If you’re not familiar with the Borderlands video games, it is best to first read our article about the Borderlands setting.
Moxxi is a Non-Player CharacterRPG characters not played by a player, but by the gamemaster or the computer. who appears in all Borderlands games. She’s an entrepreneur, entertainer, deathmatch organiser, bar owner, bartender, sex symbol and ex-assassin.
For now, this article covers her Borderlands + DLCs material, and the Borderlands 2 (no DLCs) material. There are S P O I L E R S about that.
Like most Borderlands characters, Moxxi is chiefly notable because of the voice acting. In her case, the talent is Brina Palencia .
- Real Name: Unrevealed, though “Moxxi” might be her actual given name.
- Other Aliases: Miss Moxxi.
- Known Relatives: Scooter (son), Ellie (daughter), Jimbo Hodunk (first husband), Mister Shank (second husband, deceased), Marcus Kincaid (third husband), TBD (fourth husband).
- Note: One bit of dialogue mentions four kids and more husbands, but that seems to have been an exaggeration.
- Group Affiliation: Former member of the Hodunk Clan.
- Base of Operations: Pandora.
- Height: 5’5″ (1.65m). Weight: 135 lbs. (61 Kg.).
- Eyes: Light grey. Hair: Brown.
Powers & Abilities
Moxxi has a variety of talents from her rough and tumble life :
- She apparently worked as an assassin for a time.
- She seems knowledgeable about demolitions. This may have been how she conducted assassinations.
- She’s a skilled handgunner, and likely knows a fair bit about guns in general.
- She’s an experienced bar owner and bartender. On Pandora, that’s not easy. That also makes her a connoisseur of alcohol, though she only drinks socially.
- She can both manage and emcee large-scale arena death matches.
- It seems likely she has pole-dancing experience, but not at a professional level.
- As a Hodunk clanswoman, she likely is an experienced driver and may know car mechanics.
Her adventuring days are behind her, though. Nowadays she’s a businesswoman.
Everyone RAISE THE ROOF !
Moxxi is quite charismatic. As an emcee she can keep a crowd of bloodthirsty, murderously insane idiots cheering and entertained.
She’s famous, and not just on Pandora. Even a visitor from another planet who saw Pandora as a stone-age backwater was a big fan of Moxxi. Therefore, it seems likely that her death matches are repackaged as a TV show across the galaxies. She also has multiple megacorporate sponsorships.
Moxxi’s widely considered a sex symbol, usually for pectoral reasons.
Unlike most everybody on Pandora, Moxxi has some people skills. She’s average at best by real-world standards, but at least she has *some* sense.
Entertaining firepower (part 1)
There exists a line of firearms using Miss Moxi’s likeness and theme colours. The names are also themed after her persona, most being sexual innuendo.
These are marketed by various corporations – including Maliwan, Hyperion and Vladof. It seems likely that these were a crossover promotion with her Underdome arena death matches.
These seem to have been small series, intended as collectors’ items. Even Moxxi herself had but a few complimentary copies of each.
Entertaining firepower (part 2)
Interestingly, all of the Moxxi-themed weapons can heal their wielder.
In our Borderlands setting notes, we postulate that this is the same thing as the New-U Hyperion resurrection/cloning technology. If so, it can only work with a few lucky persons, such as the game’s Vault Hunters.
Within this *hypothesis*, Moxxi may have deliberately picked this dead-end tech when negotiating for promotional merch. Since it was worth very little for armament corporations, but could be useful for key allies of hers.
It may have been rebranded unsold stocks.
Moxxi has her theme tune, Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot. It’s very-much-on-the-nose electronica/synthwave. It doesn’t go for nuance, but it works as fighting arena music.
Though it was originally commissioned for Underdome events, she often plays it at her bars to cultivate her brand.
Moxxi is from the Hodunk clan, a tight-knit bandit clan on Pandora. They live in a desert area called the Dust.
From what we can gather :
- They have a stupidly caricatural rural Southern American lifestyle. Because Borderlands games are, like, so edgy. I suspect they have a management problem. Anyway, the Hodunks like moonshine, hot rods, boobs, and patriarchal authority.
