rock. If it's been liquid for any appreciable length of time, it will probably look like this. Since the exterior of the lava cools down first, it also won't look orange/red unless it's very, very fresh; viscous lava flows tend to take on a silvery-grey appearance as the outside cools down, with the still orange/red-hot interior visible through cracks on its surface. This is a subtrope of Artistic License – Physics, and a common inaccurate portrayal of Energy (in this case, thermal energy) in fiction. Occasionally you may see the visual effects of convection in the form of distortion of heated air—which will still be safe to be near, as long as you don't touch the magma itself.

For some reason, the reverse is demonstrated a bit more realistically; characters will feel cold in a cave or other area that's in perpetual winter, or frigid enough to have ice form on the walls. However, as long as they bundle up, the most they'll ever get is a longing for some hot cocoa and a warm fireplace — and, much like how standing close to lava rarely leads to overheating, Frigid Water Is Harmless - characters can fall in freezing cold water and suffer nothing more than a case of the shivers, or at worst, pop up inside a big ice cube. This, too, can be attributed to Rule of Cool.

See also: Lava Pit, Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid, Battle Amongst the Flames, Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud, Hailfire Peaks, Hollywood Fire, Thermal Dissonance, Harmless Electrocution, Lava Surfing, A Molten Date with Death, Harmless Freezing, and Cooking the Live Meal. Toasted Buns and Lava Adds Awesome are related tropes.

A complete but no more accurate inversion is "Space Is Cold", where there is no convection, but TV acts as though there is.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • During the events of Absolute Carnage, Sleeper slobbers napalm all over Hybrid for Hawkeye to ignite. Both Dylan and Sleeper dramatically watch the symbiote burst into flames from a few feet away until there's nothing left but a hole in the ground. In truth, both of them should have been burnt to a crisp, as napalm burns at a temperature of 2,760 degrees Celsius or 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, about half as hot as the surface of the sun.
  • Crystar The Crystal Warrior. For the purpose of having a civil war, the loyalists to the old king and his heir Crystar are turned into living crystal men, and the rebel faction are turned into living lava men. The obvious solution of just spraying water on the bad guys didn't come up in this comic's brief run.
  • The Fantastic Four's Human Torch can safely carry people and objects by extinguishing the flame on his hands. Being right next to the rest of his flaming body is apparently not a problem (though, admittedly, it would be much hotter above the Torch than next to him). It has been said that The Human Torch can control who/what he burns with his flame. It's not always followed, though.
  • X-Men: At one point, Magneto had a base in the Antarctic surrounded by lava, the only thing keeping the lava from destroying the base was a force field. Yet, when the device controlling the force field is destroyed the lava only slowly leaks in before it finally bursts in. Magneto survives by using his powers to create a magnetic sphere to keep it away from him, whereas Jean creates a telekinetic bubble for herself and the rest of the team, and it somehow keeps the heat out.
  • Paperinik New Adventures: In one issue, Donald was able to fly with no problems few centimetres above the lava on his Extransformer.
  • In a Punisher / Captain America crossover, a mook tries to invoke this (and is kind enough to explain it as he does so): if firing a bazooka at the shield causes it to bounce off, shooting it so it explodes short of the shield will let the heat (which will go around) do the work.
  • Averted in The Punisher Presents Barracuda; when President Luna falls from a helicopter into a volcano, we see him catch on fire in mid-air before he hits the lava.
  • In Secret Wars, when the Torch uses his "nova flame" to take out Ultron, it burns so hot that it melts clean through the surrounding solid-metal walls and floor. When the smoke clears, Captain America, who was standing a few yards away and protected only by huddling his upper body behind his shield, is perfectly unharmed. Apparently, his body's melting point is a lot higher than that of whatever alien metal was used to build Doombase. His shield absorbs kinetic energy, not heat.
  • Superman:
    • Supergirl (1982): In the first issue, Supergirl shields two people from a shower of molten steel. Her indestructible cape blocks the cascade of metal but it should not protect them from the intense heat.
    • Kryptonite Nevermore: In one scene, Superman flies over a volcano. It makes sense that he is not affected because he is invulnerable. However in Issue #238 a group of criminals use a magma-hose. The nozzle is specially tempered but they are still too near from the stuff.
    • The Phantom Zone: Variant. Supergirl is thrown into the Disintegration Pit, a cauldron fueled by radioactive flames. Kara is hurt and weakened by the searing radiation, but she survives by not touching the flames.
    • In crossover story The Supergirl-Batgirl Plot, Robin is thrown into an atomic reactor, but he is hauled out of there by Batgirl. Since his body does not touch the flames, he is completely unaffected by the searing heat or the lethal radiation.
  • Swordquest: Fireworld: Mostly played straight. The characters run around a Lethal Lava Land with gouts of flame everywhere, but suffer no ill effects aside from profuse sweating and a constant thirst.
  • It is common for Marvel characters who have undergone cryonic suspension to need zero time to thaw. In Uncanny X-Men (2016), several mutants who wanted to wait out the terrigen cloud in cryonic suspension are alive again the moment the liquid nitrogen is drained from their caskets. The same goes for the Winter Soldier whenever he was released from suspension by the Soviets.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Handwaved in one of the Wonder Girl Impossible Tales. Diana jumps into a bubbling volcano to retrieve her lasso, and while doing so thinks to herself how handy it is all Amazons "train" to be more heat resilient since a regular person would die doing what she's doing.
  • Subverted in one issue of X-Force, where Wolverine's Opposite-Sex Clone, X-23 was above a vat of molten metal, and falls. The next time we see her, all her hair has burned away and she has third-degree burns all over. Her shirt was burned away too, making Elixir give her his. Turned out she bounced off the side of the vat to the ground, but the brief exposure to the heat was still enough to harm her. She has a Healing Factor so she got better.
  • Lampshaded in an issue of DC's Young Justice:
    Empress: Mon, this place makes no sense. In an active lava field, the ground is so hot, you can get incinerated just by standing on it. How come we still got feet even?
    Robin: You're complaining because it wasn't more difficult?!? Are you nuts?!

