Armor worn by female characters in fantasy and sometimes other Speculative Fiction or even historical settings is implausibly designed to bare and/or flatter their secondary sexual characteristics, often voiding its protective qualities. A big patch of cleavage over your heart is like a beacon for every archer in the kingdom.
Oftentimes the armor seems perfectly workable except for one area, like a female warrior whose boots, gauntlets, and chestplate protect everything except a swath of flesh between her lower ribs and her knees, which are guarded by nothing but a pair of lambskin panties. If played for laughs, it's usually "justified" by a distraction bonus. Though assigning blame to munchkins works just as well.
Examples of this trope in real life occur only when the armor is purely ornamental, has some sort of ritualistic importance, or is simply not intended to completely protect the wearer. Gladiator armor, for example, was designed for entertainment value, not complete protection, and deliberately left large sections of the wearer's body exposed.
A common compromise between the need for sex appeal and the desire to have armor that seems actually reasonably useful is to have literal "breast plates", hammering a chest plate so it has round metal cups for the wearer's breasts. This would place a wedge against the wearer's sternum, so rather than diffuse the energy of a blow to the chest, the armor would concentrate it right on the wearer's heart, making this design just as impractical as any other example of the trope.
Form-Fitting Wardrobe is the Super Trope for this. See Thong of Shielding, Stripperiffic, Fanservice, Bare Your Midriff, Cleavage Window. There is a Web Comicby the same name, which naturally features one. Almost the exact opposite of 24-Hour Armor, Battle Ballgown. And not much of a concern, protection-wise, if Armor Is Useless.
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In .hack// both male and female swordfighter classes can go very light on actual armor (Bear and Orca famously sport only a shoulder guard, man-skirt, and boots, and are covered more in ink than in clothing). Wavemasters, the mages, are typically fully covered in robes or dresses, while other classes fall somewhere in between - comfortable clothes that bare the chest, navel, a low neckline, or whatnot.
Mew Zakuro in Tokyo Mew Mew, despite it being a shoujo series. To balance it out, most of the men that fight wear short-shorts and/or exposed navels like she does.
Also famously Lampshaded in the first film when B-ko throws off her school uniform to reveal a skimpy armor bikini underneath. She is met with laughter from the student body, and A-ko's famous response "Ain't it cold in that?"
And then hilariously parodied further and subverted in the second movie, where B-Ko's father wears the exact same suit.
The Bronze and Silver Cloths of Saint Seiya are suits of armor that cover only a few bits of their owner's anatomy, leaving entire areas (such as the whole abdomen, thighs, face, neck) exposed to the elements. However, the Cloths of the few female Saints are even worse, tending to be more like lightweight metal bikinis, with even less protection, and breast-shapedbreastplates. Justified with the Bronze Saints, due to the fact that their Cloths are supposed to be in the lowest hierarchy. They protect less and are weaker than the silver cloths.
Played out beautifully in Wolfs Rain. Yes, Jaguara does wear armor that clearly displays her "assets" to anyone she might allow to be in her presence... so guess where Darcia finally skewers her?, granted she was trying to seduce him, but she also anticipated a battle with the wolves.
Leina fits rather snugly into hers. Seems like there would be painful chafing involved. It's a 1-inch thick slab of steel worn directly on her skin.
Her sisters as well with a metal bra.
Nanaeal wears one in the second Vanquished Queens OVA.
Cecily Campbell of The Sacred Blacksmith wears one that's literally shaped to fit her form precisely, including her chest (and it's rather fragile). And apparently she doesn't wear padding underneath. On the other hand, her fellow male knights wear a costume with similar plate coverage.
In Fairy Tail, Erza's everyday armor covers her torso entirely, however she has a seemingly endless amount of armors that she can transform into that often leave little to the imagination. She summons a literal plate mail bikini while at the beach.
Erza is one of the few Justified examples in anime. She's a Magic Knight, and while her base armor (which covers her entire torso) is just plain metal, the other ones have magical abilities. She doesn't wear them to deflect attacks.
The Witchblade transforms Masane completely, skimpy armor included. And that's not including all the reproduction Witchblades...Justifiable in that it's the Witchblade's power, not the armor itself, that protects her. She's taken tank rounds to her unarmored stomach and gotten right back up.
The page quote comes from this trope's parody/Shout-Out in Robotech; being totally unfamiliar with any aspect of culture that doesn't involve fighting, two Zentraedi spies are baffled when they view the mysterious broadcast from the "Micronian" ship (an accidental leak of their new TV station and its debut show, a beauty pagent) and behold a model wearing a bikini. They naturally come to the conclusion it must be a form of armor, as it clearly doesn't cover enough to be a uniform.
In Axis Powers Hetalia, Hungary is shown in both official and fan works as wearing revealing and form-fitting armor similar to the ones she wore as a child. Which also show her Boobs of Steel rather prominently.
Agito's barrier jacket in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, which consists of a bikini and a strange mishmash of skirts and belts that barely cover the bottom part. She gets a barrier jacket that covers more of her body in the installments after StrikerSto match her new master, Signum
The Dressrosa arc of One Piece gives us the female gladiator Rebecca mixing the chainmail bikini with a Spartan look. Justified in that the coliseum rules limit how much weight you're allowed to wear into battle. The males don't wear much, either. Rebecca's fighting style is also "dodge everything", since she isn't nearly as strong or tough as her opponents. More armor would just be a drawback.
Exaggerated in Kill la Kill. Ryuko's magic super-uniform exposes her entire torso, with gratuitous Underboobs, and comes with a Thong of Shielding, yet it somehow shields her from almost any attack—including ones intentionally aimed at the uncovered areas. It turns out there's a reason for the skimpiness - if you have to wear a potentially mind-dominating parasite to get your powers, you're not going to want a lot of it touching your skin.
Parodied in the comic series Cerebus the Aardvark: when 'Red Sophia' tries to seduce Cerebus by removing the top of her chainmail bikini, he snidely retorts that the swelling ought to go down eventually if she'd stop wearing it.
Tarot's "armour" in Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose. The way Jim Balent draws it, it amounts to little more than a rigid thong bikini held on with pen-line-thin straps.
Lampshaded in the second Van Von Hunter book, wherein Stripperiffic villain Adonette is shot by a rather... distracted archer, who is promptly berated by his brother:
"Bloody hell! The woman's practically half-naked over there and you go and hit the ONE piece of armor she IS wearing?!"
Taken to extremes in Earth X by Iron Maiden, who's of the molded plate variety. It makes sense to a point, since her power is to shape the metal that encases her, but a concept drawing featured in issue #4 shows not just breast-plate but navel-plate and what looks to be cameltoe-plate. Ouch.
Occasionally, someone will claim (in-universe or out) that Wonder Woman's swimsuit-like outfit is supposed to be armor.
Every once in a while people will write her actually putting on real armor, but it never seems to stick. Alex Ross introduced her plate armor in Kingdom Come, partly because it was the biggest battle in the history of the world, partly to make her look angelic in keeping with the story's theme, but mostly because Ross likes making up new costumes. Since then, writers occasionally have her don the "Screaming Chicken Armor" as a sign that a particular issue's fight is a much bigger deal than usual.
Various attempts including the late 2000's and the New 52 eventually gave a similar but different redesign of the costume so that she was wearing more than a leotard, at least giving her pants or a skirt. Fan outcry has resulted in continuous changes to the costume in an effort to reflect changing attitudes while appealing to the classic look of the character.
A rather hilarious version of this occurred in Justice League Unlimited, where Hephaestus tells Diana that he "made that armor" for her mother...but that Diana has a fuller figure so he thinks he should be allowed to rework it at some point. Meanwhile Ares and Hades both have fully covering scary armor, hinting that Hephaestus agrees with this trope.
In the excellent Aliens Vs Predator storyline "Eternal", Becca Shaw is stuck in one of these while being held hostage during a hunt for Predators. It's one of the few fanservice nods in the book.
