Fire is a powerful element, both in terms of its energy and damage potential, but also in terms of its imagery and drama. In reality it's very dangerous. If anything, in roleplaying games the danger is understated. You can walk through a fire and take only a handful of hit points worth of damage, or catch on fire and keep fighting, taking a few points of damage each round.
Consider the possibilities of making fire as dangerous as it is in real life. It's impossible to even approach a large fire because of the extreme radiant heat. And burning things falling on people are pretty much a death sentence. Of course don't just kill characters willy-nilly with fire - use fire as a warning or a way to render something so dangerous that the heroes dare not touch it. If something is on fire, the only way to deal with it is to try to put the fire out as quickly as possible and hope it isn't turned into ashes by the time you're done.
And fire can destroy whole towns or even cities. Read something about the Great Fire of London, and imagine unleashing the terror in a pre-technological setting.
Bonus joke - rejected title for this strip: Kinder In-house Marchin'.
Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)
Now to give the other players a chance.
Annie is right in line with the GM here. The enemy is showing no regard for the lives of the innocent.
And Ben, playing the old geezer again, strides with purpose just like Obi-Wan did in Episode IV. So they are drawing parallels to the original story. This is just like the shooting up of the troopers in the ship at the start of IV; the fleeing renegades getting alone, isolated, and having to build the team up; the introduction of the (Doomed) mentor that will guide them into trouble; etc.
And, additional info that Poe is a dead character: All the references to "grim".
Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)
Ben! Now's not the time for striding, now's the time for fighting and running! And "through the flames" definitely sounds like in them to me too. Especially when there's troopers with flamethrowers around. I guess running would be difficult for an elderly character though, so perhaps this is proper roleplaying. Whether young or old however, staying away from the fire and flames is still a good idea.
Flamethrowers in Star Wars is something I wouldn't have thought of, at least on the scale needed for an army. Jango Fett had one, but he was a lone fighter. Giant backpacks full of easily combustible fuel sounds to me like a great way to turn yourself into a walking bomb, and an easy way for the enemy to take out all of the friendlies around you. Heavy blasters would probably do just as good at destroying the village and have less risk to all the other troopers. Not that the players are in a position to take advantage of the backpack bombs at the moment though.
Annie's definitely got the bad guy minion act down pat, so she's got me convinced that we'll be having a split campaign at the moment. Splitting the party is always bad, but now I'm not sure putting the party together is any better.
GM: Troopers are capturing the villagers and chasing down fleeing defenders.
Finn: Get back here, you miserable vermin!
GM: They torch the makeshift buildings.
Lor: I stride through the flames with grim purpose.
GM: <roll> Take 6 damage.
Lor: Did someone shoot me?
GM: You strode through the flames.
Lor: Next to them, not in them. My purpose may be grim, but not that grim.
Sally: What is your purpose, Ben?
Pete: Whatever it is, it’s clearly not grim enough.