These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Discussed within Book of the Weaver where the designers point out that no, they don't go around preaching how we'd be better off living in caves - they're merely telling a story in which two of the three most powerful supernatural entities have gone mad (and the third was never all that sane to begin with) and a self-destructive civilization is one of the results. To create a Crapsack World setting, of course they're going to focus on the bad stuff.
Played straight in the Pentex splat where it has been stated that there's quite a few things in the book that are barely exaggerated and merely given a spiritual background for the real-world corruption that already exists in the name of the Bottom Line.
The Gaia-aligned factions in the game don't necessarily agree on whether human civilization is positive, neutral, or negative. For example, the Red Talon Garou and Ratkin blame human civilization for everything that's wrong with the world. The Glass Walkers, Bone Gnawers, and other city-dwelling shape-changers embrace a more positive outlook on civilization.
Book of the City is ambiguous on the subject. Several Gaia Garou describe cities as snares, "hellish dead places", and playgrounds for the Weaver and Wyrm. One Uktena even describes them as "scabs on the Mother's body made by the parasite Man whom the Wyrm infects". Other Garou depict cities in a more neutral light, likening them to battlefields, obstacle courses, and magnifiers of whatever is in humans' hearts. Some Gaia Garou describe them in glowing terms, describing them as living systems, collections of tools, or beautiful and ever-evolving abodes.
Broken Aesop: The overall messages of the game — that people should protect the natural world and question the more destructive aspects of civilization — are noble. However, in-game history indicates that ancient humans lived meagre lives and suffered oppression under the Garou before they cultivated civilization. To boot, human life isn't intrinsically valuable to some Gaia-aligned factions, or arguably to Gaia herself, so abandoning civilization and getting back to Gaia might not be a good things for WTA humanity.
The game is intended to raise awareness about environmental harm, corporate corruption, and other social issues. In-game, however, these problems spring from a mad triat and cosmic imbalances that the characters are unlikely to impact. In other words, the game's backstory suggests that taking any action against such problems will only have a small impact at best, and that large-scale change is impossible.
Fanon Discontinuity: Several books are considered this for one reason or another, but the revised Children of Gaia Tribebook especially. The revised Black Fury tribebook, for instance, abandoned many of the feminist themes of the original tribebook — in other words, throwing out what made the Black Furies appealing in the first place.
Hilarious in Hindsight: Granted, it is appropriate, but the Changing Breeds supplement has one such moment. A werehyena (who are at war with the werelions) stating that they should get back to what matters—"killing Simba".
Also, read the Galliard chapter of Book of Auspices. The debate between Samir the Jackal and Malcolm Night-Smile is thick with Ho Yay.
And it doesn't stop there. The narrator of the Ahroun chapter (a Get of Fenris writing it just after World War II, no less) takes a look at all the various romantic possibilities for high-Rage Garou and admits that same-sex loving between two Garou is probably the best option one can get while technically not breaking the Litany.
They still don't hold a candle to the Nuwisha, who have a high level gift called "Teasing Mate", which their Tribe book specifically says is for attracting lovers of the same gender. That's right, they have an actual Gift for getting some gay lovin'.
Shout-Out: In the Gurahl breed book, a Wyrm-corrupted Werebear attacks two campers: one wearing a UCLA jacket and a Chicago Bears sweatshirt. The other is wearing a Prophecy: The Horror Movie shirt. Prophecy is about a pollution-mutated bear attacking people in the wilderness.
A narrator/character in the Black Fury book tries explaining its Hecate Sisters-styled caste system through the use of the Norse dieties Urd, Verthandi, and Skaldi. The narrator/character is surprised that the person being educated knows of them—and how.
"Mother, maiden, and Crone. Ah, you're familiar with the concept; yes, it's like Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, or if you prefer, Urd, Skuld, and Verdanda. I'm glad they still teach the classics in public schools—eh? A comicbook? Well, I'll be."
A Nuwisha offers the following line when asked of the Rokea (were-sharks) in the 20th Anniversary-edition book:
In the revised Black Fury tribebook, one of the character templates is a middle-aged philodox holding a labyrs axe. She bears an uncanny resemblance to feminist author Mary Daly, who wields a labyrs on the cover of her 1999 bookQuintessence.
Tear Jerker: In a game rife with cosmic tragedy and horror, sometimes it's the little personal tragedies that hit the hardest. One of the sample characters in the 2nd Ed. Red Talons tribebook is a metis with the Hairless deformity. The character's one-and-only listed possession is a nature magazine full of photos of wolves with beautiful, glossy coats.
Unfortunate Implications: Did you read the tribe descriptions? Werewolf might as well be called Ethnic Stereotypes: The Game. Some of those stereotypes perpetuated in the short descriptions are ameliorated in the tribe books, others are extended.
The Warriors of the Apocalypse character book isn't terribly enlightened on LGBTQ issues. Most of the characters stated or strongly implied to be gay, bisexual, or transgender are Wyrm servants (see Zhyzhak, Tsannik, Latonia). Other books are generally better about this, with homosexuality repeatedly being discussed in a neutral-to-benign way when it comes to sex with other werewolves.
The Pure Breed background creates some unfortunate implications about supposed racial "purity". While the notion that pedigree alone does not qualify for leadership is a major theme in the conflict of the Silver Fangs versus the modern tribes, the background trait still mechanically affects everyone.
The Garou worldview bears an uncomfortable resemblance to real-life extremist psychology. Apocalyptic rhetoric? Check. Propensity for violence? Check. Seeing opponents as irredeemably evil? Check. Obsession with purity (i.e., cleansing Wyrm-taint, pure breed)? Check. However, the Garou are justified in this thinking because of the nature of the Wyrm, so the authors might have given them an extremist mindset to stress that the setting is a crapsack world. It's also strongly noted that adhering to said worldview with ironclad determination has resulted in the Garou shooting themselves in the feet several times over, and the Glass Walkers tribebook points out that, when you get down to it, some Garou do act like terrorists.
There's probably something to be said that the most prominent NPC for the Wendigo - the Badass Native tribe that's somewhat justifiably angry at Western expansionism and manifest destiny - is Evan Heals-the-Past, a 1/16th native (that is, mainly white) who tells the rest of his tribe that they need to stop being so angry. It's somewhat justified, as the Apocalypse ranks a fair bit higher priority-wise, but it doesn't quite pass the smell test.
The game abounds with brazen social Darwinist themes resting on the "appeal to nature" fallacy. For example, Gaia created the Ratkin and Ajaba specifically to cull humans. Also, Book of the Weaver states that modern medicine allows otherwise flawed, weak humans to survive, thereby weakening the human gene pool.
Antonine Teardrop: "Millions of people also can only survive through the intervention of modern medicine and its attendant technology; people who, even a mere century ago, would not have lived past early childhood are now living to ripe old ages. From the human point of view, of course, all this is for the best. After all, very few people wish to see their children or other loved ones die of conditions that are, in the modern age, preventable or curable, Darwin be damned. On the other hand, genetic problems that would otherwise be weeded out are instead propagated throughout the human population, weakening the species in general and making humans even more dependent on science and technology for their continued survival ... I realize that this is a disturbing point for me to argue; truly, I must sound almost like a Get or Shadow Lord when I talk about the deterioration of the human stock. But it is a real issue..."
Wangst: Subverted. Oh, werewolves (and others werepeople) have ample reasons for sorrow and despair, but they're certainly not supposed to spend their time Wangsting when the world burns around them. In fact, losing one's will to act and succumbing to Wangst is an actual werewolf-specific psychical disorder in this game (and a pretty serious one).