Blind Elf Cleric

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I'm interested in making a Cleric for a short campaign I'll be playing with my friends, and the idea of making him blind popped into my head. I had a quick read over the mechanics of it (applying a permanent 'blinded' effect essentially) and they are pretty harsh - possibly extremely harsh in fact.

Question is: what would you as a DM / fellow player allow me to take to offset the disadvantage? I'm not talking about anything that would give me an edge here; just things that would compensate - for example, would you allow a free feat to train Skill Training:perception? (offsetting the blindness - 10 perception penalty to -5 without me having to burn a feat). ST:P & SF: P (offsetting it to -2?). Blind-fight? (regardless of its epicness).

Even with all three, the character would be at a disadvantage, which is to some extent offset by his lack of reliance on light and immunity to a small number of things (Gaze attacks and being blinded). Im OK with being slightly Sub-par, but I don't want to be Huge burden to the party.

Some details if you're interested: Going to be a radiant cleric, 16/16 wis/cha with point buy, increasing to 18/16 after racial; the rest of the points will go into con and dex. Int/str will be at 10/8 respectively, possibly 11/8 if i got a spare point lying about (doubtful). Str is dumped for RP purposes. I'm going to stick to leather armour and no weapons, although might get a staff just for looks - its not like it would do anything. The general outlook would just be a rather harmless looking man, dressed in brown and beige, with a piece of cloth as a blindfold. Sight either lost at birth, or at very early age - in latter case might slap some scars coming down his face from under the blindfold. Still browsing thought he Gods atm, will pick one soon.

So yeah, as you can see a rather well thought out RP concept, would be happy if it could actually work out.
Nothing. I applaud your devotion to your character, but blindness is blindness.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

I had a very similiar thought. A Blind monk but when I read over the rules for blindness and over feats and what not I reluctantly let go of the idea. I will keep an eye on this thread.
It could be a great literary hook, but for a well developed character it just lies a bit flat. I'd have to say given the number of things a cleric can't do easily without needing to see a target you wouldnt be of much use past being a healer.
Still you might be able to make it work if you can avoid some of the Meta-game pitfalls that I'm sure would come up.
A player in 3.5 came to me with this idea (blind human cleric, for the record). I mused over it and came up with some magic item that basically gave him normal sight (I said it let him use 'echolocation' or something like that).

Basically, the only way I think this can work is for the infirmity to be pure fluff. You're going to have to come up with some way to let him move, attack, and work freely. Come up with some flavor explaining why he can work normally (echolocation, clairvoyance, magic glass eyeball, something). Use that for RP, but don't apply this to combat.
Question is: what would you as a DM / fellow player allow me to take to offset the disadvantage?

I dunno, white cane? Trained dog?

I'm not talking about anything that would give me an edge here; just things that would compensate

I've never understood why people try to do this. Why play a disabled character if you don't want them to be disabled? For that matter, why insist upon a mechanical impediment if you're only going to compensate it away with perks?

This is my perspective as a fellow player -- one who's been jaded by many a 'blind character' thread, at that -- not what I'd say as your DM. In the spirit of 4e, I'd look for a way to say 'yes' to this idea which has inspired you.

My suggestion would be not to use any mechanical effect at all. Be mechanically identical to a sighted character and simply roleplay your blindness. This should give you the slightly sub-par effectiveness you're looking for, since you'll still fail in the occasional situation that absolutely requires functional eyeballs.

This would be a bit stickier for the DM, since it'd require on-the-spot rulings about specific circumstances, but I think if you promise not to try to be exploitative about matters, the DM might be willing to go that extra mile. It's how I'd roll, anyway.
(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.) Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
Give him tremor sense. He'd be S.O.L. when it came to flying monsters and low hanging branches, but I could see it as being workable. He'd also be unable to read and identify anything, as well as the other crap that comes along with blindness but you at least wouldn't be completely helpless.
It could be a great literary hook, but for a well developed character it just lies a bit flat

I didn't say that was ALL there was to him :p since I was asking a specific question I kept the details in the thread to a minimum.

I've never understood why people try to do this. Why play a disabled character if you don't want them to be disabled? For that matter, why insist upon a mechanical impediment if you're only going to compensate it away with perks?

