I use the term "Fighter" generically here it could be any melee based class. I have had a hankering for some time to create a character that starts out blind from level one, using Blind-Fight from players handbook and Hear the Unseen from Complete Adventurer to try and partially negate being blind.
I wanted some input as to other feats people would use to create this class. Ways to get listen as high as possible as fast as possible. and different classes that you would use to create it. I was planning on making the character human and I want him focused on fighting not magic. Obviously there are going to have to be a few levels of fighter for feat management.
I don't know if this is what you want, but I believe most players that ask for blind characters actually want "cinematic blindness". Specially if you are trying to make a more unique or exotic hero. If that's what you want and if your DM is open-minded, you may resolve your problem by adding a new racial trait to your PC. Something that would give both a little benefit and some disadvantages, with making your character too weak (a real blind PC would be just that IMHO) or too powerful (blindsense, blindsight etc). Nothing realistic or complex. You want just to add a little color, not the be slowed by rules and such...
I also believe that the "clouded vision" mechanic of the oracle class is a good starting point. As a "cinematic" (unrealistic/heroic) blind character, your PC can "see" normally within a distance of 30 feet. He does that through his hearing, scent and other senses (this is just "fluff" to explain his abilities, but maye your DM can rule that spells like silence effectively "blind" your PC). Your character can't be target by gaze effects and most illusions, and that's a boon. He can also see fine in darkness, even magical. But he can't read or sense anything based on colors or symbols and must roll Perception, following the normal blind rules, for creatures and effects beyond 30 ft.
If that's fine for your DM and your party - and talk to them is the most important - than the package above shouldn't create much problem. Please, note that the example above requires some ad hoc rulings by your DM, many on the spot.
In real life I know that a seeing eye dog can aid a blind individual. I also know that animals can be quite perceptive and intelligent.
In the game a animal companion functions almost purely off of the tricks it knows. When I said "urged" I guess I should have instead said "pushed". In the case of a blind rider with high ranks in handle animal, you can "push" to have your animal do something it would not normally do. Thus, a blind rider thinking he knows what is best could indeed ride his horse right off a cliff despite what the animal might be trying to "tell" him.
If you increase a animals intelligence to 3 or higher, then the animal would indeed most likely attempt to throw its rider. A skilled PC might still be able to hang on and continue to force the issue.
Nickering and winnying and biting at a rider are no substitution for conversation.
Allot of the above would depend on the DM and how realistic the game is.
Actually, I think it would depend more on the player. After all, a blind character who rides a horse he has a special bond with is likely to listen to that horse. And the horse, knowing his rider's disability, would also be more likely to refuse the commands. It's not conversation, but it is a connection that transcends normal human/animal interaction, that's why it's an animal companion, not a pet.