Beneath the skin lie many beasts. For the Garou, those beasts externalize themselves as the five forms of wolf-kind: the human guise, the primal beast-man, the war-wolf, the dire form, and the true wolf. Any Garou, regardless of her breed, can assume these five forms. In game terms, it merely takes a Stamina + Survival + Rage roll and a few successes in order to make physics and biology run screaming into the night.

Transforming from one shape to another requires one success for each form your character goes through in the process. Going from Homid to Crinos, for example, takes two successes (one for Glabro, one for Crinos), while going from full human to full wolf takes four successes. The resistance to the shapeshifting roll is based on which form they are shifting from, and is listed with each form: changing to a different form from Homid has a resistance of 2, while shifting from Hispo has a resistance of 3. You can spend a point of Gnosis to change immediately, and any Garou can shift back to her breed form instantly too. In neither case do you need to make a roll — your werewolf taps into the deepest reserves of her nature to transform.

Unless they’ve been protected with the Rite of Talisman Dedication (see Rites), clothes tend to be shredded and possessions, discarded in the course of transformation. A Glabro or Crinos werewolf can certainly hang onto hand-held goodies as she shifts, but jewelry, wallets, and so forth have a nasty habit of getting left behind.

With sufficient control over shapeshifting, a Garou can even transform only part of her body: grow Crinos talons in human form, or turn forepaws into hands. Partial transformation requires the expenditure of a Willpower point and success on a Dexterity + Survival roll, requiring 3 successes.

Homid: The Human

Statistics Adjustment: None
Shift Resistance: 2
Size: 5’–6 ½’ tall, 100–250 lbs.
Form Description: Essentially a human being, the Homid form allows Garou to move through man’s world more or less unseen. Metis and lupus Garou still possess their regenerative abilities and their vulnerability to silver in this form, while homid Garou do not; for them, silver feels uncomfortable, and wounds heal with surprising quickness, but the obviously uncanny effects remain absent. Aside from possible scars or body art, a Homid form werewolf appears to be a typical person. Even so, this thin disguise still betrays the predatory Beast underneath if you dare to look close enough.

Glabro: The Near-Human

Statistics Adjustment: Strength +2, Stamina +2, Manipulation –2
Shift Difficulty: 3
Size: 5 ½’–7 ½’ tall, 200–400 lbs.
Form Description: In this bestial throwback form, the werewolf looks like an unusually tall, feral, muscular person. A Garou shifting into Glabro essentially doubles (or perhaps triples) his body weight and adds between six inches to a foot onto his normal height. Clothes strain and tear, but do not shred… yet. His teeth and nails thicken and sharpen, and while they’re not especially powerful, they add to the werewolf’s intimidating presence. Hair grows; brows slope; the werewolf’s posture hunches with predatory intent. A Glabro werewolf can speak, but not well. Even soft words sound guttural and harsh.

Because of this form's sheer strength, all unarmed damage has a 2B Damage rating.

Crinos: The War-Wolf

Statistics Adjustment: Strength +4, Dexterity + 1, Stamina +3, Manipulation –3
Shift Resistance: 2
Size: 8’–10’ tall, 400–850 lbs.
Form Description: This living embodiment of Rage combines the most terrible elements of man and wolf. Towering roughly nine feet tall, the slavering Crinos monster features a wolf-like head gigantic fangs and horrific claws; long, powerful arms; thick skin and bones; heavy fur; and a large wolf-tail for balance and body language. Its awful mouth can barely speak human words, though it can bay and howl with deafening eloquence. Though a Crinos werewolf can speak the Garou tongue, its surging Rage reduces most sentiments to kill, Kill, and KILL!

Werewolf fur usually favors the striped or mottled markings of normal wolves, combined with the hair color (and sometimes even style) of a Garou’s Homid form. Tribal identity is most obvious in Crinos form, where the features, fur color and body language often reveal the differences between a Bone Gnawer, a Silver Fang, a Black Fury, and a Wendigo. Many Garou decorate themselves with dedicated jewelry and other markings that symbolize their tribal pride. The dice-pool penalties to Manipulation do not affect spirits or other Garou, just humans and similar entities (vampires, mages, changelings, etc.). Crinos is not a form for casual contact. Even the metis, who are born in this shape, bristle with murderous fury when this war-wolf manifests.

Crinos claws have a 2L Damage Rating, and the Crinos form inflicts full Delirium in mortals.

Hispo: The Dire Wolf

Statistics Adjustment: Strength +3, Dexterity +2, Stamina +3 , Manipulation –3
Shift Resistance: 3
Size: 4’–6’ at the shoulder, 350–800 lbs.
Form Description: The primal nightmare of ancient man, a Hispo werewolf recalls the titanic dire wolves that ran wild in the Impergium. Only slightly smaller than Crinos form Garou, the Hispo shape boasts extra-large teeth for additional biting damage. While it can stand briefly on two legs, this form is essentially a four-legged beast. Although it has no hands and cannot speak (save a few words in the Garou tongue), the primal wolf has keen senses and amazing speed. In game terms, a Hispo Garou gains a +1 bonus on all Wits + Composure rolls, has a 2L Damage Rating with bites, and requires the character to spend a Willpower point to speak a word or two of vaguely-comprehendible human speech. Tribal identity may still be obvious in this form, if only from facial features, stance, and the color-patterns of the werewolf’s fur.

Lupus: The Wolf

Statistics Adjustment: Strength +1, Dexterity +2, Stamina +2, Manipulation –3
Shift Resistance: 2
Size: 2’–3’ at the shoulder, 60–150 lbs.
Form Description: To all appearances a large normal wolf, the Lupus form enjoys sharp senses, great speed and endurance, and the ability to slip through the wilderness more or less unseen. Some Garou (especially among the Bone Gnawer tribe) appear more dog-like than wolf-like in this form — a trait other werewolves despise, although it comes in handy when blending in with man’s world.

In game terms, Lupus-form Garou gain a +2 bonus on all Wits + Composure rolls, can bite with a 1L Damage Rating and swipe with claws for 0L Damage Rating, and the wolf-form can run at twice the character’s normal human Speed. Although it can speak a garbled form of the Garou tongue, this form communicates almost totally through body language and typical wolf vocalizations. The werewolf’s tribal identity might seem obvious in the wolf’s facial features, posture and fur; all other decorations, however, disappear unless they’ve been strapped, pierced, or tattooed on the wolf itself.