The Garou
Table of Contents

The world of Werewolf is very much like our own. The one absolute rule seems to be that power corrupts. Give someone money, and he can buy his way into power. Once he’s there, he’ll cheerfully sell his influence. If he notices the pain and suffering he causes as he brings his influence to bear on behalf of his patrons, he does not care. He smiles and tells those beneath him, “This is for your own good” as he presses down, literally or figuratively, squeezing the life and joy from the world.

The natural world is a resource to those in power, nothing more. The splendor of nature is lost upon them or, at best, it’s quaint. It’s something they enjoyed when they were children, but now there’s money to be made, so they fire up bulldozers, they dump chemicals into the water, they drain underground lakes, and they use controlled detonations to find pockets of natural gas. Never mind that they are causing droughts. Never mind that the fish population is steadily dying off. Forget that their mining techniques cause earthquakes. These things might matter someday, but they don’t matter now, and now is when the money is made.

This is the real world. In the world of Werewolf: The Enraged, this corruption and greed has will and agenda. In the World of Darkness, the insatiable nature of human greed does not exclusively stem from modern economic failure or an obsession with corporatism. It is intrinsic to the spiritual nature of the world, and it wants to watch the world die, rot, and implode. This infection worms its way into everything. Some people, places, and things are more resistant, but the rot is insidious and patient. It feeds on rage, frustration, and victimization just as easily as it feeds on greed and privilege. It will take any emotion or urge it can - even one that’s perfectly healthy and natural - and twist until it gets what it wants.

Of course, not everyone is content to go blindly into Hell. Some people rebel. They stand up and march in the streets. They give their money only to those who will use it properly. Some leave their jobs and families to stand, buffeted by the elements and beaten by the police, in defiance of a system that is broken beyond repair. Some take more direct measures - they throw stones, bottles or bombs. They become criminals, because they know that in the face of Armageddon there can be no conversation or patience. There can be only action, only decision, and if that involves bleeding or dying, then at least they can say they tried.

Even such noble sentiment can be turned, though. Evil is patient. Evil is insidious. And unlike our world, the World of Darkness boasts monsters. Spirits slither into human beings, animals, and whatever else they can and twist flesh, bone, and viscera into monsters. Whole city blocks, acres of forests, entire lakes - any place can become tainted, spewing out such creatures or sucking in life and decaying it. Vampires roam the city streets, and although they might be monsters, they at least are capable of remembering their humanity and acting on it. But stranger beasts still lurk in the crevices of the world, and they see human beings - indeed, they see life - the way we would see the last morsel of food on the plate.

Fortunately, though, the world of Werewolf also boasts warriors who are willing to give their last breaths if it means the world can repair itself. They aren’t incorruptible, they aren’t always noble, but they probably have a better chance than anyone of fighting back successfully, simply because they can fight this degradation on its own terms.

These warriors are the Garou - and you get to be one of them.

Caught Between Worlds

Werewolves are creatures of many worlds. They can walk amidst the throng of humanity, undetectable, quite capable of blending in (at least for a short time). They can take on the forms of wolves and run in a pack, hunting what game humanity has left for them and singing their love to the moon. And then the Garou have their own culture, with an oral tradition and a rich and complex society that dates back to prehistory. Most werewolves are at least somewhat comfortable in all of these worlds.

Some prefer living as humans do, but such a life is frustrating, to say the least. Over seven billion humans populate the Earth. Any werewolf can try to live among them, but modern cities hold many dangers for the Garou. The presence of the unnatural awakens their most feral instincts, and the cities combine overpopulation, artificial materials, and pollution to form a mélange that is the very definition of “unnatural.”

A werewolf may try to escape into the natural world, but thanks to ecological devastation, the wilderness is shrinking. As the werewolves are keenly aware, the number of wild wolves on the planet is decreasing rapidly. Average folks hate and fear wolves, cast them as villains in children’s stories, and see them as a menace to farmers and fair game for hunters. Wolves were once one of the most wide-ranging mammals on the planet. Now, thanks to centuries of over-hunting and persecution, only a few places on Earth boast robust and healthy wolf populations. The wolf has no place left to hide.

No matter how or where they live, werewolves struggle to survive. Caught between worlds, they must choose between two extremes: hunting in urban hellholes and exploring the constantly changing wilderness.

Urban Hell

Opinions on cities vary among the Garou, but few see them favorably. Cities are nests of vermin or nigh-indestructible temples to the Wyrm’s power. The people living in them are miserable, and that misery turns outward in an apathetic contempt for the rest of the planet. The inhabitants of the city know that they could sacrifice little and still do much for the health of the planet. But they don’t care, and so they litter, pollute, and produce more trash than the world can bear. Their urine is laden with toxins from the many pills they ingest, and this is flushed into the waterways, lakes, and, eventually, oceans of the world. Some Garou feel that the cities could be redeemed, and that large gatherings of humans would, in fact, be a good place to start such a campaign. Other werewolves would rather see them burned to the ground. If humanity can pick itself up from the ashes, so be it, but the species as a whole has long surpassed its rights.

The cities are densely packed with sensory input, and this drives the Garou mad. The air tastes wrong. Music, car horns, and the constant blare of televisions and radios makes any kind of navigation by sound impossible. Thousands of people walk the streets, faces buried in cell phones, oblivious to the predators beside them. For a werewolf, whose every instinct says that an inattentive animal is an animal ready to die, the cities are frustrating to the point of madness.

Two tribes of the Garou not only keep the cities, but thrive there. The Bone Gnawers and the Glass Walkers both revere the spirits of the urban jungle in their own ways, and they have found the cities to be just as rich and diverse as anything a forest could offer. For many werewolves, though, going to a city is a complete change of paradigm, and one that not all Garou are equipped to handle.

Primal Wilderness

Urban werewolves point out that wild animals seem drawn to human settlements, so there must be something worth coming for. Lupus Garou respond that such settlements provide light, heat, easy food, and shelter. That doesn’t make them safe, just more convenient than the wilderness.

The wild places in the world don’t care that the werewolves revere them. A patch of quicksand or a cold snap will kill a werewolf without any deference to the Garou’s lifelong fight to protect the natural world. Animals respond to their own basic needs, and they don’t concern themselves with morality or logic.

In addition to the general concerns of providing for one’s basic needs in the wilderness, the wilds of the World of Darkness are no freer from supernatural danger than the cities. Bygone creatures from ages past lurk in the forests and jungles. Ancient spirits locked down by Theurges or other sages in eras past are often only one bulldozed copse of trees away from rising up to wreak havoc once again. Not even the werewolves are privy to all of the secrets that the virgin wilderness holds.

The Spirit World

Beyond the physical world - the world of blood, asphalt, wood, and life - lies a world of spirits and ephemera. This world, which werewolves call the Umbra, is accessible to any werewolf, but that doesn’t mean that they understand it. Everything has a spirit, and in the Umbra, spirits of wind and water mingle with the spirits of plastic and oil while spirits of anger and innovation watch from the sidelines (or, perhaps, the spirits of side-lines). The immediate Umbra is a bizarre reflection of the physical world, but one can wander deeper into this spirit landscape. The depths of the Umbra can be explored and learned, but never mapped or mastered. Woe to the werewolf pack that grows too confident.

Rage and Gnosis

Everything about a werewolf is a study in duality: wolf and man, city and wilderness, duty and passion, Rage and Gnosis. Rage is a werewolf’s primal fury - what drives him to victory in battle and fuels the desire to win the war against the Wyrm. It is their physical, visceral reaction to anything that even slightly upsets them, and is therefore what makes them dangerous. A werewolf is a powder-keg on the best of days, and with the planet slowly dying, coughing up disease and poison with every gasp, werewolves don’t really have good days.

Gnosis, then, is the werewolf’s faith - her appreciation for the mysteries of the world and the wonder of the spirits. It is what allows her to befriend totem spirits for her pack and learn the Gifts of the ephemeral beings of the Umbra. While not as immediately dangerous as Rage, Gnosis has its own problems. If a werewolf ignores the base for the sublime for too long, she can become lost in the Umbra, her physical side falling away until only a spirit remains.

Walking Between Worlds

The world of werewolves is harsh, yet this harshness provides contrast to great acts of sacrifice and heroism. Quite simply, werewolves fight and die for their beliefs. Warriors fight horrific abominations with tooth and claw, while mystics hunt evil with supernatural insight. Some wise warriors employ even stranger methods, like street-savvy trickery, political activism, and cunning intrigue. No matter what tactics they choose, werewolves walk between two worlds: the reality of the violent physical world and the mystery of the enigmatic spirit world.

Wherever they run - in the cities, in the wilderness, or even in the spirit world - werewolves face the same overwhelming fate. Their world is dying, and their destiny is ultimately tragic. In fact, many of their mystics proclaim that these are the Final Days. The End Times, when all of creation will finally unravel, are here. As the light dies, werewolf heroes are willing to sacrifice everything to hold back the darkness. We live near the end times for the Garou, and for Gaia. If this is to be the last battle, then the Warriors of Gaia aim to win it or die with a curse on their lips and blood on their teeth.

Mythic History

Looking at the way the world ends, many a Garou sage asks, “How did we come to this?” The storytellers of the People can answer that.

Some time ago, before human beings recorded the rise and fall of empires and civilizations and called it all “history,” werewolves held dominance over the natural world. Created by Gaia to be the world’s protectors, they passed along their gifts to their children. Some chose to mate with humanity, favoring their intelligence and adaptability. Others chose to take mates from wolves, embracing their pack mentality and tenacity. The Garou acted as a check on the growth of the human population, but protected humanity as well. They tried to teach humanity to live in harmony with the world, and to find balance.

What happened, then, to make humanity so…wrong? Every tribe of werewolves has its own explanation for that, but what they do agree on is that the Garou became extremely aggressive in policing humanity. This time, called the Impergium, was one of violence and terror. Humanity became terrified of the wilderness and of wolves in particular; that horror follows them even today, much to the Garou’s chagrin. Humans gathered together in settlements to keep each other safe at night. Those settlements became farming communities, and then cities. And all along the way, the Garou would steal into the communities and take the weakest (or the most brazen, or the least reverent - the criteria for who died under the moon were never set in stone).

Some werewolves tell this story a little differently. They claim that gathering into settlements wasn’t humanity’s idea at all. It was the werewolves who pushed them into these groups - these herds - to keep a better eye on their breeding stock. Humanity developed agriculture and, eventually, cities as a response to this - but if not for the Garou, they might still be a nomadic species.

The stories of the Garou are an oral tradition, part history and part legend, so the “truth” remains unclear. However it happened, once humanity realized that they could build walls and keep the werewolves out, the Garou stepped up their Impergium. Unfortunately, humanity was not the only species to suffer under the fangs of the werewolves.

The War of Rage

Werewolves are not the only type of shapeshifter in the world. Gaia bestowed this gift on many animals, and to each of these Fera she granted a special task. The Garou were to be the world’s protectors. The wereravens watched over everything, learning all they could. The wereboars rooted out corruption and poison before it had a chance to take hold. The werecoyotes played elaborate pranks and forced all of the other shapeshifters to question what they knew.

Somewhere along the way, the werewolves either decided they could handle all of the other Fera’s duties or they simply lost control of their Rage. They went to war, hunting down and killing the wererats and werebats, the werecrocodiles and the werebears, sending the weresharks swimming away from the coasts and the wereravens flying to places that the Garou couldn’t reach. The werewolves managed to wipe out a few species entirely, and so reduced the numbers of most of the others that, in these End Times, most Garou only know them as legends.

The werewolves won the War of Rage, but it may have cost them everything. If the other Fera were alive now, if they had remained intact and able to perform their tasks, the Wyrm would never have gained the foothold it has on the world. But the Garou were ill-suited to the tasks that the Fera performed, and while they were busy “winning” the War of Rage, humanity was finding its own voice and strength.

The Concord

No modern werewolf knows how it was that humanity learned the secret of silver, but they know the result all too well. Some time ago, toward the end of the War of Rage, humanity learned a way to strike desperately back out at the night. Were people helped along on this path by other supernatural forces? Did Gaia grant them intelligence and will they hadn’t heretofore possessed? Again, no one knows, and it doesn’t much matter. Somehow, humanity gained not only the courage to fight the Garou but the means to do it. Still damaged from the War of Rage and fractious in any event, the Garou fell back, and a great and momentous argument began.

Some werewolves felt that humanity was, if not justified, then at least understandable in its anger. After all, the Garou had been killing them with impunity for centuries. Perhaps the Garou should approach humanity with more compassion, and teach them, in turn, to respect Gaia. Other werewolves snarled that humanity had grievously overstepped its bounds and deserved to be slaughtered wholesale. Many werewolves howled for some kind of retribution, just to show humanity its place. The ethos of many of the modern tribes can be found in each tribe’s attitudes toward the end of the Impergium.

The werewolves fought for months, but eventually reached an agreement called the Concord. They would leave humanity to its own devices, retreat from an overt presence in the world of men and try to guide and check them from the shadows. They would not kill with impunity, but instead maintain their own society separate from that of humanity. They would continue to take mates from the strongest, brightest and best humans, but never again attempt to guide the course of human destiny. The civilization of werewolves thus formed is known as the Western Concordiat, and as it came into focus, the Impergium ended. Werewolves faded into the collective unconscious of mankind.

They never faded entirely, though. Humanity remembers the Garou, even if it doesn’t really believe in them. No person is born without an instinctive fear of the night and the monsters that lurk in it. The human mind is programmed to see shapes in shadows and to hear howling in the wind… and this isn’t just a trick of genetics. Werewolves pounded that fear into humankind through centuries of predation. Only now, as the wolf population dwindles and the last remaining areas of virgin land in the world are found, exploited and plundered, do the Garou realize the enormity of their errors.

Wars Fought and Wars Lost

Humanity spread out from its settlements like weeds across a prairie, and the Garou watched. They fought the Wyrm, when necessary, but for many years the Wyrm and the Weaver were comparatively occasional threats. Werewolves wound up fighting each other more often than anything the Destroyer could cough up. Septs fought for prime hunting grounds, powerful caerns, or simply the glory of combat. Tribe made war on tribe, just as humans formed nations to war on other nations. Slowly but surely, werewolves came to identify with human cultures. This only gave their inter-sept or -tribe warfare a bit of direction.

The history of the Garou is a rich tapestry of mighty heroes and tragic mistakes. Many of the legends that humanity still tells have analogs in werewolf tradition. Which is “true?” Was Beowulf a mighty warrior that fought a monster, or a Silver Fang who bested a Wyrm-creature? Did Elijah call up she-bears to murder the children who mocked him in the name of God, or was he an undead monstrosity eventually laid low by the Silent Striders? Each of the tribes of the People has legends that paint them as virtuous, brave and forthright. Likewise, the tribes tell stories about each other that paint rival tribes in a less flattering light.

The Garou do agree on a few historical moments of note, however.

The Rise of Cities

If there was a moment in the whole of human history in which the Garou could have soundly established themselves as the dominant species, it was probably the moment when humans constructed shelters near each other and decided to stay in one place. Agriculture, roads, trade, and eventually bureaucracy, overpopulation, beg-ging, and all of the other things that come from city life can arguably be traced to that moment. Historians among the Garou are fond of saying that the Weaver won the day the first human built a road.

The Garou’s oral history stretches back to the earliest cities; they tell stories of Babylon, Uruk and (later) Rome. They recount legends about how Pattern Spiders grew in a few short years from minor servants of order and construction to mad, bloated creatures bent on turning everything around them into stone and law. Worse, ancient tales from these cities make very clear that the Weaver wasn’t the only creature growing powerful off humanity’s decision to build nests. Vampires love population density; it makes their predations easier and gives them camouflage. Spirits that had simply never existed before could feast indefinitely on the feelings and events of a city - and that included Banes.

