Lay on Hands can only be used on allies?


Rules Questions


Last night a player I know came across giant scorpion in a session. In a stroke of creativity, she used her paladin's lay on hands to neutralize the scorpion's poison at the source via the mercy that acts as a neutralize poison.

However, the GM pulls out the rule book, and begins to look at it, and declares that a LoH cannot be used on hostile targets, only allies. Is this right?

Dark Archive

It can be used to enemies like undead to do damage. If she used it on a giant scorpion it would heal the scorpion but would do nothing to neutralize the poison in its poison glands as it is not causing any harm and do not need to be cured.

Liberty's Edge

Sounds correct to me; now if it can be used on enemies as a GM on the above situation I wouldn't allow the neatralize poison to work (completely). I would applaud the creativity and let it work for a d4 rounds, but not completely as the poison is a natural part of the creature that is produced by it's body.

Silver Crusade

This is full of s~%~, to be polite. How could you damage undead creatures ("alternatively, a paladin can use this healing power to deal damage to undead creatures") if you could only use it on your allies ?

Also : "a paladin can heal wounds (her own or those of others)".
It was original and cunning to say the least, and provided the enemy with a potential benefit, so nothing overpowered there, and for the sake of coolness and guile I would have accepted it. By RAW it wouldn't remove a creature's poison, but would remove the poisoned condition if possessing the appropriate mercy. A simple Will save to divide received healing and avoid the mercy would have been enough.

So, the GM is always right by RAW. Doesn't mean he was right to disallow this IMHO.


The PRD wrote:

Lay On Hands (Su): Beginning at 2nd level, a paladin can heal wounds (her own or those of others) by touch. Each day she can use this ability a number of times equal to 1/2 her paladin level plus her Charisma modifier. With one use of this ability, a paladin can heal 1d6 hit points of damage for every two paladin levels she possesses. Using this ability is a standard action, unless the paladin targets herself, in which case it is a swift action. Despite the name of this ability, a paladin only needs one free hand to use this ability.

Alternatively, a paladin can use this healing power to deal damage to undead creatures, dealing 1d6 points of damage for every two levels the paladin possesses. Using lay on hands in this way requires a successful melee touch attack and doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity. Undead do not receive a saving throw against this damage.

Mercy (Su): At 3rd level, and every three levels thereafter, a paladin can select one mercy. Each mercy adds an effect to the paladin's lay on hands ability. Whenever the paladin uses lay on hands to heal damage to one target, the target also receives the additional effects from all of the mercies possessed by the paladin. A mercy can remove a condition caused by a curse, disease, or poison without curing the affliction. Such conditions return after 1 hour unless the mercy actually removes the affliction that causes the condition.

Neutralize Poison

School conjuration (healing); Level bard 4, cleric 4, druid 3, paladin 4, ranger 3

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S, M/DF (charcoal)

Range touch

Target creature or object of up to 1 cu. ft./level touched

Duration instantaneous or 10 min./level; see text

Saving Throw Will negates (harmless, object); Spell Resistance yes (harmless, object)

You detoxify any sort of venom in the creature or object touched. If the target is a creature, you must make a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) against the DC of each poison affecting the target. Success means that the poison is neutralized. A cured creature suffers no additional effects from the poison, and any temporary effects are ended, but the spell does not reverse instantaneous effects, such as hit point damage, temporary ability damage, or effects that don't go away on their own.

This spell can instead neutralize the poison in a poisonous creature or object for 10 minutes per level, at the caster's option. If cast on a creature, the creature receives a Will save to negate the effect.

Scarab Sages

I think the dm was wrong, but I think your player was a bit off too.

You can use lay on hands to heal wounds by touch. No mention of enemies or allies at all. No restrictions on targets. However.

The mercy is what he used to neutralize the poison as per neutralize poison. The spell neutralize poison has a saving throw Will to negate the poison suppression. So the scorpion wouldn't have been immune, however it would have had a save against the effect. Not to mention getting healed a bunch from the lay on hands.


I read it as legal to use a mercy offensively in this case.


