Can a Paladin use Lay On Hands on themselves twice in a round?


Rules Questions


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As the title.

Reviewing the Lay On Hands ability:

Lay On Hands wrote:

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.

The bolded part is what is in contention. Under normal circumstances, a Paladin can use the ability as a Standard Action. However, if the Paladin targets himself with the option, it's a Swift Action instead (which has a "can't be done more than once per round" clause).

So, based on that, we know that the Paladin can use Lay On Hands on themselves, on others, or even on both themselves and others in the same round, expending actions and uses for both.

But can that same Paladin use Lay On Hands to heal themselves twice, both as a Swift Action and as a Standard Action, in the same round?


Nope, if the rules said 'unless the paladin targets herself, in which case she can use a swift action', then the character would have the choice which action to use. The way it's written, no choice.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

As written? No. "Unless" means it replaces the action used, thus if you heal yourself with Lay on Hands the first time in a round, it uses up your swift action, whether you would want it to use your standard or not. You are, therefore, not permitted to use it on yourself a second time, due to the absence of available swift actions.

May I suggest the Corset of Delicate Moves as at least an emergency workaround?


Technically, yes. once as a swift, and once as a standard, giving up all their attacks to do so.


Saethori wrote:
May I suggest the Corset of Delicate Moves as at least an emergency workaround?

Is it my imagination, or do people avoid considering that item due to the name alone?


Nope. There is no provision for the paladin using it on himself to use any action other than a swift. So no option for a standard action lay on hands targeting self.


Saethori wrote:

As written? No. "Unless" means it replaces the action used, thus if you heal yourself with Lay on Hands the first time in a round, it uses up your swift action, whether you would want it to use your standard or not. You are, therefore, not permitted to use it on yourself a second time, due to the absence of available swift actions.

May I suggest the Corset of Delicate Moves as at least an emergency workaround?

I'm aware of the item. I'm simply asking the question in terms of what the rules currently permit. It's certainly more favorable than giving up a Standard Action, but I'd like to see if I can do this without the help of a magic item.

Heck, with that Magic Item, and presuming that the action allotment does work, a Paladin could use Lay On Hands THREE times on themselves (even if it takes all of their actions to do so).


graystone wrote:
Nope. There is no provision for the paladin using it on himself to use any action other than a swift. SO no option for a standard action lay on hands targeting self.

Lay on Hands is like any SLA a standard action. The option for using it as a swift action does not preclude standard use. A Paladin could also heal himself with his swift option and heal another creature with the standard. As healing anyone BUT himself is a standard action. So if he can do that, I don't have a problem with one burning another use to do a standard heal. It's not like Paladin healing is that major a deal, and he is burning two of a limited resource.


You may not have a problem with it, but the rules don't give that option.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
graystone wrote:
Nope. There is no provision for the paladin using it on himself to use any action other than a swift. SO no option for a standard action lay on hands targeting self.
Lay on Hands is like any SLA a standard action. The option for using it as a swift action does not preclude standard use. A Paladin could also heal himself with his swift option and heal another creature with the standard. As healing anyone BUT himself is a standard action. So if he can do that, I don't have a problem with one burning another use to do a standard heal. It's not like Paladin healing is that major a deal, and he is burning two of a limited resource.

"The casting time of a spell-like ability is 1 standard action, unless the ability description notes otherwise." As it "notes otherwise": "unless the paladin targets herself, in which case it is a swift action."

Now if I was to be asked this if I was a DM I'd allow it but what I, or you, would allow isn't the question is it? It's what do the rules say.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
graystone wrote:
Nope. There is no provision for the paladin using it on himself to use any action other than a swift. SO no option for a standard action lay on hands targeting self.
Lay on Hands is like any SLA a standard action. The option for using it as a swift action does not preclude standard use. A Paladin could also heal himself with his swift option and heal another creature with the standard. As healing anyone BUT himself is a standard action. So if he can do that, I don't have a problem with one burning another use to do a standard heal. It's not like Paladin healing is that major a deal, and he is burning two of a limited resource.

Actually, with typical Paladin investments, it's extremely powerful, and since Paladins don't really need feats (Power Attack is basically all they need for offensive capabilities), a lot of their feats can go into Extra Lay On Hands, so whatever limited resource they have, will most likely last for the entire adventuring day.


