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Tru Davies (Eliza Dushku)

Tru Davies


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Eyes on the *text*, please… So, Tru Calling was a 2003/2005 supernatural TV show, starring Eliza Dushku. A morgue attendant, Tru Davies can be contacted by the dead and sort of rewind time to try and fix their last wish.

The show went under due to low ratings, and seems mostly forgotten now. As often with genre shows, the cancellation occurred when the story, after a flat S1, was finding its legs and stepping out of its procedural-with-a-twist format to develop its mythology.

Of course, with role-playing games we can revive anything we like that was killed too soon. Which, in this specific case, acquires a marked ironic character.


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Background

  • Real Name: Tru Davies.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Richard Davies (father), Elise Laura Davies (mother, deceased), Harrison Davies (brother), Meredith Davies (sister), Jordan Davies (stepmother).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: New York City.
  • Height: 5’10” Weight: 125 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

On various (and as yet unpredictable) occasions, a corpse in Tru’s presence will seemingly come to life. It will look in her direction and speak long enough to ask her for help.

These statements are only a short sentence such as “Help me,” or “Save her”. The last was uttered by the corpse of a dead parent asking Tru to save his child, who was also killed at the same time.

When this happens, Tru’s consciousness is catapulted back to the time and place she last woke up. However, she has full memory of the first time she lived through that day. Tru then uses this foreknowledge to answer the corpse’s cry for help.


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Skills

These missions are aided by Tru’s impressive set of skills.

  • She managed to save a gunshot victim with her medical skills, even with only a pre-med education.
  • Her talents as a detective and ability to play various impromptu roles in the course of her work are both extraordinary.
  • Tru was also a track star in college, and puts her athletic abilities to heavy use in her “second job.”

Because of the potential importance of even the smallest details during a rewind, Tru makes a point of memorizing everything she experiences to the best of her ability and this recall of minutiae has proven to be a valuable asset.


Video

Let’s go with a fan trailer, since the video quality of on-air promo reels is so-so.


History

Both Richard and Elise Davies had the ability to repeat days. Elise struggled to save the lives of the dead people whose requests for help triggered her rewinds. But on his end, Richard acted to preserve the original history or counter a life saved with a new death.

Richard eventually learned of Elise’s ability, but it is unknown if she was aware of his opposing powers and role. In 1993, Richard hired a hitman to kill Elise. This happened while her daughter Tru witnessed the incident, hiding inside a nearby closet. At Elise’s funeral, Tru heard her mother’s corpse say, “It’s okay, Tru.”

Physician, fund thyself

In 2003, Tru graduated New York University . However, her medical internship fell through due to lost funding. As a result, Tru took an alternative job in a severely understaffed morgue.

On her first night there, the corpse of Rebecca Morgan turned to make eye contact and asked for Tru’s help. Tru immediately found herself transported back in time to when she had woken up that day. She found Rebecca alive and spent the rest of the day trying to keep it that way. First by stopping two men she thought were going to kill Rebecca, then by talking her out of suicide.

Several more victims have summoned Tru since then. This added to the demands of her on-going medical studies, her “normal” work at the morgue, and bailing her brother Harrison out of various seedy situations. As it built up, stress induced mild insomnia .

Ms. Davies has enlisted help from both her brother and her supervisor at the morgue, the eccentric Dr. Davis. Both of them are now fully aware of her ability and help her out as best they can.

Always two there are

Eventually, Tru discovered her own opposite number, Jack Harper.

At first Tru mistakenly believed Jack’s abilities and actions were exactly like hers. In combination with a genuine friendship, this made him an eagerly accepted partner. They went from allies to bitter opposition when she learned Jack was actually a counter to her work. Worse, he had arranged the death of her current love interest as part of one of his missions.

Tru believed Jack was serving an evil purpose. But Jack simply saw her as misguidedly tampering with fate and thus risking severe long-term consequences.

An incident in which they found their roles switched helped Tru sympathize with Jack’s work even if she did not agree with it. While they continue to oppose one another’s roles in shaping fate, Tru has shown Jack some small kindnesses. That included inviting him to her Christmas party.

Unbeknownst to Tru, Jack’s plans to stop her are more insidious than she realizes. Dr. Davis’s new girlfriend, Carrie Allen, is a plant working for Jack. Furthermore, both Jack and Carrie are working for Tru’s father Richard. Richard is aware that his daughter has inherited her mother’s ability. He is apparently trying to stop her without bringing her to harm.