Lampshaded in Princeless. The blacksmith Bedelia tries to sell several suits of very skimpy armor to Adrienne, the protagonist. Adrienne proceeds to point out how useless the armors would be in an actual battle, and ends up getting jeers and catcalls when she is forced to wear one of the suits in public.
In the first few issues of Artesia, the heroine wore full armor on her upper body - and nothing between her tassets and greaves, showing off a lot of leg as well as leather "panties." After the Art Evolution, Artesia buys armor for her legs. She (and other female soldiers) has angular projections formed into her curaiss that obviously represent breasts - but otherwise female warriors wear more or less the same armor as their male counterparts.
Helga in Garfield: His 9 Lives. It's literally just a metal bikini; it doesn't even have shoulder straps.
Lampshaded and subverted in an issue of Dork Tower, where Igor is running a Dungeons & Dragons game for Gilly and Kayleigh. He gives them both pre-generated characters, which has both of their characters attired in the stereotypical fantasy armour. Kayleigh immediately remarks on the ludicrous impracticality of their outfits; and promptly has her character make for the nearest armourer to purchase more practical gear for them both.
The Animaniacs comics had Minerva Mink wearing this◊ Xena-inspired outfit.
The title character of Red Shetland, a Furry Comic that homages Red Sonja and the Conan the Barbarian mythos as a whole, wears one of these, although it's not quite as all-protecting as is the norm for this trope.
Nodwick complains of henchman/woman fashions trending towards this in one of the Dragon Magazine comics, even using the exact phrase "chainmail bikini".
Worn by the Amazastanians (a warrior race that consists solely of stunningly attractive women with physical ages of 18 to 20) in Doctor Who comic strip "The Green-Eyed Monster" in Doctor Who Magazine (although this entire adventure might just be a delusion of Rose's).
NSFW comic xXxenophile frequently invokes this, for both male and female characters (when they bother to wear anything at all).
Lampshaded by the bank-robbing aliens in one of Jhonen Vasquez's Meanwhile strips, pointing out that the tiny plate of armor on Lady Sexhole's forehead is protecting the last thing she should be concerned about.
In With Strings Attached, John and Ringo encounter one of these while going through the Idris' attic, prompting the observation, “Christ, it'd rub your nipples right off.”
Parodied/inverted in one decidedly NSFW D&D fanfic. Paladins of the goddess of love wear full plate that covers everything except the privates.
A Growing Affection plays with this trope; Hinata is shown multiple times wearing a scalemail bikini, but she wears it under her normal uniform. Word of God claims that every kunoichi wears armored undergarmets, unless her uniform is too Stripperiffic.
Proving that the trope is not female-only, classic films such as Conan the Barbarian play up the image of the muscular warrior who wears less than many professional wrestlers despite fighting many opponents with bladed weapons.
The Angels in the second Charlie's Angels movie wear bullet proof vests similar to the CSI Verse example above, but hey, it's a Charlies Angels movie. They are contractually unable to wear anything unsexy.
In 300, the Spartans go into combat with bare chests and bikini briefs. This is taken from the original graphic novel, where the Spartans wore nothing at all aside from their cloaks, which itself draws from classical Greek "heroic nudity" in art. In actual history, of course, they would have been some of the most heavily-armoured soldiers in the ancient world.
Towards the end of the 1981 Arthurian legend film Excalibur the witch Morgana appears to be dressed in nothing more than a sheet metal corset.
A heated discussion between a Power Gamer and his Ex about "Bikini Mail," Allegedly the best armor a female could wear but, in her words, "That looks like it chafes." She didn't wear it.
Astropia had a similar conversation during character creation/introduction. "I'm Hildur, and I refuse to look like this." The scene cut to the gamers' table with Hildur pointing to her character sheet, clearly not amused.
Kida was actually seen wearing this kind of armor during her introductory scene in Atlantis The Lost Empire, with the only protection being a single shoulder plate (located where her armband would normally be), a pair of wristbands (a metal one on her left arm and a furred one on her right), and furred knee-high boots. Fortunately, she can pull her mask down (it's the same size as her body) to protect the rest of her body.
In The Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan, Elayne's personal bodyguards wear such armor precisely to make people think they are less dangerous than they really are. Also, in the last book, Mat wonders about why female armor isn't shaped with curves in the chest section. His smiths react in a confused way when he asks them.
There is some humor on this subject when the City Watch in the novels starts recruiting female members and needs to find uniforms that fit them. This eventually becomes a running joke as the City Watch starts including members of all shapes and species, so being "in uniform" means wearing whatever parts of a uniform one can. Although in this case the breastplates are not actually revealing and skimpy, just modified to accommodate cleavage. There had been no women in the watch before, and the breastplates were all forged centuries ago to a standard pattern...
The main difficulty that Angua presented was that someone was going to have to take a, well let's be honest, a breastplate down to the armourer and get him to beat it out really well here and here.
The trope is further referenced with regard to Watchwomen in Thud!! when a skimpy skirt and papier-mache armor outfit is found in a collection of stripper costumes. The stripper explains that sometimes men like to see a pretty girl in armor. Angua is confused, as men never seem happy to see her.
Previously, the introduction of a barbarian heroine in The Light Fantastic caused the narrator to muse, "Now, there is a tendency at a point like this to look over one's shoulder at the cover artist and start going on at length about leather, thighboots and naked blades," before acknowledging that, like the later female members of the Watch, she was wearing sensible chainmail. (The cover artist in question, Josh Kirby, always drew Discworld heroines to fit the trope anyway, because it's Traditional.) The TV adaptation does invoke the trope not only with the barbarian heroine and an earlier character who Rincewind has to fight (although Liessa Dragonrider actually wears less in the book). Well, it'd be humanly impossible for Liessa to be wearing less than she was in the book. Not because of the Moral Guardians, but because the average pet dog is wearing more than Liessa.
There's also Vena the Raven Haired in The Last Hero, a Xena pastiche who, like Cohen, is pushing retirement age... and still wears her old form fitting adventuring outfit.
Also there's Sergeant Colon, who fits his Roman-Centurion-esque breastplate "like jelly fits a mould", and Detritus, a massive troll who can't fit all his muscles into his armor.
It's made a bit more practical in Unseen Academicals with the advent of "micromail", chainmail made from many, many small links that, as is repeatedly stated, doesn't chafe... and it's later demonstrated that a pair of boxer shorts made from the stuff can literally deflect a blow from a sledgehammer.
Played with in David Eddings's Belgariad, with Queen Ce'Nedra and her armor. It looks like a functional, complete suit of armor, with pronounced feminine characteristics. Actually it's purely decorative. She never expects to be in a battle, but she needs to be seen as the leader of the army. She even forced the blacksmith to 'enhance' the breastplate beyond her actual, petite figure, because she needs them to know she's a woman (in this case, meaning adult, and since she can't do anything about her height...).
"Anything to get you out of my shop — but not clear out to here."
In the Belisarius Series of alt-history/time travel novels by David Drake and Eric Flint, Belisarius' wife Antonina finds herself in the position of being the commander of a military unit, due to her close friendship with Empress Theodora. Although she originally tries to wear ordinary armor, the weight of it soon makes her switch to a custom-made ceremonial cuirass and accessories instead. Ironically, although Antonina's figure is anything but petite the blacksmith still put in "enhancements", to the point where things bordered on the ridiculous. Characters in the series routinely joke about Antonina's "obscene cuirass", to the point where it verges on Lampshade Hanging.
Lampshaded in John Ringo's There Will Be Dragons where Bast the Wood Elf, asked why she runs around in a Fur Bikini, asks "Do you know how many men I've killed who froze looking at my tits?" The character in a later novel wears a skin-tight suit of "carbon nanotube", effectively impenetrable, and effectively transparent.
A modern Conan the Barbarian story had Conan teaming up with a woman in a chain-mail bikini who explains that she knows that opponents are going to attack the bare areas and her fighting style is to counter those attacks.
