JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
is a bizarre place, especially that of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, a massively
popular and highly recommended manga (and anime) series. Due to the craziness
of the fights, mind-busting strategies and “unique” style of the characters,
Risus stands up as the system of choice for such an adventure. This document
contains explanations for the strange powers used throughout the series, sample
Clichés and many suggestions to truly make your adventure unique and bizarre.
It also contains many iterations of the word “bizarre”, so be warned. Beware that this setting also makes use of shield-mates and double-pumping rules.
Narration and toneJojo’s Bizarre
Adventure features compelling and unique characters and is a rather serious
story… at times. The series excels in alternating funny and light-hearted moments to grim,
viscerally violent and sad ones. The tone of the narrative should respect this style
as closely as possible: some villains will be ugly, fat cowards taunting the
players (ending up with some broken bones at most), others will be cunning
masterminds, surgically attacking the characters’ beliefs and performing some
truly heinous acts. Luckily, Risus works wonders in both occasions: the fights
are in fact more strategy than brute force either way and the heroes usually
win by coming up with a bizarre and bombastic plan.
The world of JoJo
Adventure takes place in the modern world, but nothing really stops you from
setting your campaign in ancient times or the far future. What distinguishes
JoJo’s world from our own is a strong supernatural element. More specifically,
Jojo’s world includes various “powers” and creatures, but they usually appear
in very specific story arcs. They can be divided into:
- Vampires: born for donning a
cursed stone mask, vampires suck the blood of their victims to gain power.
Vampiric powers are mostly based on a fine control over one’s own cells, thus
allowing for the rapid evaporation of water (and consequent freezing), shooting
of high pressure fluids from the eyes etc.
- Pillar Men: one step above
vampires, these hellish creatures can control their own metabolism to a perfect
degree and can freely change consistency and shape. They can even burrow into
living things and “digest” them in a matter of seconds. Incredibly intelligent,
they are weak only to sunlight, like vampires.
- Hamon: also known as the “ripple”,
Hamon is a martial art used by the “good guys” in the first two arcs of the
series. it consists in channeling the energy of the sun trough one’s own
breathing. This energy takes the form of yellow shockwaves and can pass through
living matter, acting like a magnet and causing a plethora of effects. Vampires
and Pillar Men are weak to Hamon and disintegrate if struck.
Part 3 onwards:
- Stand: present from arc 3 onwards,
the Stand is a power unique for each individual. It’s represented as a ghostly
figure that “stands” by its user and can interact with the physical world.
These Stands usually have strange powers, like pyrokinesis, mind control,
turning into a gelatin etc. Being the most famous power of the series, it’s
also the one I’ll spend the most time rambling about.
- Spin: present in the seventh and
eight arcs of the series, the Spin is a martial art that involves impressing a
rotation to an object (usually a spherical steel ball) and exploiting the
Magnus effect to one’s own advantage. A properly “spinning” object will
transfer its rotation to anything it touches, with either damaging or strategic
- Rock humans: similar to humans,
these creatures undergo extended periods of lethargy by literally turning into
stone. They can also do so consciously as a form of self-defense. 95% of them
are stand users.
applicable to a modern-world setting can be used: it’s not uncommon in JoJo for
an expert chief to use his skills in a Stand fight. What distinguishes this
setting from others are the following Cliché templates:
- Disciple of the Spin technique: tossing
stuff that really hurts, stimulating muscles, deflecting projectiles, squeezing
one’s skin to make it bulletproof, creating rifts in dimensional barriers.
- Disciple of the Hamon arts: healing
one’s wounds, not getting old, making vampires explode, walking on water,
harden organic materials, stick to organic materials like a magnet.
- Vampire: Shooting ocular fluid
like a sniper rifle, freezing flesh, being immortal, super-strength, posing.
- Pillar Man: Burrowing into living
matter, super strength, super-intelligence, complete body control.
Note that Vampire and Pillar Man should be used by villains
- Stand name: […]: using one’s Stand
to fight, attracting other users, using the Stand’s bizarre power.
the name of the Stand should be a musical reference of some sort.
will be Stand users, which makes a section regarding Stands mandatory.
A stand user is blessed with a unique ability, like time manipulation,
teleportation, repairing touched objects etc., just remember to make the power
of your stand clear and write it under the Cliché!