The mechanics for a 'blinded' effect assume a temporary effect on someone who is accustomized to using and relying on sight; A person who has been blind from birth / long time would be able to cope with the condition much, much better.

The rules for some conditions, if not softened with some perk, often result in a character which is completely useless and a burden to the party, rather than just being at a disadvantage.

Thanks you for the opinion though - the aim of the thread was to see how people felt, and that is a pretty good representation of the 'you can cripple yourself as much as you want, but no way in hell are you getting anything in return' attitude, and im sure you're not the only person who feels this way.

He'd also be unable to read and identify anything

Merh, i'm not using any weapons, and I'd say he can 'feel' holy symbols due to being attuned to their power. For a short time I thought I'd have to kiss ritual casting goodbye, but in all fairness I doubt anyone would have anything against the character having the rituals memorized as a spell - the RBook is free anyway. Obviously won't be able to learn any new ones by reading them, but merh.

The general idea is to go with burst and blast spells, which won't require me to know the enemy's exact location, and since Cleric prayers have no friendly fire, this can work. It also fits with this walking around combat being slightly detached from eveything personality. I'll be able to throw down enough healing with HWord in the beginning to pull my weight, and with Divine Glow, Beacon of Hope and Sanctuary I can have some meaningful actions as well; can save the at-wills for when an enemy cocks up enough on their stealth test for me to actually know their location, so i actually get a chance to hit (even with the -5 penalty).
As a DM, If you want to be blinded then that is your schtick but you should be penalized accordingly, I shouldn't coddle you just because you thought it was cool that you could't see and deserve compensation.

Unless you can give me a good reason why should I give you three free feats and others get jack squat (especially asking for a feat that others cannot legitimatley get until lvl 21) then I would say better leave this cleric in church asking for alms.

If you really wanted to be a blind cleric I'd say that you have some sort of divine sight grantedby your deity that is like normal sight only you can only see in shades of white and light grey (with darkness for the foul creatures) thus you could still be "blind" but you'll be more renowned in your faith and you'd be in an even playing field with everyone else.

This whole being blind and deserving compensation has been done before but all I see it is a form of min-maxing to get something out of it.
Enough with the min-max accusations already! A -10 penalty and a +8 bonus is STILL a -2 penalty and I definitely don't 'get something out of it'.

I'm not really interested in making up ridiculous explanations of how im blind but the gods let me see or whatever. If I have to be a walking band-aid unitl I pack enough area attacks, so be it
The mechanics for a 'blinded' effect assume a temporary effect on someone who is accustomized to using and relying on sight; A person who has been blind from birth / long time would be able to cope with the condition much, much better.

This is your interpretation. There's no mechanical difference between characters who've just been blinded and characters who were blinded decades ago. The only mechanical difference is for the 'blind' keyword, used in monster stats, but that doesn't apply since it confers an alternate form of 'sight'.

As for the old chestnut about blind people becoming 'much, much better' at functioning without vision, my experience has shown it to be patently false. In fact, I'd say the 'blinded' writeup is pretty lenient; a friend of mine, legally blind since birth, could only walk on an uneven sidewalk at a speed commensurate with being 'slowed' while I was helping her navigate.

Personally, I'd say that actual adaptation to blindness probably reduces the penalty by something like -2 at the very most.

The rules for some conditions, if not softened with some perk, often result in a character which is completely useless and a burden to the party, rather than just being at a disadvantage.

Which is why I suggested avoiding a rules basis at all.

Thanks you for the opinion though - the aim of the thread was to see how people felt, and that is a pretty good representation of the 'you can cripple yourself as much as you want, but no way in hell are you getting anything in return' attitude, and im sure you're not the only person who feels this way.

Like I said, this board has seen a lot of threads like this, and it was particularly punishing in the "Everything Must Have A Fiddly Little Godsdamned Rule" 3rd Edition days. People are probably going to kneejerk back to those debates, rather than consider the less realistic, more dynamic style of 4e.

In my defense, though, I'd say my opinion and my judgment were two different matters. While I recoil from the idea of digging a mechanical pothole only to fill it in with perks, I think you should be able to play a Zatoichi or Daredevil with virtually no penalty to begin with. Your character is heroic, so overcome your disability to a heroic degree. After all, the basis for the character being blinded is roleplay rather than mechanical (decision for character dynamic rather than consequence of combat), so you might as well express it the same way.

