Werewolf: The Forsaken is the second game in the New World of Darkness line and the spiritual sequel to Werewolf: The Apocalypse.Once upon a time, the physical world — the Gurihal — and the Spirit World — the Hisil — were one world, named Pangaea. Father Wolf patrolled Pangaea, ensuring that spirits were kept in line and did not terrorize humanity. Luna, one of the very powerful Spirits of the Moon, saw Father Wolf's duties, and fell in love with him. The children of this union were the first werewolves — beings part spirit, part flesh, charged to follow Father Wolf in his duties. But after spawning these Firstborn, Father Wolf grew old and weak, and could not fulfill his duties. So five of the first werewolves killed him, and then everything went to Hell — Luna cursed their name, the Spirit World broke from Earth, and their brothers, who refused to take part in the death of Father Wolf, swore revenge on them.Werewolf: The Forsaken is about playing one of the titular Forsaken — werewolves who threw away the closest thing they had to paradise millennia ago because they believed it could not be maintained. Their duty in life is to serve as "border patrol" to the Spirit World, keeping voracious spirits from riding humanity like toys. At the same time, they have to protect their territories and fend off the Pure, werewolves who view all Forsaken as murderers for their complicity in the death of Father Wolf. It's a hard, bloody, and usually short-lived experience... but someone has to do it.The various Splats of Werewolf are as follows:The Auspices: The inborn classification of the Forsaken, representing the phase of the moon under which each Werewolf endured his First Change, and the part in Werewolf society the werewolf is likely to play.
Rahu: Changed during the Full Moon, the Rahu are the warriors of the Forsaken. They possess powerful battlefield instincts, but also a deeply-felt sense of Purity which helps to hold these instincts (and their Rage) in check.
Cahalith: Changed during the Gibbous Moon, Cahalith werewolves are seers, teachers, and artists. They often experience prophetic dreams, and use those dreams to inspire the People. They seek to capture the Glory of the deeds of the Forsaken in their howls and songs.
Elodoth: Changed during the Half Moon, the Elodoth are judges and diplomats. They are given great insight and wisdom, which they use to arbitrate disagreements between the People and choose the way of Honor.
Ithaeur: Changed during the Crescent Moon, the Ithaeur are shamans, wise-men, and keepers of lore. They are gifted knowledge of the Shadow that few other of the Forsaken can grasp. They gather mystical rituals to aid their Packs, and show their Wisdom when dealing with spirits.
Irraka: Changed during the dark New Moon, Irraka are hunters, spies, and scouts. They perform duties which are subtle, yet necessary. They scout out dangerous territory, sabotage the enemies of a pack, and gather allies from unexpected areas. They use Cunning, rather than strength alone, to face challenges.
The Tribes: The chosen, sociopolitical Splats of the Werewolves. First, the Forsaken tribes.
Blood Talons: Also known as Suthar Anzuth, these warriors focus on the wild fury of the Forsaken. They seek Glory in all things, and vow to offer no surrender they would not accept. Followers of Fenris Wolf.
Bone Shadows: Also known as Hirfathra Hissu, these shamans study the Shadow and the Spirit, gathering the Wisdom of the spirit courts and swearing to pay each spirit in kind. Followers of Death Wolf.
Hunters in Darkness: also known as Meninna, members of this Tribe focus on protecting the wild and focusing on their animal natures. They vow to protect the sacred places of the world and reinforce the Purity of these areas. Followers of Black Wolf.
Iron Masters: Sometimes called Farsil Luhal, they blend into the human herd and learn from its ways. Their Cunning is great, and they wield mortal technology with clever skill. An Iron Master swears to honor his territory in all things. Followers of Red Wolf.
Storm Lords: Also called Iminir, the Storm Lords seek to rule the Forsaken in strength – or to ensure that others do so. They are bound by their Honor in all interactions, and swear to allow no others to see or tend to their weakness. Followers of Winter Wolf.
Next, the Pure Tribes: united by their cause, their lack of auspices, and their dedication to Purity.
Fire-Touched: Also known as Izidakh, the Fire-Touched are among the most religious of the Uratha, seeing the Pure cause as a holy quest from their totem, Rabid Wolf. They fill themselves with his Wisdom, and learn Gifts of faith and disease; they maintain a sacred law to let no false statement lie.
Ivory Claws: Also known as Tzuumfin, the Ivory Claws maintain their purest of bloodlines among humanity, free of all Forsaken taint; they alone do not accept Forsaken converts, and follow a series of rigorous codes to keep their purity. They closely follow their Honor and have unparalleled mastery of pain. Followers of Silver Wolf.
Predator Kings: Also known as Ninnah Farrakh, the Predator Kings reject human society in all its forms, wearing none of humanity's trappings and fighting vigorously for the return of the unspoiled wilderness of Pangaea. In doing so, they strive to earn great Glory. Followers of Dire Wolf.
Finally, and hated by all, are:
The Bale Hounds, or Asah Gadar who serve the Maeljin, spiritual personifications of sin and vice. They strive to open Wounds, subvert the Forsaken and the Pure from within, and bring the world under the control of the Meljin. They may or may not be the Ninth Tribe; if so they are sworn to Soulless Wolf.
