A recent thread on EN World got me thinking: What would it be like to play a blind character in a role playing game? Could it be done? Would it add anything from a role playing perspective?
Here is how I imagine the rules for a blind character.
- Lacks normal vision
- Has blindsight, representing super-sensitive hearing and to a lesser degree smell and touch. It’s also reasonable to assume that some magic is at work here in improving the other senses to offset the lack of sight (sixth sense).
- No penalty to attack rolls, damage rolls or defenses (thanks to the other super senses)
- Can’t detect anything that is silent and too far away to touch and smell (cannot serve as a lookout on a ship, for instance
- Unaffected by the blinded condition
- Immune to gaze attacks or any attack that requires the target to see something (certain illusions, though some illusions can fool other senses)
- Crippled by the deafened condition (-10 to all attacks, -5 to all defenses)
- Normal perception in general, though the DM may rule that some uses of the skill are purely or primarily sight-based (such as following tracks) and can impose penalties or rule certain things to be impossible
- -2 penalty to insight in general (no ability to read facial expressions, but keen ability to hear inflection)
- Speaks one bonus language, but cannot read or write any language
I could imagine a blind monk character, for instance, using his hands and feet not only to deal damage but also to better get a feel for where exactly the target is. A blind cleric has lots of flavor potential. What about a blind shaman, relying on a spirit companion to be her eyes? (Ooh, I like that idea a lot!)
I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on this. Have you ever played or played alongside a blind character? What would it be like both from a rules perspective and from a role playing perspective? It seems that there are lots of opportunities for fascinating role playing with this type of character, and I’ll admit that I’m tempted to try this out in the next campaign I run or play in (for a home game, obviously, not public games).