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I’m a sucker for all things White Wolf. Something about the grittiness of the World of Darkness combined with the intrigue of all the paranormal creatures populating it just appeals to my black little heart. It calls to mind that crazy surge in popularity vampires and werewolves experienced in the 2000’s, which was a period of time near and dear to me.
White Wolf has two tabletop RPGs which you could easily call its flagship properties: Vampire: the Masqerade and Werewolf: the Apocalypse.
While both are certainly worthy of discussion, I’m going to be focusing on WtA today for a bit of fun. More specifically, I’m going to discuss the best Werewolf: the Apocalypse tribes.
What is Werewolf: the Apocalypse?
Unfortunately, Werewolf: the Apocalypse isn’t the most well-known game in the world. I’m not going to assume many other people are familiar with it, so I’ll take a moment to explain what it is.
Like Dungeons and Dragons, WtA is a tabletop roleplaying game. Players usually assume the roles of werewolves that are preparing to fight in the apocalypse.
It takes place in the World of Darkness universe, which is basically our own modern-day world. Technology runs rampant. Corporations rule all, pulling the strings on politicians and law enforcement alike.
The powerful magic of nature – of Gaia – is slowly and painfully dying, choked out by the chains of technology and pollution. Werewolves (called garou in the game) are pretty dang concerned about it.
Let’s talk tribes briefly, too. The werewolves are divided into fourteen different tribes, each with their own backstory and benefits.
They’re almost like classes in D&D. I won’t include all of them in this list, but maybe eventually I’ll do a write-up on each one individually.
Auspice (the moon phase your character was born under) further defines your character’s role. Depending on the moon phase, you might end up with something like a bard, mage, warrior, trickster, or judge. But again, that’s a subject which deserves its own post.
Werewolves aren’t the only changing breed you can play in the game, but they are the most common. The non-wolf changing breeds are called Fera, and include things such as werecats, weresharks, and even wereravens.
The Fera, although incredibly interesting, are not the subject of this post, though. Maybe I’ll talk about them more some other time.
Now that you have a very basic understanding of what Werewolf: the Apocalypse is, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this post. Before I actually share with you what I feel are the best tribes in the game, though, I want to give you a disclaimer.
First, this is purely my opinion. These are my personal favorite tribes for a combination of reasons.
Second, the criteria I’m using to narrow the list down to five tribes is the following:
- How fun the tribe is to play
- Its overall power level
- The intrigue of the tribe’s backstory and lore (which I’m calling flavor)
This one is pretty self-explanatory. What I mean by saying fun is how enjoyable it is to roleplay as a werewolf from a given tribe.
Again, this is entirely a matter of personal opinion. There’s a tribe for every playstyle out there, and some simply appeal to me more than others.
I tend to like to have room to get deeply philosophical or roleplay snarky jerks. I’m also a magic addict, so any tribe with a greater than average hint of mysticism to it usually gets my vote.
Overall Power Level
Ah, yes, the quality every competitive person or min/maxer is going to be most concerned about: power level. This refers to how strong the tribe can be in a given aspect.
That aspect, however, can vary. I’ve included at least one tribe on this list that will stand above the rest in terms of combat.
But that doesn’t mean the other tribes on my list are weak. There are other ways to be strong in the game, such as spiritually or socially.
This sort of ties into fun, but can also be its own subject. When I say flavor, I’m referring to the story of each tribe and what they’re like in general.
Some, for example, are known as fierce warriors. Others are known as peace-loving and accepting of everyone. Still others are famous for being rowdy storytellers, the life of the party.
There are quite a few different options to choose from, so the ones on this list mostly have a flavor to them that I enjoy more than others.
Top 5 Best Werewolf the Apocalypse Tribes (According to Us)
I like creepy stuff. When I create a character to roleplay, I unfailingly add some kind of horror element to their story just because that interests me.
So when I first played Werewolf: the Apocalypse, one of the most burning questions I had for our DM was, “can I make a character that can see dead people?” Yes, it is possible, and that creepy honor belongs to the Silent Striders tribe.
This tribe is the epitome of the cool lone wolf mentality. Because of a curse placed upon them by a powerful vampire long ago, they cannot settle down permanently anywhere. For that reason, they often function as messengers, wandering from place to place and sharing news with other werewolves.
- Intriguing flavor and backstory.
- If you’re into horror, you’ll love their ability to communicate with the dead.
- Perfect for players looking to explore the world.
- For werewolves, ancestry can be an important and spiritual connection to the past. Silent Striders can’t rely on their ancestry as much, because of their constant wandering and solitude.
- You can’t really stay in one place for long.
- Don’t forget: you’re actually cursed.
- This tribe is quite literally haunted by the dead, so be prepared to interact with them a lot if you play a Silent Strider.
I have a soft spot for Stargazers. When I first played WtA, I ended up choosing this tribe after much internal debate because I loved their backstory and they seemed to fit well with our campaign.
