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The XGE Hexblade Warlock unlocks an ability called Accursed Specter at level 6.

Starting at 6th level, you can curse the soul of a person you slay, temporarily binding it to your service. When you slay a humanoid, you can cause its spirit to rise from its corpse as a specter, the statistics for which are in the Monster Manual.

My confusion here is that it doesn't mention anything about how this is done. I would assume that I just take it as literally as possible, that I need to be the one that deals the killing blow and it just automatically happens if I want it to?

It seems straightforward enough but wanted to make sure there wasn't something I was missing.

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You didn't miss anything

Like you observe, it is not clearly defined so we can read it plainly. The word "slay" is defined as to...

kill (a person or animal) in a violent way.

You must be the one to actually kill the humanoid (or deal the killing blow)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I wonder if the rest of the party could simply knock out enemies and let the Warlock deal the killing blow to the helpless creature. This seems inherently evil though. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Brown Apr 13 '18 at 15:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NickBrown that would certainly work and I wouldn't say "inherently evil." But certainly ruthless \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 13 '18 at 15:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suddenly see bringing slaves to serve as spectre food \$\endgroup\$ – Garret Gang Apr 13 '18 at 15:50

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