Azure Bonds subverted this somewhat. At times the heroine wore a suit of chain mail that exposed her cleavage. However when an enemy went to attack it they found out that it was enchanted chain mail that projected a force field over the 'exposed' area. Not too surprising, as this piece was provided by a Vain Sorceress who just could not resist flaunting the body that resembled her own so much. However, in the first book Alias mostly wears a plate-based armor (despite what the cover would tell you). She was dressed in that one in the very end and only in the third book does she starts regularly wear "Cassandra's armor". She apparently kept it because with the enchantment it protected her better than her mundane armor while being less bulky. Her bodyguard (paladin) complained at how unmodest it was, but he gave up after year or so.
The River of Dancing Gods trilogy by Jack L. Chalker literally has a magically-enforced law that "weather and climate permitting, all beautiful young women must be scantily clad". This means the female barbarian character must compromise between protection and conforming with the Rules, which have been written into the physical structure of that universe by powerful wizards. To make matters worse, all women were constantly scantily clad. After all, to be demurely clad was to state outright that you weren't beautiful, as only non-beautiful women could wear such clothes. Any woman not scantily clad might as well have been wearing an "I am ugly" t-shirt. Of course, the whole series is a parody of fantasy tropes, which is why such bizarre things are written into natural law.
Lampshaded in Phyllis Ann Karr's A Night at Two Inns, in which a sensibly dressed warrior woman watches a scuffle between Captain Ersatzs of Conan and Red Sonja, and is appalled by "Sonja's" impractical attire.
Played with in the Thraxas series, where Action Girl Makri wears a chainmail bikini for her job as a barmaid. The outfit is intended to get her tips, not protect her in battle. She's escaped from her previous career as a champion gladiator, and tends to deck customers who annoy her. She switches to more serious armor when she expects a fight.
Trapped on Draconica: Justified. Zarracka wears a 'strip down version' she made because she didn't want to wear the full version in a desert. The other solders are completely covered and Gothon asks why she doesn't look like them.
Brimstone Angels pokes fun at this one. Cute Bruiser Havilar usually dresses practically, but when she sees a "suit" of armor like this on display in a store, she decides she absolutely has to have it purely because it would look great on her. Her adoptive father Mehen promptly puts his foot down, citing the impractical nature of such armor and how it's only worn by wannabe-adventuresses with more fashion sense than common-sense. Havilar doesn't get to buy the Chainmail Bikini, and she and all subsequent Action Girls portrayed in the books wear armor that actually covers everything important.
The Warslayer by Rosemary Edghill starts with filming of a fanservice-overloadedHeroic Fantasy TV show titled "Vixen the Slayer". Then the lead actress is summoned by extra-dimensional magicians to save their world. She spends most of the book in her Vixen's "leather armor" just because it makes her feel more assertive. The impracticality of her outfit is lampshaded at every opportunity, but fortunately her strength and agility sufficiently protect her. In the end she decides to switch to more practical chainmail suit.
In Babylon Steel: Dangerous Gifts the First-Person Smartass title character, a sometime sellsword and madam of a high-class brothel, mentions that she has worn chainmail underwear and boots, but only in the bedroom. "Exposed flesh is strictly for non-lethal situations."
Live Action TV
Xena: Warrior Princess, of course, though Xena's own armor is not a particularly heavy offender. Xena's regular outfit isn't very skimpy (though it does wonders at enhancing Lucy Lawless' modest bust), but most of the alternate armors she would end up wearing in different locales (such as when she goes to Japan) definitely fall into this trope. It's played straight with the leather armor worn by the shorter-haired, sai-wielding Gabrielle later in the series, and with most secondary female characters, e.g. Callisto (someone who is that Ax-Crazy might want a little more protection before going into battle...)
In 'A Day In The Life", Xena and Gabrielle discuss how men are attracted to Xena's leather outfit:
Gabrielle: You could try wearing chainmail.
Xena: Nah. That'd just attract a kinkier group.
Every amazon to ever appear on Hercules or Xena follows this trope, except for Chilapa in "Endgame".
The Valkyries in Charmed dress in revealing leather outfits. And of course, when the Charmed sisters have to rescue Leo from being captured by these Valkyries, naturally the plan they come up with involves Dressing as the Enemy.
Somewhat justified in Cleopatra 2525, where the heroines had force fields for protection.
Played with in Reno 911!. One episode had the female police officers getting specially designed (and low cut) bulletproof vests, which they all liked until one of them asks another officer to test her vest by shooting at it. Surprisingly enough, even the armored parts of the vests wouldn't stop a bullet.
Jessica Steen, who played Pilot on Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, jokes about the improbable bosom sculpted into her Power Suit's chestplate. On the other hand, at least it was a full chestplate with no holes in it, providing identical coverage to any other Soldier of the Future's powersuit sans the fully-armored Tank.
Then again in the early episodes she doesn't wear a helmet, only eyeglasses. Probably to better distinguish her from the rest of the team. But starting from an episode set in poisonous atmosphere everybody wore helmets with face-covering visors.
Found in, of all places, Scrubs. The episode "My Princess", a fantasy retelling of the show, features Carla and Turk mashed together into a single monstrous creature that wears armor, the female half of which falls under this trope. Complete with a nipple.
Shibolena(blouse and one-piece dress with miniskirt) and Denus(armor that doesn't cover torso) is a smaller version of this trope, with a justification that the former is a robot and the latter is a demoness. Subverted that both were killed by the ranger(s)'s attack on the backside in their attempt to Taking The Bullet for The Dragons.
This trope was ubiquitous in early product art, and continues to this day, albeit somewhat less gratuitously.
In some settings one can get the ultimate variant: armor not even "revealing", but completely transparent. Of course, this means the stripperifficness level is defined solely by the underwear. A suit of glassteel (enchantedglass) is expensive, but as strong as steel with only half the weight note And thus used whenever possible by flying warriors, such as Aarakocra, Avariel or Nimbral air cavalry.
Drow elves seem to be incredibly fond of this trope; then again, the typical drow is usually a Femme Fatale more often than not. Usually explained as the point being that it doesn't protect well. It's supposed to show off your confidence in your magical power.
Alias from the Forgotten Realms novel Azure Bonds (see above) and its related computer game Curse of the Azure Bonds is depicted in artwork with a plunging v-neck chainmail top. It worked much better than it looked, though. note in sourcebooks it's chain mail + 2, AC bonus 5+2, 40 lbs; the other was mail-and-breastplate, per Combat & Tactics rules it's AC bonus 6, 45 lbs — though the book was published before PO. The novels themselves have her wearing a normal breastplate in book 1, and the v-neck chainmail in book 3. It's magical and so weapons just bounce off if they hit the 'unprotected part'.
The reason why AD&D 2 Dark Sun setting switched from planned frozen to scorched world — hot climate allowed cover art with more skin.
Parodied and lampshaded in the "Boom's Garden" chapter of Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue, a spin-off Forgotten Realms product which gave detailed game statistics for loin guards, corsets, spiked collars and the proverbial chain-mail bikini. (Most cause penalties to movement and/or attacks, rather than enhancing armor class). The Boom's Garden's corset's stats even include the following: +1 Charisma when dealing with creatures with less than 9 Intelligence, the opposite if they're above 13 Intelligence. (One should probably add another rule for further realism: that the +1 part won't work at all on lizardfolk, kenku, and other non-mammals...)
Dragon Magazine — One infamous cover was withheld from comic store magazine-racks, due to its depiction of a virtually naked sorceress crouched on a rock at night.
Also parodied in an April issue, where a joke article on minor secret societies included the Wizards of the Black Teddy: an all-female offshoot of Krynn's Black Robes, who dress like dominatrices in defiance of High Sorcery's usual dominance by stuffy old men.
Parodied in an old cartoon where the female fighter's Chainmail Bra is littered with arrows and the rest of her untouched.
"Good thing I had my armor on!"