If the Garou had risen up and leveled every human settlement, would that have saved the world? Modern Garou sometimes wax poetic about this unspoiled paradise in which humanity never left its hunter-gatherer roots. The Glass Walkers don’t usually bother responding to this fantasy when lupus Garou say it, but they are fond of reminding homids that without civilization, there would be none of the comforts that they themselves found so pleasing before Gaia called them to service.

Furthermore, the Garou bred with the citizens of Babylon. The Silver Fangs boast several families that trace their lineage back to Rome, and the Silent Striders (though it’s a sore subject) claim royal Egyptian blood. Werewolves have never had a problem taking mates from the strongest, smartest, and best of humanity - and in the early days of civilization, those people were the ones building the cities. Even if the Red Talons urged utter destruction (which they probably did), the situation just wasn’t that simple.

The Fall of the White Howlers

The White Howlers were a tribe of Garou renowned for sending their cubs into the deepest Wyrm-pits to combat the evil therein. Brave, steadfast, and not entirely cautious, the Howlers claimed tribal territory in what is now Scotland. Their Kinfolk were the Picts, the native peoples of that region.

Over the years, their habit of sending young Garou to fight in the blackest pits of the Wyrm took its toll. While their tribal power was dwindling, their human Kinfolk were losing influence in their homeland. Eventually, in the 1st century, the White Howlers as a whole descended into the worst parts of the Umbra, supposedly to kill the Wyrm by striking at its heart.

The White Howlers never emerged. What emerged was a tribe of broken, mad, tumor-ridden, and utterly vicious werewolves. That tribe was the Black Spiral Dancers, and they would go on to become the steadfast servants of the Wyrm and the Garou’s most hated foes.

The People tell stories about the White Howlers in modern times, but no living werewolf has ever met one, nor do present-day Garou have any real sense of what the tribe stood for or how it conducted its rituals. Still, the Garou romanticize the Howlers’ bravery and fortitude, because they don’t wish to admit that taking the fight to the Wyrm is not just a suicide mission. It’s a recruitment opportunity for the enemy.

The Prophecies of Shadow

In the 12th and 13th centuries, ten tribes of werewolves fought for position, power, and glory across Europe. The tribe that would eventually become the Glass Walkers still called themselves the Warders of Men, while the Pure Tribes and the Stargazers would not rejoin the Garou Nation for many years. The Garou fought the Wyrm and its minions, naturally, but there were still vast stretches of land and packs of wolves across Europe, and it was possible for a sept of werewolves to go years without facing a serious threat from Wyrm or Weaver.

In 1230, a Red Talon Theurge named Songs of Shadow emerged from the Umbra and traveled across Europe, stopping at every sept he passed and delivering 10 prophecies for 10 tribes. At the time, the Prophecies of Shadow didn’t seem immediate or important - they referred to dire events in the future, but Songs of Shadow wasn’t clear on when in the future these visions would be relevant or, indeed, on any details at all. He merely repeated them and then left, and was never heard from again.

In modern times, a few Garou historians remember that these prophecies existed, and historians of the Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords supposedly have transcriptions of all ten. But no tribe or sept can agree that the Prophecies ever came to pass, that the tribes did what they were supposed to do, or that the Prophecies were ever valid in the first place. As the Wyrm grows ever more powerful, though, a small but vocal subset of werewolves wonders if some answers might not be found in these visions.

The Fall of the Croatan

The Croatan were once a tribe of Garou, standing beside the Uktena and the Wendigo as the self-described “Pure Tribes.” Honorable and steadfast, they protected their people from the threat of disease and invasion as best they could when the white men came to the Americas.

While they might have been able to survive as their brother tribes did, they chose to make a stand against one of the manifestations of the Wyrm - the Eater-of-Souls. This creature drew enough power from the starvation and disease rampant in the New World to breach the Gauntlet and enter the physical world.

On the Roanoke colony on the Carolina coast, the Croatan sacrificed itself as a whole to protect the home-lands from this monster. The tribe vanished overnight, but unlike the White Howlers, the Croatan were not corrupted or pressed into service. Why and how this came to pass is fodder for a thousand songs of the Garou, but the result was plain: The Croatan were gone, with only a few carvings remaining to mark their passing. In modern times, the name “Croatan” is spoken with great reverence, especially among the Wendigo and Uktena. Although the Croatan’s destruction is tragic, it still gives the Garou hope. After all, if Eater-of-Souls could be killed, maybe the Wyrm itself could fall, even if it took the lives of every Garou to do the job.

The War of Tears

The continent of Australia did not fare well with contact from other lands, least of all with regards to its native peoples. As Europeans were introducing foreign, invasive species to Australia and irreparably altering its ecosystem, the Garou discovered the native lycanthropes - the Bunyip. This tribe of Garou drew its lupine Kinfolk from the thylacines, or Tasmanian wolves. Smaller than other werewolves, they had served as the protectors of Australia’s Umbra (which they called the “Dreamtime”) for as long as they could remember.

But much like their human cousins, the foreign Garou made some horrible mistakes. The Black Spiral Dancers manipulated them into declaring a hunt on the Bunyip, and the European werewolves, more numerous and, pound for pound, stronger, chased them down and slaughtered them. It was only after the last Bunyip was dead that the Dancers revealed their role in this War of Tears, and in the destruction of another of the tribes.

The Industrial Revolution

As humanity deepened their reliance on mechanization and industry, the Weaver’s webs grew stronger. Factories and workhouses were common targets for packs looking for glory, but they were often deathtraps. Powerful Weaver-spirits spun webs of iron around whole districts, and every worker served as their eyes and ears. The Wyrm wasn’t far behind, as the misery and poverty of the unfortunate laborers - to say nothing of the greed and selfishness of the overseers - fueled the appetites of Banes and other servants of the Corrupter. In the Industrial Age, the Garou faced foes that they could not kill. The enemy wasn’t a monster or a spirit; it was a movement and a growing feeling of apathy between people.

The Wild West

Australia, of course, wasn’t the only continent to see invaders, both human and Garou. Europeans spread across North America like a swarm of cockroaches, claiming whatever territory they pleased and ousting the natives. And as much as the werewolves like to think they are above human philosophy and its expansionist concerns, the Get, the Fianna, the Shadow Lords, the Silver Fangs, and the Glass Walkers (at that point, called the Iron Riders) were right there beside their human Kinfolk. They fought the native Garou, pushing them out of their septs and away from the caerns and claiming the places of power that the Pure Tribes had claimed for centuries.

The lawless West was a battleground for decades. Native American and European Garou faced off against each other, against human hunters who knew the truth about the howls in the night, against vampires following their mortal herds, and, of course, against Wyrm-creatures only too happy to exploit the carnage and fear. Without consistent order or government, the supernatural had little to check its violence.

Of course, civilization, or at least industry, eventually came to the west. The Garou managed to carve out parcels of territory for their septs, but over time, more and more of these areas have been overtaken, stripped, and paved. That said, not all of the participants in the Wild West are dead and gone. Spirits, vampires, and other creatures blessed with unnaturally long lifespans might well remember the Garou that prowled the roads of Dodge, Tombstone, and Oklahoma City, and the descendants of those werewolves might prove ample targets for their revenge.

The Cataclysm

As technology evolved, the world entered what the humans know as the Information Age – the age in which information flows forth like water from a stream. The Internet revolutionized almost every facet of living, and it was a time in which the Weaver grew in power exponentially. Even the Wyrm’s minions began fearing the power the Weaver held, knowing that through the Internet and the vast networking it granted, the Weaver could expand it’s webs far wider, and far stronger, then it was ever possible. And the Weaver was mad; everyone knew there was no possible way to strike an alliance with such an insane force. The War for the Apocalypse grew from those of Gaia against those of the Wyrm to a three-way battle for dominance and survival; the warriors struggling to protect and restore Mother Gaia, the Wyrm’s minions actively plotting against those of Gaia and aiming for the dominance of the Corrupter, and the Weaver and it’s drones playing an extended game of primeval chess, striving to satisfy the need to organize the world and every creature in it under it’s control.

At it’s apex, many abominations normally impossible came to light; creatures exhibiting an amalgamation of both Wyrm and Weaver characteristics, Garou deciding to meld themselves more and more into machines to fight their enemies with their own fire, and Black Spiral Dancers making blasphemous deals with undead sorcerers to create the epitome of the Wyrm’s influence, resurrecting the powers of their past, the tribe known as the White Howlers, and many of the other extinct Fera to serve them under their own control. As these powers began to clash more and more, the very fabric of the cosmos began to fray at the seams, the vast expanse of potent energies of conflicting enemies creating an entropy within the Gauntlet and beyond.

Before it was too late, the three forces realized that something had changed. Their entire universe had shifted irreparably, bringing them into a new existence, changing what they once knew and bringing them face-to-face with brand new creatures, similar to what they knew but different on an almost fundamental level. Most creatures did not notice this change, however; their perception of the Apocalypse - Garou versus Black Spiral Dancers, Fomori versus Drones – clouded everything out as the subtle by drastic changes took place.

The Warriors for Gaia were now in a new place, whether they realized it or not. With the strife between tribes, and the combat between the Nation and the minions of both the Weaver and the Wyrm, long ignored with the cries of the Elders, those who took the time to sit back and see things from a higher view, seeing the hints of the Cataclysm. Written off as the ravings of sickened, elderly werewolves, the younger generations continued to fight on blindly, ignorant to the new world they now existed.

Becoming Garou

Stories say that anyone bitten by a werewolf will become one himself under the next full moon. Some say the curse of lycanthropy is also transmittable via the curse of a witch or wizard, or even from drinking water from a wolf’s paw print. These stories are the result of confused encounters with the Garou, or perhaps deliberate trickery on the part of some Ragabash with too much time on their hands.

The truth is, werewolves are born, not made. A werewolf is the descendant of another werewolf, but is born of the same stock as the mother. Garou do not normally know of their heritage until puberty hits, at which point the First Change comes upon the cub. This happens much further along in the lifespan for homid Garou than lupus, of course, but it always comes as a terrible and traumatic shock.

It would be easier, of course, if a werewolf could breed with a human being or a wolf and know for certain that the child or cubs resulting would be Garou. But it isn’t that simple - a child of a werewolf and a normal human being or wolf has approximately a one-in-10 chance of undergoing the Change. The child of two werewolves is always Garou, but such a mating violates the Litany and brings with it another set of problems (see Metis, below).

Kinfolk

The child of a werewolf more commonly only carries the werewolf gene. Such carriers are called Kinfolk. They can be either human or wolf, but in either case they enjoy a special (if not always pleasant) status in werewolf society.

Some tribes look at their Kinfolk as revered children, since they might Change at any time (it’s most common during puberty, but it’s not unknown for a Garou to experience the First Change during adulthood). Such werewolves look after their Kinfolk, keeping them safe from supernatural enemies and close to the family so that if they do Change, they can join Garou Society with a minimum of disruptions. Other tribes view their Kinfolk as breeding stock. Few of them Change, and those that do aren’t getting any benefits by being coddled. The tribes that put the greatest stock on family - the Silver Fangs, Shadow Lords, Get of Fenris, and Fianna - are the most likely to keep close tabs and place heavy restrictions on their Kinfolk. Likewise, the Bone Gnawers, Children of Gaia, and Glass Walkers are more likely to take a mate based on love or desire, rather than trying to maximize their chances of breeding true. Almost all the tribes have to admit that, at this point, any werewolf who is going to fight in the Last Battle has probably already been born, anyway.

Wolf Kinfolk, however, are a special case. With the wolf population dwindling and so few Garou willing to find a suitable lupine mate, wolf Kinfolk are especially prized. The Red Talons, obviously, keep the closest and most protective eye on their Kinfolk, but almost all of the tribes are more willing to fight, hunt and kill in the name of such mates simply because so few of them remain.

While wolf packs including Kinfolk usually have a powerful spirit or even a Garou protector (possibly even a pack, if the Kinfolk roams in territory that includes a caern or another important feature), Garou often assign a spirit observer to human Kinfolk. This spirit is called a Kin-Fetch, and its job is to alert the Garou if the Kinfolk ever Changes. This system worked better before the human population became as dense as it is, and before the Wyrm established the firm hold it has on the world. Kin-Fetches aren’t infallible - many of them aren’t even very bright, and can be distracted, deceived, or simply destroyed before completing their duty.

Cubs

The term “cub” refers, in Garou society, to a werewolf who either has not yet Changed, or has not yet accepted her place as a Garou. The first application of the term is usually only used in retrospective, obviously, since it isn’t typically possible to tell a pre-Change werewolf from a Kinfolk. Rumor has it that certain divinatory rites once allowed certain knowledge of whether a child would eventually Change, but if these rites ever existed, they are lost to modern Garou. The best the People can do is keep tabs on their children and wait.

The First Change usually occurs around sexual maturity - between ages 10-16 for humans and approximately 2 years of age for wolves. Even before the Change, though, Kinfolk are prone to strong emotional responses, fits of temper, difficulty fitting in with their society, strange dreams, and odd fixations. In wolf society, this can lead to a Kinfolk being driven from the pack (though if the Kinfolk is strong enough, it just as often leads to the cub claiming a position of dominance). In human society, the Kinfolk might be wrongly diagnosed with mental illness or wind up in detention.

In any event, it all comes to a head on the night of the First Change. The character shapeshifts for the first time, usually in response to a threat or some other intense stimulus. Changing into the dreadful Crinos form, the werewolf takes out a lifetime of frustration, rage, and barely-repressed feelings of being wrong at whatever is in her immediate area.

If the cub is lucky, a werewolf or a pack is nearby and can subdue her before she wreaks too much havoc. If she is unlucky, she Changes alone and must find a way to calm herself down before she descends into irrevocable madness. If she is truly unlucky, the werewolves that find her are Black Spiral Dancers. In this case, she is taken away and forced to walk the Black Spiral: pressed into service for the Wyrm before she ever has a chance to know what that means.

In years past, it wasn’t uncommon for large cities or stretches of forest to boast a pack tasked solely with hunting down and controlling newly-Changed Garou. With the their extinction looming, however, these specialized packs are rare. At best, a lone Theurge may try to manage all of the Kin-Fetches in an area, but in general, this is a task that no one really has time to perform anymore. Therefore, some cubs vanish entirely or live their lives in a state of bestial madness, with only the Delirium to cover their predations and the servants of the Wyrm to put them to use.

It sometimes happens that a Kin-Fetch, a werewolf, or a helpful spirit identifies a Garou pre-Change. In this instance, the Garou are able to rescue (or kidnap) the cub before the Change actually happens. In some ways, this is a perfect situation, because it allows for the Change to happen under somewhat controlled conditions. Some werewolves, though, feel that the destruction and carnage wrought by the Rage of the First Change is exactly what young Garou need in order to understand their new lives.

Coming of Age

Once a cub has been found, the rescuing Garou take her to a sept. There, she prepares for the Rite of Passage. Part of this preparation is learning the ways of the Garou common to all the tribes - the Litany, stepping sideways, controlling the Change, and even learning a Gift from a spirit. The cub must also learn about the tribes (a process always colored by the biases of the Garou that found her) and decide which of them she wishes to join. In some cases, membership in a given tribe is expected. A cub might be Pure Bred into one tribe or another, and several tribes are meticulous about maintaining their lineages. In these cases, membership in a tribe isn’t really optional.

Every tribe has its own traditions for marking a cub’s passage into adulthood. The Garou signal a cub’s coming of age with a Rite of Passage, a deadly and dangerous quest that tests a werewolf’s strength and wisdom to its very limits. The rite is more than a transition into adulthood. It also shows elders that a cub is worthy of membership in one of the tribes. Until this quest is complete, she does not belong to any of them, for she has not proven herself worthy.

Two choices follow. First, a werewolf may approach her chosen tribe alone. Once she does, the tribal elders may send her out on a test particularly suited to their kind. Solitary vision quests are based on ancient tribal traditions. Usually, however, the elders send the cub to a place where many werewolves gather. There, the child must wait until several cubs are ready to embark on a quest together. In this case, the ritual is also a test of the cubs’ ability to work together and resolve their differences. They may later decide to join the same pack. In all cases, the elders send spirits to watch over the petitioners, if only to verify the greatness of their deeds. Once these cubs return, they become cliath, join their respective tribes formally, and learn their first tribal Gifts.

