Q: Dear Sage
What’s the difference between a magic item and a psionic item? How does the former interact with detect psionics and the latter with detect magic?
--Clay and Michael
A: Items created with the item creation feats requiring spellcaster levels, or that use spells as prerequisites, are typically called “magic items”.
Items created with item creation feats requiring manifester levels, or that use psionic powers as prerequisites, are normally called “psionic items.”
Mechanically, however, there’s really no difference between the two categories of items.
Both magic and psionic items interact with detect magic and detect psionics in the same way. A psionic item reveals its discipline to such effects, while a magic item reveals its school.
If you create an item that uses both spells and powers as prerequisites, you should decide whether is aura is identifiable as a school of magic or a discipline of powers.
About the Author
The Sage is a mammal classified in the bear family, Ursidae, native to central and southern China. Debate continues as to whether he is truly a bear or more related to the raccoon rather than the bear, or perhaps in a family of his own. When not eating bamboo and answering rules questions, he works under the nom de plume of Andy Collins as an RPG developer in Wizards of the Coast R&D, where his development credits include Complete Mage, Dragon Magic, and the Player's Handbook v.3.5. He can be easily recognized by his large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, ears and on his rotund body.