- This culture likely has been established for a while. We can imagine that they were imported as workers by the Dahl Corporation from a planet where every single person is like that, as per the “planet of hats” trope . Then left behind when Dahl left.
- Moxxi was presumably born before Dahl left – and possibly not on Pandora. Since she seems a bit older than Patricia Tannis.
- Many clan members have visible Pandoran mutations, particularly the “goliath” phenotype . But they do not have “psycho” or dwarf members as with other bandit clans.
The clan’s emblem is a woman’s silhouette, whose proportions are akin to Moxxi’s. Perhaps it is based on her mother ?
Moxxi’s first husband was clan leader Jimbo Hodunk. Since she’s at least 30 years younger, one suspects :
- That Moxxi was barely a teenager when she was married.
- That she might have been a “clanwife”. Which seems to mean a very, very underage girl being abused by the patriarch (and perhaps others).
If so, Moxxi likely had her children whilst still in her teens.
Being much more resourceful than most Hodunks, Moxxi was deployed as an assassin. She likely struck at the Zaford Clan, who have a multi-generational blood feud with the Hodunks.
At some point, Moxxi was sexually harmed by Lucky Zaford. The details are unrevealed, but it made her son Scooter swear to kill him. Twenty-ish years later, Scooter would indeed bury Lucky in a shallow grave.
When Moxxi’s daughter Ellie was still an infant, it was declared that she would be the next clanwife.
This is the point where Moxxi, who hated her people, did the unthinkable and left with her kids.
To this day, speaking the name of Moxxi and her children remains taboo among the Hodunks. They also seem to have a kill-on-sight policy when it comes to them.
Royal au bar
For a time, Moxxi dated hulking biker Motor Momma. Momma ran her own biker gang, Momma’s Boys, and worked as a gladiator/road warrior for Mister Torgue. But Moxxi dumped Momma in horror when she realised that she was a cannibal.
Moxxi eventually had enough money to open a pub. She may have earned it by working as a mercenary. Another part of her income seems to have been running her Echonet site where she does pin-up modelling (and likely porn).
Her earliest known bar was the Red Light, in T-Bone Junction. This small desert town became the heart of the Atlas Corporation’s presence on Pandora.
But she would regularly move and open new dives. Perhaps they inevitably get destroyed in bandit wars, as multiple clans patronise her bar.
Moxxi likely played a role in having her son Scooter become the operator of the Catch-a-Ride network. These digistruction stations are found in many areas of Pandora. Customers can pay to have a selected vehicle digistructed for them to drive.
Perhaps Moxxi uncovered the network’s password from left-behind Dahl facilities – or engineers.
On the other hand, Scooter’s sister Ellie became estranged from her mother. Moxxi kept insisting that Ellie take care of her appearance to help her with the bar, which the youth had zero interest in.
The young woman eventually left to open her own garage. Perhaps using resources loaned by her brother.
Moxxi’s second husband was one Mister Shank. He was the powerful leader of the bandit clan headquartered in Lockdown Palace, which had once been a prison island.
Why they married isn’t clear, since Mister Shank is breathtakingly gay. But he’s also in denial of his sexuality. So part of the deal may have been that Moxxi was his beard .
This relationship ended badly enough that Moxxi would later hire Roland to kill Mister Shank. She still liked him, but he had done something she had to avenge in blood.
Moxxi’s third husband was Marcus Kincaid. Marcus is an important man on Pandora, as he imports and sells most of the small arms.
Moxxi eventually dumped Marcus, presumably for being a dickish ghoul. He never quite recovered.
While she was still running the Red Light pub, Moxxi struck a fast friendship with renegade Atlas Corporation elite space ninja assassin Athena.
When Athena was recaptured, Moxxi was furious. With Scooter’s help, she hired the most badass Vault Hunters on the planet to free Athena.
This, to coin a phrase, escalated quickly. The whole affair would result in Atlas having to leave Pandora, and in Mister Shank’s death. I also have this vague impression that this is what precipitated the divorce with Mr. Kincaid.
