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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 06 Apr 2018 :  13:39:14  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I have seen Ed's 2004 quote on underwear in the Realms and try to reflect that in play. The more colourful novels often include some notes on the kind of lingerie that go under character's finery for revels, but less often mention the more mundane smallclothes of rangers, soldiers and adventurers. Which is usually fine.

quote:
Originally posted by Questions for Ed Greenwood (2004) p. 21


Which brings us to lingerie. First, utilitarian underwear for men and women: women with large breasts that get in the way, or when doing activites that are going to cause chafing or discomfort (crawling on rock while mining, rowing, etc.) often wear a tight cloth breast-binding or sling (the equivalent of a modern sports bra, although instead of stretchy fabric covering a lot of skin, the Realms version is more like a trough or shelf of tightly-stretched cloth sewn to cords (precisely because elastic fabric is largely unknown in the Realms). In colder climates, soft hide bras are worn most of the time.
For the lower half of the body, both men and women wear clouts: a very tight leather, cloth, or cord (listed here in descending order of perceived quality and durability) belt worn around the hips, and usually held tight by multiple hooks (like a modern bra) at the front. Then a long, diaper-like strip of rectangular cloth (usually cotton) is passed between the legs, up through the front of the belt to dangle down, and up through the back of the belt to dangle down. In other words, the “breechclout” of some native American tribes. In many cases, the dangling front and back ends are designed to be tied together, and the cloth may be folded in on itself for extra absorbency or padding (especially when the wearer expects to be riding a mount). Menstruating women usually place another layer or two of red-hued cloth inside the clout and change this as necessary, and yes, clouts can be purchased that are decorative and ‘made to be seen.’ Freshly-perfumed clouts are often sold in Waterdeep and other large cities.
Among simple backcountry folk in cold climates, women often wear leggings, leather skirts, long hide shirts (tunics), and fur cloaks -- and a woman wanting to signal her willingness for some hanky-panky either aggressively tells her chosen partner so, or hikes up her skirts briefly to reveal that she, ahem, seems to have forgotten to put on her clout! (Prostitutes trolling for strangers often expose their breasts and hold up a lantern to spotlight this fact -- and probably also to keep the bared skin a little warmer.)
Okay, on to the alluring stuff. The concept of wire for breast support and shaping is unknown in the Realms, but corsets (laced-up, tight boiled hide, not whalebone or any sort of stiffeners) and stomachers that cinch the waist tight are popular, and many of them have shaped panels for the hips and a top ‘shelf’ to thrust out and support the breasts. Low-cut peasant blouses and even lace trimmings (as one can see from examining the covers of Volo’s Guides and much Realms interior artwork) are widely used. In hot climates, panties and translucent silk pantaloons, vests, and the like are often worn by women (Hollywood “harem” wear), also as established by some Realms artwork.
So black lace, black leather, and red (the other erotic hue) straps can be worn. Black lace dresses, garments that expose the crotch and nipples, and what we might call ‘bondage gear’ (such as tassel-adorned nipple clamps) are okay, on festhall dancers and in private, among couples. Prostitutes dress in whatever garb is allowed locally; in more conservative places, they are usually fully dressed, but in garments that show a strip of bare flesh all the way up the outside of the leg and torso (i.e. held together with a series of rings). This signals to would-be clients that this particular woman wants to be approached, rather than being someone who’ll offer instant violence AND scream for the Watch if propositioned.
Men trying to signal their interest in sex or courtship will often wear an artificial flower perched on one shoulder: a red rose for “I’m looking for courtship,” a black rose for “I’m looking for sex,” and a steel rose to signal homosexual interest (a device also used by lesbians). In ‘my’ Realms, there’s no stigma attached to homosexual relationships, only to any sexual behaviour that involves exploiting children, and any sexual behaviour that involves force or coercion (please note: WILLINGLY undergoing pain or bondage doesn’t count).
Fops or boisterous types (such as Mirt the Moneylender) might wear four or more such roses to signal that they’re interested in multiple partners for the night, but except in the right sort of festhall, such displays can often cause mirth or ridicule.
Other than the rose, men seldom wear “lingerie” per se, but may shave, perfume themselves, or wear a single black legging (usally on the right leg) decorated with scenes of heroic prowess (usually depicted in red). Tiny bells on nipple-rings are sometimes worn by individuals of either gender to ‘appear sexy,’ and some priests are reportedly excited by sexual partners who tattoo symbols of their deity on the palms of their hands.
And a glance at the published Realms should make it obvious that erotic dancing is a big part of foreplay and sexual entertainment. Elaborately-decorated (with bells, etc.) garters (we’re talking here not the modern straps between belt and silk stockings, but rather the slender belt worn around a single leg with ends a-dangle) are often worn by dancers, both professionals and houswives wanting to excite their husbands, and undone and thrown aside during the dance.
In warmer climes, both genders often signal their desire for sex by walking naked in moonlit gardens, or naked except for finely-made, ‘show’ high boots, headgear (often with face veils), and to-the-elbow gloves (an overcloak is usually worn to reach the gardens -- and if the gardens aren’t private, kept on until a desired partner is met).
Foreplay among elves and half-elves (particularly strangers) often includes the wearing of full-face masks or hoods that leave bare only the ears -- and caressing, kissing, or licking of ears (plus throat, backs of knees, and palms of hands) for and by both partners leads to more ardent activities.



