Adam Adamant Lives! was co-created by a group of writers and producers at the BBC who included Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert. Newman had previously been chiefly responsible for the creation of The Avengers and later he and Lambert had jointly been chiefly responsible for the creation of Doctor Who.
A typical episode of Adam Adamant Lives! was often reminiscent of a typical episode of The Avengers or the occasional episode of Doctor Who, involving some bizarre criminal or political conspiracy which would often have an element of low-level mad science.
The 1966 series was originally created as a quick replacement for a projected TV adaptation of the adventures of literary detective Sexton Blake (basically a Sherlock Holmes imitator whose adventures were aimed at juvenile readers) after the rights to that character dried up.
Adam Adamant, Georgina Jones, William Simms, The Face and Louise were played by actors Gerald Harper, Juliet Harmer, Jack May, Peter Ducrow and Mary Yeomans respectively. The Adamant character is sometimes claimed as having been an influence on the Third Doctor as portrayed by Jon Pertwee in Doctor Who, although IMO there were few real similarities beyond a shared preference for Edwardian clothing.
The arch-enmity between Adamant and The Face is sometimes cited as an inspiration for the later arch-enmity between the Third Doctor and the Master as portrayed by Roger Delgado.
I made up the references to Adamant drawing inspiration from Holmes and the Scarlet Pimpernel, but the rest is all authentic.
- Real Name: Adam Llewellyn De Vere Adamant.
- Marital Status: Single.
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: None.
- Base Of Operations: London, England.
- Height: 6’ Weight: ? Age: Born 1867 (99 [but biologically 35] in 1966).
- Eyes: Grey Hair: Black
Powers and Abilities
Adam Adamant is a brilliant detective, a skilled marksman and swordsman and an accomplished athlete. He can turn his investigative talents to anything from a routine criminal investigation to high-stakes international espionage with ease.
Adam Adamant was a quintessential Victorian-Edwardian swashbuckling gentleman adventurer. He was a scion of the English aristocracy who grew up believing that people of his class had a hereditary duty to render service to society as whole in return for the various privileges they enjoyed.
He took this responsibility rather more to heart than the majority of his peers did. In fact he actively sought ways to help others whenever and however he could.
He was also drawn towards the martial aspects of the traditional code of honour upheld by men of his class, more strongly than was still common by his day. Thus, he killed his first opponent in a sword duel at the age of 17.
(This would have been around 1884, by which time duelling had long since been made illegal across Europe. However, the law was often broken with relative impunity by the upper classes.)
Detective and gentleman
In 1891, at 24, Adamant was grieved to learn that the great consulting detective Sherlock Holmes had given his life to rid the world of the criminal mastermind Professor James Moriarty. He resolved to carry on where Holmes had left off by waging a private war against crime and political subversion. With his many talents and his vast fortune, Adamant met with great success.
Although Holmes was later revealed, in 1894, to in fact be alive and well, Adamant decided to continue his career nonetheless. In time he became a household name in both high society and the criminal underworld.
In addition to bringing numerous criminals to justice, he also worked to oppose foreign spies and revolutionary instigators on a number of occasions. Adamant drew some of his inspiration from the example set by Sir Percy Blakeney during his career as the Scarlet Pimpernel a century before.
As time went by, Adamant began to perceive subtle patterns in the public and private records of major crimes, terrorist activities and international conflicts over the last several decades. This led him to the conclusion that a single organizing force was behind many of them. This resembled how Holmes had previously deduced the existence of the criminal organization headed by Moriarty.
The menace of the Face
The detective never learned the true identity of the mastermind involved. It was a sinister individual who only called himself The Face and sought to engineer the collapse of Western civilization. But Adamant nonetheless thwarted enough of his plots to incur his personal enmity and be targeted for revenge.
In 1902, Adamant fell in love with a beautiful society debutante named Louise. She loved him in return and was deeply hurt by his unwillingness to give up his career of public service in order to settle down with her. Her resentment was skilfully exploited by The Face to turn her against Adamant. Eventually, Louise lured him into a trap which resulted in his capture.
