The Garou are beings of both physical strength and spiritual depth. Created by (and in most cases fighting on the side of) a force known as Gaia, Garou are shapeshifters capable of changing their physical form at will to appear as humans (a form they call homid), wolves (lupus), or several intermediary mixed forms. There are: glabro; physically strong and brutish humans, crinos; the traditional wolf-man, and hispo; wolves of unnatural size and strength (Breeds). Unlike werewolves in most traditional folklore, Garou in Werewolf: The Apocalypse are neither mindless predators nor lunatics. Instead, they are depicted as defenders of Mother Earth and its Umbra (or spirit world).
The Garou's impact on the course of human history is undeniable. They took it on themselves to curb the widespread growth of the human race, hunting the humans when their Tribes grew too large. Millennia of this practice, known as the Interregnum, left deep psychic wounds which still have not healed completely (Delirium). Even now, humans have more trouble accepting the existence of werewolves and other shapeshifters than most other kinds of paranormals. It's not that no one believes there are such things hidden in the dark, but most humans are not capable of understanding that a Garou is a thinking, feeling person and not some kind of mindless monster. Even the most accepting of humans can react badly to seeing a Garou in Crinos form, or watching a human boy transform into a wolf.
Currently, there are more Garou than all other kinds of Bete taken together. The numbers are slowly changing, but for the time being, the loudest voice in the Bete Order is that of the Garou.
There are several legends about why the Garou have such vulnerability to silver. Some say it is a punishment from Luna after the first War of Rage, others say it is the natural consequence for having Rage. Regardless, silver is the bane of the Garou, and what's worse, most humans know it. Fortunately, not everything that is called silver is truly silver for the purposes of the Garou. An object has to be at least 75% silver before it causes negative effects in Garou. Also, note that a Garou in breed form does not take damage from silver, although he still loses Gnosis when carrying it. Even when in breed form, touching silver is unpleasant for the Garou, and wearing it for too long can cause normal allergic reactions such as a rash or greenish skin.
Silver causes the loss of Gnosis in Garou who are carrying or wearing a quantity of the substance. This is a reduction in Gnosis dice that can be rolled, not in total Gnosis score or amount of temporary Gnosis. This includes amounts "up to" those listed, so even 1 silver bullet has an effect. 5 silver bullets will cause the loss of 1 Gnosis, while 10 bullets will cause the loss of 2 Gnosis. A large knife or short sword will cause the loss of 1 Gnosis, while a larger blade will cause the loss of 2 Gnosis. A suit of silver armor will cause the loss of 5 Gnosis. If a member of the pack carries silver for more than a day, other members of the pack will lose Gnosis.
Silver damage cannot be soaked by Garou who are not in breed form, and causes aggravated damage. Garou wearing armor can soak with the armor, but any successful attack with a silver item will cause 1 level of aggravated damage, regardless of damage rolled. Merely touching silver when not in breed form will cause 1 aggravated damage for each round of contact.