A situation came up recently where a character had no other option than to draw an attack of opportunity while attempting to gain psionic focus. Fortunately the attack of opportunity failed to find its mark but this led to a discussion as to what happens if a character takes damage while attempting to gain psionic focus. The DC to gain focus is 20.


Examining an example item in the table 'Damaged during the action.2' The footnote 2 begins with the qualifier 'Such as...' This could be interpreted as an example condition but not necessarily limited to that example condition.

Does this mean the DC to gain focus is 20 at a minimum but could be higher for example if 10 + damage dealt is greater than 20? Or does this mean gaining psionic focus is always set at 20 and no additional factor could alter the DC by increasing it?

Which then also raises the question can a character attempt to gain psionic focus defensively? Though no option at least I'm aware of allows for this, it seems to contradict the narrative conception of the action being performed and I guess this would be an entirely separate question in any case.


1 Answer 1


No, but you would need multiple Concentration checks

If you take damage while attempting to gain psionic focus, the DC of gaining focus doesn’t change; it remains DC 20. This is due, quite simply, to the fact that nothing says this changes in any way.

However, you also have to make a Concentration check against DC 10 + damage taken. This is the normal behavior of taking damage while concentrating on something. Failing this check means you lose your concentration, and thus do not complete the full-round action required to gain psionic focus.

We don’t see this kind of interaction all that often because most things that require concentration don’t have require inherent Concentration checks; they just say that you have to concentrate to make it happen. If you take damage, then you need a Concentration check. If you take damage repeatedly, you would have to make multiple checks.

This is the same thing, you’re just starting with one required check before you even start worrying about any damage you might take.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just so I understand 100%, gaining psionic focus should be treated like manifesting a power as far as concentration is concerned in all respects except there is no level of power to add to the DC? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 29 at 17:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelDorf The default case described under the Concentration rules are for concentrating on things that are not powers—such as gaining psionic focus. Manifesting a power is an exceptional case with a particular footnote that adds the power’s level to the Concentration DC. So if you are damaged while manifesting a power, the DC is 10 + the power’s level + the damage taken. If you are damaged while gaining psionic focus, the DC is 10 + the damage taken. However, when gaining psionic focus, this check is in addition to the DC 20 check you have to make just as part of gaining psionic focus. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 29 at 18:24

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