How much damage does a creature take if critically failing a Reflex Save with Improved Evasion?

Improved Evasion (available on at least Rogues and Swashbucklers) provides

You elude danger to a degree that few can match. Your proficiency rank for Reflex saves increases to legendary. When you roll a critical failure on a Reflex save, you get a failure instead. When you roll a failure on a Reflex save against a damaging effect, you take half damage.

How much damage does such a creature take on a critical failure? Full or half?

Improved Familiar + Valet archetype?


Deliver Aid (Ex)

[…]

This ability replaces speak with animals of its kind.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/wizard/familiar/familiar-archetypes/valet-familiar-archetype

[I]mproved familiars do not gain the ability to speak with other creatures of their kind […].

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/general-feats/improved-familiar

Can an Improved Familiar take the Valet archetype?

The Valet archetype is not the only one that replaces that ability, so this question applies to more than just that archetype.

Is this improved Grease spell balanced?

Grease is a very underwhelming spell as it currently stands due to its size and shape (10 ft square) and because the effect is easily overcome. I think this could be a great low level control spell that would still be useful even at higher levels, but it needs some changing. Control spells at 1st level that effect multiple targets typically have an additional or stronger effect: Earth Tremor deals damage, Entangle restrains the target instead of keeping them prone, among other spells having similar improved effects. See below for my alternative Grease spell.

Grease
1st level conjuration

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V S M (A bit of pork rind or butter)
Duration: 1 minute
Classes: Wizard

Slick grease covers the ground in and turns it into difficult terrain for the duration. You make a line up to 5 feet wide, and 30 feet long; alternatively, you can make a square up to 15 feet across.
When the grease appears, each creature standing in its area must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or fall prone. A creature that enters the area, stands up from prone while in the area, or ends its turn there must also succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or fall prone.

The first change her is the spells area of effect. By changing the spell to be a line, this gives the caster the option to force enemies to cross its area; they may not be in the grease for as long, but they are much more likely to spend time in it. Increasing the size of the spell to 15 feet makes it to a creature moving through the terrain with average movement (30 feet) will have to spend all there movement to get from one side to the other.
The second change adds standing up from prone requiring a dexterity saving throw. This makes it much more difficult to overcome the prone feature of the spell, and may mean the effected creature needs to crawl out of the area in order to end its effect.

An additional change I considered, but probably would be too powerful for the spell being 1st level, was the grease being flammable. this is something that a lot of players ask for and DMs I’ve played with typically allow. Here’s my interpretation of how the effects would look:

A creature that falls prone in the spells area is soaked in grease: this makes the creature vulnerable to the next fire damage they take before the spell ends, unless they are already resistant or immune, in which case this has no effect. Any fire damage that is dealt to the grease area or a creature soaked in grease while still within the area causes the entire area to erupt in flame, cancelling out the prone effects of the spell. Any creature in the area must make a dexterity saving throw, taking 1d6 fire damage on a failure. The grease is completely burned up in 1 round.

I think this addition is a bit more complex than most things in 5e, and likely too strong for 1st level. The vulnerability to fire damage would be close to everyone in the area of the spell, which is why the damage is so small. I think boosting the spell to 2nd level be appropriate, and adding concentration to the spells duration.

What is the origin of “Improved”, “Lesser”, and “Greater” in spell names?

In D&D 3rd and 5th edition, many spells have variants that begin with the words "Lesser", "Greater", or "Improved" attached to the name of the basic variant of the spell. Some other less common words are "Minor", "Major", and in Pathfinder, "Communal".

I’ve always thought that was cool and interesting.

But I don’t think I played any other roleplaying game that used these terms; nor any such video game that predates D&D 3.0. I also didn’t see these words in fantasy books or in real life.

In fact, these spell names are probably where I see the word "lesser" the most in all English.

Did the template of names like "Lesser (something)" and "Greater (something)" originate with D&D 3, or is it older?

Does Improved armor and armor stacks?

