At Blizzcon 2010 I was really impressed by the Female Monk preview for Diablo III. The male and female character drawings were displayed side by side, and they both looked dressed to fight in reasonable armor, fierce and tough. The female monk wasn’t even smiling. She was just badass. Not only that, she had short hair. When I see melee characters with long, fancy hair it breaks the immersion a bit, as I think about how they’re totally going to die one day when that shit catches on something. (Khal Drogo nonewithstanding)
When I got into the Diablo III beta I of course chose the female monk as my first hero. She’s melee and can heal, my two favorite things! Unfortunately my monk left the monastery (or wherever she came from) dressed in ripped up bandages. You have to earn that badass armor, it appears. I’m OK with that. You start out wearing crappy cast-offs and slowly as you get more badass your armor gets more badass. That makes much more sense than the much lamented chain mail bikini effect.
While the Diablo III monk has become my go-to example for great female character art in a video game (and frankly in a fantasy setting in general), she’s not the only one.
There is a whole Tumblr dedicated to collecting images of Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor. I sincerely urge you to go there and look, because it’s refreshing.