Schemas are the magic of Eberron in recorded form. Dating back to the time of the Giants, schemas have been used to pass magical knowledge through the generations. An individual schema might be a few sigils carved into a stone tablet, or an elaborate scripted presentation on the torso of a warforged titan.
In most cases, an individual schema represents a specific magical building block. These blocks can be combined into magical patterns, storing power ranging from simple cantrips to world-shaking destruction. A House Cannith magewright might use a simple pattern to quickly create hundreds of continual flame stones for use in street lamps, even as agents of the Emerald Claw seek to build a pattern that can replicate the destruction of Cyre.
Some schemas are representations of spells or infusions, which in knowledgeable hands can be used to replicate the casting of those spells. Such items are commonly called minor schemas. A minor schema stores a single spell or infusion of up to 6th level, and can be used once per day. It can be crafted with the Etch Schema feat (see page 47). Spells or infusions with a costly material component, a costly focus, or an XP cost cannot be stored in a minor schema.
Description: A minor schema is usually a flat strip of some durable material (commonly metal or wood) approximately 2 inches wide and a foot or more long, with carved or etched symbols and sigils covering its face. A minor schema that stores a low-level spell or infusion might appear fairly simple, whereas a schema with a higher-level spell might have hundreds of components incorporated within its mystical diagram. A typical minor schema weighs approximately 1 pound. Minor schemas are never constructed of parchment or other frail materials.
Prerequisite: To use a minor schema, the spell or infusion contained within the item must be on your class spell list. Can make a use magic device check if you do not have the spell on your spell list (detailed below)
Activation: Determining what spell or infusion is recorded on a minor schema requires a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the level of the spell or infusion). Read magic does not decipher a minor schema, though identify and similar spells will.
If the spell or infusion contained within a minor schema is on your class list, then you can activate that minor schema as a spell completion item (much like activating a scroll) once per day. Schemas have no arcane or divine designation; they are usable by any character with the spell on his spell list regardless of the type of spells he casts. Unlike a scroll, no minimum ability score is required to use a minor schema.
If your caster level is lower than the minor schema’s caster level, you must make a caster level check (DC equal to the schema’s caster level +1) to use the device successfully. If you fail, the schema becomes dormant and does not function for 1d6 days, but no other mishap occurs due to failure.
If the spell or infusion on a schema is not on your class list, you must instead succeed on a Use Magic Device check (DC 20 + the caster level of the spell or infusion) to activate a minor schema. (As with other spell completion items, artificers must make a Use Magic Device check to use minor schemas, even if a schema’s spell or infusion appears on their class list.) Failure renders the minor schema dormant for 1d6 days, as noted above. In any case, you must be able to see and read the pattern on a minor schema to activate it.
Activating a minor schema provokes attacks of opportunity, and it is subject to disruption just as casting a spell would be. Unlike reading a scroll, a chance for arcane spell failure does not apply when activating a minor schema.
Aura/Caster Level: Faint (1st-level to 3rd-level spell or infusion) or moderate (4th-level to 6th-level spell or infusion) varied. CL minimum required to cast the spell or infusion stored in the item.
Construction: Requires Etch Schema, the spell contained in the item, 200 gp, 16 XP, 1 day (1st); 1,200 gp, 96 XP, 3 days (2nd); 3,000 gp, 240 XP, 6 days (3rd); 5,600 gp, 448 XP, 12 days (4th); 9,000 gp, 720 XP, 18 days (5th); 13,200 gp, 1,056 XP, 27 days (6th).
Price:400 gp (1st), 2,400 gp (2nd), 6,000 gp (3rd), 11,200 gp (4th), 18,000 gp (5th), 26,400 gp (6th).