There are, however, some rules:
- the stronger a Stand is, the shorter its range.
- damage inflicted on the Stand is reflected on the user (Cliché = 0 means you lose,
- only users can see Stands, only Stands can harm Stands.
- Stand users tend to “attract” each other.
- Each Stand has (usually) one ability.
stands can be written as Clichés by dividing them in 3 types:
- Short range stands: short range,
powerful melee fighters. Their power is usually destructive but more “mundane”
and it’s represented as a normal Cliché, for example “Stand name: [Killer
Some short-range stands have unique and bombastic powers: in that case, see
- Long range stands: lacking raw
power, these stands have a medium to long range and, usually, game-changing
powers. These are best suited for double-pump Clichès, like “Stand name:
[Heaven’s Door] ”.
- Automatic stands: once summoned, they
act under their user’s verbal command. Their range is extremely vast but they
are also very weak. They are best represented by “shield-mates”, that is,
renouncing 1 point during character creation to obtain the ability to summon an
automatic stand (3), like
“Automatic Stand: [Highway Star] (3)”. This also fits the fact that damage
inflicted on an automatic Stand is not reflected on the user.
- Bound stands: some stands are one
with an object. In this case, treat them like any ordinary Cliché, but consider
the stand as a “tool of the trade” for said Cliché. If broken, no damage is
inflicted on the user.
Fate versus JusticeThe main struggle
in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is the one of Fate versus Justice, the latter being
usually incarnated by the protagonists. In order to give the feel that the
villains are favored by fate they should always be given 3 Lucky Dice. In order
to simulate the fluctuating advantages of the typical fight I also suggest
using the evens-up rule by D. Stahler.
Getting the team
The easiest way to justify the PC’s working together is the fact that,
probably, they are all Stand Users. Since users tend to attract each other,
they are forced by “fate” to stick together to resist their enemies.
Many, many “fights” in JoJo are not fights at all. Card games,
gambling, car races etc. can be all considered fights and, probably, are tied
to a Stand user. One example is Terence T. D’Arby, whose stand collects the
souls of those who lose to him… in a video game. Feel free to mix things up and
your players will never be bored. The terrain is also extremely important.
JoJo is a character-based story. Sure, the fights are fun, the story is great,
but the protagonists (and antagonists) are what really makes JoJo unique.
Characters should be flamboyant stereotypes, highly overdesigned fashion models
or, simply put, memorable. Stands should also be unique and bizarre, their
powers never mundane nor boring. Reward your players for actually drawing their
stands with a couple more points at character creation!
Name your Stand
Coming up with unique powers can be tricky, and so is coming up with a good name. My suggestion is choosing the name first by listening to your favorite songs and then create the Stand's powers based on the one you feel would fit your character best. The song title can be used as it is or be slightly changed to obtain a decent [Stand Name].
Last but not least, a few of the most well-known characters in the
series. In order not to spoil the anime-only watchers I’ll limit myself to the
currently animated parts.
- Honorable Hamon master (3)
- 1.95 m high gentleman (3)
- Would do anything for Erina (2)
- 3 lucky shots
- Even Speedwagon is afraid! (3) (companion)
Joseph Joestar (old)
-Cunning trickster with a golden heart (4)
-Lady killer (2)
-Stand name: [Hermit Purple]  - Spirit photography, manipulation of electric
-Bastion of muscles and anger (2)
-Intimidatingly cunning (3)
- Stand name: [Star Platinum] (4) - Precision, limited time stop
- 3 lucky shots
-Good-hearted scoundrel (4)
-Fast-thinking but inept student (3)
- Stand name: [Crazy Diamond] (3) - repairing broken objects, healing
Dio Brando (part 3)
-Heartless scheming villain (2)
-100-year old English Vampire (3)
- Stand name: [The World] (4) - 5 seconds time stop, super-strength
- 3 lucky shots
-Cleverest among the Pillar Men (3)
-Last step in the evolutionary chain 
-3 lucky shots
Kira Yoshikage (bites
-Absolutely normal citizen of Morioh (3)
-Stand name: [Killer Queen] (3) - turns stuff into bombs, can make time itself
explode, turning back 1 hour
-Stand name: [Stray Cat] (2) - Air manipulation, used in conjunction with
-Automatic Stand: [Sheer Heart Attack] (3) - automatic stand, explodes when It detects
-3 lucky shots