Breeds

A werewolf’s true nature is shaped long before his First Change. If one of his parents is human, he will grow up in human society, learning the ways of man. If one of his parents is a wolf, he will be raised by wolves, and human society is a mystery to him. In almost every case, one of the parents is Garou. Whether the child’s mother’s natural form is that of a human or a wolf determines what his breed will be. (It’s also possible that a werewolf might he born to two human parents or to a mated pair of wolves, if the werewolf blood is strong enough in his family. As mentioned, though, the likelihood of such an occurrence is much lower.) There are three such breeds in Garou society: homid, lupus, and metis.

Homid

A homid werewolf grows up in human society, but is never truly integrated with it. Pre-Change werewolves, as mentioned, are prone to behavioral problems and sensory quirks that make them strange. They understand that human society has rules and has a certain set of expectations, but they often find them strange, unfair, or just annoying. Some mask it better than others, but the end result is that when the Change finally comes, amidst the blood and the death and the Rage, some part of the werewolf feels relief at finally being with her People.

That isn’t to say that the transition is easy. Years of education and indoctrination within the human world die hard, and what kind of upbringing the werewolf has had can make all the difference. If the werewolf’s father or mother was Kinfolk (and knew it), for instance, the cub might have had things a little easier. The Kinfolk parent might not have given full disclosure, but just instilled the child with a love of and respect for the natural world. Understanding, even in abstract terms, that Gaia can see and feel what people do makes for less guilt and horror when the Change comes and the Garou sees exactly how much damage humans are doing to the Earth Mother.

Some homid Garou, though, feel that although humans have nearly killed the planet, they are also the only species on Earth that can save it. As such, for the Garou to have any meaningful impact at all, they have to be able to move in human circles. Since homid werewolves are best suited to understand and work within human society, and since they are the clear majority of Garou, some of them feel that they should, by default, be the leaders of werewolves. The discussion is moot in most tribes, since the numbers dictate the leaders. But the effect of this imbalance is obvious. The Garou are losing touch with their wolf blood, and this can only herald disaster for the People.

Lupus

A lupus werewolf is the child of a wolf and a werewolf, or, more rarely, two Kinfolk wolves. It’s rare, though not unheard of, for multiple wolves in a litter to breed true. In modern times, though, every lupus werewolf is a blessing. The ratio of lupus to homid Garou is roughly one to eight.

Lupus, like homids, understand from childhood that they are different. Pre-Change lupus tend to be more intelligent than their packmates, though they don’t really come into their human intelligence and problem-solving skills until the Change. Once that happens, they develop the capacity for abstract thought and symbolic language, which can be either a tremendous relief or a terrifying bombardment of ideas and information. When a lupus werewolf Changes, she must go from the relatively simple concerns of being a wolf (food, water, shelter, mating) to the much more nuanced social considerations of being Garou - not to mention dealing with humanity.

Humans and wolves are both social animals, and the fact that humanity has subtle body language cues is not, in itself, too jarring. The specifics tend to be difficult, though. A wolf bares its teeth to show dominance or to initiate a challenge. Humans bare their teeth to put each other at ease or indicate pleasure. Wolves greet each other by sniffing, humans do it by making sounds and touching hands. When a human goes from one culture to another, he must learn the new culture’s customs or inevitably mark himself as an outsider. Lupus Garou are almost guaranteed to be outsiders when they enter human society. They were, after all, literally raised by wolves.

Language is a huge barrier for lupus. Wolves communicate, but even if they have what could be called “language,” it doesn’t work the way human language does. A human puts together a random assortment of sounds and assigns meaning to them, and the lupus werewolf has to learn that concept before approaching the concept of “name.” It’s no wonder, then, that lupus are cagey and nervous around homid Garou, and even more so around humans.

For all that awkwardness (and danger, when their fear is paired with a werewolf’s natural Rage), lupus bring an understanding of the natural world that homids can’t hope to understand. They don’t romanticize the wilds, they simply understand them. The wilderness doesn’t have an agenda, it simply is, and living with it means understanding its ebbs and flows. Homid Garou can learn this, but don’t have the instinct for it that lupus do.

Lupus are also intensely aware that they are a dying breed. From their perspective, naturally, the humans are largely to blame, and the homids are accomplices. While a lupus may decide to join a pack with werewolves of other breeds, a few favor spending time with their own kind. Many such lupus either belong to the Red Talon tribe - known for its genocidal policies toward humans - or they at least agree with its philosophy. Even a lupus who trusts the homids in her pack may be overpowered by the call of the wild. She may trust her packmates with her very life but still feel a longing for the company of wolves.

Metis

The Garou Nation could have a veritable army of warriors within a few years. The child of two werewolves, after all, is always a werewolf. They grow up with an instinctive understanding of Garou society and the spirit world, as well as an affinity toward shapeshifting. It would seem an easy solution.

Except, of course, for the fact that a child of two werewolves - a metis - is always deformed in some way. Some are born missing limbs, some are born disfigured and hideous, and some are born mad. Such werewolves are also always sterile, meaning that they cannot pass on the Garou “gift.” Even so, it would seem that up against letting the Wyrm destroy the world, breeding a few hundred deformed warrior-children might be a worthwhile endeavor. Cruel, yes, but one has to look at the stakes.

The greatest challenge metis Garou face, though, isn’t sterility or deformity. It is simply that thousands of years of Garou tradition marks them as unworthy, as abominations, as the shameful result of two werewolves’ weakness. In years past, both the metis child of a werewolf and its parents would be put to death or, at best, ostracized and shunned from their home sept. Now, acceptance of metis Garou is common in all tribes except the Red Talons (though some tribes are much more accepting than others). Metis can even claim positions of leadership in some septs, which would have been unthinkable only a few generations ago. Traditionalist werewolves look at this as a sign that the beliefs of the Garou have been corrupted beyond repair. Progressive Garou point out that it took humans a long time to come around to the notion that the disabled shouldn’t just be warehoused until they die.

Metis are born in Crinos form, and may undergo the First Change anywhere from their first year of life to the onset of puberty. For this reason, they are raised within a sept, away from human eyes. This gives them the advantage of being well-versed in Garou society by the time they are ready to undergo a Rite of Passage, and it is not uncommon for them to learn rites simply by observing (provided they are allowed to).

That doesn’t mean their life is easy, however. With a few exceptions (Glass Walkers and Children of Gaia, notably), while modern septs might allow metis to live, they certainly don’t coddle them. Metis might be shunned by the sept as a whole; they aren’t turned out, but the job of training them is given out more as a punishment than an honor. Other septs shun the metis and her parents, meaning that while the young werewolf has a family, she knows that her family is kept ostracized from their society because of her existence. Some septs treat the metis more or less as true Garou, but remind her whenever she steps out of line that she might be slaughtered at any moment, just because of what she is.

It’s no wonder, then, that metis tend to be resentful and paranoid. The Litany flat-out condemns them, and any recitation of the Litany with a metis in attendance is at least somewhat uncomfortable. Most metis grow up bitter, and while some might learn to blend in among humans, they never really have a place to belong.

Forms

A werewolf always feels most comfortable in the form she grew up in, which is known as her breed form. If you ask a werewolf how he sees himself, he will usually think of his breed form first. A werewolf is born in his breed form, and he keeps it until his First Change.

For instance, homid werewolves prefer to wear a human skin, largely because they are the most adept at dealing with mankind. When a werewolf shapeshifts into a human being, he is said to be in Homid form. By contrast, lupus-breed werewolves prefer having sharpened teeth and claws, warm fur, and the heightened senses that come from being a wolf. When a werewolf shapeshifts into a wolf, he has taken Lupus form. When in this form, he is quite obviously a wolf. A werewolf trying to pass himself off as a “wild dog” is either demented, a disgrace, or a buffoon.

A metis is born in his Crinos form, a form halfway between Homid and Lupus. An adult werewolf in Crinos is a killing machine, a massive, nine-foot tall monster plodding to battle on two stocky legs. The very sight of one conjures up images of an age long gone, when massive shapeshifters stalked the Earth and herded their flocks of human breeding stock.

Homid form and Lupus form are the two extremes of Garou shapeshifting - shifting completely from a man into a wolf for the first time is a brutal and painful ordeal. Eventually it becomes easy, and werewolves learn to make more subtle changes. For instance, they may take a shape halfway between Homid and Crinos, one halfway between Crinos and Lupus, or even (with great effort) temporarily shift a small part of the body. Regardless of breed, any werewolf can shift freely between these forms, but he will always be most familiar with his breed form. These three skins - Homid, Lupus, and Crinos form - are the most commonly worn, and they reflect three very different aspects of Garou society.

Delirium

If a human sees a werewolf in the Crinos form, she is struck with overwhelming fear and madness. The human might panic and run, faint dead away, become catatonic or, in rare instances, blindly attack the werewolf. Garou call this phenomenon the Delirium.

The Delirium comes from suppressed racial memories of the distant past rising in the human subconscious. Because werewolves culled human “herds” systematically for thousands of years, they have permanently scarred the collective psyche of the human race.

The Delirium may be seen as a sort of supernatural blessing, for it prevents the horror of the primeval world from returning. Humans never see Crinos Garou as they really are. Instead, they rationalize such sightings away instinctively, concocting elaborate and horrific stories about what they thought they saw. They may not see anything at all, simply reacting to something they will never remember. Because of the terror of Delirium, most humans refuse to accept that werewolves are real, even when confronted with very direct evidence. The racial memories run so deep that it’s a rare and strong-willed human who can see so much as a photograph of a Crinos-form Garou and not subconsciously dismiss it as “some sort of hoax.”

Despite the protection this fear affords, the Garou cannot afford to take chances. Werewolves who unleash the panic of the Delirium without good cause are punished severely or exiled. Their survival depends on staying hidden and acting discreetly; indiscretion has its consequences. Werewolves hunting in human cities are loath to force the Delirium without a very good reason. Since the Concord, they have kept their existence secret, maintaining the Veil, the illusion that the primitive supernatural world no longer exists. If even the slightest chance exists that a werewolf’s shapeshifting was caught on film, for instance, the werewolves and their human kin will move heaven and earth to make sure that footage isn’t brought to daylight. Even if one human in a thousand believes what he sees, that’s far, far too many. This occasionally results in bloody purges of people who have seen too much, although some tribes (the Glass Walkers and the Children of Gaia, notably) refuse to allow innocent people to die for Garou carelessness.

Kinfolk are unaffected by the Delirium. They possess Garou blood, so they see their relations as they really are. Some werewolves choose to keep in close contact with their Kin, and they are open with them. Therefore, the Veil does not always apply to Kinfolk. Because they can see the world of the werewolves for what it really is, many are eager to work with their relations. Many, however, become resentful and bitter that they are just poor cousins the werewolves call on whenever they’re needed, rather than “true Garou.”

Auspices

At the moment a werewolf is born, she inherits an ancient legacy. Her breed will shape her view of the world, and one day, her tribe will train her to fight the Wyrm. Her place in that fight, on the other hand, is shaped by something far more mystical. The phase of the moon at the instant of a werewolf’s birth determines her auspice, the role she is destined to play in Garou society. Every werewolf upholds one of these five aspects and receives mystical gifts to help fulfill it. A Garou is strongest when the moon’s phase corresponds to her auspice. The first time each month a werewolf sees her auspice moon, she is filled with an exhilarating rush of energy. During that moon phase, however, the werewolf is even more prone to bouts of Rage than usual.

New Moon: A child born on the new moon is des-tined to be a master of stealth, trickery and guile. Such werewolves are known as “Questioners of the Ways,” and they are granted latitude to break - or at least bend - the rules of Garou society that other werewolves are not. The thinking is simple: If a tenet does not stand up under questioning, it should not be observed at all. These Garou hunt under the dark of the moon, coming up with the tactics to kill a foe that make more honorable Garou blanch. A new-moon werewolf is called a Ragabash.

Crescent Moon: The wan light of the crescent moon illuminates the spirits and the riddles they tell. Garou born under this moon are ritualists, spirit-masters, shamans and mystics. All werewolves can commune with spirits, but crescent-moons are born to it, and act as emissaries to powerful Umbral beings, undertake quests into the spirit world and perform divinations for their septs and packs. The call up spirits of battle to fight for them, and coax (or beat) the most impressive Gifts from recalcitrant Umbral beings. Such Garou are called Theurges.

Half Moon: The werewolf born under the half-moon is a judge and balancer. Caught between extremes - man and wolf, Garou and human, adaptation and tradition, spirit and flesh - such Garou have to be able to make wise decisions on behalf of their fellows. Half-moons are taught the Litany and its interpretation from their entry into Garou society, and they are expected to be mediators and, when necessary, levy punishment on other werewolves. They are judges, both of their fellow Garou and of their foes. The question of whether a being is irredeemably Wyrm-tainted is often left to the half-moons. Such a werewolf is called a Philodox.

Gibbous Moon: The ample, but not quite full, light of the gibbous moon shines on the Garou destined to be storytellers and lorekeepers. These werewolves are not simple jesters or actors, however. They keep the traditions and oral history of the People, through methods ranging from fireside tales to multi-media presentations to howls on a mountainside. Their songs can soothe a pack after a loss or whip it into a battle-ready frenzy, and the call to war is the purview of the gibbous-moon. Such werewolves are renowned for their memories and their creativity, and among the People, are called Galliards.

Full Moon: Humanity connects the full moon and werewolf depredations in its stories for a reason. Garou born under the full moon are spirit warriors, the deadliest and most vicious of their kind. Such werewolves are often pack alphas and leaders, though they are better suited to enforce the Litany than to interpret it. They are war leaders, inspirational figures, and uncompromising killers, and they are trained in the bloody arts from the moment that their People find them. A werewolf born under the full moon is called an Ahroun.

The Thirteen Tribes

Once a Garou completes his Rite of Passage, he is welcomed into one of the Thirteen Tribes of the Garou Nation. Before the completion of this rite, he is a cub, and therefore treated as little more than a child. He may not learn tribal Gifts or receive the tribe’s deepest secrets. Even metis cubs are shut out from such sacred knowledge; they’re welcome to work for the sept, but not to receive its privileges (though in practice, metis wind up coming to their Rites of Passage with a great deal more practical knowledge of Garou society than homid or lupus do). After the rite, however, the tribe teaches each new cliath the ways of the world.

Each of the Tribes originally came from a different region of the world. Each has its own tribal homeland: a place in the world where it has always been strongest. Each tribe’s Kinfolk and societies reflect these different cultures. During the ancient agreement of the Concord, the 16 major tribes set aside their differences and began the development of a communal society. Since then, three tribes have been destroyed. Thirteen tribes remain part of the Western Concordiat, and one of them is having serious misgivings about the future of that arrangement.

Black Furies: The Black Furies hail from ancient Greece, and are fierce warriors and defenders of sacred places. The tribe is all-female, though they sometimes allow their male metis to become full members of the tribe. Their tribal totem is Pegasus.

Bone Gnawers: The spiritual children of Rat see the world from its underside, living amongst the poor and destitute of every culture. In their long-forgotten past, they may have come from North Africa or India, but they have long spread across the world.

Children of Gaia: This tribe does not claim an ancestral homeland, considering itself to be made up of citizens of the Earth and ambassadors of peace and justice. Some Garou make the mistake of thinking this makes them weak, but when the children of Unicorn choose to fight, they fight with righteousness.

Fianna: The descendants of the Celtic peoples and spiritual children of Stag, the Fianna are loremasters, warrior-poets, and drinkers par excellence. They are known for their fiery passions and insights, and, less charitably, for stubbornness and veniality.

Get of Fenris: The Get of Fenris is proud of its Scandinavian heritage, and prouder still of their reputation as fearless warriors. They are unapologetically blood-thirsty and savage, and carry a wide survivalist streak. Fenris himself is their tribal totem.

