The Ruined Clouds (GM Reference)


Dead Suns

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I guess both ComicViolence and Xenocrat interpretations of the Gap work. Reading the CRB and other books, I was under the impression that the Gap was not a finite event, as there is no mention of a 'beginning of the Gap'. This is aligned with ComicViolence's view. Mentions of Golarion, Pathfinder, and other historical events would be found in the corrupted historical files. I would imagine that a lot of people would work really hard to reconstruct history, and probably find these bits of information.

That being said, Xenocrat's interpretation bypass this problem altogether by fixing a point in time (possibly moving backward) where records exist / are accurate. This is a fairly elegant solution. The length of the Gap can be modified for a homemade scenario I guess.

I would love to hear the official interpretation from Paizo, but I guess we are too early in the APs to get a definite answer on the Gap.

I'm running with the 'infinite' Gap view for Dead Suns, with the Devourer using its influence to preserve the records of the Stellar Degenerator on Nejeor, so its cultists would eventually find it to destroy everything. Some partial foreshadowing for the encounter with the Atrocite in the Thirteenth Gate.


The appendix on magic items in Dead Suns 1 makes it very clear they have pre-Gap records of Golarion. They know about the Thrunes, Cheliax, Runelords, etc.

There was also plenty of developer commentary in the run up to Starfinder about how the Gap is a device to avoid having to explain what happened between the time Pathfinder was happening (and when your particular PCs were playing) and the start of Starfinder. The Gap most certainly has a beginning, and that beginning is vague but approximately around whatever time prevents Paizo telling your your players didn't do what they remember doing, and you not having to tell your players anything that happened after they stopped adventuring in Golarion.


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ComicViolence wrote:

Thanks G-Prime. I forgot that Disable Device and Hack checks were supposed to be rolled by the GM (because we usually don’t do it that way). I like the idea of rolling for them and then using how many checks it took them to reach the DC to determine how long it would take them to pick the lock. Then I can slowly escalate time and see how long they are willing to wait for that one PC to try and pick the lock. I will say things like, “20 minutes pass and he still can’t pick it, are you going to keep trying?” If they are willing to wait as long as it would take to the PC to pick the lock, then they can get in … but depending on how well I rolled, they might encounter a Kish patrol or something before then. I might even throw in some bogus perception checks periodically to see if I can build an air of tension and danger.

No problem! Also, I have to agree with @Xenocrat on how the Gap is supposed to work. It's pretty clear in the CRB, and it is pretty much described the way he explained it.

The Gap most definitely applies to the Kish.

Quote:

"What is known, however, is that while the Gap is universal— and a combination of carbon dating and astrochronology suggest it lasted several millennia—its edges are geotemporally inconsistent. Where one star system might have accurate records stretching back 300 years from the present, worlds in different parts of the galaxy might have 310 years of history, or only 275."

If you want an exact reference to read it's on page 424 and the sidebar on page 425 of the CRB.

MaxPower86 wrote:

I guess both ComicViolence and Xenocrat interpretations of the Gap work. Reading the CRB and other books, I was under the impression that the Gap was not a finite event, as there is no mention of a 'beginning of the Gap'. This is aligned with ComicViolence's view. Mentions of Golarion, Pathfinder, and other historical events would be found in the corrupted historical files. I would imagine that a lot of people would work really hard to reconstruct history, and probably find these bits of information.

Actually, pre-Gap records are mentioned within the CRB, the Dead Suns AP, as well as Alien Archive and Pact Worlds. There is also mention of the Gap having a beginning. For instance, the CRB mentions them on several pages, such as the 'History' section on page 424, the 'Magic and Technology' section on page 429, the 'Time' section on page 430, and the 'Castrovel' section on page 438.