The D&D 3.5 supplement Dungeon Master's Guide II gave us the gloryborn armour from the Heroic Domains of Ysgard, which is explicitly designed to look extremely impractical (without being impractical in the least, because it's magic). You can guess how things turn out.
There is an available enchantment called "Glamered" that makes armor look like other clothing without losing its protective properties. Theoretically it could be used to make practical armor appear impractical. Maybe looking Stripperific can give you a bonus to diplomacy checks?
One of the items in the Table Top RPGTeenagers from Outer Space is a battle bikini. Inspired by the ones worn by the Dirty Pair, it also comes with a BFG, built-in mini-missile launchers, jet boots, and a force field to compensate for the limited protection one would normally get from an armored bikini.
The much-maligned "Chainmail Bikini" ended up in the Munchkin card game, with the expansion Clerical Errors.
The fantasy role playing game Hack Master spoofs this trope with an item called the "chainmail bikini of remote eye-gouging." This bikini is not only enchanted to provide actual protection, but the wearer can say a magic word that causes it to cast an eye-gouging spell on anybody staring at it.
It has, since at least the third edition, included a sidebar option called "Bulletproof Nudity". It's noted as being suitable only for cinematic or silly games, but includes armor bonuses ranging from 1 for a few strategic patches of skin to 8 for complete nudity... but only for attractive characters!
The GURPS 3rd Edition Magic Items books included the Chainmail Bikini "for body-proud barbarianettes" in two forms — a suit of chainmail with Invisibility spells on parts of it to make it look like a bikini; and a true bikini with magical-force-field-style protection on the exposed areas (they also had a male version, the Macho Leathers, which was a jockstrap and some other straps that provided the same protection as a full suit of armor — Equal Opportunity Fanservice ).
4th Edition retains this with a few modifications. It applies only to characters with above average Appearance and limits the bonus to + 2 (+ 3 for a topless woman). For some reason it also makes the characters run and swim faster.
In 4e actual chainmail bikinis got stats in Dungeon Fantasy along with chainmail loincloths.
The Sisters Repentia units from the same army run around in rags or scraps of parchment, while Dark Eldar Wyches fight in Alien Polymer Bikinis because their superhuman reflexes make heavy armor unnecessary.
Averted by normal Sisters of Battle and Imperial Guardswomen; full body coverage all the way (albeit highly stylized in the case of the former, it's not actually any less practical than that of Space Marines et al).
The re-vamped 5th Edition Dark Eldar Wyches wear considerably less than the previous versions; exemplified by the new model for character Lelith Hesperax. The source material justifies this by describing Wyches as being so vain about their combat prowess that they consider it cowardice to armour more than half their body; with bragging rights awarded to the Wych who wears the least coverage into combat.
Eldar and Slaanesh. The former have jump suits with cast iron (well, wraithbone if you wanna get technical) bras. The latter have cast iron port holes so their breasts can hang out!
Warhammer has Dark Elf Witch Elves, who fight nearly naked apart from loincloths, the occasional pair of fishnet stockings and some items of stylised metal armour such as shoulder pauldrons, vambraces, anklets and, yes, leather and metal breast-coverings. Though the lack of armour is deliberate on their part - what they do wear is decorative, not functional - given that they are part of a bloodthirsty murder-cult and rely on speed and skill in combat to protect themselves.
Largely barred due to the rules set by WOTC. However, cheesecake style art and female armor users are both fairly common, it's just that they are rarely mixed to make metal undergarments. However, the Mirrodin setting has plenty of examples of the trope, for example Vulshok of Mirrodin◊ are technically topless with the metal patches on their skin strategically placed. As sheet metal is a natural occurrence on Mirrodin there are more then a few Chainmail Bikini pics.
This is especially obvious in a couple of angel cards from the Commander product. Note Basandra, Battle Seraph's choice of "armor" as well as the Battle Thong of Valor on Archangel of Strife. It should be noted, of course, that in the Magic multiverse, angel skin is as tough as any armor, so actual armor is strictly cosmetic. Angels could wear anything they want, or even nothing at all, and be just as protected.
Rules for a Rune Bikini show up in Palladium Books' Rifter #9 1/2 (April Fools' Day joke issue).
Some of the Coalition Mark II armor's get to have their cake and eat it too. The underlaying armor is a matte body suit of flexible megadamage material and then the female suits get boob tooling to invoke the trope without actually falling prey to it.
Battlebabes in Vincent Baker's Apocalypse World RPG can have an ability called Impossible Reflexes that protects them from harm when unencumbered; the actual rules are Armour +1 when wearing normal clothes, and Armour +2 when naked or nearly naked.
Pathfinder avoids extreme examples, but Amiri does run around in midriff-baring leather and Imrijka's hauberk shows more cleavage than is strictly practical. But in general, armor for Pathfinder women is more likely to be improbably form-fitting than skimpy.
Lampooned in the Discworld adventure game, where Rincewind meets a busty amazon sporting a bikini chainmail top, and asks her how it manages to stay in its place (to which she replies: "By pressure"). She also addresses the sexualisation of women in games, and has a magic sword that immediately cuts any man who looks at her lustfully into pieces. (Screenshot here).
Some armor for the female Warriors/Paladins makes them look as if they've just come from Victoria's Secret. Two egregious examples are the "Warrior's Embrace" early level 50s chestplate, which fully covers male avatars and is only a pair of breast-covering plate domes on female avatars and the "Iceworn Plate" grey set, which is basically a plate mail bikini. The cloth armor for upper level (70+) female casters though, have got to be the ugliest and least sexy garments in any video game, ever.
It is interesting to note that this is much more applicable for the most human-esque characters - female Goblin, Gnome, Dwarf, Tauren and Worgen (wolf form) armour, while stylish, is a lot more concealing. That actually makes it even more of a Double Standard...
Every single outfit in Mortal Kombat for the ladies is extremely revealing.
Runescape originally had 'female' versions of plate armour that bared mid-rift and cleavage (Although females could also wear the ordinary/male version). Since the upgrade to Runescape 2, however, female plate armour no longer exists, and the standard armours display the same on PCs of either gender. Plate skirts exist but can be worn by either gender.
Armor in Dragon Saga can be used by both genders but the midriff portions of torso pieces tend to magically shrink or disappear when transferred from a male character to a female.
Age of Reckoning'' has the scantily clad Witch Elf class. Body armor pieces include the "halter" and "corset" series. Dark Elf Sorceresses also get hit with this. Averted with nearly every other class, as the female and males both wear practical armor.Particularly noticeable with the Dark Elf Black Guard class; the lack of feminine contours on their armor makes it impossible to tell the genders apart. The reason, of course, being that the models for the particular professions in the original game are like that.
Witch Elves and Sorceresses are lightly-armoured and very fragile and their armour (such as it is) exists for the sake of decency, rather than to provide protection. Male Sorcerers are equally squishy because the difference in armour value between cloth and bare skin is pretty much negligible. For the more heavily-armoured careers, appearance is uniform between the sexes: a female character in heavy armour is every bit as well-covered as a male character, which is a contrast with many other games, in which plate leg armour magically becomes a Thong of Super Durability on females.
This might be the main point of the series. Yuko's armor has consistently been illogically skimpy, being pretty much a bikini and (if it counts as armor) a skirt. Cham/Char in the third game has slightly less impractical armor.
Strangely, the third game's magic user is dressed in a full robe.
Also strangely, in the fourth game, Lena starts off with more modest clothing, even if it's still impractical as battle armor. However, when she gets special armor that grants her temporary invincibility (until it takes enough damage), that special armor turns out to be as skimpy as (or possibly skimpier than) Yuko's.
The Kingdom of Troia has an all-female army, who wear leotards as their official uniform. The sprite used to represent them is identical to that of the dancers in other places, resulting in this reaction when the player speaks to one of the guards in the castle: "Dance for you!? How dare you! I am a shieldmaiden of the Epopts, not some two-gil performer!"
