Hey there everyone, was hoping you could help a fellow DM out. Basically, my PCs have wanted to play in the Dark Sun setting and have chosen to forgo great ambitions of power (like killing/replacing/becoming as powerful as a sorcerer-king) and just want to be a successful caravan/smuggler and/or merchant house created by them. I think that could be an interesting, underdog, anti-hero type campaign, but I've been having a little trouble getting things going. We've had two game sessions so far, and they just involved mishaps and encounters during their first caravan trip (running into an ID Fiend that tricked them into killing innocent people, negotiating with a Giant to get across a silt river that the giants were blockading, and having to expose a Tomblador merchant agent who had caused said giants to cause the blockade).
While I have the next couple sessions (probably) figured out, I'm a little worried where to go from there because I don't want everything to be "you're crossing the desert and random entity 'X' attacks you" or "you run into random blockade/difficulty caused by random entity 'X'". I'm just afraid of it feeling like the same thing over and over again.
I'm trying to pull inspiration from things like the TV show Firefly (as they're smugglers), so giving them jobs that also involve con jobs or getting some kind of item from ruins (or obtaining it from some other power group by whatever means they deem appropriate) as well as smuggling certain goods or people past authority figures (such as templars).
But I just wanted to get some extra thoughts on it, to see if you guys have any good ideas. I usually nudge PCs to a bigger, more epic destiny in which there's some huge, big-bad they'll have to fight, but the closest I think I could do to that is like a rivalry with other merchants/caravans or disgruntled clients/people they've wronged. These things could work, just looking for some pointers on keeping a campaign where the PCs do nothing but move around the map in a caravan going excitingly and not just "and you walk here".
I have a few ideas for some more "significant" encounters that have to do with things from the PCs backstories, but I'm still not completely sure where all the overall campaign is going and could use help keeping caravaning interesting.
Hope I didn't ramble on too much! Thanks for any help!