Quote:

History

"For an organization like the Starfinders, locating these scattered bread crumbs and syncing them up with ancient pre-Gap records may yet hold the key to unraveling the greatest mystery of the universe."
Quote:

Magic and Technology

"Pre-Gap records show that once upon a time, most of the worlds in the system relied on magic almost exclusively for complex and difficult tasks."
Quote:

Time

"Events that occurred before the oldest edge of the Gap are often referred to as pg (“Pre-Gap”) and measured in how many years before the Gap they occurred, with a date like 300 pg meaning the event occurred 300 years before the onset of the Gap."
...
"Dating anything within the Gap is always a highly dubious proposition, and those who attempt to make claims about such things usually count forward or backward from the nearest edge, such as “roughly 500 years after the onset of the Gap.”"
Quote:

Castrovel

"Also notable for their power and influence are the city’s many universities, renowned for their vast pre-Gap archives"

Meaning that pre-Gap records do exist, and the Gap has both a beginning and an end. The only debate being the inconsistencies of time for when that starting and endpoint is, as it varies depending on the location and people.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My group played this book over the last 2 weekends. It felt like we really got VERY little loot across the whole book. I went looking back through it to see if we missed something. I realized that other groups got the majority of their actual loot by fighting the Aeon Guard in tactical combat. My group blew them up in Ship Combat, so we got NONE of their gear. That's a really bad design if you are penalized for going through actual ship combat.


Well, your GM should have either:
Adjusted some loot tables to ensure the group stays near WBL.
Provided rewards in other places to keep the group near WBL.
Had a discussion with the group in a session zero that WBL will not be used and the group gets what it gets in terms of monetary and physical rewards.


Pantshandshake wrote:

Well, your GM should have either:

Adjusted some loot tables to ensure the group stays near WBL.
Provided rewards in other places to keep the group near WBL.
Had a discussion with the group in a session zero that WBL will not be used and the group gets what it gets in terms of monetary and physical rewards.

Or people shouldn't assume that every encounter will happen... it's even stated in the AP that it's situational.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jason Keeley wrote:

I would change that to be EAC 24 and KAC 26, giving him the numbers from the array with an additional +1 due to solarian armor.

Hope that helps and sorry for any TPKs!

I'm kind of lol'ing at this though I'm also trying to prevent a good-spirited mutiny among my players. Last night we got into the sixth round of this fight with 5 PCs and they had only done 3 points of damage to Xavra while the party's solarian was down and nobody had yet managed to hit Xavra with an attack roll, the technomancer blew all his "no attack roll" spells on earlier encounters, and... well, they were in the process of surrendering when we called it a wrap for the night.

Now I find this. And I'm grateful to find it because it means my players aren't completely horrible at the game, but I could also use some advice on how to "fix" the situation because, with the prior stats, the party was basically on track for a TPK except for the operative who had one-foot out the door.

Should I re-start the combat? They basically stopped swinging at Xavra when they thought they would need a nat 19 or 20 to hit, so that may have changed the entire tactics for the fight.

Should I guess-timate an amount of damage applied to Xavra and hit him with it retroactively, then just continue the fight as-is?

Something else?

Thanks.

Paizo Employee Developer

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SnowHeart wrote:
Jason Keeley wrote:

I would change that to be EAC 24 and KAC 26, giving him the numbers from the array with an additional +1 due to solarian armor.

Hope that helps and sorry for any TPKs!

I'm kind of lol'ing at this though I'm also trying to prevent a good-spirited mutiny among my players. Last night we got into the sixth round of this fight with 5 PCs and they had only done 3 points of damage to Xavra while the party's solarian was down and nobody had yet managed to hit Xavra with an attack roll, the technomancer blew all his "no attack roll" spells on earlier encounters, and... well, they were in the process of surrendering when we called it a wrap for the night.

Now I find this. And I'm grateful to find it because it means my players aren't completely horrible at the game, but I could also use some advice on how to "fix" the situation because, with the prior stats, the party was basically on track for a TPK except for the operative who had one-foot out the door.

Should I re-start the combat? They basically stopped swinging at Xavra when they thought they would need a nat 19 or 20 to hit, so that may have changed the entire tactics for the fight.

Should I guess-timate an amount of damage applied to Xavra and hit him with it retroactively, then just continue the fight as-is?

Something else?

Thanks.

Talk with your players about what would feel the most satisfying to them. Would it be easy just to start the combat over from the beginning? Does everyone remember how many resources they used during the fight? If they are happy to let you guesstimate, then go right ahead, but I bet they would like to enact sweet revenge on Xavra at this point.

