Armor (leather, chain shirt, or chainmail only)
Armor is rare and expensive in the North. The average person owns no armor, or leather armor at most. Adventurers and nobility might own a chain shirt ( brynja, hringserkur ) or chainmail ( hauberk ), often referred to as a “byrnie.” No armor better than chainmail is commonly made in the North, though other armor types are made in foreign lands and sometimes imported to the North as war booty. Beneath the mail a warrior would wear a padded piece of clothing called a vapntreyja (literally “weapon-shirt”), a type of gambeson. Those who cannot afford heavier armor might wear the vapntreyja alone, functioning roughly as padded armor. Some peoples (such as Kvenir) make a type of vapntreyja from tough reindeer hides (hide armor).
Shields (wooden only)
Shields are the only defensive item in common usage throughout the North. Wooden shields (made of linden wood) are the only common shields, though metal shields are made on rare occasions, usually for nobility. Shields are often heavily ornamented. No systematic heraldry exists in the North, but other symbolism is found. For example, a red shield is a sign of war, and may be a declaration of war. A white shield is a sign of peace and may be used to signal a parley or call for truce, or the formalization of a peace treaty. Sometimes personal symbols and crests are painted on shields, but not in a formal heraldic system.
Although the rules for Pathfinder do not include any rules for helmets, they are common in the North. They range from leather caps (possibly trimmed in fur) to steel helmets – often with a nasal guard, possibly a visor (sometimes with “spectacles”), and often a pointed top. The steel helmet is called a stalhufa. Sometimes there is an attached chainmail or leather coif to protect the neck. They are often highly decorated, both with engravings and with painted “war marks” (called herkumbl). But no, they NEVER – EVER – make horned helmets in the North. Ever.