D&D 5E Power Word Kill Houserule: Any <100 hp within 1 minute

Stalker0

Legend
I had this idea to try and get Power Word Kill up to stuff with some of the superior 9th level spells. what do you all think of this one?

Power Word Kill
Bonus Action
Duration 1 minute
Range: 60 feet
Target: 1 creature you can see within range.

The target becomes cursed with the specter of death. If the target has fewer than 100 hitpoints at any point during the spell's duration, the target dies, and the spell ends. A remove curse automatically dispels this effect.


So the idea here is to make the spell a bonus action, and allow it to be more of a "curse" type effect on the creature. This way you don't have to "guess" the target's HP, you can beat on them, and as soon as you hit the threshold, they die.

Now maybe the bonus action is overkill, but there is a pretty strong gap to get to the better 9th level spells, so I figure I would go big. What do you think, does this make the spell worthy of its 9th level peers?
 

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I had this idea to try and get Power Word Kill up to stuff with some of the superior 9th level spells. what do you all think of this one?

Power Word Kill
Bonus Action
Duration 1 minute
Target: 1 creature

If the target has fewer than 100 hitpoints at any point during the spell's duration, the target dies, and the spell ends.


So the idea here is to make the spell a bonus action, and allow it to be more of a "curse" type effect on the creature. This way you don't have to "guess" the target's HP, you can beat on them, and as soon as you hit the threshold, they die.

Now maybe the bonus action is overkill, but there is a pretty strong gap to get to the better 9th level spells, so I figure I would go big. What do you think, does this make the spell worthy of its 9th level peers?
Removes the crapshoot aspect of the spell, love it. Playing along with the curse aspect, maybe a penalty to hit/slow effect/other/both due to the wracking pain/wizard's psychic grip/whatever.
 


NotAYakk

Legend
How about:

Power Word Kill
Bonus Action
Duration 1 minute
Range: 60 feet
Target: Self

For the next minute you are aware which creatures you can detect that have fewer than 100 HP within range. As part of casting this spell, or as a bonus action, you can kill a single creature of your choice within 60 feet with fewer than 100 HP, then the spell ends.

---

This keeps the "you say a word and they die" part of the spell intact. But you cast it, and are given a list of valid targets continuously.

The bonus action gathers the power. Then you can either utter the word of death immediately, or can wait up to a minute.

In a game where the DM tells PCs the HP of monsters (or Players can metagame what their HP is accurately), this is basically equivalent (except the pre-commit, which makes it slightly worse). And this spell isn't OP in such games.
 


Gadget

Adventurer
We already have a Power Word Kill update in Lord Soth's Word of Death:
Soth points at a creature he can see within 60 feet of himself and magically commands it to die. The target must make a DC 19 Constitution saving throw, taking 100 necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If this damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, the target dies.

This is what I believe the designers would do with PWK today. Granted, DC of the save may be a bit different, but still. No guessing about HP, just a flat 100 (or 50 on successful save) hp damage out of the gate. That will put a dent in anyone's day, though one would still want to be judicious about for opponents that would obviously have very high HP and a high Con save.
 


Clint_L

Hero
why isn't this spell just "the target suffers 100 (force? necrotic?) damage. Resistance and immunities do not apply to this damage. If the target is reduced to 0 hp, they die" ?
This spell has been in every edition, and the gimmick has always been that it is a "no save, you just die" spell. The angle on all Power Word spells is that there is no save, and they are all or nothing.

Making it just another damage spell loses a ton of flavour - it may as well be disintegrate, or whatever. But it also loses a lot of functionality - this is not the spell you use for killing dragons (well, maybe the coup de grace) but for taking out powerful but somewhat fragile foes - a demi-lich, archmage, or whatever, where getting them to 100 HP is relatively easy, but where they have a ton of ways to save or resist most spells.

The OP is right that it is underpowered compared to other Level 9 spells, though that is always going to be a problem when one of those spells is wish.
 

though inflicting 100 dmg to a single target when you can do 140 to the whole town (meteor swarm) is still a tough choice...
I mean, you would literally never use the spells in the same situation, like, ever. So you're giving some "I've never actually played high level D&D, only read the books and looked at the numbers" vibes here brah.

@Stalker0 - This is a good change and moves the spell from really dubious to actually having a real role. I hope WotC makes changes like this for the new edition.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I'd personally remove the HP part of the equation and make it similar to Destroy Undead part of Turn Undead.

- As an action, a creature of CR X or less dies. No save. You know automatically if a target is a valid one.

Or maybe similar to the Sleep spells, where you affect Xd10 HP worth of enemy?
 

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