Generally, any female PCs or NPCs that adventure with the PCs will tend to be fairly slender in build, especially if they are active physical types, like warriors or rogues. As such, it's rare for them to need extensive support for their breasts, even when performing athletic activities, simply because it's rare for them to have breasts larger than A-cups, B-cups at the largest.

This is largely for the same reason that few endurance athletes in the real world have curvy, buxom bodies. It's hard to be a full-time professional at a physically demanding, exhausting activity while also retaining a high body fat percentage.

Also, pre-modern soldiers on campaign generally lost a lot of their body weight during the active months of warfare, because it was extremely difficult to eat enough to match the very high energy expenditure involved in hiking and patrolling on foot all day while laden with 100 lbs. of gear. Hell, modern soldiers in the infantry or special operations forces often lose a lot of weight during tours in Afghanistan and those units who have done a lot of foot patrols found it very hard to maintain a healthy body weight during times of extreme exertion.

Basically, the lifestyle of most adventurers is such so that they'd better put on a few pounds while living the good life wintering in cities, because their day job will burn every spare ounce of fat from their bodies. All the more so if they are also martial artists who spend a lot of time training, aside from the demands of their jobs, which, in my experience, a lot of PCs tend to be.

With body fat percentages of 6% to 20% (majority 11% to 16%), many PC and NPC adventurers have irregular or no periods and they certainly do not tend to have issues with breast support. With AA to A cup sizes, support is evidently much less of an issue than for more typical women, with healthier body fat percentages.

Magic-users tend to be wealthy enough so that they can afford clothing with such minor magical touches as automatically fitting the wearer, which at least in earlier editions of D&D was a feature of any magical garment.

As such, even if a sorceress or female wizard has a healthy, abundant build, she'll often have the means to ensure as much support as her breasts require without recourse to tailoring technology, as her upper body garments may fit precisely and provide optimal comfort, due to magical reshaping for every wearer. So for such characters, this concern, at least, can be brushed over more easily.

Now, however, I have several characters who are dedicated martial artists and swordmasters, some of them being part of the reconstituted Nine Swords Company. They are full-time students of the Sublime Way and spend hours per day doing form drills, sparring, strength training, endurance training and katas. Some of them even practice acrobatic fighting styles, which means they are effectively professional gymnasts.

And two of these characters are, well, considerably bustier than adventurers usually are. They are both slender (one is 5'9; 125 lbs. and the other is 5'11" and 140 lbs.), but have C-cup breasts. And neither of them is yet successful enough as an adventurer to have access to any expensive magical items that help. One of them is a priestess of Selune, granted, so if there exist spells that might help, that would be nice, but otherwise, they'll have to rely on tailoring.

Okay, from what I can gather from people I know who have breasts, modern athletic wear and sport bras make a considerable difference to comfort while jogging. Unfortunately, I don't really know anyone who runs long distances who has more than A-cups, but even she reports that having breasts at all is a torment during anything longer than 10 km. Then again, male nipples also bleed from chafing during longer runs.

Serious dancers and gymnasts I've known also tend to have very small breasts, so haven't had to deal with the issue of support as much as they might have. Well, two ballerinas both quit dancing once they developed to and beyond B-cups, one being told that she didn't have any chance of a career because she was 'fat' (at 50 kg).

I understand that a 'normal', average woman in Western countries today has a breast size of approximately 36C to 38DD, depending on country, but that is also because quite a lot of 'normal' women are overweight in medical terms. Professional athletes are quite a bit slimmer than average people, especially in today's well-fed society.

No one I personally know with C-cups or larger is very serious about a sport. At least, not today. And I unaccountably neglected any opportunities in my youth to ask my better endowed friends about the mechanics of breast support during athletic endeavours. Which means I don't have any reliable information on just how uncomfortable it is to, for example, play football, run marathons or do martial arts with poorly supported breasts.

But it certainly seems like it would be a major problem. And from what anecdotes I have gleaned, it seems that without the benefits of modern, elastic sport bras, a lot of girls with healthy builds claim that athletic activity would be intensely painful for them. None of the, to my knowledge, had actually done a lot of deliberate testing on the theory, however.

First of all, can someone with breasts or an intimate knowledge of them provide insight into just how uncomfortable it would be to perform gymnastic routines or fast, physically demanding martial arts / fencing drills while naked or dressed in a way that provided little to no effective support for the breasts?

Considering the state of the art in support technology in the Realms, it seems to me that inelastic cloth bindings would be woefully inadequate for support during intensive athletic training.

Can someone provide insight into how binding breasts with cloth would compare to modern sport bras?

What kind of materials would be most comfortable and effective?

Cotton and linen are easier to clean, whereas silk may be strong for its weight and is obviously soft, but aside from expense, might not be ideal for absorbing sweat. I honestly don't know whether silk cloth would make better binding material than high-quality linen or cotton. It seems obvious, though, that this is an area where cheap, rough fabric would be... contraindicated.

I'm also looking for thoughts on how breast-support 'slings' work, without any elastic materials. What kind of cords are we talking about?

How is chafing avoided?

And what about hide bras? How much support do they provide?

Basically, what are the best ways to use Realms-ian fabric technology and tailoring art to ensure optimal comfort for female adventurers with lusher builds than wispy gymnasts or rangy ultra-marathoners?

What would an effective upper body support garment for a 5'11", 140 lbs. martial artist with 36C breasts look like?

What materials might it be made from?

Would she own many or would she wash hers daily and hope it dried completely overnight?

