Helms in 3rd Edition

Helms are part of a warrior's basic protection. Failure to use proper headgear leaves a character open to called shots by opponents or to other disadvantages at the DM's option. 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. (Search, spot, and listen check receive penalties.) Optionally, great helms and closed-face helmets, when worn with plate armor, gain bonuses against dragon's breath and spells that affect the eyes (like gaze attacks).  Some armors come with helms, these armors are listed in the helm's description.  When a helm comes with armor, it does not add weight but all other penalties still apply.

Cap
    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, or any other lightweight protection.
    Chain shirts come with a steel cap as part of their cost and weight.
Penalties: -1 penalty to hearing related checks; no penalty to sight related checks.
Extra Benefits:  +2 Armor Bonus for attacks against the head.

Coif
    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.
Extra Benefits:  +1 Armor Bonus for attacks against the head.

Open-Face Helmet
    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.
    Breastplate and Full-plate armors come with his helm already included in the cost and weight.
Penalties: -1 penalty to sight related checks; -2 penalty to hearing related checks (such helms cover the ears entirely except for a small hole).
Extra Benefits:  +2 Armor Bonus for attacks against the head.  +1 to saving throws against area damage spells and psionic attacks.

Closed-Face Helmet
    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.
Extra Benefits:  +2 Armor Bonus for attacks against the head.  +1 to saving throws against area damage spells and psionic attacks.

Great Helm
    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.
    Great helms are always worn with a Coif.  Whenever a Coif is not worn, the character suffers an additional -2 to armor check penalties.
Penalties: -3 penalty to sight related checks; -4 penalty to hearing related checks; -1 armor check.
Extra Benefits:  Grants an extra +1 armor bonus to the armor worn.  +3 Armor Bonus for attacks against the head.  +1 to saving throws against area damage spells and psionic attacks.

Item Cost Weight
Cap
2 Gp
1 lb.
Coif
8 Gp
1 lb.
Open-Face Helmet
14 Gp
2 lbs.
Closed-Face Helmet
20 Gp
3 lbs.
Great Helm
30 Gp
8 lbs.

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