Expanded Psionics Handbook introduced a new use of the Concentration skill to gain psionic focus, which can then be expended in order to “take 15” on a future Concentration check. Various psionic feats and class features function only while focused, or require you expend that focus in order to activate some effect.

Importantly, only characters who have at least 1 power point available can gain psionic focus.

Is psionic focus—either gaining it, maintaining it, or expending it—inherently “psionic,” that is, suppressed by null psionics field?

The descriptions in Expanded Psionics Handbook for neither gaining psionic focus nor null psionics field, but Complete Psionic included a lot of really dumb stealth changes to psionics, so it’s difficult for me to rule out anything being found there. Psionic feats, which are some of the most significant sources of things powered by psionic focus, are explicitly supernatural, for example, but for the purposes of this question I am curious about other things that aren’t so explicit, such as basic the “expend focus to take 15” effect.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your link seems to mostly answer this: They're a consequence of doing an action and having something in your possession; why would you lose that in a null psionics field? Have I overlooked an aspect of the question? \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Mini
    Jan 14, 2020 at 18:06
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @J.Mini A null psionics field suppresses anything “psionic,” just as antimagic field does anything “magical.” And this is psionic focus—seems plausible that it would be “psionic.” I haven’t seen anything that says it is, but it’s hard to be sure that I have seen everything, 3.5e being what it is. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jan 14, 2020 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would a comparison between psionic focus and arcane focus (Dragon #351 Class Acts: Arcane column “Arcane Focus” (88)) be useful or just noise? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14, 2020 at 19:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Not familiar enough with arcane focus to really say. How similar is that to psionic focus? I’m kind of leaning towards “not very useful” but I suppose it depends how similar they are, and what you make of it. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jan 14, 2020 at 19:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ According to the article, "Arcane focus works like psionic focus, as described on a page 37 of the Expanded Psionics Handbook." \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14, 2020 at 19:40

2 Answers 2


Having scoured the Expanded Psionics Handbook, searching for "psionically", "null psionic", "focus", "antimagic", and (painstakingly) "power point", and having run a similar search in Complete Psionic (for only "focus"), examining all the text in the passages surrounding each, we're confident in saying that:

There is nothing (other than the power point requirement) to imply that psionic focus, and the action taken to gain it, are more than the effects of a Concentration check (a skill often called for in magic, but with a core non-magical use as well; performing actions that provoke attacks of opportunity in stressful conditions).

A character in a null psionics field might not be able to use supernatural abilities, psi-like abilities, or powers, but the null psionics field power description does nothing to say a creature that enters it has no power points while they're inside.

This is not to say that a creature doesn't lose the effects of the Psionic Talent feat (a psionic feat, thus a supernatural ability) while in a null psionics field; such a creature might have a reduced power point reserve as a result of that power, and lose the ability to gain or maintain her psionic focus.


Merely holding a reservoir of psionic power points in mind gives psionic characters a special energy. Psionic characters can put that energy to work without actually paying a power point cost — they can become psionically focused as a special use of the Concentration skill.

While the quoted line doesn't directly answer your question, to me, it is enough to say "Yes, psionic focus is actually psionic (i.e. magical, as psionics is a form of magic)". It is a manipulation with magical energy to gain some tangible benefit. Magical energy shouldn't be able to affect you (make you better at concentration checks at least) in a null psionics field.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "special energy" and "magical/psionic energy" aren't necessarily the same thing; can you draw the line a little more clearly? \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Dec 9, 2021 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @minnmass You are correct, the line is subtle enough for one to be able to interpreate it in several ways. Still, I believe something naturally magical/psionic gives off an energy of that same kind. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12, 2021 at 20:19

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