A Gun Moll is a female accomplice to criminals, or girlfriend of a criminal, especially during the 1920s and 1930s. The term actually originated a few decades before, in the 1900s. In it's original context and derivation, it had nothing to do with Firearms - "Gun" in this context was derived from the Yiddish word for "Thief". Moll derives from "Molly", which was slang for prostitute. So a Gun Moll is literally a Thief's Whore - which most likely started as an insult, and then became something of a badge of honor as the term grew into standard use.
However, famous "girl gangsters" of the Prohibition and Great Depression eras are often depicted as a Flapper carrying a Tommy Gun, which has lead to most people assuming the wrong derivation and meaning of the word "gun". As a result, the term is quite often interpreted today to mean a female criminal, especially one who carries a gun or engages in violent crime.
Other related terms include:
- gunsel - another yiddish-derived term, a contemptuous way to refer to a neophyte criminal
- comare, goomah, goomar, gomatta - italian-derived terms for the mistress of a mafioso
- femme fatale - a french-derived term for a woman who seduces men into dangerous situations
Prominent Historical Gun Molls:
*: the Barrow Gang had two Gun Molls - Bonnie and Blanche.
Game and Story Use
- Having a Gun Moll among the baddies is a way to spice up the villains a little. To make her stand out, you might consider using always female tropes for a part of her characterization.
- There's probably a way to use the terminology drift, and twist expectations since the term can mean two slightly different things to different people.
- The PCs refer to some NPC as a Gun Moll, and get slapped or shot. They thought it was an appropriate term, seeing as how she's a criminal and carries a gun. They didn't realize they were calling her a whore.
- Or the other way around, they may assume a particular character is a cold-blooded killer because she's been described as a Gun Moll, when actually she's just a paid call-girl with a mafioso client.
Building This Character
- With the exception of Bonnie Parker types who actively partake in the violent crimes, most Gun Molls are low-level non-combatants.
- In a gangster-heavy campaign, it'd be nice to vary this a bit, so the players don't know what to expect. One Moll is a dainty lady, the other a talented murderess.
- Can vary quite a bit, depending on whether she's a corrupted wallflower, a cold-blooded killer, or a criminal mastermind. In at least two of those permutations, you can expect decent Social Traits. A good Charisma can help her dodge prosecution, and bake cakes with saws or files in them.
- Social Skills are important. She's running around with killers and criminals, and needs to be able to make them respect her.
- Driving - even if you're using the conventions of the era and genre which says "Dames" aren't fighters or targets, she can still be the driver of the getaway car. If that's the case, she'll need a solid rating in whatever skills and attributes make you a good enough to escape pursuit, dodge roadblocks, make sharp turns, etc.
- Marksmanship, or at least knowledge about Firearms, is highly likely.
- Even if she's never fired a round, she's gonna be comfortable around them, know the lingo, how to reload, etc. The Barrow Gang's galls might technically have no marksmanship, but still have a Rapid Reload ability.
- If one half of a Bonnie and Clyde / Pumpkin and Honey-Bunny duo, you can bet she'll be a good shot.
- Law, Persuasion, and other skills good for keeping yourself outside of prison, so you can mail the aforementioned cakes.
- …so some Baking skill might help, too. :)
- Social Status or Connections might be interesting, if she's from a powerful family, and "slumming" amongst the crooks for the thrill of it.
- As if hanging out with a crooks and lowlife ain't enough of a disadvantage? Reputation, Wanted, Obsessive Boyfriend, etc.
- May have a non-combat, or purely support role, like The Healer, Party Leader, Innocent Bystander (well, not so innocent), etc.
- Or, take advantage of the chauvinistic leanings of the era, and have her be The Bushwhacker or The Sniper. In the first round of combat, she stands around looking all shocked "as is befitting a lady", then on round two or three she opens up in full Glass Cannon or even The DPSer glory.
- Dedicated Bodyguard and Wingman are both worth looking at, too. Either her protecting her boyfriend, or he protecting her, depending on relationship and stats.