In a recent session of my game, a point came up where the BBEG cast Power Word Kill on an NPC that the players had given some Spirit Rush to drink within enough time before the encounter. After some deliberation at the table, I ruled that the NPC was dead to keep the game from stalling.
However, after reading the two things multiple times, I am unsure of whether that was actually the right thing.
Inside this elegantly styled bottle is a purple liquid that sparkles. For 1 hour after the imbiber drinks this elixir, anytime she would be reduced to 0 hit points or below, the elixir immediately restores 3d8 + 5 hit points. Additionally, the imbiber becomes ethereal for 1 round and is immediately shunted 30 feet away from the source of the damage. While ethereal, the imbiber can move through walls, objects, or barriers in her path; this movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity. She must end the bonus movement in an unoccupied square. If no such space is available along the trajectory, the elixir heals the imbiber but does not move her away from the source of the damage.
Range: close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
You utter a single word of power that instantly kills one creature of your choice, whether the creature can hear the word or not. Any creature that currently has 101 or more hit points is unaffected by power word kill.
In most cases, a death attack allows the victim a Fortitude save to avoid the effect, but if the save fails, the character dies instantly.
Raise dead doesn’t work on someone killed by a death attack or effect.
Death attacks slay instantly. A victim cannot be made stable and thereby kept alive.
In case it matters, a dead character, no matter how he died, has hit points equal to or less than his negative Constitution score.
The spell death ward protects against these attacks.
Reading through these, it seems that the spirit rush would have activated (since power word kill is a death effect, and thus reduces to 0 or less hp) moving the NPC out of range and saving them from the spell. Is this correct?
The NPC had a con score of 12, and thus went to -12 HP due to Power Word Kill.