It is known that Paladins can heal themselves with a Swift Action:

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.

Could a Dhampir Antipaladin cast Touch of Corruption to 'heal' himself with a Swift Action as well? And if there is not rules-as-written for this, would it be fair?

Touch of Corruption (Su)

Beginning at 2nd level, an antipaladin surrounds his hand with a fiendish flame, causing terrible wounds to open on those he touches. Each day he can use this ability a number of times equal to 1/2 his antipaladin level + his Charisma modifier. As a touch attack, an antipaladin can cause 1d6 points of damage for every two antipaladin levels he possesses. Using this ability is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Alternatively, an antipaladin can use this power to heal undead creatures, restoring 1d6 hit points for every two levels the antipaladin possesses. This ability is modified by any feat, spell, or effect that specifically works with the lay on hands paladin class feature. For example, the Extra Lay On Hands feat grants an antipaladin 2 additional uses of the touch of corruption class feature.

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    \$\begingroup\$ this, even if not an answer to your question, may interest you. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 18, 2016 at 9:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is indeed interesting. I was wondering, if the Antipaladin is the total opposite of the paladin it would be fair that the Touch of Corruption was negative energy and could be used on himself as a Swift Action as well, afterall: "the changes made here, though, the details and tones of the paladin class are shifted in a completely opposite direction and captures an entirely different fantasy theme, without needlessly designing an entire new class." (This can be found in the antipaladin's note) \$\endgroup\$
    – Zarkos
    Jul 18, 2016 at 14:36

2 Answers 2


A dhampir antipaladin takes a standard action to use touch of corruption, but there's more to it than that

There are, in fact, several issues with a dhampir trying to use the antipaladin's supernatural ability touch of corruption to heal himself:

  1. The touch doesn't mention that it can be used as a swift action at all. While similar to a paladin's supernatural ability lay on hands, the antipaladin's ability just completely omits that part. The dhampir antipaladin must take a standard action to use the supernatural ability touch of corruption and, as part of that action, touch himself just like he would anyone else. However, it's likely he won't want to. That's because…
  2. The touch does not deal damage because of negative energy. Instead, the "fiendish flame" deals untyped magical damage. (I know! Not even fire damage!) In most cases, this is awesome as that's one of the game's best kinds of damage: hardly any creature reduces such damage, and such damage bypasses damage reduction and spell resistance. But even if the damage were due to negative energy, the damage still wouldn't heal a dhampir antipaladin because…
  3. The touch specifically and only heals creatures with the type undead. While this makes the touch useful when an antipaladin wants to damage, for example, a construct with immunity to magic (like a flesh golem), the touch isn't useful when, for example, a dhampir antipaladin needs a few extra hp to see him through a fight and he's all out of potions of inflict light wounds; a dhampir's type is still humanoid despite him being healed by negative energy due to the weakness negative energy affinity.

(Just in case the d20PFSRD failed to mention that touch of corruption really is negative energy, I checked Paizo's own SRD and neither is touch of corruption mentioned there as being negative energy, nor is it said to be such in its original form on page 120 of the Advanced Player's Guide.)

That's a fair number of house rules a GM must make if the antipaladin's supernatural ability touch of corruption is to function the way I expect you want it to. For comparison, the FAQ says the paladin's supernatural ability lay on hands as uses positive energy, but there's no corresponding FAQ entry saying the touch of corruption uses negative energy. While I understand the desire for the antipaladin to be the equal and opposite of the paladin, that doesn't seem to hold true in this case

"Would it be unfair to allow a dhampir antipaladin to take a swift action to use touch of corruption to heal himself?"

Maybe. If my PC were a paladin (or another PC with lay on hands) in the campaign, and if the campaign weren't undead-heavy, making only the above change but otherwise playing everything else as written allows another player's dhampir antipaladin to heal himself and battle with greater efficacy most foes better than my PC paladin who, unless battling a rare undead foe, can only heal himself. So, yeah, I would see that as a little unfair. In fact, I'd maybe have my paladin steadily become more and more bitter and sullen until he finally sought out someone who could offer him a deal that would even things out between my PC and his ally, even if it meant that, technically, my PC wouldn't be, y'know, alive anymore… I mean, undeath sounds unappetizing, but unlife? That's just like immortality but with a slightly different flavor, right…? And all that juicy power…?

Anyway, absent another PC in the party with the supernatural ability lay on hands, making the above change to the supernatural ability touch of corruption probably really won't matter to anyone but the dhampir antipaladin, but a GM should be prepared to make similar changes to other classes if it does end up mattering, just in case. Seriously, there's no way for me to really know what anybody else's group thinks is fair.

  • \$\begingroup\$ But this ( paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fm#v5748eaic9p08 ) says the Paladin's Lay on Hands is in fact positive energy. Which makes me a bit confused about the Touch of Corruption not being negative energy. Also Unholy Champion works similarly to the Paladin's Holy Champion. Unholy Champion: "...whenever he channels negative energy or uses touch of corruption to damage a creature, he deals the maximum possible amount." Holy Champion: "...In addition, whenever she channels positive energy or uses lay on hands to heal a creature, she heals the maximum possible amount." \$\endgroup\$
    – Zarkos
    Jul 17, 2016 at 17:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zarkos While that is a strange (and abrupt!) FAQ entry on the paladin's lay on hands using positive energy, the effect of lay on hands remains unchanged. I'm unclear as to the importance of holy/unholy champion to this; an antipaladin's ability to channel negative energy and touch of corruption are still affected by unholy champion even if touch of corruption isn't negative energy. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2016 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't that part of the antipaladin using Touch of Corruption on himself as a swift action be a matter of interpreting what is not explicitly written? The antipaladin class is the 'evil version' of the paladin, basically a 'dark mirror'. So it could be that the author did not write it because it was somehow obvious? Like the Web spell-like ability in the Kyton-Spawn (Shackleborn) Tiefling, I suppose he does not actually cast a spider-like web, but instead chains that constrain the target. Wouldn't it be? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zarkos
    Jul 31, 2016 at 4:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zarkos I wouldn't know where to begin with trying to read what's not there. I assume, for most folks, the touch of corruption is opposite enough of lay on hands that most folks don't have a problem with it, but if it's not opposite enough, and it should be even more opposite, where do we stop? Is changing all the paladin positives to negatives enough? Should the ability be renamed lay on feet? Should the class be renamed the nidalap? Humor aside, we're kind of stuck with what the authors give us unless the GM says it can be changed, so ask the GM? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31, 2016 at 5:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sadly the GM is usually a mirrored tolaez about the rules and tries to fork up the players. I personally think it is fair. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zarkos
    Jul 31, 2016 at 5:18

Your question already includes the answer:

Using this ability is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Activating Touch of Corruption to attack is a Standard action, and the alternate use does not list anything that changes that, so it remains a Standard action.

However, the two abilities are nearly identical and wording, and simply flipped in their effects. Choosing to house-rule that "An Antipaladin that uses this ability on itself only requires a swift action to activate" would be completely in line with the Paladin's ability, and would not cause any balance issues that the Paladin ability did not.

Speculation: It seems likely that it was left out of the Antipaladin's ability description since the majority of PC's would never have reason to turn the ability upon themselves. Undead PC's are uncommon to rare, so it would be a bit of an edge-case. Then again, we could also speculate about situations where a living PC might feel the need to damage itself, but that's getting into edge cases within edge cases.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I was wondering if there is some sort of Errata or official approach about this. I know this situation is unlikely but it would be interesting to know. Also Skeletal Champions Antipaladins might be quite common. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zarkos
    Jul 17, 2016 at 3:43

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