Star Gazers are the least populous tribe of all the garou. You can kind of think of them as the monks of the werewolf world, contemplative and aloof. In fact, many of them hail from far eastern lands.
While most werewolves don’t like interacting with other changing breeds, Stargazers are historically known for working with the Fera. Perhaps their greatest flaw is their introspective nature that often chains them to inaction when they should be leaping into the fray.
- You start with a high willpower as a Stargazer. This means it’s harder for you to succumb to blind werewolf rage.
- There’s the option to start with a gift called Iron Resolve, which means your willpower is even more immense. (That’s part of the reason this tribe can be popular with min/maxers.)
- Story-wise, this tribe makes more sense if your campaign will involve working with Fera.
- Roleplaying a Stargazer can be difficult because of their deeply spiritual nature.
- Stargazers are generally passive – others call them navel-gazers for a reason.
If you’re looking for a character that will have no problem going on a rampage, Black Furies are a solid tribe to pick. A tribe comprised almost solely of female werewolves, each one is a fierce warrior reminiscent of the goddess Artemis.
Black Furies seek to correct inequalities in the world that affect women. As you can imagine, this makes them a very feminist tribe. Their motif is to call out wrongdoing and to resist the overly authoritative rules of other tribes.
However, you’d be wrong if you assumed this means Black Furies hate all men. They still work together with their male relatives, lovers, and friends – they simply treat these men as equals, nothing more or less.
Note: Some players might ask why I didn’t include Get of Fenris on here if I wanted to have a warrior tribe. Get of Fenris is powerful in battle – make no mistake about that – but they have some troubling aspects to their background that made them unappealing to me.
- Fantastic tribe for those looking to play a warrior-type character, as Black Furies often specialize in brawl and melee skills.
- Their stance on equality sets them apart from other tribes.
- More inclusive of all ethnicities than many other tribes, which gives you a little more leeway for customizing your character.
- Playing as a Black Fury means that, with some very rare exceptions, you can’t really create a male character. If gender is important to you, this could be a dealbreaker.
- Depending on which moon phase you choose for your character, resisting giving into rage could become a problem for your Black Fury in the future.
Almost every single party in Dungeons and Dragons includes a good bard. This person is usually witty, crazy, or outgoing – possibly even all of the above.
If that’s the kind of character you’re interested in playing, look no further than the Fianna. This tribe knows how to party hard, and their mentality is pretty much literally YOLO.
Of course, they’re also generally Celtic in heritage. Their rich storytelling and fun-loving mannerisms are pretty par for the course with some Irish stereotypes.
This is also a good tribe to go with if you’re just interested in the lore of the game. Fianna are often welcome at werewolf celebrations, prized for their knowledge of the history of all tribes – not just their own.
- This is the choice for anyone looking to play a bard-like character. (Most Fianna are heavily encouraged to put some points into their Performance skill.)
- Great for anyone who wants to dig deep into werewolf history in-game.
- Unlike most other tribes, they’re not restricted at all in what backgrounds they can choose from.
- Perfect as a persuasive “face” character for a party.
- While it’s far from impossible, it’s generally more encouraged to build a socialite Fianna more than a warrior or mystic one. This can make you feel like you’re being pigeonholed a little during character creation.
For some reason, when I think of the Glass Walkers, I imagine some Neo-like character in The Matrix: black-clad, cool as a cucumber, and adept at manipulating technology.
I guess when you compare them with other tribes, Glass Walkers are more like that than anyone else. Werewolves generally eschew technology entirely or barely tolerate it as a necessary evil. Glass Walkers, on the other hand, are all up in that stuff.
This tribe has a history of taking up the latest tech. So if your goal is to play a weird combination of hacker and werewolf, you should definitely go with a Glass Walker. They blend into the modern era much better than any of the other tribes.
Their wizard-like abilities with technology do have a price, though. Many other werewolves look on Glass Walkers with scorn, accusing the tribe of abandoning their garou roots.
- Better with using modern technology than any other tribe.
- They can blend into a crowd way more easily, making them perfect for interacting with humans.
- Their modern mentality makes them a bit easier to roleplay for beginners.
- There are some restrictions on what kinds of backgrounds you can choose, as Glass Walkers don’t care about ancestry or tradition.
- Other tribes may look down on your character in-game.
There you have it – my list of what I feel are the best tribes in Werewolf: the Apocalypse. So which one would I choose if I had to pick only one?
The first time I played, I went with a Stargazer. I was drawn to their flawless calm. Werewolves all have a stat called Rage, which is how easily they give into their primal anger.
Stargazers, however, can control their Rage much better than other tribes. That’s what I liked about them the most.
But if I were to make a character now, I think I’d go with a Silent Strider. For me, it’s all about the flavor and roleplaying…and I kind of like the idea of playing a cursed medium.
Which tribe would you pick? Would it be one I didn’t put on the list? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.