what I want in rpgs:
1. a framework of power
in the game, the king's guards can protect the king from most threats, there's a military logic behind it. you can always refer to that logic. this is how you get cool stories in like plays. in "sexy beast" a retired mob employee is being pressured by his superior to come out of retirement. the retired mobster does not want to come out of retirement because he is afraid of death, but he is also afraid of angering his superior who has the freedom to beat him up and maybe even kill him. the superior doesn't want to kill the mobster, his former friend... thus a drama. in the end the mobster kills the superior and then has to go deal with the superior's superior... consequences for the actions along a framework of power, a basis of drama like they taught me in playwriting class.
not just the drama but also clever circumnavigation thereof... fun shit.
2. fun potential power levers
this is what lotfp has with the "summon" spell, or all the little rules which can be cleverly used, like casting "bless" to aid a pickpocket attempt. fun because they're clever, fun because they're dangerous, fun because they feel fair... that's one of the great uses of magic in games. powerful artifact has bad downsides.
honestly #2 is optional because with #1 I can just come up with fun power levers in whatever setting it is. my "top secret" campaign was one of the best bc the players would just use their knowledge of 80's airport security to bypass challenges.
.do not want:
1. railroading- a loaded term but basically any understanding applies
2. complex world of warcraft style combat which will always always be difficulty and pixel-bitchy and take too long to run.
3. non-optional homework. I should be able to drop in, having like library content to pour through can be good but I shouldn't have to or we should be able to do it quickly at the table.
interesting note here is that both categories above reflect a player's desires.