For a short time I thought I'd have to kiss ritual casting goodbye, but in all fairness I doubt anyone would have anything against the character having the rituals memorized as a spell - the RBook is free anyway. Obviously won't be able to learn any new ones by reading them, but merh.

I don't think there'd be anything wrong with replacing the written component of any language you can speak with a braille-analog, especially if you cooked up an in character support structure that makes such resources available to you (probably through your church).

The general idea is to go with burst and blast spells, which won't require me to know the enemy's exact location, and since Cleric prayers have no friendly fire, this can work. It also fits with this walking around combat being slightly detached from eveything personality. I'll be able to throw down enough healing with HWord in the beginning to pull my weight, and with Divine Glow, Beacon of Hope and Sanctuary I can have some meaningful actions as well; can save the at-wills for when an enemy cocks up enough on their stealth test for me to actually know their location, so i actually get a chance to hit (even with the -5 penalty).

I think you'll prove more of a detriment to your party than you think. Gone are the days of Clerics contributing nothing but healing; the game is balanced so that you're expected to contribute with regular at-wills. Hell, in the games I've run, the Cleric's done at least as much healing by throwing on temporary HP with Sacred Flame as by granting healing surges.

All that said, however you decide to handle it, I hope you hit upon a solution that works for you, and that you have inexpressible quantities of fun with it.
(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.) Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
Enough with the min-max accusations already! A -10 penalty and a +8 bonus is STILL a -2 penalty and I definitely don't 'get something out of it'.

I'm not really interested in making up ridiculous explanations of how im blind but the gods let me see or whatever. If I have to be a walking band-aid unitl I pack enough area attacks, so be it

Hey its your game, do whatever you wish, I just call it as I see it.

I would definitely feel bad that you get two free feats and I would want compensation for playing a character without a noticeable handicap just because you believe you are entitled to be above us.

The problem I see is not you, is your teammates that have to carry you around. You also do realize that

-Enemies have a permanent +2 to attack rolls against you plus any juicy stuff they might have from getting CA against you
-You suffer a -5 to attack at all times
-You can't flank (this one is less important since you said you wanted to be laser)

I believe -2 to perception should be the least of your worries.

Also in the vein of handicaps...

Should deaf characters also get free feats? (I always hear blind but not deaf)

Should a character missing a leg or an arm gain some sort of feat to compensate for any discrepancy?

In a nutshell: You should probably think more of your teammates since they must not only make up for your shortcomings but also have to put up with the injustice of giving you free stuff just because you wanted to gimp yourself.

Before you go and make your Stevie Wonder, make sure its kosher with everyone.
Ok I am suddenly having flashbacks to the Damon Wayans character on In Living Color, Handiman. At some point we are going to go too far with this and say something pretty offensive.
And Snake if it makes you happy go for it. I'm just saying it will be hard to develop this character.
As for the old chestnut about blind people becoming 'much, much better' at functioning without vision, my experience has shown it to be patently false. In fact, I'd say the 'blinded' writeup is pretty lenient; a friend of mine, legally blind since birth, could only walk on an uneven sidewalk at a speed commensurate with being 'slowed' while I was helping her navigate.

Is it possible that someone later in life would have an easier time adapting to blindness, since they've already seen what they have to deal with, and can better think through how to adapt? Perhaps this is an Int/Wis related issue, in part. After all, if I had to walk on an uneven sidewalk, blindfolded, I'd like to think I'd be able to handle it rather well, especially with an escort. I think I'd be just fine with an escort, frankly. However, dungeons/nature are totally different animals, so I'm not sure my question would even matter.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

Wow... a blind char. This must be a good roleplaying concept.
Is it possible that someone later in life would have an easier time adapting to blindness, since they've already seen what they have to deal with, and can better think through how to adapt? Perhaps this is an Int/Wis related issue, in part. After all, if I had to walk on an uneven sidewalk, blindfolded, I'd like to think I'd be able to handle it rather well, especially with an escort. I think I'd be just fine with an escort, frankly. However, dungeons/nature are totally different animals, so I'm not sure my question would even matter.