The original Nintendo Power artwork for its Final Fantasy IV feature for its SNES release depicts both Paladin Cecil◊ and Kain◊ in these, accompanying Guy for Stripperiffic male Final Fantasy designs.
The elemental archfiend of Wind, Barbariccia, wears nothing more than a bikini. Then again, she might not need armor seeing as she's more of a force of nature and forms a protective whirlwind with her own hair.
In Final Fantasy VI, Terra and Celes (the strongest characters in the game) wear something akin to battle swimsuits/leotards according to the official art (Celes, in particular, wears a strapless green swimsuit with shoulderpads, a cape, and a belt. Terra's is red and doesn't even have a cape.) In-game, the strongest suit of armor is the Minerva Bustier(Which may be the reason that Relm, the Token Mini-Moe, couldn't wear it.).
Dona, one of the other summoners in the game, wears a very revealing outfit that consists of a bra, Detached Sleeves, a Showgirl Skirt, and panties all somehow held together with a large amount of string.
While the male Knights of Pluto get to clank around in plate armour, the Queen's all-female guard tends to invest in helmets, boots, and one-piece swimsuits. Not often where 'show some leg' meets 'oppressive imperial army'.
The game includes a number of Harness/Subligar armor sets which, while varying a bit depending on race and gender, consist of body armor that covers some places and exposes others, and leg armor that covers only the crotch, leaving the legs almost entirely exposed or covered in skin-tight material that is usually flesh-toned (though one set in particular has navy blue material covering the legs). One particular piece of leg armor, the Republic Subligar, is the best equipment available to almost all melees over a wide range of levels, and thus is extremely common, even though players frequently express disgust and horror at witnessing Galka, male Elvaan, and male Hume models in this gear.
A more blatant example of this would be the Fighter's Lorica, an Level 60 piece of artifact body armor. It is literally a breastplate with metal skirt but sans mid-riff coverage. Comes with an extremely high +Enmity rating for its level that Japanese players have questioned whether the bare mid-riffs was the reason for it (as the relic version of this piece covers the mid-riff but lowers the enmity rating bonus)...
Fran appears to wear armor with all of the actually protective bits cut out. Not to mention that it's predominately black, with nothing discernible underneath, and that she goes traipsing about in it rather extensively through deserts and frozen mountain passes. Forget enemy attacks. Ouch!
Nearly all the Dalmascan characters wear piecemeal plating over thin leathers or clothing, but this is quite deliberately contrasted with the heavily-armored Judges and Imperial soldiers. Considering the Archaedian Empire is a northern realm, while Dalmasca is almost entirely desert, there's a surface sort of logic (try fighting in armor in temperate weather for long; it's not easy; imagine how much worse it'd be in a desert).
It also contains one of the oddest subversions to this trope, as one character actually is shot fatally in an unprotected area due to wearing this kind of armor... and it's a male character. Still, the gap was notoriously small, so kudos to the archer.
Another male example is Vaan, who wears a decent amount of plating on his legs, but his upper body is mainly protected by a very skimpy metal vest. It actually covers his back pretty well if one overlooks the midriff and arms; from the front, however, its main defensive utility lies in making its wearer very careful about getting hit.
Played with in Dragon's Dogma. You can deck out your female Arisen and Pawns in hulking suits of non-revealing plate armor if you wish, but on a few articles of clothing, what is a breastplate on a man, literally becomes a Chainmail Bikini on a woman. Also, many players outfit their Pawns in little more than a Thong of Shielding on purpose.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time: here's an experiment you can try. Take a female Clavat and a female Selkie. Put them both in, say, a suit of Dragoon armour. Note that the Clavat's is relatively sensible and the Selkie's is backless. Kinda-sorta justified in-universe; Selkies are noted for being extremely agile, hence the reason they are the only race able to Double Jump, and they most likely cut down any armour they wear to make it more flexible.
In Luminous Arc 2Ayano's "armor" is barely anything but metal bra and panty. Pretty much oppose the armor-clad Roland, Rasche, Gaston and Richter.
In Luminous Arc 3 the female Ashley wears bare-midriff and thigh armor while the males Levi 's Ragnarok form, Glen and Arnogia wear full armor neck to toes and in Glen's case helmet as well.
The game had a swimsuit armor that actually changed the pixels of a female character who wore it. Its armor class is terrible though. Fortunately, there's a randomly dropped "Magic Bikini" that provides the same stunning 8-bit resolution "fanservice" with armor for those willing to engage in Level Grinding for it.
Made even more hilarious when worn on a jester. Since they didn't think you could get much more Stripperific than a Playboy Bunny costume, they decided to clothe them in complete dominatrix gear — complete with mask and whip.
That's not all. Just take a look at the female warrior/soldier's outfit.◊ Made even more ridiculous by the fact that her class can wear the heaviest armor, but no matter what you put her in, she'll always look like Red Sonja. This look has actually become quite popular, and further Dragon Quest games often have this female warrior as an NPC.
Dragon Quest VII had a 'Battle Chemise' for Maribel that functioned the same way. Decent 'armor' that distracted the monsters and made her look like she was wearing a frilly pink nightie. As for the trope itself, Aira wore one along with a cropped jacket and a Showgirl Skirt as her outfit.
Dragon Quest VIII had not only the Magic Bikini, but a wide variety of revealing outfits for Jessica that actually changed her model's appearance, unlike her other armors. Furthermore, this armor is made available to you at the last town you visit before your party ventures into the Arctic!
Dragon Quest IX continues the tradition in Egregious fashion. You can see the male and female outfits for some of the core classes here. Most of them are comparable, but while the male Warrior is wearing a full chain shirt and padded tabard with greaves, gauntlets and helmet, the female Warrior... isn't. Particular mention must go to the wrap-around mail miniskirt that's open at the front, meaning her only protection to any frontal attack between the midriff and knees is her underwear.
The main character in The Guardian Legend wears very little in the way of body armor. Being a cyborg built specifically for combat, it doesn't matter quite as much, since she uses a personal force field to absorb the shock of enemy attacks.
Fire Emblem usually averts this. When a female character wears armour, it's usually just as practical as their male equivalents'.
Some fans point to Pegasus Knights as an exception, as they usually fight wearing a breastplate over a short dress and thigh high riding boots... which makes sense as they are light calvary with low defense, but high speed and a focus on critical hits.
Made even more laughable with Judith, who wears a full suit of androdynous armour when the party first meets her, but then changes into her Chainmail Bikini for the rest of the game (unless given a different outfit). The extra costumes in the Japanese PS3 version also features actual bikinis for Judith, Rita and Estelle to wear into battle. Battle swimwear is also available for Yuri, Raven and Karol.
Worth noting that Informed Equipment is usually in play with the Tales games. Usually, the only pieces of equipment visible in gameplay are the weapon and shield, if the character is using one.
With a few exceptions, somewhere around half of the MMORPG ads on this site use/fall prey to this. Not that the other half are much better — they're just not wearing armor, period, leaving the only question a matter of how Stripperiffic the outfit in question is.
Image: [Cleavage, bare midriff] Text: Like what you see?
Julia in the game Age of Wonders. Her armor covers most of her body, but it's shape is rather fitting. It's most likely meant to be comfortable though. Julia's armor is lampshaded twice during her storyline in Shadow Magic. Once by The Big Guy and once by The Vamp.
The Shivering Isles are guarded almost entirely by women in bikini armor, which perhaps explains why they're called the Shivering Isles but not why they're not called the Shivering and Jiggling Isles. The male version of the armor is still a little silly, but not so revealing.
Less flagrant in Oblivion than in most games, but still present for the few armors who have different models between male and female (like the Iron armor). The female versions tend to have plunging necklines, and leave a lot more skin showing then the male versions. Compare this◊ and this◊. It's the same armor, on the other sex.