Glass Walkers: It may seem odd for Cockroach to act as a totem for tribe of werewolves, but the Glass Walkers (the third name the ever-evolving tribe has used) see it as a badge of honor. They are resilient, adaptable, and the only tribe to be truly in touch with the modern world.

Red Talons: In many ways the antithesis of the Glass Walkers, the Red Talons are a tribe composed entirely of lupus Garou. They strongly favor reinstating the Impergium, culling humanity’s numbers and driving them back into a subservient position. Their savage totem, Griffin, agrees.

Shadow Lords: The Shadow Lords trace their ancestry to Eastern Europe, among the craggy cliffs and rocky foothills of the mountains there. They are ruthless - even Machiavellian - in their efforts to direct the Garou Nation, and believe that the might of their totem, Grandfather Thunder, makes them fit to rule.

Silent Striders: The Silent Striders were exiled from their homelands in Egypt, and now claim no homeland. They run from place to place, serving as messengers and scouts for the Garou. But the children of Owl never forget that they were gods in ancient Egypt, nor do they forget their hatred for Sutekh, the vampire that banished them.

Silver Fangs: The revered leaders of the Garou Nation - at least to hear them tell it - the Silver Fangs follow Falcon as their totem. The tribe is Russian by ancestry, and has a long history of pure breeding, nobility, and courage. Their modern image, however, also includes accusations of inbreeding and insanity.

Stargazers: The Stargazers are a tribe originally hailing from the lands around the Himalayas, and claim membership in both the Western Concordiat and the Hengeyokai Beast Courts of the Far East. Strange and troubled portents seem to indicate to the contemplative and serene children of Chimera that it may be time to leave the ranks of Western Garou entirely.

Uktena: One of the two remaining tribes hailing from the Native peoples of the Americas, the Uktena dare to open the doorways that other Garou won’t touch. In doing so, they open themselves up for corruption, but they are also suited to bind and destroy spirits that other tribes would never recognize. Their tribal totem is the Uktena, a horned water-serpent of great wisdom.

Wendigo: The second still-extant Pure Tribe is the Wendigo, the proud and warlike children of the cannibal spirit of the north. The Wendigo seethe with rage over what has been done - is still being done - to the Native Americans, but they grudgingly agree to work with other Garou.

Each of the Thirteen Tribes reflects the history and culture from a different part of the world. During the Impergium, when great heroes led their flocks of humans away from their rivals, their Kinfolk eventually formed the foundations of different human cultures. For example, many Get of Fenris have Scandinavian or Germanic ancestors, while Wendigo Kinfolk claim membership or ancestry in one or more Native American nations. While Garou Kinfolk can breed with werewolves of any tribe, most prefer to remain within their own culture. Most tribes are outraged when others place designs on their Kin. The Fianna tell stories of tragic romances, while the Shadow Lords engineer relationships with Kinfolk of other tribes to exact revenge or political power. The more liberal tribes try to avoid using their Kinfolk this way, but even a Child of Gaia thinks of his relatives as Kinfolk of his tribe.

A werewolf is not born into a tribe; he must prove himself worthy during his Rite of Passage first. A cub with a Garou parent usually makes the same choice as his mother or father when deciding what tribe to petition, but he does not have to do so. Every werewolf has a lineage stretching back for generations. Throughout most of Garou history, the vast majority of cubs have made the same choices as their ancestors. A cub with a long lineage will be hounded to “make the right choice.”

Theoretically, a cub can approach any tribe, but a cub who is obviously abandoning his ancestors’ legacy has to work twice as hard as an “adopted” cliath. If your father was a Bone Gnawer, you’ll have to work your ass off to join the Get of Fenris. Often, a cub receives dreams and visions of his past during his adolescence, but some of the greatest heroes of Garou legend have defied their destinies. And of course, not every werewolf knows the tribe(s) of his ancestors. A werewolf who Changes in a major metropolitan area might be, ancestrally, a member of any tribe. Such Garou are perhaps the lucky ones, as they have only their own merits to help them choose a tribe.

Some tribes have standards the prospective members must meet. The Black Furies, for example, accept only female Garou. If a Black Fury gives birth to a non-metis male cub, he must eventually petition another tribe to accept him. Silver Fangs will not recognize a hero who does not have an extensive lineage of Fang ancestors. Red Talons accept only lupus Garou. Bone Gnawers, by contrast, will accept almost anyone, including the most twisted and deformed metis. Some tribes have rites for tracing a werewolf’s ancestry. When performed properly, the rite may reveal visions of an ancestor’s greatest accomplishments… or epic failures.

Many Garou are very particular about their lineage, reciting the names of their greatest ancestors as they introduce themselves. The noblest are “pure bred,” regarded as obviously exemplary specimens of their tribal heritage. Pure breeds are impressive not only because of their superior pedigrees, but because dozens of generations of ancestors have chosen to support the same tribe. In the mystical world of the Garou, it is even possible for a werewolf to be aware of his ancestor spirits. A werewolf can reject this idea utterly, but it is also possible to summon up these memories, or even channel an ancestor to act through a young hero.

As the End Times approach, of course, the Thirteen Tribes are increasingly eager to welcome young cubs into the fold, especially if they have a tribal lineage. The stodgiest elders complain that Rites of Passage are nowhere near as taxing or rigorous as they once were. These complaints don’t disprove the fact that a Rite of Passage is a grueling test of mind and body, and must be completed if a werewolf is to be brought into a tribe. At the end of the rite, the cliath has her tribe’s sigil inscribed mystically on her body or tattooed there physically. In short, tribal membership is a choice and an honor, not a birthright.

It is possible for a werewolf to leave a tribe, but this requires a special ritual (pg. XX) and effectively reduces the Garou to the rank of cliath again. From there, he may join any other tribe that will have him, or he may remain tribeless, a Ronin. Werewolves only leave their tribes under the direst of circumstances, and a Garou who does so is often seen as a traitor and a weakling, or at the very least, as highly untrustworthy.

Garou Cosmology

The Thirteen Tribes teach their cubs and cliath the ways of the world, giving them purpose and inspiration. Werewolf cubs are told a distinctly unique legend of why the Earth is dying, a mystical and spiritual account. As is the way of the spirit world, events in the Umbra appear as reflections of the physical world. According to myth, Gaia created the world and all living things in it. When time began, she released three primal forces upon the Earth: the Weaver, the Wyld, and the Wyrm. These elements of creation are known collectively as the Triat. The spirit world is complex, but werewolves can reduce all of its workings to these three primal forces.

The Weaver created all structure in the world, from the highest mountains to the depths of the oceans. She gave birth to a host of spirits to preserve order, and Weaver-spirits have been known for their predictability, ruthlessness, and determination since that primal time. Legions of them weave the fabric of reality with long legs and spinnerets, reinforcing the tapestry of creation. In the modem world, wherever law triumphs over anarchy, whenever technology is present in force, or when anyone rebuilds what has been torn down, werewolves claim that the spirits of the Weaver are scurrying nearby.

The Wyld was the breath of life in the world, allowing the Weaver’s creations to thrive. Wherever nature is alive, the Wyld is there. The spirits that serve it are capricious and effervescent, unpredictable and indefatigable. Just as the Weaver brings order, the Wyld brings chaos, surging with energy wherever it could not be contained. Rebellion, frustration, and feral instinct all give it strength. Yet nature can also be gentle. Behind every serene glen and tranquil brook, the Wyld returns its energy.

Garou mystics say that Gaia created a third force to maintain the balance between order and chaos, between the Weaver and the Wyld. Like a great serpent wriggling through all creation, the primal Wyrm snipped at the threads of creation that could not otherwise be controlled. Once, say the Garou, the Wyrm was the force of balance in the world, but no longer. The mad Weaver grew too ambitious, trying to tip the balance by trapping the Wyrm within its lifeless web. Confined and denied, the Wyrm went slowly insane, and creation listed out of balance.

The Truth Revealed

For mystics, this story is not mere myth. Each portion of the Triat has spawned a host of lesser spirits, mystic servitors who are still at work in the world. In the shadow of creation - the spirit world of the Umbra - werewolves can see these forces at work. Over the last few centuries, the spirits of the Wyrm have become more powerful than ever before. The most fanatic Garou share a common belief: If there is corruption and misery spreading through the world, the Wyrm is at the heart of it. Beyond all other ideals, the greatest goal of the werewolves is to protect all of creation by destroying the servants of the Wyrm.

The Wyrm’s servants have become a cancerous corruption, and its servitors have become the Garou’s greatest enemies. For millennia, its rage and hatred have grown to the point of insanity. Its pain ceases only when it can pare back creation, destroying the Weaver’s order and polluting the Wyld’s purity. The Wyrm can suborn even human beings, especially when they practice destructive and malicious acts. Wherever the Earth is despoiled and befouled, the Wyrm grows stronger. Wherever order is perverted and law is denied, the Wyrm shudders in glory. When humans fall prey to darker emotions, succumbing to vice and spite, the Wyrm gains more victims. It is beyond reason, and its servants are legion.

The Wyrm’s strength is such that it now overpowers the efforts of the werewolves to contain it. In prophecies, in visions, and in the world around them, the Garou see evidence that this treacherous evil is achieving its goal to destroy all creation and free itself forever. Therefore, the world that remains is cold and bleak. As prophecy has foretold, the werewolves must fight to the last to defeat the Wyrm. Confronted by the realization that their race dying, the Garou have contained their rage for far too long. This could be one of the final battles, and so shapechangers are returning from the shadows, bringing heroism, valor, and horror back into the light of day.

The Weaver’s Webs

Fanatical werewolves believe that their only duty in life is to defeat - or even kill - the Wyrm. It’s a very direct philosophy, but one with which some cubs and cliath just cannot agree. A heretical idea is spreading throughout the Western Concordiat, one that is gaining more and more credence: the Garou’s real enemy isn’t the Wyrm, but the Weaver. After all, it is the Weaver that is responsible for the largest human cities, and her mad scrabble for power what caused the great Cataclysm that shifted the spirit world forever. She was the primal force that first drove the Great Serpent insane, and she brings her own brand of suffering on the world as she continues her mad designs.

Most elders are horrified by this idea. Some refuse to send packs to investigate the mad Weaver’s activities, and some even refuse to award renown for succeeding in such enterprises. Nonetheless, a new generation of cubs has dedicated itself to shredding the Weaver’s webs, regardless of what their mangy, crusty old elders might believe.

As time goes on, the Weaver grows more powerful, Her minions changing and evolving from what was once spiders to more … mechanically organic beings, shining in light and often mistaken for symbols of religious belief, angels. Her machinations grow more and more complex, and less comprehensible to even many Garou Elders, likely appearing as something off-the-way but still completely mundane. She works through manipulating the minds and bodies of mortals now most often, giving signs and portents to those who might believe, and granting wishes for jobs well done.

Garou Society

The society of the Garou is what keeps werewolves from devolving fully into monsters. If they relied only on their Rage and their destructive impulses, they would be bestial beyond reason. But the laws and traditions of the People provide a vital structure. They show a nobler goal, and encourage werewolves to achieve their potential as Gaia’s chosen warriors.

The Litany

The laws of the People are ancient. Their traditions vary from tribe to tribe, but all Garou must remember and hold to the central code of law called the Litany. In its full form, it is as much an epic poem as a legal code. Chanting it in its entirety can take hours. Four times a year, the werewolves of the Fianna tribe gather in their tribal homelands to recite it in its entirety.

While it takes the greatest scholars to master the entirety of the Litany, most werewolves learn it in the form of 13 basic precepts. Each precept has a practical basis, but not all of them are universally upheld as unquestionably moral. Each tribe has its own views on right and wrong. In fact, many perceive a hypocritical gap between what Garou elders preach and what werewolves actually do. Masters of Garou law can cite dozens of examples of precedent, but as fewer cubs learn to chant the details, more argue ways to bend the rules in their favor.

Garou Shall Not Mate With Garou

The Law: Werewolves should mate only with humans or wolves. The law forbids the creation of metis because of the deformities and insanity that settles on the wretched children of Garou-Garou pairings. This stricture forms the basis for some of the greatest tragedies of Garou culture. Many ancient songs tell of werewolves who loved deeply and carelessly, only to be undone by their passion.

The Reality: Every year, more metis are born. Modern Garou often claim that prejudice against the metis is a primitive and foolish mindset. Homids are increasingly prone to conceive metis as well, as modern ideals frequently stress romance in a relationship, rather than the old custom of arranged marriages for political gain.

Combat the Wyrm Wherever It Dwells and Whenever It Breeds

The Law: The Wyrm is a source of evil in the world. Gaia created the werewolves to protect the world, and the Wyrm is the greatest enemy the world has. The fastest way for a werewolf to become respected is to prove himself in battle against the servants of the Wyrm. If any Garou neglects this duty, the Wyrm grows in power and may very well lead the Garou closer to extinction.

The Reality: These are the Final Days. So say all the elders. The Wyrm is too strong to kill, and even if it were possible, many suspect it would only delay the inevitable. Jaded elders are distracted by other tasks, such as securing territory, contesting for political power, and crippling their rivals. Few want to accept that the Garou’s extinction is at hand, for it would mean sacrificing personal ambition to accept a painful truth.

As straightforward as this tenet seems, it also raises questions. What happens to a Garou that is possessed, but not fully in the thrall of the Wyrm? Should he be destroyed? Is a Wyrm-spirit really destroyed if it is “killed,” or will it just re-form somewhere else? Can werewolves expect to change the course of history by destroying all of the Wyrm’s servants, or should they choose their battles more carefully? Should the Weaver be challenged as well? Many questions arise in the course of debating this law, in an age where there’s little time to spend finding the correct answer.

Respect the Territory of Another

The Law: When one werewolf approaches another’s territory, she must announce herself first and ask permission to enter. The traditional method involves the Howl of Introduction, reciting one’s name, sept, totem, tribe, and home sept. Many Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords also insist on a visitor reciting her lineage. In addition to these precautions, a werewolf should mark her territory, whether with scent or clawed sigils, to keep peace with other Garou.

The Reality: As the population of humans in the world keeps growing, A Garou’s howling and urinating on trees to mark territory becomes impractical. In urban caerns, some technologically proficient werewolves (like the Glass Walkers) prefer emails, telephone calls, and texting, and some set up apps to work with GPS systems to keep track of territories electronically. As pressure mounts from outside, many young Garou argue that the territories that remain should be more communally managed - though progressive human-influenced thought has a difficult time winning over a wolf’s territorial urge.

Accept an Honorable Surrender

The Law: A warrior people typically settles its grievances with bloodshed. The Garou have a long dueling tradition, stressing trial by ordeal and single combat. Many werewolves have lost their lives to overzealous practices such as these; they may have died honorably, but their losses are keenly felt all the same. A werewolf being attacked by another Garou can traditionally end a duel peacefully by exposing his throat. The loser shouldn’t suffer a loss of reputation or renown for doing so, but a victorious Garou should be praised for his mercy. Theoretically, any dueling Garou is honor-bound to accept a surrender.

The Reality: In practice, peaceful werewolves invoke this law freely, but some are far more selective. After all, in the heat of battle, anything can happen. Even the most feral and violent werewolf struggles to obey this law, but when blood begins to flow, instincts overcome reason. Some warriors are infamous for “accidentally” overlooking a surrender and sinking their teeth into an exposed throat.

Submission to Those of Higher Station

The Law: Like the wolves with whom they breed, werewolves maintain a strictly hierarchical society. When one’s pack or sept is not pure family, the hierarchy of alpha and lord becomes necessary. The concepts of Renown and Rank are integral to Garou society. A werewolf must always honor reasonable requests from higher-ranking Garou.

