After gaining the attention of Ozpin, the headmaster of Beacon, Ruby is allowed to skip the two required years at Signal Academy and enroll early, allowing her to participate in first-year team formations, along with her elder sister. Weiss and Ruby become partners in "The First Step, Pt.2", while Yang and Blake become partners in The Emerald Forest.
The first battle with all four members fighting together takes place in "Players and Pieces", when they all band together to take down a massive Nevermore. During the Beacon Academy Initiation, the team brings back the two [|White Knight pieces and are officially named "Team RWBY" with Ruby Rose appointed as the team's leader.
Despite being first years students, Team RWBY became involved in foiling the plans of Roman Torchwick and the White Fang, stopping a cargo robbery in the end of Volume 1 and a Grimm invasion in Vale in Volume 2. Some time afterward, they qualify for the Vytal Festival Tournament. They manage to reach the finals but are later disqualified.
After the broadcast of Penny Polendina's death through the manipulations of Cinder Fall, Beacon Academy falls to both the White Fang and the Grimm attracted to the negativity. Split up, the team tries it's best to defend their school, only for Yang and Blake to be gravely injured during an encounter with Blake's former partner and Ruby's latent power to knock her unconscious.
After the Fall of Beacon, the team splits up, with Weiss returning to Atlas with her father, Blake running away to Menagerie, Yang recovering in Patch and Ruby going to Haven with Jaune Arc, Nora Valkyrie and Lie Ren, spurred by her uncle's warning that another incident like the Fall of Beacon could occur in Haven. Eventually, Blake regains the courage and will power to confront the White Fang, Weiss masters the Summoning aspect of her Semblance and Yang recovers enough to use a brand new prosthetic arm. Volume 4 ends with Yang seeking out Ruby, Weiss escaping Atlas to find Winter and Blake attempting to spur the people of Menagerie to restore the original intentions of the White Fang.
In Volume 5, Weiss crash lands after the cargo ship she used to escape is attacked by Grimm and encounters Raven Branwen, Yang's estranged mother and is kidnapped for ransom purposes. Coincidentally, Yang wants to use Raven's specific Semblance to reach her sister through Qrow and arrives to find Weiss kidnapped. Eventually, Raven allows them to use a portal to Qrow, but warns them about Ozpin and the truth about the world. In Haven, Ruby, Weiss and Yang reunite and decide to join Ruby on her quest to prevent the fall of Haven. During an ambush set up by Lionheart, the White Fang are countered by forces from Menagerie, led by the Belladonnas. With the Relic of Knowledge secured by Yang and Haven safe from immediate threat, the team, now fully reunited, along with Oscar Pine, the current incarnation of Ozpin, Qrow Branwen and team JNR are informed to head to Atlas.
- All of the members are indirectly referenced in the lyrics of Red Like Roses by their theme colors.
- Team RWBY is made of characters that are inspired from various fairy tales.
- Ruby is based on the title character of Little Red Riding Hood, as seen by her red hood and cloak and her association of fights with Beowolves.
- Weiss alludes to the main protagonist of Snow White, as her name means "White Snow" in German, and she sings of a mirror (a famous element of the original story) in her "White" Trailer.
- Blake alludes to the female heroine Belle of Beauty and the Beast due to her surname containing "Belle" (meaning "beauty" in Italian), a love of books, and her partner Adam sharing the name of the Beast in Disney's 1991 musical adaptation and his design based around roses.
- Yang references Goldilocks from The Tale of the Three Bears through her long blonde hair and constant fights with various bears, such as the DJ from The Club, Junior Xiong (whose last name means bear), and Ursi.
- The members of Team RWBY might also have connections to flowers and plants in their designs.
- Ruby's surname (and the name of her weapon), her symbol, and the petals she emits in battle are all roses.
- Weiss' weapon, Myrtenaster, is based on "Myrten Aster," the German translation for a family of flowers known as Myrtaceae that are typically found to be white.
- Blake's surname is also the name of a deadly nightshade called belladonna.
- Yang's Ember Celica is possibly named after a type of hot bell pepper called "Celica," which can be yellow.