The same applies to Oblivion's chainmail armour. On a male, it's a standard chainmail shirt. On a female it's a tank top. Check it out◊
However, the difference is visible on the lowest-level armor; Daedric or glass armor has almost no difference on men and women.
Also noteable, while The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind pretty much avoided this in the first place, there was the offical mod "LeFemme Armor". While it just made a few of the more common armors (iron or steel) a little more femminine on female Characters, there was also a golden one that even showed on male Characters in the feminine cut.
The trope zig-zags. Lighter armor (cloth, leather, other non-metals) tend to wrap more around female models, but the heavier bits (Daedric, Dragonplate) tend to look more or less identical regardless of sex. Though steel plate and ebony armor seem to show off a woman's figure pretty well while not showing any skin.
Amusingly, the lowest level of light armor (Fur) shows more skin on males than females. While it consists of little more than a form-fitting and cleavage-lifting bodice for women, for men it's more like shoulderpads and straps.
Thoroughly averted by Dwarven Armor, which covers the entire body of both men and women in such a thick layer of metal that it looks like you would stand a reasonable chance against armor-piercing bullets.
However, the Forsworn armor follows this trope to a tee, with the female version being little more than a hide bikini that can be upgraded to be on par with other light armors. Of course, the male version is just as exposing as well.
Hellgate: London had the female Paladins wear a helmet, breastplate, gauntlets, and then what appeared to be a skintight leather onesie all the way down to their thigh-high high-heeled boots. And this is an organization that supposedly came out of the Catholic Church.
Quest for Glory V puts Elsa von Spielburg in a chainmail bikini. It's an especially stupid example because not only is she a tough-as-nails warrior and a capable swordswoman in her own right, but she's spent her entire life struggling against sexism.
D.W. Bradley seems to enjoy playing with this concept in the Wizardry series and Wizards & Warriors. Armored bras of cloth, leather, chain, and plate varieties can be found in the latter game, while in the former, characters that begin the game in the Valkyrie class (only open to females), have a fur halter and chamois skirt in their starting equipment, the Stud Cuir Bra + 2 is a recurring item wearable only by women (and actually one of the best pieces of armor for female thieves and rangers for quite some time in Wizardry 6), the Amazulu of Wizardry 6 go into battle wearing fur panties and anklets (period), and the Helazoid of Wizardry 7 wear jackets consisting of sleeves and not much else.
The MMORPG has very different appearance for the same armour settings, based on sex and race. While humans and Sylph (sort of hovering elves) are decently protected, and Sprites (eternal children) even more, female Felins (or Shura, it depends on language) are almost naked on the crotch all the time. While wearing a full heavy armour set, there will inevitably be no pants other that a colored thong, and metal breast will bounce while running. Metal breast, bouncing. It helps a lot that female Felins are humanoid vixen. The Dancer outfit is commonly referred by players as "Whore dress". Note that male Felins, that are ugly as butt (should be humanoid dragons, and are usually flat-faced with big mouths) wear the very same outfits, but with black tights under the armour, or long gown instead of mini pants.
There's also the option to purchase costumes that make even the most modest character look slutty or make the sluttiest character modest thereby giving players an option of adverting this trope or play it straight regardless of race or career chosen.
Eye of the North'' features a Breast Plate-wearing Norn woman named Jora on the cover; she features in a few of the quests for the expansion pack. It's notable that early concept for the character was mostly identical to her final design, except that she gained about two and a half cup sizes. It should be noted that male Norn don't even bother with the Breast Plate.
Aside from that, the game features both female armor that would be completely suitable for battle and is not more revealing than the male version, and several variants of chainmail bikini, ranging from "slightly revealing" to "underwear."
A good example can be seen here, where we see the pictures for the elementalist armors. One can't help but wonder why the female version cost the same amount of crafting materials as the male versions, given that they have about 30% of the fabric.
The same question could certainly be asked about certain female mesmer armors, particularly the "Elite Enchanter" set, which is basically a nightie accented with choker, Zettai Ryouiki stockings and knee-height go-go boots.
Most Ranger sets are similarly less armoring for females, most notably in Prophecies. There is an "Elite Studded Leather" miniskirt and the "Elite Druid" set that has less cloth than the undergarments you would have while "naked."
In Lineage 2, the armour on the female chracters is particualrily revealing (and silly). Possibly the most ridiculous is the starting armour for the female Dark Elf — a halter top (open in the middle) mid thigh high-heeled boots and a thong. All in black leather, of course. The most silly of this is how the Dwarven female character is covered head to toe in full plate armor with one set but the Human female gets a metal miniskirt.
Lampshaded in Princess Maker 2. When you go to the armory and try to buy a very stripperiffic piece made of silk (?), the vendor tells you that it may raise your daughter's Charisma, but it covers and protects so few that it's not worth the gold you have to pay for it. You can still buy it, of course, but it DOES offer much less protection than the others.
Though it is justified in the description for the class, where it states that Warriors wear light clothing to increase mobility, and can harden their bodies instantly.
Also the female samurai◊ wears a fairly standard samurai hakama, except that the top is reduced to little more than sleeves so you can see her Sarashi bound assets and uncovered stomach.
Valkyrie Profile and its sequel frequently features the second type; many of the female warriors are heavily armoured except for the thighs and sometimes the breasts (either normal fabric or actual exposed cleavage), and several wear armoured high heeled boots. On the other hand, some of the male warriors also have somewhat questionable weakspots...
Community Expansion Pack has not only "Aribeth Armor" (description: A suit of armor strangely reminiscent of a controversial lady's...) but also "Chain Mail Bikini" (Because what fantasy RPG would be complete without one, if only to uphold stereotypes and running jokes...). Though the female variant of the "Warrior Monk's Outfit" is more Stripperiffic anyway (top part looks less like a narrow cloth and more like a very wide shoestring).
This gets even worse in some other community-produced modules. The Aribeth's Redemption series gives us the "Armor of Impossible Cleavage," which grants a bonus to Charisma and Persuade in addition to its armor bonus and leaves a completely exposed foot-wide strip down the center of the torso (it is also limited to female use only, and unfortunately (for story reasons) you can't play that module with a female character). A Dance with Rogues series has a hakpack that turns every possible suit of armor or clothing into one of these. One of the most infamous examples is the "Armor of Lolth," encountered in the middle of the second chapter, which on female characters looks like a dark reddish bra and panties (though on male characters it looks like an ordinary suit of black and red plate armor) and provides more protection than most suits of plate armor. If you wear that armor, all conversations with male characters (except for the psycho pervert character) begin with them stuttering at you.
In KotOR 2, there is the slave Leia outfit (which can be enhanced by underlays, wonder where they go...) and Mira's ballistic jacket which has an AC bonus on par with medium armor, despite being midriff-baring. There is also Handmaiden, who is wearing black underwear when not having any clothes equipped. In KOTOR 1, a female scout character starts the game in bra and panties.
Even more interesting is that not only does everyone have underwear, everyone actually has two completely different KINDS of underwear. Try dressing a character entirely in Sith gear, then take it off...
The High-Cut Armor (for females only) is essentially this (although you only get to see the avatar change in the FES expansion), but your party members will be embarrassed and only reluctantly agree to wear it.
Lampshaded some more in the PSP rererelease, where they are renamed Battle Panties.
Soul Calibur 4. The Soul series of fighting games is legendary for its female character's costumes, most of which offer little protection from sword, hammer, or ambient temperature. By contrast, new character Hilde in Soul Calibur 4 wields two weapons and wears full plate armour, making her an oddity not only in SC 4 but also fighting games in general — the armour does not, however, appear to give any more protection from damage than a cotton dress. This is to show off the new system, where armor can get blown off! Even when the armor is nearly completely removed, she manages to avert the trope by wearing a formal suit underneath which - miraculously - doesn't show any skin.
Samurai Shodown has Charlotte (one intro quote is actually yelling at someone for mocking her having a breastplate). She has the breastplate, what may be gloves, and what once looked like armoured (if heeled) boots that seem to turn a bit sexier in later games. Neinhalt Sieger is a more masculine example, bearing one (HUGE) gauntlet as well as greaves and kneepads. Torso protection? His big bare Teutonic chest.