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Edited by - Icelander on 06 Apr 2018 13:43:03

sleyvas
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USA
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Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  00:15:12  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
metal breast cups lined with soft leather with lacings for adjustment maybe?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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moonbeast
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Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  02:20:01  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And no mention of chainmail bikini whatsoever!
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1589 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  02:30:16  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moonbeast

And no mention of chainmail bikini whatsoever!


Aside from comfort issues with mail in direct contact with very sensitive skin, which I've heard about in blistering detail from some female gamer friends (unfortunately no longer easily accessible for commentary) on examining some 'traditional' fantasy art, there is no such thing as 'chainmail', any more than it makes sense to say 'The La Trattoria'. It's a Department of Redundancy Department. Look up the meaning of 'maille'.

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sfdragon
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Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  02:46:16  Show Profile Send sfdragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
red Sonya's mail was actually scale not chain

why is being a wizard like being a drow? both are likely to find a dagger in the back from a rival or one looking to further his own goals, fame and power


My FR fan fiction
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LordofBones
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937 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  08:17:00  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's a magical world where wizards can cause spontaneous outbreaks of tap-dancing potatoes by sneezing at the wrong time. For all we know, there's a thriving trade in specially enchanted armors for the buxom adventuress.

Just look at Silverfall, where any sense of realism goes right out the window. I'd quote it, but I don't think Wooly would let me get away with posting it on a public forum.
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1589 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  10:32:45  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

It's a magical world where wizards can cause spontaneous outbreaks of tap-dancing potatoes by sneezing at the wrong time. For all we know, there's a thriving trade in specially enchanted armors for the buxom adventuress.

Just look at Silverfall, where any sense of realism goes right out the window. I'd quote it, but I don't think Wooly would let me get away with posting it on a public forum.


I believed I noted that wealthier adventurers had the option of enchanted clothing.

This, however, is simply not available to all full-time adventurers, including the NPCs I'm specifically wondering about.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  15:06:18  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

It's a magical world where wizards can cause spontaneous outbreaks of tap-dancing potatoes by sneezing at the wrong time. For all we know, there's a thriving trade in specially enchanted armors for the buxom adventuress.

Just look at Silverfall, where any sense of realism goes right out the window. I'd quote it, but I don't think Wooly would let me get away with posting it on a public forum.



Quoting is fine, as long as it's not too long a passage and it's properly cited.

I don't really remember too much of that book... I wasn't a fan, and it's been a long time since I read it. Ed's Realms fiction often does not work for me.

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  16:32:05  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sfdragon

red Sonya's mail was actually scale not chain


No. 'Mail' means a fine mesh of metal wire, i.e. what Victorians erroneously called 'chainmail'. Thus, you can wear mail armour or you can wear scale armour, but you cannot wear 'scale mail', because those are two different types of armour. If you must, I suppose you could wear 'scale and mail', but you'd more likely refer to it as 'a scale cuirass over mail' or something similar.

An analogy might be a silk dress and a woolen dress. There is no such thing as 'silkwool', though it would technically be possible to wear 'silk and wool'.

In general, people should avoid using D&D terminology for historical armour unless they want historians and archaeologists to laugh at them. It's a nonsensical hodgepodge of ignorance, misunderstanding and incorrect usage.

Even when discussing fictional armour, please don't use 'mail' as if it is some kind of generic synonym of 'armour'. It actually means a specific type of armour.

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Edited by - Icelander on 07 Apr 2018 16:36:55
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LordofBones
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Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  16:38:09  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

It's a magical world where wizards can cause spontaneous outbreaks of tap-dancing potatoes by sneezing at the wrong time. For all we know, there's a thriving trade in specially enchanted armors for the buxom adventuress.

Just look at Silverfall, where any sense of realism goes right out the window. I'd quote it, but I don't think Wooly would let me get away with posting it on a public forum.



Quoting is fine, as long as it's not too long a passage and it's properly cited.

I don't really remember too much of that book... I wasn't a fan, and it's been a long time since I read it. Ed's Realms fiction often does not work for me.


Right, from Silverfall, the Qilue chapter...

Every male eye below turned toward her. The lady was daring indeed, to come as an outlawed, evil being, wearing little more than a pair of gleaming black buttock-high boots, with silver heel spikes, and elbow-length gloves of the same material. Her breasts and loins were covered by little more than crisscrossing leather straps hung with spindle-shaped rock crystal stones, and a black ribbon encircled her throat. Her hair reached to the backs of her knees in a magnificent, raven-dark sweep that was bound in a cage of silver chain ending in two delicate chains, little larger than glittering threads, that hung in loops attached to the spurs of her boots. Two tiny bells hung from pointed silver medallions glued to her nipples, and she wore a calm, crooked smile that broadened as the man known as Dauntless swept up to her and proffered his arm. As she turned to display herself to him, the two gaping cousins saw that a walnut-sized diamond bulged glitteringly from her navel, and that a tiny sculpted dagger hung point downward from the cluster of diamonds and silver scrollwork at her loins.

I didn't post page numbers, because I'm looking at the google books edition and my own personal copy is miles away, but that's what stands out.

Apparently the drow have somehow taken fashion advice from the Dark Eldar. Next, Menzoberranzan: Naggaroth Edition.
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  17:01:20  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Right, from Silverfall, the Qilue chapter...

