Is Skimpy Armor At All Practical?

As an avid gamer and realist who tries his best to find the medium, I’ve always wondered what the best outfits are for my characters/companions. I honestly try to find the best fit between the practical:

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And the not so…

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Ahhh… okay, that has been burned into my retinas… For everyone scarred by that, I apologize.

Yeah, for aesthetic reasons, I’m going to to use my Skyrim companion for all further examples. Yes, she’s female… I know I know, ‘typical male gamer, blah blah blah!’

Look, my blog is about MY OPINION on different geek and writing topic. Opinion, not appeasement. If it’s appeasement you’re looking for, I’m sure there’s a liberal arts community college nearby that’ll be happy to cater to you.

Ahem.

Honestly, my overall opinion on the different armor is that everyone has their own imaginations, vices, views of beauty… fetishes… etc. It all fall under fantasy:

fan·ta·sy
ˈfan(t)əsē/
noun
  1. 1.
    the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.
    “his research had moved into the realm of fantasy”

In other words, there is no right or wrong when it comes to fantasy. Everyone has their own imagination, everyone is entitled to do as they want in these games, despite what Anita Sarkeesian and her cult following say.

But Jim, don’t you think these skimpy outfits objectify women? I mean that kind of objectification promotes a rape culture and gives women an unrealistic body image.

As opposed to the male armor where the arms are all exposed with muscles that couldn’t possibly be supported by the upper torso? Or what about showing pictures of Chris Hemsworth without his shirt on to a crowd of women on a show typically aimed at the feminist culture?

That’s not the same thing…

Yes it is, and this hypocrisy is why I have ZERO tolerance for 3rd wave feminism. Thus I will not be dealing with those arguments any further in this post. Moving on…

And here I am, pretty much off topic on a tangent. Time to refocus. Skimpy armor… can it be practical? The answer is… it really depends.

One could make the argument that a character that is supposed to be a spy, assassin, or scout should be light on their feet and thus not have a need for heavy armor, which is a fair assessment. However, where is the line?

Please note that I’m speaking on my opinion of realistic practicality in a fantasy universe, if your opinion differs from mine, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments… even if you are completely wrong. 😉

So let’s take a look at my usual companion in Skyrim:

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My character, Lia’na, is a takeoff and slight modification (stats, race, textures, etc.) on the character Aranya, by StephieRawx from Nexusmods. So when you first download Aranya, this is the armor she comes in:

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It’s… actually not bad for a rogue class warrior. It’s light, kind of gothic in design… yes her legs are fairly bare, but if you’re looking to sneak, that’s probably the best way to do it. So all in all, it seemed like a fairly decent outfit… until you got a closer look at the lower half…

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Upon accidentally swimming underneath her during a battle in Dawnstar, I made a rather… unexpected discovery. Apparently someone forgot to… or now that I think about it, intentionally did not create underarmor for this getup, because she’s 100% commando. Yes, a fully detailed and textured elf-gina, light pubic hair and all, for all to see.

No I will NOT be posting a screenshot!

Now obviously this might not be an issue for some, but in the wintry, Scandinavian-like climates of Skyrim… yeah I don’t know if there’s a female equivalent for shrinkage, but I can’t imagine frozen lady-bits being that much fun.

So again, I wanted an outfit that was appropriate for a rogue and would have been a little more… realistic in terms of the environment. Factoring in that elves tend to have a slightly higher tolerance for cold weather than humans or orcs.

My first outfit replacement choice came to this:

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Loose leather pants, an almost pirate esque top and a jacket… Light, but not a lot of protection. Still she’d fit in with the ruffians at each location a little better if she needed to blend in and the outfit definitely screamed rogue. Appropriate or realistic? Eh… maybe in a different climate or pirate adventure. I didn’t stick with it.

Next one up was this one… she dressed in this during the Dawnguard campaign.

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Though looking back… it might have been smart to put her in something that protected her neck a little more. Still, this one was definitely pretty good, offering some upper body protection, but not enough to be inhibiting.

Sadly, though I liked that one a lot… It had to change. This is where I currently am:

Decent upper and lower body protection, chain mesh across the chest, gloves, leather padding on the pants… still has a midriff, but it’s passable. Again, not perfect, but not bad either.

So the costume is slightly skimpy around the midsection, but that’s it… To be fair though, I don’t think that this is what people consider all that skimpy or feminist-level objectification… so let’s take a look at a few of the other outfits I’ve seen floating around Nexus…

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… … yeah nothing about that screams defensible. The pants look like they could pass, but the top? Some archer would have her heart in seconds.

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I see this style over and over in outfits… yeah you’re a warrior trying to be taken seriously, and you’re wearing a thong out in public.