While most male classes mostly don't show any skin, all of the female classes except for the Acolyte love showing their legs, their cleavage and their waist. Female Lord Knights wear a mini-skirt, for crying out loud.
Some male characters show a lot of skin. The Blacksmith type jobs are wearing a small vest and the 3rd class version of the monk has no top. the 3rd class version of Alchemist also has an exposed stomach.
Despite the name, the title character of King's Bounty: Armored Princess is not very well armored◊. That, however, only applies to the mage version of Amelie, featured on the box art. The warrior and paladin are more realistically armored.
Both played straight and (!) averted in Gaia Online's MMORPG zOMG!.
The straight example is Lin in the Otami Ruins, who wears a low-cut breastplate and not much else. Arguably justified, since she is a Winged Humanoid and presumably wouldn't present a whole lot of target when flying (her brother doesn't wear much, either).
The aversion is the female members of the Barton Guard, who wear armor almost exactly like that of their male counterparts. Gaia users have at times been surprised to find out that Alma is a girl.
The main site has an item called Very Protective Fantasy Armor. It's... not very protective. The item poses available are "Panties", "Bra", "Hand Plates", "Foot Plates" and "Headpiece".
The box art of Arkistas Ring shows the protagonist in a metal/chainmail bikini. How did they get this past Nintendo's radar?
If you play as a male Revya, he'll be wearing relatively modest leather armor. Female Revya, however, goes shirtless aside from pauldrons and a metal bra. See for yourself.◊ Their Sprites, on the other hand, both wear the same midriff-baring chest armor.
To say nothing of the nereids, although in this case it's somewhat justified, as they're an underwater race, and one really can't move around underwater very well in heavy armor.
Applies to some of the light armor in the game. Equip a piece of Dalish armor on a male character and it's your traditional leather armor. Equip it on a female, and their midriff is exposed, along with a good amount of thigh below the leather miniskirt. The Chasind Robes look absolutely ridiculous on either gender. Thankfully, heavy armor doesn't suffer from the metal bikini syndrome.
The Chasind robe (and its variants) is basically a swimsuit with Absolute Cleavage and furry shoulder pads when equipped on a female character.
Played straight with Isabela in Dragon Age II, who wears a 'tunic' that basically looks like a swimsuit with a flap of material at the front and back. Her thong is frequently visible.
Played straight with many (though not all) of the Vanquisher's armor choices in Torchlight.
Used and averted, although raider armour◊ is pretty skimpy everybody else wears more practical attire. Throughout the series, women in full Power Armour are indistinguishable from their male counterparts. Most armors in earlier games just had some bumps on the sprite instead of cleavage. Many of the original (non-power) armors in FNV are also indistinguishable between genders, to the point that a female character looks like a man with a woman's head tacked on, if the head isn't covered up as well.
Reis is depicted as wearing an extremely low-cut chest-plate and a skirt.
Angela. Not only is she wearing a strapless leotard, miniskirt, boots and her staff, she's also Going Commando, and she hails from the snowy land of Altena. The first time she leaves the magically protected castle onto the aptly named Sub-Zero Snowfields, she almost freezes to death.
Orion female armor in Star Trek Online. All but one of their possible outfits are of the Chainmail Bikini type (and that one is shredded cloth). As noted above, the Klingon women get this a little bit too, but compared to the Stripperific Orion outfits, it's almost unnoticeable. On the Federation side of things, the Terran Empire costumes from the TOS era are just as tiny, and even come with Zettai Ryouki to boot. This all applies if the body armor is made not to show; the armor can be toggled so it's visible, and almost all of it falls in the "Tight show-off-the-curves" variety. It's worth noting that since the main type of weapon is of the Energy Weapon sort, the only protection that they really need is a Personal Shield, so it's somewhat justified. Less so when dealing with the Klingon Bat'leths, of course.
Note that Orion females can go around in less stripperific armour (they get access to most of the uniforms/costume-armour female Klingons do. This includes the somewhat-revealing variant of the Klingon armour-uniform). It's just that they also get access to several costume pieces other species and genders do not, all of which show off a lot of skin.
The Kirin armor shown here. It is one of the strongest armors you can get early on in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. "How does so much skin deflect so much damage?!?"
Overall for the series, it varies depending on the individual armor set. The female Renpolos armor for example is only identifiable as "female" by the fact that few men would willingly wear something painted that cute, The Urugaan set is partially form-fitting with the only skin exposed being the face and Zettai Ryouki covered by a heavy armor skirt, while the Barioth set is almost as skimpy as the aforementioned Kirin. On the other hand, the Bone armor set is skimpy for both females and males.
Shanoa in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is shown in art wearing a full breastplate and some overlapping plates to protect her hips, but otherwise has a skirt and Stripperiffic high heel boots (not to mention the Sexy Backless Outfit). Somewhat justified in that the exposed areas of Shanoa's skin are, essentially, her weapons. She sports glyph tattoos that provide her with with weapons or spells, and the biggest one is on her back. That tattoo is how she acquires these glyphs in the first place - the "absorb" animation involves her lifting her hair to expose her back, then sucking any nearby glyphs into it.
Vindictus: While all characters have plenty of realistic armour, especially at lower levels; female characters Evie, Fiona, and Vella have their share of unrealistic fantasy styles at higher levels. These include mini-skirts, see-through mesh dresses, hotpants, low-cut necklines, and so on. Interestingly, this is actually explained in-universe. Nearly all of the less-practical armour is made by NPC tailor Clodagh, who is obsessed with fashion and appearance, and not terribly concerned with practicality.
Similar, there is Fiona's Shining Will set, which consists of helmet, see-through miniskirt, backless Breast Plate with plunging neckline, and armoured boots and gloves. This is even less excusable, as Fiona is the game's Tank, emphasizing defensive skills.
While Samurai Warriors usually plays this straight (when the female warriors wear armor at all, that is), it's subverted with Ginchiyo Tachibana. While the plate parts of her armor would be a classic Breast Plate, She has the good sense to cover everything but her head in (admittedly very well-fitting) chainmail.
The Enchantress Emily from C-64 game Fire King falls into the "no armor at all" category. It's stated as the reason for her low defense, since "the armorer has given up fashioning a breastplate for her".
In Kingdoms Of Amalur, the acquirable armor and robes are unisex - the leather armor is just as form-fitting on males as it is on females, for example. That said, one of the NPCs wears Nothing But Belts almost literally.
Celestine from Magna Carta 2 parades around in a tight fitting crystal-bikini-thing for the duration of the game, and is first introduced with a generous glimpse of her breasts.
Lost Odyssey's Ming wears a leather corset with Absolute Cleavage and a pair of trousers with the crotch cut out so that you can see her matching leather panties. Not a very queenly attire, but then again, when you're both the founder AND the first and only leader of a thriving thousand-year kingdom, you can wear pretty much anything you want.
Jack in Mass Effect 2 wears a pair of baggy trousers and combat boots, but her chest is only covered by a leather strap over her nipples, and a copious amount of tattoos. In the third game, she decides to invest in a more practical outfit. Ashley in Mass Effect 3hangs a lampshade on this trope when she mentions a male Shepard's romance with Miranda: "I wear armour into battle, not a swimsuit!" Miranda's outfit is actually Spy Catsuit however, and it's also a rather ironic comment given that one of Ashley's alt armours is a catsuit. Most protection in the Mass Effect series is provided by kinetic barriers, which is why your various companions in Mass Effect 2 can get away with wearing a Spy Catsuit, a Badass Longcoat, or, well, baggy pants and a leather strap. These barriers are also able to maintain an atmosphere, which helps them survive in toxic environments and vacuum.
Princess Solange from Code of Princess, having actual armor only on her hands, neck and nipples, the rest of her... clothing *consisting of thong, high heels and some frilly accessories is probably one of the most objectifying examples out there.
