In the days of yore, it seems like you couldn’t be defined as a true gentleman adventurer without killing somebody – and preferably several somebodies. In 1899 (which firmly qualifies as yore), The New York Times published an article entitled, “The Gentleman Adventurer in Letters,” which discussed fictional characters inspired by the LGA. The article explained:
In all ages the gentleman adventurer has played a most important part, and even such sacred wars as the Crusades would not have come to much without his aid. The Spanish Armada was largely manned by the representatives of this type of humanity, and the flag of Sir Francis Drake could not have flown as a gonfalon of terror in the West Indies without him.
Fortunately for us, the original rules and bylaws of the LGA which defined a gentleman adventurer were lost long, long ago, meaning that we can pretty much make up whatever definition we want.
Therefore, we declare that it is not required to put pointed objects in heathens in order to call oneself a gentleman adventurer. And given that most current members of the LGA are raging heathens, we strongly encourage you to avoid following this obsolete rule.
However, there are some core elements of the gentleman adventurer that never change, like OSS 117‘s dashing smile and sense of panache. In fact, the New York Times article’s description of d’Artagnan, “the prince of swashbucklers,” is as as valid a definition of a member of our illustrious league today as it was over a century ago:
He is the real, typical gentleman adventurer, and all the world loves him. He would not be welcomed in the polite society of the metropolis, for he was not polished. But there is something in the man that wins the heart of his fellow-man and is quite irresistible to his fellow-woman.
This page-and-a-half long New York Times article is well worth the read if you’re not already familiar with the literary history of the LGA.