Descended from the primordial entities Abzu and Tiamat, Shamash is one of the Anunnaki. Immortal and powerful beyond the imagining of most mundane beings, Shamash is representative of the sun, truth, justice, and other orbits he has shared with his children.
Animal Hybridization / Others: in addition to adopting animal forms himself, Shamash has been known to transform others in a like fashion. He may do this with Remarkable (30) ability, and thus far has demonstrated the power to make men into either gazelles or snakes.
Animal Hybridization / Self: though he is primarily described as human, Shamash is also associated with the lion, and is often depicted as such. Thus, Shamash can be assumed to have the Incredible (40) ability to partially or completely assume leonine characteristics.
Aura / Plasma: despite his many qualities, Shamash is known as a sun god above all else. He may thus surround his body with a powerful aura of plasma, one which burns with Unearthly (100) intensity, and provides him the following defense against assault:
Mn 75 / Un 100 / Rm 30 / Gd 10 / Pr 4
* Flight: while he typically relies upon Bunene to chariot him across the skies, Shamash is often depicted at the heart of a bird comprised of light and heat. This grants him Shift Y (200) flight, at 1,037.54 miles per hour, a representation of his daily movement around the earth.
* Plasma Generation: though he's not actually the sun, Shamash nonetheless can emit vast amounts of plasma energy, symbolic of providing light and heat to the earth. He can discharge Monstrous (75) amounts of plasma, which inflicts AP SD Energy damage with each blast.
Disguise: over the years, Shamash has meant different things to different people. In fact, he was often considered female by the ancient Canaanites. Able to assume whichever gender his worshipers require of him, Shamash may change appearance with Remarkable (30) skill.
Immortality: though numerous generations removed from the origins of his pantheon of gods, Shamash is an immortal being. He can be brought to zero Health and/or Endurance, and can even be killed, but will not die. No matter what happens, Shamash will persist indefinitely.
* Awe: as can his fellow Anunnaki, Shamash may wreathe his very body in the terrible power of his undying essence. Those within Very Near distance who fail a Psyche (will) FEAT against this Monstrous (75) spectral display are stupefied until they can overcome its power.
* Boon: Shamash readily grants entreaties for power related to his orbits of influence, doing so with Monstrous (75) ability. These include requests to grant spell effects, or at least enhancements to such, that line up with his own power roster (minus immortality, of course).
Shamash is so renowned for the extent of his vision, however, that he is often called upon to perform additional boons. These can include requests related to clairvoyance for far seeing, or even to perceive the future, granted upon the performance of ritual extispicy.
Finally, as the sun god of the Babylonians, Shamash is often called upon to burn out poison, plague, and demons within those who are afflicted by such. The hope is usually that Shamash will judge the target of such efforts worthy of restoration - and not immolation, instead.
Lie Detection: from his vantage point high in the sky, Shamash witnesses all. A god of truth, Shamash can readily discern such from falsehoods, doing so with Remarkable (30) ability. This ability comes in handy when performing some of his more mundane duties.
Telescopic Vision: enabling him to see all that occurs below his lofty perch during the day, Shamash can focus his vision on vastly distant objects. Functioning at Unearthly (100) rank, Shamash can spy any events within his direct line of sight, up to 2.5 billion miles away.
Limitations / Enhancements:
Chronological Constraints: after sunset and before dawn, Shamash is far more vulnerable than is usual. He only has access to his disguise and immortality powers during this time, which puts him at a distinct disadvantage in nocturnal combat should that ever occur.
Chariot: primarily, Shamash was envisioned as riding across the sky in a chariot, one driven by his son, Bunene. Shamash may use his disguise and plasma aura through it, however, causing it to blaze as it soars, or alternately letting it appear as either a ship or a horse.
Mace: should he need to defend justice, Shamash has been known to wield a mace - something he has had to do on more than one occasion. Shamash can use this weapon to inflict his Strength rank +1 CS in Blunt Attack damage. It presumably is of at least Monstrous (75) m.s.
Pruning Saw: emblematic of his task of bringing life-giving light to crops, Shamash often carries an implement resembling a saw-toothed sickle. This implement can be used to inflict Shamash's Strength rank in Edged Attack damage, and is presumably of at least Monstrous (75) m.s.
Law 2: Shamash has multiple duties related to common law. Alongside his wife, Aya, he observes financial transactions made in the E-babbar and other houses of worship, including field rentals, house rentals, and temple loans, ensuring fair exchanges for all.
Law Enforcement: furthermore, Shamash is required to spend some time in Irkalla each day after the sun sets, where he must rule on the various disputes of the dead. One of Those who Judge, Shamash's legal background makes him an excellent person to fulfill this role.