    Comic Strips 
  • Played as straight as possible in a Flash Gordon parody from Wally Wood's Sally Forth. The heroine Sally uses a Jetpack to fly around while completely naked, but doesn't suffer any injuries from doing so.

    Fan Works 
  • Averted in A Teacher's Glory. Sasuke extinguishes the fire on his sword after a fight, re-sheathes it, and promptly sets his sheath on fire. Later, he realizes that weeks of super-heating his sword in combat has ruined its temper.
  • Mounty Oum's CG Fan Film series Dead Fantasy probably takes this to its most extreme. During part II, the fighters end up on a stone raft floating down a river of lava. The raft is less than a foot thick, but does not melt or overheat. Similarly the girls suffer no problems from heat and toxic gas. Sounds pretty standard so far. Then Tifa gets knocked off of the raft. Yuna shoots Tifa to knock her onto the rocky ledge rather than into the lava, implies that falling in the lava would be a bad thing. But Tifa then proceeds to RUN ACROSS the lava, suffering no more than ignited shoes, used to deliver a fiery dropkick.
  • Averted multiple times in The Bridge
    • Godzilla Junior fires a wide plasma beam into a flock of gyaos, flash frying many of the smaller ones without even scoring a direct hit.
    • In the The Shimmerverse crossover, The Bridge: A Shimmer in the Dark, Sunset Shimmer's fire magic causes the neighboring leaf litter and grass to catch fire or wilt and sizzle.
    • In a What Could Have Been example, Blade Dancer's brief fight with Godzilla Junior would have featured her sword melting due to Junior's heat. The author changed his mind upon realizing it wouldn't be realistic for that to happen without Blade Dancer's body igniting as well.
  • Averted in Chrysalis Visits The Hague when Chrysalis recounts to her lawyer her (supposed) experience of Princess Celestia trying to execute her and her army by shoving them into a live volcano.
    "The trouble with your condition is that, if you gazed into a volcano, you wouldn’t have the milky flesh that you do now. If you were up close enough to see the single bubbles boiling up in the lava, you would also be close enough for it to burn the flesh straight off your bones."
  • Subverted in Incarnation of Legends. Bell is surprised when he feels heat coming from Solaris while she's casting her Inferno magic despite being a fair distance away. She's also left sweaty and exhausted after using it.
  • Played absolutely straight, with deliberate intent, in Your Alicorn Is in Another Castle. Twilight's first investigation of the platforms floating over the lava in Bowser's kingdom discovers that they don't conduct the heat into her hooves. In fact, the lava doesn't conduct any heat into the air: anything drifting up gets about a hoof-height above the molten rock and stops right there. She quickly concludes that the local physics are a little weird.
  • Downplayed in Half Past Adventure with Huntress Wizard's occasional pyrotechnics. There are a few occasions where she starts some noteworthy fires that should probably have been more painful for herself and others nearby, including the time Robin was trapped within one.
  • Averted in The War of the Masters.
    • Create Your Own Fate: Eleya witnesses a Bajoran surface-to-orbit phaser cannon firing on a Fek'Ihri ship. Nearby vegetation ignites from the heat of the blast.
    • The Burning Of Beruns World: A similar weapon has an artificial lake nearby for cooling. Within a few shots, the lake is boiling.

