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The Order of the Dragon cavalier order gives an Aid Allies ability, which states:

At 2nd level, whenever an order of the dragon cavalier uses the aid another action to assist one of his allies, the ally receives a +3 bonus to his armor class, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check. At 8th level, and every six levels thereafter, this bonus increases by an additional +1.

I have read a lot of debate over whether this +3 replaces, or is added onto the +2 provided from Aid Another, on various forums. I am told there is no officially supported ruling from the source material.

Given this, what are the early- and late-game balance implications of allowing them to stack, given feats like Bodyguard that let you provide this bonus as an AOO multiple times per turn, or Ally Shield (which would let you redirect the attack to an ally, and then as an AOO provide them that bonus)?

There are tons of other traits, feats, and features that seem to modify this as well. Far too many for me to list here. So here's a link to a discussion that has several in a build listed for this purpose. Here. Worst case being +26 with a looser GM, and best case being +15 AC. Not all of these are relevant to my question, but some may still apply.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you familiar with this question: Aid Another, Swift Aid and Aid Allies (Order of the Dragon)? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 8 at 0:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am. It doesn't quite answer my question, instead focusing on how it interacts with Swift Aid. I got into an argument (thankfully before our game) with a player on how this works, and could not find a definitive ruling, with some saying it stacked for +5 and others saying it replaced for +3. \$\endgroup\$ – Erudaki Mar 8 at 0:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since 2015, nearly 30 folks on the Paizo messageboards marked as a FAQ candidate a thread asking the same basic question. Were this issue addressed properly, that thread would be marked as resolved. With that in mind, the best this site will be able to offer is a summary of both sides and an opinion… which I gather you've read enough of. However, the second part about balance implications is new and interesting and answerable. Consider revising the question so that it asks about that alone. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 8 at 1:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have revised my question in a way that asks about balance, and provided some link to where someone did some of the grunt work, as per your suggestion. \$\endgroup\$ – Erudaki Mar 8 at 1:28
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This one is a bit sticky.

RAW, the ability can be read as a replacement for the normal +2 bonus, or as an additional bonus on top of the original +2, making the total Aid Another bonus either a +3 or a +5 depending on how you read it, however, I believe the intent was for it to replace the +2 with the +3 bonus, since, as you have pointed out in your question, a +5 at level 2 would not be very balanced.

For what little it's worth, I would also like to note that the character tracking program Hero Lab, instead of having this ability grant an additional +3 bonus, or replacing the base +2 with a +3, instead grants a +1 bonus to the Aid Another action. In my several years experience with the program, the developers try very hard to keep the program in line with the design intent by Paizo, and update it according to all official errata.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That is a very notable point-out in terms of how its handled. Unfortunately while this does provide wonderful information, it doesnt quite answer my question in its reformed state about the balance implications. (as much as I like this answer) I cannot mark it as accepted as it stands (I feel) \$\endgroup\$ – Erudaki Mar 13 at 2:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erudaki "a +5 at level 2 would not be very balanced." \$\endgroup\$ – RevenantBacon Mar 13 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ I specifically asked the details about balance implications at both high end and low end play. I do not know how much of a deal this would make overall if allowed. \$\endgroup\$ – Erudaki Mar 14 at 1:57

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