Married to the ever-youthful Aya, Shamash can naturally rely upon her for almost any assistance he should need - the two work together daily, after all. One of the more powerful Anunnaki, Shamash can readily call upon his pantheon for aid in a pinch, as well.
Whether holding court in the E-babbar or illuminating the earth from on high, Shamash tends to wear similar clothing. His ensembles usually consist of a luxurious skirt that extends to his knees, a horned cap, sandals, assorted jewelry, and occasionally a regal scepter.
Shamash is generally considered a benevolent god, fairly administering the spirit of the law, unlike Marduk's strict interpretation of its letter. A loving husband and father, Shamash includes his family in his work, sharing the benefits and power that worship of him provides.
Real Name: Shamash
Occupation: god of the sun, truth, and justice
Legal Status: the citizen of no mortal land, Shamash can be considered one of the people of extraplanar Ubshukkina
Marital Status: married
Alias(es), if any: Shemesh, Utu
Group Affiliation: the Anunnaki
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 225 lbs.
Other Distinguishing Characteristics: Shamash is described as having a powerful build, with long arms with which to perform his many duties, and a considerable beard.
Shamash has been venerated by humanity since the beginnings of written history. The son of Sin and Ningal, Shamash is a sixth generation Anunnaki, and one of the most important figures in that pantheon of gods. The god of the sun, it is Shamash who gives crops the energy with which they can flourish, and his daily trek over the world enabled mankind to advance beyond subsistence hunting and herding.
Before they settled down, the Sumerians generally considered Shamash to be less than Sin in power and prestige, as their culture of migratory herders relied upon moonlight to ply their trade. However, as agriculture became more prevalent in the Fertile Crescent, Shamash quickly grew to equal Sin in influence, his life-giving heat and light enabling civilization's growth and development.
Every day, after the darkness has been dispelled by the dawn, Shamash leaves his underground home and gets to work. Issuing forth from a large gate at the Mountain of the East at dawn, one guarded by monstrous Aqrabuamelu, Shamash rides across the skies. At sunset, he returns to the earth through a similarly secured gate in the Mountain of the West, at which time he attends to his other duties.
As he travels west over our world, Shamash illuminates the earth with his invaluable solar energies. It is from this vantage point that Shamash can see everything that transpires on the world below, which has given him a reputation for considerable visual acuity. A witness to all that occurs during the day, Shamash's spheres of influence have come to include truth and justice.
This has primarily given him the responsibility to oversee financial transactions undertaken in the temple, a duty which Shamash executes with even-handed fairness, but it also requires him to adjudicate disputes amongst the dead in Irkalla. In these situations, Shamash rules with justice in mind, taking the spirit of the law into consideration over its letter.
But even time itself is apparently no barrier to Shamash's vision. He is often called upon during rituals of extispicy to help foretell the future. Though it is a gruesome practice, Shamash nonetheless respects the effort involved in such ceremonies, and often grants knowledge of what is to come in response. Whether or not a petitioner can discern the meaning of what Shamash reveals is another matter entirely.
Though the Babylonians know Shamash by this name, other cultures have regarded him somewhat differently. The Sumerians, for example, called him Utu, while the Canaanites referred to him as Shemesh. Of course, the latter people regarded Shemesh as a female deity, which gives him the ability to answer the faithful in either gender, depending on who is calling upon him (or her, as the case may be) at the time.
Supplementing his ability to manifest as either a male or a female, Shamash can take the form of at least one animal as well. This is because, in addition to being depicted as a strong, bearded man with long arms, wearing a luxurious skirt and carrying various accoutrements of his station, Shamash is also represented with, or even as, a lion now and then. This animal is thus emblematic of the sun god.
Despite a few failed, drunken attempts to woo his twin sister, Ishtar, Shamash ultimately wed Aya, the goddess of the dawn. As the two work together, this was something of a natural fit for the deities, and they have remained married ever since. In fact, the two have had several children of their own, including Bunene, Kittu, and Mesharu, all of which inherited aspects of Shamash's might.
Though worshiped throughout the Fertile Crescent and beyond, the primary centers of Shamash's priesthood were in Larsa (near modern Sankarah) and Sippar (near modern Tell ed-Der). In each of these ancient cities, Shamash maintained a temple known as E-babbar, which can translate into either the 'White House' or 'Shimmering House', as properly befits a god of the sun and the law.
I offer this Universal Heroes work under the Creative Commons Attribution license. This means you may use this material in any way you see fit, whether copying, distributing, or displaying all or part of its text, as long as you credit me, in either your own derivative texts or products. If you would like more information about me for attribution, you can contact me via e mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you're not seeing this content within the technohol.com domain, it's been stolen by someone who doesn't respect others' work.