    Films — Animation 
  • The destruction of the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin, in which Aladdin isn't cooked alive while being pursued by a malevolent stream of magma and using Carpet to escape.
    • The sequel, Aladdin: The Return of Jafar has Aladdin trapped on the side of a pillar of rock floating around an open lava pit, and Jafar even hits with a beam to make it sink faster. When Iago manages to kick Jafar's lamp into the lava after taking a near-fatal hit, Al manages to catch him, and then climbs to the top of the pillar as it sinks. By the time another rock pillar falls and he uses it to get to the edges of the lava pit to climb up and out, he is mere inches from the lava, and has two close scrapes with death: the first when his pillar finally sinks and he jumps to the other, and when he nearly is squished as the pit closes after Jafar's Family-Unfriendly Death. Granted, this could be justified by the first rule of the Genie: Thou Shalt Not Kill, but even then the heat alone should've roasted Al and Iago.
  • In Brother Bear, Koda and Kenai traverse a field of heat (supposed to be lava...) This is impressive for two reasons: Kenai gets continuously hit by jets of steam (a la Princess Bride and the Swamp) and the nearby areas are covered in snow.
  • Elemental (2023): Zigzagged. The main character is a fire elemental, but exactly how hot she burns varies from scene to scene. Sometimes, she can melt glass and metal on contact and boil water just being in the same room, other times, she can hold plastic and paper without even scorching it, and stand in the middle of a pool without making so much as a bubble.
  • Frozen (2013): When the heroes go to visit Kristoff's troll family, Olaf does not melt, or even thaw a little, despite walking between what appear to be geysers of steam, and this is well before he gets his personal flurry. The steam suggests that the area where the trolls live has geothermal features, which are the reason why it stays clear of snow while the rest of Arendelle is snowed in.
  • Taken to ridiculous extremes in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, where Sid manages to raft along a river of lava then have some of it splash on him without getting at all hurt.
  • The Incredibles has plenty of fun with lava. Mr. Incredible gets awfully close to it during his first fight with the Omnidroid, while the Omnidroid actually falls into the lava, and emerges unscathed, even though it's so hot it's glowing orange. Maybe heat resistance is another of Mr. Incredible's superpowers (he seemed just fine in the scene in the burning apartment); maybe the Omnidroid was made from heat-resistant Unobtainium. Either way, there's no excuse for non-superpowered Syndrome (and presumably Mirage) not being cooked alive by the secret passageway with walls made of flowing lava.
  • In Inside Out, during their trip through Imagination Land, Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong cross a stream of (imaginary) lava by using floating pieces of furniture as stepping stones.
  • The climax of The Jungle Book 2 apparently takes place inside an old temple that's for some reason built inside a volcanic pit. Mowgli, Shanti, Ranjan, Baloo, and Bagheera actually lure Shere Khan inside the temple, where they attempt to distract the tiger by hitting gongs, but when that doesn't work, they simply throw Khan into a pool of lava. Khan survives the fall, thanks to a rocky ledge overhanging the lava, but is immediately trapped inside a giant stone tiger head that also fell inside the pool of lava.
  • Koati: Calli (a bird) is able to fly Pako and Nachi over the mouth of a volcano and doesn't even get an Ash Face from it.
  • Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie: The Final Battle takes place on a river of lava, but a de-powered Marinette is completely fine because she's floating on metal debris.
  • The Land Before Time has a scene like this, featuring floating rock islands that can be jumped on by dinosaurs.
  • In The Princess and the Frog, we have a scene where Tiana and Naveen as frogs are sitting on the edge of a bathtub. The bathtub is sitting in a fire and being used to cook gumbo, which is boiling hot. But, hey, an inch away sitting on bare metal, what's the problem? Though this can perhaps be justified by the fact the bathtub also doubles as a magic cauldron.
  • In The Road to El Dorado, the main characters are chased across a cracking layer of volcanic rock by a large stone jaguar. Lava comes within inches of splattering on them. But it must not be very hot itself, because the stone critter pops right back out.
  • The title character of Shrek and his donkey sidekick walk across a rickety bridge over a boiling lake of lava to reach a castle on the other side, without seeming to feel any heat. And a castle built on a pier of rock rising out the lava, which wouldn't even be stable in such conditions, as lava can erode, corrode, and often outright melt such piers.
  • The Swan Princess 2 is a fairly big example here: the villain's evil lair is inside a volcano, with a moat full of lava surrounding the central spire that serves as his home. There is a very rickety rope and wood pulley system used to cross-one that should have been incinerated in moments of exposure. Close to the end, while the volcano is exploding (as they are want to do) the heroes are barely inches away from the bubbling, wildly frothing lava-some of it splashing within millimeters of them-and come out unscathed, despite the fact that there should have at the very least been a few singed feathers.
  • Toy Story 3: The incinerator is obviously really hot, but the plastic toys remain unmelted. Considering how terrifying the sequence was already, this is for the best.
  • A radiation variant: what does the titular character of WALL•E do when he flies right next to the Sun? Why, charge up his solar batteries, of course! Possibly justified, because WALL•E is one of many robots who were assigned to fix Earth after humans destroyed it so much it became uninhabitable. He would've been built to withstand the extremely high temperatures from the destruction of the ozone layer, although whether this would've allowed him to fly right next to the Sun and survive is highly debatable.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie, like the games themselves, treats lava as little more than very hot red water. During his wedding with Peach, Bowser plans to lower his caged captives into a lake of lava as a sacrifice in their name. The cages are so close to the stuff that Luigi's is partially submerged and he has to climb up the bars and huddle in the ceiling due to the floor melting away. note  But nobody actually touches the lava, so they're all fine.

