Ark of the Covenant

Wondrous item, artifact

The Ark of the Covenant is the holiest relic of the Israelites. This acacia wood chest is plated with gold and carried by two gold-plated staves. Atop the Ark is a lid known as the mercy seat, where between the statues of two cherubim, Yahweh would appear and speak to Moses. Within the Ark are the two stone tablets given to Moses by Yahweh — the Ten Commandments. Additionally, according to some sources, the rod of Aaron and a pot of manna also reside within the Ark. The Ark is kept under a veil to shield mortal eyes. The otherworldly nature of the presence of Yahweh is incomprehensible and unbearable for mortals. This is why Yahweh often acts and speaks through intermediaries as to not harm the followers. This presence, manifest within the Ark, has caused it to become extremely dangerous to be in contact with or even in the presence of without proper precaution. The only ones allowed to transport the Ark were the Levites, descendants of the Tribe of Levi.

During the Battle of Jericho, the Israelites marched around the city with the Ark as their vanguard. A retinue of priests blew shofarim (horns), and the might of Yahweh caused the city walls to crumble. After the battle at Eben-Ezar, the Philistines defeated the Israelites, killing 30,000 men and seizing the Ark. While in their possession, the Ark caused them terrible misfortune and plague. As a result, they returned it to the Israelites.

  • Presence of God. While in the presence of the ark and if all ritual requirements have been met according to instruction, you may receive wisdom from Yahweh similar to the effects of the spell Commune.
  • Vanguard of the People. While the ark is carried by a military force, they have both the blessing of the Lord and the morale to inspire victory. The mechanical advantages of this blessing are incalculable, however if victory of the wielders is a part of the plan of Yahweh, it will be so.
  • Unknowable Presence. At the instruction of Yahweh, none may touch the ark—it must be carried by the gold-plated staves. The price of disobedience is death. There are no exceptions to this rule and a creature who touches the ark immediately dies. If the ark is ever opened, any who look upon the ark suffer the same effect.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

5E: Age of Antiquity Adventure and Intrigue in the Ancient World © 2019 Aruzian Publishing, Stephen Delucchi, Marcus Lundin

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