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How to be enrobed in flames

****Lights, Motors, Action - Fire Sequence - Disneys Hollywood StudiosFashions among supervillains go in cycles, like so many other things, and this year's giant shadowy silhouette at the horizon may be supplanted next year by the prismatic flying boat of next year, but one look is generally acknowledged as a classic for all times and that is the wrapped in living tongues of fire motif. Fiends who return to this old standby often try to place their own twist on it, sometimes by speeding up or slowing down the flickering flames, making them utterly silent, reversing the image so the flames are black instead of bright, or even in one memorable instance making the little individual flames race around the outline of the body marquee-style, but no matter how it's done it is hard to go wrong with setting yourself on fire image-wise, as it appeals to a primal fear in humans and animals stirring powerful and unforgettable emotions.

Fire was one of the the basic elements of the universe according to philosophers of antiquity. These days, we can update their insight, considering it to be one of the fundamental elements of an evildoer's arsenal. Here are a few tips on how to turn it into a winning player on your team.

*Evil plotpoints

  1. Types of flame. For the normal, incandescent gas sort of external combustion jets of flame accompanied with the heat and sound we are all accustomed to, the best ways to attain mastery of it about your person is either through some kind of pact with the forces of the underworld (typically in exchange for your service after your demise, which you might have been planning on granting anyhow) or through the application of advanced, perhaps alien, technology that either shields your mortal form from the bad effects of the fire, or replaces your body entirely with something that will not be harmed by mere burning. If instead you are seeking to manifest an otherworldly flame without heat, you might go with these too or you might go in the direction of massive mind control on the part of the spectators, optionally incorporating some elements of immersive virtual reality.
  2. Preparation. Once you have procured the essential magic or functional equivalent, the main obstacle to face is likely psychological on your part, especially if you have been singed some time in your past. Because of the speed of the chemical reaction involved, there is often not much time to think things through while you are alight, so you must practice what you are about beforehand until everything comes as second nature at burn time. For instance, if you are planning to give an epic speech at the climactic point of the final battle, you need to go over the lines in your lair until they come out automatically, then a few run-throughs along with your crew with flames running around your face so that that starts to feel natural, then at least one full-dress rehearsal in full conflagration mode to make sure there are no remaining glitches. Attention to detail will pay major dividends when it comes to being engulfed in flames.
  3. Getting started. You may wish to rely on the old chemical standbys (matches, a pocket lighter, or a pilot light), electrical ignition, or fancy new-fangled sources of same (magical sparks, pyrokinesis, reverse entropic fields). The source of spark or flame must be as reliable as you can arrange, thus ruling out such things as magnifying lenses (bad on cloudy days) or rubbing sticks together Boy Scout-style.
  4. Getting doused. Once you are done with the pyrotechnic display, it is good to have a way to turn the thing off at the time of your choosing so you can go about your normal business. If you can take away one of the three elements needed for fire — heat, oxygen, fuel — it will automatically be extinguished. Similarly, magical, imaginary, and futuristic fires obey laws of their own. Being showered with Gatorade in the battle arena

! Strokes of genius

Stunt Team - Havenstreet Railway Steam Show 2008 - Day 1 (Friday)
  • Stunts. We refer here not to techniques of movie pyrotechnics (external link) but rather to additional effects that play a major role in the success of your flaming escapade. For instance, if you need to be able to streak across the sky while trailing tongues of fire, you need to incorporate the element of being able to fly unassisted while burning. Projecting fireballs from your fingertips or wielding a whip with thongs of smoke are other possible gags you could work in to your act, given the proper attention to development.
  • Collateral damage. Aside from the impact you will naturally make upon all spectators, throwing their minds into confusion, there are a number of advantages which are unlocked by the ability to go here and there as a living firebrand. Fire is a fearsome weapon in hand-to-hand combat or an aid to assassination, it can spread to nearby flammable items such as forests, buildings, or vehicles, and the smoke it produces can conceal other acts of mischief. Once your ability to set yourself aflame has gained notoriety, your adversaries will respond to the threats it may pose even if you do not choose to exercise it, possibly opening them up to completely different exploits.

!! Traps for mere fools

  • Inert atmospheres. Also: wet blankets.
  • Firefighters.
  • Aerosol cans.
  • Monsoon rains.

+ Precious and needful

  • Lighter fluid.
  • Strike-anywhere matches.
  • Oxygen. Also for breathing.
  • Hydration.

man on fire

Further plotting



Created by: CapellaNovafyre. Last Modification: Sunday 04 of October, 2009 21:05:43 EDT by CapellaNovafyre.

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