I'm underwhelmed by quests. Most of adventuring is wandering around, grabbing free loot. Sometimes you beat up weak monsters. Virtually all the quests/notable locations are 1-2 step at best with little flavor or adventuring to it - random MMO quests are far more detailed. The rewards from adventuring seem inconsistent as well - varying from piddling to outrageously imba. Mostly, the adventure system forces you to use your sovereign as your main scout, as a sovereign using game-start spells can one-shot several enemies a turn while gathering very useful loot and revealing the map. This is espcially the case given that there are a number of negative sovereign traits that only hurt you when the sovereign is in a city.
Even the flavor text for quests tends to be 1 or 2 lines at most.
As an example of an excellently implemented quest system might be King Arthur ('the role playing wargame') which i picked up on steam when it was on sale. There are many quests in the game, most of which are simple decision trees with varying impacts on your character and faction based on what you choose. You may or may not end up in a battle. Granted, none of King Arthurs quests occur in a randomly generated world, but there is no reason that Elementals quests need be so brief or utterly lacking in decision making.
For example, there's a quest to get a suit of armor that is basically 'Hey look, a suit of armor. Oh no, spiders! Yes I will fight them. Armor. Hooray.'
There are many many problems with this, and much better ways it could be implemented.
Here's an example decision tree:
Sample Quest - The Spider Tomb
Towards the end of a long day traveling the (ruined wastes/baking desert/blooming forests/whatever the terrain is), you spot an unmoving Fallen lying prone. Hastening to their side, you roll them over and discover a grim sight - his face is locked in a grimace of agony. The Fallen is most certainly dead. There are two puncture wounds on his arm and a partially torn map clutched in his fingers.
The map appears to be a mostly incomprehensible private code, but a drawing resembling a nearby stone outcropping is circled in red.
*Walk to outcropping
*Continue on your way
You strip the Fallen in preperation for burial. You notice a small tatoo on his forearm - an infamous sigil worn only by the head of the infamous House of Whoever. His death will be news of great import among the Fallen, regardless of what unknown errand brought him to his death in this remote heath.
Digging the grave is hot work and you are soon exausted; strange, you are not usually this weakened by labor. Sweat streaming off your face, you sit and rub your hands on your face. A sharp stinging sensation startles you and with an oath you examine your fingers. The skin is discolored and sensation is largely missing. You hurriedly wash in a nearby stream, but the damage is done - you must have touched some poison while handling the corpse. Fortunately, its potency seems to have been diluted; other than your dizzy spell and general weakness you feel normal.
After resting and cleaning, you finish the burial and assemble a small rock cairn.
(Gain temporary +1 prestige in Fallen cities and +1 relations with Fallen empires. Lose a small amount of HP/mana - won't kill you.)
*Walk to outcropping
*Continue on your way
After circling the outcropping, you discover an almost invisible stone doorframe carved into the north side. The interior is utterly dark; you can see only feet inside. A worn inscription in ancient (language) proclaims this to be the final resting place of (Name), famed champion of the (Infamous House) a thousand years ago. A pile of sun-bleached human skulls proclaim it to have become home to far more than one corpse.
*Lay ambush (--> battle, but one spider is killed by ambush. Lose your move points for the next turn.)
Fashioning a torch, you venture into the tomb. There is a single hallway sloping downward, unrelieved by decoration or torch-stands. Bones occasionally crackle underfoot. After several minutes you warily enter a small chamber. It appears to be empty, but something killed the Fallen man... In the center lies an ornately carved stone casket in the ancient style. A gleaming set of armor is racked to the right; a number of corroded weapons are displayed to the left. Sparing only a glance for the casket, you examine the armor; it is of masterful workmanship and decorated with arcane symbols. Judging by the weapons, the armor has somehow remained in perfect condition for generations. A chittering sound from behind causes you to whirl around; an enormous hunting spider cautiously enters the chamber from the only door. Chittering from the far-above ceiling answers the hunter. The Fallen man's death seeks you.
*Engage in battle
*Thrust torch at hunting spider and attempt to run past.
ROUND ONE. FIGHT!
There could also be interactions with sovereign traits. A cowardly sovereign may be unable to choose some brave options, while a daring/stubborn sovereign may be unable to choose some cowardly options.
P.S. - Suggestion for Adventuring Technology - something that allows small parties of adventurers slip into neutral territory without being detected or triggering a war.
P.P.S. - I find the way quest popups unnecessarily cover up the whole screen to be irritating. I'm running at 2048xsomething resolution and most of the real estate is blank and useless. The way a single line of text extends across the whole screen also makes it hard to read. A compact well designed popup would be far better.