There is no risk to anything in a game. Until the day we can actually inflict pain or kill someone via a videogame there is no risk.
When you die ... the penalty is time. The time it takes to either 1. get your corpse back 2. get the items back 3. get whatever back. You haven't lost anything but time.
The only risk that exists now is loss of time. There is no such thing as money sinks either. There is only time sinks. Gathering money takes time. The game makers must put in 'money sinks' to off set the inflation effect. What they are doing is saving you time. Time of farming money because inflation has gotten out of control and now you have to kill Hill Giants for 10 hours just to get enough for your new shield because money isnt worth anything anymore.
Anyway...I can go on and on about this to but to the point.
I started to ponder how you would reward someone for taking risks. Lets take a Dungeon that has a preferred level attached to it. In other words the Dungeon was tuned for this level. A little more and its easier, a little less and its harder.
I think it would be cool to some how gauge how this person / group did. Taking into a number of factors things like, amount of time for total progress, number of times died, number of times where player health and npc health was within a %, how long it takes them to kill one npc, or how many times did they kill an npc with half the party dead?
All things to base 'risk' on. Granted there are ways to fool the system, but I think somehow gauging what the person / group did would be the next step. Take the amount of risk that they took, and reward them if they happen to complete it.
Another thing I would also consider is death when you are in a higher level area. Say it takes longer to get to your corpse, simply because you are taking a risk in this area. Since time is the only thing you can invest, it would make sense to reward those who take the risk of investing more time into an area then those who don't.
I don't think penalizing those who take less of a risk is needed. If you want to go into a dungeon that's 20 levels below you ... fine. You will draw from the started loot table because you had almost no risk.
Anyway...these are just some thoughts I had. Take them as you will.