Healing fingers from on high
The Paladin had a glow about her, an aura of hidden angels. She laid her hands on my sick boy’s forehead, and gazed at him with a deep, powerful kindness. I do not know if it was her touch or the shimmer in her eyes that healed my boy, but that day I became a believer.– A Villager’s testimony
Table of Contents
What is Lay on Hands 5e?
Lay on Hands 5e is a Level 1 class feature for Paladins that allows healing by touch with an Action. The HP that Lay on Hands draws from is the Paladin’s level multiplied by 5 (1×5 HP for level 1, 2×5 HP for level 2, etc.). Paladins can divide up the HP how they wish per healing event.
You can also cure diseases or neutralize poisons with Lay on Hands, for a cost of 5 HP for each disease or poison. Lay on Hands’ HP pool is completely separate from the Paladin’s HP. When a Paladin takes a Long Rest, their “Lay on Hands” healing pool replenishes.
Here’s how Lay on Hands is described in the Player’s Handbook:
- Your blessed touch can heal wounds. You have a pool of healing power that replenishes when you take a long rest. With that pool, you can restore a total number of hit points equal to your paladin level x 5.
- As an action, you can touch a creature and draw power from the pool to restore a number of hit points to that creature, up to the maximum amount remaining in your pool.
- Alternatively, you can expend 5 hit points from your pool of healing to cure the target of one disease or neutralize one poison affecting it. You can cure multiple diseases and neutralize multiple poisons with a single use of Lay on Hands, expending hit points separately for each one.
- This feature has no effect on undead and constructs.
How does Lay on Hands work in 5e?
When you want to use Lay on Hands 5e, you use an Action. You then touch a target, including yourself, and heal the target by subtracting an amount you choose from Lay on Hands’ healing pool. You can also cure multiple diseases or poisons in a single use of Lay of Hands by spending 5 HP per disease or poison.
You don’t need to use your hands with Lay on Hands. You can touch a target with any body part. You can use Lay on Hands through gloves or other armor as well. You can also use Lay on Hands out of combat which, along with healing convenience, is amazing for character development and immersion. Your Paladin has the healing touch, use it!
To use Lay on Hands you must:
- Touch your target
- Have HP in your healing pool
- Have an action, unless you are out of combat
Lay on Hands does NOT work:
- In dead magic zones
- In antimagic zones
- In antimagic field spells
- In the Beholder antimagic cone
- On undead and constructs
- On curses
Here is the full list of diseases that Lay on Hands 5e can cure:
|Aboleth||Arcane Blight||Blinding Sickness|
|Blue Lung||Blue Mist Fever||Bluerot|
|Blue Slaad||Bulezau||Cackle Fever|
|Contagion||Death Dog||Diseased Giant Rat|
|Filth Fever||Flesh Rot||Frigid Woe|
|Gas Spore||Ghoul Gut||Harm|
|Leeches||Mad Monkey Fever||Mindfire|
|Red Slaad||Rutterkin||Saprophytic Plague|
|Seizure||Sewer Plague||Shivering Sickness|
|Sight Rot||Slimy Doom||Spider Eggs|
|Super-Tetanus||Swarm of Maggots||Variant Sewer Plague|
|Talona’s Blessing||The Diseased Pool||The Gnawing Plague|
GameCows Tip: Try setting up a healing tent, a clinic for sick villagers, or a traveling sideshow. Show the unfortunate the light of your mercy, whether for good or for profit.
Why is Lay on Hands 5e good?
Lay on Hands is the only DnD 5e ability allowing a choice of exactly how much HP you restore. You can bring your allies back to consciousness when they drop to 0 HP by giving them 1 HP from your healing pool. Bringing fallen comrades back to consciousness stabilizes them, and saves them from having to make death saving throws.
This tactic is perfectly fine in DnD 5e’s Rules as Written, but may be subject to your DM or fellow players’ wishes. Some people think bringing back allies from the brink of death with 1 HP cheapens the event falling to 0 HP, which is a dramatic DnD moment. This tactic is also risky, as it leaves your ally in a vulnerable state.
Some other reasons Lay on Hands 5e is good are:
Self Healing Tanking. Run in, bash some heads. If you get in trouble, heal. Not having to be dependent on healers is great for lone wolf characters.
Cleric support. If your Cleric goes down, your crew might be cooked. Lay on Hands can get them back in the game.
Unconventional healing. Not all parties have Clerics and other healers saving their bacon all the time. If you don’t have a dedicated party nurse, Lay on Hands is a lifesaver.
Efficiency. You can give any party member just the exact amount of HP they need, and not a drop more. You can also save your HP for a big wound, or just clean up scrapes here and there.
Can’t be silenced or counterspelled. Lay on Hands is a magical ability, not a spell. So, if you are silenced or under counterspell, you can still heal your allies.
Saves a slot. Lay on Hands doesn’t take a spell slot, so you get “free healing” without hogging up space.
Out of combat flavor. Lay on Hands can be used contextually in many story encounters, and in many creative ways with all the NPCs you meet on your journey. Get creative!
Lay on Hands 5e FAQs
Can a Paladin use Lay on Hands on himself?
Yes, a Paladin can use Lay on Hands on themselves. The wording of Lay on Hands says you can “touch a creature” and does not distinguish use only on “other creatures” or “an ally” like other spells and abilities in DnD 5e do. You are a creature, so you can heal yourself.
How many times can I use Lay on Hands in 5e?
You can use Lay on Hands as many times as you wish per Long Rest, as long as you have HP available in Lay on Hands’ healing pool. Every time you use Lay on Hands, you can decide how many HP you want to use, which is then subtracted from Lay on Hands’ healing pool.
Does Lay on Hands 5e require a free hand?
A free hand isn’t required for Lay on Hands, but you are required to touch your target. DnD designer Jeremy Crawford once ruled “Lay on Hands requires you to touch the target. The feature isn’t concerned with how you execute the touch.” That means you can use your head, feet, or any other body part for Lay on Hands.
Can Lay on Hands 5e revive someone?
Lay on Hands can revive someone from unconsciousness, and this is one of the ability’s most powerful uses. Lay on Hands cannot revive someone from death, however. Be aware that if your DM is playing with Lingering Injuries, each time you revive someone they may be permanently injured.
Can Lay on Hands 5e cure curses?
Lay on Hands can only cure physical and mental wounds, and curses do not fall under this category in DnD 5e.
Can you use Lay on Hands 5e outside of combat?
Can you heal multiple people with Lay on Hands?
Lay on Hands specifies “a creature,” so you can only use Lay on Hands on one creature at a time. In combat, you can use Lay on Hands on another creature only with another Action. Out of combat, you don’t need an Action, so you can use Lay on Hands quickly on many people, but only one at a time.
Kendra has always been a hardcore fantasy nerd. Growing up in the worlds of Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan, and Abercrombie, DnD & board games just came naturally. She and her husband, Bryan, started GameCows.com in 2018 as a fun passion project that just took over their lives. An avid board gamer since childhood and chronic DnD chronicler for more than two decades, she loves to play, write, travel, and learn dead languages. She is also a professional content writer at SlashGear.com