Can an 11+ level Psion who is about to naturally fall asleep manifest Schism and should they fall asleep (or willfully fail a sleep spell saving throw) before Schism ends, use Guarded Sleep on their already sleeping primary mind manifested from their secondary mind before the Schism ends?

(The last sentence of Guarded Sleep made me wonder how it would be possible.)


2 Answers 2


No, Schism doesn't allow you to manifest powers while unconscious

Though the split minds created via Schism act independently of each other, the "second mind" should still be affected by conditions that apply to the character (with the explicit exception of haste effects). Nothing in the wording implies that one mind could be unconscious and the other not; if the character is unconscious, both minds are. If the character naturally falls asleep, both minds should be sleeping.

If affected by the Sleep spell, the schism would end; that's a compulsion effect, and if you fail a save against a compulsion effect, Schism will end automatically one way or another, so you can't use Sleep to induce a sleeping state and keep Schism's benefits.

So how can you manifest powers while unconscious?

The only means of manifesting while unconscious I was able to find in the Psionics Unleashed or Psionics Expanded: Advanced Psionic Guide handbooks is the Lucid Dreaming trait, which allows access to your powers while dreaming:

... you are aware of when you are dreaming and have access to your power point pool and powers known while in the dream.

Though the downside is that points spent while dreaming aren't recovered when you wake normally, so that somewhat offsets one of Guarded Sleep's benefits.

Casting the net a little wider (Dreamscarred produced a lot of psionics-based splatbooks), Psionics Augmented: Feats and Powers adds the feat Unconscious Unconditionally, providing the benefit that:

The first round after you become unconscious, you can use the Unconditional Power feat to manifest a power as if you were stunned.

Which I would rule as allowing a character to use the feat to manifest a power just after falling asleep. You'd need to be at least a 13th-level manifester to do it, though, since using Unconditional Power increases the power cost by 8, so the total cost of manifesting Guarded Sleep this way would be 13 points, and it does require investing two feats in it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with "Nothing in the wording implies that one mind could be unconscious and the other not." Schism states each part acts with ~complete~ autonomy. Additionally, "Your 2nd mind doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity when manifesting a power, because doing so doesn’t distract your primary mind." There is a complete encapsulation of the 2nd mind. They may share resources, but congnition is entirely autonomous which is why telepathy is used between minds. Compulsion effects run along that telepathy allowing the 2nd mind to also resist. (The sleep spell not working is accepted.) \$\endgroup\$
    – niekell
    Mar 31, 2019 at 7:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @niekell the minds can act autonomously but they're still in the same brain and subject to the same physical conditions that affect the character, of which being unconscious is one. Sleeping is admittedly more poorly defined (and distinct from being unconscious) but I'd argue it is a condition that would be applied to both minds. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Mar 31, 2019 at 10:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since PathFinder doesn't weigh in on "Sleep" being a Condition explicitly, I respectfully contest the "physical conditions" part. I contend that sleep is actually a mental condition with physical symptoms. Similar to Tourettes Syndrome, or Parkinson's Disease. Actually... Narcolepsy is the most apt example. These are mental conditions which have external physical manifestations. The physiological changes due to sleep are a result of the mind's state. I concede that physical inputs would affect both minds, but don't believe sleep is a physical input as opposed to a mental output. \$\endgroup\$
    – niekell
    Apr 1, 2019 at 2:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: "Sleeping is admittedly more poorly defined (and distinct from being unconscious)…." Just so you know, James Jacobs says they're equivalent here. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 15, 2021 at 19:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @hey-i-can-chan To avoid more complexity, saying Sleeping is the same as Unconscious makes a modicum of sense I suppose. I respectfully disagree, just as I do with a swathe of PathFinder rules/decisions I have to house-rule to correct. The words "knocked out" in the condition description imply that trauma is the cause of the condition... personally I can fall asleep without suffering physical trauma, I'm pretty sure I've seen others do it that way too. \$\endgroup\$
    – niekell
    Aug 16, 2021 at 11:12

Schism power- Each part functions in complete autonomy, like two characters in one body. Your new “second mind” does not control your body physically but is free to take one standard action in each round.

This being said, why would physical effects effect Schism at all? If I am nauseated, my second mind should be fine.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it is generally 'assumed' both minds have the same inputs from external stimuli. The second mind has all 5 senses but no control over them. Otherwise making decisions regarding your surroundings as well as aiming and timing powers would be nigh impossible. If nausea were caused by a stench (a physical source) then both minds should roll to resist it, if it was caused by a compulsion spell (a mental source) then the primary gets a save, and the secondary only needs to if the primary fails. \$\endgroup\$
    – niekell
    Aug 16, 2021 at 11:27

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