Magic and Psychic

When using psionics in your campaigns, you must resolve any interactions between psychic effects and magical effects.


Psychic abilities aren’t magical. They are more akin to ki used by monks, being magic like, but not magic in the sense of spells or magical items.

Spell Level and Power Level

Since psionic powers don’t have levels normally, when interacting with effects that use spell levels, you need to calculate the effective spell level for a power. To determine the effective level of a power, divide the power points used to augment it by two (round up). Power level can’t exceed 9th level (at 17 or more power points).

    Powers manifest without power points are equivalent to cantrips.


Features, spells, powers, and effects that can dispel either magic effects or psionic effects won’t work on the other. For example, dispel magic won’t remove the effects of a psionic power. If an effect expressly indicates it dispels any supernatural effects or both magic and psionic powers, then it affects both.

    As a general guideline, if a dispel mechanic can dispel the effects of a monk’s ki abilities, it can disrupt psionic powers. For instance, the Antimagic Cone trait of a beholder can remove a monk’s Ki-Empowered Strikes effect, and could likewise counter the mystic arms power as both effects are counted as magical.


In most cases, spells and powers can’t be used to counter each other.

    Detection. Psychic abilities are invoked with the mind. Certain powers have noticeable visual effects that indicate a power is being used, while other powers only have a psychic sensation. See the Powers chapter for more information on which powers can be detected as they are manifested and maintained.

    If a psychic creature is maintaining a power or psychic feature, it has the psionic focus condition and onlookers can determine that it is maintaining a psychic ability by succeeding a DC 12 Intelligence (Investigation) check. If the creature has psychic abilities of its own, it requires no action. Otherwise, a creature must take a bonus action to discern if a power or psychic feature is being maintained.


 Most powers don’t count as spells or magic, unless stated so, and as such aren’t suppressed by antimagic fields and similar effects. Use the monk ki test to determine if a power is affected by antimagic effects. If a monk’s feature isn’t suppressed, then a psionic power isn’t either.


Under normal circumstances, it is impossible to maintain a power and concentrate on a spell at the same time. If you cast a spell that requires concentration, each power you are maintaining immediately ends. Likewise, in order to maintain a psionic power, you must cease concentrating on a spell.

    You can, however, use a psicrystal to maintain a power for you, allowing you to use your concentration on a spell.

    There are cases where a power may have a period where they are in effect, but not maintained through concentration, such as the Way of Insight monk’s Lingering Powers feature. In this case, concentration can be used for a spell without ending the psionic power early.

Variant Rule: Psionics Are Magic

If you use both spells and powers in your campaign, you can rule that whatever affects spells also effects powers and vice versa. In this case, disregard the above interaction rules. Instead, dispel and counter effects apply to both, and powers are unable to be manifest within and are cancelled by antimagic fields.

Variant Rule: Ki is Psychic

If you prefer to have ki effects operate using the same energies as psychic powers, you can rule that all monk ki abilities are psychic and interact as psychic abilities, subject to psychic static effects.