The problem isn't doing the day to day stuff, a blind person will normally be able to adapt; heck a blind person could navigate through a house that has been put to memory flawlessly and even avoid some pitfalls.

But you can't expect to throw a blind man into a combat situation and fare, no matter how well accustomed he is to being blind. Throw a blind person out of his familiar spot and he will struggle hard. Sure this is fantasy and the archetype "blind person leading a normal life only better" is thought off.

There has been discussions on how to be blind and not have to make adverse changes to the system but apparently they just don't want to see yet also don't want the penalties of not being able to see (which requires giving away feats just for being blind... which is something I strongly disagree)
Jeez guys, cut the man some slack: this is a holdover from the idea of merits/flaws that some RPGs have. He probably doesn't want to min/max (inherently) but he has the idea that if he willingly takes a penalty, he should get some bonuses to compensate.

The truth is, while this may seem like a good way to "customize" a character, it always devolves into a min/max game. It's a nice idea, but it just isn't a good route for adding "depth" to a character - it's far better to use on an NPC.

But, if you really want to go this route, play an Epic level game and buy Blindfighting as a Feat. That's really the only fair way to go about it.
If I were your DM Snake, I would present you with two options.

Option A) your character is blind in a completely descriptive way, and has no Mechanical difference from other characters. This is just like allowing someone to say their character is "horribly disfigured" without applying any social skill penalties, or to say their character has a "peg leg" without any speed penalties.

Option B) you are blind in a mechanical way. You suffer all penalties associated with the "blind" condition. The only benefit you get from this at all is explained in the rules already, you are immune to attacks with the Gaze keyword.

Taking a flaw and trying to lessen the effects of that flaw that you chose to have is just about as logical as choosing a flaw and expecting that to make you better at a completely unrelated task.

I feel that the questions "Can I be blind, but not suffer the whole penalty for it?" and "Can I choose to not only not take Diplomacy, Bluff and Streetwise, and give myself an 8 in Charisma to represent my character being horrible in social situations... but also take an additional -10 penalty when using any of those skills and get Toughness for free, showing that my character got used to being beat up a lot because he has always said the wrong thing at the wrong time?" are, at their core, the same question. My answer is always "no" unless the game was originally designed with this sort of merits/flaws system attached.

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

If only there were tremor sence, or blind fight was a bit better.
Seriously, you want to make a blind cleric, be human and take the Skill Training and Skill Focus to offset your perception, but conceptually it's still gonna be a hard sell. You want to play that concept, take the hit that the concept requires (in this case the use of 2 feats and a penalty to perception) - for the concept you are talking about, it's not that much of a hit.
Is it possible that someone later in life would have an easier time adapting to blindness, since they've already seen what they have to deal with, and can better think through how to adapt?

I think 'walk on an uneven surface without falling on your face' is a sufficiently simple concept that one needn't be a wisened sage to do one's best. The friend in question was 28 years old at the time.

Perhaps this is an Int/Wis related issue, in part.

Yeah... my friend? Rocket scientist. No, really. Also quite perceptive, so I doubt either of those stats could have been the problem.

After all, if I had to walk on an uneven sidewalk, blindfolded, I'd like to think I'd be able to handle it rather well, especially with an escort. I think I'd be just fine with an escort, frankly. However, dungeons/nature are totally different animals, so I'm not sure my question would even matter.

It was a very bad sidewalk, in her defense. Very old trees had mangled it with their roots, and a crack could mean a difference of four or five inches, placed randomly. Having an escort doesn't really help when you trip, unless you're going pretty slowly. Having someone doing their best to time 'step up now' with your gait probably isn't as helpful as I'd have liked.

But yes, nothing compared to trackless wilderness or ruinous dungeons, so.
(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.) Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
If only there were tremor sence, or blind fight was a bit better.

Monsters get tremor sense, and I'd probably allow a feat to give something like tremor sense 2-4, and another to extend it to about 5-7. Though I'd sit and think for about 20 minutes how that could possibly be taken advantage of first. Of course I'd have to allow it for anybody.
Monsters get tremor sense, and I'd probably allow a feat to give something like tremor sense 2-4, and another to extend it to about 5-7. Though I'd sit and think for about 20 minutes how that could possibly be taken advantage of first. Of course I'd have to allow it for anybody.

