For me, about the only way to make a warrior woman’s stupidly sexualized outfit even more stupid is for her to be wearing it in the snow. Even if you’re going to pull the “magical protection from cold” card, those enchantments only protect from damage taken from cold—nothing in the spell description indicates that your chain-bikini-clad viking babe won’t be freezing her well-muscled ass off. This is why I have so much appreciation for images like this Nordic lass by artist Tansy Appleby.
On top of being a good set of layered armor, it’s insulated with animal fur (maybe polar bear, but I’m guessing arctic wolf). One of the best parts of cold weather adventuring gear is that the more layers your warrior piles on, the better protected she’ll be from both cold and combat. Though one might make the argument that wearing more layers subtracts from the heroine’s mobility, my counter argument is that so do frostbite and hypothermia.
The innermost visible layer of our alpine heroine’s outfit is shirt and trousers of either leather or brown wool. While the leather would be more protective in combat, the wool is better for the cold. Ideally, she should have at least another layer or two underneath, for example, wearing leather armor with woolens underneath. Thus the outer leathers help keep her safe from spears and arrows while the double layer of leather and wool keeps her safe from the biting snow.
The additional plated armor around her midriff is interesting and not unheard of. As rib cages can take a surprising amount of punishment, there are rationale for giving the bowels more protection than the upper torso. Plus, having a smaller plate covering only part of her thorax allows more flexibility than a single, solid chest piece.
Her outer fur coat also provides more combat protection than one might initially expect. The hide functions as thin leather, naturally, but the fur itself also offers a buffer of its own. Though individual hairs are somewhat delicate, hundreds of them together can cushion against maces and clubs, slow axe or sword blades, or even deflect glancing blows altogether.
Her sword and accessories look practical as well. I’ve always had a preference for bastard swords, and not just because I like the attack dice and critical range. They’re fairly versatile for a large blade, useable with one or two hands, effective for stabbing or slashing, and equally dangerous toward infantry or cavalry. Gloves are heavy, hardened, fur-lined leather, good for heavy swordplay and against the northern winters. The boots are also kind of interesting in that they’re plate armor like her stomach armor. The fur lining provides an additional barrier between her legs and the cold steel of her grieves. Lastly, the armored boots themselves are tapered toward the toes like a knight’s, suggesting to me that her attire might be for cavalry combat as well.
All around, I think I like this image. The only thing I see missing is some manner of hood or hat to protect our heroine’s pretty head. Nicely done, Tansy.