Monster of the Week: Moder (The Ritual)

Originally written to resemble a female goat-like creature, after brainstorming with director David Bruckner, concept artist Keith Thompson settled on an eerie elk-like being as the final monster incarnation of Netflix’s 2018 The Ritual. Culled from Norse mythology and according to the movie, the Moder is the offspring of the trickster god Loki and belongs to the ancient race of the Jötunn (more traditionally depicted as giant’s in D&D Lore).

Without going into heavy spoilers, the Moder is a malevolent being that stalks travelers in the wilderness of Sweden, lulling new followers into his fold through hallucinatory dreams and placing painful markings on those he seeks to prey upon. Depicted as an elk-like creature, the Moder is a compelling monster and demanded a 5E write-up- so here goes!

Conversion. The Moder is presented in the film as a somewhat demigod. The designers of 5th Edition have largely sided against giving stats to deities (with the exception of Tiamat in one of the earlier modules). Despite being an offspring of a god, the movie also depicts one of the lead characters damaging the creature with a simple weapon– the implication being it has no damage resistance or immunity to normal weapons.

So although there are no comparable god or goddess stats for 5th edition yet, there are plenty of Archfiends, courtesy of the Out of the Abyss module that function like demigods and offer a good starting point. The Moder’s ability to enter the dreams and effect the terrain around its stalked prey are also largely present among these fiends. The creature’s ‘marking’ effect and its need for followers present some interesting twists to these base creatures and I think I gave them a fair interpretation. Like most high-level and unique creatures, the Moder definitely deserves a lair, and regional effects.

What do you think, did I make the Moder a creepy demigod protagonist?  (Download my rendition of the Moder stats in these two jpegs (1 and 2) or pdf format for your campaign and drive your players into worshiping the creature or falling victim to his goring antlers)

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