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My local gaming shop has an old copy of the Psionics handbook from D&D 3.0, I know the name of the book for 3.5 is Expanded Psionics but I'm really a big fan of supporting local businesses and I need a book on Psionics so I am wondering if the Psionics handbook is compatible with 3.5 or are Psionics broken for 3.0? Also what are the differences between the books?

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

An unofficial FAQ created by the community on Wizards' forums says the following:

The Psionics Handbook is from 3.0, and is no longer supported. The Expanded Psionics Handbook, despite the name, is a standalone system that replaces the 3.0 system. 3.5 psionics differs from 3.0 psionics far more than current edition magic differs from AD&D 2e magic. The consensus on these boards is that the changes were for the better.

This thread has some actual play feedback about the differences between the two. The consensus seems to be that 3.0 psionics were ridiculously weak (weaker than the base classes) with the exception of a few gamebreaking powers. Things seem to be better balanced in the 3.5 version and in general, much better received. Also, two new classes were added and some new psionic races.

From what I gather, you could use the 3.0 rules with 3.5, but given that the 3.5 rules are superior and released for free online, I'd say it's probably not worth doing.

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No, it's not. Officially, 3.5 includes everything from 3.0 that did not get a 3.5 update, but psionics did, in Expanded Psionics Handbook. In fact, nothing changed nearly as massively from 3.0 to 3.5 as psionics did.

In fact, the Psionics Handbook wasn't really compatible with 3.0, either. It involved a lot of ideas that might have been nice in a stand-alone game, but that didn't work in 3.0 and suffered for trying to make them fit. Which is to say, the 3.0 Psionics material was terribly designed to begin with, which is why it got such a massive overhaul.

On the other hand, the Expanded Psionics Handbook is both excellent (one of the best books published for 3.5), and totally free since it is a part of the System Resource Document.

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