A paladin could also use a Crystal of Healing Hands, though unless you are at very high levels I can't see spending 12K and giving up my neck slot for it. That item can be worn by others as well, and it DOES grant the paladin's mercies in addition to the heal.

A Chosen One paladin can also use a familiar to use LOH, but I think each time it burns two LOH. This also includes the paladin's mercies.

Probably others but I am tired and thus the brain isn't firing at full capacity.


They can channel positive energy. So lay on hands with a swift and still channel could "double up" and skip this rule either way right?


Sure, no problem.


avr wrote:
Saethori wrote:
May I suggest the Corset of Delicate Moves as at least an emergency workaround?
Is it my imagination, or do people avoid considering that item due to the name alone?

I always consider this item because of the name alone! =D

And because I play with Path of War which uses a lot of swift actions.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
graystone wrote:
Nope. There is no provision for the paladin using it on himself to use any action other than a swift. SO no option for a standard action lay on hands targeting self.
Lay on Hands is like any SLA a standard action.

Lay On Hands is a supernatural ability, not an SLA.

Not that it matters to the argument of how many times you can use it in a round, except where the Corset of Delicate Moves is concerned (that item prohibits using two spells or SLAs as swifts in a round--SU are ok).


Revised Action Economy in Unchained addresses this issue, among several similar ones.


I don't really care for the small grammatical details. You can use Lay on Hands twice in one turn, so I don't really see why you shouldn't be able to target yourself both times. The only reasonable reason that you shouldn't be able to do it twice a turn to yourself would be balance. But I don't see this breaking the game.


yes because you can replace any swift action ability as a standard action. it would be dumb to have it any other way like would a mythic wizard not beable to cast their prepaired quickend fireball which is their last spell they have prepaired for the day just because they used an imidiate action last turn to not die, no they would beable to use it as a standard action.


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Allowing someone to use a standard action for a second swift action is a house rule. It's a good one - I use it myself - but you won't find any support for it in the rulebook.


Rub-Eta wrote:
I don't really care for the small grammatical details.

It's those "small grammatical details" that make it a requirement instead of an option. Not having "can" in this case gives the paladin no option to use the action type he uses on others for himself. If they are truly meant to be able to use it twice on themselves, the staff should think about adding that "can" so it's legal to do so.

Lady-J wrote:
yes because you can replace any swift action ability as a standard action.

There isn't a rule allowing this as far as I know. As Matthew Downie has said, it's a good [and fairly common] houserule.


I think if you can walk fast, you can walk slow. The intent of the rule is that it is easier for the paladin to heal himself. So, he can fight and heal himself at the same time. If it is otherwise legit to heal himself twice, then double healing.
If you can jump 4', you can jump 2'. It shouldn't be hard to figure that out.
There will be never be enough rules to deal with every situation. And the more rules there are, the more rules get forgotten or ignored.


parsimony wrote:

I think if you can walk fast, you can walk slow. The intent of the rule is that it is easier for the paladin to heal himself. So, he can fight and heal himself at the same time. If it is otherwise legit to heal himself twice, then double healing.

If you can jump 4', you can jump 2'. It shouldn't be hard to figure that out.
There will be never be enough rules to deal with every situation. And the more rules there are, the more rules get forgotten or ignored.

If this was the case then it would have to easy to fix and wouldn't require extra rules. Just replace "You can always take a move action in place of a standard action" with "You can always take a swift action or a move action in place of a standard action." Done and NO more difficult to remember.

And if your thinking was correct, then why does the game go out of it's way to say "You can also perform one swift action and one or more free actions"? One. If "you can walk fast, you can walk slow" was correct, you could do a lot more than 1 swift action in a round but you can't [some exceptions do apply of course].

PS: Also remember this is the rules questions section of the forum, so we're talking about the written rules and all those "small grammatical details" that are important to parsing the rules. If we where in the advice section, I'd be more than happy to suggest allowing paladins to use it twice a round. I just don't see how that's correct by the rules though.


parsimony wrote:
I think if you can walk fast, you can walk slow.

Not everything is easy to do slow. Riding bicycles, long jumps...

parsimony wrote:
The intent of the rule is that it is easier for the paladin to heal himself.

Or maybe the intent is that paladins can't heal themselves with Lay On Hands more than once a round. We have no way of knowing for sure, short of an official errata.


I had another thought after my last post.

parsimony wrote:
I think if you can walk fast, you can walk slow. The intent of the rule is that it is easier for the paladin to heal himself. So, he can fight and heal himself at the same time. If it is otherwise legit to heal himself twice, then double healing.