The Reality: The weakening bonds of Garou society have done little to reinforce this tenet among the young. Too many elders don’t understand or can’t cope with the human world. Each tribe has its own culture, and not all of them believe in kowtowing to tyrants or humoring egotistical alphas just because they have long lineages. A werewolf will honor the elders of his tribe generally, but opinions vary when it comes to the highly ranked of other tribes. Bone Gnawers are highly egalitarian, and although they’ll show their bellies if the need is there, they tend to make a note of it and plot a later payback. Children of Gaia and Silent Striders respect personal choice, and therefore, they prefer to earn obedience rather than demanding it. The Get of Fenris respect only those elders who can best them in combat. Red Talons prefer not to hear “monkey babble” about complicated hierarchies; you should know your place instinctively. Shadow Lords and Silver Fangs, on the other hand, enforce this law with iron fists and sharpened claws.

The First Share of the Kill for the Greatest in Station

The Law: This “kill clause” originally applied to hunting, but has also had a long tradition of being invoked regarding spoils of war. In theory, the most renowned Garou has a right to the most powerful fetishes or other valuable goods found by her packmates. Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords demand what they see as their due; other tribes accept grudgingly.

The Reality: Pack mentality may be a strong instinct, but not everyone thinks the same way. Again, modern concepts of egalitarian or democratic philosophy tend to get in the way. Only the strongest or the most trusted Garou are able to repeatedly invoke this tenet for their own benefit, and even then it can strain the bonds of a pack.

Ye Shall Not Eat the Flesh of Humans

The Law: Grotesquely, this tenet arose not from compassion, but from practicality. Not long after the Concord, Stargazer mystics noticed that many werewolves took a bit too much pleasure in devouring human flesh. Such cannibals found themselves vulnerable to the corruption of the Wyrm. Elders grown fat off human stock also became weak at stalking and killing more challenging prey, like the Wyrm-spirits they should have been hunting. In the 21st century, this law is more than a simple spiritual matter. Human beings now consume a frightening amount of preservatives. Their chemical-laden diet makes their flesh unwholesome.

The Reality: Werewolves can still lose control of themselves in a frenzy, and some still feel a certain hunger even when fully lucid. Most man-eating Garou act alone, concealing it as best as they can from any packmates, or running without a pack in order to keep up their appetites. Some gather in groups to take part in forbidden feasts, though - the Bone Gnawers, Silent Striders, and Red Talons are all said to have secretive camps that ritually devour human flesh.

Respect Those Beneath Ye - All Are of Gaia

The Law: The Garou ancestors of legend pledged to become the world’s protectors, so they must respect every creature’s place in the natural world. Every werewolf is likewise worthy of respect. The Garou believe in an animistic and warrior version of noblesse oblige, and chivalrous behavior is a respectable way to gain Renown.

The Reality: Many cubs, cliath, and metis Garou have learned the hard way that this tenet isn’t always enthusiastically enforced. Shadow Lords and Get of Fenris quantify “respect,” and give those beneath them only what they believe is “fairly earned.” Bone Gnawers just laugh at this precept. They sure as hell don’t get respect, and who could be lower in station than them?

The lupus are often stronger at respecting this tenet. Particularly noble Garou have even been known to mourn the passing of their foes, earning the respect of others in the process.

The Veil Shall Not Be Lifted

The existence of the Garou must remain secret. Here, the law and reality are the same. Werewolves must be discreet when acting among humans. This practice is far more than simple respect for the Concord or humanity’s right to its own civilization. The world is a dangerous place. Humans have more powerful weapons every year. Ancient vampires and far more sinister supernatural creatures are capable of acting on what humans learn. And, of course, the servants of the Wyrm are lurking everywhere, exploiting the weak. If werewolves choose to act like monsters, other creatures will hunt them like the beasts they are.

Garou also have an obligation to protect humanity. When human see werewolves lumbering about in Crinos form, insanity grips them, and they concoct all sorts of outrageous rationales for what they’ve seen. Fear mounts, panic results, and the populace resorts to drastic measures of defense. Rampaging werewolves can cause almost as much damage as the Wyrm-creatures they hunt.

Do Not Suffer Thy People to Tend Thy Sickness

The Law: The warrior who cannot fight or hunt also weakens those who must care for him. Long ago, an infirm, aged, or mortally wounded Garou would be torn to pieces by his septmates. Such a pitiable hero should not suffer further. These days the merciful and dignified practice is to let such an elder choose how to end his own life. In Garou legends, many of the greatest heroes simply set out on one last journey, never to return.

The Reality: The Children of Gaia despise this law. They believe in a natural death, caring for their elderly through the most prolonged and horrifying illnesses. A few older Garou, especially those crippled by depression and remorse, simply return to human or lupine society to die, making peace with the life they left behind.

The Leader May Be Challenged at Any Time During Peace

The Law: A werewolf’s pack mentality may be strong, but he should not tolerate a weak alpha. If no immediate threat is nearby, any Garou of sufficient rank may challenge the pack leader for his position. In a pack, the challenge takes the form of a quick and decisive duel, test of wits, or snarling display of intimidation. In a sept, the assembled werewolves watch the challenge play out as high ritual.

The Reality: Many tyrannical leaders resist challenge by simply being too strong to defeat. Some mutinous packs challenge their leader one at a time, wearing him down until he must relent. It’s also an uncommon tactic for werewolf leaders to declare a state of constant war, denying any “peace” in which a challenge would be appropriate. Cunning werewolves insist on choosing the type of duel that should result, playing off their rivals’ known weaknesses.

The Leader May Not Be Challenged During Wartime

The Law: Every military relies on a clear and decisive chain of command, and the Garou are no different. Obedience in a pack is essential. Once a fight begins, the alpha’s word is law. A packmate who disobeys may be punished or assaulted by his companions, or possibly even by his sept, after the danger has passed.

The Reality: As previously mentioned, some alphas declare a constant state of wartime to abuse this tenet. Those who disobey usually have some chance to defend their actions, standing before a Philodox in a form of court martial. If a werewolf was under magical control, corrupted, or possessed by the Wyrm - or if the alpha was just startlingly incompetent - such disobedience may be excused, especially if the action saved a pack or the sept. Unfortunately, any renown the wolf would have received for her valor may be canceled out by her insubordination.

Ye Shall Take No Action That Causes a Caern to Be Violated

No Garou argues against this tenet. Caerns surge with mystical energy and the lifeblood of the Earth. If one is destroyed or corrupted, part of the Earth dies, and so does the power of the Garou. A werewolf who leads a proven or potential enemy to a hidden caern is punished severely, even if the act was unintentional.

Hinder the Weaver Wherever It Spawns and Whatever It Controls

The Law: The Weaver has proven itself an equally worthy foe of the Garou’s time and energy. Where the Wyrm is the source of evil, the Weaver’s machinations are just as ominous, and very often, just as dangerous to Gaia.

The Reality: This tenet was added very recently, and only barely through the agreeance of the Eldest Garou of the Nation. Because of this, there is still a lot of controversy over whether this tenet should even be followed, or if the Wyrm is still top priority, with the Weaver on the back-burner.
The Glass Walkers tend to all-but-ignore this tenet, as they view it as a way for the other tribes to further subjugate the Urrah tribes, but Bone Gnawers are seemingly alright with it. Most Garou also find this tenet very difficult to follow, given the prevalence of the ability to sense the Wyrm’s Taint, but nothing similar for sensing the touch of the Weaver.

Justice

To keep a law, one must be willing to enforce it. The Garou’s code of punishment ranges from simple and quick reprimands for minor crimes and mistakes to elaborate trials or ordeals for complicated transgressions. Loss of Renown is a common punishment, but when the Litany is violated, the consequences are usually more severe.

Each sept and tribe has its own methods of conducting trials. Get of Fenris and Red Talons prefer trial by combat. Shadow Lords favor cunning, elaborate arguments, ensnaring their opponents within their words and intimidating into silence those who try to circumvent the process. Bone Gnawers convene a jury of peers to pass judgment, a democratic if sometimes corruptible approach. Uktena summon spirits to discern the truth, while Glass Walkers employ modern criminology. While one or two tribes may dominate a sept, many caerns attract a wide array of Garou. In these cases, the sept leader may choose the methods of her tribe, the tribe of the highest-ranking Philodox, or that of the offender himself. Political consequences arise for each choice.

Once sentence has been passed, a sept enacts a formal rite to punish the offender. If a criminal escapes, the Garou may offer a bounty for his capture… or his skin. One of the worst punishments is formal ostracism, an offense feared more than a clean death. Most Garou believe that great heroes are reborn; some even have visions of past lives to prove it. An outcast, declared a “rogue” or Ronin, is shut out forever from his brothers and sisters. Unless he can commit some great deed to prove his valor, he remains mistrusted and alone. Sadly, fatalistic werewolves convince themselves that there is no future for the Garou as their extinction draws closer. Entire packs of Ronin now wander the Earth, rejecting the strictures of the Litany completely.

Hierarchy

Werewolves need strong leaders. A strong chain of command helps them focus their Rage with discipline, without the stress of wondering who to lead and who to obey. In most small gatherings, an alpha proves his dominance by brute force. In larger gatherings, however, doing so is impractical. If a ruler has to fight off rivals constantly, he will soon become too weak to govern properly.

Garou society establishes hierarchy through a system of Renown, a measure of a hero’s deeds and service to her sept. Constant infighting wounds and weakens a sept, but this system channels such energies in a positive direction. A werewolf’s instincts and thousands of years of tribal conditioning reinforce the need for a hierarchy. Pack instincts demand it. Every werewolf has his place. Elders rarely need to demonstrate power by abusing their lessers, and their vassals are usually content to serve. Though it may seem abusive and unequal to many modern Garou, the hierarchy does have its roots in merit. The strongest and wisest rise to the top - or so the ideal goes, at any rate.

Based on their renown, each werewolf also holds a certain rank in Garou society, and he is often addressed by his proper title. For instance:

  • Cubs are at the bottom of the pecking order, treated as little more than children. They’re eager to learn, and they ask many confusing questions.
  • Once a cub completes her Rite of Passage, she becomes a cliath, a young Garou enlisted continually to perform all sorts of tasks for her sept. Some travel all over the world, completing missions and learning about werewolf society.
  • As cliath continue to gain esteem, they eventually become fostern. These Garou have risen high enough to act as emissaries between septs. At this stage in life, an entire pack may undergo a period of fosterage in a distant and seemingly alien caern.
  • Adren outrank fostern, often taking on some of the lesser political positions in a sept. By this time, a pack of adren usually limits its travel to a handful of caerns. Political rivalries develop over time.
  • Athro outrank all these commoners. They are typically swept up in some of the most perilous and compelling adventures their tribes can offer. Silent Strider messengers have been known to travel around the world to summon the right pack of athro for critical adventures.
  • Only the most esteemed and highest-ranking Garou are addressed as elders. Even if an elder does not currently serve as a tribal elder, as a sept leader, or some other esteemed position, a werewolf with enough renown is still treated with the greatest respect.

When two Garou of vastly different rank interact - as in a conversation between young cliath and their elders - their relative positions are fairly obvious. When two werewolves have roughly the same Rank or Renown, social niceties are not so clean-cut. When heroes of equal status disagree, matters may come to blows. Fortunately, Garou society has developed protocols for dealing with such conflict: tests of dominance that are usually based on the type of problem facing the sept.

Leadership may pass from one werewolf to the next based on immediate need. In large groups, the leader may even change from hour to hour. A werewolf’s moon-sign is the first qualification. For instance, the highest-ranking Ahroun will usually lead a tribe or sept in battle. Once the skirmish is over, if the group is confronted by a devious group of spirits, a clever Theurge challenges the warrior in a riddle contest to claim the leadership role. If negotiating skills are needed shortly thereafter, a Philodox known for his social acumen might then challenge the alpha to a different type of contest. When a Garou is especially renowned for his skills, a wise rival steps down from a challenge once he realizes he’s outclassed. Note that outright challenges are rarely necessary at the pack level, where the members already know one another’s capabilities intimately.

Dominance and Submission

By law of the Litany, when a group isn’t in the middle of immediate danger, its leader is open to be challenged at any time. Millennia of conflict have refined three particularly common methods of testing dominance: facedown, gamecraft, and duel.If the pack or sept faces a crisis, the type of problem influences the type of challenge, such as a duel fought to see who leads a midnight raid. Otherwise, the challenged werewolf is allowed to choose.

The facedown is a contest of wills. The challenger initiates it by growling at his opponent and staring him in the eye with an unblinking gaze. The first werewolf to back down loses. A simple contest, but still potentially dangerous. Once a werewolf’s hackles are up, he may work himself up into a frenzy and attack. Should this happen, the frenzied werewolf loses not only the confrontation, but Renown as well.
Gamecraft is a test of skill, cunning or wits. It may be a riddle contest, a game of chess, a test of knowledge (such as the hierarchies of spirits), or some similar mental exercise. The victor is the one who demonstrates superior intellect - or sometimes cunning, in the case of Ragabash who are willing to cheat.

The duel is straightforward single combat. The challenged Garou may choose the type of weapons used; such contests are rarely to the death… at least formally. But as with facedowns, duels may trigger frenzies of violence. Some septs, such as those dominated by Get of Fenris, rely on duels almost exclusively.

The loser of a test of dominance must show some sign of submission immediately - an “honorable surrender,” as the Litany puts it. Doing so might involve kneeling, falling to the ground, exposing the throat, or lowering the head and whimpering. Gamecraft has its own signs of submission, from the chess master who knocks over his own king to the storyteller who bows with a flourish and buys his rival a drink. In a physical contest, if the loser does not show some sign of relenting, the winner may follow through with a quick attack, cuffing or clawing his lesser until recognition is given.

Tribal Representation

The geographical survey presented here calls out a few tribes for their noteworthy influence in certain places at certain times. This is by no means the full story. Other tribes have had often dramatic influence in these places, even if it hasn’t proven as enduring as that of the mentioned tribes. For instance, although the Black Furies are not noted for ruling many septs outside of their ancestral Mediterranean lands, they have certainly influenced events in the lands to which their Kin have emigrated, with the Finger Lakes region of New York state being one example.

Keep in mind that just because a tribe isn’t called out in the survey doesn’t mean its members don’t exist in those lands or that they haven’t contributed to its legends.

Rage Across the World

Human prehistory is clouded by the passage of years and forgotten traditions. It is the way of humans that, as they migrate to new lands, they adapt to new ways. While they preserve some traditions, others die out as their practitioners pass on.

Not so with Garou. They remember. Even when generations pass with no new true Garou birth and no lineage holder to pass on the knowledge of the ways, the spirits remain. Their ancient pacts with the Garou ensure the continuity of tradition, of memory, and of the tally of past wrongs that must one day be avenged.

The Garou, of course, followed humans in their migrations. Even when a human tribe would set down roots for many centuries in a particular land, it would eventually move on, taking with it the werewolves hidden in its midst as well as the secret seeds of new generations of Garou waiting in its bloodlines.

As the Garou came to new lands and established caerns, they marked those lands as their own. Their pacts with the local spirits ensured the continuity of their ways even when no Garou was present to enforce them. A tribe’s territorial claims were written not just in the minds of Garou and upon the land, but in the indelible ink of the spirit world as well. The roots these tribes set down over vast areas in ancient days marked what would become their ancestral lands.

The tumultuous human migrations of the last few centuries have had their effect on the Garou’s ancient territorial claims. As Kinfolk emigrate to new lands, they take tribal bloodlines with them. Conflicts arise as tribes “invade” the lands of other tribes through the process of human migration. This has created more diverse septs and caerns than were common in past ages, as multiple tribes rub shoulders to share limited spiritual resources. While fresh unity has arisen in many cases, old enmities are only further enflamed in others, causing Garou to spend precious time sparring with rival tribes while the forces of the Wyrm creep ever closer.

Even lupus are not immune to these modern migratory challenges. As the areas in which wolf populations can thrive continue to shrink, the tribes again come into conflict over dwindling ranges.

One of the key challenges facing Garou in this precarious time is the matter of sharing Mother Gaia with each other, before the Wyrm takes all.

North America

When humans first migrated to the North American continent, Garou came with them. Three tribes distinguished themselves, known as the Three Brothers: Uktena (Older Brother), Croatan (Middle Brother), and Wendigo (Younger Brother). Unlike the way things developed in the Old World, these Garou lived in close harmony with humans, wolves, and spirits. The Impergium was less about dominance and submission than a carefully guided training in co-existence.

