OK, first go read this. It’ll take you 10 minutes or less, depending on your reading speed. This is the kind of stuff RPGs need more of.
And, my personal ideal campaign (edited to include more information):
Descriptive Rating: Pragmatic-While I want a little more information than “you take N hit points”, I’m also not interested in graphic description in every single turn. I’m happy if the dramatic things are carefully described, while normal hits are more like “he slashes you with his sword for N points”.
PC Lethality: Pragmatic-No one wants their character to die; I also don’t want it to be impossible. Death happens in real life, so it should happen in-game too. On the other hand, PCs are heroes and should be less likely to die than, say, I personally would be.
Player vs. Player: Moral (Pragmatic)-The PCs are heroes and shouldn’t be trying to kill each other off. In the extremely rare case that there is serious intraparty conflict, I want some detail.
Player vs. Game: Pragmatic-Sometimes you have to do bad things when there are bad people around. But the injury of complete innocents is verboten. [The unborn baby that will become an incarnation of evil is, alas, not a complete innocent.] Also, being nasty had better lead to some guilt.
Game vs. Player: Dark (Pragmatic)-The PCs are heroes; their antagonists by and large aren’t. Hence, bad things can happen to the PCs if the antagonists are feeling mean. I still don’t want huge amounts of detail, though; I’m fine with just brief description, dialogue and die rolls, unless it’s a climactic scene.
Game vs. Game: Dark (Pragmatic)-What I said above, doubled. The description part is even a little darker since I’m more likely to be seeing results rather than actions, and I can deal with gory results a bit better.
Before play begins, there will be agreement on subjects which are not to be brought up at all and subjects which are not to involve particular players. (That is, are we not to discuss rape at all because it is a sensitive topic for one player, or is it sufficient that that player’s character is never threatened with rape?)