Moxxi also struck a friendship with Roland and his Vault Hunter friends. When they turned the small town of New Haven into a safe zone for civilians, she moved there.
But by this point, her business no longer was pubs.
Moxxi had enough capital to open her dream business.
The Underdome was an impressive complex, likely repurposing some abandoned Dahl research facility. Moxxi seemed intent to eventually expand it as an entertainment facility with cinemas, casinos, bars, etc..
But the core business was deathmatch arena extravaganzas.
The Underdome had three large, themed arenas – perhaps with room for more. Each was large enough to conduct firefights with two dozen fighters or so.
In-game matches also featured opponents that shouldn’t be there. Such as deceased namedA character with more narrative immunity than nameless extras enemies, or Eridian guardian constructs.
That is presumably an in-video-game conceit. But perhaps the abandoned facilities had special resources. Such as cloning machinery (or the techno-zombie tech later used by Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap). And/or even an Eridian matrix to digistruct a trickle of Guardians.
Since random guns were handed out as prizes, it is possible that Marcus and Moxxi retained a business association to increase earnings from the Underdome.
You don’t know Jack
One of the biggest winners at the Underdome was one of the badass Vault Hunters, Mordecai. This led to a relationship with Moxxi.
This didn’t work out, due to Mordecai’s terrible people skills and depressive tendencies. Mordecai did help Moxxi with some risky business, but she ended up dumping him. Mordecai took this badly, and started (or resumed) drinking heavily.
During this era, the Hyperion megacorporation came to Pandora in force. Their goal was to mine Eridium, a new element that had started diffusing after the opening of the Vault. Hyperion CEO Handsome Jack was personally involved.
Moxxi started a relationship with Jack, who seemed way classier than anybody on Pandora. Though back then he seemed to be a pleasant and witty man, Moxxi gradually realised that he actually was a sadistic sociopath.
This would soon become evident to all, when Jack razed New Haven and killed most people there.
Moxxi had already dumped Jack, and survived the fall of New Haven. But he had his revenge by burning her Underdome to the ground.
She sells (in) Sanctuary
Moxxi moved to a new Haven, called Sanctuary. This mostly-buried Dahl mining ship was under the protection of Vault Hunters Roland and Lilith, plus the ragged remains of Atlas Corporation’s Crimson Lance garrison.
She opened a pub there, simply called Moxxi’s.
Moxxi eventually paid Vault Hunters to have her revenge on Handsome Jack. She remotely guided them into sabotaging his main construction project, killing the foreman and flooding the site.
The key bits are a coat-length band jacket (with the top buttons removed to show off her bust), a top hat, a choker, fishnets, and what might be a +1 underwired. Plus, presumably, possibly, some sorts of pants. Maybe.
As part of the outfit, she wears makeup making her face look porcelain white, with doll-like rosy cheeks. And there’s a queen of hearts playing card stuck in her hat’s band.
(Historically, this sort of makeup was often worn to hide damage from smallpox . This may be the case for Moxxi – or she might be concealing damage from decades on a terrible planet. But one of her angrier exes would likely have mentioned it out of spite… unless the makeup is actually permanent.)
Scooter & Ellie
Scooter spends much of his time running his Catch-A-Ride vehicles digistruction network. Though it is automated, he still needs to teleport damaged vehicles to his garage for maintenance and repairs.
Unlike his mum, Scooter clearly identifies as Hodunk. He has the accent and the mannerisms, and his garage’s emblem is the Hodunk pin-up silhouette. And of course, cars and car mechanics are his passion.
Scooter often works in the same town as his mother. He also has a relationship with elite Vault Hunters, often hiring them for odd jobs.
Though Scooter is… well… a semi-likeable idiot, his mechanical talents are surprising. He could even repair and operate the anti-gravity engines keeping the Sanctuary mining spaceship aloft. Or design a one-of-a-kind war truck, the Monster, though it was a variant over established models.
Scooter’s voice actor is Mike Neumann (from Plano, TX).
Ellie runs her own garage (including a Catch-A-Ride digistructor) in the Dust. She’s technically on Hodunk turf, but they have learned not to mess with her.