  • Stormslayer has the player's hero crossing the River of Fire while exploring Mount Pyre, which doesn't result in any damage to the player's stamina. Justified since he have a Dragon Tattoo on him.

  • Averted in Animorphs #34 when the team visit the Hork-Bajir homeworld and cross over a seriously deep chasm — as in, so deep they can see the core of the planet.
    Ax: <You do not have to worry about the lava, Cassie>
    Cassie: "Thanks, Ax."
    Ax: <If you fell, I believe you would be incinerated before you hit the actual magma.>
    Cassie: (narrating) Sometimes I think hanging around Marco so much has given Ax a totally twisted sense of humour. Very un-Andalite.
    • The same joke is used again (or before?) in the ''Hork Bajir Chronicles".
    • Visser Three has a morph that can fire lethal amounts of heat (enough to boil a person alive), and just being near it is described as standing in front of an open oven.
  • In the first The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the giant Foamfollower carries Covenant across Hotash Slay, a river of lava. Foamfollower, being a giant, is immune to fire and so can withstand the heat of the lava; Covenant, however, realistically would have been fried before Foamfollower even stepped into the river. There is some Hand Waving of this — it is implied that Covenant's ring is involved.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novels, explicitly discussed and averted. Once Cain claims that a plasmabolt missed him by a millimeter. In a footnote, Amberley points out that he would have suffered flash burns that close, so he was wrong about the distance.
  • Averted in one short story by Arthur C. Clarke in which a crew of astronauts on Venus encounter an amorphous creature that appeared to try to encircle them as if to eat them. Turned out it was simply trying to avoid excess heat generated by their spacesuits' life support systems, which wasn't immediately apparent to the crew.
  • Explicitly averted in the third book of The Death Gate Cycle, Fire Sea, which takes place in a subterranean world where cities are built on the shores of great lava currents to stay warm within the dying planet. It's explicitly noted that only the demigod-like Sartans and Patryns are capable of surviving in such conditions, while humans and other races with lesser magical aptitude died out almost immediately after their arrival. And the world takes its toll even on the Sartans, greatly weakening them as they focus most of their magic on simple survival.
  • Averted in The Dresden Files, where all but the most controlled fire magic heats the air and sets nearby objects ablaze. In Blood Rites, a vampire used a flamethrower on Harry in a tight corridor, and he used his shield bracelet to deflect the napalm — but the bracelet only stopped the napalm jelly, while the heat from the jelly proceeded to roast his hand to the point that even with his wizardly Healing Factor, it's still somewhat limited in use and covered in scar tissue for the rest of the series so far. Harry mentions on several occasions that summoning and directing fire requires a lot of force in order to make sure everything that's not the target doesn't get incinerated, and once that force is released, you'll still have to deal with the convection issue. He has even redone his bracelet's shield magic to block this.
    • In A Day Off, Harry even lampshades his trope during a D&D campaign by complaining that the party wizard's perfect 20' fireballs are unrealistic.
    • Played straight in White Night, where Harry sends continuous waves of molten rock at some attacking monsters, and none of his allies that are standing nearby seem bothered by the heat.
  • Somewhat justified in Emily the Strange: The Lost Days. While the liquid black rock was stated to feel as if it was burning Earwig, it does so in a nice way and apparently isn't hot per se.
  • In Aaron Allston's Galatea in 2-D, Roger is not burned by nearby lava. Justified because it's his imaginary world, and he hadn't thought of whether it would kill.