Rather than simply killing an adversary of such calibre, The Face decided to use him as a test subject for an experimental process of suspended animation he had devised. Adamant was frozen in ice and buried alive beneath the cellar of a house in London.
Beneath the ice
In 1966, the house beneath which Adamant lay entombed was demolished to make way for a new building. Thus, workmen accidentally unearthed him. Thawed out and revived, he awoke to the bewilderingly changed world of London in the Swinging Sixties.
Adamant was befriended by teenager Georgina “Georgie” Jones, whose late grandfather had known him as a young man and had told her many enthralling stories of him as she grew up. With her help, he eventually managed to adapt to his new environment.
Richer than ever thanks to decades of accumulated compound interest on his bank accounts, he purchased the privately-owned multi-storey car park that had been built on the former site of his mansion. Adamant then had an exact replica constructed on top of it to serve as his new home and headquarters, complete with a secret elevator leading up from the car park to the basement.
He also purchased a Mini Cooper S (the iconic British car of the period) and learned how to drive.
Soon he was once again ready to dedicate himself to the service of Queen, country and his fellow man. He also received the unwanted assistance of Georgina Jones and of former music hall artiste William E. Simms, who became his manservant.
All haste, all haste to defend the Crown
In 1967, Adamant learned that The Face had also placed himself in suspended animation decades before. The mastermind had been awaiting a time when the decades-long master plan he had devised for destabilizing civilization should have reached fruition at the hands of successive generations of minions working for the subversive organization he headed.
He had been watched over all the while by the hopelessly enthralled Louise, who was now an extremely frail old woman. When finally awakened, The Face rewarded her long years of devotion by poisoning her. She died in the arms of the man she had betrayed.
The Face swiftly resumed the leadership of his organization. He began implementing various schemes aimed at enabling him to finally conquer and rule the world. Adamant was left grieving but more resolute than ever in his determination to thwart the fiend.
Adam Adamant is a tall, dark, lean and handsome white male in his mid-30s. He is always impeccably dressed in a frock-coated suit and silk cravat and a cape. He carries a swordcane at all times.
Adam Adamant is suave and dashing. He is also intensely principled and moralistic. He makes little effort to hide his contempt for hardened criminals and for selfish people who care nothing for the welfare of others, especially when they’re fellow aristocrats.
His general attitude to life could be summed up by the old phrase noblesse oblige [nobility obligates]. It means that those who enjoy the benefits of hereditary wealth and social status have a moral duty to give something back to society as a whole. This is typically done through state service or through acting as benefactors to the lower classes in some way.
Unsurprisingly, this means that by modern standards he can often seem condescending and elitist. Especially to the sensibilities of democratically-minded American characters.
Although unfailingly gallant and chivalrous towards women, he resolutely maintains his emotional distance from them. This stems from a determination never to suffer a repeat of the trauma he experienced as a result of his betrayal by Louise decades ago.
He’s perceptive enough to realize that Georgina Jones is in love with him, but he’s unwilling to risk leaving himself vulnerable again by returning her feelings.
Man of action
He’s highly reluctant to use force (especially deadly force) against women, unless they’re acting in a way that directly threatens the lives of others. On the other hand, he’s perfectly happy to use force against men. He has sometimes been known to execute defeated opponents in cold blood.
Adamant is easily lured into traps by manipulative women who exploit his chivalrous instincts. Howbeit, more than one of them has become so taken by his old-fashioned charm and courtesy along the way that they’ve ultimately changed sides and helped him bring their partners in crime to justice.
Adamant has a remarkable ability to get himself clubbed, drugged, gassed or otherwise rendered unconscious and taken prisoner at least once during nearly every adventure he has. He usually has a Traumatic Flashback before finally passing out. He’s equally adept at escaping after he wakes up, usually just in the nick of time.
Georgina Jones is a fairly typical British teenager of the mid-1960s. She’s aged approximately 19 when she first met Adamant. She comes from an affluent family and never seems to have money worries. She’s highly fashion-conscious and always has her finger on the pulse of popular culture.