Saskia the Dragonslayer from The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings wears no helmet and armor everywhere but her cleavage. Although only some of it is showing, the plot takes place in a dark fantasy setting where even the protagonist, a monster hunting mutant, can be killed by a single arrow. Saskia is the leader of a rebellion, so she should be wearing a full suit of armor. That said, her virginity and sexuality are part of why she is followed at all, so it is likely to inspire her followers.
That, and she's secretly a dragon taking human form, complete with a Healing Factor and supernatural durability. A single arrow wouldn't do much more than inconvenience her.
White Knight Chronicles II includes Kara, who disguises herself as a man by wearing a suit of plate armor...which stops short at waist level to reveal a skintight fabric highlighting her curvy figure. Huh?
Played straight by Sharla in Xenoblade but inverted by Reyn, a big muscleman whose various equipment models except a few of the heavier ones also show loads of skin.
Played ridiculously straight in Wartune, the higher level a Female Knights armor, the more skin it shows. Made egregious by the fact there is one model for female knights, a blonde, that EVERYONE uses. Male Knights wears full covering armor from day one. Females also have built-in stiletto heels, and serve the role of Tank.
The Dark Spire has an item that is described as such, although it's never actually seen in-game.
In Scarlet Blade all female classes wear skimpy high tech armor that reveals a lot of skin.
It's taken to a new extreme with their Mini Mech; heavy mechanized armor that presents torso, pelvis and upper thighs right out front, exposed except for Censor Steam.
Parodied in Borderlands 2 in DLC Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep. One of the sidequests has you trying to get armor for the rather large Ellie. You're given two options: A breastplate that you might see the fat lady wear in an opera or a replica of the Princess Leia bikini. Ellie makes it clear that she would much prefer actual armor than something that won't even cover "half a tit".
Well and wholly averted in Dungeons & Dragons Online. While stat wise identical pieces of armor may look different, that single piece will look the same on any character (accounting for size differences, of course), be they male or female, elf or orc.
Later played straight with the item shop's cosmetic armours, which show a lot more skin when applied to female avatars◊.
Several of the female character in Smite wear these. Most notably Aphrodite, Isis, Neith.
Done relatively tamely and self-consciously in Get Medieval when Rylede gets her armor made◊ — it is a real suit of armor over maille, but it is contoured and has a low neckline. It hardly matters, as her opponents are all so unnerved by fighting a woman that they never even come close to hitting her. A lampshade is hung on this as well: When Canter asks how she planned on getting a suit of armor made in a society where women are forbidden to fight, she explains that the blacksmith agreed because it fulfilled a lifelong fantasy of his.
Subverted in the webcomic Chainmail Bikini, wherein the set of armor of the title is described as "+ 1 to AC, + 2 to charisma". Its wearer was killed off early into the comic's run, resulting in an Artifact Title.
Nitrine's powered armor is a shining example of trope subversion - cleavage is an absurd weak spot! It is also implied Nitrine found the cleavage useless when she wore the armor because it only attracts men, not women.
When Morganae acquire's Nitrine's powered suit, Nitrine actually attempts (unsuccessfully) to insert a stake into her heart through the hole
Zintiel the elf warrior, a statuesque Amazon, wears all sorts of armour at various times, including a chestplate-and-shoulderpads combination that looks like an American Footballer's pads
Gertrude & Brunhilda in The KA Mics. The author did put them in full armor once, much to the displeasure of his readers.
This episode of Nerdcore: The Core Wars explains that the Geneva Conventions "made it a war crime to injure a female anthropoid in the area of the cleavage, stomach, or thighs. Thereby making it unnecessary for women to cover those areas in armor."
Subverted and Lampshaded in Guilded Age. The fighter Frigg gets into a tussle with a bunch of razor-ruler wielding psycho nuns and while she wins, afterwards she is covered in bruises and lacerations. The first things she does is swear to get some plate as "the spring break look is for tards".
The Cerberus from Spinnerette wears a chainmail bikini. The heroine even comments on how expensive it must have been. The trope is also lampshaded when Heather asks Sahira if her new costume can't have a cleavage and plunging back. Sahira points out that putting a hole over the heart in an otherwise bulletproof costume is probably not a good idea.
Tina Warrior Princess from Pewfell wears an actual chainmail bikini.
In Bruno the Bandit, "Warrior Hotties" typically wear what amounts to a leather leotard, cape and thigh-high boots. Which looks both comical and pathetic on Bruno's mother, an ex-Warrior Hottie who can still kick butt with the best of 'em.
The title character Vixine from the Vixine Webcomic is always shown in a barely fitting armored thong bikini and having an argument with her armorsmith at one point when she'd ordered something more realistic, only to reveal after she's left that her male allies have been bribing him to stick her with the bikini and claim it was the only thing possible he could manage for her.
Parodied in Exiern (even though it's otherwise heavy on nearly naked people) when the gender-swapped heroine is buying "girl clothes" and gestures to her midsection, pointing out to the armorer that all her critical organs are "right around in here." Doubles as Hypocritical Humor when you consider that when she was a man, her idea of a good outfit for combat was a loincloth and a sword.
Thoroughly averted in The Senkari — everyone wears historically accurate armor, usually hauberks.
With the notable exception of one of the female PC's in the in story RPG, who wears a coconut style chainmaille bikini.
Worn largely without irony by the title heroine of Glorianna.
ThisFull Frontal Nerdity points out that the wearers of Chainmail Bikinis are exposed to the elements as well as attack.
Attempted justification in Wayward Sons: Hestya's fire powers burn off her own clothes, but render her impervious to conventional attacks. The only substance that resists her flames is the local flavor of Unobtanium, and due to its scarcity, they can only spare enough to cover her bits for modesty's sake.
In the Whateley Universe, the superheroine Beach Bunny wears a titanium bikini as her costume. She has heat powers too and tends to burn up normal clothes and supersuits. Lampshaded when speedster Scrambler admits she tried a metal bikini once and got really bad chafing when she ran.
Savannah, a general from Castle Age (an application on Facebook) is a posterchild of this type of "armor".
Female characters in MMORPGs can be distinguished by the fact that the better their armour is, the more skin is shownoff.
This being the fount of jokes since RPG exists — when in doubt, blameMin-Maxing.
Skimpy Armor for Dudes by humon very much averts this trope. The only woman is completely covered up. The nearly naked man is posing for the camera, and the others are no more dressed. Of course, humon mentions that everyone, male and female, would wear barely anything in the society she had created for that, so who knows where else the woman came from.
Played for laughs in their "Why Shopping in a video game universe sucks". The female armor that gives 20 defense points bares the midriff and when asked for something more substantial the shopkeeper holds up an even skimpier 50 point metal bra that is held up "by magic" (it then promptly falls down the shopkeeper).
Female ArmorBingo is a more or less complete list of offenses against practicality and common sense when it comes to protective gear for women.
Taarna's get-up from Heavy Metal. What scant clothing she wears seemed to be modeled on various pieces of armor, despite being made of cloth.
In Kaena: The Prophecy, the title character wears basically some scraps of leather. This wouldn't be nearly as noticable if the all the male human characters didn't wear more covering than the women. Yes, even the children. Later on, when she gets armour, she's told that it's for her "protection". She steps into the light, and the armour covers roughly the same amount of her as the leather did. Even more infuriating is that the alien who made her the armour is male, and he has a suit that fully covers his body.
While Young Justice does pretty well for a comic-book adaptation by having the vast majority of their female characters adequately protected, the Bad Ass Normal Artemis's main costume has an inexplicably bare midriff Sure, her stealth, arctic, motor-cycle riding and Tigress costumes are all perfectly armoured and conceal all squishy bits, but her default one is basically a huge target for her belly. She is primarily a ranged fighter, but her chest also has a big green arrow on it that would also make a nice target, and her arms are also mostly uncovered.