Magicdealer wrote:

I think the dm was wrong, but I think your player was a bit off too.

You can use lay on hands to heal wounds by touch. No mention of enemies or allies at all. No restrictions on targets. However.

The mercy is what he used to neutralize the poison as per neutralize poison. The spell neutralize poison has a saving throw Will to negate the poison suppression. So the scorpion wouldn't have been immune, however it would have had a save against the effect. Not to mention getting healed a bunch from the lay on hands.

The healing aspect really wasn't my question, as a full health scorpion has nothing to benefit from an LoH anyway. I was only asking if it was possible to use the ability in the first place.

Dark Archive

Taliesin Hoyle wrote:
I read it as legal to use a mercy offensively in this case.

A mercy can remove a condition caused by a curse, disease, or poison without curing the affliction. Such conditions return after 1 hour unless the mercy actually removes the affliction that causes the condition.

The scorpion does not posses the Poisoned condition so It should not be able to have the poison neutralized, Mercy does not give the option to cast the spell Neutralize Poison, it only removes the poisoned condition.

But yes, it can be used to heal the scorpion and cure any condition it has.


Starfinder Superscriber

I would say that the point goes to Taliesin Hoyle for the yes it could neutralize poison on the scorpion provided it failed the will save (which as a vermin odds are it would).


bigkilla wrote:
Taliesin Hoyle wrote:
I read it as legal to use a mercy offensively in this case.

A mercy can remove a condition caused by a curse, disease, or poison without curing the affliction. Such conditions return after 1 hour unless the mercy actually removes the affliction that causes the condition.

The scorpion does not posses the Poisoned condition so It should not be able to have the poison neutralized, Mercy does not give the option to cast the spell Neutralize Poison, it only removes the poisoned condition.

But yes, it can be used to heal the scorpion and cure any condition it has.

This I can see as a valid argument against the case. However, when the DM picks up the rulebook, looks at LoH, as if reading it, and appears to be justified in his claim that LoH can only be used on allies.... I just get all sorts of red flags in my mind.

The sad thing was he then chides the player in that he expects her to know the rules going into a session, in front of everyone else...


Mercy: Poisoned specifically states that it works like neutralize poison which sends us to the quotes provided by Taliesin.

Neither Lay On Hands nor Mercies states that it only work on allies - it works on paladin or others. Nothing prevents Paladin from using his Lay On Hands to heal his enemies to save them from dying if he wants to capture them alive or just does not want their demise.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Player was correct. GM missed on that call though I can understand since this feels like the LOH is creeping up in power here.

neutralize should have worked - but at the cost of all the healing done.
As a first round action, it's a good ploy, but perhaps not worth it later in combat when scorpion is close (r) to death


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

since the mercey says it works like neutralize poison...it should work like neutralize poison. As posted above, the spell neutralize poison says you can repress a poison ability in a creature. I dont see where the issue is. I think the dm was wrong, but certainly we all make mistakes at the table, this one I wouldnt have thought of since the first line of mercies just says remove a condition, its an easy one to make when just checking a rule quickly and wanting to get on with the game.

Point it out to your dm away from the table.


I can understand the DM not remembering that the neutralize poison can supress poisonous creature's abilities but lay on hands only on allies? and saying to the player that he should know the rules better? NOOOO!!!


So the scorpion would gain some hit points, and get a Will save to avoid losing his poison. Sounds right to me.

Scarab Sages

bigkilla wrote:


A mercy can remove a condition caused by a curse, disease, or poison without curing the affliction. Such conditions return after 1 hour unless the mercy actually removes the affliction that causes the condition.

The scorpion does not posses the Poisoned condition so It should not be able to have the poison neutralized, Mercy does not give the option to cast the spell Neutralize Poison, it only removes the poisoned condition.

But yes, it can be used to heal the scorpion and cure any condition it has.

Read the last sentence in your quote. Unless the mercy actually removes the affliction that causes the condition

So since the remove poison actually removes the affliction, it follows the ability as normal, which then follows the spell as normal. And the spell specifically mentions that it can affect creatures with poison.

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