Almost every adventure Adamant has will at some point lead to her trying to investigate by herself after he refuses to take her along. She’ll be found out, taken prisoner, threatened with death and finally rescued by him in the nick of time. Her trademark expression when surprised, perplexed or amused is “Zoink!”.
William Simms is sometimes rather grand in his manner and at other times distinctly common. He has a very dry sense of humour, usually expressed through his penchant for improvising dreadful limericks. He’s devoted to his employer.
Simms once toasted a gathering in Adamant’s honour with “To a swordsman who is fearless,/ bold and ubiquitous./ Our Mister Adamant / long may he stick with us.”.
Georgina frequently annoys him with her disregard for traditional decorum and her habit of making a nuisance of herself. This prompts lines like “Very nosy was Rosie from Crewe./ Asking questions was all she could do./ She was found one day strangled and ‘orribly mangled./ I love happy endings, don’t you?”.
“You fiend !”
“‘All haste, all haste to defend the Crown’. It’s my family motto on my mother’s side.”
“The blackguards, does their fiendish villainy know no bounds !?”
“These men are evil and they must die.”
Misc. Universe History
Theoretically you could leave Adamant in hibernation until the present day. But I’m not sure he’d survive very long in a typical action movie-style street-level campaign.
He’d probably also need to have a capsule history of the last century or so uploaded into his brain by somebody to enable him to function in the modern world at all. Personally I think it’s better to keep him in the Silver Age . I’m thinking of teaming him up with Nick Fury against Baron Strucker!
Adamant might have encountered the likes of Vandal Savage and the Immortal Man or Count Dracula decades ago. He would probably recognize them immediately if he met them again. He might have studied methods of combating vampires and other supernatural menaces from Abraham Van Helsing himself.
Face the Face
The Face is a rather generic Evil Genius and Master Manipulator. He was implied to have been directly responsible for orchestrating much of the political and social upheaval in the world from the 1850s through to the 1920s. His subversive organization may have been responsible for even more turmoil from the 1920s to the 1960s, while he himself slept in suspended animation.
He’d be likely to have longstanding rivalries with other long-lived masterminds such as Vandal Savage, the Ultra-Humanite and the Red Skull. Perhaps to the extent of engaging in the occasional turf war every now and then.
I don’t think he’s quite in the same league as Doctor Doom or the Silver Age Lex Luthor but then again, who is? If his acquisition of a bionic hand as early as the 1960s (when it would have been a cutting-edge gimmick) is anything to go by, he may well have turned himself into a full-fledged cyborg by now if he’s still around.
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
|Dex: 05||Str: 03||Bod: 03||Motivation: Responsibility of Power|
|Int: 05||Wil: 05||Min: 05||Occupation: Gentleman Adventurer|
|Inf: 05||Aur: 05||Spi: 05||Resources (or Wealth): 015|
|Init: 017||HP: 050|
Animal Handling (Riding)*: 05, Charisma*: 05, Detective*: 05, Martial Artist (No Techniques)*: 05, Medicine (First Aid): 03, Thief (Concealment, Escape Artist, Locks and Safes, Pickpocketing, Sleight of Hand, Stealth)*: 05, Vehicles (Land Vehicles): 03, Weaponry (Firearms, Walking Sticks, Swords, Knives)*: 05
- Iron Nerves.
- Sharp Eye.
- Gift of Gab.
- Schtick (Master of Interaction (Charm)).
- Languages (German, French, Italian, Latin, Ancient Greek, Russian).
- Scholar (History, Genealogy, Heraldry, Art, Literature, High Culture, Formal Politeness).
- Familiarity (Science and Technology).
- Area Knowledge: Neighbourhoods (All the most exclusive areas of London and the localities of a number of British country estates).
- Sidekick (Georgina Jones).
- Assistant (William Simms).
- Headquarters: Expansive (17 Upper Thames Street).
British Intelligence (High), Scotland Yard (High).
- Exile: Involuntary (The 1900s).