Terminology, with translations: Every Werewolf (Character) experienced his First Change into a werewolf under one phase of the moon, determining his Auspice (race). Most werewolves choose to join a Tribe (class) of like-minded changers for instruction and support. Werewolves learn Gifts (spells) from spirits, and power them with spiritual Essence (Mana) Any given territory will only support one Pack (party) of Werewolves. Some Forsaken join a Lodge (Prestige Class) to support a goal or gain the patronage of a new spiritual totem or patron.While not officially a "limited cycle" like the later lines of Promethean: The Created, Changeling: The Lost and Hunter: The Vigil, Werewolf did have the fewest official sourcebooks of an "unlimited cycle" (like Vampire: The Requiem and Mage: The Awakening) released before White Wolf declared they were giving up traditional print for PDFs and print-on-delivery. The list of traditional print sourcebooks is...
Lodges — a mini-line of sourcebooks intended to present new "lodges", sort of Prestige Classes for Forsaken characters. Two were produced: The Faithful covers some basic new lodges, higher levels for the original lodges, and rules for creating lodges, while The Splintered focuses on lodges from non-American countries, such as Poland, Antarctica and Japan.
Hunting Grounds — another mini-line of sourcebooks, intended to cover specific areas as they apply to werewolves. Only one, focusing on the Rocky Mountains of Colorado (and simply called "The Rockies"), was produced.
Blasphemies — a sourcebook featuring alternate werewolf creation myths, human cults based around werewolves and the Shadow, and details on the Bale Hounds.
Blood of the Wolf — advanced player's guide and expanded information on the wolf-blooded and on werewolf physiology.
Lore of the Forsaken — a spirit magic and fetish sourcebook.
Predators — an antagonist sourcebook. Its follow up, part of the "Night Horrors" semi-universal mini-line, was the "Wolfsbane" sourcebook.
The Pure — the sourcebook for the Pure tribes.
The Rage — player's guide.
Signs of the Moon — the auspices splatbook.
Territories — territory designing splatbook.
Tribes of the Moon — a tribes splatbook.
War Against The Pure — outlines for mass combat between werewolves and other factions, as well as five alternate species of shapechangers and rules for building others.
Skinchangers — a variety of shapechanging adversaries, ranging from those possessed by spirits to those who use magical items taken from animals to stranger things altogether.
Changing Breeds — the much-loathed shapechangers sourcebook. Considered by many a reference to both the good and bad aspects of Werewolf: The Apocalypse; some like it for all of the new shapechanger types, others think that War Against The Pure and Skinchangers did the shapeshifter rules better, and others still dislike the Science Is Bad themes.
Shadows of the UK — a look at the United Kingdom in the World of Darkness, with a werewolf emphasis.
The PDF-only sourcebooks are...
Forsaken Chronicler's Guide — a variety of different takes on the game to use as the basis for chronicles.
Ready-Made PCs — a ready-to-use pack.
Storyteller Adventure System (SAS) modules — ready-to-go adventures. There are two Forsaken-specific: "Coyote Falls" and "Parlor Games".
Werewolf Translation Guide — two-way conversion between Forsaken and Apocalypse.
This game contains examples of:
Abnormal Ammo: Pretty much any bullet or arrow that has a spirit bound into it. Blood Talons and Iron Masters have also been known to create weapon fetishes out of guns with a couple of examples being given in Tribes of the Moon. One of which is a silenced submachine gun whose bullets turn into snakes and insects after hitting the target.
Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: The Oath of the Moon says "The People Shall Not Murder the People" and the core rulebook makes it clear that it's a sin against Harmony to kill another werewolf. This makes dealing with the Pure a little bit of a headache, since they outnumber the Forsaken and don't seem to give a shit about that little provision.
Arrested for Heroism: Want to play a good werewolf that protects ordinary humans from spirit incursions and keeps other potentially nasty supernaturals in their place? Good luck there, because as far as most humans, and especially those pesky hunters, are concerned you're still a monster.
Big, Badass Wolf: Beyond the obvious connotations, there's the Urshan form for werewolves. Likened at least once to the dire wolves of Earth's prehistory, a werewolf in Urshan form stands 3 to 5 feet at the shoulder and can be 6 to 8 feet long. For comparison, a regular wolf usually stands 2.5 feet at the shoulder and 3 to 5 feet in length.
Taken Up to Eleven with the Primal Form, the ultimate of Mother Luna's Gifts. The resultant monster wolf, described as "one part prehistoric beast and one part pure nightmare", stands as tall as Urshan is long and causes Lunacy as potently as the Gauru form does. A werewolf in this form is also more likely to slip into Death Rage.
Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Nidmuzug, from the War Against the Pure. They're human beings who can turn into either a swarm of five hundred plus 4-6 inch long cockroaches... or a human-sized and crudely anthromorphic cockroach. They're surprisingly pitiable creatures, because they didn't ask to be like this (all they did was eat a perfectly ordinary piece of food...but there had been another Nidmuzug within a mile or so, so it was tainted and turned them into more were-roaches) and they're still fairly human in terms of mentality—they don't even get the healing powers that all other shapechangers do. Their name translates as "the Unclean".
The Azlu as well. Giant Spiders who feed on human flesh and who assume humanoid forms by eating peoples' brains and absorbing their bodies. Not fun.
Big Eater: Uratha have greater appetites than most (partially because they're part-wolf, partially because of the metabolism required for their Healing Factor). As a result, four meals a day is normal for most of them.
