I was just reading this answer, which introduced me to the Power Word Kill spell:
You utter a word of power that can compel one creature you can see within range to die instantly. If the creature you choose has 100 hit points or fewer, it dies. Otherwise, the spell has no effect (101 hp or more).
Functionally, how does this spell work? If I'm understanding this correctly, a PC can speak a word, and if the target has less than 100hp, they instantly are killed without the chance to save. My reason for asking is that this seems extremely overpowered, to the point where it could be used to kill deities or high-level bosses with little effort (especially those who rely less on having high HP and more on dealing extremely high points of damage - Moon Druids come to mind here).
While I recognize that the DnD system does allow for extremely powerful spells (cough cough wish cough cough), this one in particular seems to stand out.
Thus, functionally, how does Power Word: Kill actually work?
Note: I am not asking whether or not the community subjectively finds this spell overpowered. Rather, I am attempting to confirm how this spell works in practice, in order to decide for myself if it is overpowered.
To add some more specific touch-points to guide a potential answer:
- Are any saves permitted?
- Does the spell need to be heard by the target, or seen being cast?
- How might resistances or type-immunity play a role (if any)?
The purpose of this question is to confirm that this spell works in the way I am imagining, which while to me seems overpowered, if I am incorrect may not be the case.