  • In the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Luke once walks through lava to impress a prospective student. He's stated to be using the Force to direct the heat away from his feet, so it's not much of a stretch to assume that he includes the rest of his body.
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth. The explorers are carried up the tube of a volcano by lava on their raft of fossilized wood (an asbestos dish in the 1959 movie, a dinosaur skull in the 2008 one) which in real life would get them cooked alive (Axel notes the temperature rises to 70°C). Some editions avoid this by having them be carried up by water (which was the case for the first part of the ascent), the implication being that lava below is causing a geyser-effect to blow them out of the volcano.
  • Initially averted in Queen of Demons when Garric notes the heat emanating from a nearby lava moat; later played straight both when he crosses a bridge over the moat and in an Outrun the Fireball scene involving a tunnel and an erupting volcano.
  • The climactic scene in The Lord of the Rings where Frodo and Sam, having destroyed the Ring and precipitated the eruption of Mount Doom, make it, utterly exhausted, to one of the last firm rocky outcrops which is surrounded by a river of molten lava. The book skirts over the issue of the sheer heat of their surroundings might in itself be fatal to them, ignores the possibility the air they are breathing might not only be superheated but poisonous, and allows a large bird to swoop down to pick them up without instantly becoming Mordor Fried Eagle or at the very least having its flight feathers scorched off. The film adaptation requires serious suspension of disbelief on this one.
  • Averted in French Sci Fi novel Malevil. The cast is celebrating in a cool 55º Fahrenheit castle cellar when World War III occurs. Within a minute the cellar is an incredible 150ºF. Emmanuel is struggling to breathe and strip off his clothes when he realizes the flagstones he's lying on are burning hot. He realizes with horror that the stone cellar may soon function as a stone oven and broil them all alive, it doesn't occur to him to consider what temperatures outside the insulated underground chamber must be like.
  • Played completely straight in Prophecy Approved Companion as Qube, having no knowledge of what lava should actually be like, concludes that it must be like painful water.
  • Definitely averted in The Quest of the Unaligned. During a battle against several hundred fire-spiders, they coat the cave walls in burning web and nearly cook the heroes alive before Laeshana puts out the flames.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Well, technically "Radiation Schmadiation." In The Film of the Book, Klaus uses Olaf's sunlight-refracting weapon to incinerate the wedding contract. The instant the sunlight hits the paper, it catches on fire. That means the thing was heated to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit just like that. Never mind the fact that Klaus perfectly lined up the device to hit such a small target, how come Olaf's hand didn't get singed? Or, you know, the stage didn't catch fire? There should at least have been smoke, considering how easily the paper went up.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation Relaunch novel Q&A, the away team find themselves maneuvering through a lava field by jumping from rock to rock. Science officer Kadohata points out that the heat should be affecting them even if they don't touch the lava, but stops once security officer Leybenzon asks her if she's complaining that things should be more difficult. (The planet was created by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, and works however they want it to.)

  • Completely subverted in the video for "Just Got Lucky" by Dokken; George Lynch really did play that solo in front of an active volcano, and though they weren't very close to it he says it was hot enough that he could feel it though his shoes.