- Public Identity.
- Socially Inept (Minor, Persuasion only, only during the 1960s and only when interacting with ordinary people, not while moving in high society).
- MIA (to destroying The Face).
- Traumatic Flashbacks (Often relives his betrayal by Louise when drugged, stunned or otherwise reduced to a semi-conscious state, making it even more debilitating for him than would normally be the case).
- Arch Enemy (The Face).
- Swordcane [BODY 04, EV 04, R#03, Advantage: Insta-Change].
- MINI COOPER S MOTORCAR [STR 05 BODY 07, Running: 06, R#03].
- Although he doesn’t routinely carry them around with him, Adamant also has a mansion full of antique weapons and armour and the contents of a well-stocked gun room at his disposal. He also has a library full of reference works to draw upon when researching a problem.
Bonus : The Face
Adam Adamant: “Are there no limits to your machinations ?”
The Face: “Evil sets its own boundaries, Adamant. A fact which you will soon appreciate.”
|Dex: 02||Str: 02||Bod: 02||Motivation: Power Lust|
|Int: 10||Wil: 05||Min: 05||Occupation: Criminal Mastermind,
|Inf: 10||Aur: 05||Spi: 05||Resources (or Wealth): 018|
|Init: 022||HP: 100|
Charisma*: 10, Gadgetry*: 10, Medicine (Bionics, Brainwashing, Surgery)*: 10, Scientist*: 10, Thief (Security Systems): 10
Genius, Connoisseur, Leadership, Gift of Gab, Schtick (Master of Interaction (Charm, Bluff)), Scholar (History, Politics, Science and Technology), Assistants (Ireyna Natashkin, numerous other expendable minions), Headquarters: Expansive (Various).
Strange Appearance, Age (Old), MPR (general physical frailty due to old age), MIA (to destroying Adam Adamant), Arch Enemy (Adam Adamant).
ARTIFICIAL HAND [STR 03 BODY 03].
I’d have liked to have given The Face his own separate writeup. But he wasn’t really ever fleshed out well enough to provide much material for one.
He comes across rather like a blend of Professor James Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes stories and the Master from Doctor Who. The face affected a calculating and controlled manner most of the time but occasionally growing visibly angry when defied or thwarted.
His features are always hidden behind a black leather mask. He usually wears a hooded robe with the hood thrown back. He has an artificial right hand made of translucent plastic (although it was the left one in his first appearance) which he continually clenches and unclenches as he talks. His voice is a horrible rasping whisper.
Most of his dialogue is just the sort of thing you tend to expect from this sort of Character. He boasts at length about his own genius, explains his master plan in detail and outlines the terrible deaths he has planned for his opponents.
It’s all been done countless times before and since. But it’s still entertaining! He never engages in physical combat himself, always sending a bunch of goons out to fight on his behalf instead. Anybody foolish enough to enter his service in any capacity will be used and then discarded as he sees fit. Everybody is expendable except him.
There are some problems with the chronology of his activities as given on screen. Tharacter doesn’t appear old enough to have been active for around 50 years (as of the early 1900s) as stated.
One answer to this could be to decide that the man encountered by Adamant was the successor to one or more earlier evil masterminds who originally founded the organization he eventually came to head. A possible candidate for his immediate predecessor might be Moriarty, but he wouldn’t have been old enough to be the founder either. That of course begs the question of who was ______.
If you decide to use The Face and intend to have him be unmasked at some point but don’t want to be bothered inventing details about what he really looks like just assume that the character is physically identical to the actor who played him.
That would make him a fat and balding middle-aged man, with what hair he does have and his thick moustache being dark but turning grey. If he were to voluntarily remove his mask in order to blend into a crowd, he might well get away with it. He’s really quite ordinary-looking.
His current consort, Ireyna Ramova Natashkin, is the granddaughter of a Russian Grand Duchess whom Adamant knew in the 1900s.
Source of Character: The TV series Adam Adamant Lives ! (BBC TV, 1966-67).
Helper(s): Wikipedia, Darci.