Helms are part of a warrior's basic protection. Failure to use proper headgear leaves a character open to disadvantages. All headgear except that which does not cover the ears must be removed when making rolls for listening. All helms restrict Hearing and Vision checks to some degree. Optionally, great helms and closed-face helmets, when worn with plate armor, gain bonuses against dragon's breath and spells that affect the eyes.
A cap is a padded, leather, or steel skullcap worn much like a close-fitted cap, beret, or bonnet. Caps are usually worn with padded armor, leather, studded leather, hide, or any other lightweight protection. Penalties: -1 penalty to hearing related checks; no penalty to sight related checks.
A coif is a padded chain mail hood. It fits snugly around the neck and over the head, except the face. It usually comes with or is built into a suit of chain mail or mail-based armor. Often, a heavily armored knight will wear a chain mail coif under a great helm. This allows him to remove his great helm for a better view of the field while maintaining a fair level of head protection. Penalties: Identical check penalties as those associated with a cap (above). If a great helm is worn, penalties are assigned for the great helm and are not cumulative with those of the coif.
This class of open-face helmet, made of reinforced leather or metal, covers most of the head, save the face and neck. These helmets commonly provide protection for the nose (this piece of the helm is called a nasal). Open-face helmets are popular with officers and leaders, and are appropriately worn with medium-weight armors like chain mail. Penalties: -1 penalty to sight related checks; -2 penalty to hearing related checks (such helms cover the ears entirely except for a small hole).
The closed-face helmets are identical to the open-face helmets (above), but include a visored faceplate. These tend to be worn by officers and sergeants-at-arms. They are most commonly worn with plate mail. Penalties: When the visor is up, Vision and Hearing check penalties are identical for those of open-face helmets. Otherwise, the visored wearer suffers a -2 penalty to all sight related checks and a -3 penalty to Hearing related checks.
A great helm is any massive metal helm that covers the entire head, including the neck and often the upper shoulders. The only gaps in the protection are found in the narrow slits that allow limited vision, and some small holes to permit breathing. The visor is not normally removable. It is rare to find a great helm used with armor lighter than banded mail. Great helms are most often found in combination with plate mail or heavier armor. Penalties: -3 penalty to sight related checks; -4 penalty to hearing related checks.
Cap 2 Gp 1 lb. Coif 8 Gp 1 lb. Open-Face Helmet 14 Gp 2 lbs. Closed-Face Helmet 20 Gp 4 lbs. Great Helm 30 Gp 8 lbs.