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Does the Order of the Dragon ability Aid Allies allow you to grant a different bonus than would normally be allowed by the Aid Another rules?

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.

The way Dragon-Order's ability is worded seems to allow that if a Cavalier was aiding an ally to climb a ladder, instead of the usually +2 granted to the Climb skill they could choose instead to increase their AC or Reflex by +3 (maybe they're expecting traps).

The ability also doesn't specify that the AC or Attack increase is against a specific target (like normal Aid Another) it's just a generic flat bonus with no other specifications.

Is this a correct reading? This does allow a lot of increased flexibility with the Aid rule, regardless of how a DM rules the numerical bonus stacks.

There is a lot of debate concerning the Aid Another stacking bonuses with the cavalier's Order of the Dragon Aid Allies ability. You can read more Here, Here, and Here. For this question it does not care about the specific numerical value granted. Please disregard the specific values used in this question, it's more focused on how flexible this makes Aid Another.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: "The ability also doesn't specify that the AC or Attack increase is against a specific target (like normal Aid Another) it's just a generic flat bonus with no other specifications." It also doesn't specify a duration. Just sayin'. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 7 at 15:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ More strikes to a not clearly written ability. I meant that more in relation to the first part of the question. Normally Aid Other grants AC/toHit vs a specific target you or your allies are threatening. But if you are able to grant a +AC to your ally when they are climbing then it's presumably a generic AC bonus vs everything. \$\endgroup\$
    – L.P.
    Commented Feb 7 at 16:13

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Aid Allies only changes the amount of bonus

Aid another is a standard action in combat that results in a +2 bonus to one of an attack, AC against one attack, a save, or a skill check:

In melee combat, you can help a friend attack or defend by distracting or interfering with an opponent. If you’re in position to make a melee attack on an opponent that is engaging a friend in melee combat, you can attempt to aid your friend as a standard action. You make an attack roll against AC 10. If you succeed, your friend gains either a +2 bonus on his next attack roll against that opponent or a +2 bonus to AC against that opponent’s next attack (your choice), as long as that attack comes before the beginning of your next turn. Multiple characters can aid the same friend, and similar bonuses stack.

You can also use this standard action to help a friend in other ways, such as when he is affected by a spell, or to assist another character’s skill check.

From this description, "either ... or" and "(your choice)" make it clear that aid another does only grant the +2 bonus to one of these things, not to all of them, i.e. the thing that you are helping them with: either the attack, OR the armor class against an attack, OR the save if they are affected by a spell, OR a skill check. It does not grant the bonus to all of them at the same time.

While Aid Allies is somethat ambiguously worded, I think the natural interpretation of "whenever an order of the dragon cavalier uses the aid another action to assist one of his allies" is that this is still the aid another action, so you still have to abide by all the limitations of the aid another action, namely:

  • it only can be used for the next attack roll against a chosen opponent
  • it only increases AC against the next attack of said opponent
  • it only provides a bonus to the selected option (attack, AC, save, skill)

and when you use the Aid Allies this then is improved:

the ally receives a +3 bonus to [the selected option]. At 8th level, and every six levels thereafter, this bonus increases by an additional +1.

that is, all that changes is the amount of bonus given, either +3, or +4 after 8th level, +5 after 14th, +6 after 20th.

That aid allies enumerates the option as "his armor class, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check" must be read in the context of enhancing the Aid Another action that is being performed, and where it could be any of those. Because of this context, this does not just flatly provide a bonus to all of them at the same time, and it does not provide a bonus without a constraint, without a duration limit etc. It provides the enhanced bonus for the execution of the underlying aid another action.

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