Can a paladin use Lay on Hands on himself?

Lay on Hands (Cha)

When you touch someone, skin to skin, and pray for their well-being , roll+CHA.

✴ On a 10+ you heal 1d8 damage or remove one disease.
✴ On a 7–9, they are healed, but the damage or disease is transferred to you.

The paladin is someone that can be touched, so it fulfills that part of the move. But the part where the damage/disease is transferred doesn't. If he can, does it just not do anything on 7-9? Or can he just not use it on himself?


3 Answers 3


As with many things in Dungeon World, it depends on what makes sense within the fiction you have established within the game world.

From a mechanics perspective, there is nothing in the description of the move or other areas of the rules that defines 'someone' in such a way that it rules out being able to use the power on yourself. Yes, from the perspective of a lot of other systems/settings, the 'RP view' is that it tends not to make sense for this to work, but there's absolutely nothing stopping it if you can make it coherent within the fictional framework you've already established.

If I were running the game I would ask the player why it should work in these circumstances. Within the fiction, why would their deity confer the power to use Lay on Hands on themselves?


I would say as written, no. You cannot transfer something to and from the same target logically. You should never roll in Dungeon World and have the GM say, "Nothing of consequence happens." Moves should drive the game forward and provide moments of interest.

That said, if you want to lay hands on yourself, and who doesn't from time to time, I'd just modify the move to have options at 7-9, where at least one could work for the self-heal, i.e. heal for half the amount rounded down.


From an RP stand point, I would say no. From a mechanics stand point, maybe. The "Laying on of hands" is a spiritually type of healing done to a person facilitated by someone else, it is one person praying to their God and using their faith to revitalize another person. It would be far fetched to allow someone to do that to themselves. Mechanics wise, using the spell on yourself would negate the negative possibilities of the spell, making it unbalanced.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Self use doesn't really get rid of the negative. On 7-9 you just transfer the damage from your self to your self, wasting precious combat time doing nothing. Only on a 10+ does it actually do anything. But what you say from the RP perspective makes sense. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ghostship
    Dec 23, 2015 at 23:54
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ What's so "far fetched" about praying for your own injuries to be healed, or having your own faith revitalize your own body? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24, 2015 at 7:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you read Acts of Caine? Khryll's love was able to heal his Knights as well as others and it made perfect sense, because his love for his Knights was, if anything, more direct. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Dec 24, 2015 at 13:09

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