Tremor sense is obscenely powerful in the hand of the PC, invisible and concealed enemies will be noticed.That is why blind fight is moved to epic tier.

Unless you use DM fiat then giving them such large radius means that they cannot be surprised anymore by ambushes.

And you also have to think of the fluff, how could you somehow feel the vibrations on the ground from one moment to the next, how could you "train" it (considering the other feats and what they give)
Jeez guys, cut the man some slack: this is a holdover from the idea of merits/flaws that some RPGs have. He probably doesn't want to min/max (inherently) but he has the idea that if he willingly takes a penalty, he should get some bonuses to compensate.

But that mindset is minmaxing, taking penalties and expecting benefits. Regardless if you expect a gain or not if you believe that in taking a penalty unprecedented or uncalled for in the rules and expect something in return then that is min maxing; whether he meant to or not he is still guilty of it.

The problem is that in being blind even with the feats that are at the core he is still dead weight (Skill training and focus is just to boost up a needless skill and Blindfight is both epic and only works in adjacent squares). Since he said he wanted to be ranged he still cannot see the enemies and suffers a stiff -5 penalty (good luck trying to hit that same level solo) and all other enemies get a +2 to attack rolls and if they have Sneak Attack like abilities then I just feel sorry.

All he is good for is just the healing words and whatever utility he can get and I'd rather have a cleric that can both heal and attack since he'll still be useful after he's done buffing and healing.
Tremor sense is obscenely powerful in the hand of the PC, invisible and concealed enemies will be noticed.That is why blind fight is moved to epic tier.

Unless you use DM fiat then giving them such large radius means that they cannot be surprised anymore by ambushes.

And you also have to think of the fluff, how could you somehow feel the vibrations on the ground from one moment to the next, how could you "train" it (considering the other feats and what they give)

Then tremor sense 2-3 seems to be ok. I'd still say that because you cant directly see the guy they'd be considered to have concealment.
Then tremor sense 2-3 seems to be ok. I'd still say that because you cant directly see the guy they'd be considered to have concealment.

But still you have to consider that blind fight is effectively tremor sense 1 and that is all the way in epic tier, if you can somehow make the next tier of blind fighting and add some stiff requirements (Wis 17 AND focused in Perception) then I'd say its okay
It'd really be on the DM's part to find ways to get round that. Which are fairly easy, considering places where ambushes should take place. Forests, they could leap down from trees, could fly in, etc.

I'm currently playing a blind character, actually. A Warlock. But, this is purely for roleplay, the idea being that her patron grants her 'feysight', meaning she sees through his eyes(Also makes a nice one for eyebite. ^_^).

I'd say the best way to play a blind PC would be to do something similar. A gift from their god or magic item that meant it was purely RP...
But that mindset is minmaxing, taking penalties and expecting benefits

Most definitely not, although I have explained this already extra 'free' points in Perception simply lessen the -10 penalty from Blind; they ARE NOT a benefit.

I'm well aware of what you're wary of (like fighters offering to give up 4 cha and 4 int for +1 to str for example :P) but it does not apply to this situation.

You want to play that concept, take the hit that the concept requires

The same opinion, but expressed better and not burdened with accusations of non-existant min-maxing :P

If that was the DM's verdict, I will agree with no complaints. The purpose of this thread was inquisitative, to see what people would say

I will still go through with the blind cleric:

1) healing allows me to pull at least some of my weight, even assuming complete lack of damage.

2) the cleric with his enemy-only AoE effects means I will be able to throw down at least one or two abilites per encounter, without worrying about concelament -5 penalty and without even having to know for sure where the nemy is (like making the tank the centre of the blast). Im planning to go Divine Glow - Beacon of Hope - Sanctuary.

3) A cleric, especially one who doesnt care about equipment, doesn't have many feats they should necessarily know - so I can pick up my ST and SF in perception in the first 2 levels. Combined with the (most likely)+4 bonus from wisdom and +2 from elf, I'll actually get decent perception - so often enough i'll be able to target an attack at someone, andmaybe even hit occasionally despite the -5 penalty

4) This character is for a short campaign, which one of the players wrote because he wanted to try DMing. It will only last a few game sessions (hence i haven't bothered thinking about higher-level development, like apragon paths), which means if the character really doesnt work - no harm, no foul; i wont be stuck wiht him for long.