The three tribes spread out across the land, each claiming areas for their own while still maintaining ties of kinship and friendship. The Wyrm, of course, was here, but it could be defeated by heroes, and its minions could be subdued through vigilance. It became common practice among Garou septs to bury the defeated monsters under powerful wards, the knowledge and keys to which were kept by the Uktena Banetenders.

Moon bridges between tribal caerns were rare. There was simply little need for them. It was better to travel across the land, not only so that the spirits of place could be encountered and parleyed with, but also that any Wyrm threats could be sniffed out and chased down before they could take root. The Three Brothers did not count on the European invasion.

When Europeans first arrived, bringing new forms of Wyrm stench with them, the terms “Pure Ones” and “Pure Lands” were increasingly adopted by the native tribes. These words had been used before, but in celebration. Now they were terms of exclusion and condemnation of the “impure.” When the Wyrm manifested in an early colony in Roanoke, the Croatan sacrificed their lives to drive it away. They believed in the continuity of their legacy: that new Croatan would be born to their kin, to remember and honor their sacrifice. But the Eater-of-Souls did not go easily, and it devoured the very soul of the tribe as it was banished from the land, ending the lineage of the Croatan forever.

This tragedy drove a wedge between the two remaining brother tribes, a rift made deeper by the “Wyrmcomers,” the Garou arriving from Europe. These immigrants, not knowing the history of the continent or of the Croatan’s great sacrifice, smelled the Wyrm in ascendance and felt it was their duty to take charge of the land and lead the war against corruption - to hell with any native Garou who would stand in the way.

Some tribes, such as the Fianna and Get of Fenris, integrated into some of the native caerns, establishing moon bridges to better link to reinforcements from their own tribes. Most European Garou, however, forcibly “repatriated” caerns from the natives, driving the Pure Tribes into retreat with their kin onto reservation lands, where they would continue to nurse grudges well into modern times.

As the Weaver expanded across the continent in the form of telegraph wires and railroad tracks, the Glass Walkers followed, enamored of the energy and vigor that arose from the mix of old and new. The Bone Gnawers feasted well in the growing cities, still ensconced among the poor and downtrodden but now taking advantage of opportunities and freedoms denied to them and their Kin in the Old World. Even the Silver Fangs left their fiefs to establish new territories among the rich and powerful of the Americas, vying with the Shadow Lords for influence over the halls of power.

By modern times, every one of the 13 Tribes was represented in North America, mostly in multitribal septs. Even the all-wolf tribe of Red Talons has a strong place, for North America has some of the world’s most resilient wolf populations.

Unfortunately, as the Garou spread, so did the Wyrm, despite the Garou’s best efforts to hold it back. That these efforts often strengthened it is something all but the Children of Gaia too often try to deny. Today the Wyrm’s foothold on the continent is stronger than ever and still growing. The institution of capitalism and corporate dominance through unfettered money has given it a unique way to spread into every territory, easily circumventing the paltry democratic oppositions that occasionally arise against its minions’ plots. The American experiment has proved that corruption can be bought for a surprisingly low price. The rise of the global conglomerates has made this reach worldwide. While Garou are still largely local, struggling to fight for their caerns and often squabbling with rival septs for limited resources, the Wyrm forces have banded into megacorps that can wield power centrally and direct it anywhere across the globe. The Garou’s modern challenge is to overcome their past enmities and unite against this many-tentacled enemy.

The most pressing contemporary form of Wyrmish poison in North America is the environmental devastation wrought by corporate natural gas and shale oil extraction - “fracking” and the Canadian tar sands. The practice of fracking involves injecting a toxic blend of chemicals at high pressure into the earth to free up gas deposits. Scientists have linked this to increased instances of earthquakes. As the Garou have discovered, the purported purpose of fracking is not what it seems to be: It hides a vast conspiracy to search out ancient Banes buried long ago by the Pure Tribes and to erode their wards with the toxic chemicals. Those chemicals, of course, contain supernatural elements invisible to human scientists, all courtesy of Pentex R&D.

Whereas once the frontlines of the battle were in saving forests and endangered creatures, now they’re in preventing the creeping invasion of pipelines and refineries meant to poison what is left of the Earth. One glance at the tar sands operation in Alberta, Canada, and one cannot deny that the Apocalypse has reaped it’s toll on Gaia.

South America

Although the Pure Tribes traveled into South America, only the Uktena settled in any notable numbers. Otherwise, the place was home to few Garou until the European colonization, but even then werewolves were few and far between, with only the Bone Gnawers as the modern-day exception. For the most part, these lands have traditionally been owned by the Fera - the other shapechangers so poorly mistreated by the Garou in the War of Rage.

The Fera have remained, even after the bloody conflicts with the invading werewolves (such as the Shadow Lords working with the Spanish). They have even infiltrated the Garou’s Kinfolk populations, causing extreme surprise when a First Change results in a werejaguar rather than a werewolf.

One of the reasons the continent still remains a mystery to most werewolves is the relative lack of moon bridge access to its caerns. They are often intentionally closed by the native septs, to keep out the bullying foreign Garou, but many have been lost. There are some caerns, deep in the jungles and forgotten by all but half-remembered legends, waiting for intrepid Garou or Fera to seek them out and reclaim them… before the Wyrm finds them.

Likewise, many bloodlines of Kinfolk have been lost, their spirit fetches unable to track them. The rare few Garou born here unknown to their kind are threatened by Wyrm minions, who seek them out to turn them before they know any better.

For the last few decades of the 20th Century, the Amazon rainforest was ground zero in one of the Garou’s greatest common efforts against the Wyrm. The Amazon War caused uncounted casualties on all sides and continues with no clear winner, although the conflict has cooled greatly as the oil companies’ expansion has been stalled. No matter - Pentex has moved its oil operations to other zones, as witnessed by the drilling-rig oil spills in the Black Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. There are few werewolves to protect the seas and oceans.

Europe

Europe was home to what was once the thickest density of tribes, before colonial emigration dispersed them. The Fianna have roots in the Celtic lands (predominantly Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany), the Black Furies originally hail from the Mediterranean, the Get of Fenris from the Scandinavian and Teutonic regions, and the Shadow Lords from the mountain chains of Eastern Europe. The numerous werewolf legends still displayed in movies and comic books originated in the Delirium-induced glimpses caught by European humans of their Garou overlords.

The Wyrm, too, was powerful and fecund in Europe, and its machinations proved too powerful for the Garou here as cities grew and forests shrank. Medieval legends of evil spirits and dragons hint at the rampant excursions of Wyrm minions. The term Garou use for humans possessed by Banes - fomori - originated from the Fianna in their epic wars to defend their lands against Wyrm-creatures spawned beneath the sea.

The Shadow Lords have long vied against one of the more insidious evils, the vampires of Carpathia. These so-called Kindred might deny their allegiance to the Wyrm, but the Garou’s spiritual sense of smell has always rooted it out. The harsh attitude and methods attributed to the Shadow Lords can perhaps be forgiven when one encounters the body-horrors wrought by their ancestral land’s Leech neighbors.

Despite the diaspora of many of their Kinfolk, the original tribes still hold ground in their ancestral lands, although they often have to share their caerns with newcomer tribes. The Fianna are witnessing the blowback of their Kinfolk’s colonization via the British Empire with the increasing birth of other tribes’ Garou - including Stargazers - among their lands’ recent immigrant Kinfolk. If they were honest about it, they’d have to admit that the diversity of allies has helped their struggles.

Unfortunately, as the pressure of accommodating new immigrant communities and their unique cultures threatens to change the cultures of Europe, xenophobia grows. The challenge for the Garou is to resist the worst instincts of their Kin, for the Wyrm has learned well how to exploit them. Many werewolves believe the financial collapse that has hit Greece, Spain, and Ireland especially hard is no mere mortal conspiracy or fraud, but surely has Wyrm motives behind it. As class tensions rise and riots break out in the streets, the Garou are having trouble figuring out just which enemy to target.

The Spiritscape

Just as important as the socio-geographic map is the spiritual map - the invisible land that supports and sustains the living world. The ecosystem of spirits embedded into the land is the true concern of Garou everywhere, although they often allow more human concerns to blind them to it. Garou cannot truly live on the land without some relationship with those beings that are the land - the spirits of tree, rock, and stream, and all the creatures that run, leap, crawl, creep, slither, and fly.

The sheer diversity of spirit life prevents an easy survey. The nature of spirits is that they are very particular. Even though a badger spirit is much the same in Germany as it is in North America, its place in the land is unique to that land, and its knowledge of its neighboring spirits is its own. Nonetheless, by ancient pacts, certain spirits know the old ways of the Garou, and can be asked, coaxed and even commanded to teach them to new generations of Garou who might not have the advantage of direct training from fellow tribe members. This teaching is limited and tends to produce very a local variation on tribal ways, but it helps sustain the Garou in places where their bloodlines have proven barren for too long.

It is easy to speak in generalities about Silver Fangs or Children of Gaia or Get of Fenris, but the truth is that each tribe is unique and has adapted not only to the local ways of its human Kinfolk but as well to the quirks and odd customs of its spirit neighbors. As moon bridge connections between caerns worldwide become increasingly common, the cultures of the tribes have tended to become more universal, at the cost of honoring local lifeways. Sometimes, under the pressure of global concerns, the proper chiminage owed to a local spirit is rudely disrespected or forgotten. The Garou cannot afford to lose allies this way, but it is hard to convince a spirit to think globally while acting locally - the smaller the spirit’s rank, the more purely local it is.

Africa

As they are in South America, Garou are rare in Africa and even less welcome. Most of the continent is the territory of mysterious and antagonistic Fera, shapechanger tribes with a long hold on the continent. The legends of myriad African peoples tell of the wise but untrustworthy spider gods, the sinister Ananasi werespiders that lurk in dank caves, as well as the Mokole-Mbembe, the dragons of the deep jungles, and the vicious werelions and panthers who rule the savannas and treetops. Even the legends of men who walk as rats points to the Ratkin, thriving in the disease-ridden villages and following the misery left in the wake of the many rebel armies that plague the war-torn regions.

Northern Africa is more hospitable to the Garou, and indeed one tribe has a long lineage here: the Silent Striders, whose ancestors once trod the lonely deserts and traveled down the Nile in days of old. Their golden era was the dynastic period of Ancient Egypt, but their might has been diminishing ever since. They are joined in increasing numbers in the densely-populated cities of the coasts by Bone Gnawers, while the Red Talons are known to haunt the jackal-infested scrublands.

Dramatic happenings among humans cannot fail to affect the Garou, and this is certainly so among the nations affected by the Arab Spring. Uprisings against tyrannical governments have mobilized the younger generations, and the sense of new possibilities has infected even the Garou. An alliance of Glass Walkers and Striders played a role behind the scenes, using the spirits of Internet and smart phone technology to unite protestors and prevent the suppression of their message. But the uprisings have, unfortunately, shown little change in the fortunes of the Wyrm minions ensconced here in the oil extraction industries. The Libyan revolution did provide cover for a number of Garou attacks against Pentex oil fields and refineries, but it remains to be seen how much of a dent the Garou can inflict on the corrupt oil infrastructure amidst the chaos.

The Wyrm corruption on the continent isn’t confined to the oil industry in the north. It infects the horrendous genocides and coups being fought in many nations. Poverty, racialist tribalism, and Colonialist ideology have all contributed to a breeding ground of Wyrm corruption. While the Fera have done remarkably well at keeping incursions into their wild territories at bay, they have left the human populations with little protection against the horrors inflicted by Wyrm-tainted armies. Increasingly, Garou activists call for more involvement on the continent, hoping for an effort similar to that which sparked the Amazon War in South America. Sadly, it seems werewolves are more ready to throw themselves into the fray when the ecology is at risk, but are less eager when the chief aim is relieving human misery.

Asia

Asia is a huge continent, so any description of Garou history and activity there varies by region. Garou have had relatively little influence in the Middle Eastern nations. The Striders, by no means numerous, have perhaps had the most impact of any single tribe, but that is still negligible compared to the Garou’s role in the West.

Afghan and Iraqi Red Talons have used the recent wars to boldly attack humans who encroach on their territories, often to cruel effect on poverty-stricken nomads and villagers. Unfortunately, they have yet to form any strategy for sniffing out and hunting down the Wyrm minions who are likewise exploiting the wars to their own ends. The wolves of Pakistan, whose Kinfolk are mostly guided by Stargazers, have engaged in no such attacks. The Stargazers consider the Talons’ behavior to be barbaric, playing into stereotypes of evil wolves. As such, they argue that the Red Talons’ cathartic expressions of rage will ultimately hurt their wolf populations.

India is territory in conflict between rural Red Talons and more village-oriented Children of Gaia. The two tribes argue over the best means to relieve the suffering in this country, although both are in agreement about the punishment meted to Wyrm minions responsible for such disasters as last century’s Union Carbide plant explosion. They both, likewise, resist the rise of the Ratkin in the coastal cities, and worry about the whispers of a return of the Nagah to their ancient nests - the wereserpents who were long thought extinct.

Russia has long been a stronghold of the Silver Fangs, although they have degenerated here as elsewhere, holding only a shadow of their former glory. The Bolshevik revolution shattered the power of their traditional Kinfolk among the aristocracy. Beset by unprecedented evil in the form of the vampire hag Baba Yaga, a new strain of Fangs rallied to meet her challenge. Declared the return of the Bogatyrs of old, this new generation of Silver Fangs led armies of Garou against the Zmei dragons and even allied with vampires to finally overthrow the hag’s supernatural Shadow Curtain that prevented news and reinforcements from coming to the Garou’s aid. The victorious Fangs, however, have been less lucky in reclaiming their control over the humans who run the country, as their Kinfolk bloodlines have little influence over the corrupt gangsters who are increasingly becoming the true powers in human affairs.

Siberian werewolves suffered terribly under the Shadow Curtain regime. By the time the Curtain fell, so too had many septs and caerns, vanished or left abandoned with no trace of their guardians, either spirit or Garou. The Silver Fang camp of Siberakh still survives, although in greatly diminished numbers, and its members have had to accept lesser roles in Red Talon septs without the leadership rights to which they aspire. The mystery of the barren caerns still vexes the Russian Garou.

Mongolia still boasts a strong Red Talon population, peppered with occasional Stargazers and Silver Fangs, although Tibet has lost many of its already-sparse Garou. Stargazers have fought vile Banes disguised as Chinese overseers, and many lost their lives resisting the Wyrm’s role in the Chinese crackdown. Their sacrifices, however, have done little to change the course of human affairs here.

Much of the Far East remains mysterious to the Western Garou. Even the Stargazers who wander here reveal little to their tribe members in the West, feeling more kinship to the strange shapeshifters of these lands, the hengeyokai. These bizarre and still largely misunderstood races evaded much of the War of Rage, although they still hold grudges against interfering Garou. They are strongest in Indonesia, but also hold sway in China and Japan. Western packs of Garou in Hong Kong have recently spread to the new factory cities, searching for Wyrm sign, but have spent as much time fending off the local hengeyokai as they have in putting a stop to Wyrmish plots, such as melamine-laced food products.

The more modern and affluent cities of Asia have attracted the Glass Walkers, who by now have breed true to enough local generations that they consider themselves a native tribe rather than a newcomer. Indeed, some Glass Walkers claim responsibility for the ascendancy of finance and tech enterprises in Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong, and Tokyo - as well as control over the underground crime gangs (although they vie with Shadow Lords for that “honor”).

The Japanese samurai code of bushido resonates well with the Garou Litany, and is appreciated by Glass Walkers and Shadow Lords alike. The Hakken maintain the feudal culture even when it means coming into conflict with their Western Shadow Lord cousins. A small population of Uktena still keeps the old ways among the Ainu tribes, as well as near Shinto shrines in the rural glens and mountains. Western Garou activists recently shamed the Hakken for not doing enough to prevent dolphin slaughters and whale hunts, but the Hakken firmly maintain that their role as wolves in Gaia’s ecosphere is to guard the land, not the sea. The emptiness of this defense was made clear when the tsunami destroyed the Fukushima nuclear power plant, giving the Wyrm its biggest Asian toehold in ages.

