As a whole, the Garou Nation follow a set of rules called the Litany as listed here. Adherence to the litany ranges between individuals and tribes from strict obedience to simple lip service.
Because of the deformities and psychoses displayed by metis werewolves (and the age-old prejudice correspondingly levied against metis), Garou are forbidden to mate with their own kind. Werewolves must instead seek mates around either human or wolf society. This tenet embodies one of the great Garou tragedies; Moon Dancers often move audiences to tears with ballads of Garou who fell in love and could not express their passion - or who did and were torn to pieces by their outraged tribe. The existence of the Metis, however, is evidence that this law is all too often broken. There are those amongst the Garou Nation (particularly the Ragabash) who argue that, in the age of the Apocalypse this tenet should be lifted, as the Garou could swell their numbers quickly by adding large numbers of Metis to their ranks.
The Garou were spawned, say the Galliards, to fight the Wyrm, and much of their history comprises battles between their heroes and the Wyrm's minions. Most Garou pay at least lip service to this tradition.
The practice of this portion of the Litany has changed over the last few centuries; humans have spread to the extent that urinating one's territorial marking has become impractical. Instead, a Garou visitor or immigrant must first ask permission by singing the Howl of Introduction, reciting name, sept, lineage, totem and tribe. Some septs, particularly those of the Glass Walkers, also accept phone calls or even e-mails, as howling in a city may be considered a breach of the Veil.
The Garou realize that they are a dwindling race and that intraspecies duels commonly occur. Realizing that continuous battles to the death would only advance the Wyrm's cause the Children of Gaia and Fianna incorporated this element into the Litany. In theory, a Garou combatant may end a duel by exposing her throat or presenting some other sign of formal surrender; the opponent is honor-bound to accept the surrender. The loser suffers no reduction in Renown for surrendering, although the winner may certainly gain Renown for winning.
Garou's wolf nature practically enforces a hierarchical structure within their society. Thus the Garou have implemented the concepts of Renown and Rank. Within reason, any request by a Garou of higher Rank is to be obeyed.
This portion of the Litany is much favored by the Garou elders, as well as such tribes as the Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords; it is grudgingly acquiesced to by the rest. The "kill clause" also applies to the spoils of war - thus, in theory, the prey's most powerful fetishes and the like may be garnered by the Garou with the highest renown. Wise elders are cautious with this tenet; a "great and powerful elder" who has claimed the greatest share of the kill to the exclusion of those who follow him may find that their followers reason that such a great Garou must not need the aid of his lessers.
This portion of the Litany was first sung in the post-Impergium days; the Stargazers are believed to be responsible for its insertion. They noticed that Garou who routinely consumed human flesh often grew Wyrm-tainted; furthermore, cannibals had a hard time stalking and killing more challenging prey, such as woolly rhinos or Banes. Additionally, in these modern times, this rules serves a function similar to the "kosher" laws of the Hebrews; modern humans' chemical-laden diet makes their flesh bitter and unhealthy. The Red Talons and most other lupus Garou despise this tenet, particularly because it does not include a prohibition on the consumption of wolf-flesh. Most septs recognize that, while the consumption of wolf-flesh is not specifically outlawed in the litany, the spirit of this tenet prohibits such cannibalism as well.
Garou tend to think of themselves in communal terms, and they thus realize that most creatures have some sort of contribution to make toward the whole. When all is said and done, Garou were created to be the world's protectors. The chivalric ideal is much in vogue among some septs, and Garou who display a great deal of noblesse oblige may get Renown. This tenet also softens the edge of the fifth and sixth tenets.
This tenet was instituted after the Inquisition of the medieval and renaissance periods wreaked havoc upon the Garou population. This is perhaps the most inviolate portion of the Litany. There is no "reality" here - Garou are aware that both the Wyrm and the Inquisition hunt for them. Garou who disobey this edict die at the claws of their brethren. With the Delirium covering their actions, however, many Garou feel that it is difficult to breach the veil at all, and, in the case of Frenzy, breaches of the veil are sometimes unavoidable. This is yet another reason Garou often avoid cities; cities not only offer more provocation to frenzy (claustrophobia, surprise, street crime, frustration, etc.) but then a frenzy within a city will almost certainly be witnessed by humans.
In ancient days, an injured, infirm or aged Garou was simply torn to pieces by his peers. As time went on, however, it came to be considered more dignified to let such a Garou end his own life. In the age of Apocalypse, this tenet is softened; aged or infirm Garou who are still sound of mind are often allowed to survive and mentor younger Garou.
Though Garou are known for their pack mentality, this does not mean they must slavishly obey their leaders. If no immediate threat is pending, any Garou of sufficient standing may challenge another's position of leadership. A contest of some sort is usually staged. If the challenger wins, he assumes the mantle of leadership; if he loses, he must accept the leader's dictates with good grace.
Certain creatures of the Wyrm are monstrous in size and power, and no one Garou can best them. Pack tactics are vital to the Garou's success against such creatures, and obedience is vital to successful pack tactics. In battle, the word of the leader is immutable law. A Garou who disobeys a superior will be punished as soon as circumstances permit, assuming that the Garou in question and those he disobeyed survive the encounter.
Like the preceding clause about the Veil, this rule is fairly ironclad. The caerns are Gaia's lifeblood and if they are destroyed, the Garou will cease to exist. Even a Garou who accidentally leads an enemy to a caern is often severely punished. Even the most Ragabash cannot bring themselves to actively oppose this tenet.