Thanks for all the feedback!
But still you have to consider that blind fight is effectively tremor sense 1 and that is all the way in epic tier, if you can somehow make the next tier of blind fighting and add some stiff requirements (Wis 17 AND focused in Perception) then I'd say its okay

I considered that, but truthfully I dont care. I find that that was placed too high anyways. Though I'd probably add the stipulation that your vision would need to be impaired in some way to use it. At that point, anyone could use it when they were blinded, though it still wouldn't be nearly as good as normal vision.
H

Should deaf characters also get free feats? (I always hear blind but not deaf)

... Suddenly when reading this I got idea for concept of a dead char
The only thing I have to contribute to this thread is to mention that every time I read the title, I keep thinking that "Blind Elf Cleric" sounds like some weird D&D blues singer....

There's a drow elf with a lute, with dark glasses on, sitting on the corner singing ballads in a gravelly voice...

Show

I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)

 

I am the Lawnmower Man.

(I AM GOD HERE!)

 

I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)

 

There are reasons they call me Mad...

... Suddenly when reading this I got idea for concept of a dead char

Possibly not, but could easiily have a paraletic with no legs - automatically prone. You could make it a halfling, and thenanother character can carry him in their backpack :P if its a ranged char might just about work.
The same opinion, but expressed better and not burdened with accusations of non-existant min-maxing :P

If that was the DM's verdict, I will agree with no complaints. The purpose of this thread was inquisitative, to see what people would say

I will still go through with the blind cleric:

1) healing allows me to pull at least some of my weight, even assuming complete lack of damage.

2) the cleric with his enemy-only AoE effects means I will be able to throw down at least one or two abilites per encounter, without worrying about concelament -5 penalty and without even having to know for sure where the nemy is (like making the tank the centre of the blast). Im planning to go Divine Glow - Beacon of Hope - Sanctuary.

3) A cleric, especially one who doesnt care about equipment, doesn't have many feats they should necessarily know - so I can pick up my ST and SF in perception in the first 2 levels. Combined with the (most likely)+4 bonus from wisdom and +2 from elf, I'll actually get decent perception - so often enough i'll be able to target an attack at someone, andmaybe even hit occasionally despite the -5 penalty

4) This character is for a short campaign, which one of the players wrote because he wanted to try DMing. It will only last a few game sessions (hence i haven't bothered thinking about higher-level development, like apragon paths), which means if the character really doesnt work - no harm, no foul; i wont be stuck wiht him for long.


Thanks for all the feedback!

1) You can only heal twice per encounter so you can't just stand back and hope to keep everyone at full all the time

2) The only thing an AoE can give you is more d20 chances at hitting somebody although you still carry the -5 to all attacks, also the cleric's AoE are all encounter/daily so you really can't hope to keep it up for long

3) Perception has no combat use at all, it doesn't grant you any attack bonuses, in fact the RAW states that Perception be either a standard action or a full minute so you can't hope to "glance and attack". And if its a DM rule that you can get a bonus using perception I hope the others can do so as well (I'm sure my Ranger friend would really want me to put it up if he heard something like this, especially his +12 to Perception)

Also another thing, if you make someone that has a permanent disability and somehow rewrite it to "overcome" it, wouldn't he be essentially be immune to something that would cause this disability?
3) Perception has no combat use at all, it doesn't grant you any attack bonuses, in fact the RAW states that Perception be either a standard action or a full minute so you can't hope to "glance and attack". And if its a DM rule that you can get a bonus using perception I hope the others can do so as well (I'm sure my Ranger friend would really want me to put it up if he heard something like this, especially his +12 to Perception)

Woah there. Perception is huge when dealing with invisible enemies or with hidden ones. I'm pretty sure you can use it as a Minor Action to detect hidden enemies, too.
Under "Tageting What You Cant See", pg. 281.

Make a Perception Check: On your turn, you can make
an active Perception check as a minor action, comparing
the result to the concealed creature’s last Stealth check. If
you win, you know the direction to the creature’s location,
or its exact location if you beat it by 10 or more.

