Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 24, 2013
Once upon a time, when we were playing Fantasy Hero on a regular basis, the women in our gaming group started referring to the “companion” supplement as the “Stupid Armor Chick Book.” It was funny, and soon we were all calling it by that name.
The cover art was from a Larry Elmore painting, “Journey to the Gathering,” which is a somewhat notorious bit of “cheesecake armor.” Her only armor, really, is on her shoulder so she could set her sword on her shoulder? What was she thinking? (Well, obviously, she wasn’t, some guy was doing the thinking for her).
I guess I should add that I generally love Larry Elmore’s stuff, and participated in his recent Kickstarter. I can’t wait for the book. I’m even okay with it if this painting is in it. We’ll continue to mock it. I expect Elmore would be the first to agree that it’s pretty ridiculous. But then he did SnarfQuest, which is both awesome AND ridiculous.
Anyway, throughout medieval European history that modern fantasy tends to be based upon, women were not often participants in warfare (at least not on the battlefield), so female armor was a rarity. But if our medieval fantasy can include dragons and fireball spells, why not have lots of steel-clad female warriors as well?
I’m good with this.
However, the artistic liberties taken with the armor is often… stupid. Really stupid. Even if the woman is well-encased rather than depending upon the cheesecake distraction defense. A couple of experts have weighed in with their explanation of how female armor OUGHT to be, and why it’s so often STUPID as portrayed in art. And, of course, in video games.
(Short answer to the latter question: The shape directs weapons right to the center of the chest, and a fall would direct the force of the blow right into the sternum. Sorta… the opposite of what you’d want armor to do…).
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