Unless you’re trying to distract your enemy from… something… pretty much anything… what point was I trying to make again?

Ahem!

Yeah I don’t think so.

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Um… hmmm… this one isn’t that bad. Though this would more be for a magic wielder than a rogue, and there is STILL the issue of a good archer taking out her heart!

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So this one actually isn’t bad, it’s feminine, but not objectifying and it protects everywhere it needs to. My only issue with this is that… SHE’S A ROGUE! This won’t work. I could see her wielding a greatsword, maybe, but two daggers? No!

Anything else?

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No, and I’m not even going to bother downloading any of those. Christ, now you’re not even trying!!!

So it looks like the search for cool-looking yet class-appropriate realistically feasible armor is still on. I’m working on my own, but I’ve gotten nowhere with it.

In conclusion, is there a place in the game for skimpy armor? Sure, when it comes to stealth missions, missions where you’re going to get wet, or perhaps a mission where your character is undercover at some kind of brothel or something where they need to attract attention. Otherwise it’s pretty much just fan service.

Now, is there anything wrong with that? No. Again, it’s FANTASY! If you can justify it, or just find it aesthetically pleasing, don’t follow my rules and don’t follow anyone else’s. Go ahead and enjoy it. That’s what fantasy is here for.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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8 thoughts on “Is Skimpy Armor At All Practical?

  1. I agree with your point of view on the matter. No matter what anyone else says, I’ll make my character and companions wear whatever I deem appropriate for what they are doing and what their skills are. That’s just how I like it. 🙂

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  2. Dominic Sceski says:

    Personally, I think that there is a sense where fantasy can still be unrealistic. If it’s going to be unrealistic, think of a way that makes it realistic. Like Frodo surviving the stab of the cave troll in the Fellowship of the Ring; because he was wearing mithril, he survived. “But mithril is so thin!” Well, there was a fantasy reason for all of that, so it worked for Tolkien. I guess, so long as you provide an explanation, it makes sense.

    That being said, there will always be people who won’t take the time to appreciate that explanation. I think it’s wise to account for people like that, because that is probably the majority of people (maybe including me 🙂 ). I always roll my eyes when a female character wears skimpy clothes and calls it “armor”. Maybe if they didn’t call it armor, that would be better….
    Sorry for the rant, good post!

    Like

    • StCyril says:

      No problem, rant on. Personally, I’m on the fence about the Mythril piece… I mean I know what it is and how even a thin thread of it is unbreakable. It is scientifically plausible if you can find a metal dense enough, it’d be like trying to stab someone with a copper sword who’s wearing steel chainmail.
      The problem is that chainmail isn’t impact proof. If someone hits you with a sword and you’re wearing chainmail, it’s going to hurt regardless of whether or not it passes though.
      So while its believable that the troll’s spear didn’t pierce him… it’s not so believable that he got away without a single shattered bone, damaged organ, etc.
      But that’s me, that’s where my threshold of suspension of disbelief stands.

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  3. This is interesting. Since my survival rate on any game could be measured in seconds it’s not an area I venture into. But there are parallels in writing.
    My own work is in fantasy, set in a 15th/16th century era in an general grim European environment so everyone involved in combat or surviving combat goes around in trousers, shirts, jacks and coats, and normally gets quite dirty; some women do wear skirts or dresses but these are very functional. (I don’t do many ‘court’ scenes since most writing involves folk at the other ends of society). Women characters tend to be of average height and build; Amazonians and Xenas (I miss Xena and Gabrielle) just don’t seem to figure in this ‘workface’ world of mine.
    Now being 65+ plus and a grumpy ol’ sort the one thing that used to annoy me related to super-powered women in graphics. OK, I know comic books reckon they are still selling to a young male market, yeh I get that. However, the swimsuit and or/thong outfits, yes very alluring, but those bras must be tributes to structural engineering to keep the ladies…err….from not suffering a Janet Jackson interlude, and as for crashing through a wall and no signs of bruises or scratches???. (And Storm seemed impervious to temperature- well maybe she would have been, I suppose; but Black Canary leaping about in the Artic?)
    Though some writers and artists ‘get it’. Marvel’s White Tiger, while training with another martial artist once got the drop on him by starting to unzip her top. And when the X-men were still on Utopia Island some of the younger ‘x-girls’ were making comments about Psylocke’s cellulite problems.
    The argument for having the outfit match the character’s role and circumstances makes good sense.
    OK, I’m done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The only argument I’ve seen that makes sense is that the muscular men is a power fantasy for men while the sexy female is a sexual fantasy for men by design. Otherwise, the outfit should follow the function, be it fantasy, sci-fi, superhero, or other fiction. That’s how it works in real life and we all want to be realistic or something, right?

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