# How could you explain black firebreath?

I'm currently writing a medieval fantasy novel where one of my main characters is a human who can shift into a dragon that breathes a black colored fire. I would only call it black fire for the sake of simplicity, as it isn't a literal black colored fire, and it should be explained as an added pigment that makes it appear dark.

I would also like to know if say, this dragon blew fire upon different substances (like different metals, earth, wood, etc...) would this pigments color be affected drastically? Also, if this pigment is obtained by diet, or some biological chemical reaction, or an external environmental factor. In addition to this, how would this dragon and other dragons be resistant to this pigment (in the sense that they would not be wounded, or inhaling a sort of poison), as well as other animals/plants in the environment around them. I would much prefer to give an actual explanation, instead of giving a vague answer of 'it's just magic'.

• Please define "fire". This might sound stupid, but if you just mean "a very hot gas", this would be way easier. If you go with a standard definition, this is impossible (just like you can't have dry water). One could add pigments of some kind to that flame that makes it appear very dark but the fire itself wouldn't be. Have you considered that our brain just interprets complex mixtures of light as colors? Another species in another world might perceive white as black for example. – Raditz_35 Sep 4 '17 at 12:10
• Welcome to WorldBuilding Diana! We have some pretty interesting questions on the site about dragons already, such as How could dragons be explained without magic?. Are you primarily interested in what substances would produce a completely black flame or in the realistic dragon design? It would be nice if you could edit your question to clarify that a bit. If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Sep 4 '17 at 12:12
• For the question on a human shifting into a dragon, we do have a whole tag for shapeshifters, and another for dragons. You may want to look through the questions thus tagged. We even have one question tagged with both of those, although it doesn't look relevant to your scenario. – a CVn Sep 4 '17 at 12:15
• You can't easily make a black flame as explained worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/a/82443/17720 – Bellerophon Sep 4 '17 at 12:15
• @Secespitus I read this as the question being about black fire, and the part about the human/dragon shapeshifter is more of backstory to the question at hand. Diana, if this is wrong, then please edit to clarify exactly what you are looking to know. Sometimes this can be as simple as **boldfacing** the specific question. – a CVn Sep 4 '17 at 12:18