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In Pathfinder 2e the term action is used both to define the "currency" of time in battle and to define pretty much everything that require such currency (Strike action, Stride action, Interact action...). Now since the term is used interchangeably it led to some confusion in a group of mine. The text of the Aid reaction does in fact say:

To use this reaction, you must first prepare to help, usually by using an action during your turn.

So part of the group says that "prepare to help by using an action" means the player must use the general "currency", the other part says that the text implicitly refers to the Ready action, effectively making the player use twice the amount of "currency" to actually Aid.

So, does the Aid reaction require the Ready action? Also, an official quote could help immensely.

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No, it does not, is just consumes an action

The Ready Action states:

Choose a single action or free action you can use, and designate a trigger. Your turn then ends

Aid is a Reaction, not a single action or a free action, so it cannot be an action you chose with Ready. Thus, the action you take to prepare Aid cannot be the Ready action. You just give up one of your actions in your turn to aid the creature, and when the trigger of it doing the thing you want to aid with happens, you deliver the Aid as a reaction.

The Gamemastery Guide on p. 13 also has this about adjudicating the Aid action:

It's up to you whether someone's preparation is enough to let them Aid an ally. The preparation should be specific to the task at hand. Helping someone hold a lockpick steady might be enough preparation to Aid an attempt to Pick a Lock, but just saying you're going to “encourage” them likely wouldn't. Second, the character who is attempting to Aid needs to be in a proper position to help, and able to convey any necessary information. Helping a character Climb a wall is pretty tough if the character a PC wishes to Aid is nowhere near them. Similarly, a character usually needs to be next to their ally or a foe to Aid the ally in attacking the foe. You'll also need to determine how long the preparation takes. Typically, a single action is sufficient to help with a task that's completed in a single round, but to help someone perform a long-term task, like research, the character has to help until the task is finished.

So the action you take is literally a preparation action to Aid the other character, and its exact nature will differ from case to case.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a good point - a technicality, if you will - but again, any official quote would be helpful. You know, to set things in stone for everybody. It's still a good answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Snakehelm
    Dec 10, 2022 at 13:43

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