The power schism says

Your mind splits into two independent parts. 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 if the action is purely mental (such as manifesting a power) in the same round you take your normal actions.

While I'm affected by schism can I use the schism standard action to concentrate on another psionic power?

For example, while affected by the power schism I manifest the power energy wall that has a duration of concentration (plus 1 round). Next turn, can I concentrate to maintain the energy wall effect with the schism action and manifest another power, even though I can't normally manifest another power while already concentrating on a power?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure, bit I think this part of rules have been revised during 3.5 lifetime. Could you tell us which psionic books are you using? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 13:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I cleaned this up a little. I hope that's okay. I also put the question into more mechanical terms just to save folks from thinking they should explain those, too. If the question no longer makes sense or isn't asking what you want it to ask, please, by all means, edit it further or revert to the original. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 13:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot Since the link's to the 3.5 SRD and the Psionics Handbook is terrible, I think I'm safe going out on a limb and saying the Expanded Psionics Handbook for 3.5e. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I sure hope so, but I'd like to hear that from OP :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 13:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Thanks for the edit it's clearer that way ! And yes it's Expanded Psionics Handbook i'm using. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yann_Dev
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 13:19

3 Answers 3



There are two impediments here:

  • Schism-copies are only capable of performing “purely-mental actions.”

  • One is not able to manifest a power while concentrating on another.

Purely mental actions

“Purely mental action” is not a strictly-defined term in the rules, so we are left trying to categorize actions as this based on our real-world understanding of the terms. The sense of the term is that any action that requires some kind of physical movement (of the person, of the hands, of an object, etc. etc.) is not purely mental, and all other actions are.

No physical movement is obviously associated with concentrating, and while the Concentration skill notes several types of forced movement that make concentrating harder, it makes no mention of paralysis preventing concentration. The paralysis condition itself also uses the term “purely mental actions” to describe what a paralyzed creature can do.

Finally, the FAQ, flawed though it is, does cover the question of purely mental actions on page 94, and explicitly lists concentration as one of the actions that is purely mental:

What exactly counts as a “purely mental” action, such as those allowed to the second mind created by the schism power (XPH 130)?


  • Concentrating to maintain a spell.

So based on these pieces of evidence, while none of it comes out and explicitly and authoritatively states that concentration is a purely mental action, it seems to be a very safe claim to say it is.

Manifesting while concentrating on another power

You can’t manifest a power while concentrating on another one.

This is not a problem. You aren’t concentrating on the power. The schism-created-copy-of-you is concentrating. Thus you are still free to manifest another power. This is consistent with something schism does explicitly state:

Your second mind doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity when manifesting a power, because doing so doesn’t distract your primary mind.

Just like how the schism-created-copy-of-you does not distract you when manifesting, its concentration also does not prevent you from focusing on manifesting another power, since it is not requiring your attention.

A snag here: transferring concentration?

One issue that is not well-addressed is the question of whether or not the schism-created-copy-of-you can concentrate on a power that you manifested in the first place. That is, can you transfer the responsibility of concentrating on a power to the schism-created-copy-of-you?

If not, then the schsim-created-copy-of-you can only concentrate on powers that it manifested in the first place, which means only powers manifested under that −6 penalty to manifester level (and, more importantly, maximum power points spent). And if you manifest a power requiring concentration, and you can’t transfer that, then you are left manifesting only with the schism-created-copy-of-you, again with that −6 penalty to manifester level.

I would argue that you cannot perform this kind of transfer to the schism-created-copy-of-you. This kind of transfer is possible, but you need a special power to do it—like solicit psicrystal, which transfers concentrating to your psicrystal. The schism power does not give you any such explicit ability to transfer concentration, so you cannot.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the detailed answer! The last part about transferring concentration was exactly what i had in mind, but it seemed a little too powerful to me. Also, it's more logical that one mind concentrate only on its own power since they're independent. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yann_Dev
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can have two mind but still you are one creature, you are both minds, so you can't concentrate AND manifest. You can say that Schist speak about two mind in the same body, but the rules forbid you, the whole, mind and body, not just your mind to do both things. If I cast a charme spell on you, you have to do a save for both your mind, because you are one creature (like the target of a charme). You can't count your two mind like two separated creature \$\endgroup\$
    – fabio
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 16:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fabio Yes, but the restriction on manifesting while concentrating says nothing about creatures. It says “you.” And in this case, “you” are an entity who is sharing mental real estate with another entity inside one creature. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 16:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know if comments are the right place to discuss but if entity one is you, are you saying that entity two is... someone else? So what happen when you cast a spell with target 'you'? \$\endgroup\$
    – fabio
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 12:42

I reread schism just now and it's awkward, because Schism is technically a lower level version of yourself that has access to your power points. It can use powers, and take mental actions, which means it can become psionically focused, and it can concentrate on powers it has manifested, but it cannot "take" your concentration because it is considered a separate person. If there is a telepathic power that allows someone else to take your concentration, then that power could be used by the Schism mind to take over by the same rules.

I propose a feat or pair of feats for schism that allow it to perform stupid pet tricks like a psicrystal, in this case, taking over your concentration, and for another feat, or a second ability of the same feat, another psionic focus that you can access. Not going to make anti-house rules types happy, but it makes sense.


No, you can't concentrating on a power and at the same time manifest another power because the rules say (ExPH pg 61):

You can’t manifest a power while concentrating on another one.

That isn't a problem of how many actions you have but a problem of actions incompatibles.

In a faq is explained that to concentrate to maintain a power is a mental action but anyway you can do while you are manifesting another power.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer would be improved if it did not rely solely on the FAQ. See What's wrong with the FAQ? for more details. Ultimately, the FAQ can be and often is wrong, which makes it problematic to use without showing that the actual rules back it up. (To be clear, I do not think this is one of those times when the FAQ is wrong, I just think it’s important for an answer to demonstrate that.) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand your RAW ruling. I mean, I do, but I don't see how it applies. Concentrating to maintain a spell or power usually takes a standard action. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 14:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ My wrong... maybe before the edits the original question mentioned a free action o maybe I'm just confused. I'll edit my answer \$\endgroup\$
    – fabio
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Upon reflection, does the FAQ actually answer the asker's question? That is, really, can a psion affected by schism take a standard action to concentrate on a power with the schism action and manifest another power? The FAQ only says the schism standard action can be used for concentrating, but it doesn't say what the psion can do with his normal actions nor if he's allowed to break the general rules about no manifesting while concentrating (or even manifesting two powers per turn!) because of the schism effect! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 14:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fabio As I understood it in the ExPH you quoted, you can't manifest a power because you're already concentrating on one. So either you break your concentration to manifest another power, or you just keep concentrating. I agree it's confusing that's why i wanted your opinion... The schism power does not provide much information. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yann_Dev
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 15:36

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