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Are there one or more ways for a creature in a campaign that usually uses for its psionics rules the Expanded Psionics Handbook to gain psionic combat attack and defense modes from the Psionics Handbook? Like from a deeply obscure feat or a not-updated-to-3.5 prestige class or psionic item?


"Hey, what are you trying to pull?"

This is totally shenanigans-free. I'm not trying to break anybody's game or anything. About ten Wizards of the Coast-published feats in a database I'm assembling expand a creature's Psionics Handbook-era psionic combat options, and I'm wondering if these feats should be noted as absolutely impossible to benefit from (i.e. obsolete) in the typical kitchen-sink-but-Wizards-of-the-Coast-material-only Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 campaign or if there's some convoluted way to still somehow access them, even if only theoretically because no sane DM will actually let a player use them.

For those who don't know, the Psionics Handbook (Mar. 2001) included a wildly unpopular minigame of psionic combat (40-4). With the Expanded Psionics Handbook (Apr. 2004) this minigame was gone, but remnants of it are scattered across various Web articles (The curious can check out Web articles predating the XPH here).

The only attack or defense mode that lacks an identically-named psionic power (in the SRD, anyway) is the attack mode mind blast (Psionics Handbook 43-4), so access to that one attack mode as an attack mode (not, like, because the dude's a mind flayer) would be best.

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You can become a truth seeker, which to my knowledge was never officially updated. The requirements are easily met (nonevil, base attack bonus +5, three feats, and two skills).

At 1st level, a truth seeker learns two of the ten psionic combat modes.

This option is superior to the prestige class ruby disciple because the latter progresses combat modes "as a psychic warrior" which now means not at all. Most other not-updated prestige classes share this problem or don't progress combat modes at all.

You can also try to lean on a certain reading of the feat Resculpt Mind.

Instead of gaining a new psionic combat mode when you go up a level, you instead choose any metapsionic feat, gaining it as a bonus feat. You now choose to gain a metapsionic feat or a psionic combat mode at each level you normally qualify for a new psionic combat mode (3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th).

You still have the option of gaining four of the five the psionic combat modes you gave up for bonus metapsionic feats, at levels 13th, 15th, 17th, and 19th, respectively. You may not give up psionic combat modes for bonus metapsionic feats at these higher levels.

It requires a very particular reading, but the feat says "you still have the option" of gaining combat modes. It's obviously referring to getting the modes you gave up for metapsionic feats, but a case can be made that the feat lets anybody who has it gain psionic combat modes at levels 13, 15, 17, and 19.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Since all the combat modes were converted to powers in 3.5, I would look at the possibility of having the feats in question modify the powers - perhaps a mild re-wording so that the feat adds an augment to the power(s) formerly known as psionic combat modes. \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Jul 20 '16 at 17:01
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It's impossible to gain any psionic combat modes in 3.5...

...because none exist.

All psionic combat modes were described in the 3.0 Psionics Handbook. However, the Psionics Handbook has been fully superseded by the 3.5 Expanded Psionics Handbook. This article on the Wizards site has a Wizards representative refer to the Expanded Psionics Handbook as an updated version of the Psionics Handbook. It's highly unlikely that anybody found it necessary to bother to explicitly spell it out just because they changed the name, but it's sufficiently clear to me, at least, that the new book replaces the old, including all contents.

Therefore, even if one takes a still-valid character option that allows you to select some number of psionic combat modes...they no longer exist, as the contents of the book they were all described in are no longer valid in 3.5. Another source describing one or more psionic combat modes would be required for any to even exist anymore.

For additional support on the "fully superseded" claim, this unofficial FAQ on the Wizards forums shows this interpretation to be widely accepted among the 3.5 community, including being used in the top and accepted answer to the question Is the Psionics handbook from 3.0 compatible with D&D 3.5.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Seriously, that should be true, but that answer links to a now-deleted FAQ created by, I think, Wizards of the Coast forum members, the information in that answer now extant nowhere else but that answer. Can you provide a more current source that has Wizards of the Coast saying, "The company disavows the Psionics Handbook. Don't use it in your games," or whatever? (If you can, you should update that answer, too!) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 4 '16 at 23:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I can't necessarily provide a different source, but how about a different copy of the same source? Just updated the link in the linked answer to a Wayback Machine archive of the forum thread in question. Is that sufficient? \$\endgroup\$ – Michaellogg Feb 5 '16 at 2:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Very cool. However, Tempest Stormwind, while a well-respected member of the gaming community, isn't a representative of Wizards of the Coast, and I still don't know if the company's ever said, "Throw out your dumb old Psionics Handbook and forget it ever existed--nothing in it's valid anymore," or whatever. (If you're going to challenge the frame, you could go with Why a Revision? (DMG 4) and explain how the DM should modify those feats to fit the 3.5 campaign which will, obviously, use 3.5 psionics... or something. That doesn't help me with my database problem, though. :-)) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 5 '16 at 3:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ The truth seeker in the other answer isn't from Psionics Handbook, though, so even if that claim were valid, it wouldn't apply to that class. And with that class in play, so are the psionic combat rules. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 5 '16 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, I have edited that answer to correctly identify what is being linked, because the inaccurate label has tricked you and quite possibly other voters. It's not even remotely official and shouldn't indicate that it is. You may want to consider that with respect to this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 5 '16 at 14:07

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