The current incarnation of my Attermancer, Poisonmancer, “Pyromancer”. Pretty much what he’s been wearing since I found out that the armor matches and isn’t entirely cumbersome to equip i.e. slow as hell and can take some hits.
So did people who live in warm climates (SE Asian/South American/Middle Eastern) wear padded armor?
To some degrees, yes.
But it depends on what you strictly count as padded armour. The name alone implies a layer of clothing meant to pad out armour worn over it (such as maille or plate). But technically, the padding alone counts as a layer of armour, though not as useful alone.
South East Asian countries utilized some padding and maille beneath their “mirror” armour, especially when the main armour was a cuirass, helmet, and mail over the limbs. This was also used by the Ottomans and Janissary forces, with robes and layers of clothing beneath the mirrored armour.
South American examples would be Aztecs, though they didn’t use “padding” so much as “hardened cloth alone”. Warriors took cotton shirts and soaked them in salt and them them harden into stiff clothing used like budget maille. It is worth noting this was used as the sole form of ‘armour’ as far as I am aware, and is not a very good example, though it certainly provided some relief from physical attacks and could be thought of as “padded” armour in the most direct translation. The Inca’s used this too, and it seemed to be very efficient for their purposes. I should give credit where due though: cotton salt-treated armour was extremely efficient for South American societies/Empires, and the Spanish did seem to have some admiration for this style of armour being surprisingly protective…
Middle Eastern armour (especially Arabic) largely used breathable maille over robes and light padding, much like European Knights, though as with all South East Asian countries and Middle Eastern countries, such padding had to be light and breathable enough for the wearer to stand the heat of the climate; usually, layers of robes were used. It is worth noting that several layers of robes are actually very good defence against smaller slashing weapons, and provides some minor protection from piercing, so layers of cloth or silk were actually incredibly lightweight and a good trade for heavier padding used by Europe.