Every male eye below turned toward her. The lady was daring indeed, to come as an outlawed, evil being, wearing little more than a pair of gleaming black buttock-high boots, with silver heel spikes, and elbow-length gloves of the same material. Her breasts and loins were covered by little more than crisscrossing leather straps hung with spindle-shaped rock crystal stones, and a black ribbon encircled her throat. Her hair reached to the backs of her knees in a magnificent, raven-dark sweep that was bound in a cage of silver chain ending in two delicate chains, little larger than glittering threads, that hung in loops attached to the spurs of her boots. Two tiny bells hung from pointed silver medallions glued to her nipples, and she wore a calm, crooked smile that broadened as the man known as Dauntless swept up to her and proffered his arm. As she turned to display herself to him, the two gaping cousins saw that a walnut-sized diamond bulged glitteringly from her navel, and that a tiny sculpted dagger hung point downward from the cluster of diamonds and silver scrollwork at her loins.

I didn't post page numbers, because I'm looking at the google books edition and my own personal copy is miles away, but that's what stands out.

Apparently the drow have somehow taken fashion advice from the Dark Eldar. Next, Menzoberranzan: Naggaroth Edition.


What is it about Quile's costume that you feel is contrary to natural law?

I mean, as she is the Chosen of a nigh omnipotent Goddess and an incredible powerful magic-user in her own right, I'm sure she used some magic to summon the ensemble into being*, but technically, I don't see that she had to do so.

I'm sure that no magic is necessary to dress like that, just more money than 99.99% of people in Faerun ever see. Besides, I don't see any suggestion that her finery provides any real support for her breasts if she were to engage in gymnastics or martial arts sparring, nor that it is intended to do so.

I'm looking for solutions for people who are well to do compared to farmers or ordinary laborers, but not fantastically rich. Say, five or ten times ordinary incomes, not thousands of times. Not that it's unrealistic for nobles and suchlike to actually have incomes that are thousands of times what ordinary people ever manage, just that adventurers who aren't economic superpowers also need to worry about breast support.

*For one thing, a walnut-sized diamond, in our world, would be one of the six largest diamonds ever sold. It would be worth approximately the yearly salary of a thousand people and unless it is of very low quality, would probably be worth even more in Faerun, comparatively speaking. While I don't doubt that Quile might be fantastically rich, it makes a lot more sense if the gem is an illusion or, at best, a lower quality stone enhanced with magic. Why risk something so enormously valuable as part of a dress-up costume, where it might be damaged?

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Old Man Harpell
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Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  17:16:04  Show Profile  Visit Old Man Harpell's Homepage Send Old Man Harpell a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just an observation on "available technology":

In one of the supplements, there's a scene of Elminster standing on a hill overlooking Waterdeep (if memory serves) Harbor, glowering at the "latest inventions" of the priests of Gond, namely Realmsian equivalents of industrial cranes, and it's more or less obvious that he knows exactly how the Gondsmen "discovered" them.

It's been established that the Realms possesses ways of doing things that weren't present in real life at similar periods in history - sterilizing surgical instruments, for example. Elminster (and others like him) have been established as being present in our own world, and there's no reason to believe they've confined themselves to Ed's place. It is entirely believable that they borrowed a set of duds from Sire Greenwood and went out to explore the howling wilds of southern Ontario.

Elminster...and Mordenkainen, and Raistlin (and Dalamar after him) have been exposed to certain aspects of modern-day convenience. I can easily see the Old Sage borrowing a credit card and picking up some articles of convenience for Laeral or Dove or the Simbul or whoever. And from that, it isn't inconceivable that someone has studied said conveniences, and learned how to use available materials to accomplish the same thing. Being married to a costumer who has to account for her own prodigious, ah, assets whenever she makes a sartorial work of art, I've seen several examples of what can be done for "support" without the use of a brassiere (even if I personally could not do what she does skill-wise to save my life).

I'm not suggesting that the bra as we know it will be in the shops in Baldur's Gate and Calimport. But when sending my players off on adventures down the Sword Coast, I take it on faith that someone (Elminster or otherwise) has made many things possible (even if only by extension), including things that...ah...support a lady adventurer that may not necessarily have an artificer's access to enchantments and special materials.

- OMH

Edited by - Old Man Harpell on 07 Apr 2018 17:20:08
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
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Posted - 07 Apr 2018 :  21:06:28  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm thinking tiny little 'boob goblins' are holding everything in place.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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sfdragon
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2219 Posts

Posted - 08 Apr 2018 :  00:14:36  Show Profile Send sfdragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by sfdragon

red Sonya's mail was actually scale not chain


No. 'Mail' means a fine mesh of metal wire, i.e. what Victorians erroneously called 'chainmail'. Thus, you can wear mail armour or you can wear scale armour, but you cannot wear 'scale mail', because those are two different types of armour. If you must, I suppose you could wear 'scale and mail', but you'd more likely refer to it as 'a scale cuirass over mail' or something similar.

An analogy might be a silk dress and a woolen dress. There is no such thing as 'silkwool', though it would technically be possible to wear 'silk and wool'.

In general, people should avoid using D&D terminology for historical armour unless they want historians and archaeologists to laugh at them. It's a nonsensical hodgepodge of ignorance, misunderstanding and incorrect usage.

Even when discussing fictional armour, please don't use 'mail' as if it is some kind of generic synonym of 'armour'. It actually means a specific type of armour.



regardless still her early versions of her it was scale not chain an I use armor and mail indiscriminately as to me it is the same regardless of the dictionary and other historical things. said armor, namely the chain mail bikini also afaik doesn't even exist in archeology sites

why is being a wizard like being a drow? both are likely to find a dagger in the back from a rival or one looking to further his own goals, fame and power


My FR fan fiction
Magister's GAmbit
http://steelfiredragon.deviantart.com/gallery/33539234
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Old Man Harpell
Senior Scribe

USA
473 Posts

Posted - 08 Apr 2018 :  09:08:45  Show Profile  Visit Old Man Harpell's Homepage Send Old Man Harpell a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

I'm thinking tiny little 'boob goblins' are holding everything in place.



