Lay on Hands 5e DnD: How it works, requirements, and best uses 

For some reason, there is very little to find about Lay on Hands 5e works and what its best uses are. However, if you are playing as a Paladin in 5e DnD, this is one of the best class features to pick if your party is missing a cleric.

We will discuss how to use this class feature and how Lay on Hands works in 5e and give you some advice based on our experience. We have based the guide on our experiences playing DnD for over 20 years and input from our helpful community. 

How Lay on Hands 5e works

How this class feature for Paladins works is not as straightforward as you might think. Lay on Hands has quite a few rules and aspects you need to consider. We will clarify these below. 


In the official Player handbook, you can read the following:

If your Paladin has access to this class feature: Your blessed touch can heal wounds. In addition, 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 several 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. Finally, you can cure multiple diseases and neutralize numerous poisons using Lay on Hands, expending hit points separately for each one.

This feature does not affect undead and constructs.


Heal wounds: I have put in bold some aspects a lot of (new) players seem to be struggling with. So, first of all, Blessed Touch can heal wounds. It does not matter if these are magical or physical wounds. However, curses and mental afflictions do not count as wounds for this use. 

You can restore: You do not have to restore all the hitpoints you have lost. You can choose the amount (up to your limit) you want to restore. Do keep in mind that you will still use Lay on Hands fully. 

As an action: The same goes for creatures you want to heal; you can choose the number of hitpoints. However, you do need to expand an activity to do this. To do it independently, you do not need to expend one. 

Cure target: Interestingly, for every five hitpoints your pool hitpoints have remaining, you can use Lay on Hands to cure disease or poison. If you want to cure multiple diseases or diseases and poison at once on one target, you can do this in one use of the feature, but you will need to expend five hit points per affliction you cure. 

lay on hands dnd

Pros and cons


Great if there is no healer: If you don’t have a reliable way to heal your party, this class feature is a godsend (pun intended). Even if you have a healer but multiple party members with a low AC, you can still use Lay on Hand to your advantage. 

Always helpful: Being able to heal yourself and creatures and curing poison and disease is always good. You can quickly expend an action if you are in a pinch to heal a party member with a significant amount. 

Curing disease is extremely helpful: Disease and poison can be quite a hassle to deal with. Having this as a backup option to aid your party is fantastic. You can use it whenever you want, and the requirements aren’t too high. 


Expend an action: I would have liked it more if it only expended a bonus action. 

Single target: if you want to heal two targets, even if it is only 5 HP each, you will need to expand two actions as you can’t heal them simultaneously. 

No undead and constructs: If you are a Paladin that is working together with an undead or a necromancer, you won’t be able to help as much as you like. Luckily, there are many other ways to heal the undead in 5e dnd. 

Best uses for Lay on Hands

Heal yourself in combat

If you are a frontliner, you often get a bit too close to dropping to 0 Hit points for comfort. On the other hand, if your Cleric is too far away, you might die or have to leave the frontlines, causing your party to struggle during the encounter. 

Lay on Hands gives your Paladin a convenient way to quickly and effectively restore a massive amount of hitpoints. Next to that, it is also possible to conveniently heal a ton of status conditions without you having to leave the fight.

Be the backup healer

Sometimes your party and allies just get overwhelmed or spread out. If your Cleric is occupied with other more urgent cases, you, as a Paladin, can help prevent others from needing immediate HP restoration. 

Do keep in mind that you will need to expend an action and go over to the target to heal. So you will need to ensure it is worth it from an action economy perspective. 

Earn by curing disease

The world and inhabitants of DnD are plagued with all kinds of diseases and afflictions. Thanks to your powers as a Paladin with Lay on Hands, you can help those creatures. Of course, nobody forces you to do it for free! While you won’t earn a ton of gold in dnd with this – due to the wide accessibility of similar healing magic – it does help a bit in the right situations. 

Help out NPCs while Cleric focuses on players.

A good way to divide up your healing is by having the Cleric prioritize the players and the Paladin the NPCs. NPCs are much more replaceable and when it is worth it to expend an action or not is, in many cases, clearcut. You also have the added benefit that your party’s Cleric (or healer) does not need to prepare any additional spells for essential NPCs. 

monsters to fight with a paladin who has Lay on Hands 5e


Depending on your party composition and the encounters your DM has, Lay on Hands 5e can be a handy feature to have for your Paladin. 

You can save your character when you are fighting on the frontlines and help out your Cleric when he is overwhelmed. 

I would advise you not to see Lay on Hands as a kind of replacement for a dedicated healer or healing items. It really is more of additional support in a pinch. The fact that it requires touch and action are two significant drawbacks. 

The fact that the class feature is also able to cure disease and poison is a massive plus. While these status infliction doesn’t happen in every battle, being able to cure them easily and effectively is always great. 


Is lay on hands 5e a bonus action? 

Most DMs agree that using Lay on Hands in 5e requires regular action, regardless if you target yourself or someone else. A minority of DMs and players say that n you use it on yourself, it requires a bonus action and a regular action when you target another creature. 

Can you lay on hands-on yourself in 5e? 

Yes, one of the possible targets can be yourself. However, no rule states you need to have your hands free or be able to touch yourself. 

Does lay on hands provoke an attack of opportunity?

If you are playing 5e DnD with the regular rules, then Lay of Hands does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If you are using Pathfinder rules or an older edition, then it does. However, the standard rules will apply in 99% of campaigns, so it does not provoke an attack of opportunity.