Alternatively, let them surrender and get captured by Xavra and his warriors. Instead of just murdering them, Xavra feels the need to present his conquests to the kish chieftain Hoyfeq. Perhaps this gives the PCs a chance to rest and get some HP and spells back! But when they reach Hoyfeq, they find that Tzayl is there and she convinces the chieftain that some kind of honorable duel is required by the ancestors to decide the PCs fate. Everyone is taken to the Fields of Honor... where the PCs have to play a few rounds of a dangerous sport against Xavra and his warriors. Perhaps the PCs can just kill Xavra during the match or if he loses, he flies into a rage and the PCs get a chance to fight him all over again (with the right stats, of course). You could even say that due to the PCs' success at the sporting match, Xavra is "weakened" from his earlier toughness, giving the PCs a chance to feel like they accomplished something.


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After an interesting battle against the azlanti vessel (granted, I gave it another turret and the gunner some resolve points) and a tricky combat in its detonating insides, my players were confronted by a bunch of lackluster kish warriors upon arrival on Istamak.

If they single attacked they couldn't do any damage, if they full attacked they couldn't hit (and if they did, the damage was still laughable). I just had to make the ambush party run away in shame, after one of them was effortlessly butchered.

With that in mind, I gave the destitute kish a soldier class graft, with melee and ranged builds. The melee kish exchanged cleave (!) for improved disarm, giving it another option (the idea of losing your weapon to an enemy on a cloud city is frightening) and, as usual, blitz. The ranged one went for the obvious sharpshoot, while also exchanging attack bonuses – so more damage and bigger probability to hit on a full attack. Both got the raw lethality gear boost that prevents the archaic penalties & gives them a bleed critical effect.

Still weak as flies, but now with a little bite.

KISH WARRIOR (MELEE) __________________CR4
XP 1,200
Kish soldier
N Medium humanoid (kish)
Init +11; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10
DEFENSE_________________________________________
HP 60
EAC 16; KAC 18
Fort +6; Ref +4; Will +7
OFFENSE_________________________________________
Speed 40 ft.
Melee skirmish kishaxe +13 (1d10+9 S; critical bleed 1d8)
Ranged tactical battlebow +9 (1d8+4 P; critical bleed 1d8)
Offensive abilities fighting style (blitz), gear boost
(raw lethality)
STATISTICS________________________________________
STR +5; DEX +3; CON +1; INT -1; WIS +0; CHA +0
Feats Improved combat maneuver (disarm)
Skills Athletics +15, Acrobatics +10, Intimidate +10,
Survival +15
Languages Vulgar Kishaleen
Other Abilities rapid response
Gear basic acrochor hide, skirmish kishaxe,
tactical battlebow with 20 arrows

~~

KISH WARRIOR (RANGED) __________________CR4
XP 1,200
Kish soldier
N Medium humanoid (kish)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10
DEFENSE_________________________________________
HP 60
EAC 16; KAC 18
Fort +6; Ref +4; Will +7
OFFENSE_________________________________________
Speed 30 ft.
Melee skirmish kishaxe +9 (1d10+7 S; critical bleed 1d8)
Ranged tactical battlebow +13 (1d8+4 P; critical bleed 1d8)
Offensive abilities fighting style (sharpshoot), gear
boost (raw lethality), sniper’s aim
STATISTICS________________________________________
STR +3; DEX +5; CON +1; INT -1; WIS +0; CHA +0
Feats Deadly aim
Skills Athletics +15, Acrobatics +10, Intimidate +10,
Survival +15
Languages Vulgar Kishaleen
Gear basic acrochor hide, skirmish kishaxe,
tactical battlebow with 20 arrows


Question for the Maze of Ghosts, either the encounter in B4 or B7.

I am not terribly familiar with the Computers systems of Starfinder, so when the Mechanic in my group asked whether he could just "turn off the Living Hologram projector", I was sort of caught like a deer in the headlights.

I ended up going with a Computers DC 35 to Hack the System, because if I based the Computers DC off of a Tier 8 Computer it would have been unachievable (DC 45, IIRC).

Have any other GMs had a similar "outside of the box" solution?


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I'd have ruled that the computer that controls the projector is inside the maintenance corridor.

I don't think there's a rule for this, but I'd give the computer a tier 4, half of the living hologram CR (just like the computer item level is probably twice its tier).

Meaning, DC 29 and 4 full actions.

I'd also make the hologram aware of his computer being hacked.