That makes for a rather...interesting...mental picture. Time to get to work on the latest Monster Manual entry...

- OMH

Edited by - Old Man Harpell on 08 Apr 2018 09:09:20
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 08 Apr 2018 :  12:21:58  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

metal breast cups lined with soft leather with lacings for adjustment maybe?


Can any scholar with personal experience of doing strenuous, athletic, acrobatic things while having breasts chime in with insight on if that would be uncomfortable, useful, better or worse than inelastic straps and cloth?

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Icelander
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Posted - 09 Apr 2018 :  00:58:43  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Incidentally, can someone with experience fact check my unscientific observation to the effect that performing acrobatics, swordsmanship or martial art forms while dressed like women in pictures by Boris Vallejo or Luis Royo would indeed be both painful and impractical?

I mean, am I exaggerating the practical difficulties involved?

Could a healthy, buxom woman train swordsmanship while naked or wearing only minimal coverage, like an open silk blouse and/or tiny, decorative nipple covers, without the aid of magic?

In other words, are the Seven Sisters, and other Realms characters who share Ed Greenwood's sartorial tastes for female adventurers, constantly using some magical equivalent of elastic sport bras (i.e. 'boob goblins') while they dance energetically, spar with or without weapons and train acrobatics?

Or is it perhaps actually possible for a real person with no access to magic to accustom herself to such exertions without any means to support her secondary sexual characteristics?

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Edited by - Icelander on 09 Apr 2018 02:33:31
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sfdragon
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Posted - 09 Apr 2018 :  03:18:49  Show Profile Send sfdragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
well Storm was supposed to have gone into battle once dressed only in a pair of boots.. or at least I think it was storm

why is being a wizard like being a drow? both are likely to find a dagger in the back from a rival or one looking to further his own goals, fame and power


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Ayrik
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Posted - 09 Apr 2018 :  07:46:00  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't think athletic/acrobatic feats are as entirely difficult for well-endowed women as people might think. Unless they're as excessively over-endowed as certain pornstars, so ridiculously large and so unbalanced that simply walking and standing would be strenuous enough (and such women should forget attempting acrobatics entirely). Men and women have different centers of balance, athletes of either gender naturally learn to compensate and work with their bodies regardless of how they might be formed, kinetics and proprioconception and balance are ultimately all learned behaviours. And, of course, a high degree of physical competence tends to require a high degree of muscle training, which itself trains the athlete while also forming/shaping athletic bodies.

Consider that medieval men got by well enough in combat or physical contests with some sort of basic loincloth or underwear. Or sometimes not even that, just a kilt or hauberk with "nothing" worn beneath. And sometimes an armoured codpiece, made of boiled leather or hardened steel (and, more often than not, exaggerated to implausible proportions) but probably lined with a softer material interior.

And consider circus performers, acrobats, gymnasts, and other sorts - male and female - who basically wore snug stretchy body-fitting suits meant to maximize mobility and to maximize visual appeal. Large-breasted women (and large-codded men, I suppose) would certainly advertise their physical virtues to great effect while hardly being "crippled" or "immobilized" by their features.

I don't think a medieval-era "sports bra" (with or without some sort of elastic material, rigid ribs/support, etc) is at all impossible. Not more complex to construct than some of the more elaborate codpieces, to be sure. Remember that corsets and girdles (of the entire-torso-covering varieties) also existed in these times.

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Icelander
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Posted - 09 Apr 2018 :  10:36:10  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sfdragon

well Storm was supposed to have gone into battle once dressed only in a pair of boots.. or at least I think it was storm


Indeed. I struggle to find any long-established female character written by Ed Greenwood who has not, at some point, done something exceptionally athletic while wearing nothing that could provide the slightest bit of non-magical support in the chest area.

One must remember, however, that any kind of plausible lethal combat at short range will be over in seconds, especially without heavy armour. There is a lot about modern fencing that is far removed from actual mortal combat with historical weapons, but the length of the bouts is not one of these things. Basically, people trying to stick each other with sharp things (or break skulls and bones with blunt ones), will succeed within a very short order.

Large-scale battles are something of an exception, but even then, most of the participants actually spend the vast majority of their time maneuvering, not engaging in kinetic close combat.

Long duels or other personal combat encounters that turn into endurance matches is a cinematic convention and/or the result of people expecting armed combat to be anything like unarmed sports, where contestants try to amass points and avoiding injury to competitors is more important than accurately presenting real violence.

Long before most people would even notice mundane discomfort through the adrenaline rush of actual knife-fighting or fencing, they'll either have injured their opponent badly enough for any effective threat to have ended, or they'll have taken a serious wound themselves.

In real life, most wounds severe enough to stop people from fighting would also prove fatal, eventually, but aside from massive brain trauma, it's extremely hard to inflict instant death. Stab someone through the chest and they'll bleed out in minutes or hours, though before modern medicine and surgery, there was little enough that one could do to stop bleeding from punctured internal organs.

In a world with powerful healing magic, saving people who've taken even 'lethal' wounds is pretty doable, but it probably doesn't change the equation that armed hand-to-hand combat takes a very short time.