What security systems Ellie employs is unrevealed. My guess is weaponised, robot-controlled junkyard cranes – the kind with giant pincers to move car wrecks. Likewise, we don’t see her using her mechanical skills.
Ellie seems smarter than her brother. And like her mum, she has some people skills — mediocre by real-world standards, but superior by Pandoran standards.
She has some Hodunk mannerisms, with a number of US Southern mannerisms and turns of phrase. But like her mum she hates the Hodunk and doesn’t want to look or sound like them. So it’s closer to how a real person would speak, than the over-the-top Hodunk caricature.
At first glance, Ellie is morbidly obese. But her body proportions are actually closer to that of the “goliath” Pandoran mutation, with tiny legs and huge arms and torso. And though Ellie doesn’t demonstrate the strength that goliaths have, she seems superhumanly durable.
There’s one maverick bandit aviator hanging out at her garage. He might be a guest, buddy or boyfriend. And though Ellie doesn’t seem to mind living mostly alone in a desert, she’s always happy to have visitors.
Ellie’s voice actress is Jamie Marchi (from Knoxville, TN).
Moxxi’s entertainer persona is primarily defined by a visceral rejection of her Hodunk roots. She has no trace of a Hodunk accent, and plays up a classy, ladylike behaviour. Though it’s clearly cobbled together from stuff she saw on TV, she does have a certain class.
She usually tries to strike the sweet spot between being cute/lively, sexy and classy. Obviously that’s not easy, but some lines she rehearsed (for instance, to emcee competitions) do land.
A readily noticeable trait of hers is her humongous sex drive. Moxxi is interested in sex and/or relationships with anybody who seems interesting and/or attractive. She incorporates that into her entertainer persona via a never-ending stream of innuendo and double-entendre.
People she likes will get called “sugar”, “darlin’” or “sweetie” about every other sentence.
Unlike her children and 98% of Hodunk Clans members, she’s not a cars enthusiast. At least not publicly – again, she wants to appear as un-Hodunk-like as possible.
Moxxi is no longer in the field, and insists to be treated like a lady. But she’s certainly not a pacifist. If she’s threatened — usually by a drunk patron — she’ll readily, as per Bennett’s immortal words, shoot them between the balls.
To seriously cross her is a death sentence, though nowadays she’ll hire people to do that.
As part of her ladylike persona, Moxxi wants to look masterful and in control of her emotions. Losing her cool or being at a loss for words angers and frustrates her.
Moxxi seems obstinately clueless about her daughter. She insists that she’s right to want Ellie to conform to a narrow definition of femininity. Even though it blatantly makes no bleeding sense given Ellie’s personality, interests and build.
(Ad-libbing whilst emceeing a multi-phases arena match) “Waves are like… the atoms… and rounds… they’re… the molecules… and I’m… well…” (blank) “Nevermind nevermind, nice wave.”
(Emceeing a deathmatch) “Man, I’m getting impressed ! Maybe you could go another whole round for me, hmm ?” (crowd roars) “Round and round we go, where I’ll stop… Heh, I don’t know !”
“You keep that up, I might just have to pay you back somehow.”
“You’re always welcome at Moxxi’s, sugar.”
DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 04||Str: 02||Bod: 03|
|Int: 04||Wil: 04||Min: 04|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 04||Spi: 04|
|Init: 012||HP: 020|
Artist (Dancer, Photographer): 02, Charisma (Persuasion): 05, Military science (Demolition): 04, Thief (Concealment): 05, Thief (Stealth): 03, Vehicles (Land): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 04
Bonuses and Limitations:
Thief (Concealment) only when using her cleavage.
Attractive, Expertise (Small business management), Familiarity (Bartending, Promotion, Emceeing), Language (Hodunk patois).
Vault Hunter (Low), Street (Low).
Creepy Appearance (Moxxi is almost always in full costume), Dependents (Her children, 5 points for the pair), MIA toward Sex.
Stats are 100% arbitrary, for lack of material.
My assumption is that she would be surprisingly effective if she had to return to the field. But clearly not on the level of the Player Characters.
Source of Character: Borderlands video games.
Writeup completed on the 13th of December, 2020.