Big Screwed-Up Family: Wolfblooded lineages are often like this, but Ivory Claw ones tend to be the biggest and screwiest.
Blood Knight: Blood Talons (their name is something of a hint). Exhibit A: they consider the hunter aspect of a werewolf's existence the most important part. Exhibit B: almost all of their rituals involve someone's ass getting kicked. Exhihibt C: their extra part of the Oath of the Moon forbids them from surrendering in a fight unless they would make the offer to their opponent in similar circumstances.
Bloodbath PC Origin: Very common angst-oriented origin story for both good and evil Werecreatures.
Blue and Orange Morality: Harmony is how in tune werewolves are with themselves. Since they're half human and half wolf-spirit, killing humans is no longer so important on the sin totem pole. Alongside the Sin-eaters, werewolves have the most alien Karma Meter in the New World of Darkness.
Bolivian Army Ending: Part of the horror of this game line is that werewolf packs rarely get a happy ending. The Uratha world is a cruel and ruthless one. As members grow older and weaker, a pack is commonly wiped out by its enemies (Spirits, Hosts, Pure Tribes, or even rival Uratha packs).
Les Collaborateurs: The Bale Hounds. They're a group of werewolves who, seeing how malevolent spirits are continually gaining ground, came to the conclusion that the world is naturally inclined to evil. And they want to be on the winning side. They became Maeljin cultists and act as The Mole among other tribes. For the record, both the Forsaken and the Pure loathe them with a burning passion, and with good reason...
Cover Blowing Superpower: Uratha have a subtle one in their Healing Factor. They can quickly heal from injuries and thus survive damage that would be fatal to a human. With enough time and willpower they can even regrow severed limbs. The problem is that this draws considerable suspicion if an Uratha is involved in some manner of accident and then turns out to not have a scratch on them. Also, because of said power werewolves have a much longer lifespan than humans. In theory, a werewolf could live forever if they got powerful enough and they don't start visibly aging until late in their life. According to the book, a werewolf basically looks in their late 20s to early 30s until they're about 75-80 years old. Again, this can be problematic if human authorities start looking into a werewolf's paperwork.
Crapsack World: Part of the horror of this game line comes from the fact that all Uratha are painfully aware that the spirits of anger, hate, and excess are more common and more powerful than spirits of love or joy.
And even if they find spirits of love and joy, there's a very good chance they've turned someone into a Stepford Smiler or a person who will never, ever leave their abusive spouse "because he means so well."
Not to mention that the wolves themselves are cut off from humanity and can easily lose their temper and kill everything within reach.
Cult Colony: The Pure are both an army and a cult, and they regularly make bunkers/forts in the deep Hisil.
The Lodge of the Lake. That is all.
Dark Is Not Evil: Bone Shadows have a pretty big fascination with death and actively practice a form of necromancy. Still they are on the good guys' side.
Dreaming of Things to Come: All Cahaliths have the innate talent of receiving visionary dreams straight from Luna herself. However, as Luna's mercurial as hell all the damn time, these dreams are often heavily cloaked in symbolism and metaphor.
Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: If silver touches a werewolf's blood, it burns them for aggravated damage and has a rare chance of messing up their Healing Factor. Also, it is possible to magically enhance the bullets.
Detect Evil: There are the abilities that allows your character to smell "Malice" (ie: hate, anger, jealous, ill intent) and "supernaturality" (ie: monsters, other werewolves, wizards).
Dual-World Gameplay: Player characters can easily sidestep between this world and the Spirit World. Any permanent-ish solution to the world's many woes usually needs things to be done on both sides of the Gauntlet.
Earn Your Title: Deed Names, game fluff that states werewolves who've attained deeds of great Renown will often take on a name to reflect it.
Eldritch Abomination: The idigam, spirit-things that are ancient, powerful, and mysterious—they appeared in the mid-twentieth century, and took over entire regions of the Shadow, turning them into twisted abominations. Oddly, unlike other spirits, the idigam don't have analogs in the physical world—in spirit terms, they have no natures of their own, which should be impossible. They've been hypothesised by fans to be linked to the Abyss, from Mage. The final books revealed that the idigam originated on Earth, but were banished and imprisoned on the moon by Father Wolf and Luna, until they managed to escape their prison in the wake of the moon landings.
Also magath, normal spirits who ate something so directly inimical to their natures—usually machine/nature spirits, but not always—that they are driven Ax-Crazy by their conflicting desires. At least normal spirits are predictable. For certain values of "predictable".
And then there are Maeljin, spirits that are revered by the Bale Hounds who've become twisted inwards to the point that they're just wrong. The Seven Deadly Sins are well-represented among them.
Fun fact about the Maeljin: they got mentioned in Inferno. You know what that book's about? Demons.
And then there are the primordial spirits from the back of Predators — not quite idigam, but very old and very dangerous. These include: a spirit that is completely invisible and very large; a toxic cloud of gas that even werewolves need environmental protection from; and a shapeless form that keeps finding new and disturbing ways to give birth to twisted, mutated children.
Emotion Eater: Some spirits embody emotional concepts. Mind you, being spirits, they don't have any idea of restraint; they just know that things like love, anger or sadness taste really good.
Enemy Mine: Both the Forsaken and the Pure hate the Bale Hounds with a passion and have been known to put aside their differences, temporarily, to deal with them. They're also both terrified of the idigam, and have worked together to defeat them as well.