Following this thinking, wouldn't the paladin be able to heal himself 3 times? If you can swap out a standard because a swift is faster, then you should also be able to use the same logic with a move action. So you'd be looking at triple swift actions per round.

Silver Crusade

I'm in the camp that says, unequivocally, no a paladin cannot use LoH on himself twice in the same round.


graystone wrote:
Rub-Eta wrote:
I don't really care for the small grammatical details.
It's those "small grammatical details" that make it a requirement instead of an option. Not having "can" in this case gives the paladin no option to use the action type he uses on others for himself.

And that's why I don't care for them.

graystone wrote:
If they are truly meant to be able to use it twice on themselves, the staff should think about adding that "can" so it's legal to do so.

There are probably literately over a thousand small words, such as "can", that should be added to several places within the books. If they are truly meant to not be able to use it twice on themselves, it should have been clearly spelled out and not have been left to small grammatical nitpicks.


Rub-Eta wrote:
If they are truly meant to not be able to use it twice on themselves, it should have been clearly spelled out and not have been left to small grammatical nitpicks.

They did...

PRD, Combat Section wrote:
You can also perform one swift action and one or more free actions.

One. Swift. Action.

PRD, Paladin wrote:
Using this ability is a standard action, unless the paladin targets herself, in which case it is a swift action.

So it's really, super clear. No nitpick needed. Unless, of course, you're TRYING to make it less clear by nitpicking. To be clear, a straight reading using common language also leads you to the conclusion that the paladin doesn't get an option on the action used when using it on herself. We're not talking legalese here.

What action does a paladin use when using lay on hands on themselves? The ability says swift. How many swift actions can you do in a round? Combat section says one. This is a 1 + 1 = 2 situations.


Bigdaddyjug wrote:
I'm in the camp that says, unequivocally, no a paladin cannot use LoH on himself twice in the same round.

I take it then you've no problem with a wizard casting two fireballs in one round using both a quickened and standard casting?


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
I'm in the camp that says, unequivocally, no a paladin cannot use LoH on himself twice in the same round.
I take it then you've no problem with a wizard casting two fireballs in one round using both a quickened and standard casting?

To be fair, the wizard has a feat that allows for a change in action type [standard to swift]. The paladin doesn't have that, as they don't have the option to use lay on hands on themselves as a standard action. The only way it'd be an equivalent situation is if you give the paladin a feat that allows them to use lay on hands on themselves as a standard action and then ask the question.

Silver Crusade

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
I'm in the camp that says, unequivocally, no a paladin cannot use LoH on himself twice in the same round.
I take it then you've no problem with a wizard casting two fireballs in one round using both a quickened and standard casting?

Is there any rule that prevents you from casting two spells in a single round? If there's not, then I don't see why a wizard wouldn't be able to cast a quickened fireball and s normal one in the same round.


graystone wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
I'm in the camp that says, unequivocally, no a paladin cannot use LoH on himself twice in the same round.
I take it then you've no problem with a wizard casting two fireballs in one round using both a quickened and standard casting?
To be fair, the wizard has a feat that allows for a change in action type [standard to swift]. The paladin doesn't have that, as they don't have the option to use lay on hands on themselves as a standard action. The only way it'd be an equivalent situation is if you give the paladin a feat that allows them to use lay on hands on themselves as a standard action and then ask the question.

to be fair if they did come out with a feat that like reverce quicken for lay on hands it would be borken as quicken increases resource cost to make it swift and a reverce of it would reduce cost to make it a standard so then paladins would have unlimited lay on hands as a standard action


Strictly by the rules he can't do it twice, but don't think it is a good rule even if that is intent.

With that aside I don't think it is the intent, but I there is the following class feature.

The class feature that the paladin gets at 20th level forces smites to end.

Quote:
Holy Champion (Su): At 20th level, a paladin becomes a conduit for the power of her god. Her DR increases to 10/evil. Whenever she uses smite evil and successfully strikes an evil outsider, the outsider is also subject to a banishment, using her paladin level as the caster level (her weapon and holy symbol automatically count as objects that the subject hates). After the banishment effect and the damage from the attack is resolved, the smite immediately ends. In addition, whenever she channels positive energy or uses lay on hands to heal a creature, she heals the maximum possible amount.

