STAVE OFF DOMESTIC CANNIBALISM: Here is a quick campaign

You really don't need much except a map, creatures, a rule system, and a goal.

And since this little idea has infected my brain I might be able to add more like an ornery head rat named "Old William", a Unseelie rattle rustler named "Great Auntie Oakleaf" replete with spurs and a giant silver belt buckle that says "Ride 'em Hard, Leave 'em Wanting", PC complications like a failed relationship, older sibling got the farm, orphan, and trouble with the law.

Here is a nice document on Oklahoma cattle drives which seems very gameable:

MAKING A LASTING IMPRESSION: Downtime & institution building

Sidney Sime

I think a key element of D&D abandoned by editions after 2e is the notion of domain level play. The promise of griffin riders at 9th level as a 2e fighter was a dream that always kept me going and still motivates a lot of my characters presently.

Creating a thieve's guild, starting a cult, growing wizard's tower or other "keeps" is not only a great sink for the hoards of coin players haul in, but it firmly shifts the momentum of the campaign's plot into the hands of the players. Then the DM is playing and reacting almost to ~90% of what the players are interested in grown from the campaign's soil (which is what the DM is interested in). This combination, I think, makes for a more enriching campaign.

Factions, in general, are roughly the same thing.

A lot has been written on this, but what I like about Ben's take on factions and "keeps" is that he's developed a pretty light way of tracking these types of actions. Which is what you need in a game-- just good enough to make it work.

Also Sime