Equal and Opposite Reactors

Jack Harper was Tru’s enemy not because of any personal enmity, but because he served a function that was counter to hers. He arranged for the deaths of people who were apparently originally fated to die but did not.

Jack received the necessary information for his task by reawakening in the same way Tru did. But rather than simply rewinding as Tru did, he also possessed his victim’s memories of the original day. These included the foreordained death.

It is possible that if one either ceased accepting their “missions,” lost their ability somehow, or was incapacitated or killed, the other would also lose their ability. It is difficult to say without knowing:

  • The sources of their respective powers.
  • What relationships exist between those sources.
  • How exactly they’re meant to be each other’s counter.

When Tru’s mother (who had the same abilities as Tru) died, her husband (who was her counterpart) seemingly lost his abilities as well. Only later did those abilities reappear in Tru and Jack, respectively.

Hidden meaning (part 1)

A livejournal by one of the show’s writers and producers, Doris Egan, discussed planned story arcs for the (cancelled) rest of season two. As that author notes, the ideas in question would have likely seen modification as they were further developed in the show if it had continued.

Nevertheless, the information should serve as inspiration for story ideas if one were to feature Tru in a campaign. The following are selected quotes relating to the mythology behind the show and the next major story arc that was planned.)

“There are two great Powers in the universe concerned with humanity’s fate… The first Power long ago laid out the original plan the Earth has been following for millennia — to what end, we don’t know. (Jack’s side would have you believe that despite pain along the way, this is our best possible future.) Over time, a rebellious second Power arose that wanted to intervene and make changes. To “improve” things, whatever the risk of throwing the great plan off track.

“When a person dies who is on the crux of some change of Fate, someone who could influence things more than usual one way or another, this (rebellious) Power opens a door, you could say. And they offer that person a choice. You can go forward, or you can return and finish your life. If you truly want it, ask for it.

“Every time Tru saves someone who asks for help, she steers our race’s destiny a little further from what was originally planned, and a little closer to what the — let’s say, the editors — want. It would be interesting if somewhere along the way we discovered that one of these plans will end in a barren piece of rock and no human race. But which one ?

“Jensen (Tru’s boyfriend at the time the show ended) dies. The audience point of view is not privileged to see what happens to his soul (for lack of a better term) next. But we know he never ‘wakes,’ he never asks Tru for help. Either his soul never had that door opened for it — never had the chance to return — or he refused it. In which case, his soul’s gone on to wherever souls might go.

“Tru, however, saves him just the same, when her day rewinds…But Jensen’s soul is already committed — it can’t return, but his body, memories, and the habits of his personality continue after the time he ‘died.’ The idea was that over the course of the arc we would gradually see anomalies of character develop — unsettling moments, as the imprint of Jensen’s personality disintegrates, at the same time it becomes fascinated with death, in an almost wistful way.

Hidden meaning (part 2)

As the arc plays out, we hear the jarring comments he’ll occasionally make, the way the things that used to mean something to him — like his need for his father’s respect — are just no longer vulnerabilities. We see scenes that suggest a growing involvement with violence, in an unsettling but ambiguous way, so Tru can’t be sure it’s there or not.

Till one morning Tru wakes in bed with Jensen and goes about her day, which rewinds over the murder of Jensen’s father. Just before the rewind she learns that not only did Jensen do it, he’s been behind a string of recent killings (born of his fascination with learning about the thing he’s apparently been barred from — i.e., death).

She rewinds — and wakes up in bed next to him, knowing now that he’s a monster.“And that she created him. This was once a young man who won her with his generosity and understanding, his good humor and sweetness. He’s still bright, he’s still clever, there’s no evidence against him.

And he’ll be creating a lot more victims, starting on this rewind day with his father — unless she takes the responsibility for putting an end to him. So she finally turns to the person with experience in ending people’s lives: Jack.”

These excerpts and a great deal more information about planned stories and background details can be found in the following entries
http://tightropegirl.livejournal.com/2005/04/30/
http://tightropegirl.livejournal.com/2005/05/10/
http://tightropegirl.livejournal.com/2005/05/31/


Description

Tru Davies is a White female of average height and toned build. She sports slightly wavy hair that falls two or three inches past her shoulders. She has a charming smile that highlights her rounded cheekbones.