The Garou have fought numerous secret battles against toxic Banes spawned by the radioactive release. The local spirits have gone largely dormant, and must be coaxed awake again by Garou Theurges in dangerous sojourns into the Penumbra, where the waters roused by the tsunami sometimes still stir. This is a problem that will be many years in the mending.

Australia

Australia is a strange place even for Garou. Its spirit world is unique, maintaining much of its original ancient form thanks largely to the persistent spirit traditions of the Aborigines. The Dreamtime has a weaker barrier than the Gauntlet in most other wild places, and is home to the spirits of many animals that are extinct in the material world.

The tragedy of the land is that the Western Garou could not put aside their pride. They harried and hounded the native Garou tribe, the Bunyip, out of existence. This unusual tribe, once celebrated for their enduring wisdom of the Dawn Times, used their ancient knowledge of the Songlines and spirits to gain the secret fecundity of the harsh land, allowing them to breed with marsupial thylacines. As their human Kinfolk were forced deeper into the Outback, the Bunyip’s fertility magic began to fail them. The immigrant Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords gave them no respite as they forced them aside to take over the stewardship of the land. The interlopers didn’t understand the delicate spiritual balance, and more often than not caused worse Wyrm incursions than they fought back. When the last living Tasmanian wolf died in captivity in 1934, the Bunyip’s tribal soul died with it, and they bred no more true Garou. The last of them soon entered the Dreamtime and were seen no more.

Many of the Garou who inherited the Bunyip’s lands have suffered from Harano, the epic sorrow of grief over the loss of that which cannot be brought back. To further highlight the foreign nature of the Garou, many packs have disappeared over the years, lost or taken by unknown means. The only clue is the occasional track of a Tasmanian wolf. Ghost stories about vengeful Bunyip spirits caused Garou to seek out them out to placate them, but they were never found. Recently, new signs point not to ghosts but to Wyrm creatures and spirits exploiting the ancient Songlines, special pathways in the Penumbra and Dreamtime that follow different laws than those known to most Garou. The Bunyip had mastered them, but without their vigilance, they seem to have fallen to the Wyrm. Garou now face the challenge of recovering ancient lore that they themselves once inadvertently worked to destroy.

New Zealand hosts a small Garou population, but it is one dedicated to keeping modern development from encroaching into the pristine wildlands of this beautiful island chain. They avoid the waters, however, for they have been known to host hostile Rokea - the strange and alien weresharks spoken of in Polynesian legends. The Garou believe that the sharks have Kinfolk among the Maori population.

Antarctica

This frigid land, so inhospitable to life, is no friend to the Garou. Nonetheless, certain Garou eco-activists see it as a bastion in the defense of the last pure, untouched places on Earth. The waters surrounding the continent have proven to be a battleground in human eco-activist struggles to stop whaling. The Garou aid these when they can, but most prefer not to be stuck on a boat for months on end with no ready means of escape - or convenient enemy to claw. For now, their aid comes mainly in the form of Glass Walker hackers helping to identify the locations of whaling vessels and then anonymously tipping off the eco-activist vessels.

Garou decry the increasing military and scientific bases that keep appearing here and have even tried to infiltrate them now and then, before giving up and retreating to warmer climes. The rumors of a Black Spiral Dancer caern somewhere deep under the ice in a buried ancient city have sent some packs hunting across the wastes, but it has so far eluded them - if it even exists. Still, expedition members speak of a faint and persistent Wyrm stench that they could not root out. They have begun a campaign to gain help from Gurahl Ice Stalkers, in the hopes the polar werebears might be willing to travel from Arctic to Antarctic and aid a new search.

The Wyrm

Savage and brutal and bestial though they may be, werewolves are not the greatest monsters in the World of Darkness. That honor belongs to the Wyrm and all its twisted spawn. Wherever the Garou hunt the cruel and oppressive, they often find the traces of the spiritual corruption brought on by the Wyrm.

The Fenrir describe the Wyrm as the Great Serpent of Darkness, spawning monsters that must die at their claws. The Bone Gnawers see its touch among the poor and desperate, forced to live in filth and eat trash to survive - even those who have homes and buy processed food. Black Furies describe a father of spiritual despair, lurking near families devastated by domestic violence and abuse. The hydra has a thousand heads, each one stretching out to sink its barbed fangs into the weak, the helpless, and the easily tempted.

The Garou are certain that the Wyrm has an actual incarnation - a body hidden deep somewhere within the Umbra. No living werewolf has ever seen or interacted with it (save perhaps the elders of the Black Spiral Dancers, if their prophets are to be believed), but they know it coils somewhere in the dark. Its near-omnipresent nature reveals itself through the influence of intangible spiritual corruption, and the actions of warped minions that carry out perversion and ruination. It’s difficult for even the wisest Theurges to determine just how much of the Wyrm’s own intellect directs the actions of its underlings. Even if its colossal mind has only indirect influence on the armies that march in its name, the Garou speak of it directly. The armies and the cause are the same: The enemy is the Wyrm.

Mystics recognize three major aspects of the Wyrm, each with its own legion of servitors. The Beast-of-War gluts itself on violence, destruction, and entropy. The Eater-of-Souls seeks to devour all of creation, feasting on matter, energy, and spirit with equal relish. The Defiler Wyrm is the most insidious aspect, a force of corruption and violation.

Banes

If it’s difficult to determine just how much any mortal soldier is influenced by the Wyrm, it’s much easier to tell how strong its hold is on its legions of twisted spiritual servitors. Banesare those spirits born of the Wyrm, or so fully polluted that their very essences are now corrupted. Like all spirits, they must follow their nature, and their nature is defiled. Some are near-mindless, others are cunning and highly intelligent. All are loyal to their Dark Father.

Banes are strongest in the Umbra. There, they use spiritual powers called Charms to seduce, corrupt, or assault their enemies. Powerful Banes possess humans or animals in the physical world, using them as vessels. Typically, these possessed creatures are “spiritually weak,” already overcome by sin or dark emotions such as lust, greed, envy, or wrath. In some rare cases, they may even override their victim’s free will. More often, however, they attempt to influence their prey into acting on pre-existing desires. Once a victim has been possessed, the whisperings of the Wyrm urge him to commit further horrible acts. Banes can also manifest physically, creating as loathsome a form as possible to unnerve those who oppose them.

The diversity of Banes is nearly endless. Because almost any spirit can be corrupted into becoming a Bane, they range from warped and twisted spirits of animals and elements to philosophical abstractions of sin, horror, and insanity. Some defy taxonomy, seeming to have been spawned with no obvious purpose. Common theory holds that Banes serve masters tied to the great themes of evil: Hatred, Pollution, Seduction, and so forth. But the efforts to catalogue Banes are almost futile - and arguably a waste of time. They are legion and numberless. Who has time to study them carefully? They must be fought.

Wyrm Caerns

The Garou’s sacred sites devoted to Gaia are reflected by tainted caerns created by the minions of the Wyrm. Some are former Gaian caerns, captured and desecrated; others are newly christened loci of foulness crafted anew on sites of great pollution.

The first Wyrm caerns were created deep underground, marked by the green, cold light of their toxic balefires. Horrors writhed there, deep below the surface of the earth, but the surface remained free of their cancers. The Garou were stronger then, and if any beast pulled its way free to the surface, its murderous activities would be silenced before long. Human memories of these nightmarish raids have gradually evolved into human myths. Beowulf and Grendel, St. George and the Dragon, Marduk and Tiamat - each story masks a more horrible truth.

Near the end of the 20th century, human activity brought these pollutants to the surface. Disastrous mistakes heralded the dawn of the End Times. Nuclear warfare, biological havoc, and ecological devastation on an unprecedented scale overwhelmed the werewolves’ efforts, summoning the Wyrm into the world in forms never witnessed before. As below, now so above. Throughout the last century, the Wyrm established and befouled more caerns on the surface, rejoicing in landfills, toxic waste, ecological devastation, atomic tests sites, and urban hellholes surrounded by crime and human suffering.

The Wyrm caern, whether on the surface or still below it, does not advertise itself openly. Its guardians do not mark their territory. Instead, the signs are read on the faces and bodies of the humans who live there. Children are born wrong; the land goes sour. The horrors are hidden by these sullen, xenophobic communities who have no idea how wretched their fate truly is.

That is, of course, save for those caerns that once were dedicated to Gaia. The forces of the Wyrm delight in claiming the sacred places of their enemy for the Dark Father. The Garou keep the memory of each caern that is taken and desecrated, for no insult or wound is harder to bear.

Wyrm Corruption

The Wyrm’s minions claim many victims, yet the most prized are the Garou themselves. No target is more desirable than the defender of Gaia. Nothing brings darker delight than the fall of a once-noble wolf. Though the Garou revile the works of the Wyrm, they have proven fallible time and again. Far too many werewolves have given into Rage or darker lusts, and found the Dark Father waiting to embrace them. Heroes, packs, even septs have fallen to the Wyrm - and once, an entire tribe.

How does one tempt one of Gaia’s Chosen? It’s a subtle game, particularly if the tempter doesn’t want to end his days bleeding out from a mortal wound. The first step is identifying a possible target, one that’s been weakened somehow. Perhaps his faith in his elders is faltering. Perhaps he has done things he regrets. Perhaps he feels he hasn’t done enough. The tempter takes some innocuous form, flesh or spirit, and begins to prey upon the target’s emotions. Many werewolves feel terribly isolated by their Rage, and a tempter may offer camaraderie or a place to truly belong. Others crave power, and the Wyrm has that to spare. Perhaps the bait is a prized birthright, a fetish, forgotten lore, or the chance at revenge. In return, the tempter asks a little favor: information, an act of violence, or perhaps an item that “no one will miss.” If the target isn’t discovered, then perhaps the tempter can play up fears of discovery and offer further aid with the secrecy. If he is discovered, then he may need a new place to turn.

The Garou fear traitors almost more than any other enemy. A corrupted werewolf is as strong and cunning as his former brethren, and has inside knowledge of many secrets. He may know about caern defenses, the weaknesses of elders, attack plans or long-term goals. In their fear to stamp out corruption, septs too often grow tyrannical and xenophobic - throwing up more barriers and alienating their own in the process. Thus a new generation becomes open to temptation.

Black Spiral Dancers

Few things are more painful to admit than the fact that the largest werewolf tribe of all is the Black Spiral Dancers - the loyal soldiers of the Wyrm. Once they were a Gaian tribe, the White Howlers. Subtle corruption suborned them over generations, until the minions of the Wyrm conquered the last White Howler caern and captured its greatest heroes, dragging them into the depths of the underworld. The survivors emerged, named after the corruptive Black Spiral that transformed them.

For almost two millennia, the Black Spirals spawned in tunnels beneath the earth, waiting for the time when they would be numerous enough to decimate their Garou rivals. That time has arrived. They are ready to bring about the end of the Garou, now that they easily outnumber the combined strength of the two largest tribes of Garou. But even as they whip their maddened foot soldiers into a frenzy, the great minds of the Black Spiral Dancers also continue their millennia-old game of corrupting the Gaian Garou. The Dancers didn’t survive and flourish by breeding alone. They have always been recruiting.

While it’s easy for the Gaian tribes to assume that all Black Spirals are utterly and completely insane, the truth is that insanity does not necessarily dictate functionality. Black Spiral cubs and Garou initiates are dragged to a realm of the Underworld known as Malfeas, where they are forced to walk a spiral labyrinth containing unimaginable horrors. Those that survive and return to the surface world are forever changed. But while many become little more than frothing berserkers, others are still very functional in their madness. The cracks in their psyche don’t keep them from formulating intelligent plots; the flaws in their logic don’t render them unable to infiltrate and seduce other Garou to their side. Black Spiral Dancers still possess a measure of free will, and many can operate intelligently on that free will - even if their perspective may be warped beyond repair.

Madness and insight combined breed great power. Centuries of exposure to balefire and radiation have twisted the Black Spiral Dancer bloodline. Many display bizarre deformities, especially in their Crinos form. Shark-like teeth or serpentine fangs, leonine or batlike ears, sickly gray green fur and wrinkled scabrous hides are typical genetic changes. The Black Spirals hold no qualm against spawning legions of metis shock troops. They always have more subtle agents, particularly those who were turned rather than born under the Wyrm’s talon.

Black Spiral Dancers breed in Hives, vast underground lairs as connected to spiritual corruption as a Garou caern is to the energy of Gaia. Rumors speak of vast networks of underground labyrinths that extend into the spirit world, connecting one hive to another. Here the wan light of balefire illuminates blasphemous rites and demented moots, with weird and forgotten creatures from the bowels of the Earth moving among the polluted Garou. Heaven help the humans dragged down from above to feature as entertainment, spiritual offering, or food for the gathering - or all three.

The tribal totem of the Black Spirals is Whippoorwill, a strange corrupted avian spirit that has taken on aspects of doom and nihilism. A Whippoorwill pack on the hunt mimics its haunting cry, calling out their desire for the souls of their victims. But with the legion of Banes at the Wyrm’s beck and call, the Black Spiral Dancers are spoiled for choice where pack totems are concerned. Their Bane totems offer hideous spiritual gifts of pollution and degradation, coloring the packs in insidious ways. A pack that follows a totem of corrupted water may command polluted rivers or lurk in a rusted-out water treatment plant, while a pack devoted to a spirit of fear haunts and terrifies its prey long before they deliver the final strike.

Pentex and its Subsidiaries

The most mortal of the Wyrm’s pawns is also one of its most diverse and dangerous. Pentex is one of the largest corporations in the world. As with many institutions, it hides vast conspiracies behind layers and layers of corporate security. Originally investing in oil and mining, Pentex has since become a holding company, diversifying its resources into hundreds of subsidiaries. Organizations like Magadon Pharmaceuticals, Endron Oil, Sunburst Technologies, and even the Black Dog Game Factory consume the resources of the earth and spit them back out as consumer goods tainted with the corruption of the Wyrm. While many Garou know of its various subsidiaries, fewer are as aware of the connections between them, for Pentex does not show much of a public face. Working through its corporate pawns, Pentex holds monopolies in many areas of the world, acts as a leader in the global economy, provides jobs for countless employees, and continuously spawns corruption and despair.

Pentex’s prime agenda is weakening human society and the ecological immune systems of the world, so that the Wyrm can claim precedence. Conveniently, many of the tactics that industries use to turn maximum profit serve this agenda. A company that saves money by opting out of environmental regulations manages to devastate the local ecology, weakening the spiritual allies of the Garou. Pentex takes this one step further. Its subsidiaries work to produce toxins, mutagens, and carcinogens as various “byproducts” of their manufacturing, then release them into the world to pollute the area around caerns and Wyld lands. Similarly, the sort of chemical additives and distracting technologies that make humans fat and sluggish and complacent produce the double bonus of turning excellent profits and weakening the human ability to resist corruption.

Like many real-world corporations, Pentex incorporates numerous strategies and tactics to cover up its violations. They have an army of slippery lawyers, underworld contacts and government shills who will do whatever it takes to keep suckling at the Pentex teat. Worse, the money they have is able to bankroll supernatural threats. Black Spiral Dancer packs get “care packages” of resources; Banes breed and swarm around corrupt manufacturing facilities. Pentex even has elite shadow teams of mercenaries, hired soldiers possessed by Banes, ready to be dispatched to rain silver bullets down on the Garou.

How does one fight a megacorporation, though? Not all of Pentex’s activities have spiritual resonance, and it hires far too many people for all of them to have some form of Wyrm taint. Most of its employees are perfectly normal people, not much worse off than wage slaves at similar corporations. It takes a very cunning werewolf to successfully find the trail of spiritual pollution in a Pentex facility, sorting out the genuinely corrupt from those who are simply sacrificing their hopes a little bit in order to make the next paycheck. Such tactics will have to be mastered, though, and soon. If not, the Garou will be stuck playing a purely defensive war - one they cannot hope to win.