  • Invoked by the "Devil's Island" pinball in Balls of Steel, with the player required to shoot the ball into a lava tube and an active volcano.
  • Congo has a shot along a lava trail that loops around the base of a volcano.
  • Gilligan's Island has Gilligan fly over a volcano that's about to erupt, without any problems.
  • Gorgar takes place inside the monster's Lava Pit, but both the Barbarian Hero and the Damsel in Distress suffer no obvious ill effects.
  • Gottlieb's Tee'd Off features a golf course set around a volcano, and the player must regularly shoot balls into it.

  • In The Adventure Zone: Balance, the party survives a fireball powerful enough to reduce a few square miles to glass by hiding in a well a few dozen feet deep.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Averted in BattleTech: just being near lava is dangerous, causing mechs to gain extra heat each round and dealing damage to other units based on proximity. Played straight but justified in the case of non-lava based fire, as the hex grid on maps is 30 meters per hex. A mech or tank that's in a hex next to a fire is still likely to be standing 20 meters away rather than being close enough to touch it.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • If a wizard casts a fireball spell and you are 20 feet away expect to take up to 10d6 damage, more than you'd get from sticking a foot in lava. If you are 20 feet and 1 inch away? You're fine. Possibly justified as being intentionally designed that way by whoever invented the spell, allowing you to roast enemies while not harming your allies. It is magic after all. That, and it would be a massive pain in the ass for the DM and players to deal with concentric damage rings (or worse, a linear damage scale formula based on range) for everyone involved each time a wizard pops an AoE.note 
    • In what has to be one of the weirdest things about gameplay, an "Unearthly Heated" environment (anything over 211 F) deals 3d10 fire damage a round. Physical contact with magma? 2d6. Granted, total immersion deals ten times as much damage as simple contact, but when was the last time a character survived being dunked in lava long enough to be considered immersed, with charting HP still relevant? note 
    • This Trope is used to demonstrate how tough Immortals are on the cover of The Immortal Storm, an introductory adventure for Immortal-Level players in the original boxed set. The cover shows four scantly-clad human-like figures with perfectly toned torsos wading through lava with no discomfort at all. (After all, when the Player Characters are Immortal and confronted by lava, "convection? schmonvection!" is their most likely response.)
  • Played straight in Flash Point: Fire Rescue. A victim is perfectly OK being surrounded by fire markers as long as none are placed directly on top of them.
  • Averted and played straight in the various versions of GURPS. There is a spell, "Heat", that raises the temperature of an object or area by 20F per minute. Averted in the spell note that the heat radiates away normally, so "if you were in a jail, you might melt your way through the bars, but the radiated heat would probably broil you first"... then played straight in that Game Masters are explicitly told not to turn the spell into a physics exercise.
  • Played straight with the Hero Clix Muspelheim map. It includes special rules for squares containing lava, which allow a character to walk over it in complete safety, just so long as they don't end up standing in a lava square at the end of a turn, which will deal a pittance of damage. Admittedly, it is based on the superhero genre, so it's not like accurate physics was its top priority.
  • Played with in Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution. Pyrokinetics instinctively lower the temperature around their bodies, making them extremely resistant to being damaged by heat.

    Theme Parks 

  • Several characters in BIONICLE participate in lava surfing with no adverse effects. Handwaved in that they're cyborgs, most of whom have some form of heat resistance.
    • Only Matoran of fire, who have a greater heat resistance, do it for sport. Other characters surf on lava only if needed to escape. It was also mentioned that Toa of fire could survive a few seconds in lava, though it most certainly wouldn't be a pleasant experience. No-one thinks that it is stupid to surf for sport on a liquid which kill you if you fall.
    • Played very straight in the movie Mask of Light, wherein Takua (not a Fire Matoran, though everyone including himself thought he was at the time) fishes the eponymous mask out of a lava flow with his bare hands, and only feels the hotness after holding it in his hand for a moment. Then, he hops onto his comically frail lava surfboard... on all fours, with his fingers clinging onto its sides (hanging into the lava), but suffers no ill effects. The mask itself plays it straight in that the rock it was contained in when it fell into the lava completely melts, but it itself is completely unaffected (though it's noted it was made to be a lot sturdier than the average mask).
    • To be completely fair, most of the above examples are molten protodermis and not actual magma. The fact that the characters themselves are made of protodermis might actually make this worse, though...

    Web Animation 
  • As long as the cast of DSBT InsaniT aren't touching lava, (even then due to an animation oversight) they can be as close to it as possible without getting hurt.
  • In Tomorrow's Nobodies, Ben is able to survive the apartment burning down in episode 2 with no burns or injuries of any kind despite the fact that the couch he was sleeping on is partially burned away. David also suffers nothing more than pain despite his hands being on fire for the majority of the episode.

