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I am trying to make an original character who is blind and hunts with bow and arrow from a flying mount.  (Obviously, no existing animal can fly while bearing the weight of a human, so let’s assume that the mount is a mythical/fantastical species; for instance, a dragon or a gryphon.)

What physical qualities (internal/external) would enable and enhance the archer’s feasibility and hunting prowess?

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site Britney. If you have questions check out the help center and feel free to join us in Worldbuilding Chat once your rep hits 20. $\endgroup$ – James Jun 24 '16 at 16:01
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Very acute hearing, like that of a barn owl. Barn owls can hunt in complete darkness and without an active sonar like bats.

All owls have one ear pointing up and another pointing down so they can pinpoint sound sources more accurately. Their disc-like face also acts like a parabolic antenna for sound. The ears are hidden beneath the facial feathers, one aimed forward-up and the other forward-down.

Your hunter may wear an owl-mask to help them locate prey, or it may be descended from owls somehow.

Failing that, an active sonar like that of bats and dolphins would be a way to go, too.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a cool concept for a character $\endgroup$ – James Jun 24 '16 at 16:00
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    $\begingroup$ While this is "a cool concept for a character", it's not entirely original.   Marvel's Daredevil (Matt Murdock) is blind.   I'm not clearly whether he has "merely" superhuman hearing, comparable to that of bats and owls, or a supernatural "radar sense" that gave him visual-like perception (comparable to Geordi La Forge's visor). $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Jun 26 '16 at 19:11
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    $\begingroup$ If this happens, it's very important that the mount is able to fly silently like owls.No point in having super-hearing if your mount makes sound as it flies. This also means it cannot fly in the rain (the mechanism by which owls fly silently means their feathers become easily waterlogged). $\endgroup$ – Ynneadwraith Mar 20 at 10:26
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Yeah, her/his other senses would need to be heightened, either by natural or unnatural means. Think Daredevil for instance. Other than just hearing, his heightened sense of touch allows him to feel variations in temperature/pressure/humidity, his heightened sense of smell/taste allow him to smell/taste particles in the air. These could potentially be factored into your characters story.

Like I said, it could be natural through training and adaptation, or unnatural through magic or technology.

This is all assuming the character is human. If the character is another species/race such as one with larger ears or longer fingers it might bode well for his archery capabilities. And if the character is not human, you may consider giving the character a creative new organ. Think birds who can "see" magnetic fields which allow them to traverse the globe easier.

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Some sort of ESP-like ability, which would allow the protagonist to either pinpoint another being, or possibly permit them to see through the eyes of another creature. Note that if they've been blind from birth, the ability to see through the eyes of another probably won't help unless they've had a lot of experience hunting this way.

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    $\begingroup$ Well they are riding on a flying mount so looking through another creature's eyes could totally work. $\endgroup$ – James Jun 24 '16 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ In the Discworld series of books, seeing through the eyes of animals is a (seemingly) common, or at least well known magical ability among witches. The most famous witch in the disc makes extensive use of this ability. So this is not far fetched. In the old PC game Deadlock, there is even an alien civilization composed of two species linked by telepathy. One species is phisically strong but blind. The other species is frail, but telepathic, and provides "sight" to the stronger species in exchange for their muscular power. $\endgroup$ – Renan Jun 24 '16 at 16:20
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This is somewhat generic (i.e., it goes to support the feasibility of a blind rider controlling a flying beast, and not so much the archery aspect), but, since telepathy has already been mentioned: a psychic link between the rider and the steed would be very useful.  Even if it doesn’t go so far as to allow the rider to see through the mount’s eyes (as suggested by James), it would be very handy if the mount could alert the rider to upcoming maneuvers, or if the rider could direct the mount, all without making a sound.  Compare to the neural interface between creatures (including the bond between rider and steed) in James Cameron’s Avatar.

Also, you might want to look at the Nazgûl (from The Lord of the Rings) for some general inspiration.  While they are not totally blind, they do not see the world of light as we do.  (They may use a sense of smell when on the ground; it’s not clear whether that would be useful when they are airborne.)

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How about ability to see/detect minute alterations of Earth's magnetic field or electricity? That might allow him to detect live beigns from a distance. I assume a medieval background due to the presence of mythical creatures so no radiowaves everywhere to drive him crazy, though his perception of a thunderstorm would be interesting.

Can't imagine the kind of organ which would allow, I can only think it would have to be duplicated to allow triangulation for distances. Maybe replacing the eyes?

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Hidden power

Your character has a hidden power that permanently allows them to see into the future. Hence their current eyesight has been traded for one out of sequence with time. They know where the arrow will be once they let go for they see it already having arrived.

To make sure this is not OP this could be limited to an enhancement / curse given by the bow they wield and only bestows the future location of arrows potentially fired from it.

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