Expy: One of the supplement books, Skinchangers, has a character in it called Shuichi Kurama; who is possessed by a fox-spirit named Yoko. The manga/anime series YuYu Hakusho has a fox demon named Yoko Kurama who was mortally wounded and took refuge in the womb of a pregnant woman, Shiori Minamino, and was reborn as her son, Shuichi Minamino. Even the description of Shuichi Kurama -long black hair, a pleasing face, a friendly demeanor, dresses in traditional clothes when he can get away with it and school uniforms when he can't- matches the one of Yoko Kurama in the manga (anime changed his hair color from black to red).
The Brineborn from War Against the Pure are basically shapeshifter expies of the Deep Ones. Only they aren't hostile towards humans as a rule and are, in fact, pretty pathetic. Their own legends say that Mother Ocean has forsaken them and they have no place amonst humanity, they can't get more than ten miles away from a large body of water without getting weaker and weaker, they can't swim for more than a couple of hours before having uncontrollable panic attacks, they can't even breathe water for longer than an hour or so even in their fishy forms.
All of the tribes are Expies of ones from Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Some are blatantly obvious: the Blood Talons are the Get of Fenris; the Iron Masters are the Glass Walkers with just a little of the Bone Gnawers tossed in; the Predator Kings are the Red Talons; and the Storm Lords are the Shadow Lords. Others are a little mix-and-match; for example, Bone Shadows combine aspects of the Silent Striders and Uktena.
Fantasy Contraception: There is a magical Rite that will render a werewolf sterile for one month. It's often used on female werewolves during risky times, as the fetus isn't protected by the shapeshifting process.
Fantastic Fragility: Werewolves can make traps for spirits but they always have to include a way out.
Fetus Terrible: If two werewolves have sex and bear a child, they produce an unihar, or ghost child. Once it bursts forth from its mother's womb, it takes off to the Spirit World, where it waits until it's powerful enough to return and wreak havoc on its parents. For extra fun, it's immune to werewolf Gifts, making an already powerful spirit even nastier.
From a Single Cell / Asteroids Monster: This is a distinctive ability of the Hosts, races of Puppeteer Parasites created from the shards of potent spirits slain by Father Wolf—kill an adult one, and its body dissolves into a swarm of the animal it represents, one of which contains its soul (and don't think you can get lucky by looking for it—they can Body Surf between their components). Let it get away, and eventually it will evolve back to its original power, and it's going to be pissed.
Fur Against Fang: Unlike it's predecessor, werewolves don't, as a whole, feel the need to exterminate vampires. That being said there are werewolves who make it their mission in life to wipe out the vampire population. Case in point, the Black Moon Extreme is a pack of young cubs who decided the best way to aid Denver was to hunt down vampires. While some pack members have good reason to hate vampires — and Denver has had a bad history with the bloodsuckers — the pack's alpha is basically just doing it for an ego trip and a lot of the other packs think they're posers who are going to do something hideously stupid one day.
Gadgeteer Genius: The Iron Masters have an affinity for Technology Gifts that, at the highest level, allow them to make just about any technological device out of the base materials. Like a circuit-board out of plastic and sand or a gun and ammunition out of scrap metal.
Genki Werewolf: There is an Iron Master lodge called the Lodge of Lightning whose members act like they consume nothing but caffeine and crystal meth—they do everything they can with everything they have, and most Uratha have a lot in the tank.
Glorified Sperm Donor: Werewolves aren't typically the most involved parents, given that they've often got duties that put them in the line of fire on a constant basis, a feeling about them that unsettles normal humans, and Rage that's constantly threatening to boil over.
Deconstructed in that werewolves themselves hate this fact — the average werewolf, having both human and lupine parental instincts, plus extremes of all emotions, not just rage, is very protective of his or her children. But between the dangers of their enemies and themselves, they just can't risk being around their kids. As older werewolves tend to instruct new parents; yeah, it hurts not being there for your children. But how much worse will it feel when some spirit or Pure bastard kills them to get to you? Or if you lose control and end up ripping their arms off? Children are so fragile, and werewolves lose control so easily...
God Save Us from the Queen!: The Pure believe that Luna slept with Father Wolf and birthed the Firstborn specifically to drain his power, so she could take over the world by proxy when they killed him. It didn't quite work out.
Grey and Gray Morality: Were the Forsaken right to kill Father Wolf, or was it a crime against nature? Are the Pure right to persecute the Forsaken, or are they cowardly bigots? It's actually pretty hard to tell.
Guile Hero: You read the description of the Irraka up there, yes? Also, the Iron Masters prize Cunning and their initiation rituals are usually designed to encourage applicants to think outside the box.
Haunted Technology: It is possible for spirits to possess machinery. Especially if the spirit in question was born from machinery.
Healing Factor: Werewolves have quite a potent healing ability, being able to recover from blunt trauma in a matter of seconds, and injuries like cuts, burns or bullet wounds as though they were bruises (Essence can be spent to make healing even faster).