I was sure this ability forced you to expend your smite, even if you didnt want to attempt the banishment attempt, but now I can't find proof.

Hopefully this one is actually optional.


Saethori wrote:


May I suggest the Corset of Delicate Moves as at least an emergency workaround?

Now I want one of those for my multiclass eldritch scion magus/paladin for when I really need to enter trance and declare smite in the same round.

Silver Crusade

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For RAI guidence there is the Divine Guardian archetypes Guarding Hands ability that changes it to a move action for himself and his one protected ally but specifically says he cannot do it twice in a round.

As far as not balance goes my 10th level paladin heals himself for and average of 54hp per LoH. If he could do this twice he would be able heal himself for 108 (average) hp per round for up to 7 rounds.


Grom Kranock wrote:

For RAI guidence there is the Divine Guardian archetypes Guarding Hands ability that changes it to a move action for himself and his one protected ally but specifically says he cannot do it twice in a round.

As far as not balance goes my 10th level paladin heals himself for and average of 54hp per LoH. If he could do this twice he would be able heal himself for 108 (average) hp per round for up to 7 rounds.

Nice find.

I might make an exception for the hospitaler paladin archetype.

Silver Crusade

I'd say no as well to the double swift action use, but I would allow the paladin to use lay on hands as a standard to heal someone else, then use the swift action to heal themselves. It'd be consistent with a cleric or wizard using Quicken Spell to get two spells off in a round.


So a Paladin could grab quicken channel then do a swift LOH, LOH a team mate and move action channel?

Expensive but.. that would get a whole group moving again.


graystone wrote:
One. Swift. Action.

I never argued against this. I'm just saying that it doesn't make any sense that a Paladin can use LOH twice, but only once on himself.


Rub-Eta wrote:
graystone wrote:
One. Swift. Action.
I never argued against this. I'm just saying that it doesn't make any sense that a Paladin can use LOH twice, but only once on himself.

A lot of things in the rules don't make sense, but that is how they work.


There's a designer comment re: Bardic Performance, saying that advancing the performance to something less expensive than a standard to start should only increase options, not decrease, meaning they can start it as something slower than their fastest/highest level if they so desire. I see no reason that this isn't another example of just that.

But if they can't, then they still have channel energy at 4. If you're building for max LoH healing, then this question is likely academic, and if you're NOT doing that, then channel energy is just a slightly more expensive way to do it, while also helping the party.

Sovereign Court

james014Aura wrote:
There's a designer comment re: Bardic Performance, saying that advancing the performance to something less expensive than a standard to start should only increase options, not decrease, meaning they can start it as something slower than their fastest/highest level if they so desire. I see no reason that this isn't another example of just that.

Because the paladin doesn't gain the ability to LOH himself as a standard action, and later do it as a swift action instead.


The wording there is "At 7th level, a bard can start a bardic performance as a move action instead of a standard action. At 13th level, a bard can start a bardic performance as a swift action."

It makes sense that levelling up shouldn't stop you from casting a quickened spell and starting your performance in the same round if you could do it before. The paladin situation is different enough that I don't think we can say there's developer support.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
graystone wrote:

If this was the case then it would have to easy to fix and wouldn't require extra rules. Just replace "You can always take a move action in place of a standard action" with "You can always take a swift action or a move action in place of a standard action." Done and NO more difficult to remember.

And if your thinking was correct, then why does the game go out of it's way to say "You can also perform one swift action and one or more free actions"? One. If "you can walk fast, you can walk slow" was correct, you could do a lot more than 1 swift action in a round but you can't [some exceptions do apply of course].

The trading up of actions is pretty much what the Star Wars Saga Edition does - a standard action slot can be used for a standard, move or swift actions, a move action slot can be used for a move or swift action, and nothing else can fit into the swift action slot. The main difference is the things that can be done as swift actions don't generally include standard action-worthy actions like casting quickened spells or paladins laying hands on themselves. As a result, they don't have to generally deal with the implications of getting not just two but three standard action-worthy actions in the round like D&D3/PF would.

That said, since these swift actions are generally standard action-worthy events, maybe a good answer is to allow the character to use their standard action slot to activate swift actions and bypass the idea of using the move action slot entirely. Then you avoid the possibility of getting 3 standard action-worthy events in a round. Yes, anything you can do fast, you can do slow - it just may not be particularly efficient to do so since it goes from your 2nd fastest action to your 4th fastest.

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