  • Darths & Droids now has a link to this very page as they approach the Obi Wan and Vader lava battle.
  • Dr. McNinja: This page shows us a wooden bridge inside a volcano that only starts burning once a magma eruption tears it down. Dan and Judy seem mildly surprised.
    Alt Text: This is how volcanoes work, right? I won't check.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • The monster of solid fire that does not burn. "Why are you crying, Dr. Physics Professor?" Apparently, it's not really made of fire and just looks like it: it's a beginner's mistake when summoning certain monsters.
    • Later, the mage summoning them is seen surrounded by a barier of fire (some spoilers). The barrier has an appropriate amount of heat, but doesn't harm the caster, or indeed, anything not directly touching the flames. Greg immediately asks, "How haven't you burned the ceiling?"
  • Girl Genius:
    • Averted beautifully: Anevka pumping enough electricity through her arm to flash-fry her father releases enough waste heat to send her entire outfit and wig bursting into flames.
    • Averted once more in England. Dr. Rakethorn dramatically swings in to rescue Agatha from an small explosion, and when she asks after his back that was facing it he claims it's fine as he's posing as a perfect hunk of a hero as part of trying to make Agatha to ditch Gil for him. His subsequent reaction to the Jagers slapping him on the back makes it clear he was burned and is in pain.
  • Homestuck has Dave's planet, the Land of Heat and Clockwork, made out of giant steel structures and turning gears as platforms floating directly on top of the lava. Logically, Dave shouldn't be able to stand on them without boiling to death.
    • Later on, Dave and Rose wind up walking out of a sun. Fortunately, the two are immortal, although given that the Felt, Ms. Paint, and Spades Slick also were able to survive being inside the Green Sun for an extended period of time, it's safe to say that the Green Sun doesn't behave like any star we know of.
    • And then in Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 2, a Lava Pit is formed on Jade's planet thanks to a Sphere of Destruction war. Not only does a building get toppled into the lava soon after to form some convenient platforms to be fought on, but Jade herself actually gets launched with enough force to skip on the lava and yet survives that.
      • Though the latter two are at least partially justified. Dave and Rose ascend to the God Tier just before walking out of the Green Sun, and God Tier characters can only die in a Heroic or Just manner. And by Act 6, Jade has ascended to the Dog Tier, which is one step beyond God Tier.
  • In Jupiter-Men, Arrio's Fuerza de Fuego spell creates a bubble of superheated fire hot enough to incinerate almost anything that tries to penetrate it before it can reach whatever is inside. This heat obviously doesn't extend to whatever is within, or else they'd be cooked.
  • Zig-zagged for laughs in Manly Guys Doing Manly Things: Commander Badass lights a cigarette, and his heavily-gelled hair bursts into flames. After a Beat, Badass admits to a concerned Jones that this is probably why he stopped smoking, but being on fire is apparently more embarrassing than it is harmful to him.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • It's safe to fly over a lava pit — but the careful reader will note that there are runes on the wall, and that the runes spell out that they are a spell, to keep in the heat, thus justifying the survival.
    • During a sequence set in a burning building, the characters aren't worried about the fire, as it only deals 1d6 damage. Smoke? Convection? What's that?
  • In Rusty and Co. Madeline jumps out of a pit with lava at the bottom and deftly lands, singed but mostly unharmed. This is because of Chekhov's Gun: earlier in the story, the party wizard was asked for volcano survival spells...
  • Noted in this comic of Slack Wyrm. Where the chicken in charge of baking a dragon sized black forest cake is forcing them to pull the cake up a volcano to bake the cake. She says "..the Lava only hurts you if it touches you."
  • Sluggy Freelance: "I don't have to be a volcanologist to know you don't step in the lava!" (Technically true, but for better reasons than are dreamed of here.)
  • Voldemort's Children: Harry burns Dumbledore's office and then doesn't seem to have any trouble standing around in the only spot that isn't on fire.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, when Yokoka enters a volcano to visit Yang's shop she walks dangerously close (and barefoot) to lava, and suffers no physical harm.

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Alternative Title(s): Convection Shmonvection, Convection Smonvection, Overpressure What Overpressure, Convection Schmocvection