Hopeless War: Part of the horror of the setting. The Forsaken are currently engaged in a three-front war with a lot of indications that they are losing. Their enemies are the Hosts, vicious half-spirit entities that want to either cut the spirit world off permanently (the Azlu) or rip its walls down (the Beshilu), the spirit world itself, and a faction of their race known as the Pure which views them as heretics. The Hosts are nigh-impossible to kill permanently. Nine out of ten spirits are more powerful than the strongest werewolf, and they tend to be extremely hostile towards living things. And the Pure collectively outnumber the Forsaken.
Horrifying Hero: This is pretty much self-explanatory; your characters are werewolves, one of the classic Hollywood monsters.
Hulking Out: Death Rage, you automatically transform into your "war form" and go on an unstoppable rampage. It's either triggered through pain or anger (and depending on your Karma Meter, that anger can range from "one of your packmates just got killed" to "someone smarted off to you").
Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Spirit Slayers introduced The Bear Lodge; an organization of American big game hunters that realized that werewolves are real and decided they would look good on the trophy wall. Interestingly, they sometimes will let a werewolf live, so long as it has not killed a human being. (It probably helps that werewolves, and their parts, revert to human form when they're killed.)
I Did What I Had to Do: How most Forsaken view the death of Father Wolf. If someone did not take Father Wolf's place, one of the nastier spirits might have killed him and caused all kinds of hell to break loose. It was a horrible thing, but it beat the hell out of the alternative—according to the Forsaken, anyway. Course, the Pure don't give a shit and still want them dead.
Also, this is what the Pure think about killing Forsaken in their war.
Sometimes a possessed human can't ever get his original personality back, leading to this trope.
Note that werewolves have no compunctions against killing humans if it's necessary, and no convenient memory erasure powers. As an example, in one game, an entire village had to be wiped out because "The Herd Must Not Know".
They have Lunacy on their side, which sends Primal Fear through all the nearby humans and makes them forget what scared them so much, but there are those who have enough willpower to resist or outright ignore Lunacy. They usually are the ones getting killed to uphold things.
Immune to Drugs: An extension of their Healing Factor makes them virtually immune to all manner of drugs and poisons. Many werewolves get very frustrated by this.
In the Blood: Werewolf-ness is inheritable. Also, exclusively how Ivory Claws add new recruits, which is why their tribe is by far the smallest of the Pure Tribes.
I'm a Humanitarian: Subverted. Human flesh is Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious to werewolves, and they can sometimes end up eating their victims after flying into Death Rage, but the Forsaken strictly avoid doing this. On the Werewolf Karma Meter, eating human flesh is a sin comparable to serial murder on the mortal Karma Meter. So is eating wolf flesh, for much the same reason, and eating other werewolves is even worse.
It's implied the Pure don't care too much about this rule, though.
There's actually at least two Lodges that tie into this. The Lodge of Wendigo teaches secret rites that are empowered by cannibalism, though they are actually not the Lodge's focus and most refuse to use them. The Lodge of the Feast, on the other hand, is devoted to giving werewolves an opportunity to savor the "forbidden feast". Needless to say, the Lodge of the Feast is strongly implied to be a Bale Hound front.
Karma Meter: Harmony, a measure of how well a werewolf balances his human and spirit halves. Notable among New World of Darkness games in that it emphasizes how different werewolves are from normal humans — for instance, killing humans isn't necessarily a sin, just killing them for no good reason.
Kryptonite Factor: To silver, of course. The Pure Tribes, however, have it a lot worse than the Forsaken. Forsaken just get dealt aggravated damage when wounded by a silver weapon; Pure can't even touch silver without getting hurt.
Loss of Identity: Hit Harmony 0 and the human half of your spirit decays entirely as some other type of spirit fills the gap, turning you into a zi'ir.
Lunacy: Each werewolf has his role in society determined by the phase of the moon (Auspice) when he first changes — full moons are warriors (Rahu), gibbous moons are bards and prophets (Cahalith), half moons are judges and arbiters (Elodoth), crescent moons are mystics (Ithaeur) and new moons are spies and tricksters (Irraka).
One weakness of the Pure Tribes is that they do not have Auspices, said to be because they refused to accept any guilt for Father Wolf's death and thus never got back on Luna's good side. They also actively hate Luna, and reject any association with her or her laws. One of the conditions for Forsaken uratha to defect to the Pure is to undergo a ritual which permanantly destroys their auspice.
Then there's the more traditional interpretation of "Lunacy": werewolves politely refer to their patron goddess as "Ever-Shifting Luna", and the reason no werewolf packs try to take a Lune as a totem is because continued exposure to the Lunes makes you crazy.
Lunacy is also the term werewolves used for the aura of spiritual power they have that drives humans who behold them crazy. It doesn't appear at all in human or wolf forms, but its potency is affected by which form the werewolf is in. Strangely, the near-human form is actually weaker in terms of its Lunacy aura than the near-wolf form, despite the fact the former looks more like the classic cinema "Wolf Man" type werewolf.
The near-man form can be rationalized as a really tall, disfigured human with the manliest beard on the planet, even up close. From far away, it's just a tall guy in (usually) a long coat and a big hat. Meanwhile, near-wolf is the size of a bear, can't really wear clothes, and has the shape and speed of the creature from An American Werewolf in London. Little harder to rationalize, so a bit more likely to scare the crap out of you.
