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How does the Swift Aid feat interact with the Aid Allies Order of the Dragon ability? The Swift Aid feat states that you grant your ally either a +1 bonus on his next attack roll or a +1 bonus to his AC, and the Aid Allies ability states that the ally receives a +3 bonus to his armor class, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check.

Does it:

  • Simply add a +1 bonus, no additional benefit?
  • Work at the full bonus for Aid Allies, granting +3 (or higher)
  • Moderate at +2 (or Aid Allies bonus -1)

Is there any specific Paizo ruling on this? If not, is their indication on how it should be adjudicated?

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6 Answers

I would say by RAW they do not interact. Swift Aid is a special "mini-aid" where you spend a swift action to get a +1; Aid Allies boosts a normal standard action Aid Another to get a higher bonus. The Swift Aid +1 benefit explicitly overrides the normal +2 and whatever you'd get from Aid Allies.

However, as a GM I could be talked into it, as anyone spending character options on suboptimal stuff gets extra leeway in my book.

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By RAW they interact according to your second bullet: Swift Aid is buffed to +3.

Note that we're talking about a particular action here: the aid another action.

Swift Aid refers explicitly to this action:

As a swift action, you can attempt the aid another action ..

Aid Allies refers to the same action, and describes a bonus that occurs whenever you use that action:

.. whenever [he] uses the aid another action to assist one of his allies, the ally receives a +3 bonus ..

I can't find anything to suggest Swift Aid is in a special category that would exclude it from Aid Allies applicability.

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Bu RAW, the interact surprising well.

Being Aid Another a specific action, whose normal timing is a standard action, the feat and class feature you cited merely modify different aspects of it.

Aid Another has a positioning requirement (you must be able to perform a melee attack vs. a target) and lets you take a standard action to make an attack roll against the target (vs. AC 10). If you hit you either give an ally a +2 untyped bonus to AC (against target's next attack) or a +2 untyped bonus to the first attack roll (against the target). Its duration is up to the beginning of your next turn.

Swift Aid lets you perform and Aid Another action as a swift action. The verb granting in

"Benefit: As a swift action, you can attempt the aid another action, granting your ally either a +1 bonus on his next attack roll or a +1 bonus to his AC."

seems to point out that the +1 bonus replaces the normal +2 bonus.

Aid Allies, as written, grants an additional and untyped bonus to a quality of your choice (AC, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check). It is not clear which saving throw and skill. This is a rider effect on top of what aid another normally allows. Meaning you could choose to aid another granting him a +2 bonus to the next attack roll against the target, and a +3 bonus to his AC; or granting him a +2 bonus to the next attack roll against the target and an additional +3 bonus on all attacks. Not clear what the duration of the Aid Allies feature is (supposedly to the beginning of your next round).

So, the feat and the class feature should interact this way.
You can use aid another as a swift action. If you choose this way, your ally receives only a +1 bonus either to AC vs. the target's first attack, or to the first attack roll he performs against the target. Furthermore, because you used the aid another action, he receives a +3 (stackable) bonus to a quality of your choice (AC, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check).


However, rules as written probably differs from rules as intended. And this opinion comes from the poor wording choice the designers used. Swift Aid hints to a replacement effect, but do not clearly states so. Aid Allies lacks information outright:

  • Is it a replacement effect?
  • If no (that is: is a rider effect), which is its duration?
  • If yes, what exactly replaces?
    • Is the attack roll bonus only granted for the first attack? Is it granted only against the target?
    • Is the AC bonus bonus only granted for the first attack? Is it granted only for attacks coming from the target?
    • Which saving throw is affected? Is it granted only for attacks coming from the target? Only once or even multiple times in a round?
    • Which skill check is affected? Must it be something related to the target? Only once?

Under the hypothesis it is considered a replacement effect, and focusing only on AC and attack rolls, I'd say that you cannot use two replacement effects simultaneously. So, you either use Aid Allies as standard action (granting a +3 bonus) or use Swift Aid as a swift action (granting a +1 bonus).

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I'm fairly certain for Aid Allies that it doesn't give you a separate bonus from the primary aid bonus, it just increases the amount ... –  C. Ross May 7 '12 at 10:48
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I tend to agree, but the wording of that class feature doesn't say so. It does not use the words "instead" or "in place of". Reading it as written, it seems a rider effect. –  Erik Burigo May 7 '12 at 11:25
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I think the main point of confusion lies with the wording of the Swift Aid feat. While it says:

As a swift action, you can attempt the aid another action

it then immediately follows that with new rules that contradict it

granting your ally...a +1 bonus

I take that as a replacement for the basic +2 bonus for aiding another, not in addition to it. My rule of thumb is that specific cases override general ones. Aid Allies replaces the bonus for all uses of the aid another action, and Swift Aid only replaces the bonus when aiding another as a swift action; so if I were forced to play by rules as written, I would give Swift Aid the final word, and the beneficiary would receive a +1.

Looking at it from the perspective of rules as intended however, it's obvious that Swift Aid was meant as a reduced benefit for a reduced cost, but I see no reason why the two abilities should not work together. Going by the same logic as above, I would still apply Aid Allies first, then Swift Aid. That then leaves the GM to decide how far to reduce the Swift Aid bonus (with the simplest options being a -1 penalty to the bonus, or a x1/2 penalty to the bonus).

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Sorry to play Threadomancer. I'm playing a support specialist multiclass character. Feats, Class Abilities, Traits, and Magical Equipment all have greater priority than the original rule. If you only had Swift Aid, that would take priority and change the normal rule giving you a +1 bonus, but you could use it as a swift action. Note how Aid Allies is written differently from the Halfling trait "Helpful" Helpful states +4 bonus instead of the normal +2 bonus. Aid Allies says when you use the Aid Another action your ally gets a +3 bonus.
For a regular standard action the general rules are that the bonuses won't stack, but they will overlap. +4 bonus. When you throw all of them together you get a standard aid another as a +4 bonus and a swift +3 bonus because the specific Swift +1 bonus takes priority over the general rule so there is no +2 to replace. The other traits feats and abilities all add to the bonus instead of replacement and overlap so they are much easier.

The general rule is the general rule. The exceptions all modify the general rule and overlap.

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Welcome to RPG.SE. We actually encourage late answers, we have a Necromancer badge. Take a look at the About and stick around. –  C. Ross Jul 17 '13 at 19:43
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Swift Aid is poorly written.

The feat states that you perform Aid Another, and then contradicts itself by stating that your action causes a benefit different from what Aid Another actually does. That kind of exception should be noted and explained, and it is not. Without such an explanation, the interaction between these two feats is unclear. I actually suspect that it was a mistake – that the author intended to give a normal Aid Another, and forgot/misstated what bonus that action gives.

Anyway, @Midnotion and @ladenedge provide the two potential interpretations that seem valid under these ambiguous rules. Ultimately, this is simply up to a DM to figure out because Paizo didn’t.

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