After all, only the most powerful clerics have any reasonable chance of casting a healing spell capable of instantly bringing someone back to full fighting capacity while someone is trying to kill them. And even if they succeed, they just extend a fight of ca 2-12 seconds to a period of 5-30 seconds, or something, with victory, for either side, coming very quickly once the first disabling blow is landed.

For all intents and purposes, therefore, the issue of comfort and body support is, paradoxically, of less importance during real combat than during training and exercise. It's more or less impossible to spend more than a few minutes engaged in mortal combat, but a professional martial artist might spend hours per day doing form drill, conditioning, strength training and sparring. Discomfort that will hardly be noticed during a few seconds of life-and-death combat will become intolerable during hours of training.

There is also the simple issue that all of Ed's characters I can recall going into battle naked, or wearing fetish-wear that provides zero effective support through non-magical means, are part of the 1% of the 1% in the Realms, i.e. no matter whether they may personally admit to enormous wealth or not, the magic they have access to functionally places them in the very highest tier of the ultra-rich. They are not only richer than 'mere' farmers, craftsmen and merchants, they are richer than almost all adventurers on Toril.

As such, where a normal adventurer could not justify the expense of a permanent magical item or effect, or the effort involved in a temporary spell maintained over a long period, for something that has no purpose beyond the aesthetic, at least not when it comes to questions of life and death, the Chosen of Mystra and other, similarly awesomely rich, powerful and influential folk, absolutely do have the means and, apparently, the inclination, to use magical methods of ensuring optimum comfort while simultaneously being able to indulge their aesthetic tastes.

Basically, I'm wondering what options less rich and powerful adventurers have. If there exist spells that low-level clerics (of Selune or Tymora) could easily cast and maintain for hours per day, I'd certainly consider those for such NPCs as Peryta Ghossil, a young cleric/crusader of Selune, for one thing because it would appeal to her on an aesthetic level, for another, because it would save her washing an elaborate array of cloth bindings and strapping cords after every single training session.

In the absence of easily available magic*, I'd also like to know more about the exact designs, tailoring and methods available. I'm having difficulty imagining what an equivalent to a sports bra made from inelastic materials would look like and Ed Greenwood's explanation I quoted in the first post is not enough for me to have any kind of clear mental picture.

Can anyone help explain what 'a trough or shelf of tightly-stretched cloth sewn to cords' would look like?

Are there historical examples I could Google that would help me visualise these?

Or do cosplay equivalents exist?

Is there any art online or in Realms books that could help me get an idea of what this looks like?

What kind of coverage? Do they hang off the shoulders to help with support?

And what kind of fabric are we talking about? How easy to wash? Are the cords detachable from the softer fabric, as washing any kind of material used to make rope-like material is likely to do it harm in short order?

*Mind you, I have no idea whether magical means of breast support for several hours are the equivalent of a cantrip/orison, 1st level spell, 2nd level spell, 3rd level spell or something more powerful. My own WAG would be around 2nd-3rd level, which means a fairly significant investment of power for a low level caster, especially if two castings are needed every day to cover training in the morning and afternoons.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 09 Apr 2018 :  11:57:33  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
and of course there's the real reason that Maztica was so popular with Faerun.... rubber trees....

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2018 :  13:17:01  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

I don't think athletic/acrobatic feats are as entirely difficult for well-endowed women as people might think. Unless they're as excessively over-endowed as certain pornstars, so ridiculously large and so unbalanced that simply walking and standing would be strenuous enough (and such women should forget attempting acrobatics entirely).

Ok, but what is 'ridiculous' in this context?

A lot of real women have breasts ranging from C to DD without looking like porn stars. This is because people with such assets very rarely have a waif-thin build in general. On the other hand, if an adventurer has a BMI between 17 to 20, but has C to D cup breasts, it will probably look very striking and, more relevantly, extremely unsupported if she is wearing nothing that functions like a modern bra.

Let's take art as an example, 'a lady of the sword' from Subversive Beauty by Luis Royo. If I declare that an NPC looks like this picture, I'm guessing she'll be tall and fairly heavy for her apparent build (muscles are heavier than fat), but she's still going to have a BMI of 20 at most. But her breasts appear, to me, to be at least C-cups. A case could be made for D-cups.

And this is a character that I deliberately chose as having a fairly restrained build for fantasy art (I'll simply avoid featuring characters that look any more cartoonish). Compared to more extreme figures in other fantasy art, Luis Royo's Subversive Beauty female warrior actually looks almost like a real, if extremely slender, professional athlete (martial artist, gymnast, dancer, etc.), except for, of course, the outfit, which entirely lacks any concession to the fact that she's got what amounts to two large water balloons attached to her chest.

Now, the character was introduced doing tai chi esque drills with her swords dressed like this. As that is done very slowly and deliberately, I imagined that it would be marginally possible. But if she were to spar, with swords, staves or hand-to-hand, she'd require some support for her extremely generous breasts on her comparatively slender frame.

How does she do that, on a daily basis?

What would be plausible articles of clothing that she'd own and adventure with to train in every day?

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Men and women have different centers of balance, athletes of either gender naturally learn to compensate and work with their bodies regardless of how they might be formed, kinetics and proprioconception and balance are ultimately all learned behaviours. And, of course, a high degree of physical competence tends to require a high degree of muscle training, which itself trains the athlete while also forming/shaping athletic bodies.

Absolutely true. But consider that even with elastic sports bras, modern world-class athletes rarely have large breasts and that nutrition and even surgery is often employed to minimise the size of female athletes' breasts.