She usually wears blue jeans, light shirts or blouses with low neck-lines, one of a variety of small gold necklaces, and either a blue denim or a light brown leather jacket. At work, she dons a white lab coat over the above.


Personality

Usually a person of quiet determination, Davies pursues her normal activities with drive and enthusiasm but not to the point of obsession. Her calling is a different story — she will set everything else aside to save the lives of those who ask for her help. She pursues these missions with visibly fierce devotion.

However, this does not go to the point of violence. Even when opposed by Jack, who she thought of for a time as a cold-blooded killer, Tru did not threaten him physically or attempt to attack him. Instead she worked all the harder to foil his efforts by saving the lives of those who requested her aid.

Tru is also very loyal to her friends and loved ones. So much so that she will go out her way to encourage and support them even when she has her doubts about the situation. She has also used the foreknowledge that comes with her ability to help those around her avoid trouble when she can.


Quotes

Jack Harper: “You have no idea what you’re doing ! If you save someone who shouldn’t be here, there are consequences.”
Tru: “You think I’m messing up some grand plan ? Maybe I am the plan !”

“My mother had the calling, and she passed it on to me. If you think for one minute that I am EVER going to stop, you’re wrong.”

Jack: “Looks like I got the day off, ’cause you’re good, Davies, but you’re not that good. Stale corpse, no clues. Hey, what if I was to offer to help you with your job today ?”
Tru: “What if I was to offer to help you kiss my ass ?”


DC Universe History

Several DCU groups including the Monitors and the Linear Men might be the source of Tru’s and Jack’s powers, possibly through inadvertent means (a side-effect of an experiment conducted by said groups) or as a counteractive measure by universal forces in response to those groups’ activities.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Tru Davies

Dex: 04 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Mortuary Attendant
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 013 HP: 025

Powers:
Recall: 06, Time Travel: 17

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Recall is a Skilled Power (+10BC).
  • Time Travel can only reverse time to the point that Tru last awoke (-3FC).
  • Time Travel only works on Tru’s mind (Tru retains her memories of the original timeline but cannot bring back objects, does not retain injuries received during the period that was “rewound” by Time Travel, etc.) (-2FC total).
  • Time Travel must be activated by a corpse requesting help (-2FC).

Skills:
Acrobatics (Athletics): 02, Artist (Actor)*: 04, Charisma: 07, Detective (All except Law)*: 05, Medicine (All except Brainwashing): 04, Thief (Stealth)*: 04, Vehicles (Land, Sea)*: 04

Advantages:
Credentials (City Morgue, Low), Confidants (Harrison Davies, Morgue Supervisor Davis).

Connections:
None (All are accounted for by her Credentials or her Confidants).

Drawbacks:
Dark Secret (Rewinding), Enemy (Jack Harper).


Dodging a Bullet

Tru was once saved from taking what would have likely been a fatal gunshot wound. This occurred when a corpse asked for her help just as an assailant fired his pistol at her. In game terms, Tru can use Time Travel as the OV against any attack (subject to GM discretion) by spending 10 HPs in the presence of a corpse.

If said attack fails to hit, this can be interpreted as the corpse asking for help and causing time to rewind just before the attack would have struck. Thus removing Tru from the scene entirely as she is now back in the past.


Making the Call

while Time Travel is used to represent Tru’s calling, there are conceptual problems with this approach. First, some commentators were concerned that using time travel to have Tru effectively inhabit her old body was an over-reaching stretch of the power. Second, it might be difficult to use the character with a group of PCs while using the time travel approach.

An alternative method of depicting Tru’s powers would be to replace Time Travel with Precognition: 25. If so, replace the current Bonuses and Limitations section with the following:

  • Precognition can only be used while Tru is sleeping (-2FC).
  • Precognition can only be used to see Tru’s own future from the time she next awakes up until the time a corpse would ask for her help and is only triggered if a corpse would do so during Tru’s next period of wakefulness (-3FC total).
  • Recall can be used for events foreseen by Precognition (+0FC).

If the “Making the Call” option is used then “Dodging a Bullet” should not be used since in that case the “attack” never actually occurred, at least not for game purposes.

By Robert Marcum (v1.0) and Roy Cowan (v1.1).

Source of Character: Tru Calling (TV Series), character played by Eliza Dushku.

Helper(s): Vincent P. Bartilucci, John Colagioia, KalEl el Vigilante, Eric Langendorff, Mikael B, Frank Murdock, Rgorman, Nick Yankovec.

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