A Tribe is a group of Uratha who take as a totem one of the Firstborn, the powerful wolf spirits who were among the original children of Father Wolf. Each Tribe promotes their patron's attitude to or agenda behind the hunt, with a focus on "What you Hunt" in the Siskur-Dah.
While packs are the primary social unit among werewolves, tribes are the most widespread unit of broader organisation. There are eight tribes: three among the Pure, and five among the Forsaken, also known as the "Tribes of the Moon". (Uratha lore suggests there may be other Firstborn beyond the eight who grant patronage to the known tribes, though it is unknown if they too have followers.) Membership in a tribe denotes membership in one of these groups, and the majority of werewolves join one.
The ideals and beliefs of each totem are fairly broad, allowing for great variety in their followers, and consequently Uratha may not feel close kinship with other members of their tribe. Some, however, join Lodges, groups within Forsaken society for Uratha with very specific agendas. Most lodges are sub-groups within particular tribes, though some transcend tribe boundaries. Members must usually pass some form of strict initiation, but membership provides benefits which help the Uratha fulfil the lodge's goals. This generally includes easier access to additional Gifts, but may also be anything from specialised training or knowledge (in the form of bonuses to traits) to patronage from a spirit in addition to the Uratha's tribal totem.
Uratha who belong to no tribe are known as Ghost Wolves (Thihirtha Numen) and generally do not belong to the Pure or the Forsaken, though they most often sympathise with the latter. Ghost Wolves deliberately distance themselves from Uratha society, and suffer considerable stigma for their iconoclasm.
The Bale Hounds are not a tribe, as they do not share a single common patron, and in any case do not follow the teachings of a totem.
The Tribes of the Moon
The Forsaken have five tribes, known as the Tribes of the Moon:
- Blood Talons (Suthar Anzuth) - the tribe of Fenris Wolf, who promotes the warrior and wolf aspects of the Uratha. Their chosen prey is other werewolves, often but not always the Pure Tribes.
- Bone Shadows (Hirfathra Hissu) - occultists who seek to restore relations with the Spirit Courts with the guidance of their patron, Death Wolf. Their chosen prey is spirits that do not remain in the Shadow.
- Hunters in Darkness (Meninna) - protectors of loci, the spiritual centres of the world. Black Wolf is their totem. Their chosen prey is the Hosts, mockeries of flesh and spirit.
- Iron Masters (Farsil Luhal) - this tribe, following the teachings of Red Wolf, embrace change and new ideas. They are closer to humanity, keeping up with technology and taking cities for their territory. Their chosen prey is humanity, including its groups and institutions.
- Storm Lords (Iminir) - the tribe of Winter Wolf seeks to lead all Uratha through strength and noble example. Their chosen prey are the Spirit-Urged and Spirit-Claimed.
The Pure Tribes
The Pure Tribes, with their First Tongue names in parentheses, are:
- Fire-Touched (Izidakh) - fanatical followers of Rabid Wolf, the spiritual leaders of the Pure, who hold that all Forsaken are irrevocably evil and that their taint may only be cleansed by fire.
- Iron Claws (Tzuumfin) - obsessed with purity, the followers of Silver Wolf are cold and calculating planners and schemers. Only those of the purest bloodlines are allowed to join.
- Predator Kings (Ninna Farakh) - these savage hunters hate the Forsaken not for killing Father Wolf, but for losing them the hunter's paradise of Pangaea. Like their patron Dire Wolf (the oldest Firstborn), they live for the hunt above all else.