It might be a simple question:

Does 1- point Customization Aegis Improved Armor

  • The astral suit thickens and strengthens, increasing the aegis’s Armor bonus by +1. This customization can be taken once for every five levels the aegis possesses and stacks with any Armor bonus granted from the astral suit itself. The aegis must be at least 5th level before selecting this customization.

and normal armor such as Half-plate armor stacks? So at 2 level result: AC 8+1=9

Thanks

Does improved grapple count in determinig the CMB when casting while grappled

I’ve always stayed away from grapple & overrun rules, but, this time, i can’t ignore it.

The rules says that

A grappled character who attempts to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler’s CMB + spell level, see Concentration)

so does the feat, special abilities, objects granting bonus on the grapple check count against the DC of concentration?

Does the bonus like flanking count?

Does the “Rapier Training” Swashbuckler class feature count as having the Improved Critical feat?

I’m DMing for a group of five people. One player, Swashbuckler with the Inspired Blade archetype, wanted to select critical feats which have Improved Critical as a prerequisite. The following Inspired Blade feature describes it as follows:

Rapier Training (Ex): At 5th level, an inspired blade gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls and a +2 bonus on damage rolls with rapiers. While wielding a rapier, she gains the benefit of the Improved Critical feat. These attack and damage bonuses increase by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 5th (to a maximum of +4 on attack rolls and +5 on damage rolls at 17th level). This ability replaces swashbuckler weapon training.

It seems to me that the player cannot do it, but I’ve house ruled otherwise. The reason is because his character looks pretty bad in the game (I did not tell him this) and is already getting behind others on the table. Charmed Life with Opportune Parry and Riposte are letting his immediate actions overloaded whilst his char is too squishy due to spending ability points on Dex, Int and Cha. Taxing him another feat with improved critical seemed bad from a balancing perspective. There is a vanilla warrior on the group who does everything the swashbuckler does but significantly better.

That being said I’ve got two questions for you:

  1. Does the "Rapier Training" Swashbuckler class feature count as having the Improved Critical feat? (From the title)

  2. What would you have done in such situation?

Obs.: this class seems quite unbalanced and badly designed to me.

Thanks!

An archer firing through an arrow slit has improved cover. Do his targets have cover?

I’m running a module that features a fort with arrow slits and murder holes, and I’m trying to figure out what the cover rules are for people on each side of them.

Under the Combat rules, the CRB states:

Improved Cover

In some cases, such as attacking a target hiding behind an arrowslit, cover may provide a greater bonus to AC and Reflex saves. In such situations, the normal cover bonuses to AC and Reflex saves can be doubled (to +8 and +4, respectively). A creature with this improved cover effectively gains improved evasion against any attack to which the Reflex save bonus applies. Furthermore, improved cover provides a +10 bonus on Stealth checks.

From this, it seems clear that the defending archers should have improved cover. This is reinforced by this section under Dungeon Environments:

Walls with Arrow Slits

Walls with arrow slits can be made of any durable material but are most commonly masonry, hewn stone, or wood. Such a wall allows defenders to fire arrows or crossbow bolts at intruders from behind the safety of the wall. Archers behind arrow slits have improved cover that gives them a +8 bonus to Armor Class, a +4 bonus on Reflex saves, and the benefits of the improved evasion class feature. (emphasis added)

The words "defenders" and "behind arrow slits" make me think that the cover is at least somewhat directional – the defending archers are meant to be at an advantage over the besiegers (which makes sense). However, the general cover rules seem to suggest that the besiegers might also have some cover:

Cover

To determine whether your target has cover from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the target’s square passes through a square or border that blocks line of effect or provides cover, or through a square occupied by a creature, the target has cover (+4 to AC).

When making a melee attack against an adjacent target, your target has cover if any line from any corner of your square to the target’s square goes through a wall (including a low wall). When making a melee attack against a target that isn’t adjacent to you (such as with a reach weapon), use the rules for determining cover from ranged attacks.

I think that the intent is that arrow slits would be at the corners of grid squares. RAW, I think that would give the besiegers no cover. However, on the map I’m using, the arrow slits are in the middle of the grid squares, which suggests that the besiegers also have at least cover, if not improved cover.

Distinct from this question (although related) in that this is about improved cover like arrow slits, whereas that was more a case of low cover.