That's fair. I've had a wide variety of experience with it. From great to totally ignored. Good ST's have done wonders with the idea but they had to do the work to set up things themselves...bad ST's were always going to have problems with it and ignore/use it as a bad quest hammer only...but it is the muddy middle that I really take umbrage with and why I think it is a setting issue...people who are normally pretty good GM's in other setting had issues with this.
Originally Posted by comicshorse
I think for a couple of reasons. Firstly most TTRPG tend to not be a socially focused or politically focused as VtM fluff claims to be...and so there is more familiarity with "combat rules", "stealth and movement" rules etc than social standing and bonds etc between PC's and NPC's etc. So there is just not that mental to-do list that helps keep that function running well.
Also it has tended to be a problem for ST's who get more wrapped up in the lore at scale than the city they are playing in. Correlations isn't perfect but was a trend I noticed. And I get it-it is hard to run the very personal politics and very large scale shadow conflict at the same time.
This is one of those things I think led to my earlier comments of things like the systems sensitivity to ST skill, ST work involvement (both in prep time and wide knowledge), weird mismatch of support to expectations, that the overall meta-lore tends to get in the way of the table play and story construction if not carefully watched.
Honestly my single most useful suggestion is put in a "boons payable" and "boons receivable" in whatever little NPC writeup the ST does for their dramatis personae for a setting/story etc. The fact it is isn't on the character sheet I think puts it in an out-of-sight-out-of-mind situation.
Spoiler: more semi-ignore things
Somewhat in the same vein the Status merit is often similarly ignored. Not on purpose IME but often is none the less. Heck I'm pretty sure even the examples of use in the book forget to use it even if the parties involved should have the status merit due to their listed titles. So I get how that happens...but it can really shift things odds wise quite a lot and when used does tend to get players to act much more .... "proper"...to high ranking individuals. (sure they back stab them later but that's in perfect keeping with the setting or their make efforts to set themselves up with a ton of advantages ahead of time to level to playing field which again it wonderfully appropriate)...Do I think it a huge deal? nope. But it something I recommend new ST's keep an eye on as it is easy to drop it in the hurly burly of the table and it can be useful tool in building the setting verisimilitude.
Similarly glossed over? also how freakish elder Gangrel would be. Make any Nossie seem like a toreador. I mean think about it....even if a vampire frenzied once ever three years on average a 300 year old vampire would have 100 animal traits. And a 300 year old elder isn't exactly unknown in many cities in the WoD-almost to be expected in many people's games. Even ignoring the fact means basically all their social traits are gone just what would they LOOK like? maybe the very weirdest Fiends would be weirder but I'd guess on average the Gangrel would have them beat...there just wouldn't be enough human left to recognize. How they play politics? eh? they basically turn into an individualized horror monster in the woods. ManBearPig, mothman, etc....just without obfuscate (assuming country Gangrel) and big claws....Now do I think most people's choice to keep most elder Gangrel still semi-human to be one that helps the stories and probably the fun of the game? Yup...but it is one of those changes that seem to pop up again and again without it really being a thought out houserule or the like. Also such massive and obvious degeneration would have a major effect on clan structure and mentality...would probably THE defining pillar of mentality as they got older...I mean they get far worse than Nosferatu at being social over time and that is pretty core to the Nossies.
Now it isn't just a WoD thing...the application of feudalism to many D&D worlds is not very complete or logical either and just as often ignored except in a window dressing way.
and as for Early Mage....or even late mage... Yeah that was just so bad I couldn't play. Breaking the world by lawyering physics and thus second/third order consequences could be somewhat entertaining though.
I Kinda want to say STing WoD vs some other systems is kinda like driving a 1990's Porsche vs 1990's Toyota Camry. If you have the skills and put the effort into it the Porsche will give you amazing results but if you are not used to driving a manual gearbox with a heavy, stiff clutch you'll spend so much time crawling or stalled that the Camry will be faster.