While Lestat-loving role-playing gamers of the ‘90s were busy playing White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade, gamers who craved action were busy playing Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Much like vampires and their clans, these werewolves were divided into tribes, each with its own powers, goals, and issues. Here they all are, ranked from best to worst.
1) Get of Fenris
More than any other White Wolf game—more than almost any other RPG ever, really—Werewolf: The Apocalypse is about combat. Even the weakest werewolves are horrifying murder machines, who could tear most vampires apart like a dinner croissant in a single turn. The Get of Fenris are effectively the fighter class of this RPG, with virtually all their werewolf powers devited to killing things more efficiently and more violently. This meant not only were they most powerful at the game’s primary play mode, they were also terrifyingly strong—strong enough to take on the many, many other werewolf-hating monsters that populate the game.
2) Glass Walkers
This may be a controversial pick. Because while all werewolves are basically hippy, nature-loving warriors for Gaea, who hate humans for our world-polluting ways, Glass Walkers are the exception. They’ve embraced humanity, to the point where they happily live inside cities, own computers, hold down jobs, etc. Technically, they’re supposed to be working inside the human system to bring it down the evil Wyrm (the nebulous entity that is corrupting the world, a.ka. Gaia), but most Glass Walkers are really just fans of sleeping in comfortable beds, in rooms with central air. Anyway, in a role-playing game where 93% or so of the characters hate cities, technology, computers, and every other aspect of modern society, having a Glass Walker in the group, offering his/her resources—like a car, and/or access to the internet—is almost essential to accomplishing anything.
3) Silent Striders
In this RPG, the Werewolves are fighting to keep the evil forces of the Wyrm from corrupting the planet and kicking off the apocalypse. Besides the whole “turning-into-a-wolf-or-a-man-or-a-wolf-man” powers, many werewolves gain other mystical powers from accessing the spirit world, called the Umbra. Almost like wizards or mages, the Silent Striders have spent their time studying the Umbra—thus learning bizarre, unique powers that no other werewolves have, but also turning them into spooky, self-absorbed drifters. The most powerful Silent Striders can do crazy stuff, like travel through mirrors, make themselves huge, and more, so they always make a unique contribution to any game of Werewolf.
4) Red Talons
The Red Talons are almost the complete opposite of Glass Walkers; not only do they loathe humanity, they’re almost always wolves, with the ability to turn human (as opposed to the other way around). In fact they dislike humans so much, they absolutely hate being in human form, and avoid it whenever possible. While some Red Talons are happy to murder any human they see (and feel they can get away with), most are a bit more reasonable, which is usually how they get worked into campaigns. If you can manage to create one of these guys, they often bring a fascinating character conflict to any group. Also, they especially hate the bejeezus out of vampires, and that’s always fun.
One of two Native American tribes of werewolves, the Wendigo have a chip on their fuzzy shoulders about Europeans colonizing their way onto the continent and bringing the taint of the Wyrm along with them (this distrust actually extends to European-based werewolf tribes, as well). However, most Wendigo agree that the Wyrm is a bigger threat than white people, and choose to focus on that… for now. The Wendigo are great fighters, but also have impressive stealth ability, which basically makes them werewolf ninjas. This is not even slightly a bad thing in this game.
6) Black Furies
The Black Furies are excellent fighters, if not quite as excellent as the Get of Fenris; on the other hand, they aren’t quite as homicidally violent as the Get of Fenris, either, which usually makes them better for the role-playing aspects of the game. The Black Furies are also an all-female tribe of werewolves, who claim to be descended from Amazons, but who—despite the beliefs of both werewolves and real-life Apocalypse players—aren’t man-haters, so much as women-supporters. They do, however, tend to murder most of the male babies born to them, so that limits their game-play value in a few ways, unfortunately.
7) Silver Fangs
In my ranking of Vampire: The Masquerade clans, I put the Ventrue at #1, because they’re the nobility of the vampire world. Similarly, the Silver Fangs are the nobility of the werewolf world—so why are they ranked so low? Mainly because there’s not much of a werewolf political arena. Sure, every few centuries, the heads of the clans may get together and decree a few things, but mainly werewolves hang out by themselves or in small packs. There’s not much for Silver Fangs to do. However, this may be for the best, because for some reason White Wolf decided that the Silver Fangs were also hopelessly inbred, not only weakening them physically, but often making them varying degrees of insane. Stil, if you basically want to play a chaotic neutral werewolf, the Silver Fangs have got you covered.