From the Introduction:
Those of you holding this book in your hands probably need no introduction to Werewolf: The Apocalypse. You already know the savage horror and the joyous exultation of Rage. You know the tragedy of a warrior-people who turned on their own, and the one last hope that still burns as long as their hearts possess the will to fight. You know the glory of a struggle against a god of Entropy and Corruption, and the triumph of delivering just one small mortal soul. You know the pain of a world and the beauty of the spirit.
This book is for you. Werewolf: The Apocalypse - 20th Anniversary Edition. The Prophecy of Phoenix will be fulfilled.
The Nature of the Beast
Twenty years ago, a game about werewolves hit the shelves like a hammer. Nobody knew quite what to expect. Vampire: The Masquerade had alluded to werewolves - we knew they were out there, that they were terrifyingly strong, and that they hated vampires. And of course, we knew what to expect from werewolf movies: creatures that went mad by the light of the full moon. But there had to be more to it than that, right?
And there was. There was so much more.
Where the vampires gathered in clans, the werewolves had tribes. They were born of humans or wolves, or neither. And although they were every inch the physically powerful, terrifying monsters we'd expected, they were also incredibly spiritual. Werewolf opened up an entirely new facet of the World of Darkness: the spirit world. They still hated vampires, but they were defined by an entirely new struggle, a battle against cosmic horror that incorporated a commentary on the horrible things humans do to one another and the world we live on. We even learned a new name for these creatures - the Garou.
Twenty years have passed since Werewolf: The Apocalypse came clawing its way into the world. To this day, it's still hard to find many games like it. Werewolf is a game with a laser-precise focus, mixed with and almost contradicted by a remarkable mélange of components. It can keep a narrow, precise course of the story of a pack or sept's war against the Wyrm, or it can branch out into stories of politics, tragedy, spirituality, history, ecology - the entirety of human experience and far, far beyond. No matter what you're interested in as a Storyteller or a player, it can be relevant to the struggle of the Garou.
How to Use This Book
While this book doesn't include everything from the game line's entire run, it is intended to be close enough to comprehensive that it covers all areas of the game at least a little bit. The organization is as follows:
Chapter One: A World of Darkness describes the overall setting as well as the basics of the Garou Nation and their struggle.
Chapter Two: The Garou elaborates on the breeds, auspices and tribes that define what it is to be a werewolf.
Chapter Three: Character and Traits details character creation and the Traits that define a werewolf character.
Chapter Four: Gifts, Rites, and Fetishes covers the many spiritual powers that give the Garou a potent edge.
Chapter Five: Rules provides the basic resolution systems for the game.
Chapter Six: Systems and Drama elaborates on those basics, providing more detailed subsystems to handle more complicated elements of gameplay such as combat.
Chapter Seven: The Spirit World explores the Umbra, the hidden side of the world.
Chapter Eight: Storytelling is a collection of advice and techniques for Storytellers, useful in preparing and running engaging chronicles in the world of Werewolf.
Chapter Nine: Allies details those that are on the same side of the war as the Garou, such as spirits, Kinfolk, and the other Changing Breeds. It also provides a look at the Lost Tribes.
Conversely, Chapter Ten: Enemies is a rogue's gallery of the worst enemies the Garou face, servants of the Wyrm, Weaver, and beyond.
Finally, the Appendix adds miscellaneous optional rules and details of sub-factions such as tribal camps.