Can you (continue to) concentrate on a spell that never had any of its effects take hold?

I have previously asked the following question:

  • Is there any reason to concentrate on the Thunderous Smite spell after using its effects?

And my current question is inspired by that and the following recent question:

  • If I want to affect a creature with a concentration spell and it succeeds its save, do I notice my concentration failing?

I realize that in my previous question I just assumed that you could continue to concentrate on the thunderous smite spell after using its effects, but nobody contested this assumption in the answers, so now I’m asking about a similar, but somewhat different case.

I now ask whether you can (continue to) concentrate on a spell where all of its immediate effects never actually occur. An example of such a spell is bane which has a duration of Concentration 1 Minute and states:

Up to three creatures of your choice that you can see within range must make Charisma saving throws. Whenever a target that fails this saving throw makes an attack roll or a saving throw before the spell ends, the target must roll a d4 and subtract the number rolled from the attack roll or saving throw […]

But what happens if none of the targets fail their saving throw? Can you continue to concentrate on the spell even in this case?

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?

What’s your take on charging a Ring of Storing with a Wand of Wonder? [closed]

I’m level 4 sorcerer, with a 2 slot Ring of Storing (my DM based the price on the number of slots and thats what I could afford with a loan from another party member), and we just received a Wand of Wonder. I’m sure that plenty of purists are going to say "F* NO!", but I’m interested in how the mechanics would play, if my DM allows it. Could I use it as a filtering device and charge it until I get a spell that my character wants? Could it hold 2 spells or effects, 1 spell, or only spells level 2 and below (all other spells either fail or backfire)?

Does making an ability check take an action?

The only ability checks that are listed as an action in the game are Dexterity (Stealth) when taking the Hide action, and Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Investigation) for the Search action. Do any other ability checks require an action?

My fighter was chasing a floating target, and needed to climb up a short but steep cliff. The climb and horizontal run to the target were within his movement for the turn, but the DM had me roll a Strength (Athletics) check to complete the climb. I was successful, but after arriving at the top and attempting to grapple my target, the DM declared that I had already completed a skill check, which was an action. I was still able to grab the target using Action Surge, however I still felt slighted, as I thought the climb shouldn’t have taken an action.

Who was right here? what if the ability check was an Intelligence (Arcana) check to recall some information, should that still require an action as well?

When does a Taunt action take effect during starship combat?

According to Starfinder’s starship combat rules on the Captain’s Taunt action:

You can use the communications system to broadcast a taunting message to the enemy vessel. You select an enemy vessel and a phase of combat (engineering, helm, or gunnery), and then attempt a Bluff or Intimidate check (DC = 15 + 1-1/2 × the enemy starship’s tier). If you are successful, each enemy character acting during the selected phase takes a –2 penalty to all checks for 1d4 rounds; the penalty increases to –4 if the enemy’s check is made as part of a push action. Once used against an enemy starship, regardless of the outcome, taunt can’t be used against that starship again during the same combat.

My question is when do these penalties take effect?

Example of why this is unclear: In round 1’s helm phase, on behalf of an NPC crew, the GM rolls for the piloting check, a piloting stunt, and a science officer action. Then, after these rolls have been made but during the same helm phase, the player Captaining the PC ship successfully Taunts the NPC ship and rolls a 3 for rounds of effect.

Does the -2 penalty apply retroactively to the GM’s die rolls in round 1 and then continue for rounds 2 and 3? Does the penalty last until round 3, but the NPC crew escaped the effects for round 1 because the GM rolled before the player? Or does the -2 penalty kick in at the beginning of round 2 and last until round 4, guaranteeing the NPCs suffer three rounds of effects even though they avoided the penalty in round 1?

Can you take a guarded step in difficult terrain

So the way I am reading the rules it seems impossible to take a guarded step in Starfinder in difficult terrain.

So the guarded step rules say:-

You can carefully step 5 feet as a move action. This movement doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity (see page 248), even if you’re in a threatened square (see page 255).

And the difficult terrain rules say:-

Difficult terrain, such as heavy undergrowth, piles of junk, or steep stairs, hampers movement. Each move into a square of difficult terrain counts as 2 squares of movement. Each diagonal move into a difficult terrain square counts as 3 squares. You can’t run or charge across difficult terrain. If you occupy multiple squares with different kinds of terrain, you can move only as fast as the most difficult terrain will allow. Flying and incorporeal creatures are not hampered by most difficult terrain, though a dense tree canopy or web of chains might count as difficult terrain for flying creatures.

If you succeed on the saving throw for the Sickening Radiance spell, do you still take the level of exhaustion and emit the light?

The Sickening Radiance spell says:

When a creature moves into the spell’s area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, that creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 4d10 radiant damage, and it suffers one level of exhaustion and emits a dim, greenish light in a 5-foot radius.

The grammar and punctuation here makes me wonder: do the level of exhaustion and greenish light happen regardless of the result of the saving throw, just like how some spells still deal half damage when you succeed on the save?

I suspect they do. Otherwise it should have been written "…must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 4d10 radiant damage, suffer one level of exhaustion, and emit a dim, greenish light…"

Does Mind whip prevent bonus actions if you take away an action?

The text for mind whip states

You psychically lash out at one creature you can see within range. The target must make an Intelligence saving throw. On a failed save, the target takes 3d6 psychic damage, and it can’t take a reaction until the end of its next turn. Moreover, on its next turn, it must choose whether it gets a move, an action, or a bonus action; it gets only one of the three. On a successful save, the target takes half as much damage and suffers none of the spell’s other effects

Meanwhile, the rules state

[…] anything that deprives you of your ability to take actions also prevents you from taking a bonus action.

If the target chooses a bonus action, it technically shouldn’t be able to do so, as it was deprived of its action. Or is this a case of specific beats general?