Unlike other Backgrounds, this Trait applies to the character's pack rather than the individual. The members of the pack pool the points invested in this Trait to determine the totem's power.

Each totem has a Background cost rating; the pack must spend that amount to ally with that totem. Some totems are willing to lend great powers to their adherents; their point costs are correspondingly greater. Regardless of how many points the initial totem costs, all beginning totems have a base of ten points to divide among Rage, Willpower and Gnosis (one goes to each of those by default) and ten power. The totem also begins with the Airt Sense and Re-Form Charms. Apart from bestowing power, totems are somewhat aloof from the pack, and they have little influence among spirits (unless the players buy a closer connection is bought with Background points).

Most of the powers totems bestow are usually available to only one pack member at a time. At the end of each turn, the Garou with the power declares who the power may be given to next turn (assuming that she doesn't keep it). After the initial cost of the totem has been spent, any other Background points add to the totem's strength and abilities.

Cost Power
1 Per three points to spend on Willpower, Rage and/ or Gnosis.
1 Per 10 extra points of power.
1 Totem can speak to the pack without the benefit of the Gift: Spirit Speech.
1 Totem can always find the pack members.
2 Totem is nearly always with the pack members.
2 Totem is respected by other spirits.
2 Per charm possessed.
3 Per extra pack member who can use the totem's powers in the same turn.
4 Totem is connected mystically to all pack members, allowing communication among them even at great distances (at Storyteller's discretion).
5 Totem is feared by agents of the Wyrm, which could mean that either the agents run away or they do their best to kill the pack...

Wizards generally only allow increases in totem powers only when it fits in to the story, such as when pack members gain a higher rank (and thus a free totem point), a new member joins the pack or when pack members gain new insight into the nature of their totem. When the totem is affiliated with a more powerful spirit, the greater spirit might grant the strengthening of its servant (pack totem) in return for a great service done it by the pack.

Totem points illustrate, in a very general way, how easily it is for a character to become attuned to and have an understanding with a new totem spirit. This is why a character always has a minimal number of totem points equal to their rank, as their rank demands a certain amount of previous interaction with the spirits.