Fantasy Armor Errata
In an earlier post I jokingly included the following relationship to describe the apparent formula for determining the quality of female armor in fantasy art.
Unfortunately as I examined it, I realized how flawed the mathematics were. The units were not meaningfully defined or definable; cup size is related to the character, not her clothing; and nudity would be the ideal armor.
By the relationship above, female armor can be optimized by having a woman try to wear nothing but a pair of earrings that are on fire and fall off under their own weight.
I intend to make up for some of my mathematical laziness below.
Upon careful inspection of the literature I resolved two main factors that seemed to influence the apparent likelihood of a woman being injured while wearing her armor in a fantasy setting: The amount of skin exposed (x) and the likelihood of having a wardrobe malfunction (m)
It also became clear that these were not simple linear relationships. Women in full armor seemed to do better than those in generic uniform half-plate and there were very few examples of anyone going out completely nude with any success. Likewise, quality seems to increase as chances of nipple-slips and self inflicted wounds goes up, but it peaks around the modern lingerie area. In the physics defying area beyond, there are fewer successful combatants.
I was able to fit a fourth order polynomial to each of these observed trends and the final quality rating is the product of the two. The formula is as follows.
Where Q represents the apparent quality of the armor, x is the proportion of skin exposed and m is the probability of a wardrobe malfunction. This equation can be plotted as a three dimensional surface:
Let’s break down some points of interest here:
Actual Full Plate: At the 0,0 mark we have what would be fully functional full plate armor. It is rare to see any woman wearing this in fantasy art, and rarer still to find them winning any fights in it. It’s not the worst thing in the world though.
Soldier Valley: The lowest of the low are uniformed soldiers. Functional armor without decoration or flare, covering the vitals but leaving the face, hands and parts of the arms exposed. These tragic women are better off with a red shirt and a phaser.
The Sauron Effect: There is a certain point where armor is so bad-ass looking that it doesn’t matter who’s inside of it. There are so many spikes and horns and capes and chains that the wearer is clearly death incarnate. Unfortunately death incarnate tends to bite it in the end if they’re up against a pretty girl with a push up bra.
The Nudity Rift: Naked is still naked. Not wearing armor means that the survival rate of the combatant relies on their skill alone. However, the hastily grabbed bed sheet held such that the viewer sees nothing that would warrant an R rating is a near impregnable defense and thus this inexplicable outlier yields some defensive value in the naked warrior.
Steelkini Zone: This area is particularly popular with live-action fantasy. They’re still showing a lot of skin, but because the design is effectively a shiny sports bikini, it keeps everything contained and therefore safe for general consumption.
Push-up Peak: If you go by comic books and video games, this is the best thing for any woman to wear. It’s sexy lingerie made of metal. The only useful effect that this armor could actually have is that their opponent wouldn’t take them seriously. Honestly, who would even think of fighting in something that they’re going to fall out of or cut themselves on the moment they did anything the least bit acrobatic.
Epoxy Required: Abandon physics all ye who enter here. This is where the silliest armor is found. It’s the stuff that couldn’t possibly stay on without glue and tends to expose all of the most fatal bits of the body while barely covering the minimum standards for decency. This, though, rarely seems to have a negative impact on the performance of the wearer.
Thank you for your patience and forgiveness in my lack of initial mathematical rigor.