My players just used supercharged adamantine bullets to destroy the projector, so I had the mayor give an emotional farewell speech, while slowly losing his consistency - the inspiration was the Roy Batty monologue from Blade Runner.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm starting to run this module and got some questions.

- Even after Jason explained the Foundry map on page p.29. I'm still confused. Areas D1 and D2 are supposed to be at the ground level, and D3 above them. But the corridor near the D4 offices has a door north and south, and the map implies that the northern one opens to the outside, but that door doesn't have a stair to reach the ground safely... that basically means that you open it and fall to the ground if you keep walking? that doesn't make any sense.

I look at the map and think that the whole structure is supposed to be on the ground at the same level, but for some reason the D1-D2 areas aren't connected to the rest of the building.

- How high is the balcony were Xavra is located in area D7 of the Foundry? the adventure doesn't say. How did the kishalee accessed this balcony? there are no stairs or elevators that go from the ground floor. Also, does the floor extend below the balcony, so there are 10 ft. until you reach the wall at the ground level? it's not clear looking at the map.

- What creature is depicted on page 38, a the Istamak section of the book? looks like a cross between a worm and a drake. Can you give any details about it? I would like to create a statblock to use in the adventure as a random encounter on Istamak.

In case it helps other GMs out there, I looked through the alien archives and Pathfinder bestiaries in search of monsters thematically apropriate for the adventure, to add or replace some random encounters. So far this is what I have:

- mucilaginous clouds, 3 of these can work as a surprise encounter on a foggy day on Istamak.
- rauzhant, you can use it when the players get to the Broken Lands. It should be quite scary since it likes to plummet while clawing its prey.
- jubsnuth, I think this beast works better in this module than in the next one.
- Yaoguai from Pathfinder, can work as an eohi mutated by the chamber of renewal.


My interpretation was that D1/D2 were above, and the foundry is in an underground bunker. There is a stairwell to the side of D1/D2 that is mirrored in a stairwell at D3. I assumed the doors leading nowhere on the main map lead to the rest of the foundry areas as described in 'other areas of the foundry' pg. 31.

D7 is poorly described, I assumed 15ft high balcony with movable ladders to access it, data pad shelves without a floor extending under.

I don't think the creature on pg. 38 is described, but seems like a good time to test out the monster creation rules. I'm thinking CR10 combatant, flight, acid spit, bite and a tail slap sort of attack with the grab ability, maybe acidic blood. Depends on how many special abilities it should have.


As I map this out now, Jason said earlier in this thread that D1/D2 are below D3. I interpret the "doors" on the upper level to be windows, even though they look the same as the actual doors on the map.

I justify this reasoning because:

1) The foundry doors are described as "quite thick, sturdy, and bolted and heavily barred from the inside", yet we are given no description of this from inside the building.

2) There is a "manufacturing floor" that is beyond the scope of this adventure, which is "huge" and has ground-level entrances.

This leads me to believe that D3+ represents the second floor, D1-D2 represent a small portion of the ground floor, and that the map is not indicative of the true size of the entire building.

EDIT: alternatively, since we are not shown the fountain that sits outside the front doors, the entire map on that page may be of just a portion of the second floor, and we don't actually get to see any of the "outside".


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I just imagined that the alleyway leading to the security entrance actually slopes down a bit, like how sometimes you'll get a building on a hill or something that has a 'loading access' for a basement level below the 'ground floor' entrance, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

Also, I've got a question -- in the Securitech building, is it possible for the writher swarm to actually stop the characters from leaving the room? I was always under the impression that it's possible to move through a swarm. Or, if they get it away from the door, if they run around it they can easily outrun it and flee the building without having to kill it and worry about the subsequent collapse. Am I missing something?


MythicFox wrote:
Also, I've got a question -- in the Securitech building, is it possible for the writher swarm to actually stop the characters from leaving the room?

Close enough.

CRB 256

Moving through Occupied Squares

Opponent
You can’t normally move through a square that is occupied
by an opponent, but you can move through a square that
is occupied by a helpless opponent without penalty. Some
creatures, particularly very large ones, present an obstacle
even when helpless; in such cases, each such square you move
through counts as 2 squares. It is also possible to use the
tumble task of the Acrobatics skill to move through a square
occupied by an opponent (see page 136). Some creatures break
these rules. A creature that completely fills the squares it
occupies (such as a 5-foot-cube robot) cannot be moved past,
even with the Acrobatics skill or similar abilities.

