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If a character drops a flame tongue in a mountainous area, can they speak the command word to make flames erupt front the sword to make it easier to find, even though he would not be holding it?

Would the flames immediately go out, or would they continue until picked up and dropped or sheathed?

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There are a few things to consider

The description for Flametongue says:

You can use a Bonus Action to speak this magic sword's Command Word, causing flames to erupt from the blade. These flames shed bright light in a 40-foot radius and dim light for an additional 40 feet. While the sword is ablaze, it deals an extra 2d6 fire damage to any target it hits. The flames last until you use a Bonus Action to speak the Command Word again or until you drop or sheathe the sword.

Firstly, attunement

Attunement with an item ends if

the item has been more than 100 feet away for at least 24 hours,...

so there is that to consider. You don't mention of the specifics of what you mean by 'drop the sword' but if a PC lost or dropped the sword and moved too far away for 24 hours then they can no longer command the sword as their attunement to it has ended.

The command word

It isn't specifically mentioned that the PC needs to be holding Flametongue to speak the command word and have the blade burn but the last sentence of the description suggests that you need to be holding it to have it respond to the command word as you can only drop or sheathe it if you're holding it in the first place.

You could argue that Flametongue needs to be able to hear you but isn't supported in any way whatsoever.

But there is wiggle room here. It would probably be a DM decision as to exactly what is meant by the description and how it works in your situation.

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