Also keep in mind that the average A-cup breast will weigh 0.44 lbs., with each cup size adding another 0.43 lbs. This means that the potentially unsupported weight that is dangling from the chest of a female athlete with C-cups are like two 1.3 lbs. water balloons.

Except that these 'balloons' are very sensitive and any sartorial arrangements which allows them to move around freely under some kind of fabric will result in considerable abrasion for the nipples, which might not matter in a few seconds of mortal combat, but seems like it would be torture over several hour plus training sessions in a day.

In some ways, nudity seems like it might be preferable to some outfits, which introduce potential sources of chafing without providing any support at all.

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Consider that medieval men got by well enough in combat or physical contests with some sort of basic loincloth or underwear. Or sometimes not even that, just a kilt or hauberk with "nothing" worn beneath. And sometimes an armoured codpiece, made of boiled leather or hardened steel (and, more often than not, exaggerated to implausible proportions) but probably lined with a softer material interior.

From what I can find, the average male genitalia weighs less than 0.25 lbs. flaccid. Even exceptionally large and heavy genitalia seems unlikely to exceed 0.5 lbs., 1 lbs. at the most, for men without crippling medical issues. This means that the average male adventurer will be dealing with about half the unsupported weight that his female co-worker has to worry about.

Even so, armour has always made fairly serious provisions for padding, which absolutely includes groin protection. And I don't have any difficulty imagining how the penis and testes are supported while performing strenuous athletic activity, because historical examples abound, from all sorts of cultures, with many ingenious solutions.

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

And consider circus performers, acrobats, gymnasts, and other sorts - male and female - who basically wore snug stretchy body-fitting suits meant to maximize mobility and to maximize visual appeal. Large-breasted women (and large-codded men, I suppose) would certainly advertise their physical virtues to great effect while hardly being "crippled" or "immobilized" by their features.

Yes, but how many of these, in the pre-elastic era, had to deal with the issue of supporting breasts larger than B-cups? For that matter, even in the modern era, gymnasts and circus acrobats are overwhelmingly almost without breasts and much the same applies to world-class dancers in athletically difficult dance traditions (e.g. ballet).

I've seen very slender girls and women manage all sorts of athletic feats without much in the way of breast support at all, but what they all had in common were breasts that were commensurate with their lissome figures. A girl with AA- or A-cup breasts may be able to play football wearing only a t-shirt without any support and feel no discomfort or distraction.

On the other hand, very few women in their twenties with larger, adult builds would care to experiment with playing any sport without elastic sport bras. And those I knew with C- or D-cups, back in those days when I or any of my friends did athletic things on a regular basis, basically claim that running, jumping or doing any sort of athletic stuff was extremely annoying for them unless they had proper support.

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

I don't think a medieval-era "sports bra" (with or without some sort of elastic material, rigid ribs/support, etc) is at all impossible. Not more complex to construct than some of the more elaborate codpieces, to be sure. Remember that corsets and girdles (of the entire-torso-covering varieties) also existed in these times.


Well, 'medieval' is not really relevant to the Realms, as the technology in most areas of Faerun is far ahead of any era on Earth properly referred to as 'medieval'. Aside from firearms, cannon, mechanisation and industrialisation, most FR societies seem to have access to about 16th to 19th century technology or alchemical/herbal and magical alternatives.

Remember that plate armour and steel crossbows belong, on Earth, to the very end of the Late Medieval period and most of the period they were used was actually the Early Modern era. Realms shipping, trade and most of the large-scale societal aspects of technology, are greater than any medieval world could have. The high degree of fabric and rope technology demonstrated by the rigging and sails of ships seen in the canonical Realms means that clothing in the Realms is likely to be comparatively cheaper, more elaborate and better than in any medieval society on Earth.

From novels and sourcebooks, it seems that this is indeed the case and most people who are not entirely glossed over as unimportant servants or peasants in the sources own far more articles of clothing than medieval people would.

So, I'm not saying that it is impossible to make good breast support in the Realms. I'm wondering about the technological solutions that are used, what textiles they employ, what the design is and what alternatives exist, etc.

Basically, I'm trying to get a better idea of what kind of sports clothing a party of nine adventuring swordmasters and martial artists, males and females, would have.

How much of their daily routine is cleaning their exercise clothing between sparring sessions and training?

To what extent are low-level spells useful to reduce the necessary labour involved in keeping everything clean and fresh?*

*In the real world, full-time warriors usually required one or more full-time servants to handle such tasks. Assuming we want to avoid every adventuring party travelling with pages, squires and camp followers, 2-3 per party member, we'll need more convenient and easy-to-wash solutions for training wear than the historical padding and straps used under armour.

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Edited by - Icelander on 09 Apr 2018 14:30:37
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Ayrik
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Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  01:54:35  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"Wondering about the technological solutions that are used, what textiles they employ, what the design is and what alternatives exist, etc"

It seems straightforward enough to me. Humans have had access to all sorts of clothing and textiles throughout history. Cotton, wool, hemp, felt, silk, pretty much anything made of fibers which could be spun or woven into cloth. Alongside leathers and skins/hides and even furs, which could all be soft, flexible, and supple or stiff, course, and hardened. And anything can be layered, enough layers (and enough "composite" constructions made of different materials in different places) could comfortably support anything. Corsets and bustiers were once often "ribbed" with lengths of metal, wood, or bone to provide additional shaping and support. Sheets or segments of tree rubber are also not impossible.