Mad Oracle: Where Rabid Wolf's name comes from, according to the Fire-Touched. He was the most honest and wise of the Firstborn, according to the legends, but the knowledge of just how deceptive and short sighted the world is drove him beyond sanity. They also believe that it's impossible to possess both perfect clarity of thought and visions of the future at the same time—you need to be delirious to perceive the flow of fate or commune with Rabid Wolf. Fire-Touched oracles usually do this via self-inflicted torture and Disease Gifts.
Mad Scientist: Most idigam are some variation on this, what with their Baleful Polymorph ability and intelligent natures. Why do they do this? Actually a variety of reasons:
Magic Knight: Ithaeur may be shamans but they still have all a werewolf's physical prowess and they live in definite warrior culture.
Magic Pants: The shift from human to 900-pound killing machine usually destroys clothing utterly, but werewolves can learn a ritual known as the Rite of Dedication that allows clothing to become a part of their identity, causing it to change with them. Needless to say, it's often referred to as the "Rite of Pants".
Actually mechanically encouraged to be the rite of just pants, since dedicating an entire outfit doesn't bring things like your wallet and cell phone along, whereas if you dedicate a single item of clothing (e.g. pants) then whatever's in the pockets stays with you. So... lots of bare-chested hulk outfits going on there.
Mana: Called Essence here but otherwise the same thing.
Manipulative Bastard: The Storm Lords actually have an entire lodge dedicated to cultivating this particular mindset. It's called the Lodge of Crows and cunning is required for recruitment.
Marked Change: This happens every time a werewolf enters the Shadow, where they gain glowing silvers tattoos all over their bodies, called "Spirit Brands," which detail particularly heroic deeds that the werewolf has performed.
Masquerade: One of the basic laws of werewolf society: "The Herd Must Not Know". In addition, werewolves have the gift of Lunacy bestowed on them by Mother Luna — people who see them in their war form automatically go into a fearful panic, then forget what exactly it was they saw. Most of the time. There's a reason they have to consciously suppress their existence.
And then there's the Bale Hounds, who must uphold a masquerade even to other werewolves, lest they be lynched as soon as they blow their cover.
Meaningful Name: The children of Father Wolf, who also lead the tribes, have names that are a dead give-away to what they are or what they do.
Dire Wolf is a savage beast. Death Wolf is obsessed with the dead. The patron of the Bale Hounds tribe is named "Soulless Wolf".
The Dalu (wolf-man) form allows added strength while retaining human form, but still pings Lunacy a little.
The Gauru (monster two-legged wolf) form is the strongest, most damaging form, but can only be used for a limited time and is locked in a state of rage that makes any action but attacking something a failure.
The Urshul (dire wolf) form is fastest of all and quite strong, but will still ping Lunacy heavily.
The Urhan (wolf) form will blend in most easily in nature and could maybe pass for a wolfdog in urban environments.
Mysterious Antarctica: The aforementioned Lodge of the Lake was originally dedicated to keeping something locked in Lake Vostok. Then they found something that may be a Maeljin, went collectively nuts, and started alternating between refined salons and slaughtering whatever expeditions they find.
Nature Hero: The Hunters in Darkness tend to be like this.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The whole premise, in a way. Altough the Forsaken adopt a staunch I Did What I Had to Do stance about it, the fact still remains that they ruined Pangaea, killed their own father, sent a large part of their brethen into exile for NOT partaking in the murder, and apparently, the world has only got worse after that point...
The Nose Knows: Werewolves have supernaturally good tracking abilities and certain Rituals allow them to share an acquired scent between pack mates. Not to mention there are Gifts that allow them to smell things such as lies.
Nuke 'Em: Merciful Storytellers may not want to pick up the Spirit Slayers splatbook, advertised as suitable for both werewolves and hunters. Why? Task Force: VALKYRIE has a bomb that does in the spirit realm what a nuke does in the material world, intended specifically for use against werewolves and their spirit allies. And they intend to use it.
Of the People: Among the various names for the Uratha is "the People."
Older Than They Look: As werewolves have a strong Healing Factor, it's understandable that aging would be somewhat slowed. There's a vignette in one book meant to emphasize this - a werewolf who looks to be in her early 40s is called in for a polygraph test, and completely confuses the cops when she admits to being in her 70s and the test shows she's telling the truth.
Omniglot: There are three language-derived Gifts that range from instantly pick up the native language to understanding what anyone says, but you can't reply back.
Our Werewolves Are Different: They're part-human, part-wolf spirit. Their society is divided up into five major tribes, and the phase of the moon under which they change determines their basic role in society.
Also, they have four non-human forms, whereas most depictions of werewolves give them one or, at most, two. The Dalu (Near-Human) is the classic "wolf-man" of cinema (bigger, stronger, hairier, bestial features, fangs and claws). The Gauru (Wolf-Man) is the anthropomorphic wolf common to more modern depictions of werewolves. The Urshul (Near-Wolf) is a gargantuan, but otherwise mundane-looking, wolf. Finally, the Urhan is a standard run of the mill wolf.
Justified in that, well, the classic creature that completely loses control every month simply doesn't make for a sustainable or particularly fun player character. There is a Pure tribe (the predator kings) and an alternate ruleset in the core book for those that want to play a more straight mythological werewolf.
Also, none of those "classic" mythological tells for werewolves (long index finger, monobrow, hairy palms, etc) apply to real werewolves. At the very least, they're no more common for werewolves than they are for humans.
Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: One werewolf lodge, the Lodge of the Fallen Idol, is dedicated to bringing an end to all religions because they view them as the most dangerous and destructive of all human concepts. They began as a lodge for "alternative beliefs" in medieval Europe, but after Christian werewolves helped the inquisition kill off most of the members, the survivors regrouped, took a serpent spirit of truth as their totem, and vowed to bring down religion by any means neccessary. Their symbol is even a snake coiling around a shattered cross. That's not to say that they don't recognize the existence and power of powerful supernatural beings, like high Rank spirits and Archmages, they just don't believe anyone, humans especially, should be worshipping them. This may also be why they tend to focus primarily on human religions.
Out-of-Clothes Experience: When a werewolf physically enters the spirit world, they pretty much bring themselves and nothing else. This is another reason why the Rite of Dedication is useful, as it allows a werewolf's clothes to be interpreted as part of their "spiritual identity."
Plaguemaster: Some Fire-Touched are like this; even the ones who aren't masters of disease literally view faith as a metaphorical disease, in how easily it spreads. And every Izidakh is enthusiastic about spreading their faith as far as possible.
And then we have Beshilu Hosts, for whom spreading disease is their reason for existing, more or less.
Partial Transformation: Aside from their three hybrid animal-human forms werewolves can learn a gift that allows them to shapeshift one body part at a time.
Place of Power: Loci, which are bound up in spiritual importance and are where the border between Earth and the spirit world is a little bit thinner and Essence can be gathered.
Post-Modern Magik: The Iron Masters are all about this. Their driving ethos is blending with the Herd and learning from it, they favor Gift lists that allow them to command technology spirits, and their Lodges are dedicated to everything from "creating an online database of assembled Uratha lore" to "use the Internet to become Big Brother."
Power Perversion Potential: The "Call Human" rite. The sourcebook explicitly mentions in the rite's description that less-than-virtuous werewolves have used it to summon random humans to their location to rape them.
Reality Bleed: Verges; these are places where the spirit world bleeds into the real world.
Seven Deadly Sins: The Maeljin are powerful spirits that embody abstract concepts that twisted in upon themselves until they just became wrong. Needless to say, the Seven Deadlies are well represented. The other two who aren't of the Seven Sins are the spirits of Deceit and Destruction.
Shapeshifter Baggage: The devs actually tried to avoid this trope. Among the various points is the fact that Werewolves don't actually shift shapes... they swap shapes. Uratha meta-biology has all five of a Werewolf's forms existent at all times; one in the physical world, and four stored as spiritual energy templates in the Werewolf's aura. As a result, beings that can see Auras perceive Werewolf auras as being intensely bright and dense, with the light brightening or dimming based on the size of the physical form. That means the aura is brightest in Urhan (normal wolf) form, and dimmest in Gauru (Man Wolf Death machine).
Shock and Awe: One of the more powerful Gifts causes a lightning bolt to to strike your enemies.
Silver Bullet: Silver is precious to Luna, which means it turned against the Uratha when she cursed them. Silver makes the Forsaken's blood boil on contact, dealing aggravated damage. On top of that, in rare cases it turns their Healing Factor cancerous. They still get a better deal than the Pure, who never sought Luna's forgiveness; the Pure can't even touch silver without getting hurt.
Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Bone Shadows are known for making fetishes out of human bones, including skull masks and articles of clothing.
Spirit World: The Hisil (also known as the Shadow, or the Other). Given that it's the twisted reflection of the World of Darkness, it's not really surprising that it has more in common with Silent Hill than most. To give you an idea of the things that happen in there, mall-spirits lure other spirits and Werewolves into them. Where they are then devoured by the greater building spirit.
Rather like the mall in Reaper Man, actually.
To be specific, Silent Hill is a Verge keyed to the protagonist's emotional state. The normal town is in Twilight—unrelated to the terrible books, it's a different layer of the world that spirits exist in when they're not in Shadow—and the Verge opens up, taking the character into Shadow for the Otherworld.
Stealth Expert: Irraka specific gifts tend to focus on moving about unnoticed, not to mention there is another tree or two of stealth based gifts not unique to the New Moon Auspice. These can range from diverting people's attention to becoming a living shadow to out-and-out invisibility.
Stepford Suburbia: Night Horrors: Wolfsbane features a town where everything's nice and orderly, a little oasis in the midst of the Crapsack World. What made it so nice and orderly? Simple; several years ago, the town's spirit went completely power mad, ate everything nearby in the Shadow to become the only semi-sane magath in existence, and simultaneously Claimed the entire town. Stay too long and he'll happily add you to his roster.
Storyboard Body: A werewolf's Renown appears as silver brands on their body whenever they enter the Hisil.
Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: Uratha can regain Essence by eating the flesh of humans, wolves, or werewolves. However, as all three are extremely akin to them, that counts as cannibalism, meaning they need to make a Harmony check.
Superpowered Evil Side: Werewolves have two degrees of Rage. One where they have to kill something and another where they have to kill everything.
Superpowerful Genetics: Being a werewolf is a hereditary thing but that doesn't necessarily mean all children of werewolves will Change. The coupling between a Changed werewolf and the unchanged child of a werewolf (known as Wolf-Blooded) has a greater chance of producing a werewolf than a werewolf and an ordinary human.