CRB 136

Acrobatics: Tumble

As long as you do not have the encumbered or overburdened
condition (see pages 275–276), you can use Acrobatics to move
through a space threatened by an enemy or enemies without
provoking attacks of opportunity from them. Tumbling is a move
action, and you move at half speed. The DC to move through
an opponent’s threatened area is 15 + 1-1/2 × the opponent’s
CR. If multiple opponents are threatening the same space,
you attempt one check with a DC based on the opponent with
the highest CR, and the DC increases by 2 for each additional
opponent beyond the first.

You can also tumble directly through an opponent’s space;
the DC is 20 + 1-1/2 × the opponent’s CR. If you fail this check,
you stop moving adjacent to your opponent and provoke an
attack of opportunity.

MythicFox wrote:
I was always under the impression that it's possible to move through a swarm. Or, if they get it away from the door, if they run around it they can easily outrun it and flee the building without having to kill it and worry about the subsequent collapse. Am I missing something?

But can all PCs make out of the room in time?

Don't forget the Writher Swarm can Run or double Move - it's not much, but once someone leaves the room, it might not want to get out of the door.

Sovereign Court

Yeah we used one character to distract the swarm while everyone else moved out, then that character ran out while another used a ready action to close the door behind him before the swarm could follow.

We rather enjoyed that actually, you don't have to solve every problem by killing it. "We won because we understood what we were there for" is very satisfying.


The building collapse is one of the best parts of this adventure, though.

Sovereign Court

It's a cool idea, and we definitely felt the threat of it, which is why avoiding it by doing the right thing at the right time was very gratifying.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Tonight was to be the climactic finale of The Ruined Cloud for my group. Most of the adventure we had some bumps and bruises along the way, but for the most part the group had conquered every challenge they came across. That changed before the fanaticism and fiery anger of Xavra.

The party of four had defeated the Scavenger Slime and Four elementals with little trouble, taking only some stamina damage (and resting after each). They stumbled a bit with Hybeki and her pets, as Hybeki could hit like a truck once her pets provided proper flanking, but they ultimately succeeded and won with only a little bit of spell slot expenditure and some rest afterward (they also decided Hybeki would be too dangerous left alive and executed her and her pets).

Then came Xavra. I confess I did swap out the Kish with some Kish Scouts (normal Kish had proven absolutely zero threat previously), however the scouts added little to the fight, and ultimately nothing that contributed to the team's defeat. The trouble began when the group's solarian confidently leaped up to the balcony to confront Xavra directly, a grievous mistake as Xavra could easily strike him twice with flashing strikes and his absurd attack and damage bonus. Even when the melee technomancer went to assist him, Xavra proved their better in swordsmanship and downed them swiftly. Thanks to his corrected AC values our Solarian did manage a few solid blows but ultimately it was not enough before Xavra bested him.

Xavra then turned his attention to the slowed Mystic, and power armored solider. As beefy as the soldier was it took even Xavra some time, but eventually the soldier too was overpowered and the wounded mystic attempted to save his fellows on the upper-level. The technomancer used entropic grasp to create a hole for her escape, but Xavra ultimately cut off escape for the Solarian and Mystic, and one explosion later had two victims. The soldier spent some resolve and abandoned her heavy-ass armor (and most of the equipment on it) in the doorway to slow down pursuit and also escaped. Thus half the group retreated without their crucial intel, half of them are dead by Xavra's hands, and one dangerous fanatic is still in their way.

tl;dr - Even with lower AC, Xavra's a beast.

Most of the group is rolling new characters now. Xavra and his fanatics will be kibashing the power armor to repair any damage to the temple (namely the new hole left in the building, so weird Entropic Grasp just works on walls like that if you ask me), and I'm considering how to replenish the temple's encounters. I'm considering having a new creature(s) move into the basement in the Scavenger Slime's place, but I'm not sure what to do to replace the elementals and Hybeki (and pets). Thoughts, suggestions?


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Nintendogeek01 wrote:
Thoughts, suggestions?

More bird-like robots, like the one from the Drift Rock - that one probably was fabricated in this very place. Xavra could easily go pick something up from the storehouse.

