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

Brainwatch

Explorer
Since we’re posting variants, here’s my take that tries to keep the spirit of the original while upping the possible total damage.

Power Word Kill

9th-level enchantment
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V
Duration: 1 minute

You utter a word of power that can compel one creature you can see within range to die. The targeted creature takes 100 HP of damage instantly, no save or resistance apply. This damage cannot be healed for the duration of the spell.

Additionally, for the next 10 rounds the targeted creature must make a Con save vs Caster spell DC or take an additional 10 HP of damage. A successful save negates damage for that round only,
 

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Clint_L

Hero
Since we’re posting variants, here’s my take that tries to keep the spirit of the original while upping the possible total damage.

Power Word Kill

9th-level enchantment
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V
Duration: 1 minute

You utter a word of power that can compel one creature you can see within range to die. The targeted creature takes 100 HP of damage instantly, no save or resistance apply. This damage cannot be healed for the duration of the spell.

Additionally, for the next 10 rounds the targeted creature must make a Con save vs Caster spell DC or take an additional 10 HP of damage. A successful save negates damage for that round only,
I like this but would lose the secondary effect. It's just a fiddly thing to worry about and won't do much to a high level creature anyway - maybe they fail a few saves and take an extra 20 damage or so, if the fight goes another 10 rounds, but big whoop.

Maybe a secondary effect like:
Additionally, the target has disadvantage on constitution saving throws for 10 rounds or until this condition is removed by a successful dispel magic, remove curse, or similar effect.
 


Stormonu

Legend
I like this but would lose the secondary effect. It's just a fiddly thing to worry about and won't do much to a high level creature anyway - maybe they fail a few saves and take an extra 20 damage or so, if the fight goes another 10 rounds, but big whoop.

Maybe a secondary effect like:
Additionally, the target has disadvantage on constitution saving throws for 10 rounds or until this condition is removed by a successful dispel magic, remove curse, or similar effect.
Or perhaps the secondary condition might be it reduces the target's maximum hit points by a like amount (meaning they can't get it back)?
 

Gadget

Adventurer
honestly that is pretty hot garbage compared to other 9th level spells. I mean hell meteor swarm is going to do 70 damage even on a passed save most of the time, and that's to multiple targets. Even magic missile upcast into a 9th level slot does 58.5 "nigh guaranteed" damage, and with a much longer range.

Disintegrate casts as a 9th level spell does a similar amount of damage on a failed save, now true it does nothing on a passed save, but at the same time when it kills you, you really stay dead (and at those high levels, that kind of stuff matters, regeneration, ressurection, death ward, there are lots of ways to recover from death....and disintegrate takes out many of them).
And yet it is still better than the current version. Yes Meteor Swarm is the ULTIMATE DAMAGE SPELL, but sometimes collateral damage is an issue. Personally, I think we'll be lucky to get the 'Lord Soth' version in 1DnD, given the devs' track record here. Now if the spell just did 100 necrotic/psionic damage to the target, no save--and if that brings you to zero hp you're dead--it would be about right. 100 hp will put hit almost anyone pretty hard. There are still things like Death Ward, necrotic/psionic resistance/immunity that can help the target mitigate this effect, so some tinkering with it may still be in order.
 


Stalker0

Legend
Since we’re posting variants, here’s my take that tries to keep the spirit of the original while upping the possible total damage.

Power Word Kill

9th-level enchantment
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V
Duration: 1 minute

You utter a word of power that can compel one creature you can see within range to die. The targeted creature takes 100 HP of damage instantly, no save or resistance apply. This damage cannot be healed for the duration of the spell.

Additionally, for the next 10 rounds the targeted creature must make a Con save vs Caster spell DC or take an additional 10 HP of damage. A successful save negates damage for that round only,
I think the idea put forth a little later in the thread shores this to nicely.

The targets maximum hit points are lowered by 100 for the duration of the spell.

It covers the “can’t heal” element in a smoother way.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
I personally would be all for turning every Power Word into a "Gather" and "Utter" effect.

Power Word Stun
8 Enchantment

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Target: One creature you can see within range
Components: V
Duration: 1 minute
Classes: Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
You gather a word of power into your mind. As part of the casting of this spell, or as a bonus action later, you can speak a word of power that can overwealm the mind of one creature you can see within range, leaving it dumbfounded. If the target has 150 hit points or fewer, you can utter the word of power and it is stunned. If the chosen target has more than 150 hit points, you cannot utter the word. Once you have uttered the word, the you cannot try to utter it again.
The stunned target must make a Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns. On a successful save, this stunning effect ends.
 

Stalker0

Legend
So that max hp reduction does seem like a very good model for this mechanic, and might be superior to my original idea. Lets put it on paper to get a feel.

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

The target's maximum HP is lowered by 100. If the target drops to 1 or fewer hp while suffering this effect, the target dies. At the end of each of its turns, the target can make a constitution saving throw to remove the effect.



So in this version, I returned to the save ends that Power Word Stun and Pain use. This version is no longer affected by dispel magic or remove curse, but a greater restoration can fix it technically. I put in the 1 hp language to maintain bypassing death ward and other "at 0 hp" like effects, so it maintains the spirit of the original version.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
So that max hp reduction does seem like a very good model for this mechanic, and might be superior to my original idea. Lets put it on paper to get a feel.

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

The target's maximum HP is lowered by 100. If the target drops to 1 or fewer hp while suffering this effect, the target dies. At the end of each of its turns, the target can make a constitution saving throw to remove the effect.



So in this version, I returned to the save ends that Power Word Stun and Pain use. This version is no longer affected by dispel magic or remove curse, but a greater restoration can fix it technically. I put in the 1 hp language to maintain bypassing death ward and other "at 0 hp" like effects, so it maintains the spirit of the original version.


I think I might like this version better than mine even.
 


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