Teleport Spam: Normally you are limited to crossing the Gauntlet to whenever your characters are near a locus. However, certain werewolves (Ithaeurs in particular) have access to Gifts that allow them to jump across at will and bring the rest of their pack along with them.
This Was His True Form: Werewolves revert to human when they die. This also applies to any severed limbs and spilled blood. Makes maintaining the Masquerade a whole lot easier.
Too Dumb to Live: Les Mysteries, introduced in the Spirit Slayers splatbook, actually allow spirits to possess them, which you should know is a very bad thing if you have been reading the rest of this page, on purpose and they deliberately pick fights with werewolves despite being mere humans. It gets better: they've figured out that one group of werewolves is out to wreck everything, and one group is generally better for humankind... except they have got the roles of the Forsaken and Pure reversed.
Took a Third Option: The Bale Hounds justify their throwing in with the Maeljin along these lines, as the other alternatives are to either try and restore Pangaea like the Pure or pursue balance like the Forsaken.
Transformation Is a Free Action: Actually averted as it usually takes an instant action (about three seconds) for a werewolf to change forms, leaving them open to attack in combat. However, they can spend one Essence to make the change instantaneous, and don't even have to spend the Essence if the moon's in the phase they first changed under.
Unstoppable Rage: When a werewolf enters war-form, he automatically goes into Rage; he fails all mental or social tasks, and must attack something. Then there's Death Rage, where the werewolf can't distinguish friend from foe and must attack everything.
Villainous Valor: The Blasphemies splat notes that the Bale Hounds actually regard the Forsaken as more of a threat, and as worth more inherent respect, than the Pure. The Pure are practically halfway towards fulfilling the same goals as the Bale Hounds — after all, the sheer amount of havoc that tearing the Gauntlet away and reuniting the two worlds would surely cause the whole world to be one giant Wound soon after — and the Bale Hounds look down upon them as childish. The Forsaken, however, have a genuine and reasonable goal, doomed to failure as it may be, and try to uphold it despite the fact that they're harassed on all sides by the Pure (who outnumber them roughly two to one) and spirits, while ignorant humans undo everything they do.
The Virus: Nope. You're born a latent werewolf or you don't become one at all. A pack that senses an Urathra-to-be will send a member to bite him or her, but that's for your and others' safety; during the First Change, a werewolf always goes a little Ax-Crazy, and the bite helps the trackers find said werewolf before they grow fur and claws, and thus safely restrain them or lead them away from somewhere they might do something they'll regret.
There is, however, a strange lycanthropy-like virus profiled in Night Horrors: Wolfsbane. It transmits primarily as an STD, and results in somewhat bestial features and heightened primal drives.
Warrior Poet: Cahaliths have bardic elements even if they're more regarded as prophets.
The three Pure tribes have ideologies that are outright mutually exclusive (for example the Fire-Touch are willing to accept converts from the Forsaken, which contradicts the Ivory Claws concept of purity, and they do not spurn modern technology and convenience like the Predator Kings). So despite outnumbering the Forsaken ten-to-one and theoretically placing their shared enmity toward the Tribes of the Moon high on their priority lists they rarely actually get anywhere so far as actual extermination goes.
The Forsaken themselves are not exactly well-oiled machines either and it's not unusual for Forsaken packs to get into turf wars despite technically being allies with a common cause.
Weather Controller: Storm Lords have a unqiue set of gifts designed around weather manipulation.
Weirdness Censor: Lunacy, one of Luna's little gifts, causes most humans upon seeing a werewolf in the hybrid form(s) to freak out hysterically and forget about what happened later. Emphasis on most humans, as there are exceptions to this rule.
We Have Reserves: The Fire Touched have a pretty damn big army, almost big enough to take on all the other tribes at once. Naturally, when they see something they want they have a tendency to throw manpower at it till they get it.
What Have I Become?: Pretty much required for the game play. The player character is bitten by a werewolf (this just helps the local pack track the newbie, it doesn't start the transformation) and one gruesome, painful transformation sequence later realizes they always had werewolf blood in them that was yearning to get out. Now all those bouts of extreme rage and murderous intent throughout their lives are starting to make sense.
Worthy Opponent: The Predator Kings's stance on the Forsaken, and the Blood Talons in particular. They don't hold Father Wolf against them (if they killed him, it was his time to die), and they honor anyone who can give them a good fight. But as long as the Forsaken are around, Pangaea's not, so the Forsaken have to die.
The Predator Kings are the exception. They aren't angry about Father Wolf—if you can't protect yourself, then you die, it's how nature works. What they're pissed about is that Pangaea was lost in the process. They used to rule Pangaea, and they want it back. The problem with that is that it can't just come back, the Spirit World and Human World are separate, and cramming them back together is gonna cause some serious problems even if its possible at all.
Zerg Rush: The Pure tribes outnumber the Forsaken roughly 2 to 1. The Fire-Touched in particular command a huge army of followers which makes the other tribes look tiny by comparison, so their default war tactic is to overwhelm their enemies with sheer numbers.
Zombie Advocate: The Talbot Group are Hunters who focus on trying to rehabilitate and cure spirit-ridden and werewolves. They resort to violence only as a last resort, and are generally one of the nicest people, though somewhat misinformed in their purpose. However, they don't seem to be aware that the Urathra can not be cured of being werewolves anymore than, say, Africans could be cured of having dark skin; werewolfism is a genetic trait.