At least one brand new named kish could be called in to replace Hybeki, I'd suggest a mystic, to make the encounter way more different (maybe it picked up the devastator connection from prolonged exposure to cultists), or a witchwarper. Summon Creature would make for an interesting battle.

I'd rather turn the left behind armor into a trap.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
The Ragi wrote:

More bird-like robots, like the one from the Drift Rock - that one probably was fabricated in this very place. Xavra could easily go pick something up from the storehouse.

At least one brand new named kish could be called in to replace Hybeki, I'd suggest a mystic, to make the encounter way more different (maybe it picked up the devastator connection from prolonged exposure to cultists), or a witchwarper. Summon Creature would make for an interesting battle.

I'd rather turn the left behind armor into a trap.

Took your advice, the trap hurt, the robots were easy (as expected), and the mystic fight... was actually shockingly disappointing. Sure the Kish Scouts I had with the mystic tried to protect him but once the group got into melee with the Mystic, said mystic had NO room whatsoever to cast spells since Starfinder has no casting defensively. We'll see how their new characters fare against Xavra next week.

As a warning to anyone else who wants to roll up mystic NPC's to fight your PC's, Mystics seem to be sorely lacking ways to protect themselves from enemies.


My party is halfway through Shattered Worlds and I'm reading ahead into Ruined Clouds. Is it just me or are the starship combat encounters up to this point remarkably underwhelming?

The two little fighters after leaving the Starkiller's spine seemed like they were going to be too easy for my crew, so I made it three. After a couple rounds, I added another wave of three. All size were nuked by the Maiden in short order. Out of the 6 they scored maybe three hits and never breached shields.

The Rusty Rivet was almost as bad. My party put most of their upgrade points into a single giant turret gun and are running roughshod over these ship encounters.

I'm thinking that the Fearful Symmetry will also need a significant upgrade to make any impression on my party - I don't want them thinking ship combat will always be a cakewalk.

Any suggestions on how to power up this encounter in a fashion that will present a more interesting (and hopefully maybe a bit scary) encounter? Just level up the Azlanti ship? Any particular tactics?


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My level 7 players managed to beat the azlanti ship with the basic unaltered tier 3 maiden. Part of that was the guaranteed passing of any check they needed to make, part of that is that the azlanti ship has pretty close to the same stats as the default maiden.

But, you've already let them make the ball of death. Biggest turret guns possible, then buy shields and power core upgrades with the rest of the budget. That ship design will always trounce pre-written encounters.

Ball of death vs. ball of death is also not great. I would suggest sitting down with your players and developing a house rule with their input to limit the number and power of turret weapons. Or just let them steamroll the encounters. There's only one or two remaining starship fights after all.


We just finished this part of the AP, and Xavra was, at least for me, a total bliss. By far the hardest fight I've ever had in Starfinder Society. Our DM didn't adjusted his AC, but he'd been a bit nice with the bowmen (they lost a few rounds focusing the wrong character). I still think he made a mistake with Xavra's hit points, because we made more than 250 damage to him. But, well, anyway, it was a great fun.
I hope there will be more fights close to that difficulty level in the two last parts of the AP :)


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CantankerousApe wrote:

My party is halfway through Shattered Worlds and I'm reading ahead into Ruined Clouds. Is it just me or are the starship combat encounters up to this point remarkably underwhelming?

The two little fighters after leaving the Starkiller's spine seemed like they were going to be too easy for my crew, so I made it three. After a couple rounds, I added another wave of three. All size were nuked by the Maiden in short order. Out of the 6 they scored maybe three hits and never breached shields.

The Rusty Rivet was almost as bad. My party put most of their upgrade points into a single giant turret gun and are running roughshod over these ship encounters.

I'm thinking that the Fearful Symmetry will also need a significant upgrade to make any impression on my party - I don't want them thinking ship combat will always be a cakewalk.

Any suggestions on how to power up this encounter in a fashion that will present a more interesting (and hopefully maybe a bit scary) encounter? Just level up the Azlanti ship? Any particular tactics?

We halve the rate of ship advancement now, so the ship starts at tier one and goes up once between each AP instalment. That rebalanced things sufficiently for us (my players just couldn’t stop themselves from always building “biggest turret possible, then shields, then other stuff”).

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