I’m currently working on OpenQuest Dungeons, which has a quick section on Underworld religions. This got me thinking that OpenQuest has three potential levels of detail when describing Religions for Divine Magic.
Short Write-up. Very brief and to the point. Give enough game information in the form of skills and spells to run at the table – see the Deities List in the OpenQuest Companion (page 38). Referees can then fill in some blanks and modify game information to adapt it to their game. Or they can use it as is, allowing the players to add game fiction and details through play.
Medium Write-up. A bit more in the description, perhaps setting specific, and adding detail about Ranks, which may vary from the usual Lay/Initiate/Priest form. See Heretics of the Imperial Way in the main OQ rulebook (p214)
Long Write-up. This level of detail is where the write-up ties the religion more into the setting. As the previous level of detail but may also include short supporting myths and background. Pantheon write-ups will almost always be of this level of detail because it’s necessary to talk about the relationships between the member deities. See the Imperial Way in OpenQuest
One thing I’m not a fan of, both as a writer and referee, is the third level of detail, which I will never use in OpenQuest. The Extensive Detailed Write-up. This level of detail is where you get a meandering mix of game fiction and rules. It’s confusing and doesn’t let the players have the same level of creativity at the table.
I would prefer the middle sized write up. Just the stuff I need with a bit of fluffy background but not to much detail.