I'm thinking that any society which can make things like a fishing net, a leather cuirass, or a metal breastplate will have devised sufficient "technological solutions" to accommodate large-breasted athletic women. Of course the best of these would be custom tailored, built to last, and not be inexpensive, so perhaps not for everyone. And ultimately, what's available really depends on the availability of materials/resources, craftsmanship, and social expectations, it will vary from region to region and "special orders" may sometimes even need to be obtained from distant lands.


We might have access to modern technology, synthetic elastomers and plastics, and breast-changing surgeries. But the Realms has access to magic which can emulate (and even improve) on all these things. And, again, this seems to be an old problem solved long ago without any real need for modern engineering.

As far as cleaning and hygiene ... I'm thinking such details have been left deliberately vague in D&D and Realmslore. A sweaty brassiere can't be less offensive than a full suit of armor worn day after day while marching through the muck of adventure (as often as not by a PC who insists on also sleeping in his armor). The game and lore are written to tell stories about characters and adventures, the epic stuff of heroes and villains and monsters and swords and magic - it's not about explicitly detailing how often a character scrubs his loincloth, brushes his teeth, picks his nose, or wipes his butt.

[/Ayrik]
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moonbeast
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Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  05:09:29  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

It's a magical world where wizards can cause spontaneous outbreaks of tap-dancing potatoes by sneezing at the wrong time. For all we know, there's a thriving trade in specially enchanted armors for the buxom adventuress.

Just look at Silverfall, where any sense of realism goes right out the window. I'd quote it, but I don't think Wooly would let me get away with posting it on a public forum.



Whilst playing the D&D-inspired MMORPG Everquest, my gnome tinker (Tinkering was a Craft Skill) once crafted a pair of Enchanted Gnomish Underpants.

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Ayrik
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Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  05:53:06  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The old Daggerfall games also let you enchant every item you wore or carried - including multiple layers of clothing, right down to your underwear.

[/Ayrik]
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Icelander
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Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  08:44:15  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

As far as cleaning and hygiene ... I'm thinking such details have been left deliberately vague in D&D and Realmslore. A sweaty brassiere can't be less offensive than a full suit of armor worn day after day while marching through the muck of adventure (as often as not by a PC who insists on also sleeping in his armor). The game and lore are written to tell stories about characters and adventures, the epic stuff of heroes and villains and monsters and swords and magic - it's not about explicitly detailing how often a character scrubs his loincloth, brushes his teeth, picks his nose, or wipes his butt.


Why not?

Any kind of worldbuilding in a work of fiction where the creator/s did not bother to even consider the social and technological differences from our modern world on such fundamental levels as hygiene and health is going to feel pretty shallow, flat and artificial.

Besides, telling stories about characters and not just carbon cut-outs of stats and minimal background details, requires thinking about who they are as people. What are their habits? What is their daily routine? How fastidious are they? Are they self-sufficient or do they find it difficult and uncomfortable to exist without servants and other domestic staff?

These are vital questions for the kind of stories I like to roleplay. Thinking about the daily routine of characters allows for plausible, naturalistic chance encounters between people while staying at an Inn, and questions of hygiene matter enormously when it comes to determining whether a character is attracted to another character in a certain context, or finds them smelly and unappealing.

And yes, how the PCs handle hygiene on the road is absolutely a question that comes up in play. As young, purse-light adventurers, their armour padding was, indeed, usually smelly. Unarmoured magic-users could be far more comfortable, pleasant-smelling and attractive under adventuring condotions than anyone wearing armour (and therefore thick padding which is hard to keep clean). They chewed various things and used various organic substitutes for toothbrushes. And they wiped their asses with leaves and washed imperfectly in cold water, if at all.

Basically, for low-level parties without access to magical solutions or numerous servants, life on the road is filthy, unpleasant and everyone smells horrible. As assumed standards of hygiene and dress are much higher for ordinary people in most places the Realms than they would have been for the ordinary people of most medieval polities, adventurers, mercenaries, merchants and other travellers would be conspiciously foul-smelling upon reaching any outpost of civilisation. And unless adventurers were ready to shed their armour, likely to remain so, as padding can't be cleaned in the same short time as a character can take a bath.

As characters get wealthier and more successful, if they want society to regard them as anything other than weird hobos with expensive looted grave goods, they should pick up pages, squires, henchmen, valets and other people to help with their daily routine. Without magic or modern technology, it takes labour to stay clean and fresh smelling while engaged in activities that make you and your gear filthy. The lack of access to servants to clean their armour is how you can tell foul-smelling mercenaries and adventurers from respectable knights and noble warriors.

Adventurers who want to be accepted in society as knights or the equivalent, but do not want to travel with a retinue like historical warriors who wore armour, need to find solutions to their hygiene needs that are dramatically better than historical ones, as historically, no one could both train and perform the duties of a full-time warrior and handle all the work involved in keeping their gear pristine while on campaign. Armoured fighters without even a single body-slave, varlet or someone else to take care of their gear and person would have been extremely uncomfortable and regarded as slovenly, poor and unattractive.

My PCs, who have long employed a variety of servants, are now wealthy enough that many of them not only have herbal and alchemical hygiene supplies to make their tasks easier, they have full-on magical items like a comb that styles hair, a bristle of cleaning teeth, a magical bar of soap, magical razors, enchanted armour padding that keeps them cool and sheds sweat and other dirt automatically, etc.

But not all NPC adventurers they encounter can afforf these comforts.

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Edited by - Icelander on 10 Apr 2018 08:44:52
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