Fomori

Every army needs foot soldiers. In the spirit world, the Wyrm marshals its legions of Banes. In the material world, however, it needs pawns of flesh and blood. Through strange mutagens, eldritch radiations and balefires, or chemicals ridden with Wyrm-taint, a person or animal can be rendered more susceptible to spiritual possession. Once fully possessed by a Bane, a mortal form may warp and twist into something unnatural, a grotesque beast called a fomor.

The Fianna were the first to name the fomori. Human myth reflects the term by speaking of a race of monstermen that bred in vast undersea kingdoms off the shores of the British Isles. Other myths of ogres, chimeras, dragons, undersea monsters and worse hint at other encounters with beasts that had been twisted by the touch of the Wyrm. To this day, the Wyrm continues to twist mortal frames into fomori, though animals are no longer as prominent a target; humans are far preferable. A human that becomes a fomor can be as bestial and monstrous as any corrupted animal, but has the added benefit of malevolent intellect.

A fomor’s mutative gifts are designed for pain and bloodshed. A single fomor is an easy kill to a werewolf, true, but it’s rare that a single fomor goes hunting for Garou. They run in packs, driven so strongly by their demented urges that it matters little to them if three-quarters of their number die, as long as they make their kill. The Banes that possess them grant an arsenal of unholy powers, from supernatural strength, warped additional limbs, or toxic glands to mental mutations that grant maddening psychic powers. The victim’s soul becomes as warped and twisted as his body. The farther gone a fomor, the more likely it is to become a stalking horror, an urban legend, or a backwoods horror drawn to feed on what victims it can catch alone. That said, those that retain the greater portion of their will are even more dangerous. The fomor that is able to pass for human, whose mutations hide beneath the skin, can work its schemes from within human society, furthering the urges of its Bane rider.

Many fomori are created by incidental corruption, but Pentex and its subsidiaries see no reason to leave things to chance. They spread the toxins and blight that makes humans vulnerable to Bane possession, and then arrange for people to be exposed in various ways. Some work camps and offices have a high “employee turnover,” carefully culling those workers who are showing signs of weakening from the prolonged exposure. Some subsidiaries even work to directly create fomori in laboratory environments. But many play a particularly long and insidious game, simply releasing doses of toxin and taint into the world as consumer goods or byproducts of manufacturing. More and more fomori are spawned every year as a result of these schemes, making it increasingly difficult for the Garou to cut off the corruption at the source.

The Weaver

As the strands of the Weaver choke the world further and further, many Garou wonder if the grand spider is also a threat on the level of the Wyrm. According to legend, the Weaver ran mad first, and then drove the Wyrm insane as well. Now her favored children, humanity, stand astride the world and grind it to glass under their heels. It takes subtlety to sever threads of the Weaver’s schemes - a kind of campaign that werewolves were not designed to fight so easily.

Crude tactics don’t work. Outright anarchy and wholesale destruction may damage the Weaver’s influence, but strengthen the Wyrm - to say nothing of rending the Veil and inviting retribution. Weaver-oriented monkeywrenchers find more success when they attempt to cut apart the spidery spawn directly in the Umbra, then shut down the Weaver’s favored weapons in the physical world. Of course, the Weaver’s minions are frequently coldly intelligent, well-organized, and technologically well-equipped. They are no easy targets.

At present, some septs recognize the effort of struggling against the Weaver, while many more find it a potential distraction. Packs all too often don’t earn renown awards for fighting the Weaver comparable to those they earn for opposing the Wyrm, even if the danger is very similar. It sometimes takes various secret societies and camps to acknowledge their efforts. Yet sometimes the danger of the Weaver’s minions just cannot be denied. In modern nights, more and more septs howl the glory of those who defended their caern against the encroaching steely webs of the Weaver.

Drones

While, the army of the Weaver is small in comparison to that of the Wyrm, they still hold great power. Drones are often unthinking, single-purpose creatures, carrying out their orders promptly, with very few contingencies built in for cases where their pattern is disrupted. Unlike fomori, drones will rarely show examples of being anything but a mundane creature; anything from birds to security guards can be a drone, and they will appear completely normal, except for a small, slight tell-tale stiffness in movements and lack of normal responses to external stimuli.

Glass Walkers have had extensive experience dealing with drones, being human with what can only be described as mechanical mental states. Those aimed at taking down highly-powerful, Weaver-controlled companies like Developmental Neogenetics Amalgamated have had intimate dealings with drones, as satellite companies are more often guarded or manned by drones to increase efficiency and protection of their facilities.

A drone's powers are designed for protection and control. Drones are not outright created to be unstoppable killing machines, like fomori, but they are formidable in their own right, relying more on stealth and using their environment instead of outright strength and savagery. Natural in every drone is the power of Regeneration, as their bodies are programmed to revert to the intended form, circumventing any alterations such as physical wounds. They also share the Weaver’s hive mind, and can send almost instant transmissions along the chain of servants. This does not, however, mean that any drone can instantly get a Weaver Incarna’s attention, but it does mean that threatened drones can usually rely on reinforcements of some kind.

Drones, very often, are products of conscious effort of other minions of the Weaver. They are kept in relatively small groups, each one focused on one task of the plan so that everything falls together as it should, as fast as it can. Because of this, the number of drones are kept to the most efficient, bare minimum, to complete a project for the Weaver, and their numbers raise and lower based on the machinations put forth by the Weaver; some drones have a permanent purpose, while others are simply temporary before being forcibly “retired” or otherwise removed from the webbed picture.

The Dragon and the Webs

Ever since the corruption and madness claimed the Wyrm because of the Weaver’s actions, the two have been locked in a mythic Cold War, both marshalling forces and poking at one another without an attempt at full-out combat. Though, despite any efforts, tensions are bound to burst, and so they did, leading up to the Cataclysm. The Wyrm and Weaver both found ways of using one another’s strengths and weaknesses against each other, and it broke out into full-on war, on three fronts.

The Wyrm never gives up a grudge. At the route of His insanity lies an ever-burning hatred for the Weaver, for what She caused him. Because of this, the minion’s of the Wyrm are often the first to strike at those of the Weaver, with plans that more often rely on brute force rather than a true plan, given the numbers the Wyrm controls. The Weaver, being the cool, calculating entity that She is, is never without recourse, and it is always planned meticulously to the letter, many times making sweeping actions using nothing but a couple unknowing mortal pawns.

Lexicon

Common Parlance

These words are in common use among the Garou.

Anchorhead: A spirit gate between the Near and Deep Umbra. (See Membrane.)
Apocalypse: The age of destruction, the final cycle, the birth of death, the everlasting corruption, and the end of Gaia. A word used in Garou mythology to describe the time of the final battle with the Wyrm. Many consider this time to be the present, while others believe this time has passed, in light of the Cataclysm.
Auspice: The phase of the moon under which a particular Garou was born, which is thought commonly to determine personality and tendencies. The auspices include: Ragabash (New Moon; Trickster), Theurge (Crescent Moon; Seer), Philodox (Half Moon; Judge), Galliard (Gibbous Moon; Moon Dancer), Ahroun (Full Moon; Warrior).
Bane: Evil spirits that follow the Wyrm. Many different kinds of Banes exist, including Scrags, Kali, Psychomachiae and more.
Bawn: A boundary area around a caern, patrolled and monitored carefully.
Blight: Any corrupted area in either the spirit world or physical reality.
Breed: The ancestry of a Garou: wolf, human or other Garou.
Caern: A sacred place; a meeting spot where the Garou can contact the spirit world.
Cataclysm: A term highly dramatized, representing the drastic changes that occurred in the spiritual landscape, due to the increase in clashes between the Garou and minions of the Wyrm and Weaver. The changes were subtle, so much so that many did not realize what was happening until it was far too late to be able to change it, though the changes are quite sweeping.
Celestine: The greatest spirits; the closest things the Garou have to gods. Examples are Luna (the Moon) and Helios (the Sun).
Chiminage: A form of “favors done for services rendered.” A werewolf may perform a task as chiminage in order to repay a spirit for teaching him a Gift, or to repay a sept for allowing him to use its caern.
Cliath: A young Garou, not yet of any significant rank.
Concolation: A great moot, wherein many tribes gather to discuss matters that concern the Nation of Garou.
Concord, The: The agreement all the tribes reached nearly 9,000 years ago, after which the Impergium ended. Its traditions are still obeyed today.
Corruption: The act of destroying, devolving, or debasing life; also, the often overwhelming effects of the Wyrm’s actions. In the present age, it often refers specifically to the ecological ruin humans wreak upon the environment.
Crinos: The half-wolf, half-human war form of the Garou.
Deal: Short for “Spirit Deal,” this is a singular ability bestowed by the spirits to a Garou, normally more available than the more specific Gifts.
Deep Umbra: The aspects of the Umbra that lie outside the Membrane. Reality becomes more and more fragmentary the farther one travels from the Realm.
Delirium: The madness and memory loss suffered by humans who look upon a Garou in Crinos form.
Domain: A mini-Realm in the Umbra, usually connected to a larger Realm in the Deep Umbra.
Fera: Garou term for shapeshifters other than werewolves; most are presumed extinct.
Feral: Slang term for lupus.
Fomori (singular “fomor”): Humans who have turned to the Wyrm and who draw their power from it. Common enemies of the Garou.
Gaffling: A simple spirit servant of a Jaggling, Incarna, or Celestine. Gafflings are rarely sentient.
Gaia: The Earth and related Realms, in both a physical and a spiritual sense; the Mother Goddess.
Garou: The term werewolves use for themselves.
Gauntlet: The barrier between the physical world of Earth and the spirit world of the Umbra. It is strongest around technological (Weaver) places and weakest around caerns.
Gift: Abilities bestowed by the spirits, and sometimes even Luna Herself, for specific Auspices or Tribes deemed worthy of those specific abilities. The spirits frown upon others outside those they have already chosen who possess their Gifts, such as an Ahroun possessing the Gifts meant for Ragabash, and so on.
Glabro: The near-man form of the Garou.
Harano: Inexplicable gloom, inexpressible longing for unnamable things, and weeping for that which is not yet lost. Some say it is depression caused by contemplation of Gaia’s suffering.
Hispo: The near-wolf form of the Garou.
Homid: A Garou of human ancestry. Occasionally used disdainfully by ferals (e.g., “That boy fights like a homid.”). Also the human form of the Garou.
Impergium: The 3,000 years immediately following the birth of agriculture, during which strict population quotas were maintained on all human villages.
Incarna: A class of spirits; weaker than the Celestines, but still greater spirits by any measure.
Jaggling: A spirit servant of an Incarna or Celestine.
Kenning: The empathic calling some Garou perform when howling.
Kinfolk: Those humans and wolves who are related to the Garou and are not prone to the Delirium, but who are not actual werewolves.
Klaive: A fetish dagger or sword, usually of great spiritual potency and nearly always made of silver.
Litany: The code of laws kept by the Garou.
Lupus: A Garou of wolf origin. Also the wolf form of the Garou.
Membrane, The: The barrier between the Near and Deep Umbra. To breach it, an Anchorhead must be found. Alternatively, the Garou can travel through the Dream Zone.
Metis: The sterile and often deformed offspring of two Garou; generally reviled by Garou society.
Moon Bridge: A gate between two caerns; it most often appears during moots.
Moot: A sept or tribal conclave that takes place at a caern.
Mule: Slang for metis.
Near Umbra: The spirit world surrounding the Gaian Realm.
Pack: A small group of Garou bound to each other by ties of friendship and mission as opposed to culture.
Penumbra: “Earth’s Shadow”; the spirit world directly surrounding the physical world. Many, but not all, terrain features have reflections there.
Protectorate: The territory claimed and patrolled by a pack or sept.
Reaching: Traveling into the spirit world.
Realms: The worlds of “solid” reality within the Tellurian. Earth is often referred to as “the Realm,” implying its primacy.
Ronin: A Garou who has chosen or been forced to leave Garou society. It is a harsh fate to become a “lone wolf.”
Sept: The group of Garou who live near and tend an individual caern.
Stepping Sideways: Entering the spirit world. Many elders consider this term flippant and disrespectful.
Tellurian: The whole of reality.
Totem: A spirit joined to a pack or tribe and representative of its inner nature. A tribal totem is an Incarna, while a pack totem is an Incarna avatar (a Jaggling equivalent).
Triat, The: The Weaver, the Wyld, and the Wyrm; the trinity of primal cosmic forces.
Tribe: The largest social unit of Garou. Tribe members are often bound by bloodlines, similar totems and lifestyles.
Umbra: The spirit world.
Veil, The: A poetic term for the false assumption that the supernatural does not exist, which the Delirium reinforces.
Ways, The: The traditions of the Garou.
Weaver, The: Manifestation and symbol of order and pattern. Computers, science, logic, and mathematics are examples of the Weaver’s influence on the material plane.
Wyld, The: Manifestation and symbol of pure change; the chaos of transmutation and elemental force.
Wyrm, The: Manifestation and symbol of evil, entropy, and decay in Garou belief. Vampires are often considered manifestations of the Wyrm, as are toxic waste and pollution.
Wyrmhole: A place that has been spiritually defiled by the Wyrm; invariably a location of great corruption.

Vulgar Argot

Younger Garou use these words to help distinguish themselves from their elders.

Cadaver: A derogatory term for a vampire.
Flock, The: All of humanity, particularly those humans from whom the Garou recruit their members.
Gremlin: A malevolent spirit.
Leech: See Cadaver.
Run: A ritual hunt or revel that takes place at the conclusion of a moot.
Sheep: Humans.
Throat: To best another in ritual combat. Used as a verb (e.g., “Elder or not, I’ll throat him if he gets up in my face one more time”).

Old Form

These words hail from the distant past of the Garou. They are no longer used frequently, but all Garou know these terms.

Adren: A pupil or a student who learns from a Mentor.
Airts: The magical paths within the spirit world (e.g., Spirit Tracks, Moon Paths, etc.).
Aisling: A journey into the spirit world.
Anamae: “Soul-friend”; most often a bond with a pack totem.
-anrae: “Respected Youth”; a suffix appended to a name.
Anruth: A Garou who travels from caern to caern but is bound to none of them.
Athro: Teacher, Mentor.
Awen: The sacred Muse, the creative impulse. Some say she is a spirit, but she has never been found. Moon Dancers go on quests for her periodically.
Brugh: Any sort of mystic place, whether a Garou caern or a Wyrmhole. Often a glade or cave located somewhere in the wilderness.
Charach: A Garou who sleeps with another Garou or has done so in the past. Often used as a word of anger.
Fostern: Your pack brothers and sisters; those who are your family by choice.
Gallain: The Kinfolk of the Garou.
-ikthya: “Of the Wyrm”; a suffix appended to a name.
Inceptor: A Garou who guides another through a rite. An inceptor is also called a ritemaster.
Kinain: The relationship among Garou who are related by blood through an ancestor. This term of endearment and pride is never used when referring to metis.
Moon-Calf: Idiot, simpleton.
Pericarp: The Near Umbra around each Realm.
Phoebe: An Incarna of Luna, representing the Moon.
Praenomen: The guardian spirit of a pack.
-rhya: “Greater in station”; a suffix appended to a name.
Urrah: Garou who live in the city; also, the tainted ones.
-yuf: “Honored equal”; a suffix appended to a name.

Garou in the World of Darkness

Garou fit into the World of Darkness as far-distant cousins for the Uratha. To the Uratha, the Garou are equally viewed as “odd Ghost Wolves with serious mental issues” and “a different form of Pure One”. They are seriously distrustful of the Garou, given their “mental instability” in referencing things that simply don’t exist, as well as their dedication in only doing one thing, fighting against balance and trusting in most spirits, despite those who pass through the barrier between the Hisil and Gurihal.

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