So yea, its a minor action to try to find an enemy you cant see in combat. Though to point out the standard action thing, its under Perception on pg. 187.

Searching: When actively searching an area or looking
for something specific, assume you’re searching
each adjacent square. The DM might allow you to
do this as a standard action, but usually searching
requires at least 1 minute.

Sounds like a better idea for a sorcerer (a good thing to take to score some extra feats, though the character suffers nothing against them as far as movement when not accompanying other PC's goes by simply sensing the flow of magic, kinda like The Force, at the cost of a temporary -2 to wisdom due to having to concentrate on what they are doing. Only trouble is Faerunian deadzones).
2) The only thing an AoE can give you is more d20 chances at hitting somebody although you still carry the -5 to all attacks, also the cleric's AoE are all encounter/daily so you really can't hope to keep it up for long

3) Perception has no combat use at all, it doesn't grant you any attack bonuses, in fact the RAW states that Perception be either a standard action or a full minute so you can't hope to "glance and attack". And if its a DM rule that you can get a bonus using perception I hope the others can do so as well (I'm sure my Ranger friend would really want me to put it up if he heard something like this, especially his +12 to Perception)

2) Concealment is applied only to 'melle' and 'ranged' attacks

3) Both 'passive' and the standard perception are used in fighting invisible enemies. As a minor action, if you beat the stealth check of hte monster by 10 or more you know its exact location.

Both from page 281 of the PHB

I.e decent chance to pinpoint the exact location of the louder beasties, regardless of the -1o perception from blindness.
1) You can only heal twice per encounter so you can't just stand back and hope to keep everyone at full all the time

Early game encounters don't last all that long usually, two heals is pretty good for most encounters. In addition, can throw out a first aid skil, like use second wind, which is a decent heal (need DC 10, and skill bonus is +9 at level 1 :p).
... Suddenly when reading this I got idea for concept of a dead char

Ment to say deaf.....
The only thing I have to contribute to this thread is to mention that every time I read the title, I keep thinking that "Blind Elf Cleric" sounds like some weird D&D blues singer....

There's a drow elf with a lute, with dark glasses on, sitting on the corner singing ballads in a gravelly voice...

Sounds like a band name.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Well if you really want to know where a monster is then you could've just ask your teammates where they are which requires a free action and no check (unless you plan on splitting up).

Well lets hope most encounters can be resolved before you run out of healing and AoE (lets hope you don't have any solos)
We had a blind paladin in 3.5, and it worked great. (I both played with him and DMed) Some notes:

The assumption was that he could navigate decently by sound/touch, and we said his detect evil helped. Mechanically he got a small penalty on melee attacks until he engaged (hit or was hit), then it went away. He also was denied his dex bonus (now Combat Advantage) until engaging. He couldn't make any ranged attacks at all.
We didn't use listen checks to find enemies in battle; he just knew their direction well enough to approach them. He treated invisible enemies like any other. This was a small advantage, but not overpowering.
He got a bonus on listen checks, but no spot at all. You may have to treat different perception roll differently in 4e.

The biggest factor were the little miscellaneous things. He can't find a unconscious buddy to heal, for example. He needed guidance to jump. He can't read or describe differentiate visual things things. We never ran into any gaze attacks that campaign.

The bottom line was, the blindness was a penalty for sure, but he could still fight, and still contribute as much as anyone. More importantly, he felt and played like a blind charachter. An extremely talented blind character, but we never forgot he couldn't see.
Also, it really helped the teamwork aspect. The rogue telling him where to pick up the sword on the ground in the middle of battle. Things like that.

I think a blind cleric works well. Area attack are great for this, and you can always cite a little divine guidance if you need it to make a rule work. Don't just make him "like everyone else," and don't be afraid to change the system a little. The blinded rules should be thrown out and replaced with custom rules for a blind PC. You should not be making perception rolls to find every enemy, but you also need to have some disadvantages.
I don't think the minor benefit of gaze immunity is that big of a deal; gaze monsters should know to target seeing creatures only.

Sure a playable blind character needs to have some superhuman abilities, but that is what D&D is all about. Enjoy it.